Carmen Speaks                                                                                

 
The Will of GOD will not lead you to where the Grace of GOD cannot keep you!

I will be using this web page to give my reflections on all types of subjects.

These reflections are only my opinions.

 

Refiner's Fire

Homosexuals 

Celibacy for Priests 

The New Age Movement

The Immaculate Conception Dec. 8,

Forwarding Emails 

Where was Your God on Sept.11,2001  

Where Has all the Reverence Gone? 

We Have a Responsibility

An Interesting Article 

Physical Signs

Terrorism Sept 11, 2001

Faith

Be aware of the evils of the world

Reconciliation

Forgiveness

Mary Sept 8,

Examination of Conscience

Forgiveness
A Conversation On Reconciliation With Abbot Matthew


Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. has been a Benedictine monk for 40 years, and the abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey for the past 20 years. A native of the Bronx, he has lived out his monastic vocation in California and New Hampshire. He earned his doctorate in Formative Spirituality at Duquesne University and before becoming abbot served as a teacher, campus minister, residence director, vocation director and prior at Saint Anselm. Besides speaking fluent Hungarian, Abbot Matthew does passably well in French and Italian, and his hiking log records  that he has climbed to the top of thirty-nine of New Hampshire’s forty-eight 4,000 foot mountains. Some day we will learn all about those hikes, as well as what it takes to be a monk and an abbot, but in this season of Lent, Parable came to the abbot to talk about reconciliation. His responses were so compelling that we decided to simply let our readers listen in on this important conversation:

PARABLE: Why does so much of your pastoral work center on reconciliation?

Abbot Matthew: I suppose because we all live in relationship with one another — with spouses, family, friends, professional associates, neighbors, organizations, and institutions. Love is at the center of many of these relationships, but because our love is imperfect, we all encounter occasional, or sometimes enduring misunderstanding, hurt, or betrayal. Just as essential to the human condition as relationship, therefore, is the need for forgiveness.

PARABLE: What exactly is forgiveness?

Abbot Matthew: Forgiveness is an act of the will prompted and sustained by grace.
 
PARABLE: An act of the will? So, forgiveness is something we decide to do?

Abbot Matthew: Right, and it’s one of the most important decisions we can make.

PARABLE: So, why do you think people have such a hard time forgiving?

Abbot Matthew: For one thing many people have a real misunderstanding about what forgiveness is. They’ve heard things like “to forgive is to forget.” That’s a nice thought, but it is not true psychologically or spiritually. Forgiving someone who has done us wrong and forgetting what that person did are two very different things. We tend to believe that if our forgiveness is genuine, forgetting should follow immediately, but it’s a mistake to use our memory as a barometer of our forgiveness. The Christian act of forgiveness is not a memory alteration that obliterates the past or brings about selective amnesia.

PARABLE: So even after we decide to forgive we may still carry the hurt we experienced?

Abbot Matthew: Well, just as the Christian act of forgiveness does not bring about forgetfulness, it is also not a mood altering substance, which immediately changes our feelings. Having forgiven someone, we can, and likely will, still hurt. If we wait for the feeling of forgiveness to come upon us, or if we wait until the memory of the hurt is dim or vanished, we will likely never forgive another person.

PARABLE: Many people might ask: “If I’m still going to hurt then why bother?”

Abbot Matthew: We should bother because it is our life, and everything in our life has meaning, even the pain, perhaps especially the pain. None of us can change the facts of our history. But we can change the meaning of that history. Time and grace have a way of putting past hurts into a new light, sometimes allowing us to forget, but more often enabling us to find new meaning. We can find paschal and redemptive meaning in past wounds, difficulties and relationships.

PARABLE: Often people won’t forgive because they feel that the person or organization that hurt them doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.

Abbot Matthew: In a sense they’re right. The person or organization probably doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Which of us does? Forgiveness is like love. It isn’t something we can earn. It’s a gift. If we wait until a person deserves our forgiveness, it will probably never happen, and our very act of holding someone bound to our anger is a misunderstanding of forgiveness itself, because, truth be told, none of us deserves forgiveness. And yet, God gives it to us with this instruction: I will forgive you though you do not deserve it; you do the same for others.

PARABLE: But when I forgive someone, am I not letting them off the hook, or approving of what they’ve done?

Abbot Matthew: Yes, you are letting them off of the hook of your anger and resentment. I don’t know if that metaphor refers to fishing or medieval torture, but either way it’s very powerful, isn’t it? Do any of us really want to drag someone through life on hooks? Do any of us hope to arrive at the Kingdom of God carrying someone on a hook? At the same time, we should understand that forgiveness is not approval. What is wrong remains wrong. Forgiving someone does not mean that you are condoning what was done.

PARABLE: So why should people forgive?

Abbot Matthew: First of all, because Jesus did and commanded us to do likewise. Besides, from a strictly human point of view, forgiveness is good for us. All experts agree on that. Our relationships, our work, our thought processes, our prayer lives, even our physical health is impacted negatively by the bitterness that results from a harbored grudge. Forgiveness frees us from that suffering. When we forgive, it affects others; but more significantly, it affects us by freeing us of frustration, resentment and anger. These poisons drain out of the wound, as it were, so that we can begin to heal.

PARABLE: Poisons?

Abbot Matthew: Yes, resentments and anger can become corrosive to our very person. One spiritual counselor I know observes that in prolonged anger we “are mixing a cocktail of poison for our enemy that we end up drinking ourselves.”

PARABLE: As Christians, must we forgive everyone?

Abbot Matthew: Yes, if we desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ. This is the most obvious and persuasive reason to forgive others. When we forgive someone, we are imitating Christ, whose first and last acts on earth were acts of reconciliation.

PARABLE: So, for the Christian, there’s more at stake than just psychological healing?

Abbot Matthew: Of course. Simply stated, forgiveness is redemptive. It is unlikely that the skies will open up the moment that we decide to forgive, but the very act of forgiveness sets in motion the redemptive change to which Christ calls us. Though there are a variety of spiritual truths articulated in the Our Father, perhaps none is more profound, more difficult and more essential to our well being than forgiveness. Forgiveness is at the very core of God’s relationship with us, and therefore at the very core of our relationship with one another. 

PARABLE: You speak with a certain urgency about this.

Abbot Matthew: Yes, probably because I have seen so much hurt over the years in so many people holding on to one kind of a grudge or another, unable or unwilling to forgive themselves or others. I have come to understand that a commitment to forgive and to seek forgiveness is nothing less than a radical and restorative act by which we determine to put right the relationships in our lives. Nothing could be more important, more healing or more profound. And there is nothing to which God calls us with greater urgency and promise than to forgive others as he has forgiven us.

 

 

Refiner's fire

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they
were studying Chapter Three, they came across Verse Three which says:  "He
will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver". This verse puzzled the women
and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature
of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining
silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to
watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her
interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining
silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the
fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to
hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so
as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us
in such a hot spot. Then she thought again about the verse, that says, "He
sits as a refiner and purifier of silver". She asked the silversmith if it
was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the
silver was being refined.

The man answered, that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver,
but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the
fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it
would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the
silver smith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at
her   and  answered, "Oh, that's the easy part-when I see my image reflected
in it."

If, today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His
eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees
His image in you.

 

Homosexuals 

I know that many people are also blaming homosexuality for the abuse going on in the church. Know that being homosexual does not make you a pedophile. Although I believe that not all those who live homosexual lives were actually born that way but for some reason or other they chose that lifestyle. Being born homosexual is no more a sin then being a diabetic. God loves homosexuals as much as He loves heterosexuals. The SIN is in the homosexual act itself as it is in the heterosexual act if it is performed before marriage.  There is a lot of pre-marital sexual sin going on in this world (homosexual and heterosexual).  As far as I know the Catholic Church has not accepted married gays, therefore this is a CROSS that they must carry. I know many people who are homosexual and although I do not approve of their lifestyle, I believe that some are very good people. Some may even be very good priests, as long as they are CELIBATE and do not promote the lifestyle. In my opinion, I think that most people who discover they are gay would rather not be. It is a very heavy CROSS to bear, an adverse condition, a chemical condition or whatever but the result of the sinfulness of the world. WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SINFULNESS OF THE WORLD. Hey, that sin could even include hating gays.

I think that maybe the leaders (I’m not talking about the Pope) of the Catholic Church have turned into an “Old Boys Club” and that  women would not have swept the abuse under the rug. I do not believe that women should be priests, I think their talents are better used elsewhere. I think if God wanted women to become priests, the Blessed Mother would have been one.    I believe that Jesus chose men to run the church and although some do not fulfill this task as they should, for the most part the Church is wonderful. I believe in the Sacraments and all that the Church teaches. When in doubt, we should always ask What would Jesus do and what does the BIBLE say?  

 God must be looking down at us and shaking His Head!



 CELIBACY FOR PRIESTS

  

I understand that many people blame all the abuse that has been going on all over the world but especially in the states, on the issue of celibacy.
Well sexual abuse has nothing to do with celibacy. It has to do with control and abnormal tendencies. It is a great sin and we are all suffering because of it. We're blaming the church, the church officials, the Pope and anyone we can. Unfortunately, the church is made up of ordinary human beings who make mistakes, (let he who is without sin.) but there are no errors in the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus Christ will never change and we
are to be obedient to these teachings to the end. We are to be well rooted in our faith.

The life of a priest is not easy. It is sacrifice after sacrifice. It is a life
devoted to the service of God. A priest should know before entering the priesthood what is expected of him. He should know that it is a life of sacrifice and self-deprivation. It is lonely and thankless. It is a life of Celibacy!!! Their main duties are to preach the Gospel, to administer the Sacraments and to visit the sick and the dying.



I would rather my priest not be married. I feel that there would be a conflict of interest. If totally devoted and married to the church, how could he be totally devoted to his wife and family. I don't want him to love one person more then another, because then that would take him away from his duties as a priest. I want him to be married to the Church, to concentrate on being the best priest he can be, to embrace the life of sacrifice and to help his parish people become holy people by becoming holy himself.

My thinking is... let's say that a  priest is married, ( I do realize that there are married priests in the Eastern Rite and I am sure they are very good and they do the best they can. )

I would like to know how he can take time away from his family to devote time to his church and how he can take time away from the church to spend time with his family. Either way, one of these will suffer.

What if a priest would have to spend time with a dying person, for the sacraments, for the comfort of the family etc...and at the same time a family crises occurs in his family. How could he possibly choose where he needs to be.  To me it would be more simple if he needs to focus on one thing.

Having said all this, I must ask these questions.  How often are we praying for our clergy? Do we support them in daily prayer? Are we doing everything we can to help them in their ministry?  Do we have them so occupied with administrative work that they do not have time to get closer to God by prayer, adoration and fasting?



Evil is everywhere, yes even in the church. Pray for our priests, that they be holy, that they get close to God by prayer, adoration and fasting. This fasting should include celibacy!!!



 

 

The New Age Movement

 

I would like to speak about the New Age movement, which is a very popular concept nowadays. Some people say that these concepts bring them closer to God. Be aware that these ideas, as attractive as they are, eat away at the Divinity of Jesus Christ and focus more on the self and the inner being. Its ideas and concepts are subtle and attractive to many people. It offers somewhat logical answers to questions many of us are searching. I know many spiritual and prayerful people who have been led astray by the New Age Movement. I will touch briefly on a few of these subjects.

Goddess Gaia

The concept of feeling at peace inside and opening your heart to the excitement of life and all that is here, given to us, connecting with Gaia ( Mother Earth), the planet that we have chosen at this time as our focus for life. We gather and live together in harmony with all that is in our environment. The concept that love, harmony, balance, wholeness will manifest itself within the physical body.

Reiki

A method of healing based on the application of Universal Life Force Energy, using specific hand placements over the body and transferring energies from one place to another. ( Not known to work unless it is paid for.)

Transdental Meditation

A procedure said to enliven an awareness of energy, creativity and intelligence that lies within a person, bringing them to fullness of life, health and happiness, a life absent of problems. It involves emptying your mind to allow your sub conscience to develop these states of awareness.

Crystals

Some believe in using crystals and gemstones to heal and for well being.  Healers, witch doctors, soothsayers, therapists and channelers all use crystals for divination and/or healing purposes. Some believe that crystals reduce stress and tension and bring serenity in times of grief.

 

The New Age Movement may have some people convinced that they are getting closer to their Creator but beware of these concepts which focus on self and self image and self power. These can actually bring temporary feelings of healing and well being but they never last, they are false pagan teachings. They never mention Jesus or the Holy Spirit. They all have pagan origins.

If you empty your mind, you’d better ask God to fill it with the Holy Spirit because an empty mind is Satan’s playground.

Remember, we are nothing without God. If you think that you can heal somebody or that somebody can heal you… You are dead wrong!... Only God heals!

Be aware that Yoga, Tai Chi, and many other practices have hidden consequences. The positions one takes in these are the same positions as the buddists monks. These are optimal positions to open you souls to pagan spirits. They say that they cleanse your chakras and mantras, Beware! It's like opening your innermost being to all spirits, including evil spirits.

Be aware of all these self-help concepts, ideas and books. The only sure way to heal and to grow spiritually is to go to God through His Son Jesus! You don’t even have to look very far… He’s not hiding.

 

 

 

The Immaculate Conception

When they speak of the Immaculate Conception, they are talking about the conception of Mary in St. Anne's womb. God had chosen Mary from the beginning of time to become His Mother, He would not allow her to be born with the original sin in her soul and so The Immaculate Conception is the day to celebrate the pureness of Mary... the Mother of Jesus and consequently the Mother of God!

 

Forwarding Emails

Many people receive emails containing pre-requisites about sending it to a certain amount of people in a certain amount of time and to see what wonderful thing can happen and that if you don't send it something terrible may happen. I would like to make it very clear to everyone that God does not work like that. This is total bologna. I receive these like all of you and sometimes I forward these but please, please know that nothing bad will happen if you do not forward them. This surely doesn't come from me. I do enjoy some of these little stories and believe me, I receive many. Forward the ones you want and delete the rest. God is way bigger then that and He doesn't resort to tactics such as these.

Also know that internet petitions are completely worthless!

 

The Archangels  (Sept. 29,2001)

Today is the feast day of the archangels. St. Michael... The protector, (God's right hand man) He escorted Lucifer out of heaven, he protects us from spiritual and physical dangers. St. Gabriel... ( God is my strength) The messenger, He brought Mary the message from God that she would be the mother of the savior. He also told Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist. He is the patron of communications.  St. Raphael... ( God has healed ) The healer, he is mentioned in the Book of Tobit  where he teaches Tobias about medicine. He eases pain and is considered the patron of sciences, medicine, of the blind and of travelers.

October 2.  Today is the feast of all guardian angels. We should be thankful for our guardian angels, they protect us, guide us and pray for us. Thank you Lord for these special angels.

 

 

 

 

Where Has All the Reverence Gone?  
Sept 27,2001

I wonder where we are at when it comes to reverence. I see people coming into the church and not genuflecting, ( of course it's hard to genuflect when the tabernacle is not in the church), some are chewing gum, some are wearing beach clothes. I've noticed that for lots of people, it's a time to visit. Those who are trying to pray can hear chit-chatting throughout  the church. It's very disturbing.  Of course some say it's good because we think of Jesus as our friend. Well this is all fine and dandy!  He is our friend but He is also our GOD who deserves all the reverence we can give Him! It seems to me that our reverence has been substituted with familiarity and I don't believe this is a good thing. They take the kneelers out of the churches so that our choice to kneel is gone. Where has the reverence gone?  Why do we go to church? To ask forgiveness for our sins, to hear the Word Of God, to pray for our intentions, to offer all that we have to God, to adore and welcome Jesus into our lives and our church through the consecration and Eucharistic prayers and to receive Him into our very soul in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, to receive a blessing and to proclaim the good word to all that Jesus is our Savior until the next time we come to mass. We go in THANKSGIVING to God for all He does for us. All these things should be done as reverently as possible as a community! It has always seemed to me that sitting is a good position to reflect, to listen and to think, standing has always been a sign of respect and honor, but when I want to adore... I want to kneel, kneeling may not even be enough, I want to prostrate myself in front of Jesus!  Our very demeanor has become disrespectful. When one goes to receive communion they should not be chewing gum, how disrespectful have we become?  We should be dressed modestly. We should conduct ourselves with utmost respect toward Jesus and we should teach our children to do the same. Lord Have Mercy on all of us!

We Have a Responsibility  Sept 26 2001

I recently spoke to a teacher who was telling me what's been going on in the
high schools in this very city. We have these Catholic schools with all the
latest equipment to teach all the right stuff but one. The teachers are
being told that they cannot talk to students about sin or Satan or hell.

They can only talk about love things; that God is love and forgiving and
everything is beautiful and that if they mention anything, it will scare the
students and have a negative effect.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Students are learning that there is no sin, everything is permissible, that
Satan doesn't exist.  What about the 10 commandments?  God gave us these
commandments as a guide to follow so that we can attain eternal happiness.
Jesus said " pick up your cross and follow me." God did not promise us
happiness on earth...

If we teach falsehoods, we will be judged on that. If we don't teach our
children about SIN and its consequence, about HELL and how it's all it's
cracked up to be, about SATAN and how many disguises he has and how
conniving he can be and that his greatest accomplishment is to make people
think he doesn't exist; then we will be held accountable for our neglect and
partly accountable for their future sinfulness!  Ain't that a kicker!

  We have to be aware of the "New Age Ideas" that are out there. These ideas
that we can find the power within ourselves, that God is everywhere, in the
rocks and the trees...  and so we don't really need to go to church...( not
going to church on Sunday is a very grave sin! )

New Age takes away from the Holy Trinity

( God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit)

and focuses on the unholy trinity...(Me Myself and I.)


Hurting others by gossip is a sin. Lying, stealing, cheating and disrespect
is a sin and if we have premarital sex or sex outside your marriage, it is a
SIN! Telling dirty jokes, watching pornography, and filling our heads with
all types of perversions is a SIN! If we think we can live our lives without
God, this is a very grave SIN! If we do not ask forgiveness and repent for
these sins, we will suffer the consequences!

One of these consequences could be eternal damnation in HELL!  I guarantee
you that if you sin, do not ask forgiveness for that sin, do not repent for that sin, someone will suffer for that sin, it may be you...
(in this life, definitely in the next) or it may be your mother, your sibling or
your child, but someone will suffer! A sin is a sin, is a sin, is a sin! Sin
is exactly that, we can sugar coat it until it looks good to us, but God can
see through all the whitewash. I am afraid of what He sees when He looks at
the teachings we give to our young people. We must pray for our priests and
teachers so that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit and not whitewash
the evils of the world.  Lord, Have Mercy on us!

 

An Interesting Article ( sent to me Sept.18,2001)

  In light of the  shootings in California, let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
 Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.... the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said, OK. Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we said OK, we won't spank them anymore. Then someone said teachers and principals better not
 discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they  misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. (There's a big difference between disciplining and touching,
 beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc. And we accepted their reasoning.
 Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our job! s. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good. And then someone said
let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that. And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said they're entitled to their free speech. And! the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex.
 And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead  Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it
 long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to
do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

 Dear God,
  Why didn't you save the kids in California?
  Sincerely,
  Concerned Student

  AND THE REPLY

 Dear Concerned Student,
  I am not allowed in schools.
 Sincerely,
God.

 Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
 Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
 Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to
 believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says.
Funny how someone can say, "I believe in God" but still follow Satan
who, by the way, also "believes" in God.
 Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged.
 Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they
 spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the
Lord, people think twice about sharing.
 Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through
Cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace.  Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.
 Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to
 many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe,
 or what they will think of you for sending it to them.
Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me
than what God thinks of me.
> > > > > Are you thinking?

 

 

 

 Reconciliation

Although I know that many people don't believe in reconciliation, I would like to say that I have seen the Mercy of God and I believe that if you ask forgiveness for your sins, your sins are forgiven. To say any less would undermine God's Awesome Mercy. When we go to confession, the sins are unimportant, God already knows our sins. What is important is the humility with which we approach this sacrament and the grace we receive as we receive Absolution. This GRACE is an invisible help from God which we all desperately need. We should be receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once or twice a month. Some people believe that their sins are so bad that God would not be able to forgive them. This is pride. Who do we think we are, are we so special that God would forgive everybody else but us? We are the ones who are unable to forgive ourselves. God is so Merciful, He forgives the darkest of sins. Our sins are like a drop in God's Ocean of Mercy!

 

Forgiveness (Sept 8,2001)

Some people find it very hard to forgive even the littlest of offences. It has been my experience that one cannot forgive without the help of Jesus. One must start by saying " I want to forgive this person" then get used to the idea of forgiveness. Ask Jesus for the grace to forgive; soon the desire to forgive will be real. Continue to pray and ask Jesus daily to help you forgive. Pray for the person you need to forgive and soon the pain of the offence will become smaller.  Forgiveness will have occurred without your knowledge of it.

One should also say 'I'm sorry' to those they may have offended. Be repentant of your transgressions.

The burden of unforgiveness and unrepentence is heavy and gets heavier as the years go by. Friends and family members refuse to speak to each other and on their death bed ( and I have seen this often as a nurse) they don't know how to say "I forgive you" and I'm sorry." . If Jesus was unforgiving what would we do? We would be doomed. How can we expect to be forgiven if we refuse to forgive others!

 

Mary (Sept.8,2001)

Today is the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many wonder why we think Mary is so important. I think Mary is important because her blood flows through the body of Jesus Christ. When we get close to Her we are close to Jesus because She brings us closer to Him. Her intercessions are more powerful than anyone else's. How can Jesus refuse the requests of His own Mother. We do not adore Her as so many people think, we honor Her for the role She played in bringing Jesus into the world. Think of her obedience to God as The Archangel Gabriel asked her to be the Mother of our Savior and the humility with which She undertook her task. Somehow I think Jesus wants to share with His Holy Mother, in the Redemption of the world. She is the most important after the Holy Trinity.

Ask her intercession through Her Holy Tears, Jesus cannot refuse his Mother's requests. How could any good son refuse his mother were she crying?

 

Be Aware of the Evils of the World (Sept 9,2001)

Know that there are things in this world that are not from God. The bible teaches us to stay away from such things as the occult, tarot cards, psychic predictions, astrology, ouiji boards, witchcraft, voodoo, contacting the dead through channeling, séances, crystal balls and all these things that are pagan. These are open invitations for Satan to enter into your homes. Such things have been glamorized on TV shows (Charmed, Sabrina, even Bewitched) on movies( Blaire Witch), books (Harry Potter) games (Pokemon) in the paper (Daily Horoscopes)  enough that we and our children are becoming desensitized to the true evils of the world. We do not recognize Satan anymore. He has hidden himself in things that have become not only acceptable but desirable to our families especially our children. ( His greatest accomplishment) I believe that Satan's biggest feat is to make people think He doesn't exist. That there is no sin. That everything is acceptable. ( If everybody does it, it must be okay) We do not recognize sin anymore. We are being led down a path of destruction. Re-evaluate those things you have in your home. Throw out or burn anything that may have negative influences on you and your family ( especially those things I mentioned before). This would include all pornographic literature and movies. Remember we are our brother's keeper and so partly responsible for the sins incurred by us. ( even indirectly)

 

Faith ( Sept.9,2001)

Some wonder how come some people seem to have more faith than others. They think that they would never be able to get as close to God as these people who seem to be so in tune with Jesus. The desire is there but they don't know how to do it. Some will even go as far as turning the other way or they ridicule the faithful one. I believe that Faith is a gift from God, it starts out very small. It needs to be cultured, fed and nurtured so that it will become larger. You feed your faith by prayer: by  staying in a state of grace, by receiving  the sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. By attending Mass as frequently as possible. By participating fully in the Celebration of the Mass. By self sacrifice (fasting from food, TV, shopping or any pleasures...) By trying to see Jesus in everyone you meet. By treating them as you would Jesus. By giving of yourself to your family, church and your community. By not allowing anything to come between you and your relationship with God. By self mortification (kneeling during prayer with arms outstretched, going hungry sometimes, suffering with a headache without medication...) By standing firm in your convictions as long as they are rooted in the true teachings of Christ. By educating yourselves ( bible study etc...) By joining regular prayer meetings, prayer lines. By putting God first. By evangelizing whenever possible.  When one does these things, their faith grows and grows because God will never be outdone, He will send His Holy Spirit to help you. When you live in God's Will you become liberated. The truth shall set you free. The Holy Spirit will empower you. One cannot achieve true happiness if they are not living the Will of God. We are all called to become holy people, God's faith-filled people, and  we should make every effort to do so. The rewards are incredible!

 

Terrorism ( Sept. 11, 2001)

 

Today is a sad day for all of North America. The terrorist attacks on the United States have brought us to our knees in prayer; to pray for the innocent victims, the families of these victims and to pray for WORLD PEACE. When will it ever end? Violence is not the answer. If there is retaliation, it will only feed the hate that is already out there. Hate is what caused this; hate of democracy, capitalism, military power and control! Please join me in prayer for all the people of New York and Washington, that  their grief, their sadness, their sorrow, their pain and their anger will be lessened and that Jesus will replace it with His love and His peace.  We should pray for the leaders of all countries especially the President,  for discernment, so that the Holy Spirit will inspire their decisions. Let us pray for world peace!

Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God, no matter what the danger! 

 

 

Where was Your God September 11th 2001


 "Where is your God today?"
 I had a very dear friend question my faith in God right after the terrorist
 attack on America.  Her question was simply put, "Where is your God
 today?"
 She was very hurt, as all Americans were, so I tried not to react
defensively.  Since that moment I have prayed and grieved over the
disastrous events.  However, I believe I have the answer.  I know
where my God was the morning of September 11, 2001!  He was very busy.
 First of all, he was trying to discourage anyone from taking this flight.
 Those four flights together held over 1000 passengers and there was
only 266 aboard.

 He was on 4 commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability
to stay calm.  Not one of the family members who was called by a loved
one on one of the high-jacked planes said that passengers were screaming in
the background.  On one of the flights he was giving strength to
passengers
 to try to overtake the high-jackers.
 He was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World
Trade Center
.  After all only around 20,000 were at the towers when the
first jet hit.  Since the buildings hold over 50,000 workers, this was a miracle
 in itself.  How many of the people who were employed at the WTC told the
 media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays.
 He was holding up 2-110 story buildings so that 2/3 of the workers
could get out.  I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn't topple when
the jets impacted. 

Although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my
life,
 I can see God's miracles in every bit of it.  I keep thinking about my
 friend and praying for her every chance I have.  I can't imagine going
through such a difficult time and not believing in God.
 Life would be hopeless.
 Subject: Where was God in all of this?
 As I, like most other Americans and people World-Wide, was watching
and listening to the horror that took place on the East Coast, I heard
many people ask the question posed in the subject line.  I was reminded of
an interview with a Holocaust survivor that was asked the same question.

 Her response inspired the following words.
Where was God in all of this?
 God was in the rescue workers who were running into the buildings as
 most people were running out.
 God was in the flight attendant who called her husband as her plane
was being hijacked to tell him that she loved him.
 God was in the two men who carried a wheelchair-bound woman down 70 flights
of stairs to safety.
 God was in the people who stood bleeding, in line to give blood.
 God was in the strangers in cars, picking up strangers stranded in the
 city and taking them home to their families.
 God is in the people who are begging to volunteer, to do anything to help.
 God is in the thousands, if not millions who are flooding blood banks thousands of miles away to help people they have never met.
 God is in the people who are comforting someone even when they don't know
 what to say.
 God is in the people who watched and cried for people who may remain anonymous in name, but never in their sacrifice.
 God is in my neighborhood where I see flags waving from every home.
 God is in the men and women, looking at 110 stories of rubble, and
 seeing only the opportunity to find survivors.
 God is with the heroes, most of whom will never be on the news, whose
 stories will only be told to their closest friends and family; but who saved
 someone's mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, husband,
wife, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, lover, colleague,
 acquaintance, teacher, mentor or friend with a single act of kindness,
 compassion and bravery.
 God was not in the hearts of the people that caused these inhumane
 events.
However, God was indeed there, where he was needed the most.

 

 

 

 

Physical Signs 

I have a Marian Cenacle in my home each Tuesday evening.  As many as 60-70 people come together to pray the Holy Rosary. In Feb. of 2001, as I was praying my rosary at St Paul's Cathedral, my rosary turned from silver to gold. I had heard about this but I was amazed that this would happen and asked many people what it meant. Since then 15 of my rosaries have changed or started to change from silver to gold. The people who attend my weekly prayer meeting have also seen this happen. As many as 40 people who attend regularly have noticed that their rosaries have also changed color. This summer it came to my attention that according to the visionaries in Medjugorje; the Blessed Mother said that: "Golden rosaries and medallions are a sign that prayer changes human hearts, human circumstances and human endeavors." So let us continue to pray the rosary, it is a very powerful prayer. It is a powerful weapon to use against Satan( who seems to be ravaging the earth.)  
  
 

                An Examination of Conscience

 


A CHECK LIST OF SINS

The sins that cry to heaven for vengeance: (CCC 1867)
1.    Murder (Gn 4:10),
2.    Sodomy (Gn 17:20-21),
3.    Oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23),
4.    Defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4).

Seven Deadly Sins
1.    Pride
2.    Greed
3.    Lust
4.    Anger
5.    Gluttony
6.    Envy
7.    Sloth

Sins against the Holy Spirit:
1.    Despair,
2.    Presumption,
3.    Envy,
4.    Obstinacy in sin,
5.    Final impenitence,
6.    Deliberate resistance to the known truth.

Sins against faith: (CCC 2088-2089)
1.    Hesitating doubt – delaying the overcoming of doubts, difficulties, or objections due to indifference or laziness
2.    Voluntary doubt – disregarding of the truth or on-going resistance to overcoming doubt.
3.    Incredulity – willful refusal to assent to revealed truths of the faith.
4.    Heresy – the choosing and over-emphasizing of certain truths of the faith to the exclusion of others.
5.    Schism – Refusal of submission to the Pope or Catholic communion.
6.    Apostasy – Total repudiation of the Christian faith.

Sins against God’s love: (CCC 2094)
1.    Indifference
2.    Ingratitude
3.    Lukewarmness
4.    Sloth – sorrow or aversion at the good things offers to the soul
5.    Hatred of God – usually rooted in prideful notion that refuses to be second to God.
 
Sins against the Honor that is Due to God - (CCC 2111-2117)
1.    Superstition – the elevation of certain practices such that they are regarded as more important or powerful than prayer or trust in God.
2.    Idolatry – divinizing what is not God, false worship, holding creatures more precious than the one Creator who is God.
3.    Divination – undertaking practices meant to disclose the future, e.g. horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, recourse to mediums etc.
4.    Magic and spiritism – attempts to tame occult powers and place them at our service, or to have power over others in this way.

Sins of Irreligion: (CCC 2118-2128)
1.    Tempting God – Putting God to the test
2.    Sacrilege – stealing sacred things, profaning sacraments or liturgical actions, desecration or speaking irreverently of sacred persons, places or things that are blessed or consecrated to God.
3.    Simony – Buying or selling spiritual things, seeking to profit on them merely because they are blessed.
4.    Atheism – Denying the existence of God, to include the practical atheism of materialism and utopian notions that man can save himself.
5.    Agnosticism – an indifference toward God that refrains form formally denying his existence.

Sins against the name of God: (CCC 2142-2155)
1.    Promises – infidelity to promises or oaths made with God’s name
2.    Profanity – using God’s name in vain ways that do not respect its sacred character, (e.g. empty expressions like “Oh my God!”
3.    Blasphemy – to speak ill of God, trivialize, curse or ridicule him. By extension, to ridicule sacred things or the Saints.
4.    Swearing – calling God to witness in matters that are trivial. Also swearing a false oath, committing perjury when under oath.
5.    Cursing – using God’s name to curse or call down evil on others.

Sins against the Lord’s Day: (CCC 2185)
1.    Refusing the worship owed God
2.    Refusing the joy proper to the Lord’s day
3.    Refusing the relaxation of mind and body commanded on the Lord’s day.
4.    Refusing reasonable works of mercy proper to the Lord’s day.

Sins Against life: (CCC 2268-2283)
1.    Contraception – Sterilization (CC 2399)
2.    Intentional homicide – all unjust killing
3.    Abortion
4.    Euthanasia
5.    Suicide
6.    Acting with reckless disregard for the safety and life of our self or others

Sins against Chastity: (CCC 2351-2357)
1.    Lust – willfully entertaining inordinate or disordered desires for sexual pleasure
2.    Masturbation
3.    Fornication
4.    Adultery
5.    Pornography
6.    Prostitution
7.    Rape
8.    Homosexual Activity

Sins of Injustice and theft: (CCC 2409ff)
1.    Theft
2.    Deliberately keeping lent things
3.    Damaging the goods of others without restitution
4.    Fraud
5.    Paying unjust wages
6.    Forcing up prices
7.    Refusing to pay debts
8.    Work poorly done
9.    Tax evasion
10.    Forgery
11.    Excessive and wasteful practices
12.    Hoarding
13.    Excessive and unnecessary exploitation of natural resources
14.    Refusing our legitimate obligations to the community
15.    Refusing our legitimate obligations to the poor

 

Prayer before Confession

 

·        Lord, Grant me light to see myself as You see me and the grace to be truly contrite and repentant for my sins. O Mary, help me to make a good confession.

 

Examination based on the commandments

 

Preliminary

1.     Have I ever failed to confess a serious sin or disguised it?

 

2.     Have I been guilty of irreverence for the Sacrament of Reconciliation

a.     By failing to do an examination of conscience

b.     By failing to do the penance given to me by my confessor

c.      By neglecting to do the Easter Duty of receiving the Sacraments

  of Reconciliation and The Eucharist

     

First Commandment

 

a.     Am I ignorant of my catechism ( Act of Contrition, Apostle’s Creed, The Ten Commandments, The Seven Sacraments, the Our Father )?

b.     Do I fail to teach my children of the same?

c.      Have I willingly doubted or denied any of the teachings of the church?

d.     Have I taken part in any non-Catholic worship?

e.     Have I practiced  any superstitions( horoscopes, fortune tellers, tarot cards, ouiji boards)?

 

Second Commandment

        

    1. Have I used God’s name in vain by way of profanity?

    2. Have I complained against God?

    3. Have I maligned priests or others consecrated to God?

    4. Have I sworn by God’s Name(oath) falsely or rashly?

     5.  Have I broken any private vow?

 

Third Commandment

 

   1.  Have I missed Mass on Sundays or holy days through my own fault?

   2.  Have I been inattentive during Mass or otherwise failed in reverence for the                                               Most Blessed Sacrament?            

   3.  Have I done any unnecessary servile work (physical labor) or shopping on                   

Sunday?

   4.   Have I failed to fast on required days (Good Friday or Ash Wednesday)?

Fourth Commandment

    

      1.   Have I been disrespectful to my parents or neglected them?

      2.   Have I failed in obedience to authority?

      3.   Have I mistreated my spouse or my children?

      4.    Regarding my children:

       a.  Have I neglected for their material needs?

b.  Have I failed to care for their early Baptism or in their proper          

      religious instruction?

       c.  Have I allowed them to neglect their religious duties?

d.     Have I tolerated their keeping questionable company or

inappropriate dating?                                                 

       e.   Have I failed to discipline them?

       f.    Have I given them bad example?

        g.   Have I accepted any wrong actions in my home ( unwed couples sleeping together, dirty magazines, violent or pornographic movies )

 

Fifth &Eight Commandments

 

        1.   Have I quarreled with anyone?

        2.   Have I cursed anyone or otherwise wished evil on them?

        3.   Have I taken pleasure in anyone misfortune?

        4.   Is there anyone to whom I refuse to speak to or be reconciled?

        5.   Have I lied about anyone?

        6.   Have I rashly judged anyone of a serious sin?

        7.   Have I engaged in gossip or spread scandal?

        8.   Have I been eager to hear something scandalous about anyone?

        9.   Have I been envious or jealous of anyone?

 

Sixth & Ninth Commandments

 

        1.   Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?

        2.   Have I practiced birth control?

        3.   Have I committed adultery or fornication?

        4.   Have I embraced or touched another impurely?

        5.   Have I sinned with others of the same sex?

6.      Have I committed masturbation or otherwise sinned impurely with     

myself?

        7.   Have I harbored lustful desires for anyone?

         8.   Have I indulged in impure thoughts?

         9.   Have I failed to dress modestly?

        10.  Have I done anything to provoke impure thoughts in others?

        11.  Have I read indecent literature or looked at indecent pictures?

        12.  Have I watched suggestive films or programs?

        13.  Have I permitted my children or anyone in my charge to do the same?

        14.  Have I used indecent language or told indecent stories?

15.  Have I willingly listened to such stories?

16.  Have I boasted of such sins?

17.  Have I sinned against chastity in any other way?

 

Seventh & Tenth Commandments

 

1.     Have I stolen anything?

2.     Have I damaged anyone’s property through my own fault?

3.     Have I cheated or defrauded anyone?

4.     Have I refused or neglected to pay my debts?

5.     Have I neglected my duties or been slothful in my work?

6.     Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent need?

7.     Have I failed to make restitution?

 

 

 

Other sins

 

 

1.     Have I knowingly caused others to sin?

2.     Have I cooperated in the sins of others?

3.     Have I sinned in gluttony?

4.     Have I become intoxicated?

5.     Have I used narcotics?

6.     Have I been motivated by the love of money (avarice)?

7.     Have I indulged in boasting or vainglory?

8.     Have I received Holy Communion or other sacraments in the state of mortal sin?

9.     Is there any other sin I need to confess?

 

 

 

 

 



 
 

 
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