ETERNAL CONDEMNATION IS THE LOGIC OF THE GOSPEL

Many currently take the position that God would not condemn anyone forever. Believing there is no eternal condemnation implies that there is no eternal Hell. Supporting this position actually defies the Gospel and could place your soul in eternal jeopardy.

Believing that no one can be condemned forever raises many questions. First and foremost, if no one can be condemned forever, why did we need a Savior in the first place? From what was Jesus saving us? No Hell…no need to be saved, right?

If no one can be condemned forever, why do we need to be good? It’s more fun if there are no rules and no eternal consequences for our actions. No Hell for many might mean party time, all the time.

If there are no eternal consequences, why is there a need to pray, go to church, or receive the sacraments. In fact, why do we need to be Catholic or Christian or any other religion? No Hell, no need, indeed.

We are Catholic.  The fact of the matter is Hell is real. It is in the Gospel and has been the consistent teaching of the Church. Hell exists for those who reject God and refuse to follow Jesus and His ways. In order to preserve your soul from the eternal inferno, always follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Ponder: If there is no Hell, what else doesn’t matter?

Reflect: Mt. 25:41

Pray: Jesus, save us from the fires of hell.  Lead all souls to Heaven especially those in most need of thy mercy.

 




 BE JOYFULLY RIGID IN THE FAITH

In this era of modernism which has entered the doors of the Church, being rigid in the faith is often characterized as sinful. However, being rigid and not bending the moral teachings of the Church established by Jesus Christ is a noble and faithful practice.

We, as Catholic Christians, are called to uphold Divine Law, even at the expense of personal suffering and public accusations. It is by the grace of God that we can uphold all that the Church teaches and reveals to be true. And we are to exercise this faith by adhering unashamedly and yes, rigidly, to these teachings.

We are Catholic. Our Church has the fullness of revelation and all the means of salvation. The deposit of faith has been handed down to us through Jesus Christ, Himself. Always follow Jesus and the teachings of His Church with joyful rigidity, as has been faithfully transmitted to us throughout the ages.

Ponder: In what ways are you joyfully rigid in your faith?

Reflect: Rom 12:1-2

Pray: Dear Lord, help me to always be obedient to your holy will and adhere to the teachings of Your Church.

 




IT MATTERS TO JESUS

From appearances, it seems that many Catholic church-goers have become complacent in preparing for holy Mass. From a purely external witness, little thought is given by some to the appropriate attire when assisting at Mass. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts, and even athletic wear are all too common in our sanctuaries. Many have decided that comfort or come-as-you-are clothing is perfectly acceptable attire for assisting at the wedding feast of the Lamb. 

Often, it is remarked that Jesus doesn’t care what we wear to Mass and is grateful for our presence alone. However, Sacred Scripture might tell us otherwise. The Lord speaks often about being prepared in the Bible. In Matthew’s Gospel, the wedding guest who did not don the appropriate garment was kicked out of the wedding feast. As in this parable, one’s careless outward appearance may reflect a lack of care of one’s internal preparation, as well.

We are Catholic.  We are called to prepare for holy Mass both internally and externally. The Lord calls each one of us to be pure in mind, body, and spirit as we enter the sacred Mass. These preparations include frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation, observing the Eucharistic fast, praying before Mass and coming to Mass dressed appropriately to meet your King. Your preparations matter to Jesus. 

Ponder:In what ways can you go the extra mile in preparing for holy Mass?

Reflect:  Mt. 22:8-14

Pray: Holy Spirit, pour forth wisdom upon me that I may wisely choose to prepare for the worship of God the Father at every holy Mass. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 




SALT IN A WORLD OF BAY LEAVES

 I’m not much of a cook, but I have noticed, on occasion, a bay leaf in my stew. In all my years of life, I’ve never thought about bay leaves but now I must.

Several questions come to mind when pondering bay leaves. I have to ask if bay leaves are really necessary; if they really make a difference in any given recipe; and if they would be missed if they were no longer around. My hunch is that most of us would never miss bay leaves if they were to become extinct. 

Unlike bay leaves, salt is one seasoning that would certainly be missed if no longer available. So, it begs the question, are you a Christian bay leaf or are you Christian salt?Do you make a difference in adding flavor to the worldly stew of Christ? 

We are Catholic.  We are called to be salt for the earth. To salt the earth we must bring Christ, the true light and salt of the earth, to others. We are called to a share the rich flavor of our Catholic faith with others. Let’s ponder the many ways we can make a difference by being salt in this world of bay leaves.  

PONDER: In what ways will you bring Christ to others in your daily life?

REFLECT: Mt. 5:13

PRAY: Heavenly Father, send your Spirit to give me the courage to be salt for the earth and to proclaim the Truth every day. 




SUPERNATURAL FUEL FOR YOUR EARTHLY JOURNEY

The alarm sounds in the morning and we often hit the snooze button. We just want a few more minutes to rest our tired bodies. Morning comes so early. If there were only a few more hours in the night, not to mention the day!

Our tired bodies need fuel to become energized. We receive energy from food, exercise, and adequate sleep.

Our souls, too, need to be awakened and energized. The sacraments, particularly the frequent and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist, provide the primary source of energy for our souls. Jesus Christ knew the needs of our souls and has given us the sacraments to energize and sustain us.

We are Catholic. The Catholic Church is the home of the seven sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ for our spiritual sustenance. The sacraments are the supernatural fuel for our souls. Avail yourself to them for the supernatural energy needed for your earthly journey.

Ponder: How often do you fuel your soul with the sacramental energy from Reconciliation and the a Eucharist?

Reflect: John 6:57-58

Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for instituting the sacraments for the supernatural energy I need each day.




FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BELOVED APOSTLE

DECEMBER 27:  FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BELOVED APOSTLE

The apostle St. John, is also known as the Beloved Apostle. He was the only apostle who did not forsake Jesus on the way to Calvary. St. John accompanied Jesus during His Passion and remained with Him as He hung on the Cross. John, the beloved apostle, was very dear to Jesus, hence the word “beloved” is an appropriate description of this apostle. 

On this feast of St. John the beloved apostle, let us pray for his intercession to grow in our love for Jesus in a most personal and tender way. May each of us yearn to become beloved followers of Christ.




A FILLING OF GRACE

Perhaps one of the least favorite experiences for many is a trip to the dentist.  Upon entering the dental office, one is greeted with the sound of drilling and the smell of fillings. With each routine dental exam, we can only hope that our mouth is healthy, free of the need for any further dental services.

That being said, however, most of us have had tooth decay, otherwise known as cavities. Once tooth decay is present, it can only be removed by drilling and filling. It’s no fun, but once the filling is done, the tooth is restored to a healthy condition.

Like our teeth, our souls may also become decayed from the sins we commit. Our decayed souls are in need of restoration to bring them back to a healthy condition, a state of grace. We must enter the supernatural office of healing and seek the services of the supernatural healer of souls, Jesus Christ.

We are Catholic. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the remedy needed to restore our decayed souls to health. It fills us with the grace we need to live a life pleasing to God. Remove the decay from your soul often by receiving a filling of grace from the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Ponder: Do you examine your conscience daily according to the teachings of the Church?

Reflect: Jer 30:17

Pray: Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind and my heart to acknowledge my sins and to make a good confession.




SPIRITUAL MAXIMUMISM

Many people today are electing to follow a minimalist way of life. Living on basic needs and forgoing the many luxuries this life has to offer is a noble effort. In fact, Sacred Scripture tells us over and over again that we must leave everything, pick up our cross, and follow Christ to gain eternal life.

Denying ourselves the pleasures of this life is a tall order and one that is not easy to put into practice. Taking cold showers each morning or living with one car in a family with several children may be practices of the minimalist. Those living in this simplistic way, take on these types of challenges in many aspects of their lives. When living minimally is done in the context of serving the Lord, one may reap many blessings in this life and the next.

As some practice earthly minimalism, many today practice spiritual minimalism, doing the very least to grow spiritually, adopting secular values, and not growing in their knowledge of Church teachings. Not having an active prayer life, not attending Mass on Sundays and holy days, not receiving the sacraments nor following the precepts of the Church are additional indications that one may be a spiritual minimalist.

We are Catholic. We have received from the Lord His Church which provides for us the fullness of divine revelation and all the means of salvation. When it comes to your spiritual life and journey to eternity, practice spiritual maximumism! Start today living a life pleasing to God, following all that the Church teaches and reveals to be true. Maximize your opportunity to grow closer to the Lord each and every day.

Ponder: What changes can you make in your life today, to enhance your spiritual journey towards eternity?

Reflect: Luke 21:24

Pray: Heavenly Father, send me the grace that I need to pick up my cross and follow you.




GOD CHOICES ARE GOOD CHOICES

Everyday we make choices. From the time we wake up until the time our head hits the pillow, there are many decisions we must make. Most of the time, our daily decisions are rather unremarkable. The meals we eat, the internet we surf, the television we watch are among our routine daily decisions.

But, often we face decisions that have major consequences on our future, on our family, and on others. Marriage, family, and career are among the choices that have lifetime implications. How do we make such weighty decisions with confidence that our choices are good ones?

Simply put, follow these steps. First, start with prayer asking the Lord for guidance and clarity in your decision. Second, examine the facts regarding the decision, in a calm state of mind. Third, talk to others close to you that may be impacted and those whose advice is sound. Next, follow the teachings of the Church in all moral decisions. Finally, continue to pray and ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints for wisdom. God answers prayers giving a peace of mind with his answers. If you have continued anxiety or stress in your decision, continue to pray until peace of mind prevails.

We are Catholic. We know that God answers all of our prayers in his time and according to his will for us. Be patient and wait on the Lord for his answers to your decisions in life. God choices are good choices.

Ponder: Do you trust that the Lord will always answer your prayers?

Reflect: Psalm 138:3

Pray: Heavenly Father, give me the patience I need to await your directions in my life.




KEEP YOUR EYES OF FAITH WIDE OPEN

At a recent daily holy Mass, a young boy around the age of six, entered the pew where his grandmother was already seated. The pew was located toward the back of the large church.  The young boy lamented that he could not see what was happening at the altar. The grandmother leaned down toward the young child and whispered to him, “Put on your eyes of faith.”

Coincidentally (although we know that there are no coincidences), the Gospel reading for the day was the story of the apostle’s walk to Emmaus. As we know from this familiar story, during the long walk to Emmaus with Jesus in their midst, the two apostles did not recognize the Lord in their presence. Just like the young boy at Mass, they could not see.

We are Catholic. How often in our daily lives do we miss opportunities to recognize the Lord walking with us, guiding us, and speaking to us? Jesus never tires of communicating with each one of us in our normal, everyday life. It is up to us to keep our eyes of faith wide open.

Ponder: When do you feel the Lord’s presence in your daily routine?

Reflect: Lk 24:13-35

Pray:  Lord, help me to see you clearly with eyes of faith each day.