Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4


Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.

Generosity from the Heart

Generosity from the Heart

Matt 6:3, "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"

If this blog is informative and helpful in your pursuit to follow Jesus, and deepening your Christian faith;

Please support my work. Thank you and God Bless.

Proverbs 11:25, "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."

How to make contibution (click on this link)

May the Lord bless you for your generosity, and may the Mother of God intercede for your every need.

Your act of generosity will be rewarded, and your blessing will be “pressed down, shaken together, and RUNNING OVER.

Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Seminarians & Prayer for Seminarians

A seminarian is a man who is discerning the Lord’s call to the Roman Catholic priesthood. By virtue of his baptism, he is a member of the priesthood of all believers. 

The seminarian hears the Lord speaking to him and calling him to a fuller participation in the priesthood by becoming a priest of Jesus Christ. While the priesthood has many elements that make it like a job, it is primarily a vocation: a calling from the Lord. The seminarian then needs to be open to hearing the Lord’s call in his life and be eager to respond to it.

The seminary is an environment that strives to form Christian men characterized by a life of holiness, human virtue, and generous service. Such a life is nurtured by a deep interior life of prayer and sound piety, filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a profound love for the universal and local Church. It is further nourished through a rigorous intellectual formation in a faithful and loving obedience to the Magisterium and the sacred truths entrusted to the Church. 

The seminary provides an environment that forms men to be committed disciples of Christ who are free to respond to God’s call to the priesthood, including the call to the celibate life.

A man who enters the seminary does not possess all the answers. In fact, many more questions will arise during time spent in seminary formation! 

Seminarians come from all walks of life, previous educational experiences, family backgrounds, and parishes. They bring different talents, insights, and experiences to their time in formation. 

It is expected that all seminarians give witness to their conviction that God has brought them to the seminary to discern whether or not they are really called to the priesthood, and they should commit themselves wholeheartedly to carrying out that discernment.

Seminarians live in community. This means they pray together, work together, take their meals together, and study together. While the seminary is a place where individual men go to discern what the Lord is asking of them, ultimately as priests they will belong to a fraternity. The seeds of this brotherhood and fraternity are sown during their time in seminary formation.

Seminarians need your encouragement to move on this call, encourage them and always pray for them that they may receive the gift of the priesthood at the end.

Prayer for Seminarians

Oh God, hear my prayer for the men you have chosen to follow in your Son's footsteps.
Teach them humility and fidelity to unselfishly help others.
May their devotion to Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Vocations increase, enabling them to do your will.
Strengthen their prayer life that they may grow spiritually without worldly distractions.
Give them courage and perseverance in their studies.
May the Holy Spirit lighten their struggles with their vocations, until they know the joy of being a priest.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Who says Catholics don’t hear the Bible at Mass?

In fact, Scripture is cited more than 100 times.

Perhaps you have heard the common criticisms that “Catholics never read Scripture … Why don’t Catholics have the Bible with them at Mass? … The Bible is the Word of God, and Catholics don’t hear it regularly.”

Well, I would propose that Christians hear more Scripture at Catholic Mass than in any other form of worship.

The natural “go-to” response from Catholics to the above criticism is a reference to the Liturgy of the Word. This portion of the Mass typically includes a reading from the Old Testament, followed by a (sung) reading from the Book of Psalms, followed by a reading from the New Testament (the Epistles), and completed with a reading from the Gospels. So far, we count four Scripture readings total.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Almost everything the priest, deacon, or member of the assembly says within the liturgy is based in Scripture.

Here are more than 40 instances in which Catholics recite or reference Scripture (by order of appearance) within the context of the Mass:

Introductory Rites
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19).
Amen (1 Chr 16:36).

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Cor 13:13).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:2).

The Lord be with you (Ruth 2:4; 2 Tim 4:22). And with your spirit.

Penitential Act
I confess to almighty God (Jas 5:16), and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned (1 Chr 21:8), in my thoughts and in my words (Psalm 19:15), in what I have done and in what I have failed to do (Jas 3:5; Jas 4:17), through my own fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault (Jas 5:16); therefore I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God (1 Thess 5:25).

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive our sins, and bring us to everlasting life (1 Jn 1:9). Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy (Tob 8:4; 1 Tim 1:2).

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will (Lk 2:14). We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you (Rev 7:12), we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father (Rev 19:6). Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father (2 Jn 3), you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us (Jn 1:29); you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father (Rom 8:34), have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One (Lk 4:34), you alone are the Lord (Ps 83: 19; Rev 15:4), you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ (Lk 1:32) with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen (Jn 14:26).

Profession of Faith
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth (Gen 14:19), of all things visible and invisible (Col 1:16). I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God (Jn 1:18), born of the Father before all ages (Lk 1:35), God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made (Jn 1:1-4). For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and became man (Jn 3:13), and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man (Mt 1:18). For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate (Jn. 19:16); he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). He ascended into heaven (Lk 24:51) and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Col 3:1). He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1), and his kingdom will have no end (Lk 1:33). I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26) and the Son, who with the Father and the Son he adored and glorified (Jn 14:16), who spoken through the Prophets (1 Pet 1:10-11). I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church (Mt 16:18). I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Eph 4:4-6), and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come (Rom 6:5). Amen.

Preparation of the Altar
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation (1 Chr 29:10; Ps 89:53; Rom 9:5) for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth (Jas 5:7) and work of human hands, (Qo 3:13), it will become for us the bread of life (Jn 6:35). Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink (Lk 22:17-18).

Blessed be God forever (Ps 68:36).
Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father (Heb 12:28).

May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church (Ps 50:23).

The Lord be with you; And with your spirit; Lift up your hearts; We lift them up to the Lord (Lam 3:41).

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God (Col 3:17).

It is right and just (Col 1:3).

It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son (Col 1:13), Jesus Christ, your Word through whom you made all things (Jn 1:3), whom you sent as our Savior and Redeemer, incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin (Gal 4:4; Mt 1:18; Lk 1:26-35). Fulfilling your will and gaining for you a holy people (1 Peter 2:9), he stretched out his hands (Is 65:2; Rom 10:21) as he endures his Passion, so as to break the bonds of death (2 Tim 1:10) and manifest the resurrection. And so, with the Angels and all the Saints we declare your glory, as with one voice we acclaim …

Sanctus & Eucharistic Prayer
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God hosts (Is 6:3; Rev 4:8). Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Mt 21:9; Mk 11:9-10). Hosanna in the highest (Is 6:3).

To you, therefore, most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord (Eph 5:20): that you accept and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices (2 Macc 1:26), which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church. Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant Francis our Pope, and N. our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith (Jn 17:21; Acts 2:42).

Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer to for themselves and all who are dear to them: for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to you, the eternal God, living and true (Ps 106:4-5; Heb 13:15).

In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her spouse, your blessed apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, and all your saints; we ask that through their merits and prayers (1 Tim 2:1), in all things we may be defended by your protecting help. (Mt 1:2-16; Lk 16:9; 1 Cor 12:12, 20f; Rev 5:8).

Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen (Acts 20:28).

Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect (Gen 4:4); make it spiritual and acceptable, so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the day before he was to suffer, he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks, he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples says: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you (Mt 26:26-28).

In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me (Mt 26:26-28).

The mystery of faith (1 Tim 3:16).
Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, the resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension into heaven of Christ, your son, our Lord, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim (1 Pet 1:18-21), the holy Bread of eternal life and the chalice of everlasting salvation (Jn 6:54).

Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as once you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel (Gen 4:4) the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith (Gen 22:12), and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek (Gen 14:18), a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim (1 Pet 1: 19).

In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty (Rev 8:3-4), so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, may be filled with grace and heavenly blessing (Eph 1:3).

Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness (Ps 25:7).

Through him you give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, you bless them and make them holy (Ps 104:27-28).

The Our Father & Doxology
The Our Father prayer is recited. (Mt 6:9-13).

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy, keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Jn 17:15).

Through him, and with him, and in him (Rom 11:36), O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:3), all glory and honor is yours (Eph 3:20-21; Rev 4:11), for ever and ever. Amen.

Agnus Dei & Sign of Peace
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever (Jn 14:27). The peace of the Lord be with you always (Jn 20:19). Let us offer each other the sign of peace (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thes 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14).

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace (Jn 1:29).

The Eucharist
May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it (Jn 6:54).

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29). Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9).

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed (Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6-7).

Blessing & Dismissal
The Lord be with you; And with your spirit (Ruth 2:4).

May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:51).

Go in the peace of Christ (Lk 7:50). Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord (Mk 16:15). Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life (1 Cor 10:31; 1 Pet 4:11).

Thanks be to God (2 Cor. 9:15).

As you can see from the previous 125 biblical references (which do not include those used in alternate forms of the Mass), the Scriptures are uniquely presented to each congregant. (Sp

While it is true, most Catholics do not participate in the liturgy with a Bible in hand, there is actually a very specific reason for this.

Hearing the Scriptures within the liturgy, and reading the Scriptures in a weekly Bible study group are quite different. The Scriptures are not simply read, but proclaimed within the liturgy.

During the Mass, the Holy Spirit is constantly kindling the hearts of the faithful as they listen to the Word of God (the Church actually encourages the faithful to review readings prior to attending the Mass.) Therefore, the Church recognizes Holy Scripture as a tool intended to cooperate with the reception of Jesus – body, blood, soul and divinity – in the Eucharist.

Jesus himself is quite clear about how to pass on the faith. Upon founding his Church (Mt. 16:18), Jesus did not actually leave this visible society with a book. What he did leave is a clear set of instructions to “go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them everything that I have commanded you (Mt. 28:19).” These instructions are passed on through oral tradition, and through the liturgy (the Mass).

Of course, “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 141).”

While the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC, no. 1324), the Scriptures are abundant within the very Mass that was instituted by Christ himself (Mt. 26:26-28).

source: FB friend

Divine Praises

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy name 
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus. 
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart. 
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood. 
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the altar. 
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. 
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception. 
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, virgin and Mother. 
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. 
Blessed be God in His angels a in His saints.

Tell them how much the Lord has done for you

Do you ever feel driven by forces beyond your strength? A man driven mad by the evil force of a legion found refuge in the one person who could set him free. A legion is no small force - but an army more than 5,000 strong! For the people in the time of Jesus' ministry, hemmed in by occupied forces, a legion, whether spiritual or human, struck terror! Legions at their wildest committed unmentionable atrocities.Our age has also witnessed untold crimes and mass destruction at the hands of possessed rulers and their armies. 

Jesus has power to free us from every evil spirit of oppression 
What is more remarkable - the destructive force of this driven and possessed man - or the bended knee at Jesus' feet imploring mercy and release? God's word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. ..Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).

Jesus took pity on the man who was overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniac the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them. Why would they not want Jesus to stay? Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin was more than they wanted to pay. Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving grace?

Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The difference between the Angel’s and Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima

The children’s physical, emotional and psychological experience with the Angel of Portugal and Our Lady were different. In her memoirs, Sister Lucia writes,

“I do not know why, but the fact is that the apparitions of Our Lady had a very different effect on us. There was the same intimate gladness, the same peace and happiness. But instead of physical weariness, we felt a certain expansive liveliness, a sense of glee instead of that annihilation in the Divine Presence, a certain communicative enthusiasm instead of that difficulty in speaking…”

One stark contrast between the angel and Our Lady is their different natures. The former is pure spirit while the latter is flesh and spirit; body and soul. The angel’s superior nature drained much energy from the children which left them in a state of annihilation.

Since the children are of the same nature as Our Lady, one could surmise that this may explain why the children were more at ease with Our Lady. The human nature they shared with Our Lady found a pleasing and lively consonance with her. One could feel assurance and confidence in Lucia’s observation and experience that, indeed, Our Lady was assumed into Heaven in both body and soul – a dogma of the Faith.

source: America needs Fatima

e-Petition - Ask YouTube To Pull ALL Online Videos Of Blasphemous Desecrations Of The Holy Eucharist...

The online video sharing site YouTube allows videos of brutal attacks on the Holy Eucharist.

Perhaps the worst is: How To Desecrate the Host 1: Butane Torch 

14 seconds in, it assures the viewer: 

“Real host acquired from a Catholic Church”
It shows a host being held in a needle-nose plier while an off-screen person lights a butane torch and thoroughly burns the host to a crisp.

It was posted on YouTube by user name HostDesecrator. Can such a name leave any doubt as to the author’s intentions? I think not.
Is this not pure malice…silent, brutal, and straight-to-the-point?

Please Tell YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki To Take Down These Videos

Source: Catholic Online / America needs Fatima

Monday, 22 January 2018

Pope Francis ~ missing out on Mass on Sundays

Pope Francis has said that missing out on Mass on Sundays means missing out an encounter with the Lord. He reminded Christians that we go to Mass on Sunday to meet the resurrected Lord – or better still – “to let ourselves be welcomed by Him, to hear His word, eat at His table, and by his grace fulfil our mission as members of the Mystical Body of the Church.” 

He said Sunday is a holy day for Christians, and it is rendered holy by the celebration of the Eucharist which is the living presence of the Lord amongst us. Thus, it is the Mass that defines Sunday for Christians” he said: “what sort of Sunday can it be if it is lacking an encounter with the Lord?”.

He recalled how the Second Vatican Council asked us to celebrate the Lord’s Day as a day of joy and rest from servile work as a sign of our dignity as children of God. 

“Without Christ we are condemned to be weighed down by the fatigue of everyday life, with its worries and fear of tomorrow” he said. Our Sunday meeting with the Lord, he continued, gives us the strength to live today with trust and courage and to go forth with hope. He explained that in the eucharist we receive a foretaste of the eternal bliss and repose to which we are called in which there will be no more fatigue, nor pain, nor grief nor tears; only the joy of living fully and for ever with the Lord.

The Pope finally acknowledged that the quality of Christian life is measured by our capacity to love the other, but, he said “how can we practice the Gospel without drawing from the energy provided by the inexhaustable source of the Eucharist?”

We go to Mass, he concluded, not to give something to God, but to receive from him the grace and strength to remain faithful to his word, to follow his commandments and, through his living presence within us, to be witnesses of his goodness and love before the world.

source: Vatican Radio

Lent - Return to me with all your heart

Joel 2:12
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning

“Return to me with all your heart… Return to the Lord.” Pope Francis said these words apply to everyone, and exclude no one; “we all want to return to the merciful heart of the Father.”

Pope Francis said Lent is a time for saying no: no to “spiritual asphyxia” caused by indifference; no to “the toxic pollution of empty and meaningless words”; no to “a prayer that soothes our conscience, an almsgiving that leaves us self-satisfied, a fasting that makes us feel good”, no to all forms of exclusion.”

But Lent is also a time for remembering, a time “to reflect and ask ourselves what we would be if God had closed His doors to us.” It is a time, too, the Pope said, to ask where we would be without so many people who have helped us along our journey.

And so, Pope Francis concluded, “Lent is a time to start breathing again… the time to open our hearts to the breath of the One capable of turning our dust to humanity.” 

source: Vatican Radio

Saint Jude Thaddeus - prayer request

St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes and one of Jesus’ original twelve Apostles. He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God.

Today, millions of people around the world turn to St. Jude, the Patron of Hope, for his intercession and hope. We invite you to send in your petitions and join in this devotion and turn to St. Jude, a source of strength and inspiration in our faith.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A Prayer for Friends

O God, bountiful in forgiving,
and lovingly desirous of man's salvation,
we humbly beseech Thy mercy in behalf of our friends,
relations and benefactors,
who have passed from this world, that,
through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin
and all the Saints,
Thou wouldst permit them to come
to the full participation of everlasting happiness.
Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

source: lourdes prayer request

Jesus frees us from Satan's power

When danger lurks what kind of protection do you seek? Jesus came to free us from the greatest danger of all - the corrupting force of evil which destroys us from within and makes us slaves to sin and Satan (John 8:34). Evil is not an impersonal force that just happens. It has a name and a face and it seeks to master every heart and soul on the face of the earth (1 Peter 5:8-9). Scripture identifies the Evil One by many names, 'Satan', 'Beelzebul - the prince of demons', the 'Devil', the 'Deceiver', the 'Father of Lies', and 'Lucifier', the fallen angel who broke rank with God and established his own army and kingdom in opposition to God.

The Lord Jesus frees us from Satan's power 
Jesus declared that he came to overthrow the power of Satan and his kingdom (John 12:31). Jesus' numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the work of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition and battle with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1). He overcame the Evil One through his obedience to the will of his Father.

Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus' healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could Jesus get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan's influence and control? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God. Jesus asserts that no kingdom divided against itself can survive for long. We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own time to prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoples and their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished. Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father explains the force of Jesus' argument:

Kingdoms are established by the fidelity of subjects and the obedience of those under the royal scepter. Houses are established when those who belong to them in no way whatsoever thwart one another but, on the contrary, agree in will and deed. I suppose it would establish the kingdom too of Beelzebub, had he determined to abstain from everything contrary to himself. How then does Satan cast out Satan? It follows then that devils do not depart from people on their own accord but retire unwillingly. “Satan,” he says, “does not fight with himself.” He does not rebuke his own servants. He does not permit himself to injure his own armor bearers. On the contrary, he helps his kingdom. “It remains for you to understand that I crush Satan by divine power.” [Commentary on Luke, Homily 80]

Jesus asserted his authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God. God's power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed and they give evidence that God's kingdom has come.

Being clothed in God's strength 
What kind of spiritual danger or harm should we avoid at all costs? Jesus used the illustration of a strong man whose house and possessions were kept secure. How could such a person be overtaken and robbed of his goods except by someone who is stronger than himself? Satan, who is our foe and the arch-enemy of God, is stronger than us. Unless we are clothed in God's strength, we cannot withstand Satan with our own human strength. What does Satan wish to take from us - our faith and confidence in God and our readiness to follow God's commandments. Satan is a rebel and a liar. Satan can only have power or dominion over us if we listen to his lies and succumb to his will which is contrary to the will of God. Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or opposed to it.

There are ultimately only two kingdoms in opposition to one another - the kingdom of God's light and truth and the kingdom of darkness and deception under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God's word, we open the door to the power of sin and Satan's influence in our lives. If we want to live in true freedom from the power of sin and Satan, then our "house" - our mind and heart and whatever we allow to control our appetites and desires - must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and to his Word?

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit 
What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Jesus knows that his disciples will be tested and he assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them whatever grace and help they need in their time of adversity. He warns them, however, that it's possible to spurn the grace of God and to fall into apostasy (giving up the faith) out of cowardice or disbelief. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit reprehensible? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. It's contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. Jesus speaks of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin.

Jesus spoke about this sin immediately after the scribes and Pharisees had attributed his miracles to the work of the devil instead of to God. A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. If people repeatedly closes their eyes to God, shuts their ears to his voice, and reject his word, they bring themselves to a point where they can no longer recognize God when he can be seen and heard. They become spiritually blind-sighted and speak of "evil as good and good as evil" (Isaiah 5:20).

The Holy Spirit heals and transforms us 
To fear such a state of sin and spiritual blindness, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God's grace, mercy, and help. There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who refuses to acknowledge and confess their sins and to ask God for forgiveness, spurns God's generous offer of mercy, pardon, grace, and healing. Through their own stubborn pride and willfulness, they reject God, refuse his grace and help to turn away from sin, and reject the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to heal and restore them to wholeness. God always gives sufficient grace and help to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from pride and the loss of hope in God.

What is the basis of our hope and confidence in God? Through Jesus' death on the cross and his victory over the grave when he rose again on the third day, Satan has been defeated and death has been overcome. We now share in Christ's victory over sin and Satan and receive adoption as God's sons and daughters. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord enables us to live a new life of love and freedom from slavery to sin. The Lord Jesus is our refuge and strength because he makes his home with us (John 15:4) and gives us the power and help of the Holy Spirit. Do you take refuge in the Lord and allow him to be the Ruler of your life?

Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

We have found the Messiah!

Who is Jesus for you? John calls Jesus the Lamb of God and thus signifies Jesus' mission as the One who redeems us from our sins. The blood of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) delivered the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt and from the plague of death. The Lord Jesus freely offered up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7). The blood which he poured out for us on the cross cleanses, heals, and frees us from our slavery to sin, and from the "wages of sin which is death" (Romans 6:23) and the "destruction of both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

It is significant that John was the son of the priest, Zachariah, who participated in the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple for the sins of the people (Exodus 29). In Jesus John saw the true and only sacrifice which could deliver us from bondage to sin, death, and the powers of hell. How did John know the true identity of Jesus, as the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 1:29)? The Holy Spirit revealed to John Jesus' true nature, such that John bore witness that this is the Son of God. How can we be certain that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God? The Holy Spirit makes the Lord Jesus Christ known to us through the gift of faith. God gives us freely of his Spirit that we may comprehend - with enlightened minds and eyes of faith - the great mystery and plan of God to unite all things in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

"What do you seek?" 
John in his characteristic humility was eager to point beyond himself to the Christ (means Anointed One andMessiah). He did not hesitate to direct his own disciples to the Lord Jesus. When two of John's disciples began to seek Jesus out, Jesus took the initiative to invite them into his company. He did not wait for them to get his attention. Instead he met them halfway. He asked them one of the most fundamental questions of life: "What are you looking for?" Jesus asks each one of us the same question:"What are you searching for? Do you know the meaning and purpose for your life?" Only God, the Father and Author of life, can answer that question and make our purpose fully known to us. That is why the Lord Jesus invites each one of us to draw near to himself. He wants us to know him personally - to know what he came to do for us and what he wants to offer us.

"Come and see" 
"Come and see" is the Lord's invitation for each one of us to discover the joy of friendship and communion with the One who made us in love for love. Saint Augustine of Hippo reminds us that it is God, our Creator and Redeemer, who seeks us out, even when we are not looking for him: "If you hadn't been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One who called you when you were opposed to Him make it possible for you to turn back?" It is God who initiates and who draws us to himself. Without his mercy and help we could not find him on our own.

When we find something of great value it's natural to want to share the good news of our discovery with our family, friends, and neighbors. When Andrew met Jesus and discovered that he was truly the Messiah, he immediately went to his brother Simon and told him the good news. Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus so he could "come and see" for himself. When Jesus saw Simon approaching he immediately reached out to Simon in the same way he had done for Andrew earlier. Jesus looked at Simon and revealed that he knew who Simon was and where he came from even before Simon had set his eyes on Jesus. Jesus gave Simon a new name which signified that God had a personal call and mission for him. Jesus gave Simon the name "Cephas" which is the Aramaic word for "rock". Cephas is translated as Peter ( Petros in Greek and Petrus in Latin) which also literally means "rock".

To call someone a "rock" was one of the greatest compliments in the ancient world. The rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: "I have discovered a rock to found the world upon." Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was - the Anointed One ( Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know the Lord Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness the truth and joy of the Gospel to others. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to draw us to himself. Do you seek to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Let your Spirit be aflame in my heart that I may joyfully seek to do your will in all things.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Prayer to Saint Philomena for Special Intentions

Prostrate at your feet O great and glorious little Saint, I humbly come with my fervent desires the prayer of my heart; accept it benignly and grant me the graces which I request

Saint Philomena pray for me

Glory be to the Father etc.

My heart is in turmoil I feel the pain grief is crushing me, I am in need of grace, help me, grant me my request

Saint Philomena pray for me

Glory be to the Father etc.

Weary without comfort deprived of hope alone overburdened by affliction I trust in you to answer my prayer

Saint Philomena pray for me

Glory be to the Father etc.

I realise that the cause of my many misfortunes were my grave sins, obtain for me the pardon which I need, instil in me the love for Jesus

Saint Philomena pray for me

Glory be to the Father etc.

Gaze on my home O Saint, turn your eyes on my family, look with your sweet smile upon your devout followers, dry the tears of everyone, put in my heart a ray of hope, give everyone peace, health and providence.

Saint Philomena pray for me

Glory be to the Father etc.

See how many graces I need, do not abandon me, you who are all powerful in God, keep me from sorrow and affliction let my heart be peaceful, free me from danger and ruin. Bless my home my family your followers and grant me my desired grace. (ask for the grace)

O lovely Saint do not abandon me and pray for me.

Glory be etc.

Through the virtue of your martyrdom may God have pity on us

Glory be etc. 3 times

Monsignor Michele Camerlengo, Bishop of Nola

Pastoral Theme Lourdes 2018 - “Do whatever He tells you” John 2

The Lourdes Apparitions took place 160 years ago this year, but like the Gospel, which itself is less than 2000 years old, they are as relevant today as ever. They beckon us on to a place we have not yet reached. We need to open our hearts to the Good News, to become the contemporaries of the Gospel today. God approaches ever closer, the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst.

Please click here to see the full Lourdes Pastoral Theme for 2018.

Friday, 12 January 2018

We never saw anything like this!

Do you know the healing power of forgiveness and compassion? Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt.

Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God's redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of body, mind, and spirit. Is there any area in your life that cripples you from walking in the freedom of Christ's transforming love and forgiveness?

Bishop Ambrose of Milan (339-397 AD), an early church father, explains how the healing of the paralytic points not only to Christ's power to heal the whole person, but also to raise the body to everlasting life as well:

But the Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. He adds, "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you'’ or to say, 'Rise and walk?'" In this passage he shows the full likeness of the resurrection. Alongside of healing the wounds of body and mind, he also forgives the sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It is a great thing to forgive people's sins - who can forgive sins, but God alone? For God also forgives through those to whom he has given the power of forgiveness. Yet it is far more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord himself is the resurrection. (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.12–13.5)

Do you believe in the healing transforming power of Christ's forgiveness and merciful love? Ask him to set you free and transform your mind and heart to be like his heart.

Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life - my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offenses and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your love, truth, and righteousness.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Monday, 8 January 2018

The Spirit descends upon the Father's beloved Son

Why did Jesus, the Sinless One, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3) - of which Jesus had no need. However, in this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of his bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

The Father proclaimed his entire delight in his Son and spoke audibly for all to hear. The Holy Spirit, too, was present as he anointed Jesus for his ministry which began that day as he rose from the waters of the Jordan River. Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all who come to believe in him. At his baptism the heavens were opened and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, signifying the beginning of a new creation.

How can we enter into the mystery of Jesus' humble self-abasement and baptism? Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 AD), an early church father tells us:

"Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him."

Do you want to see your life transformed by the love and power of Jesus Christ? And do you want to become a more effective instrument of the Gospel of peace, mercy, and righteousness? Examine Jesus' humility and ask the Holy Spirit to forge this same attitude in your heart. As you do, heaven will open for you as well. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to renew us in his Holy Spirit and to anoint us for mission. We are called to be "light" and "salt" to those around us. The Lord wants his love and truth to shine through us that others may see the goodness and truth of God's message of salvation. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with his Holy Spirit that you may radiate the joy of the Gospel to those around you.

Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and inflame my heart with the joy of the Gospel. May I find joy in seeking to please you just as you found joy in seeking to please your Father.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East