Tuesday, August 4, 2015

David Crowder Live: How He Loves & After All (Holy)

A Prayer for Spiritual Warfare

The following prayer was written by Fr. Robert DeGrandis:

Heavenly Father, I love You, I praise You, and I worship You. I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Who won victory over sin and death for my Salvation. I thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit Who empowers me, guides me, and leads me into fullness of life. I thank you for Mary, my Heavenly Mother, who intercedes with the Holy Angels and Saints for me.

Lord Jesus Christ, I place myself at the foot of Your Cross and ask You to cover me with Your Precious Blood which pours forth from Your Most Sacred Heart and Your Most Holy Wounds. Cleanse me, my Jesus, in the Living Water that flows from Your Heart. I ask You to surround me, Lord Jesus, with Your Holy Light.

Heavenly Father, let the healing waters of my Baptism now flow back through the maternal and paternal generations to purify my family line of Satan and Sin. I come before You, Father, and ask forgiveness for myself, my relatives, and my ancestors, for any calling upon powers that set themselves up in opposition to You or that do not offer true honor to Jesus Christ. In Jesus' Holy Name, I now reclaim any territory that was handed over to Satan and place it under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

By the power of Your Holy Spirit, reveal to me, Father, any people I need to forgive and any areas of unconfessed sin. Reveal aspects of my life that are not pleasing to You, Father, ways that have given or could give Satan a foothold in my life. Father, I give to You any unforgiveness; I give to You my sins; and, I give to You all ways that Satan has a hold of my life. Thank You, for Your Forgiveness and Your Love.

Lord Jesus, in Your Holy Name, I bind all Evil Spirits of the air, water, ground, underground, and Netherworld. I further bind, in Jesus' Name, any and all emissaries of the Satanic Headquarters and claim the Precious Blood of Jesus on the air, atmosphere, water, ground and their fruits around us, the underground and the Netherworld below.

Heavenly Father, allow Your Son Jesus to come now with the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Angels and the Saints to protect me from all harm and to keep all Evil Spirits from taking revenge on me in any way.
(Repeat the following sentence three times: once in honor of the Father, once in honor of the Son, and once in honor of the Holy Spirit.)

In the Holy Name of Jesus, I seal myself, my relatives, this room (place, home, church, car, plane, etc...), and all sources of supply in the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.
(To break and dissolve all Satanic Seals, repeat the following paragraph three times in honor of the Holy Trinity because Satanic Seals are placed three times to blaspheme the Holy Trinity.)

In the Holy Name of Jesus, I break and dissolve any and all curses, hexes, spells, snares, traps, lies, obstacles, deceptions, diversions, spiritual influences, evil wishes, evil desires, hereditary seals, known and unknown, and every dysfunction and disease from any source including my mistakes and sins. In Jesus' Name, I sever the transmission of any and all Satanic vows, pacts, spiritual bonds, soul ties, and satanic works. In Jesus' Name, I break and dissolve any and all links and effects of links with: astrologers; bohmos; channelers; charters; clairvoyants; crystal healers; crystals; fortune tellers; mediums; the New Age Movement; occult seers; palm, tea leaf, or tarot card readers; psychics; santeros; satanic cults; spirit guides; witches; witchdoctors; and, Voodoo. In Jesus' Name, I dissolve all effects of participation in séances and divination, Ouija boards, horoscopes, occult games of all sorts, and any form of worship that does not offer true honor to Jesus Christ.
Holy Spirit, please reveal to me through word of knowledge any evil spirits that have attached themselves to me in any way. (Pause and wait for words to come to you, such as: anger, arrogance, bitterness, brutality, confusion, cruelty, deception, envy, fear, hatred, insecurity, jealousy, pride, resentment, or terror. Pray the following for each of the spirits revealed.)

In the Name of Jesus, I rebuke you spirit of _________________. I command you to go directly to Jesus, without manifestation and without harm to me or anyone, so that He can dispose of you according to His Holy Will.

I thank You, Heavenly Father for Your Love. I thank You, Holy Spirit for empowering me to be aggressive against Satan and Evil Spirits. I thank You, Jesus, for setting me free. I thank You, Mary, for interceding for me with the Holy Angels and the Saints.
Lord Jesus, fill me with Charity, Compassion, Faith, Gentleness, Hope, Humility, Joy, Kindness, Light, Love, Mercy, Modesty, Patience, Peace, Purity, Security, Tranquility, Trust, Truth, Understanding, and Wisdom. Help me to walk in Your Light and Truth, illuminated by the Holy Spirit so that together we may praise, honor, and glorify Our Father in time and in eternity. For You, Lord Jesus, are, "...the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6 NAB), and You "...have come that we might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 JB).

"God indeed is my Savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and courage is the Lord, and He has been my Savior" (Isaiah 12:2 JB).


St. John Mary Vianney: Patron of Priests

A meditation on the Priesthood by Saint John Vianney, from his Little Catechism book by Tan.

Please pray for more good and holy priests to give us the same faith and sacraments of our ancestors. Saint John Vianney, pray for us.

The following comes from the Roman Miscellany site:

Today we celebrate the feast of St John Mary Vianney, who, all these years after his death, is still called the Curé (or Parish Priest) of Ars. This in itself is remarkable – as one writer puts it, ‘his name disappeared in his function’. He was a priest with the cure of souls first; everything else followed.

On paper, it seemed as if the Curé d’Ars' pastoral ministry would not be very fruitful. He only narrowly got through seminary and, because of his poor knowledge of theology, wasn’t even allowed to hear confessions at first! Once in the parish, he often yearned to join a monastery and made plans to run away on two occasions. ‘I should not like to die a Curé’, he once said, and he often noted how few canonised saints have been parish priests. Moreover, he faced many trials. In 1830 a group of parishioners tried to get him removed because he was ‘too strict’ and he even faced rumours of sexual scandal.

However, this simple, semi-illiterate pastor is the patron of parish priests. He won such fame as an insightful confessor, able to read souls, that special trains started running to Ars. He was a man of deep prayer who spent long hours in the Church and, on a number of occasions, had physical encounters with the devil. Whenever he was praised for his holiness and his special gifts, he always tried to detract from himself and focus people’s devotion on his favourite saint, the recently discovered martyr of the catacombs: St Philomena. He inspired his flock with his unsophisticated, accessible sermons. ‘It is all there, my children’, he once said pointing to the tabernacle, ‘What is Our Lord doing in the tabernacle? He is waiting for us’.

Today we pray that the priests of the twenty-first century will follow in the footsteps of the 'Saint Curé', seeking above all else the salvation and cure of souls. May their name – and with it their personal desires – disappear in their function. And, with this in mind, please pray especially for your own Curé - your parish priest.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Below My Feet by Mumford and Sons

Scott Hahn on Prayer

"If we do not fill our mind with prayer, it will fill itself with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments, and unwelcome memories."  
                                               Scott Hahn

Devotion to Christ by Fr Benedict Groeschel, CFR

Passion 2015 Music

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Desert Monks

The following comes from Brother Marcus:

What is a monk? The word ‘monk’ is derived from the Greek word monakhos which means ‘alone’ or ‘solitary’. In the early years of the fourth century, which are generally accepted as the embryonic years of Christian monasticism, individual Christian ascetics migrated into the desert wilderness of Egypt to engage in a solitary life of spiritual discipline. Their extraordinary way of life became an inspiration to great numbers of Christians who, following their example, withdrew from the secular world and entered the desert wilderness. Why this migration took place, how such Christians were perceived and why so many over so many years followed the way of the monakhos are issues too complex to be studied here.

Nevertheless, we should reflect upon how in the preceding centuries the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire had become ever more frequent and violent, culminating in the Great Persecution instituted by the Emperor Diocletian in the year 303. It was to last for more than eight years, during which time thousands of Christians were killed and many more abused in the most terrible of ways, and it is reasonable to assume that during those years many Christians fled into the wilderness to lead a Christian way of life free from oppression. The Great Persecution finally came to an end when Constantine became emperor in the year 312.

That earlier Christians, of the second and third centuries, may also have looked to the desert as a place of refuge is a matter of speculation as there are few records to guide us. It is probable, however, that during this period numerous Christians, albeit unrecorded, left the main centres of population and entered the wilderness to engage in the spiritual life free from religious intolerance, thereby establishing a precedent for the later solitaries of the fourth century. Another factor to be considered is the effect of the Edict of Milan, issued by Constantine and Licinius in the year 313. This edict granted religious freedom to Christians throughout the empire, and returned to them any properties previously confiscated by the state. As a consequence, the fortunes of the Church were reversed and the power of the bishops increased. This unexpected turn of events was not without its problems, of which one in particular stands out.

In many cases the motivation for spiritual perfection took second place to the desire for wealth, power and status. The result was that nominal Christians were to be found everywhere whilst spiritually aspiring Christians were just as few as before the time of Constantine. Furthermore, conflicts arose within the Church concerning orthodoxy, heresy and the parameters of authority. In the light of these seismic changes it is easy to understand how spiritually minded Christians of the fourth century fled not so much from the material world but from the materialism infesting the Church, and from court bishops who were fighting each other for choice territories. One can imagine the traditionally minded Christians, fleeing from the unseemly politics of the Church, entering the wilderness of Egypt and Palestine to return to the ancient prescribed life of simplicity and spiritual purity.
The word ‘monk’ was not then a commonplace name as it is today. Initially, the term ‘monk’ (monakhos) was used specifically to describe a man living a spiritual life in solitude. Other terms were also used to describe these solitary ascetics, such as the word ‘hermit’ or ‘eremite’ (from the Greek eremos, denoting an ‘inhabitant of a desert’). They were also called ‘anchorites’ (from anachoréo, I withdraw). Eremites or anchorites were predominantly men who withdrew from the company of other people to dwell alone in isolation, although it is apparent that not all of them sought complete solitude as it is recorded that many were accompanied by a disciple. As the fourth century progressed many inspired Christians of both sexes were forming religious communities in the Egyptian desert. These communities were called coenobia – a term derived from the Greek word koinobion indicating a shared or common life. Their members were known as coenobites, but as time passed they were also called monks.

In the early years of the fourth century, the most renowned ‘solitary’, St. Anthony (c. 251–356), introduced a form of community life known as the eremitical, when he undertook the spiritual direction and organisation of the many spiritual aspirants who had gathered about him. At about the same time St. Pachomius (c. 292–348) founded what may be considered the first conventional monastery, or coenobium, at Tabenna in the far south of Egypt [see map]. These community models or systems spread rapidly and in a relatively short time were firmly established throughout the Levant. Eremites or hermits were not specifically bound to a Rule such as that undertaken by those dwelling in a ceonobium and, unlike the coenobites, were generally free to wander at will.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Get More Out Of Going To Mass

The following comes from Aggie Catholics:

Many people go to Mass with the expectation that they are supposed to "get" a lot out of it. But, what you get out of Mass is dependent on what kind of changes you are willing to make in your efforts before, during and after Mass, because what you put into Mass determines what you get out of it.

Let me give you eight pointers that have helped me in the past:

1 - Properly prepare for Mass.

  • Read and study the readings before you go to Mass, and then listen to them intently while The Word is proclaimed. You can find the Sunday readings here.
  • Study the Church's teachings. The more you know about Christ and His Church, the more there is to love. - You can't love what you don't know.
  • Go to Confession regularly. This will help prepare you spiritually.
  • Pray daily. Without prayer you have no spiritual power!
  • Dress appropriately. You are going to meet the King of Kings. Don't dress the same as you would for a lunch date, a party, or class. Make it special.
  • Get there early and sit up front. Less distractions and more time for prayer before Mass.
  • Once inside, don't talk or people-watch...pray.
2 - Make sure your attitude is adjusted properly
  • Don't expect to be entertained. It isn't as much about what God is doing for you, but what you are doing to worship God.
  • Look for God in every part of the Mass.
  • Don't let outside distractions disturb your internal peace.
  • Find one nugget in the preaching to take home with you.
3 - Participate
  • Sing, even if your voice is bad.
  • Respond and pray with gusto. Give it all to God and don't worry about others.
  • Remember that during Mass isn't socializing time.
  • Offer your pain, sufferings, joys and prayers to God.
4 -Listen to the Word and be open to it changing you
  • Are you open to letting God change you? If not, then you won’t be changed.
  • Listen to the Word proclaimed and let it challenge you.
  • Find something in the Homily and apply it for the week.
5 - Know, understand, and proclaim your Faith
  • Don’t just recite the Creed - proclaim it like you mean it and understand what you are proclaiming.
6 - Tithe
  • If every Catholic tithed...think what we could accomplish in spreading the Gospel.
  • Yes, it is our duty to support the Church. But, it does more for our own faith than it does for the Church.
  • Most people "tip" not "tithe" - so be a tither, not a tipper.
7 - When you receive Jesus in the Eucharist - understand what it is you are doing
  • You are taking the Body, blood, soul, and divinity of GOD into you
  • You are joining in heaven on earth
  • You are becoming one with The Body of Christ
  • Be reverent
  • Realize that He is in everyone else that received Him as well.
8 - Tell other people about Him
  • You are now empowered to evangelize (share the Good News of Christ) - which is what the Church exists for.
"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." - Saint Jean Vianney

Saint of the day: Alphonsus Ligouri

The following comes from the American Catholic site:
Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.

In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Humility as the Essential Key to Holiness

Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive:
without humility all will be lost [...] As I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble. There are two advantages to this. First, it is clear that anything white looks very much whiter against something black, just as the black looks blacker against the white. Secondly, if we turn from self toward God, our understanding and our will become nobler and readier to embrace all that is good: if we never rise above the slough our own miseries we do ourselves a great disservice. 

–St. Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle" Page 52-53 Hat tip to St. Peter's List

St. Ignatius Loyola: Soldier for Christ!

Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola! For information on his life please check out the Patron Saints Index!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What the Lord Wants

The following comes from Dr. Tom Neal at Word on Fire:
At an inner city New Orleans parish today.
After Mass an elderly black woman comes up to me and speaks with me.
“Good morning, young man. Are you a visitor?”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
“So nice to have you here. And your children! Not many families left in church these days.”
“I’m Edna, nice to meet you.”
“Tom, nice to meet you as well.”
“Tom, do you need anything prayed for? I’m part of a prayer chain. We get on the phone every morning, starting at 4:00 a.m.. We get on the phone and we pray together for the intentions folks give us. So many things to pray for! My own family’s enough to keep me busy 24/7. You got that? There’s always trouble out there. Trouble. What’s wrong with this young generation? Lord have mercy.”
“Wow. That’s really remarkable you pray every day at 4:00 a.m.”
“But son, don’t think it’s remarkable. It’s not. It’s just what the Lord wants. He wants us to turn to Him in trouble, to lift up our voices for others. Early in the morning, the Bible says, we must rise and lift our hands in praise and petition. Don’t you think that’s what we supposed to do?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Yes, Lord. Yes, we rely on His grace. Mercy, Lord. We rely on your mercies. Everlasting, Jesus. Your kindness is everlasting. Isn’t He awesome? Yes! Now what you need prayin’ for?”
“My family, my job. . .”
“Oh, yes, Lord. Lord, hear your son Tom. His family, God, his family needs your blessings. Take his beautiful children in your loving arms. Help him be the father you made him to be, God. The husband his wife deserves. And Jesus, make him a godly man in his work. Hard workin’, honest, just, like St. Joseph. Keep him in gainful employ, O Father. . .Okay, now I’ll be praying for you with my prayer team tomorrow morning. Alright?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Alright. Amen. You’re welcome. It’s why we’re here, right? To rely on each other. To lean on one another. To rely on Jesus. [she starts singing…] Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus. . .[she sang the whole thing]”
“Wow, Edna, I want your faith.”
“No, son, you want your faith. We each got our special way of loving God. Be the man you’re made to be. God bless you.”
She made the sign of the cross on my forehead and walked off.

Fr. Barron on Planned Parenthood and the Loss of Human Dignity

Pope John Paul II's Prayer for Vocations

Holy and provident Father, You are the Lord of the vineyard and the harvest and You give each a just reward for their work. In your design of love You call men and women to work with You for the salvation of the world. We thank You for Jesus Christ, your living word, who has redeemed us from our sins and is among us to assist us in our poverty. Guide the flock to which You have promised possession of the kingdom. Send new workers into your harvest and set in the hearts of pastors faithfulness to your plan of salvation, perseverance in their vocation and holiness of life.

Christ Jesus, who on the shores of the Sea of Galilee called the Apostles and made them the foundation of the Church and bearers of your Gospel, in our day, sustain your people on its journey. Give courage to those whom You call to follow You in the priesthood and the consecrated life, so that they may enrich God's field with wisdom of your Word. Make them docile instruments of your love in everyday service of their brothers and sisters.

Spirit of holiness, who pour out your gifts on all believers and, especially, on those called to be Christ's ministers, help young people to discover the beauty of the divine call. Teach them the true way of prayer, which is nourished by the Word of God. Help them to read the signs of the times, so as to be faithful interpreters of your Gospel and bearers of salvation.

Mary, Virgin who listened and Virgin of the Word of God made flesh in your womb, help us to be open to the Word of the Lord, so that, having been welcomed and meditated upon, it may grow in our hearts. Help us to live like You the beatitudes of believers and to dedicate ourselves with unceasing charity to evangelizing all those who seek your Son. Grant that we may serve every person, becoming servants of the Word we have heard, so that remaining faithful to it we may find our happiness in living it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Prayer and the Taizé Community

Psalm 91: A Soldiers Prayer

Psalm 91 is called the Soldiers’ Psalm. We are told that in World War I, the soldiers of the 91st Brigade recited the 91 Psalm daily. This brigade engaged in three of the war’s bloodiest battles. Other units suffered up to 90% casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related death. God is willing and able to keep His words of covenant promise. Plead God’s 91 shield daily. Confidently claim His rest, refuge, safety, covering, faithfulness, freedom from fear, angelic watchers, deliverance, and protection. 

Prayer is the War. God’s Word is the Weapon.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand;
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[a]
    the Most High your habitation,
no evil shall befall you,
    no scourge come near your tent.
For he will give his angels charge of you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
            and show him my salvation. 

Hat tip to Simple Prayers!

Fr. Larry Richards: Surrendering to the Holy Spirit