Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recent Talk on Vatican II

Please follow the above link to an audio file of my recent talk on the Second Vatican Council.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent 22 March 2009

At sporting events and concerts, we often see people carrying large signs
that simply read “John 3:16.”
It happens often enough that it has become an American stereotypical image,
something we joke about and include in parodies.

Far from being simply humorous, however, this grassroots evangelization
draws our attention to one of the most beloved and significant passages
in the Scriptures, and also a passage from today’s Gospel.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son
so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish
but might have eternal life.”

All the trials of His human journey…all the agony of the Passion…
Jesus endured so that we might have eternal life.

Recently I had a dialogue with someone, which made me ponder a question
I had previously taken for granted.
I had said that, for me at least, I cannot live without daily prayer with Jesus.
What I had presumed was a certain definition of what to means to live.

Obviously, many people get by living in the biological sense every day
all the while never taking time to pray or even remaining atheists.

Life for many is a series of empty routines, devoid of substance or fulfillment.
Cardinal John Henry Newman once wrote that
“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

To truly live…in the fullest sense…is to change, grow, and mature…
in our humanity, our relationships, and in our devotion to God.

The more often we change and grow, the closer we become to God,
and thus the more fully alive we are – living in his grace.

Eternal life is the perfection and culmination of this process of change.

As we pray in the preface of funeral Masses,
“Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended.
When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death,
we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.”

Eternal life is perfect union with God,
union which is begun and lived in an imperfect though real way,
as we open ourselves to God’s transforming grace even now.

We struggle by our prayer and humble efforts to change, grow and mature,
turning from sin to a life of grace,
so that we might inherit the kingdom prepared for us:
the kingdom where all earthly sorrow and sin
is completely changed into eternal love and happiness.

For this Jesus came into the world and for this He died:
that we might see in His Cross the perfect image of how we are to live
in this passing world
and that by the merits of His passion we might receive eternal life
in the world that knows no end.

As we continue our Lenten journey,
seeing in the Ten Commandments the guide to a holy life,
we consider how our lives
have contributed to the life and growth of others.

God’s Fifth Commandment is “You shall not kill.”

It is self-evident for the Christian that human life is intrinsically sacred.

God created us, not to fulfill a need of His own, but in an act of pure love,
and He remains the Lord and creator of all life.

As God’s beloved sons and daughters, created in His divine image,
the lives of human persons have an inherent dignity that must not be violated.

The murder of innocent life, young or elderly, born or unborn, healthy or infirm,
rich or poor, deemed useful by society’s standards or otherwise,
is in every circumstance morally unacceptable
and contrary to the dignity of the human person.

Jesus, who came not to abolish but to fulfill the ancient law,
offered a more extensive application of this commandment,
when He said:

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.'
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment...”

While most of us at least will never take a human life in murder,
we quite commonly violate the fifth commandment
by our anger, vengeance, hatred, and lack of concern for others.

We are called to love our enemies, to pray for them, and to seek reconciliation.

We ought never hold grudges or seek occasion to get back at someone
for the hurt they caused us.

We ought always consider what is valuable and meaningful to another
before allowing our selfish actions and words to kill another in spirit.

The dignity of the human person
demands that the mental, physical and emotional health of others in our lives
be a serious concern to which we respond in genuine love.

Causing harm to our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit,
by the abuse of drugs, alcohol, or any gluttonous excess
is a sinful disregard for the beautiful person God has created us to be.

God’s Eighth Commandment is
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

This commandment is more than perjury and lying while under an oath.
It forbids the misrepresentation of truth in any way in our relations with others.

God is the source of all truth,
and as His children we are called to live in accord with His truth,
especially the truths of faith revealed in scripture and Church Tradition.

Honesty, discretion, integrity and sincerity are all marks of a person
who has come to know Christ and to live in accord with His divine plan.

Manipulation, lying, twisting the truth to protect ourselves,
spreading gossip and revealing privileged information,
slander and rash judgments about others,
all betray a lack of fidelity to God
and undermine the human community.

What is more, just because something is true does not mean we should repeat it.

Calumny is harming of another’s reputation by spreading lies,
and detraction is spreading failures of another, even though they are true,
in order to hurt them or promote ourselves.

Both are equally sinful because they attack the right we all possess to a good name.

In this holy season, we acknowledge before God
all the ways in which we have harmed others
by our destructive actions and misrepresentations of truth.

In confidence we seek forgiveness.
In humility we continue to grow, change and mature,
that we may draw closer to God
living always in hope that we shall reign with Him forever in glory!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Splendid Truth About Eucharistic Adoration

Recently, on March 13, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the Plenary Session of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the discipline of the Sacraments, the first such session of the new Prefect, Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llovera. He addressed the members of the congregation on the theme of Eucharistic Adoration. I take the opportunity the Holy Father provides by his initiative to address this beautiful devotion to offer our readers some of his teachings and a few of my own insights into popular myths regarding Eucharistic Adoration.

Myth No. 1: Reservation and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a medieval invention.
In fact, belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament have been part of the life of the Church from its earliest days. The history of Eucharistic Adoration is traced in an excellent study by Fr. John Hardon, S.J., where he indicates that “As early as the Council of Nicea (325) we know that the Eucharist began to be reserved in the churches of monasteries and convents.” Nicea occurred only 12 years after the Edict of Milan, when the Church was first free of persecution and able to live and worship as she was led by the Holy Spirit. Father Hardon continues, “The immediate purpose of this reservation was to enable the hermits to give themselves Holy Communion. But these hermits were too conscious of what the Real Presence was not to treat it with great reverence and not to think of it as serving a sacred purpose by just being nearby.” The earliest Christians knew Jesus was present in the Eucharist and they revered His sacred presence. In various ways, according to historical circumstances and under the guidance of the Spirit, the Church’s worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass evolved. The Church established processions, 40 Hours, Benediction, the vestments, rituals, vessels and hymns associated with the Eucharist, and the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Myth No. 2: The Mass is a celebration, not an act of adoration.
An attitude of adoration is essential to our Christian understanding of the Eucharist, both in the Mass and in worship of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass, as the Holy Father points out. There are four moments of elevation and adoration within the Mass before the reception of communion: after the consecration of the Host, after the consecration of the Precious Blood, at the doxology, and immediately before communion at the words “Behold the Lamb of God…” These are moments when the gathered assembly gazes upon the divine presence of the person of Jesus Christ, and the most fitting attitude one can adopt is humble adoration and praise. As Saint Augustine has said, “No one may eat this flesh [of Jesus] if he has not first adored it, for we sin if we do not adore.” The Holy Father desires that pastors of souls “ensure the dimension of adoration to the celebration of Mass throughout.” The attitude of adoration begun in the Mass is extended and deepened in Eucharistic Adoration outside of Mass.

Myth No. 3: Eucharistic Adoration detracts from the Mass, which is the real Eucharistic worship. It should be de-emphasized in order to put proper focus on the Mass.
In fact, while the Mass certainly comes first in significance and in the discipline of prayer for the whole Church, Eucharistic Adoration allows us to show our love for Christ when we are not at Mass. Adoration should not replace the Mass in one’s life but should always be seen as an extension of the devotion and prayer begun in Mass. Thus, when we come to Mass having rested in the Lord’s presence, we approach the Altar even more spiritually nourished. Balance is important but Eucharistic Adoration need not be de-emphasized or eliminated. The Holy Father desires that it be renewed and promoted even more.

Myth No. 4: Contemplative Eucharistic Adoration undermines active participation in the Mass.
In fact, while it might be historically true that Eucharistic Adoration was exceedingly popular in the Middle Ages when the faithful were less actively participating in the Mass, it is not true that Medieval Christians did not participate in the Mass. The beautiful prayers, hymns and sermons that come from these centuries indicate great faith and devotion to the Eucharist. In our time, when more active participation has been achieved, we must also remember that authentic participation in the Sacred Liturgy demands an interior disposition of devotion to and understanding of the mysteries of faith. Our actions are outward signs of our interior disposition but action in itself, without devotion and understanding, is empty. Jesus appreciated both active Martha and contemplative Mary, but He said that Mary had chosen the better part by resting at the Lord’s feet. Action and contemplation, ritual/words and silence, are both necessary in the Liturgy. A contemplative attitude is essential both to our celebration of the Mass and to our quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. In silence we hear the voice of God.

Myth No. 5: Contemplative Eucharistic Adoration is unnecessary private prayer that takes away from our work for God and the Church.
In fact, it is in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that we offer our cares to Him, allow Him to speak to our hearts, and receive the grace we need to carry on our daily work. To truly live is to grow and change and be drawn ever more fully into union with God. We need a deep relationship with Him to be truly fulfilled as human persons. We cannot have a relationship with anyone, especially Jesus, if we do not spend time with Him. It is in the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of the Church, that the whole Church and each soul truly lives and grows. From our Eucharistic Adoration, we receive the grace to work for God and His Church. Mother Theresa, the most notable laborer in the Lord’s vineyard in recent memory, while working constantly for the poor and sick, made a daily Holy Hour and required her sisters to do the same. She knew that contemplative Eucharistic prayer was the source of grace for her work and the summit of her loving devotion to Christ.

In this time of renewal for the Church, it is vital that we identify and set aside the myths about Eucharistic Adoration, that all members of Christ’s Mystical Body might embrace true devotion to His Eucharistic Body. In union with Christ our Eucharistic Lord, may the Church flourish as the sacrament of salvation for all peoples!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11th

By now it is common knowledge that President Obama is the most radically anti-human-life man ever to hold the office of President of the United States. The latest instance of painful disregard for innocent lives and the will of the people is an executive order reversing the ban on research using embryonic stem cells.

Previous research has indicated that embryonic stem cells have been of no scientific value, while adult stem cells and cells when can be “re-programmed” to perform the same as embryonic cells have proven valuable in research. At the same time, the valuable research is also morally licit, since it does not require the creation/freezing/destruction of human persons in the embryonic stage. Given the evidence and the moral consequences, supporting and funding with tax dollars this kind of research is a preposterous notion. There can be no reason for it at all, except that politics, public image and money have become more important to our leaders than the dignity of the human persons they are called to lead and serve. Our president wants to appear to be helping those who theoretically would benefit from this research and so improve his popularity in the eyes of some; and to advance himself politically according to the false premises conjured up by the media, which do not reflect the reality of the issues nor of the American public.

Embryonic stem cell research remains morally unacceptable as it involves the manipulation and killing of innocent human life. It is presented primarily as a means to finding cures for serious diseases, from which many people truly suffer. Among the most notable is Michael J. Fox’s battle with Parkinson’s disease and his public encouragement of embryonic stem cell research. We have recently seen another public figure suffer horribly and yet humbly with the same disease: Pope John Paul the Great. The late Holy Father never asked that other human persons die in order that he might be cured. Instead, he suffered in silence, as a living witness to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the perfect image to which he was charged to conform his life in the prayers his priestly ordination. He did not clamor for research and medical advancements to prolong his life in earth. He died. He died with dignity and sanctity, in peace and hope, having just celebrated Holy Mass with his brother bishops. John Paul the Great, pray for us, that we may recognize the truth of the Gospel of Life and the path to holiness in Jesus our Lord! Amen.

Please follow this link to the Canton Repository story including my comments...

Update: March 2009

Since Inauguration Day 2009, the trajectory of our country’s policies has been increasingly – though not surprisingly – alarming. The expected anti-life agenda has begun to be implemented. After a successful postcard campaign launched by the USCCB to oppose FOCA, wily politicians realized that it would be neither prudent nor feasible to pass that complete legislation. Expecting to through the defenders of human life off track, they have told us FOCA is , all the while planning to propose individual elements of FOCA as separate pieces of legislation.

In the first such attempt, it has been reported by various new agencies that the Obama administration plans to rescind the "conscience rule" that protects health care personnel who refuse to participate in abortions or other medical procedures that go against their moral and religious beliefs. With this planned change in law and policy, doctors, nurses and other health care workers could lose their jobs or be punished professionally for adhering to their sincerely held religious convictions.

From its inception, our great nation's vision has been based on the principles of the Judeo-Christian Tradition, respect for freedom in religious observance and the living out of one's own faith, and a respect for the sanctity of human life. These radical anti-life and anti-religion policies are inhumane and un-American.

Our nation cannot prosper if it does not value human life and honor God. We must pray without ceasing that our government officials change their course and lead America to a love for live and a respect for the values and faith of all people.

We also are faced with the situation of appointed cabinet officials. In the case of Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, the proposed choice is troubling. For a complete picture of the issues at hand, read Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s column of March 6, 2009. Essentially, Governor Sebelius is a nominal Catholic whose record in public office is characterized by opposition to Church teaching and support from notoriously anti-life organizations. The list of such “Catholic” politicians is sadly increasing.

There is only one holy Catholic and apostolic Church, and for that Church there is only one vision: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is inherently and unabashedly pro-life. Anti-life views and the Catholic Christian faith are irreconcilable and mutually exclusive. “Catholics”
who publicly and notoriously supports intrinsic evils – actions which are always evil because of the act itself regardless of circumstances – such as abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research, while canonically remaining baptized in the Church, separate themselves from the Mystical Body of Christ. The wound they cause to Christ's Body is deep and painful. Being patient with this nonsense is becoming increasingly difficult. “Pro- choice” is merely a facade for an anti-life agenda that seeks to destroy human life and limit human freedom. Such an agenda is incompatible with Catholicism and not even the least trace of it can be tolerated.

Addressing questions of Catholic politicians, excommunication and Communion, a distinction needs to be made between, on the one hand, public officials, who persist in heresy (obstinate denial of Church teaching), causing confusion for the faithful and setting a bad example; and on the other hand the views of the average Catholic citizen.

Regarding private views on theology or politics, we do not police individual beliefs or examine others’ consciences, unless something comes up in confession or spiritual direction when a person is seeking guidance from a priest in matters of conscience. We are not on a witch hunt for every person who does not understand or comply with Church teaching. The inquisition is long over. Still, pastors of souls have the obligation to articulate Church teaching in homilies/talks and when questions are asked.

Regarding public officials and politicians, bishops and priests have the responsibility to speak out, even to make a clear condemnation, when a person states that they are Catholic and persists in publicly opposing the teaching of Jesus and the Church. Such persons are inauthentic. Their behavior harms the Church and confuses the faithful. It is important to recognize that the politicians themselves have brought it out into the open and made the choice to persist in opposition to the Church. They have by definition excommunicated themselves by obstinately and notoriously denying Church teaching in their support of intrinsic evils. Pastoral prudence dictates that the bishop meet with the person privately and give them a chance to repent. If they refuse, a bishop has the authority to say they should not receive Communion.

The excuses that have been presented to justify voting for anti-life candidates and supporting anti-life government leaders, primarily the economy and the war, are themselves proving to be of little value. Contrary to campaign promises, the new administration is not instantly pulling troops out of the battlefield but has actually committed more military strength to conflicts abroad. The economic slump continues to worsen, as our county draws ever nearer to socialism: bigger government, spreading the wealth, increased meddling by government in the private affairs of business and the citizenry. All the while, true to form, this same administration has strengthened its commitment to the destruction of human life by supporting and extending abortion “rights.” It is predicted that soon our tax dollars will be used to support the evil of embryonic stem cell research, despite the fact that no scientific benefits have come from it and that morally licit research on and reprogrammable stem cells has proved beneficial. This is the administration America elected. We hold on to hope for a better future, all the while being continually disappointed. One cannot help but wonder if those who voted for our president are experiencing the slightest twinge of sorrow in their consciences.

We are beholding the leadership of our great nation taking her in a direction increasingly tangential from the foundation laid by our Founding Fathers – men who valued life, liberty, and faith in Divine Providence. Members of our own beloved Catholic Church are participating in the atrocity. Babies (not mere fetuses or “pre-persons,” but human persons created in God’s image and endowed with immortal souls just like ours) are being ed, the growing anti-life and contraceptive culture is destroying any chance our young people have at happiness and fulfillment, and the moral fabric of our nation is disintegrating. If you do not believe me, watch the evening news. Our voices must be heard – both to our leaders and to our God in prayer.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Homily Second Sunday of Lent Year B 8 March 2009

As our Lenten journey continues, we seize the opportunity this season provides
to deepen our friendship with God.

By sincere prayer and self-denial we purify our hearts and minds,
recalling that the Scriptures teach us to prefer nothing to the love of God.

In response to the innate human recognition of the presence of the divine
we are called to render worship to God.

Everything we have is from the Creator
and we owe Him the first fruits of our lives, as Abel knew so well.

God asks of us that we sacrifice our very best for Him,
as He asked Abraham to be willing to offer His own son.

The very purpose of the Exodus, as God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh,
was that His people be released from
so they could go out into the desert and worship Him.

Divine worship is the goal of our lives, toward which all our activity is directed,
the source of divine blessing
and the ultimate purpose of our human existence.

The Third Commandment God revealed to Moses is
“Keep holy the Sabbath day.”
The Lord’s Day, on which God rested from His labors in creating the world,
was to be for all humanity a day of rest and a day of worship.

In the fullness of time, the Son of God endured His passion and rose again in glory.
The saving action of Jesus fulfilled the old law and the old covenant,
and thus the first day of the week, the Day of Resurrection
is the new sacred day, the day of salvation for all people.

Sadly, our society has become detached from any semblance of Christian –
even religious – roots.

When an increasing number of people see Sunday as just another day,
or perhaps unique for the free time allowed for golf and shopping,
Christians see Sunday as a day dedicated to God.

The unique sacredness of Sunday has a two-fold meaning.

First, Sunday is a day set aside for worship and prayer.
The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is part of the duty we accept as Catholics
because to be a member of Christ’s body
demands that we gather to render Him praise and thanksgiving
on the day of the Resurrection.

For various reasons – mis-placed priorities, laziness, lack of understanding –
65 percent of Catholics do not attend Mass every Sunday.

It does not even cross most people’s minds that this is a problem.
Unfortunately, many parents who faithfully bring their children to PSR
either come to Mass without them during that time
or use PSR as free babysitting while they go out for coffee.

As a result, many families never attend Mass together
and many young people never have the experience of the Eucharist.

A family cannot be truly healthy and holy without Sunday Mass.
Our PSR programs, and even our SMS religion classes, can only do so much good
if the children have no experience of the Sacraments.

Pass along courageously to your friends who are not here
an invitation to prioritize attending Mass every Sunday as a family.

We cannot afford to forget that deliberately missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin,
because refusing the gift of the Mass separates us from God.
Of course, sickness, family emergencies, and other serious reasons are valid.

Making the commitment to observe Sunday as a sacred day dedicated to God
by attending Sunday Mass is a counter-cultural choice.

Our society places sports, shopping, and sleeping in above God.
It is unacceptable for the Christian to give in to this worldly temptation
and neglect placing God above all things.

Rather, we are called to make a stand for the Lord and the Church.

I suspect if all the Catholic parents
collectively refused to send their children to Sunday morning practices,
there would be enough missing Catholics to empty the benches
and the coaches would find a different time.
Besides, as healthy and enjoyable as sports are,
a relationship with Jesus will serve our young people much better in life.

The proper living out of our faith and the continued growth of our society
demand that we cease giving in to what everyone tells us we must do
and learn to obey God alone.

After all, Jesus did die on the Cross for us.
Could not all people give Him one morning a week?!

For those who faithfully attend Mass, how are we prepared and disposed?

Do we always prepare our bodies for the Lord
by observing the one hour fast before Communion?

Do we prepare our souls by going to confession if we are aware of mortal sins
and by pausing in prayer before Mass to prepare spiritually?

Or do we rush in at the last minute, or during the readings,
neglectful of the significance of the awesome mysteries we are approaching,
and hastily meeting a mere obligation?

We are called to give our whole being to the celebration of these sacred mysteries,
in which the paschal mystery is made present, Jesus enters our souls,
and the grace of God is poured out in abundance.

Secondly, Sunday is a day of rest…not idle wasting of time…
but healthy recreation that refreshes our minds and bodies.

Sunday rest implies that it is a day for family gatherings and spending time at home.

The community of the family needs to be nurtured and tended with care,
like a tiny sapling needs to be fertilized, watered, and pruned.
The family is fertilized with recreation and the enjoyment of each other’s company,
watered with the grace of common prayer and Scripture reading
and pruned of all sinful and worldly influences
so that holiness may reign in the household.

Saint Paul teaches us today that God did not spare His own Son,
but handed Him over for us all, that we might have eternal life.
Who, then, are we to deny anything of this great and loving God?

To Him who spared not His own beloved Son we owe our lives and our salvation.
Can we not give Him our Sundays?!

In this holy season of Lent, may we resolve to keep Sunday holy,
set apart in our schedules as a day dedicated to God and family.
In this we will find a source of balance and strength
essential to living truly holy and fulfilling lives, pleasing to the Lord.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Homily First Sunday of Lent Year B 1 March 2009

The Holy Season of Lent is a time of intense prayer, penance and self-sacrifice
which is directed towards deepening the intimacy our friendship with God
and the same time more fully embracing our baptismal identity and vocation
as children of God and members of the Body of Christ.

A vital part of the Lenten journey is introspection:
examining our consciences and patterns of behavior
according to the plan of God for our lives
and then doing penance and resolving to overcome sin.

God reveals His laws to us in the Ten Commandments,
and these are much more than commands to be observed as a routine.
God’s laws are the plan He has established for the creatures He has created.
He who made us knows what is best for us
and so His laws are the path to fulfillment and salvation.

Particularly in Lent, we focus on examination and penance
although an examination of conscience ought to be a regular activity,
as we prepare for confession monthly or so,
and even a daily activity, as we pause in prayer each night
to give thanks to God and consider how we have lived each day.

Today’s Gospel offers us the starting point for a good examination of conscience.

As the Lord Jesus responds to the Devil’s alluring temptations
temptations to food, power and comfort
He responds to the Devil by revealing God’s word in the OT:

“You shall worship the Lord, your God, and Him alone shall you serve.”

The first three of the Ten Commandments are directed towards the duty we have
to worship and to serve God above all else,
above all material things, all people, all worldly pursuits.
The latter seven deal with man’s relationship with his neighbor.

The First Commandment, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, is
“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other Gods before me.”

Even though we no longer live in a world such as ancient Rome or ancient Greece,
where the culture includes the worship of a pantheon of idols and gods,
there remains a temptation to worship other things before God,
substituting material and human realities in place of the Lord.

As human persons, we have been made in the likeness of the one true God
and within us is placed the divine image.
There is in every person a spark of the supernatural,
calling us out of ourselves to recognize the presence of the divine Creator.
We are called to live for another,
to know, love and serve our Creator,
to love others selflessly, totally, faithfully and fruitfully, as God loves us,
and thus to make Him known in the midst of the world.
The First Commandment embraces the theological virtues: faith, hope, and love.

As we call upon God and acknowledge His presence in our midst,
we place our faith and trust in His goodness and power.
We hold fast to our hope in the Lord,
confidently seeking His divine blessing
and living with joy, knowing that He sustains our every breath.
Having experienced the love of God, which surpasses human understanding,
we have duty to love God in return and to love others in His name.

So ingrained in our flesh and souls is the divine image,
that serving God is the first and most compelling duty of the human person.
God comes before all else, in the use of our time and talents,
and in the ordering of our lives in ways both great and small.
God is everything for us!

We cannot love one whom we do not know, so prayer must be a daily routine.
Every promise, choice, word, deed, and thought of our lives
must be wholly directed to the single purpose of pleasing God
and of remaining faithful to Holy Mother Church.

All superstitions, witchcraft, idolatry, and divination,
including Reiki, the Enneagram, Ouija boards, palm reading, Tarot cards,
horoscopes and other acts of sorcery, as well as satanic worship,
are contrary to the identity of the human person
and violate the divine imperative to trust in and worship God alone.

Any obsession or pursuit after money, pleasure, power or prestige
while refusing humble submission to the will and the love of the Lord
is contrary to the command to worship no idols in place of God.

In this holy season, we consider how we have loved God.
What have we placed before Him in our daily routines?
How deeply and consistently have we prayed?
Have we maintained faith, trust and hope in God?
Have we placed our complete faith in all the Church teaches
or do we make our own way, ignoring the revelation of God?
Have we loved God passionately and shown love to all we meet?
Do we live for God always, seeking His will and direction in life’s choices
and praising Him for the gifts bestowed on us in abundance each day?

The Second Commandment is
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

God’s name is sacred,
so much so that the ancient Israelites would not even pronounce it out loud.
Instead, in reading the Scripture they replaced it with a generic word for Lord.

It is an offense against our almighty and loving God to curse using His sacred name.

The gift of speech is bestowed on us from our creator
and we have the duty to use our words in a pure and wholesome way.
We ought never to curse another, to swear by the name of Jesus, Mary or the Saints,
or to use foul language to hurt other people.
When we speak of God, the Church or sacred things,
we should always do so with utmost reverence and respect.

In this holy season, we examine how we have shown reverence for the sacred.
Have we used God’s name in a good and reverent way?
Have we always spoken well about the Church, Mary and the Saints?
Have we sworn and cursed?

Introspection can be difficult,
and the realization of our many faults a painful experience.
Yet, the more we know ourselves, the greater opportunity we have
to root out sin and evil from our lives,
and deepen the intimacy of our friendship with God.

As children of God, we place our loving Creator above all else,
in every thought, word and deed give Him due honor and praise,
and humble our hearts before the awesome majesty of His divine presence.

With humbled and contrite hearts, we shall be ready to meet the Lord in glory.