Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Plugging The Holes

I remember in the early 1970's, my Mother would tend to her garden scooting from one plant to the next.

It would begin with using a rototiller and a hoe. We would make the straight lines and plant what ever vegetibles we were placing in the uprooted dirt.

We would make a full fledged garden with the plow. Once the seed was planted, we would fill the holes with dirt.

We would keep all the weeds out of it and keep it cleared so that the plants would take root and grow.

The Sun would come out giving the light and the rain would come down and water the plants.

It would always be a lot of work and my Mother was totally dedicated in maintaining it.

She would take great care to ensure her garden was well maintained.

If she needed work, she had my Brother and I to do the things she couldn't. 

What a great gift our Mother was in giving us this great example.

She had her back broke in two places and she would literally scoot from one plant to the next.

In remembering all this, it reminds me of a spiritual truth that is easily missed.

People question the need of penance challenging me why they need to do penance at all.

It is to fill the holes left as a consequence of sin.

The sin is forgiven in the Confessional, sure enough, the Lord is merciful and true.

But what is left is the hole as a result of the damage due to the sin.

The Lord wants to plant his seed of grace to nurture healing in the wound.

Once the seed is planted, He fills the holes with grace.

Jesus gives us the means to keep all the weeds out of it and he keeps it cleared so the grace will take root and grow.

We must cooperate with his grace in order for it to grow.

The Son shining His grace upon your wounds allows the wounds to receive the nurtients necessary.

This is the purpose of the Sacraments, especially Confession.

St. John the Baptist said to "Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance."

This is the sign of the spiritual heaing that takes place with the healing of the wounds, the plugging of the holes.

This is very important, the Church is here to till the dirt, to clean out the weeds and allow the grace to take root and grow.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit, to give us the gift of God's grace found in the Sacraments.

The struggles of life can deepen the wounds, sure enough. Sin can cause the wounds to bust and boil, become infected.

True healing comes when you keep the wounds clean. As they say, cleanliness is next to Godliness!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Rocky's Greatest Attribute

It was the 10th and final round of an exibition fight that nobody expected much of a competitive bout between former champion, Rocky Balboa and the current Champion, Mason Dixon.

 Rocky is close to his 60's at this time, but he has maintained himself incredibly well.

So much so that he is right in the middle of a great fight when he received a huge right hand by the Champion.

Then Rocky says to himself, "What did you say to the kid? It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you get hit if you keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward, get up!"

With this scene comes the familiar inspiring music, the chants and cheers for Rocky, and a great finish.

What I have loved about the Rocky movies is that they ordinarily provide a great testimony of endurance, motivation, and inspiration.

I also love the strong Catholic flavor in the movies, Rocky is always asking and trusting in his Parish Priest, he always does the "Sign of the Cross" before a fight, he loves his family, his wife and Son.

This is important in life, to believe in yourself, to work hard, and to listen to good counsel.

Zechariah 4:6 states, "Not by an army, nor by might, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts".

We are to place our complete trust and confidense in the Lord of hosts.

 It was making this last Rocky movie that I learned of Sylvester Stallones return to the Catholic Faith.

How this inspires me and how happy I am for this news.

There is a party in heaven when a prodigal comes home. Sometimes all we can say is that it is God's time.

I will always be thankful for good movies that have a good meaning and the Rocky series have been very important.  Many young people have been influenced with a positive message here.

Growing up an Athlete all my life, to include collegent, semi-pro baseball. I have always loved sports based stories like Rocky.

I remember watching Rocky VI with my oldest Son, Nathan, at fort Campbell when it first came out. The crowd really got into it during the fight scene.

I also remember watching the last Rocky movie in Iraq with a group of Soldiers and that was fantastic.

St. Paul writes, "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disquaified".  (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) 

That is a good verse speaking out against "once saved, always saved", but in truth, this true is everywhere, we must persevere until the end.

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The Catholic Defender: Troublesome Waters

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a lady who works at an area hospital that I worked at. I was walking through the area making sure all was secure.

I was able to spend some time talking with her as I helped her with supplies.

In our conversation, the subject of the Catholic Church was brought up.

I think it was because of current attacks coming from the Obama Administration forcing Homosexual practice and abortion upon the United States.

These mandates are not being recognized as an infringement on Christians. Christians are expected to suck it up and drive on.   

As we continued our discussion, the Lady identified herself as a former nun coming to the United States from Germany.

I also learned from the Lady that she was also divorced and remarried. At first, she was defensive about being a christian, she prays everyday, she believes that she is loved by God, she felt that she was "saved".   

I wanted to take positive those things she said and build on them to make a stronger case for the Catholic Faith. I was able to communicate the foundation of the Catholic Faith coming from Jesus Christ, scripture, history and tradition.   

The more I was able to discuss this with her, the more she opened up and recognized the truths I was communicating to her.

I encouraged her to go to Mass, to make an appointment to see Father, and to work towards reestablishing her Catholic Faith in her life.

That the Sacraments were vital because of the grace that Christ offers through them.

By the time I had to go the Lady was emotional as she recognized her need to be restored to the vinyard of the Lord.

This conversation is not an isolated case as I have had many such talks with people who have disinfrancize themselves from the Church because of bad ill-thought out decisions in their lives.

Hosea 4:6 warns, "My people perish for want of knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood; Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons."

That is a very powerful warning that I have witnessed so many times through very quick observations. Because people have not placed God high on their list, they are swallowed up by the world.   

They are not placing the importance of the Lord in their lives so their loyalty to the Church is minimal (nominal) at best.

 Jesus warns, "I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16).

Because our faith is not strong, we succumb to our own weakness and the lure of sin. People make bad decisions many times because they are not grounded on the gospel.

They have allowed themselves to fall for the many temptations placed before them. Going back to the discussion with the Lady, she told me that her first husband committed adultry when he was deployed.

She also told me that the Battalion Chaplain told her that "Men have special needs and can't control themselves in war."

It is obvious that she did not accept that nor do I. I was faithful to my wife and I am thankful for my Faith!

I do not see how people live without it? This very morning, I was at the PX on Fort Hood picking up medication for my wife.

I sat down waiting for my number to be called when I saw this lady go up to get her meds.

Now, I was finishing my Divine Mercy Chaplet as I sat there waiting.

This woman wore these see through pants that gave little imagination.

And it seemed like she was there for 10 minutes standing at the window.   

The chairs are fixed in a way that you are facing the windows and try as you might, you couldn't help but notice this lady's personality?

That was difficult to keep my mind on the Divine Mercy. Then, about that time a Lady was sitting behind me chastizing her son for playing with a group around an ouija board.

She was complaining that she would have to get this woman spiritualist to come and clean their house.

I couldn't take it after that, I turned around and identified myself, offering why I would make an appointment with a Catholic Priest! I definitely got her attention as well as her son.

That conversation helped me keep from having to struggle from looking at this other ladies personality.  

Our Society has gone so far from our Christian roots that secularism is becoming the social norm.

Even Catholics are being confused and compromized.

That's why so many of them are "lukewarm" and "nominal". People are out to make a quick dollar and we have lost the understanding of working for things. We expect to have these things.

When you surrender your soverignty to a secular State we are soon trapped in the darkness of our own device.

The Troublesome Waters that is threatening our faith is causing so many to lose their faith.

Matthew 24:13 warns, "But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." Jesus also says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice (The voice of the Catholic Church) and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him (Eucharist), and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne".

 What a great promise that is understood to be the Mass until the Lord returns at the Parousia.    Deepertruth wants to encourage you to make the Mass the center of your life, to put on the whole armour of God.

If you do, you can many times avoid the troblesome waters surrounding you. You will be able to navigate through the darkness guided by the light of Christ.

St. Peter writes, "Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, 'Be holy because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:13-16).

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Thankful Heart

With all the problems we run into from time to time, sometimes it is easy to let the environment dictate your happiness and life.

Within one week, I had a collection agency tell me that we owed $3,322 on an accident after our insurance paid the bill in full.

I was told that when I retired from the Army, I would be entitled to receive one month unemployment before my retirement kicked in. Well, the unemployment office is demanding I pay it back?

All I received was just the one month? The IRS is knocking at my door saying that we owe for 2004 and 2006 even though that was all paid in 2009?  They now say I own them in excess of $22,000 dollars? Can anyone out there have this same kind of problem?

The VA who is suppose to pay for my housing and books decided to not pay us so I could not make my morgage payment this month.

I've been taking classes without books because I have been living in overdraft the past 6 months.

On and on it goes, but despite what these events are trying to do to our way of life, they cannot have my soul.

My Faith must at least be the size of a mustard seed so that I can grow with the flow!

I have so much to be thankful for. I am so thankful for my holy Catholic Faith that gives me hope when there is so much despair. I am thankful for my Mother who loved me enough to teach me the Catholic Faith.

I am thankful for our Grandchildren who are a delight to watch grow.

When you have so much to be thankful for, you just can't let the world kick you down.

I am thankful for all my children who are growing into mature adults and making something positive of their lives.

I am thankful for my wife, Gigi who has supported me when I was on a battlefield and loves me as her best friend.

I am thankful for deepertruth and all of the family that is part of it. For all the support we have received because our faith matters.

It is a condition of the heart. Zig Ziglar once said, "You will never get a head of others as long as you are trying to get even". There is some truth to that.

Yes there are times we must take a stand. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

This is a matter of health, you can bring your body down with all the anger and worry. So keeping a thankful heart offers a healing agent to the soul. I think when you help others, you find that your own burdens are eased.

Colossians 3:15-17 states, "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Even in death, we have great hope because of our faith. We know that in eternity, this life is but a fleeting moment. Those who have gone on before us marked with the sign of faith are there pulling for us, praying for us. We have much to be thankful for!

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Let is keep our minds and hearts open for the word of the Lord through his holy Catholic Faith. So often we take our problems to the Lord as well we should, he invites us to do so. But like the one leper who the Lord cured who came back to thank the Lord for his mercy, we too should go to Mass with thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Convert from Satanism on the Garden of Holiness Podcast Tonight

How do you become involved in Satanism and how does God get you out of it again? Tune in to tonight's Podcast and find out as we interview a convert from Satanism. 9 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. Central)

(click here to listen in tonight)

Because this is a conversion story, we won't be having live callers tonight. She's agreed to come on at another time for a Q&A format.

Our speaker will be featured at the Spiritual Warfare Conference in Ontario, California, May 3, 4, 5. Click here for details.

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The Catholic Defender: The Crucifix, object of love

Love is a word that many people use for many different things. You might hear something like, "I love my new car", or "I love my new house".

People can even 'love' to hate. You ask the question, "what do you mean by that"?

Well, how can you love someone when you purposely misrepresent them?

How can you love someone when you do not respect them?

On Youtube, there are some of the most vile hate filled attacks of the Catholic Faith taking statues of Saints and destroying them.  Like they are conquering the enemy? From where does this begin, where do we begin to explain it.

It's rather absurd that anyone would think we worship objects such as a statue but that is what they tell people. For such a person who thinks that, there is not much to say to them because they have blind rage and are dishonest, they are not going to quit when they hear the truth.

Consider the following:

In looking at the crucifix, consider meditating on the suffering of Jesus. The crowning of thorns and the wounds on his head reflects the suffering he bore because of what we place in our head.  The decisions to rebel against God.

His right hand (wrist) nailed to the cross reflects the things we did that caused sin, his left hand (wrist) nailed to the cross reflects the things we failed to do.

Study the feet, sometimes you will see a crucifix with the left over right, sometimes we might see the feet fastened separately.

Either way, this reflects our choosing to walk a wrong path, a rabbit trail.

Consider the lance through the heart, how the Sacred Heart of Jesus loves us all so much, yet we have hardened our hearts against him choosing to sin. There is so much we can meditate on using the crucifix.

No, this article is to reach out to those who have the capacity to understand. The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

1. Wisdom - desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory
2. Understanding - enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith
3. Counsel - warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation
4. Fortitude - strengthen us to do the will of God in all things
5. Knowledge - enable us to discover the will of God in all things
6. Piety - love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him
7. Fear of the Lord - have a dread of sin and fear of offending God

Because of love for God we are duty bound to tell the truth. Often times I will hear our friends tell us, "I don't hate Catholics, I actually love Catholics? I just want to get them all saved" or even better, they like to play the "I used to be a strong Catholic" card.

It is our duty to respond to these attempts to undermine Catholic teaching especially for those who are sitting on the fence. Hosea 4:6 tells us that God laments because His people are destroyed because of the lack of Knowledge. If you are lukewarm you need to get off the fence.

I'll show you how this often times works; As a newly promoted Specialist in the Army, just arriving in Germany for a three year deployment, after I would get off work, I would try to get out and see the area. Nearby, there was a fellowship center that Soldiers were encouraged to participate called "Hospitality House".

This is used as an outreach offering fun and games with good food. Then they have their bible studies.

On this one occasion that I was there through invitation, the organizers thought I would be a good recruit.

A potential prospect because they saw me do the 'Sign of the Cross'.

I always do this when I pray without thinking anything about it. But the people attending this fellowship some of them were 'former' Catholics and they began to approach me with questions.

I answered their questions to such a degree that the leadership was concerned I might cause a few of them to doubt their decision of leaving the Catholic Faith.

This is my intent as it says in James 5:19-20 "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sin's".

This is the motivation for deepertruth as we want to equip people to stand up for the truth. To "hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy (Hebrews 10:23)".

We need to hold to our guns standing up for the faith. Jude 3 states, "Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones".
In order to do that we must equip ourselves with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If I know that a person was a 'former' Catholic, I am obligated to find out why they fell away (Titus 3:10).

These "Hospitality Houses" are set up to bear witness to their faith, but Catholics should be equipped when they are thrust into situations like that. If you are unprepared, you can fall and be deceived very easily with a smile and a handshake.

A tactic they will employ concerns their misrepresentation of Scripture and our lack of knowledge of it. Case in point: Martin Luther changed the emphasis of the 1st and 2nd Commandments of the Lord.

Exodus 20 begins "Then God delivered all these commandments: I the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall have no other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them".

The Protestants take the first commandment: "I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me" and cut it in two commandments. Obviously, creating gods made out of wood or plaster breaks the first Commandment. We are being accused for making "graven" images when in fact, they are not "graven" images.

The Scripture is clear that the Lord is addressing images that are the object of worship or the representation of the objects of worship that are not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Exodus 25 and 1 Kings, God instructs the Israelites to put angels on the Ark of the Old Covenant and in the Temple Solomon built.

With the completion of the Temple which included the statues of the angels that spanned the complete width of the Sanctuary, God says, "I have heard the prayer of petition which you offered in my presence. I have consecrated this Temple which you have built; I confer my name upon it forever, and my eyes and heart shall be there always".

Of the Catholic Church, Jesus says, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me" (Luke 10:16). Jesus warns that if we do not listen to His Church, but reject the teaching of the Church, you not only reject Jesus, but also the Lord who made His promise to Solomon (1 Kings 9:3).

The issue regarding the "graven" images that God is originally addressing concerns the surrounding nations who worshiped idols made by men, and fashioned false gods, and adored objects which is against the 1st Commandment. The Philistines worshiped a half-man, half-fish idol they called "Dagon" which Samson destroyed in their temple (Judges 16:23-31).

The story of the golden calf, the story of Solomon allowing his wives to bring in all their gods into Israel, the disobedience of the people of God was adultery to God. This all breaks the 1st Commandment.

A crucifix that depicts the death of the Lord on the cross is not an object of worship as was the object of "Dagon". Because of the people complaining against God and Moses, the Lord punished the people with 'saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. With repentance, the Lord instructed that a bronze serpent be made and had it mounted it on a pole so that who ever looks upon it will recover.

It's interesting that the Lord used a serpent on a pole for a means of healing. This foreshadows the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus on the cross became sin so that through his death we might find healing. Jesus states, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me".St. Paul states, "but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

The crucifix represents our healing through his sacrificial death through His Resurrection.

Like the Nehustan (2 Kings 18:4) we are not to worship these objects, but like the angels on the Ark and in the Holy of the Holies in the temple, sacred objects are used to enhance the worship of the unseen God.

The Lord never intended that artist could never paint or sculptors could never create, but that these gifts be given back to him for his glory!

What Christians have believed for 1500 years before Martin Luther has not changed in 2,000 years. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever".

Do we think that first century Christians sinned because they painted objects of crosses, loaves of bread, fish, Jesus as Shepherd, Mary, and the other Apostles and Saints found on the walls of ancient catacombs?

Not at all! Many of those attacking the Catholic Church would never put this standard upon themselves as most will have pictures of family members and loved ones in their homes. The Catholic Church is a family record going back to Jesus. I have a great family album!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Catholic Defender: The Meaning of Life

One of the most often question people ask is "What is the meaning of life"?

I will answer this question this way:

It was the Spring of 1977, I had a baseball scholarship preparing for my second season.

My Uncle, Phillip Fraizer bought me a $60.00 baseball glove which was a decent price in those days for a baseball glove.

 Not only that, he drove me back to school which was about a 2 hour drive. This helped my Mother out a great deal as well as me.

The year before, I had played with an old glove I had through high school and it was beat up really bad.

Coach Smith and others had a lot of fun with me over that ball glove as I used shoe strings to help keep it together.

In this picture I was sliding in safe at home plate!

So when Uncle Phillip bought me my new glove, this was a great gift that I made the most of. I was an outfielder and that glove served me well for three years of NAIA college and semi-pro play.

Over the years, that old baseball glove has been placed as a memorial for the importance this gift meant to me and my college days.

Especially considering that following May, 1977, Uncle Phillip was brutally murdered by a group of teenagers who had been doing small time robberies for drugs.

The morning after the murder, I found out about it from reading a news flash in the dinning hall as I was eating breakfast.

I hurriedly went to the college library to find that the largest man-hunt in Southern Missouri was taking place as the criminals had kidnapped Uncle Phillip.

Today, if someone looked at this glove, how could they understand the value of this ball glove? The meaning is totally lost without knowing the importance this gift means to me.

This part of the story will become more important to me as this article unfolds. At this point it is important to note that Uncle Phillips gift to me was very important.

Consider today's reading at Mass: "I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.  They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.  The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.  They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.  For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Notice what I highlighted from Revelation! "they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb", "For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

This is clearly a reference to Baptism.  Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states, "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.  That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

Through Baptism we are delivered from sin, it is a free gift from God through the Ministry of the Church.  Consider Hebrews 10:22, "let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,.."

Baptism cleanses us from sin, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39) 

In Baptism we receive the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit! That means the gift of life! This is the true meaning of life, to have life more abundantly through Jesus Christ.  

Just like people might not appreciate the importance of Uncle Phillip's gift to me, people many times do not understand the gift God is offering them.  

This is why many commit suicide, why families are in such turmoil, why there is such rampant apostasy and heresy everywhere.  This is why secularism is given a foothold in our society.   

Consider the direct opposite effect of someone who rejects the Catholic Faith.  2 Peter 2:22 warns, "What is expressed in the true proverb has happened to them, 'The dog returns to its own vomit, and a bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire".   

How sad this is to see in our families such rebellion, but this is all prophetic.  We are in a battle for sure and we must stand firm in the Faith and persevere to the end.

Going back to my Uncle Phillip, my Brother Randy, a one time United States no-nonsense Marine, went to do prison Ministry in Columbia Missouri when he was confronted with praying with the master mind who killed Uncle Phillip.

This was something he had not expected, but when faced to make a decision, he, on his part, forgave the individual and what a gift this represents.  

It reminds us that all of us need this kind of forgiveness from the Lord and this is his gift to us.

I have been given much, I am well blessed, my Faith and his Grace is the greatest gift he has given me.

My wife Gigi is God's greatest gift and responsibility he has given me and the Children we continue to love and support.

Life has so much to offer with it's challenges and responsibilities, but it is a great opportunity to do his will in all things, to be his servant, his instrument..

The answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life" can really be answered in a scripture verse: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." Please accept the grace of God as a permanent gift to you if only we would act upon our yes.

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Reality hits...a sobering bottom line

It is quite sobering to realize that the present corner of our world is ruled by two oppressive forces.

The first seeks to sell us the illusion of freedom and the fear of losing it. This, so much so that we will surrender our security and live in a state of anarchy where survival is only to he who can accumulate the most wealth and the most guns.

The second seeks to sell us the illusion of security and the fear of losing it. This, so much so that we will surrender our liberty and live in a state of oppression where survival is only to he who can purge his mind of any sense of self and pledge loyalty to the collective.

The only choice is to which ideology you are willing to be a slave.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Saint Andre Bessette

One of the benefits of being Catholic is the great access we have with the Kingdom of heaven.

Jesus gives this to everyone, but unfortunately, sadly some to not understand this very well.

Hebrews 12:1-2 states, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God".

St. Andre Bessette saw this vision and now is among those within this cloud of glory.

He was born in Quebec Canada raised in a small town called Mont-Saint-Gregore. He was so weak and frail, he was given an emergency Baptism.

My wife worked at a Catholic Hospital and has baptized infants just like this, which shows how sick he was at birth.

He was one of 10 children and work was difficult, his Father sought work and was rarely home. He was tragically crushed by a falling tree working as a lumberjack.

Shortly after this accident, his Mother developed consumption (tuberculosis) leaving St. Andre Orphaned by the time he was 12 years old.

He would try any odd jobs he could find, he had no trade, no real education and his health was frail.

Through all this wondering he steadily grew in his spirituality. He maximized what some people will minimally do.

He would spend his free time before a Crucifix, or he would talk to friends about our Lord. He would be someone after my own heart.

He was a lot like the Children of Fatima as he would do penance for those he would pray for. By the time he was 20 years old, he would come to the United States seeking work in New England.

There, he caught the eye of a Parish Priest who recommended St. Andre to The Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal. Fr. André Provençal wrote, "I'm sending you a saint".

Because of his poor health, he was not initially accepted, However, the Montreal Archbishop Ignace Bourget, intervened for St. Andre Bessette and he was finally accepted in 1872.

From this time on, he would be known as "Brother Andre". He made his final vows on February 2, 1874, at the age of 28.
Incredibly, Brother Andre would serve there for 40 years. He took hospitality to a whole different level as he served as a receptionist, a Wall-Mart Greeter. He did the tasks that most would gladly give to him to do and he did it with a smile, with love and devotion.

He was no average Wall-Mart shopper, he would go and visit the sick at their homes, at the hospitals, it wasn't long that rumors of healing began to spread. Something he never took credit, but only praised God!

People began to seek him out for prayer and he would always have a kind word for each person, but he never took credit for any of the supernatural events taking place.

He had a strong devotion to St. Joseph and the Holy Family. He became known as the "Miracle worker of Mount-Roya". With all this excitement surrounding him, of course the Secularist and the anti-Catholics would do what ever harassment they can muster.

That's the way it always is. His popularity far exceeded the criticism as when he died at age 91, 1,000,000 people past his coffin. That is wild.

This reminds me when I went to Chicago to see Pope John Paul II with about 2,000,000 other people. The famed Atheist, Madeline O'Hara along with about 25 protesters arrived to protest the Papal Mass at Grant Park.

St. Andre Bassette was canonized a Saint by Pope Benedict XVI on December 19, 2009. So many times do we see the scripture teaching that the humble are lifted up by God.

You do not have to be a strong "Hulk Hogan" type to gain popularity, but a simple love for God and great acts of kindness.

Nothing wrong with being an athlete, but it is much better to be a Christian Athlete! St. Andre Bessette, pray for us Amen!

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John Lennon was right after all

One can argue how much he lived the words he spoke and many will make a strong case that he did not. Nevertheless, if you ask me if the words-themselves- were true, if the very words, put in that exact order and defined in the exactly correct way are correct, there is no question they are. I had to take a long hard road in life to arrive at the place where I can infallibly say that it is true;

Even the most convincing argument cannot move a human heart. Only love can do that. This is why Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all that we have. We can hold nothing in reserve. We must love God with our whole hearts, our whole minds, our whole souls, and our whole bodies (strength).

Secondly, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. These are the words of Mark 12:30-31 and Jesus tells us that, in them, are contained all of the law and all of the prophets (those who speak for God).

Yes, All you need is love, love....love is all you need.

Can we do it, though?

Can I find it inside me to love this person?

If I love God, I must. I can hold nothing in reserve. The same God who saved me and washed me from my sin wants to save him too.

If I love God, as I claim, I can not despair of his ability to save anyone. Not David, the adulterer and murderer. Not Mary Magdalene, the loose woman. Not Peter, the denier. Not Paul the persecutor. Not even the centurion who helped crucify him.

There are none that God cannot save and none that He does not desire to save.
It has taken me so long to see this.

The Democratic party is wrong but so is the Republican party. Away with the parties! Away with those who divide people into cliques that say that all among us must hate all among them. What home do have in America if you are Pro-life but against the death penalty? What home do you have in America if you recognize both the corrosive effect of runaway government power and the corrosive effect of runaway corporate avarice? What home do you have in America if you lament the exploitation of illegal immigrants, by the left, who seek to create a permanent underclass voting block and the exploitation by the right who seek to exploit them to create a permanent pool of cheap contract labor?

How can we confront the tragedies in Newton, Connecticut and Boston, Mass. with yet more division? Fear and anger and pride and vengeance lives in the heart of our country and the heart of our world.

On the one side are those who cannot respect the rights of a people to feel safe in their own homes, in the own persons, in their own families, even in the wombs of their own mothers. These are the ones that seek to enslave us in their religion of humanism. They deny the rights of parents to raise and teach their children and even the rights of those children to even be born. They hold the very idea of religion and morality in utter contempt. They seek only their own wealth and power and are willing to enslave to accomplish it.

On the other side are those who, rather than sacrificing their children to Molech, sacrifice them to Mammon. This is the ideology of I got mine, get yours! Are these really our heroes? Can we truly say that we love God by the values we show? Can we really say that we don't demonstrate the things we value by the people we value? We claim to value freedom but do we truly know what freedom is? Haven't we remade freedom into the image of a golden calf. Is the American dream alive in the hearts of the porter in the lobby of one of Donald Trump's hotels? As much as Rich Limbaugh tells us all that we can get to where he is, isn't he really just reassuring himself as he sits on his mountains of cash while the sick and poor mother cries out tears of sorrow and pain that are not heard?

 I am not hear to judge either Obama or Limbaugh but to announce a revelation. All you need is love. Not the prideful lust for power. Not the greedy, unbridled lust for wealth. Not the slavery of addictions of the flesh. All you need is love- true love- a love that is free of man-made isms. Capitalism, Republicanism, Liberalism, Racism, Xenophobism, ism, ism, ism.

Am I channeling Lennon yet again?

I have seen enough of this world to know that the only ism that I will hold to from this day forward is Catholicism. Though there are elements of truth all over, the only true oasis in this desert is the Catholic church. Only there can the real Jesus I claim to follow be fully present because only there are all persons full of the dignity God gave them. From the most haughty and iron-fisted dictator to the most heartless money grubber sitting in his ivory tower. To the laziest sponger to the most lost sinner enslaved by addiction and despairing of hope. Each one is a child of a loving God who desperately seeks his or her redemption. Only in the Catholic church have I found this- a love that forces me to stretch beyond myself.

Love is useless if it does not break us when we need to be broken, sharpen us, refine us, reach us. Christianity cannot be Christianity is it merely is a pretense of religion that denies it's actual power (2 Timothy 3:5). That power is the power to open seas, the power to save us from the flood, from the furnace, from the lion's den.

That power demands all. All that we have and all that we are. No greater love has any man than he lay down his very life for his friends.

We greatly error when we make a Barack Obama into a hero. Yet, we are just as wrong in making one out of Mitt Romney. Our heroes are the soldiers who die saving children, the fire fighters who run into a burning building and do not emerge. The Mother Theresa's who feed and clothe our poor. They are the heroes.

Even those who speak the right words but do not live them are not our heroes.

Whatsoever we do the least of people, we do to him. I stand, here, a person convicted.

God, send me blessings, send me help, send me faith, send me hope. Most of all, send me your love. Give me this currency, that I may give it away freely.


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