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.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
In today's Gospel Jesus tells us salt is good and to keep salt within yourself. Ironically my doctor would not be happy with the Lord because he tells me to keep salt out of myself! Because I have Meniere’s disease, salt doesn't help my body. It causes pressure and fluid buildup in my ear and so I have to take a water pill and drink lots of water and eat a low salt diet in order to keep the fluid buildup to a minimum. So, salt isn't good for me in that way! :-)
But, on a spiritual level salt means a flavor that enhances our spiritual life. We use salt to flavor bland meat. In places where the livestock are not that healthy, for instance even in Florida the cattle are not as healthy as the Texas Longhorns and Omaha Steaks that we are used to. This is also true in desert regions like the Middle East and so salt is often used to flavor bland meat, or meat that isn't cooked well or is not that high in quality.
The Lord challenges us to consider what will happen if the salt loses its flavor. You can't season salt so then it’s no good for seasoning the meat. If we as Christian disciples lose the flavor of our faith and spiritual life we become bland and mediocre. So we have to remember that we are body and spirit. We have two dimensions to our human personhood and we need to keep alive and vibrant that spiritual dimension of ourselves. Our souls are meant to live on forever with God. We need to cultivate through healthy decisions and conscious choices and activities our spiritual life. We need to pray, receive the sacraments, love and serve others, read the scriptures be nourished by the Word of God, come to Mass, make our morning offering, be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to cut out from our lives all that leads us to sin as the Lord challenges us to see today. This doesn't mean knee-jerk reactions but this means thoughtful removing of sin from our lives
So then we realize the importance of keeping salt in our lives, of keeping the flavor of our spiritual life strong and vibrant so that our whole self is seasoned by it. When the flavor of our faith fails we become frustrated by little things, we become depressed, we become detached and without peace within ourselves and with others, we become less likely to be happy healthy and prosperous. In order for our whole selves and our lives to be peaceful, in order to have peace with ourselves and among others, we need to nurture our spiritual life and do all the things that the Lord and the church give us to cultivate our spiritual dimension. We need to keep the salt of spirituality alive in us, to keep salt in us for salt is good in the eyes of the Lord.
What exactly is that salt? The salt is fire the Lord tells us – the fire of the Holy Spirit given to us at our Baptism. So, we need to nurture the gifts of the Spirit and the call of our Baptism to keep the gift of the flame of faith alive in our hearts. This gift is not something new that we have to seek out but it is already in us because of Baptism and enhanced because of Confirmation. We possess the gifts of the Spirit and so it is critical for us then to nurture those gifts and promote the growth of our spiritual life through Word and Sacrament, prayer and loving service, and removing from our lives all that leads us to sin.
We have been salted with fire. Salt is good but if it fails our whole person becomes bland. So many people in our world today wander without purpose, are sad and upset and worried because they do not have the light of Christ within them and so many people who know Christ do not tap into the potential that the gifts of the Spirit give us. So we pray for ourselves and for all of our world that we would nourish and nurture our spiritual life in order to grow in communion with God and to keep the unique salt and flavor and flame of faith alive in our hearts.
It's much like a bellows: we already have the gifts of the Spirit within us like embers. We need to fan them into flames and then we will find peace within ourselves and among others. Those who do not find peace do not have Christ and when we are without peace we are away from Christ. So, we seek to love the Lord more and more and to increase our commitment, good choices and our love for the Lord.
It's much like our bodies: if we fail to exercise and eat a good diet and take care of ourselves and go to the doctor then our bodies will become weak. So, too, we need to take care of our spiritual lives with consistent actions in the right direction and by spending time with the Lord.
Keep the unique flavor of our Catholic faith alive in you. Seek to grow in holiness every day. In determined spiritual growth, we discover the peace that only God can give.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.
Today's first reading challenges us to see the great clash between our faith and culture that surrounds us. Church attendance is dwindling. (Less than 20% of Americans "regularly attend church" according to churchleaders.com.) More than that, the violence, decadence and sexual immorality that abounds on tv, in music and in popular culture reveals that many people today have forgotten what it means to be human. They don't know who they are or what the fundamental human vocation to love as God loves - as creatures made in His image and redeemed by Christ - is about. People today are mostly aware of the call of Christian discipleship. Christian churches abound in American cities. You can't really grow up in 21st Century America and not hear about "church" and "Jesus." But they don't respond. They are drawn away from the chance to pursue virtue by the lure of worldly pleasures and enticements. They look at themselves, they hear about religion, and they walk away clueless! There is not fascinating sermon or entertaining worship that will compete with that. Only showing them Jesus will suffice. Jesus has to live in our vibrant preaching, orthodox teaching, authentic worship - and most of all our love. As disciples, we need to be prepared with explanations for the struggles facing our peers that help them to go deeper and see the bigger picture. Opening up and seeing God is a process, just as the healing of the man in the Gospel today took stages of growth. The spiritual life is a long process of learning to see God's will for us more clearly. With men and women corrupted by the culture we need be all the more patient. So often the world has formed them from infancy to think first of themselves and they do not possess the necessary framework for encountering Christ. It's like trying to teach calculus to someone who has not learned to add and subtract. Today's wandering souls need to feel the love of Jesus in our way of life and then be led first by kind individuals to better answers to vexing problems - Biblical, Christian answers proposed in a non-threatening way. There are better solutions to troubles human persons face than "the easy way out" of abortion or taking drugs to mask one's deeper needs or seeking love in endless one-night-stands. When life throws us curve balls, Jesus is our number one fan and will always be there to lift us up. People need to hear that message of hope. Later on, we can then introduce them to organized religion. It's a process of seeing, then seeing more clearly, then distinctly. People of God, members of Christ's Body - rise with joy to proclaim the presence of Jesus. Call your fellow man to throw away all filth and humbly welcome the Word that will sent them free and give them life everlasting!
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Todays Washington Post syndicated report by Anthony Faiola betrays more about journalism and the UN than about the Church. The UN report claims a "code of silence" within the Church which it pompously condemns - as if its given some divine authority to condemn Church activity. The fact is that since the Dallas charter priests are exposed immediately and treated as guilty just in case with questionable application of due process of law. Nobodys covering up anymore because everyone is scared of the media and lawsuits. The report also refers to the imposition of confidentiality upon victims and families as a precondition for financial compensation. Well, is it not interesting that so many victims and alleged victims immediately cry for financial compensation? Does money ever solve our hurts? Isnt it best for everyone (including the childs future and reputation) if the whole sordid incident of abuse and demand for payout remains unspoken - insofar as the perpetrator faces a speedy trial? Thirdly, the UN uses the occasion of its report to criticize Church moral teachings, founded on Scripture and Tradition under the guise that these doctrines discriminate against modern concepts of family and against children. Thats a cheap shot. People who get that far in international politics should know not to abuse their power to attack the Church on issues unrelated to the report at hand. Besides the fact that the family as revealed by God is the most stable home for children. No one disputes that child abuse is unacceptable. But in condemning it please get your facts straight folks, look beyond the obvious and stop undermining the one institution on earth that has for centuries done the most good for humanity - all in the name of Christ.