Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What Happened to Advent?

Where I live in the United States, Christmas starts way before Thanksgiving. Even before Halloween is over, the Christmas candy and merchandise are on the shelves. It's like Thanksgiving is just a blip in the rush to get ready for Christmas. And then of course there's Black Friday--the day to get bargains on gifts for Christmas. Some stores are even open on Thanksgiving! (By the way, I never shop on Black Friday.)  Whatever happened to Advent?
  This was not the case when I was growing up. No one I knew ever started Christmas preparations before Thanksgiving. In some families (not mine) they even kept the custom of "Santa" decorating the tree on Christmas Eve. Of course, at that time the majority of women did not work outside the home. I think that's one reason for the rush to prepare for Christmas. Women who work outside the home don't have the time to prepare for Christmas.
  Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for celebrating again the coming of the Savior among us. It's supposed to be a time of waiting, a time of peace; a time to grow in holiness. It's similar to being pregnant and waiting for the child within to grow and develop. As the expected birth gets closer, the parents start preparing the nursery. They buy clothes and all the little things they will need to welcome the new little one. It's not a hectic time, because you can't rush pregnancy. It takes time.
  So Advent should be like that for us. When the merchandisers put out the Christmas ware, don't buy any of it until after Thanksgiving. Don't rush to put the tree up. If you want to put the lights on the house do so; but don't turn them on until Christmas gets closer (saves electricity too!). Put up decorations slowly, a little at a time. Don't play Christmas music until it gets close to Christmas. Don't focus on all that you think has to get done. Focus on what really has to get done; then do the rest if there's time.
  Most of all, take time each day to pray, to think about the gift of the Christ Child; about Mary and Joseph and their difficult journey. There's never enough time to pray; you have to make it a priority. Buy and follow an Advent devotional. Use an Advent wreath with the four candles to mark the weeks of waiting and preparation. Take time to read and savor the Christmas cards that come in a little at a time.
  And when Christmas finally arrives, don't rush to put everything away by New Years Day. The Christmas Season is actually at least until the feast of the Epiphany, January 6. It all gets put away eventually.
  May you have a holy and peaceful Advent.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Every Day is Thanksgiving

In the United States we just celebrated our yearly Thanksgiving holiday, dedicated to thanking God for the many blessings He has given to us, our families, and our country. But Thanksgiving should not be just one day a year. Every day we have many things to be thankful for.
  Many years ago my spiritual director suggested I keep a "thanksgiving" journal to record the blessings I and my family have received. I now have several journals filled with the good things that have happened; healings, births, holidays; even some miracles. I also record ordinary happenings like a sunny day at the beach with family, a dinner out, the beautiful Fall foliage, my flower garden in summer.
  I don't write in it every day, but usually once or twice a week (I do thank God every day in my evening prayers).  It helps to keep my mind focused on looking for God's blessings and the good things in my life.
  It's also helpful to look back on when times of sadness, sorrow or depression come. It lifts my spirits to be reminded of all the blessings I and my family have received.
  Everyone has something to be thankful for--the gift of life; food, clothing, a place to live; eyes to see, ears to hear; the ability to walk, to work; good health; the gift of faith.
  If you would like to start a "Thanksgiving" journal, you can purchase empty journals online, at any bookstore or stationer, or even at Walmart. They come with blank lined pages. Be sure to write the year at the beginning of the journal and date each page. The entries don't have to be long or wordy--a line or two will suffice. Just enough to jog your memory. And don't forget to thank God for each and every blessing you record.

  Thank you Jesus, for the graces and gifts of this day.  Mother Angelica

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why Do So Few Have Faith

Sometimes It's hard to understand, with the wealth of proof only a click away, why so few have faith. Anyone with a PC, tablet or smart phone can find a multitude of miracle stories or witnesses of God working in people's lives, from both Christians and Jews, online and at bookstores. One of my favorite things is to read one of these before bed.
  There are also biographies of the multitude of canonized saints. You may not know that in the Roman Catholic Church a person cannot be declared a saint unless there is concrete evidence of at least two miracles attributed to the saint's intercession.
   There are also the many witnesses  of the changed lives of those who have come to faith in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit. I am one of those.
  I recently read a compilation of several reports of Eucharistic miracles, fully and scientifically documented; and from recent times, not in centuries past.
  It's not that there isn't enough proof out there both of the existence of God and His working in our lives. I think that many people don't want to see the proof because then they would have to stop doing what they want to do and bow to the will of God for their lives.
  People will continue to write the books and post online; to put the proof out there for those who want to be saved. Are you one of them?

(For those who want to know some of what the Bible says about eternal life, see my post from 10-29-13.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness

In the Constitution of the United States it states that we Americans have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  Notice it says "pursuit of happiness."  Our Constitution does not guarantee that all will be happy, only that we have the right to seek that which we think will make us happy.
  Of course, because we live in a society, we may not be able to pursue some things that we think will bring us happiness because they may harm or be detrimental to someone else. That's one reason why we have laws to govern society.
For instance--
  You may like to drive fast; it gives you a high. But driving too fast on the highways may cause an accident which will do injury to others. Therefore, speed limits.
  You may like to get drunk; to party; to have a good time. But if you drink and drive, you may injure yourself or someone else. Therefore, laws against drunk driving.
  It may make you happy to have sex with multiple partners. But if one of those partners happens to get pregnant, the law says you are responsible for helping to support and care for the child.
  You may like to get high on illegal drugs. But the use of those drugs does harm not only to you, but to society as a whole.
  So you see, our rights are limited to those things that will not harm others. We live in a society that prides itself on individualism. But as Thomas Merton said, "No man is an island." Our laws have been established to allow us freedom, but freedom only so far as it does no harm to others.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pets Are Not Children!

There seems to be an inordinate number of dog and cat lovers (mostly dogs) in the U.S. today. More so than in the past. People are constantly posting pictures of their pets on Facebook or celebrating their pet's birthdays. Not a week goes by when I don't see the bumper sticker "I love my grand doggy." But pets are not children.
  I think this pet-loving trend is due to people having less children. I notice that married couples without children often have pets that they treat as if they were their children. People whose children are grown long for grandchildren. The natural nurturing instinct is unfulfilled so people try to fulfill it through lavishing love and attention on their pets.
  But pets are not children. They are not family members; they are accessories to a family. They are pets. Children are human beings and pets are animals. A human being is the most complex of God's creation. Animals are limited in their thinking and feeling, not to mention their relatively short lifespan in comparison to people.
  There is nothing wrong with loving a dog or cat. But there does seem something wrong with putting a pet on the same level as a child. Pets can be loyal and affectionate; they make good companions for adults and children. They serve us well. But they are not children; and treating them like children is an affront to God.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day Care and Nursery Schools

  I recently visited a day care facility/nursery school. It’s not one of the poor quality ones but rather has a reputation for being a good one. This may very well be as far as care, cleanliness, ratio of child to adult, etc., but it made me very sad.

  The room I entered was bordered with cribs on three sides, end to end. There were quite a few toddlers and preschoolers lying on mats on the carpeted floor, napping.

  I couldn’t help but think that this is not what God intended when He blessed parents with a child. The intention was for the mother to continue to nurture the child she carried in her body and for the father to care for and financially support his family.

  My heart breaks for the thousands upon thousands of institutionalized babies and small children who should be home being raised by their mothers; or at least by their fathers or another relative.

 You may say that a nursery “school” or day care facility is not an institution. The dictionary defines “institution” as “an established organization or corporation especially of a public character.” Schools are institutions. Little children were not meant to be raised in institutions but in the safe, nurturing environment of their home. Children do not socialize with other children until about the age of two. And they don’t really need formal teaching until they reach kindergarten age. Nursery schools and day care facilities are “germ factories” where colds and diseases are easily spread by drooling teething toddlers and many children playing with the same toys.

  Research shows that little children raised in a home environment with one caregiver become more independent and have better relationships with others in the future. The one on one relationship with a loving relative helps them to grow in trust and confidence.

  I realize that this is the ideal and not what every parent can do. There are single, widowed and poor parents who have no choice but to go out to work. But most parents have a choice. Most parents who choose day care for their small children do so because they don’t want to interrupt their career or they want large lovely homes, nice cars and yearly vacations. They sacrifice the welfare of their children (sometimes unknowingly) for materialism.

  Our materialistic culture, feminism and the media have distorted the truth about the value of mothers, fathers and the family. Let those of us who know the truth do all we can to share that truth with others.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

On Homosexuality, Transgenderism and Gender Identity

This whole new controversy on homosexuality, transgenderism and gender identity reminds me of the "Fat Is Beautiful" movement back in the late 60"s (for those of you old enough to remember!). The proponents of that movement were trying to convince people that being overweight was really just as beautiful as being a normal weight.; that it was just our social conditioning that caused us to feel that the bodies of people who were fat were not as attractive as those who were not overweight.  Well, that didn't last long (although there are resurgences of it from time to time). We all know, and can see, that big fat bellies and rolls of fat are not attractive (much less unhealthy).
  I think it's the same with the homosexuality, transgenderism and gender identity movement. We all know inherently that these are disorders are not normal. Whether they are physiological or psychological does not matter. The bottom line is, they are not normal. Just looking at our human bodies testifies to this. Babies are born male or female. No amount of wishful thinking will change that.
  Men and women fit together sexually like parts of a puzzle. A puzzle designed by God. Men and men do not fit together. Women and women do not fit together. And what is this "fitting together" all about--cooperating with God in making babies. Men cannot make babies with other men. Women cannot make babies with other women. No amount of wishful thinking will change that. The truth is written in nature.
  Yes, we have compassion for those who are afflicted with these disorders. But it is misguided compassion to pretend that it is all "normal" behavior; that those afflicted with these disorders will get better, be happy, etc. if we just try to convince everyone that it is normal. To deny the disorders is to make it impossible for those afflicted to receive treatment. Yes, we know treatment doesn't always work. But it does work for some.
  What if we pretend that all other disorders are normal and stop trying to help people get better? Will all these people be happy and well-balanced? Will chronic depression, autism, schizophrenia and all the other mental and emotional disorders go away if we declare them to be normal?
  Those of us who see the truth need to stand up against the tide of misconceptions that are being promoted by the few. I believe the majority of people don't believe the lies being promoted in the media but are too afraid of being labeled "homophobic", unintelligent or uninformed. You don't have to be very smart to see the truth. It's written in our bodies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I think the song “Imagine” by John Lennon is one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. They lyrics are about searching for a better world—a world where everyone lives in peace and love abounds. That’s Christianity.  But the problem with Christianity is Christians who don’t live as Jesus taught.  Imagine what the world would be like if everyone lived according to the principles of Christianity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Marriage is more than just pro-creation; it is complementary.  Men & women were created to complete each other, whether they have children or not.

  In the book of Genesis (the Holy Bible) it says:

  The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” (2:18) When He brought her to the man, the man said:  “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. (2:22b-24)

  So God tells us in the Bible that “it’s not good for man to be alone”; a man and a woman complement each other. And “the two become one body”; they fit together like two puzzle pieces and their joining can create a whole new body—a child.

Why We Have Sorrow and Suffering

September 11, 2001—such a beautiful day for such horror. Most people did not understand (and still don’t) that God allowed this breach in the protection of our nation to try to wake us up to the evil invading our nation because we, as a whole, have turned away from God.

  The churches were filled; people turned to God in prayer; those who had gone astray from God’s laws came back to the straight and narrow path. Everywhere you heard “God bless America.”

  But the face of evil fades. And people return to their daily lives. For most, God recedes into the distance and they forget that death is only a breath away.

  Unfortunately, when times are good, people tend to forget about God. Instead of turning to God in thanksgiving for their blessings, they think that all the good in their lives is the result of their own doing or just good luck. Many people see no need to worship, praise and thank God when their lives are going well. It’s only when bad things happen, either personally or communally, that the churches are filled.

  So the only way God can get our attention is to remove some of His blessing by allowing (not causing) evil to have free reign in the form of illness, accidents, injury, death, bad weather or disasters.

  It’s not that God wants to punish us. He just loves us so much (as a good parent loves his child) that he doesn’t want us to ruin our lives or go to Hell when we die. He wants us to live as happy and fulfilled lives as possible and then spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Jesus said:

 The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy, I came that they might have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

And 1 Timothy 2: 4 says:

 for He wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth.

  So can we avoid sorrow and suffering? Unfortunately, not all; we’re not in Heaven yet. And we’re not perfect, so we need discipline to grow and mature. We also sometimes have to suffer the consequences of the behavior of others.

  But I believe that God protects those who love and follow Him from as much sorrow and suffering as possible in this fallen world. And if sorrow and suffering come, He will be with us through His Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us.

Note: For those who may be interested in reading a book with factual evidence that the attacks of 9-11 were allowed by God as a warning to the United States, I would suggest reading The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. Or you can visit his website www.TheHarbingerWebsite.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fulfillment in Life

Fulfillment in life comes from finding and doing God's Will in your life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


A miniscule image of the power of God.
Now tell Him you don't agree with how He says you should live your life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Suicide--The Ultimate Tragedy

As faith in God decreases in our society, the number of suicides increases. And now euthanasia is legal in some places and those that want assisted suicide are lobbying in many other places.
  There is a life after death. We know that for sure because of God's revelation in the Bible and because of the many, many documented near death experiences (NDEs). Those who have "died" and come back witness to two experiences: a place of light, peace and overwhelming love or a place of darkness and suffering.
  People commit suicide to escape from the pain of life, whether physical or mental. But do they really escape? Or do they exchange the suffering in this world for continued or even worse suffering in the next? According to God's Word and the testimony of those who have experienced a NDE, we can't be sure.
  Many people mistakenly believe that all "good" people go directly to Heaven when they die. Unfortunately, there is no evidence for that--it's just something that makes us feel good, especially when we're grieving over the passing on of a loved one.
  We know that nothing unholy can enter God's presence. We can experience the presence of Jesus, but not the Almighty Father. Therefore, I believe there is a place after death where we undergo a final purification and transformation before we can enter Heaven. How long that takes may depend on how holy we were at the time of our death.
  Perhaps our suffering on earth is part of our purification and transformation. Then if we choose to end our life on earth prematurely, we may have to continue that suffering on the other side.
  Another thought often comes to mind. When we suffer on earth, we usually have friends or loved ones to accompany us on our final journey. If we leave here before God's ordained time, we go on alone.
  So the greatest tragedy is thinking that ending our life is an escape from suffering. Be sure to share that with others, especially young people.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Discerning God's Will For Our Lives

Every person should order their lives according to what they believe God is asking them to do. Our priorities should be God's priorities insofar as we discern them to be through prayer, reading God's Word, and the teachings of the Church.
  If we do this, then it doesn't matter what other people think, even our spouses. In the end we will answer to God for how we lived our lives.
  Of course we should seek good and holy counsel from one or two Christians we deem more advanced in faith and holiness than us; and avail ourselves of spiritual reading. But in the end it is up to us, and us alone, to discern God's will for our lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Importance of Doing God's Will

As he moved on, Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his post where taxes were collected. He said to him, "Follow Me." (Matthew 9:9)
  As Jesus called St. Matthew (and his other disciples) to follow Him, he also calls us to follow Him.
  In John 6:38 Jesus says: ...it is not to do my own will that I have come down from heaven, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.
  So, if we are to follow Jesus, and Jesus did what the Father wanted Him to, then our goal should also be to do the will of God the Father in our lives.
  Jesus calls us to follow Him. If we want to follow Him, then we should live our lives as He lived His life--in obedience to the Father's will.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Is There a "Right" Way to Pray?

Have you ever wondering if there is a "right" way to pray? Should you kneel, sit, stand or lie prostrate on the floor? I don't think there is a "right" way, but we may want to see how Jesus prayed when He was on earth.
  In Mark 7:34, when Jesus prayed for the healing of a deaf man, He "looked up to Heaven."  In John 11:41, standing in front of the grave of Lazarus, He again "looked upward" and prayed.  In John 17:1 He again "looked up to Heaven" and prayed to the Father.
  When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemani before He was arrested the Scripture says He "went down on his knees and prayed." (Luke 22:41)  In Matthew 26:39, at the same time, it says He "fell prostrate in prayer."  In the parallel passage in Mark (14-35) it says He "fell to the ground."  Whether "prostrate" and "fell to the ground" means kneeling or lying prostrate, I don't know.
  That's all I could find in the Bible about how Jesus prayed, but I do know that it was the Jews custom at that time to stand during their communal prayer in the Temple.
  So is there a "right" way to pray?  We know Jesus knelt, stood or lay prostrate. Apparently He prayed in different positions for different kinds of prayer. I think that the most important thing is that we are reverent and respectful whenever we pray, remembering who we are in relation to the greatness of God.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Raising Children

Raising children is like raising plants--they all require different care. The challenge is to learn what works best with each child.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

When I think about the crucifixion and death of Jesus, I sometimes think of it as if I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and Jesus took my place and suffered and died for me. How would you feel about that person if someone did that for you? Wouldn't you be eternally grateful?
 Well, that's really what Jesus did for each and every one of us. He suffered and died in our place so we could have God's blessings here on earth and eternal life after we leave here. God's Word says:
     Yes, God so loved the world
     that He gave His only Son,
     that whoever believes in Him may not die
     but may have eternal life.  John 3:16
What a gift!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Are All Children "Good"?

Children are born innocent, but they are not born well-behaved, polite and obedient. That’s why God gave them parents; to teach and train them; to discipline them; to mold their character. So a parent should not be embarrassed or feel like a failure when their children misbehave or don’t act as “model” children. They are a work in progress.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June Weddings

June is traditionally the most popular month for weddings. In the last fifty years weddings have become more and more elaborate and expensive, from the engagement ring, to the wedding gown, to “destination” weddings. But as weddings have become more and more elaborate, the divorce rate has gone higher and higher. Perhaps young couples need to spend as much time and energy preparing for their marriage as they do planning their wedding. A wedding is a day, but a marriage is a lifetime.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

For Those Who Can't Have Children

My apologies to those of you who can't have children who have read the previous article. I realize it's a source of great pain and suffering to want to have children and not be able to conceive or carry a child to term.  I don't mean to infer that a life without children of your own is useless or joyless. There are other options in life that can bring similar joy and fulfillment.
  Adoption seems like an obvious option, and in the past it would have been. But because so many mothers choose to have their children killed through abortion, the adoption field is very small. It's not impossible to adopt, but it is usually very expensive, especially if you wish to adopt a child from another country.
  If adoption is not an option for you, there may be nieces or nephews that you can help nurture. Also, the children of single parents often need adults of the same sex to help them develop into well-balanced adults. You can help nurture children through coaching, volunteering in schools, teaching religion or being a Big Brother or Big Sister.  There are also children in orphanages or shelters in need of love and care.
  If you choose to do none of the above, it's still important to help others in some way. A life focused on yourself or on you and your spouse causes you to become turned in on yourself, your needs, your worries. The happiest and most well-balanced people are those who do things for others.

The Gift of Children

"Behold, children are a gift from the Lord;
  the fruit of the womb is a reward.
 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
  are the children of one's youth.
 Happy the man whose quiver is filled with them;"
                              Psalm 127:3-5a
It seems the people of ancient times were much wiser than those of today. They understood that having a child is a great gift and a blessing from God. So many young people today look at having children as a burden; someone who interferes with their goals for their lives--career, vacations, money, a large house, expensive new car, possessions; a beautiful body. Or they may want to have children "someday"; after they have satisfied many of their goals, but before they get too old. Then that time comes and they find that the older you get the more difficult it can be to conceive and carry a baby. They also find that they have become accustomed to their cushy lifestyle and are reluctant to change. Rather than enjoying the child and seeing the gift he or she is, they resent this intrusion into their lives.
  In both cases, those who choose not to have children and those who wait too long, there will come a time, when they are old, when they will regret the choices they made. They will finally see that careers, vacations and possessions are all fleeting. They are enjoyable for the moment, but have little lasting value. The man who was a Director in a company will be just another resident in the retirement village. To his company he will be just another retiree. The woman who gave up having children for a career will be just another lonely old woman looking with envy on all the grandparents enjoying their families. Those who had one or two children late in life and then gave them to someone else to raise so they could continue their career, will bemoan the fact that their children are not close to them; they don't call or visit.
  Raising children is not easy. It can be difficult and challenging at times. And sacrifices have to be made. But nothing gives as much joy as watching a child grow and develop; seeing the results of your time, effort and sacrifices. And the investment you make in a child has lasting rewards. They do not fade or end but only get better with age.
  The ancient ones were very wise. Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tithing Time For Prayer

There is a similarity between determining how much of your income to give to the poor and other charities and how much time to devote to prayer. Do you give 10%, 15%, 20%?  Do you pray ten minutes, 30 minutes, one hour; or more?  The needs are so great in the world, both for money and for prayer.
  If our desire is to be obedient to God and follow Jesus, then we have to discern how much time He wants us to spend in prayer. It's not what we feel like doing or how much time we have (there will never be enough time), but how much time does God want us to set aside for prayer.
  For each person the answer will be different. Also different will be the kind of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, meditation, intercession, reading Scripture, adoration, petitions. We need to include all these in our prayer time.
  God definitely wants us to pray each day. But how much and which kind of prayer? Ask the Holy Spirit. He will guide you.

How's Your Driving?

God requires that we obey His Commandments.
He who obeys the commandments he has from me, is the man who loves me; (John 14:21)
 Part of being obedient to God is obeying the speed limit when we drive. It's important when we drive by ourselves, but even more important when we are driving our family. Driving within the speed limit is part of our responsibility to care for our family.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Only a Mother?

A mother is a teacher—the first and most important teacher; teaching her children how to speak, read and write; teaching them faith, values, morals; a good work ethic; compassion for and service to others. 

A mother is a nurse—bandaging up wounds and broken bones; caring for her sick children; taking them to doctors, getting up in the night to give medicine, clean up vomit or soothe a feverish brow. 

A mother is a judge—helping siblings to sort out their disputes; refereeing arguments and disagreements with friends; deciding what’s right and wrong. 

A mother is a guardian angel—watching over her children day and night; child-proofing their home; a safety inspector; warning them of possible dangers; teaching them to drive safely. 

A mother is a chef and nutritionist –planning, buying and cooking healthy meals for her children; providing healthy snacks; watching their weight so they don’t get overweight. 

A poet once wrote “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”  No job has a greater effect on the world than being a mother. 

Most important the time and energy invested in raising a child is an investment that will live forever.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


  We in our country (U.S.A.) and in many places throughout the world, have a distorted understanding of sex and the relationship between a man and a woman. (I do not refer to homosexual sex here because that in itself is distorted.)
  Many people mistakenly believe that sexual intercourse is a bodily need like eating, sleeping, drinking; that not having a sexual relationship makes a person deficient in some way.
  Some think sex was intended for pleasure. Actually, the reason for pleasure in sex is to get people to do it! If it did not cause us to feel good, we would avoid it.
  God created our sexuality.  In the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, it says that everything God created was “good”. Therefore sexual intercourse is good. But the Evil One and sinful people pervert the good things God created.  For instance, eating is good and we need to eat to live. But over-eating is bad and harms our bodies. Rest and recreation is good, but too much rest and recreation makes us lazy and unproductive. Exercise is good and healthy for our bodies.  But some people become obsessed with exercising and bodily appearance.
  There are two purposes for sexual intercourse: it is procreative and unitive.  The main purpose of sexual intercourse is the creation of children. This fact is very obvious to anyone observing the animal world. Our bodies were designed to create and bear children.  Sex is unitive in that it bonds a man and a woman together emotionally and psychologically. That’s one reason why it was meant to be exclusive to married couples.  It causes much emotional and psychological damage to both men and women when they have sex with multiple partners.
  What do we do if we have no sexual partner? We live!  There are many people in this world who live happy, fulfilling and productive lives without a sexual relationship. And even some of those who do have a husband or wife will find that a time may come when they can no longer have sex due to illness, disability or old age. We would all do well to remember that although having a sexual relationship is a blessing, it's not a necessity.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On raising children

In raising children remember:  “All men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23.  We are all in need of a Savior.  Therefore, if your children sin, it’s not necessarily because you didn’t train them correctly.

A Reflection on 1 Corinthians 13

LOVE is…
Patient – bears trials, steadfast despite difficulty
Kind – affectionate, loving, sympathetic, friendly, gentle, agreeable, pleasant
Not jealous – envious, malicious, begrudging

LOVE does not…
Boast – put on airs, brag, glorify self

LOVE is not…
Conceited – proud, snobbish, arrogant, overbearing, insolent
Rude – vulgar, forceful, lacking delicacy, uncouth, offensive in manner or action, discourteous
Selfish – thinks of self first, ambitious, disregarding others needs or desires
Easily angered – indignant, rage, wrath, irritable, does not take offense
Resentful – holding grudges, brooding over injuries, malice
Not happy – not contented, not pleased
with evil – offensive behavior, disagreeable behavior, something that brings sorrow, suffering

Rejoices in the truth – takes no pleasure in other peoples sins, does not gossip
Thinks no evil – intends, plans, remembers, expects, imagines

LOVE does not…
Rejoice in – delight in
wrong – mistakes, injustice, sin, immorality

Believes all things – is ready to excuse, looks for the good in others
Trusts – depends on, relies on, has confidence in
Hopes – desires with expectation of fulfillment, expects
Perseveres – endures, never gives up, persists despite opposition or discouragement
Has forbearance – leniency, tolerance, mercy
Never ends – fails, weakens, fades, stops, disappoints, neglects, deserts

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


You can’t strive for holiness.  Holiness is a gift.  You walk with God through prayer, receiving the Sacraments, studying the Bible, belonging to a Christian community and serving others. Holiness is the result.

War and Peace

  I find it difficult to understand the stupidity of people (like President Obama and other progressives) who think you can negotiate with evil. Or that if we reduce our military or our weapons, evil will just give up and go away. It's like "burying your head in the sand."
  Peace comes through strength, not in wishing evil away. There will always be evil people. We will never have peace on this earth. The only peace on earth comes from controlling evil. We will never eliminate it.
  As Bob Dylan wrote in the song "When He Returns", "Wars won't cease and there will be no peace, until He returns."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


An hour a day keeps the devil away.

"So you could not stay awake with me for even an hour? Be on guard, and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but nature is weak."

Matthew 26:40

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Armor of God

In St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he reminds us to put on the armor of God so that we may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil (6:10-17).

The Belt of Truth
In biblical times, the belt served as a sort of anchor, securing a soldier's armor in place. Our spiritual "belt of truth" refers to who we are and what we believe at our core--the larger worldview that binds together our beliefs and influences our decisions.
  Our culture is filled with deceptive teachings and beliefs: atheism, materialism, consumerism. In order to discern what is true or not true, we must be steeped in God's Word, reading it on a daily basis. We also need to read, see and hear good Christian literature--books, magazines, CDs, apps.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The breastplate was worn on the front, to protect a soldier's vital organs as he faced his enemy. Our spiritual breastplate is the righteousness that comes through Jesus death on the cross. We are good not because of who we are but because of what Jesus has done for us, His death and resurrection.
  The breastplate of righteousness also protects us from verbal attacks from others who might seek to demean us. We can stand firm in the knowledge that God loves us and made us the kind of person He wants us to be.
The Shoes of Peace
Shoes are used for action, not passivity. We wear "shoes of peace" when we spread the Good News of peace with God. Isaiah 52:7 says:
     How beautiful upon the mountains
      are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
     Announcing peace, bearing good news,
      announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
     "Your God is King!"
  We thank God for the gift of peace He has given to us and ask Him to help us to remain in the peace of doing His Will.
The Shield of Faith
A shield was a Roman soldier's main defense, intended to protect him from volleys of arrows. Likewise, our spiritual shield helps us to "extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16).  Satan's big weapon is deception--he's always firing lies at us with the goal of weakening our faith and trust in God. We resist these attacks through faith, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1)
The Helmet of Salvation
Just as a soldier's helmet protects his head, so our spiritual helmet protects our minds. We believe in God's love for us and His gift of salvation. No matter what may happen to us here on earth we know we will be in Heaven someday with Jesus, the saints, and all our loved ones who have gone on before us in faith.
The Sword of the Spirit
A soldier's sword could deliver stinging blows to the enemy or defend against an attack. Our spiritual sword is God's Word. Jesus himself used God's Word when He fought off Satan's temptations in the wilderness. We too can use God's Word when we are faced with temptation. That's one reason why it's important for us to read Scripture daily and spend time studying it. Then when temptation comes, the Holy Spirit will bring those words to mind. There is power in the Word of God.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to Pray for Others

  If you are part of a Christian fellowship group, you probably receive many prayer requests. We all have many people to pray for--family, friends, neighbors, etc.. We all have many things to ask God for. And He wants us to come to Him with all our petitions, both large and small.
  But when we pray for others, the most important thing to pray for is the spiritual health of the person. God's Word says:  "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)  What good does it do if a man is healed of cancer but goes to hell when he dies. Or if he gets a job, but goes on living a life apart from God.
  In the Gospel of Matthew, some people brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. Jesus first said to him, "Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven."  Then, after the scribes protested that Jesus dared to forgive sins, Jesus told the paralyzed man, "Stand up! Roll up your mat and go home."  And the man stood up, totally healed. In this Jesus was showing that the spiritual state of a person is more important than the physical state--the health of the soul is more important than the health of the body.
  So when we pray for someone, or ask others to pray, let's pray about the spiritual state of the person first, then for their physical or temporal needs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life is a series of "Hellos" and "Goodbyes"

  I did not write this, but it expresses the thoughts that often come to me.

    "Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our life. It seems that there is no such thing as clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction there is an awareness of its limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness.
  Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England Fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun-covered ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can't find words to capture your complex emotions.
  But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us."
Out of Solitude, Henri J.M. Nouwen

In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again....You are sad now, but...your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you."  John 16:16-22

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Is Abortion the Solution?

If killing 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. Then we have decided that killing is the acceptable solution to a problem.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is the United States A Christian Country?

  Our whole society--our laws, our customs, our culture--are based on Christianity. We were established by Christians. Our country is based on the Judeo-Christian worldview and set of values. If not, we might be like the orthodox Muslims who oppress women and believe in evangelizing through force. Or the Hindus who don't believe in helping others because they believe each person has to live the life they were given. Or the Buddhists who believe reality is not real.
  According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of the American population identified themselves as Christians. The same study says that other religions (including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism) collectively made up about 6% of the population. People who say our country is not a Christian country have not studied our Constitution; or read our Declaration of Independence; or bothered to read the writings or the history of our founders.
  Yes, our people come from or are descended from many different countries and races. Some of us are of other religions. We welcome that. We are free to practice any religion that does not harm others or take away their freedom. But those who choose to live here must live as Americans, following the laws and values of our culture. We are "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

God's Will or My Will

When we are baptized, we accept Jesus as our Savior and receive the gift of salvation. When we are confirmed, we reaffirm our faith in Jesus as our Savior and also accept Him as Lord. 

To proclaim Jesus as Lord means that He is Lord—King, ruler; the “boss”--of our lives, our time, of what we do.

This does not happen overnight.  It's a process where we willingly submit our will to His will; what we would like to do to what He wants us to do (insofar as we can discern). One of the members of my prayer group said that he realized that he had been asking the Lord to bless his plans rather than asking the Lord what His plan was.

In practice this means that I can’t just do what I would like to do, what I feel like doing, or what I am interested in.  In the use of my time, I have to seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.  This is done through daily prayer and quiet time with the Lord. It's also very helpful to have a spiritual director--either one specifically trained in spiritual direction or a spiritually mature person; one who has been following Jesus for longer than you.
Will we do God’s Will perfectly, each and every day?  Of course not!  Will we make mistakes, go off in the wrong direction or get involved in things God does not want us to be involved in?  Of course. We pray about how God wants us to use the time He has given us and then do the best we can.
The following is a prayer of Thomas Merton that I think best expresses this.
           My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself;
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so. 

But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you;
and I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always,
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me;
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. 

Thoughts in Solitude