Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Culture of Death

If killing unborn babies is the answer to problem pregnancies, poverty or unwanted children, then the natural progression is to kill all those people who are problems or a burden to society--the disabled, the infirm, the mentally incapacitated, the very sick elderly. When we think it's acceptable to kill unborn babies, we have decided that killing is an acceptable solution to a problem.

Monday, December 7, 2015

An Advent Reflection for Mothers

  As women, our preparations for Christmas are not for ourselves, but for others—the baking, shopping, cards, decorations, etc. are to make others happy.  These preparations are usually not done peacefully and joyfully.  We have to fit them into our already busy schedules.  This causes us to be tired, harried and aggravated.  We worry that we won’t get done in time.

  It’s a good time to stop a moment and think about how it was for Mary as she prepared for Christmas.  I’m sure she was not peaceful and joyful at nine months pregnant riding on a donkey.  We know what it was like to ride in a car at nine months pregnant.  The road to Bethlehem was not smooth; lots of potholes and delays.  She was probably cold, tired, hungry and thirsty.  Maybe Joseph was not very patient having to walk the whole distance with a pregnant wife (remember he was not a saint yet).  I’m sure Mary worried that she wouldn’t get to Bethlehem before the baby was born.

  So when Advent seems rushed, when we are tired and irritated and wonder if it’s all worth it, when time for “Advent meditation” is nonexistent; don’t feel guilty.   Think about Mary.  Her Advent journey was to bring joy and peace to others too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On the Importance of God's Word

  The Bible is the revealed Word of God to us. It's our guidebook for a happy, fulfilling life here on earth and how to hold onto God's gift of eternal life in Heaven after we leave here.
  The following are some passages from Scripture and other sources on the importance of reading and studying Scripture.
“All Christians must refer always and everywhere to Scripture for all their choices, becoming like children before it.  They should seek in it the most effective remedy against all their weaknesses and not dare take a step without being illumined by the divine rays of those words.”  Pope John Paul II

"A memory stored with Scripture is a bank that will never fail."

Your word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11

I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word. Psalm 119:15-16

"In the Bible, God not only reveals Himself but also the path to happiness."
 St. Pope John Paul II

All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching--for reproof, correction, and training in holiness so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16

Indeed, God's Word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, November 12, 2015


It takes two to make a marriage,
but sometimes only one to break a marriage.

Don't judge; even in cases involving adultery.
You don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

  God's word in the Bible is the most important book ever written. It has many authors, but behind them all is the Author of Life. It's the main way God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind--who He is and His great love for his greatest creation--men and women.

  There is a book written by a man who had a near death experience, Didn't You Read My Book? by Dr. Richard E. Eby (available at Amazon). During this experience he asked God many questions. God responded by asking him "Didn't you read my book."

  God wants to reveal Himself to us, but do we really want to know Him? Or would we rather know as little as possible so we can go about living our lives as we please.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In the Lord's Economy, There Is No Retirement

  If you have given your life to God; if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; then there is no retirement.  When you accept Jesus as “Lord” of your life, it means you want to follow Him, His teachings and the guidance of His Holy Spirit in ordering your life and all that you say and do.
  Yes, you may retire from your job; you’re children may grow up and leave home,  but if you have given control of your life over to Jesus, He, through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit living within you, will direct you to where He wants you to use your time and energy.
  I can find nothing in the New Testament of the Bible about anyone “retiring”.  Retirement is a very new development in the history of man, coming after the Industrial Revolution.  Before then, all but the very wealthy had to work to continue to support themselves as long as they were able. When they became too old to support themselves, their families supported them.  Women kept the households running--cooking, cleaning, washing, etc.-- which only ended when they were too old or disabled.  When their children were grown, they helped care for their grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.
  The whole idea of retirement as a time when a person can do what they want, when they want, enjoy life and recreate is contrary to Christianity and following Christ.  As Christians we are called to serve God through serving others, in the many and varied ways available to us and as we are led by the Holy Spirit.  We are not called to serve ourselves, our needs and our desires.
  Even if you become ill or disabled, as long as your mind is sound you can always pray for others.  “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” (Alfred Lord Tennyson)  Prayer changes things.  Prayer is ministering to others, not temporally, but spiritually.  Prayer has no walls, no boundaries.  There is so much need for prayer warriors in this world.  You can pray for your family, your neighbors, your friends; the people at your church; your senators and representatives, your country, persecuted Christians, the whole world! 
  So as long as you have life and breath, you are a servant of the Lord.  Your life is not your own.

The Power of God's Word

  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent. Humbly welcome the Word that has taken root in you, with its power to save your soul.  James 1:21

God’s Word in the Bible, implanted in a person, is like a pacemaker.  The pacemaker is implanted in the chest to regulate the heart and protect someone from death.  God’s Word implanted in us protects us from spiritual death.  When the heart beats irregularly, the pacemaker regulates it.  When we are tempted to sin, God’s Word warns us of danger to our souls.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


The world’s wisdom says:
 “To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.”  Sydney Smith
God’s Word says the greatest happiness is to know God through His Son Jesus
and the power of the Holy Spirit.
God's love was revealed in our midst in this way:
He sent His only Son into the world
that we might have life through Him.
Love, then, consists in this:
not that we have loved God,
but that He has loved us
and has sent His Son as an offering for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On Suffering

Don’t always think suffering is a punishment or a discipline from the Lord.
Remember that Jesus suffered terribly, and He was sinless.

How to Fit Prayer Into A Busy Life

  • When eating dinner with your family, each person mentions something to be thankful for today.
  • Use the time waiting for a traffic light to change to say a prayer.
  • Listen to Christian rather than secular radio at home or while driving.
  • Read stories about people’s real encounters with angels, miracles or healings.
  • Hang prayers on walls and say the prayer whenever you see it.
  • When you notice a picture of a family member in your home, say a quick prayer for that person.
  • Write different meal prayers on index cards and have a family member read a different one at each meal.
  • Pray a safe driving prayer yourself or with family members when you get in the car each morning.
  • Say a prayer each time you do a routine task.
  • Read short devotionals early in the morning, at meals you eat by yourself, or before bed.
  • Sit quietly and talk with God for ten minutes early in the morning or after children go to bed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How the Holy Spirit Speaks to Us

  The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son (Jesus) and of the Holy Spirit. 
Full authority has been given to me (Jesus) both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.  Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus said:

If you love me and obey the commands I give you, I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete— to be with you always: The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, since it neither sees him nor recognizes him; but you can recognize him because he remains with you and will be within you.
John 14:15-17

He is also given to those who believe in Jesus, have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, and have been prayed with to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down to these people and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. It had not as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 8:15-16

   The voice of the Holy Spirit is one of God’s ways of speaking personally to us.

         The Lord will give you the bread you need
           and the water for which you thirst.
           No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
           but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
          While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
            “This is the way; walk in it,”
                when you would turn to the right or to the left.  Isaiah 30:20-21.
  The Holy Spirit does not usually speak in an audible voice.  It’s more like an inaudible voice in your mind, similar to your conscience.

Then the Lord Said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by,” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13

  The Holy Spirit speaks through inner promptings—sometimes to say or do something; other times words of wisdom, comfort or guidance. The Holy Spirit may bring a passage from the Bible to your mind. (This is one good reason for reading the Bible regularly; the Holy Spirit cannot bring any Bible passages to mind that you have never read or heard!)

  Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak to you through the circumstances of your life: meeting someone, someone mentioning a job opportunity, just “happening” to see the house you were meant to buy. Other times a thought or idea may come into our mind that is something we know is not of us.  When that happens, we may react with the question, “Where did that come from?”  That’s an indication that it may be from the Holy Spirit.  For example—often when working on my Bible Study lesson, an answer to a question will come to my mind that I know did not come from me.

 Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak to you through something you have read or heard; a teaching, a song, a book.  The word or words will seem to “jump” out at you; their meaning will resonate in your spirit as something to take note of.  Very often this happens when we are reading the Bible.  That may be the Holy Spirit saying to us:  “Listen!  This is for you.”  We should pay attention to that prompting and maybe write it down in a journal.

  The following was written by Fr. Benedict Groeschel in his book The Journey Toward God.

The spiritual life is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit. Our participation, although it may appear to be a very active struggle to do good…is ultimately a cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Our essential task is not to do things for God, but rather not to resist God’s trying to do good things for us. Holiness is His work. Our task is to avoid resisting Him. Many people waste a great deal of time and effort doing what they want on the spiritual road instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead:  they must do this, they must be there, they must learn some other things. This is not really following Christ; it is walking beside Him and making suggestions. (italics mine)

  Keeping track of inspirations from the Holy Spirit is a very good practice.  First, it helps you remember them.  Second, you can share them with your spiritual director or whoever you share with spiritually. Third, you will often see a pattern emerge that will help guide you.

  We often don’t “hear” the Holy Spirit because we are not listening. Sometimes He speaks amid the noise and distractions of our lives. But more often it’s when we are praying or when it’s quiet.  If we always have noise in our lives—radio, TV, music—we will miss much of what He is trying to tell us.

  How do we know it’s the Holy Spirit speaking and not just our own thinking, or the evil one?  When the Holy Spirit speaks, we will have a sense of calm or peace, even if it’s a word of admonition.  What we hear can never contradict the Word of God in the Bible or God’s commandments.  There is no “new” revelation.  In serious matters such as life goals, dating, marriage, employment, relocating, etc., we should always seek the advice of at least two spiritually mature Christians to help discern whether or not it’s from God.

  A woman I was associated with a long time ago was divorced from her husband and he had remarried. Yet she felt very strongly that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her that her marriage would be restored. She then proceeded to live her life as if this was going to happen. Well, it never did. We can hope and pray for something we feel the Holy Spirit has revealed to us, but we have to continue with our lives until God does it.

  St. Teresa of Avila, in her book Interior Castle, gives three rules for discerning whether a word comes from the Holy Spirit.  She says:


The first and truest is the sense of power and authority which they (the words) bear with them, both in themselves and in the actions which follow them…. (For example) A soul is experiencing all the interior disturbances and tribulations… and all the aridity and darkness of understanding.  A single word of this kind—just a “Be not troubled”— is sufficient to calm it. No other word need be spoken; a great light comes to it; and all its trouble is lifted from it, although it had been thinking that, if the whole world, and all the learned men in the world, were to combine to give it reasons for not being troubled, they could not relieve it from its distress, however hard they might strive to do so. Or a soul … is full of fear. Yet that single word which it hears: “It is I, fear not,” takes all its fear from it, and it is most marvelously comforted, and believes that no one will ever be able to make it feel otherwise. Or it is greatly exercised because of some important piece of business and it has no idea how this will turn out. It is then given to understand that it must be, and all will turn out well; and it acquires a new confidence and is no longer troubled.

The second sign is that a great tranquility dwells in the soul, which becomes peacefully and devoutly recollected, and ready to sing praises to God.

The third sign is that these words do not vanish from the memory for a very long time: some, indeed, never vanish at all. Words which we hear on earth… from men,-- however weighty and learned they may be—we do not bear so deeply engraved upon our memory, nor, if they refer to the future, do we give credence to them as we do these locutions. For these last impress us by their complete certainty, in such a way that, although sometimes they seem quite impossible of fulfillment, and we cannot help wondering if they will come true or not, and although our understanding may hesitate about it, yet within the soul itself there is a certainty which cannot be overcome….

If the locutions come from the imagination, none of these signs occur, not is there any certainty or peace or interior consolation.

  A few weeks after the death of my father, I was at a healing Mass. I was not thinking of or praying for my father, but I had my eyes closed in meditation. Then I had a mental vision of my father strolling along the shore of a river. He was young, probably in his thirties, and was dressed in a white shirt, white pants and white shoes. I was looking at this from a distance. As he walked, he was looking at the river in awe. I then had the sense that I no longer needed to pray for my father’s soul—he was in heaven. I also had a sense of the distance between him and me—like a chasm I could not cross. My father passed on in 1992 and yet this mental picture and the sense that came with it is a fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday. This confirms for me that it truly was from the Holy Spirit.

  Most importantly, when we think we have heard the Holy Spirit speak to us we must act on it.  Don’t be afraid to step out in faith.  If it truly was the Holy Spirit it will bear fruit.  Don’t be like Jonah in the Old Testament who tried to avoid doing what the Lord asked him to do (The Book of Jonah). What good is it if God gives us guidance and we don’t follow through? We must discern and seek the discernment of mature Christians if we think the Holy Spirit wants us to speak a word of correction to a fellow Christian or we think He is asking us to make an important change in our life, i.e. marriage, job, relocating. We also need to pray that God will give us, or those who we have asked to help us discern, confirmation of His Will.

  We thank God that He has given us the great gift and blessing of speaking to us through His Holy Spirit!  Let us join with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in praying the words He spoke:  Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children.  (Matthew 11:25).

Family Prayer

We thank you for our family
  and the home you have provided.
For the love that unites us
  and the peace of each new day.
For our health, our work
  and the fun we have been given;
  and for the hope we have for tomorrow.
For friends and all our loved ones,
  bless each one, Lord,
  in a special way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On War

The roots of war lie in the family.  As long as there is no peace between husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, there will be no peace in the world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


We are so resistant to change in our lives. And yet it is only through change that we become more like Jesus. Change is the vehicle of the transforming power of the Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit is forever young. He is always new, always changing. We must be careful not to get set in our ways, but must always be open to new ways of thinking and doing. 

The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes.  So it is with everyone begotten of the Spirit.
Jesus, John 3:8


Tuesday, September 8, 2015


My analogy of Jesus sacrifice is as if I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and Jesus took it on Himself for me, saving me from suffering and death. 

My analogy of hell is the movie “Castaway”—all alone on an island with no one to talk to and no hope of escape.  That, combined with the movie “Groundhog Day”, where you can’t die.

That’s why I love and serve Jesus; because He saved me. 

We love Him, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We are being renewed each day

It's uplifting for me to realize that as my body is aging and becoming weaker, the Holy Spirit in me is growing stronger.

We do not lose heart, because our inner being is renewed each day even though our body is being destroyed at the same time.  2 Corinthians 4:16

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Four Truths About the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Evidence of God's Love
As humans, we understand love through action. God showed the depth of His love for mankind through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8). The King of the universe loves us, and He demonstrated that love on the Cross.

Proof of Forgiveness
The Resurrection is God's proof that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient payment for our sins. Romans 4:25 says, ...Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised up for our justification.
When we confess our sins and are sorry for them, God forgives us; not because we are worthy of forgiveness, but because Jesus died to make us worthy.

Restoration of Relationship
When we pray, we often conclude our prayer "in the name of Jesus." We do that because Jesus death and resurrection gives us a relationship with God. Scripture says that Jesus stands before the Father as our advocate:  But if anyone should sin, we have, in the presence of the Father, Jesus Christ, an intercessor who is just. He is an offering for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)  Why do we need an advocate? Because sin breaks our relationship with God. When we pray in the name of Jesus we are saying: "God, I bring these requests to You. But since I'm not worthy to come before you, I bring them in the name of your Son."

Victory for the Future
The only power the devil has over us is what we give him. He knows he is a defeated enemy, crushed at the Cross and the empty tomb of Christ. There will always be temptations to sin. Even Jesus himself was tempted. But Jesus death and resurrection made it possible for us to receive the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will give us the power to resist all temptation if we ask. No test has been sent you that does not come to all men. Besides, God keeps His promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test He will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)  Christ has already won the victory for us!

(adapted from "Thriving Family" magazine, April/May 2015

Children of God?

There is a misconception that all people are "children of God". Yes, all people were created by God, but all people are not children of God. A person becomes a child of God by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 1: To His (Jesus) own He came, yet His own did not accept Him. Any who did accept Him He empowered to become children of God. These are they who believe in His name--who were begotten not by blood, nor by carnal desire, nor by man's willing it, but by God. And in Galatians 3:26-27: Each one of you is a son of God because of your faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Him. The Bible also says: ...God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted sons.Galatians 4:4b-5

Friday, May 22, 2015

Beware of Doors to the World of Evil Spirits

Any contact with the world of evil spirits can open up doors to evil spirits in our lives. A woman I know asked for prayers for her twelve year old granddaughter who is suicidal. The girl’s mother is very involved with psychics. It’s good for us to be reminded from time to time of those tools satan uses to get hold of people’s lives, both for ourselves and for others we know. Stay away from: astrologers, channelers, charters, clairvoyants, crystal healers, fortune tellers, mediums, the New Age Movement, occult seers; palm, tea leaf, or tarot card readers; psychics; santeros, spirit guides, witches, Voodoo, séances and divination, Ouija boards, horoscopes, occult games of all sorts; curses, hexes, spells. Scripture passages: Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 20:6; Isaiah 47:13-15; 2 Kings 23:5; 2 Kings 23:24a; John 14:6

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Follow Me"

It can be helpful to see that Jesus' first followers were sometimes caught up in their all too human concerns. Jesus has just told Peter to follow him when Peter asks about John (John 21:21). Jesus instructs Peter not to be concerned about John's role and again says, "Follow Me." We need to stay focused on how we follow Jesus. Concentrating on another's path will be a detriment to our vocation. (Keeping the Seasons, May 23, 2015)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Do Most People Go to Heaven When They Die?

I have found there is a widespread misconception that just about everybody goes to Heaven after they die. Many people seem to think that as long as you aren't very bad, like murdering someone, being a serial killer or some other horrific crime, you will go to Heaven. When I attend wakes or funerals, I find that often the priest or minister talks as if the deceased is already in Heaven, looking down on us or actually praying for us.
  This false belief flies in the face of God's revealed word in the Bible. St. Paul wrote to the Romans: All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.  Roman 3:23.  In Mark 7:21-23 Jesus says: Wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart; acts of fornication, theft, murder, adulterous conduct, greed, maliciousness, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and render a man impure.  St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person...has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God's wrath down on the disobedient;.... (5:5-6) There are many other Scripture passages, too numerous to list here, which reveal to us that we are all sinners, unable to save ourselves and unworthy of eternal life. We all need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
  The whole New Testament was written to show us the way to Heaven. I think the most compelling evidence for the need of a Savior is the cross. If all "good" men go to Heaven, then why did Jesus have to suffer and die. He could have just come to earth, taught us about God's love and what He expects of us, and then been taken up to Heaven. Many good men died before Jesus was born but there is nothing in Scripture about them going to Heaven. No, Jesus had to suffer and die a horrible death to make it possible for us to go to Heaven after we die. He said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. John 14:6.  He also said: I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God's kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit. John 3:5.
  You may say, then what about those of the Jewish faith or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists who have been faithful to their religion. What about those who have never heard about Jesus? Will they all be sent to Hell? The Catholic Catechism says: "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His Will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience--those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC 847) The key word is "may". We can know who is saved; we don't know who is not.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


"One does not come to believe by simply willing to believe.... Faith is when God reaches out to you and to me and we reach back." Fr. Benedict Groeschel

My Friend Jesus

Jesus is a friend who is always there for us whenever we pray. No need to leave a message or send a text, waiting for a reply.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Are you focused on yourself or others?

We are born self-centered. If we grow and mature, we learn to focus more on others. Having children helps us to do this. But even if we don't have children, we can be very much involved in the lives of others. It's a lifelong process--to learn to focus on others rather than ourselves.

Friday, April 10, 2015

No one saved by any other religion

"There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved." St. Peter's words to the Sanhedrin (the leaders, elders and scribes of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem). The Holy Bible; Acts 4:12