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This Easter


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For Christians Easter is the high point, the summit of our faith, our Lord and Savior is alive, He has defeated death and is among us.  What a wonderful feeling, to know that our all loving God cares enough about us, a sinful people, to send His only son to walk in our shoes, but not only to walk in them, but to suffer in them. God is Good! He is Good indeed!

As a Catholic I love the Saturday vigil Mass. Yes it’s long, 3 hours, and yes its full of all the symbolism and  pomp befitting a coronation of a new king. And it is fitting, behold, the Lamb of God! Once again I attended the High Holy Mass, and was struck by a few things. First and foremost I was in awe of  Mass itself. The Catholic Church really does Easter up, as she should. The second thing that got to me was the fact that despite all the scandal, we still have new Catholics entering the Church. I witnesses 35 new brothers and sisters coming home. What a sight!

I love the fact that we Catholics make such a to-do about our new Brothers and Sisters in Christ on Easter, giving them a new live on the day we celebrate the Risen Lord! Its fantastic!

The homily was great, but the one thing that stuck in my mind is this, Father said that baptism is like a heart transplant, we receive a new heart when we are baptized. Not a direct quote, but close.  The thought was interesting because he, the priest, went on to say that this is biblical, that in the bible it states we get a new heart. What an awesome thing… I love my faith!

As you may or may not know, Easter is 50 days, so we are still in the Easter season, and I have resolved this year to make the most of it. Not sure how yet, but I am open for your suggestions.. .Please let me know what I can do to make this Easter season a Holy one.

God Bless & Happy Easter

Paul

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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Catholic, Easter, Faith, Mass, Prayer, Religon

 

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Lent 2011: Are you ready for it?


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With Lent here, it’s a good time to ask the question, “Are you ready for it?” or an even better question, “Do you understand it?”

Lent is a complex time in the Church year, we are depriving ourselves, we are reminded of our mortality yet we are to be preparing for the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, a time of celebration….

Talk about emotions running the gamete… The high and lows of life are all put into the 40 days of Lent… We as Catholic/Christians are called to use this time as a time of renewal, a time to prepare for the new life, the new life in Christ.

It’s a time of sacrifice, a time to offer up to God. But many look at it as a time to stop eating candy or drinking pop. Yes they are sacrifice for many, but is that all we need to do?


(Source)

  1. Online Lenten ResourcesTake 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this activities list for the Season of Lent, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions. Be careful. If you try to do too much, you may not succeed in anything. If you need to get up early or stay up late to get the 30 minutes of quiet, do it. Turn off your phone and computer. Don’t put it off and don’t allow interruptions.
  2. During the Season of Lent, Get up earlier than anyone else in your house and spend your first 15 minutes of the day thanking God for the gift of life and offering your day to Him.
  3. Get to daily Mass.
  4. If you can’t do Mass daily, go to Mass on Fridays in addition to Sunday and thank Him for laying his life down for you. Maybe you can go another time or two as well.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes in Eucharistic adoration at least one time during the week.
  6. Recover the Catholic tradition of making frequent visits to the Blessed sacrament throughout the week, even if it is only for 5 minutes.
  7. Get to confession at least once during the Season of Lent after making a good examination of conscience. If you are not sure why confession is important, get my CD “Who Needs Confession.
  8. In addition to the penance assigned by the priest, fulfill the conditions necessary for a plenary indulgence. You can learn about plenary indulgences from the official Handbook of Indulgences.
  9. Make a decision to read at least some Scripture every day. Starting with Today’s!
  10. Even if you can’t get to daily Mass during the Lenten Season, get a Daily Roman Missal or go visit the Crossroads Homepage for a link to the Daily Mass readings, and read these readings daily. During special seasons such as Lent, the Mass readings are thematically coordinated and make for a fantastic Bible study!
  11. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. You can buy a one volume edition or a full four volume edition. Or you can get it day by day online for free at www.universalis.com. Or you can subscribe to a monthly publication called the Magnificat that provides a few things from the liturgy of the hours together with the Mass readings of the day. The Magnificat is a great way to start learning the Liturgy of the Hours.
  12. Get to know the Fathers of the Church and read selections from them along with Scripture. Short selections from the Fathers writing on Lenten themes can be downloaded for free from the Lenten Library of our website at www.crossroadsintiative.com
  13. Make the Stations of the Cross each Friday of the Season of Lent either with a group or by yourself. If you have kids, bring them.
  14. Online Catholic Resources for LentPray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary often during Lent, especially on Friday and Wednesday. The glorious mysteries are especially appropriate on Sundays. Joyful and Luminous mysteries are great on other days.
  15. Purchase the Scriptural Rosary, which supplies you with a scripture verse to recite between each Hail Mary. This makes it easier to meditate on the mysteries. Another resource to deepen your understanding of the Rosary is my CD set “How Mary and the Rosary can Change Your Life.”
  16. If you’ve never done a family rosary, begin doing it. If starting with once a week, try Friday or Sunday. If it’s tough to start with a full five decades, try starting with one. Use the Scriptural Rosary and have a different person read each of the Scriptures between the Hail Mary’s. This gets everyone more involved.
  17. Make it a habit to stop at least five times a day, raise your heart and mind to God, and say a short prayer such as “Jesus, I love you,” or “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or “Lord, I offer it up for you.”
  18. Pray each day for the intentions and health of the Holy Father.
  19. Pray each day for your bishop and all the bishops of the Catholic Church.
  20. Pray for your priests and deacons and for all priests and deacons.
  21. Pray for the millions of Christians suffering under persecution in various Muslim and Communist countries around the world such as the Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, China, Viet Nam, and North Korea.
  22. Pray for Christian unity, that there would be one flock and one shepherd.
  23. Pray for the evangelization of all those who have not yet heard and accepted the Good News about Jesus.
  24. Pray for your enemies. In fact, think of the person who has most hurt you or who most annoys you and spend several minutes each day thanking God for that person and asking God to bless him or her.
  25. Pray for an end to abortion on demand in the United States. Pray for pregnant women contemplating abortion.
  26. Pray for a just peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Holy Land and elsewhere. Pray for our troops and for others in harm’s way.
  27. Pray for an end to capital punishment. Pray for those on death row, and for the families of murder victims.
  28. Find a form of fasting that is appropriate for you, given your age, state of health, and state of life. Some fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays. Some fast from sweets or alcohol throughout Lent. Some fast on one or more days per week from breakfast all the way to dinner, spending lunch hour in prayer or at noon Mass. Some cut out all snacks between meals. The money saved from not buying various things should be given to an apostolate or ministry serving the physically or spiritually poor.
  29. Prayer is like breathing – you have to do it continually. But sometimes you need to pause and take a very deep breath. That’s what a retreat is. Plan a retreat this Lent. It could be simply a half day, out in nature, or in a Church. Or it could be a full day. Or an overnight. You can certainly read lots of things during your retreat or listen to lots of talks. But try sticking to Scripture, the liturgy, and quiet as much as you can. During or at the end of the retreat, write down what the Holy Spirit seems to be saying.
  30. Find a written biography of a Saint that particularly appeals to you, and read it during the Season of Lent.
  31. Instead of secular videos for weekend entertainment, try some videos that will enrich your spiritual life. Suggestions: Jesus of Nazareth, by Franco Zeffirelli, The Scarlet and the Black, the Assisi Underground.
  32. While driving, turn off the secular radio for awhile and use commute time to listen to some teaching on audiocassette or CD. Some great resources can be purchased through this site or from other Catholic apostolates and publishers that you can find on our links page.
  33. Find a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or crisis pregnancy center, and volunteer some time there throughout Lent. Serve the people there with the understanding that in so doing, you are serving Jesus. Try to see Jesus in each person there.
  34. Visit someone at a nursing home or in the hospital or sick at home. Again, love Jesus in and through the suffering person.
  35. Is there a widow or divorced person living in your neighborhood? If so, invite that person to your home for dinner, coffee, etc.
  36. Catholic Online Resources, The Passion of the ChristView Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ during Lent on VHS or DVD, if you feel you can handle the violence. Get a copy of The Guide to the Passion to help you get the most out of the movie.
  37. Invite folks to view The Passion of the Christ with you, especially people whose faith is rather nominal, or who do not practice their faith, or who do not profess Christian faith at all. Give them a copy of The Guide to the Passion.
  38. Spend some focused time with your spouse, strengthening your marriage. Start praying together, or make praying together a more frequent occurrence.
  39. Spend some focused time together with each of your children. Listen. Pray. Maybe even have fun.
  40. When Easter comes, don’t drop the new practice you’ve begun during the Season Lent! Make a permanent feature of a deeper Christian life!

God Bless and Happy Lent

Paul

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Less Hits


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I noticed that the number of hits to my blog have dropped dramatically after Easter Sunday. Leads me to think that peoples interest in the faith is at a peak during Lent, and as soon as Easter comes and goes, so does their interest in the faith. Kind of sad really…

It’s sort of like the world series or supper bowl, lots of non fans become fans during the big games. They look up the stats and follow all the games leading up to the big game but once the game is over they are back to their normal lives.

I can almost understand it with sports, all the hype surrounding it and all, but with my faith life, I just can’t understand it. But I am always trying to learn more and more about my faith, so I just have a hard time understanding people who do not. To me, my faith life is more important that any world series or supper bowl or word cup game, but it seems to me that more people are interested in that than in their faith. why is this, what makes people care more about a sporting event, that will have no bearing on their eternal life, than about their faith life, that will have a direct bearing on there after life?

This question has always bothered me, as a youth minister and catchiest I have dedicated my life to teach youth about their faith life. I always strive to keep myself active in the pursuit of knowledge concerning my faith life. And I always was amazed at how many of my young students knew more about a rock star or sports star than their own faith. Many knew the names of obscure reality TV stars but not the name of their local parish priest.

Amazing at best.

But I can not hold the youth responsible, I must look at the culture and parents. the culture we live in looks down upon faith, treats it almost as a illness to be cured. The schools can not or will not discuse faith and it’s impact on American society, all references to religion have been removed or watered down from our textbooks and teachers are encouraged, in the name of incisiveness, to exclude any discussion of faith and religion from the class room. And sad as this may sound, many parishes do the same, they have watered down the teachings of the Church to make them more acceptable to a modern secular society that does not want to be told that they have done wrong. They teach a dogma that is bubble gum theology made to make you feel warm and cozy with who you are, not calling you to become who God wants you to be. They have reduced the Ten Commandments to Ten Suggestions and the Beatitudes have become a mantra for the “Jesus loves you” cult that is growing in our faith.

Now before everyone flies off the handle, let me explain… Yes, Jesus loves you and me, and yes that message is important, but when it becomes the only message we are missing the point. Jesus loves me as I am, but He is still calling me to a greater version of myself, He is still challenging me to become what it is God is asking of me. If I just teach the “Jesus loves me” mantras than I am short changing the youth, I am committing a grave injustice to them. I would even go so far as to say I would be sinning. Jesus himself called people to a greater version of themselves, just think of the story of the rich young man and how Jesus called him to take the extra step to join Him. Yet the young man was not able to do so and left Jesus. Now if Jesus followed the whole “Jesus loves me mantra” He would have simple told the young man, follow me, come as you are, I love you and you don’t have to do a darn thing”. But Jesus did not say that, he said, “Give up all you have and than come and follow me”

17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:17-25)

Compare: Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30

We all are loved by Jesus just as we are, yet Jesus knows we can be more, we can be better and He calls us to this greatness. Yet all to often we are teaching our youth that all is good “Jesus loves you”. What an injustice to our youth, what a travesty of our responsibility!

The home life, often times, is no better. Parents, often times through no fault of their own, teach the same dogma, or teach nothing at all, feeling it is the Churches responsibility not theirs. I have had to deal with this mentality for over 20 years of ministry. It is frustrating at best and infuriating at worst. All to often parents will pull their child out of formation classes for sporting events or just wont send them because they have to be bothered to drive them and pick them up. The message we send out children is that “religion” and “faith” are nice, but truly not that important. I have has parents ask me it it was ok for their child to miss class because they go to church every Sunday and learn all they need at Mass, or better yet, parents telling me they don’t go to Church but that’s ok because their child attends religion class once a week.

My response to both is basically the same “So if you don’t attend football or baseball practice everyday do you expect to play in the game that week?” Why are we willing to sacrific
e for a sporting event yet not for our faith? Our faith life is not a series of check boxes, it is not a task to be preformed nor is it an event to attend. Our faith life is our pathway to salvation, it is our roadmap to eternity with God. Yet so many treat it as a burden or a task to check off their weekly to do list.

It saddens me to see the number of hits to my blog drop after Easter, not because its my blog and I want lots of hits, but because it shows me that interest in the faith has dropped, that people are not as curious as they were during Lent.

We need to keep our curiosity up, we need to hunger for information and thirst for knowledge. We need to treat our faith life as if our lives depended upon it, because it does!

God Bless

Paul

 

Basic Spiritual Workout: A Guide to Christian Growth for Catholic Youth

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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Catholic, church, Faith, Family, History, Lent, Life, youth

 

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7 Ways To Keep Going | World of Psychology


Below is an article I read and I thought it would be very helpful to others, enjoy…

Paul

____________________________________________________________

7 Ways To Keep Going

By Therese J. Borchard
April 7, 2009

A woman who lives with chronic pain said to my mom the other day, “You can’t sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You’ve got to learn how to dance in the rain.”

That’s a perfect description of living with depression, or any chronic illness. But what do you do on the days you don’t think you can take the pain anymore? When you want so badly to be done with your life … or at least be done with the suffering? What do you do when anxiety and depression have spun a web around you so thick that you’re convinced you’ll be trapped forever in those feelings?

I’ve compiled a few tools for moving past that harrowing darkness, suggestions on how to emerge from a place of panic, and techniques on how to dance in the rain.

1. Escape from the pain.

Lately, when my thoughts turn dark, I’ve been telling myself that I don’t want another life … I want a reprieve from the pain. I’m usually at a loss on how to get there. I’m tired, frustrated, desperate, so my thoughts follow the path that has already been blazed throughout the years … and I fantasize about intoxication or some other destructive behavior that doesn’t require a lot of imagination.

How else can I escape … in a positive way? Instead of romanticizing about death or inebriation from booze, I can research new kayaking routes, bike paths, hiking trails, and camping sites. I can invest the time I lose in unproductive and dangerous thoughts into planning creative outings for myself and for the family that will give me/us the reprieve that I’m craving. I can be proactive about finding sitters for the kids so that my thoughts won’t revert back to “stinking thinking.”

2. Track your mood.

An essential piece of my recovery is keeping a mood journal. This helps me to identify certain patterns that emerge. As I said in my “Me on the Bad Days” post, depression can flare up seemingly out of the blue, like a thunderstorm. But often there are telltale signs that can clue me in as to why I’m feeling so fragile. You can catch these if you’ve been recording your mood over time.

3. Talk about it.

I can’t get a therapy appointment round the clock, so I had better invest in some friends that won’t tire of me telling them that my thoughts are turning to mush again.

Over the weekend I called two friends and my mom. “I’m going there again,” I explained. They know what THERE means … without my having to explain or justify. I don’t fully understand how gabbing heals, the scientific explanation of why venting does so much good, but I can surely attest to it, and confirm the connection between talking about something and feeling better. It’s like you’re a scared little kid in a lightning storm, and a neighbor, seeing that you’re locked out of your house, invites you inside and makes a cup of hot chocolate for you. Well, maybe it’s not that good, but it’s close, which is why our phone bill is way up this month.

4. Repeat: “I WILL Get Better”!

As I said in my video, “I WILL Get Better,” I think about my Aunt Gigi every time I wind up in the depression tunnel, and remember her repeating to me over the phone a few years back: “You will get better. Repeat that. You WILL get better.” Peter J. Steincrohn, M.D., author of “How to Stop Killing Yourself” wrote: “Faith is a powerful antidote against illness. Keep repeating – and believing: I WILL get well. If you believe, you help your doctor and yourself.” And this paragraph from William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” always reassures me:

If depression had no termination, then suicide would, indeed, be the only remedy. But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease–and they are countless–bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.

5. Take baby steps … a day at a time.

On mornings that I wake up with that nauseating knot of anxiety in my stomach, everything seems overwhelming. Getting myself to the bathroom so that I can brush my teeth feels seems like a triathlon in August. So I don’t attempt the triathlon. I only have to worry about getting my left foot down on the ground. And then my right one. And then I have to stand.

I’ll look at my to-do list and cross off two-thirds of it. “What on this list do I absolutely HAVE to do?” I say so myself. Everything else can wait. And then I start with the first thing, and do the first mini-movement that I need to do in order to accomplish that. If it’s getting Katherine dressed, that means 1. Finding Katherine. (That’s harder than it sounds.) 2. Picking out an outfit. (Ditto.) 3. Helping her out of her nightgown and into her clothes. (That’s where my nervous system almost shuts down.) And so on. Each item on the list can be broken down into a dozen mini-steps.

6. Distract yourself.

Some days I’m just not worth much. All I can do is distract myself … to keep myself from thinking about how awful I feel. Just like Fr. Joe carved figurines out of soap when he was depressed, and Priscilla made jewelry to keep her mind off of her anxiety, I will try to do anything to keep my brain occupied and away from my hurt, sort of like I did when I was in labor: baking chocolate-chip cookies, looking through old pictures, listening to Beethoven and Mozart, watching a comedy, swimming, running, biking, or hiking through the woods. (I didn’t do all of that in labor, though.)

7. Get out your self-esteem file.

For the past few days I’ve been carrying around letters from my self-esteem file in my pocket like a baby blanket. Some people have told me that my self-esteem must be shallow if I have to rely on praise from other people. Maybe it is. But I have to start somewhere, and anyone who has sat in that panic place where you want to end it all, knows that it’s virtually impossible at that time to come up with a list of your own strengths. So you have to believe what other people say.

Return to EverydayHealth.com

Therese J. Borchard writes the daily Beliefnet.com blog Beyond Blue (voted by Psych Central as one of the Top 10 Depression Blogs) and moderates Group Beyond Blue, the Beliefnet Community online support group for depression. Her memoir “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” will be released in January of 2010. Subscribe to Beyond Blue here or visit her at www.ThereseBorchard.com.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2009 in Change, Control, Faith, Improvement, Life, Self

 

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