CHANGE THE WORLD

St. Teresa of Calcutta was a simple and humble nun who brought joy and love to others in her world every day. Her world contained the poor, the sick, and the homeless. Everyday, Mother Teresa would go into the streets of Calcutta, bringing love, compassion, and healing to those in great need.

Her life was one of simplicity. St. Teresa simply loved, just as Jesus Christ told each one of us to do.  “As I have loved you, so you should love one another,” Jesus said (Jn 13:34).

St. Teresa of Calcutta left all of us with simple wisdom when she said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” What a simple yet profound statement. This great saint lived the words of the Gospel.

We are Catholic. Let’s take the words of St. Teresa to heart and go home and love our families. Living this Gospel message will certainly be a great start in changing the world. By modeling St. Teresa of Calcutta, we can each change the world, one family at a time.

Ponder: What small ways can you adopt to bring more love into your family?

Reflect: Jn 13:34-35

Pray: Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit upon me to provide me the courage to love others in the ways of St. Teresa.




ALWAYS STAY WITH JESUS 

How many times have you been in a conversation and hear someone say that they used to be Catholic? It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit.

When I hear this statement, I ponder how someone could ever leave the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Did they leave to go to another Christian denomination that may have better music or better fellowship?  Or did they join a congregation that has better preaching? Did they leave because of the scandals in the Church and find a place of worship led by a non-sinner?

Ultimately, I usually wind up asking the person who left the Church how they could possibly ever leave the Eucharist. Inevitably, a deer-in-the-headlights look follows.

We are Catholic. No other church or faith has the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist…no other, none, nada. Other denominations may have better music, better fellowship, and better preaching but they do not have the Real Presence Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the most intimate experience on the face of the earth. Never leave this intimacy. Always stay with Jesus.

Ponder: Are you prepared to evangelize to Catholics who have wandered from the Church?

Reflect: John 6:55-57

Pray: Jesus, I love you and place all my trust in You.




THE PASSION OF CHRIST… IT’S PERSONAL

Take some time to reflect upon the Passion of Jesus Christ by praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary in a new light. With the announcement of each mystery, add the words,”for me” to the end of each announcement.  Now each mystery becomes very personal:  Jesus agonized in the garden for me. Jesus was scourged at the pillar for me. Jesus wore a crown of thorns for me. Jesus carried the cross for me. Jesus was crucified on the cross for me.

As you reflect on this very personal account of Christ’s Passion, realize that Jesus Christ would have suffered and died for you even if you were the only person on the face of the earth. Can you imagine that? His suffering has meaning and it’s very personal.

We are Catholic. When you pray, imagine yourself at the foot of the cross looking up at Jesus who is sacrificing everything just for you. Ponder each sorrowful mystery with this new meditation in mind. Pray this beautiful prayer of the Gospel, the holy rosary.

Discuss: What do the words spoken by Jesus, “I thirst” mean to you?

Reflect: Sacred Scripture,  John 19:28-30

Pray: Dear Lord, thank you for sacrificing your precious blood for me.  Teach me to give everything I have and everything I am for you.




PREOCCUPIED WITH GOD

It is not unusual for us to dwell on negative things that happen in our life. Maybe we’ve heard unkind things that have been said about us, perhaps we have been disciplined at work, school, or at home; or maybe we have been diagnosed with a serious health condition. All of these things can weigh on our minds very heavily and we tend to dwell on them.

Becoming preoccupied with disturbing thoughts can be a burden on our minds. Focusing on the negative things that happen to us never benefits us and never changes what has happened.

We are Catholic. We know God is always with us but sometimes forget to give to Him all that burdens us. Instead of dwelling on the negative, replace these thoughts with a prayer asking for God to occupy your mind and your heart. Preoccupy yourself with God and you will always be at peace.

Ponder: What is burdening things in your life are preoccupying your thoughts?

Reflect: Sacred Scripture, Mt. 11:28-29

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me to replace my negative thoughts with thoughts of your loving goodness.




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. 




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.