Sunday, June 7, 2015

#WhyRemainCatholic

A recent Patheos blogger called us Catholics to write a post on why we remain Catholic in the midst of certain scandles (sex-abuse cover-ups, same-sex marriage etc). This is my blog post, also my first post for a while. If you wish to join in, use the hashtag #WhyRemainCatholic

Read her post at: www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2015/06/03/dear-catholic-world-why-do-you-remain-a-catholic/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

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We live in a fast-paced, post-modern, secular and increasingly godless world. A vast majority of the west have no faith; others have a selfish-faith, only believing in things appropriate to their lives, denying teachings that make them appear less well-intentioned.

Many would get up and leave the Christian faith altogether, unable to reconcile their lives with church-teachings. Of all the different faiths in the world and their denominations, why do I remain Catholic? It would be easier for me to leave the Church in favour of a modern one, or do what countless others have done in the past few centuries and create my own church with views and teachings agreeable to me and my state in life. Not long after I rediscovered God, that was one of my new, zealous ideas! A decade on, I’m still there! Guess I simply became lazy; Perhaps not.

I could write page after page of reasons I choose to stay, for there are many! The history, beauty and language; Liturgy, teachings, availability of Catholic Churches; Our Lady, the Saints, Popes and Martyrs. All these form part of the reason I stay. Regarding the teachings, not all of them I like. Many of them make it hard to go about life as I would like. However, being a Christian - particularly a Catholic - was never meant to be easy. The world isn't easy.

As my life leads on, I find certain stumbling blocks: saying no to drugs, homosexual-sex, contraception. At certain times I have been in complete opposition to Catholic teachings on these and other ideas that the secular world embrace. As Catholics, however, we are a pilgrim people, living in exile in the world, until we attain glory in Heaven, forever. As pilgrims, we are constantly learning, living that which we have learnt and evolving into better versions of ourselves.

Ultimately, the reason I stay is “The Truth” and the Catholic faith is the only faith that has the ultimate truth, created by Truth-Himself, Jesus Christ.

As people, we change. God is the one and same He has always been. My life will change a great number of ways in my time, but the truth will never change. The Catholic Church, her teachings and traditions are the same as they were 2,000 years ago. Its not just one of many churches or a conservative denomination. It is THE Church, founded by Christ Himself. Can God ever be wrong? In this post-modern world, many think He is always wrong. I place my trust and faith in Him, the successors of St. Peter. All other churches were found by the created, usually in direct opposition to God’s teachings. How can a man form his own truths in opposition to God’s truth? He can’t do that and succeed.

As I said earlier, I could write page after page, perhaps even a book with my reasons for staying with the faith, but to put it succinctly, truth is why I stay. Whilst I may not understand certain teachings, when I find I am living in opposition to what my faith teaches - after much reading, thought and of course, prayer - the ultimate truth wins and I adapt my life accordingly.

Just as Our Lord says, we must die to ourselves in order to live eternally with Him. Amen! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

'Evangelii Gaudium' quote


"Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!"

POPE FRANCIS
"Evangelii Gaudium"

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Preparation for Death

O my God, I thank thee for the time which thou givest me to repair the disorders of my past life. Were I to die at this moment, the remembrance of the time I have lost should be one of my greatest torments. Ah, my Lord, thou hast given me time to love thee, and I have spent it in offending thee. I deserve to be sent to hell from the first moment in which I turned my back upon thee; but thou hast called me to repentance, and hast pardoned me. I promised to offend thee no more; but how often have I returned to sin! How often hast thou pardoned my ungrateful relapses! Blessed forever be thy mercy. If it were not infinite, how couldst thou have had so much patience with me? Who could have borne with me so long? O, how sorry do I feel for having offended so good a God! My Savior, the patience alone with which thou waitest for me ought to enamor me of thee. Ah! Do not suffer me to live any longer ungrateful to the love thou hast had for me. Detach me from every creature, and draw me entirely to thyself O my God, I will no longer dissipate the time thou givest me to repair the evil that I have done; I will spend it all in serving and loving thee. Give me holy perseverance. I love thee, O Infinite Goodness, and hope to love thee for eternity. I thank thee, O Mary; by thy advocacy thou hast obtained for me this time which is given to me. Assist me now, and obtain for me the grace to spend it all in loving thy Son, my Redeemer, and in loving thee, my queen and my mother.

St. Alphonsus Liguori.

“Preparation for Death”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Novena for Iraq: Day SIX

Sixth Intention: RIGHT BALANCE

Immaculate Mother of God, conceived without Original Sin, never touched by the slightest stain of sin, "tainted nature's solitary boast," we the beloved of thy Immaculate Heart come to thee on this sixth day of this Novena to pray for the grace of right balance.


O Spotless Virgin-Mother, Mother of God and our Mother by grace, obtain for us right balance as a foundation of candor, or tranquility, of clearness and holiness. may there be no duplicity in our thoughts and actions. Obtain for us a right balance in the order of our interior life, O Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to the well-ordered interior life thou lived in the perfection of holiness when thou lived on earth. Lead us to grown in holiness with a balance of spirituality so that our wills here below are in harmony with the Kingdom of God in heaven, where thou, as Queen and Mother reign with Jesus Christ thy Son Who is our King, and our Lord. May we avoid all extremes, as thou did, O Mother of God the Son, Daughter of God the Father, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Thou were subject to thy loving husband St. Joseph and to the laws of God. May we never be more Catholic than the Church, nor less Catholic than this same Holy Church thy Son Jesus Christ founded. May we seek to live a Catholic life and follow the teachings of the Church in faith and morals without compromise in a harmonious balance. May there be no conflict between what we believe and what we do. May we not demand of others what we decline to practice ourselves. May we never compromise right principles by subtle reasoning. May our speech be "Yes" when we mean "Yes" and "No" when we mean "No." - Mt. 5:37

Obtain for us by thy powerful intercession, O Holy Mediatrix of all Graces, a right balance in living the spirit of poverty, chastity and obedience according to our state in life, so that the wiles of Satan never succeed in getting us to succumb to the spirit of the world, the weakness of the flesh, or the pride of life. Send forth thy Holy Angels, O Queen of Angels, Cause of our Joy, Mother of Mercy. Intercede that we be open to the glorious Spirits of Heaven who are powerful to bring right order in our lives. Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Novena for Iraq: Day FIVE

Fifth Intention: SILENCE 

Immaculate Mother of God, our Mother by grace, we the beloved of thy Immaculate Heart come to thee on this fifth day of this Novena to pray for the grace of silence. 

Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, exalted above all Angels and Saints, thou partakes in the Heavenly glory of the Beatific Vision of the Blessed trinity; thou sees God "face to face" even as He Is. 
- 1 Cor. 13:12 
Obtain for us the grace that everything we speak may be spoken in love and every silence we keep is kept, not in anger, obstinacy, vengefulness or deceitfulness, but in the sacredness that opens hearts to God's Word. As thou pondered the Word of God in thy Immaculate Heart, O Ever-Virgin Mother of God and Mother of men, obtain for us the grace of silence so that we are not bound to the distractions of the world. Rather, emptied of the world, we desire to be filled with the treasures of Divine Grace. It is in holy silence that we can comprehend Divine treasures and the secrets of the King's Sacred Heart. 

Good St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus Christ and true husband of Mary, thou loved silence upon earth. The Bible does not record a word thou spoke. Yet, in thy silence, thou had the holiest state in life next to Jesus and Mary. By intercession in union with thy sweet spouse, obtain for us, O Glorious St. Joseph, the grace to imitate both interiorly and exteriorly the spirit of thy silence. 

O Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in imitation of the silence which reigned in thy home, empty us of worldly noise and distractions so as to hear the voice of the Lord more clearly. Open our hearts to the work of the Holy Angels, who will lead us to faith in and love for the Most Blessed Trinity, the Word made flesh, the Church as the Mystical Body of Jesus and to the highest veneration of God's Mother, the Mother of the Church. May the spirit of materialism never more touch our lives, Heavenly Mother. Help us to be detached from the things of this world, opened in silence to the magnificent melodies of the supernatural. Where our hearts are, there also is our treasure. In the silence of our hearts, "Speak Lord, for thy servant is listening." - 1 Sam. 3:9.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Novena for Iraq: Day FOUR

Fourth Intention: CHARITY
Immaculate Mother of God, our Mother by grace, we the beloved of thy Immaculate Heart come to thee on this fourth day of this Novena to pray for the grace of the holy virtue of charity.

Let rays of light from thy Immaculate Heart penetrate our souls with the love of God. Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of Holy Love, form us according to the Heart of thy Son. His love of the Father and all mankind was so great that He lay down His life for us, even to death on the Cross. Obtain for us the grace of the infused supernatural virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and love others for the sake of God. In devotion to thy Immaculate Heart, O Mary, we will acquire the virtue of supernatural charity by the Divine power of charity infused into our souls together with sanctifying grace.

St. John, Apostle of Love, who received the Mother of Love into thine home and thereby into thy heart according to the word of Jesus Christ from the Cross, we look to thy intercession to obtain for us knowledge of God Who is Love so that we may abide in God, and God in us. Mary, Souse of the Holy Ghost, it is through thy powerful intercession that the Holy Spirit sanctifies souls and enables us to say "Lord Jesus" in faith and love. Invoke, O Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Spirit of Divine Love to fill us with ever grater love of Jesus Christ and of the Father. Teach us to have faith as thou had faith upon earth and to love as thou lovest. Share even now the flames of the intense love which radiates from thy Heart. Enkindle in us the fire of the Holy Spirit. Help us to serve the Church lovingly and faithfully. In a world grown cold to love, a world divided, unite us through the power of thy prayers, O Immaculate Mother of Love, into one fold under one Shepherd. In drawing us to Jesus, possess our souls, our very lives. Enlighten our every thought, word and deed, so that our lives reflect thy own.

As Our Lady of the Holy Eucharist, illuminate and purify us so that we may approach the Sacrament of Love to receive our loving Savior fruitfully to final glory. In this way, one day we will come, O Loving Mother of Grace, to be in Heaven both body and soul with Jesus as King and thou as Queen and Mother. Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spiritual Art

Since being hospitalised in March 2013 (after numerous issues, including brain-haemorrhage) I haven't been able to draw anywhere near as well as I did in the past. So I gave up - for a while anyways! I do love to draw, however, and have been doing it since I can remember!

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Spiritual pictures is something I have come to enjoy drawing, since I found God again nearly a decade ago. To me, I see it as a form of prayer. Praying doesn't have to be words - it's about communicating with God - so as I spend my minutes, hours, weeks or months even drawing a nice spiritual sort of image, I am really communicating with God. Which is why I decided, even though I may not be as good as I once was at drawing, if I enjoy it and it leads me to talk to God, I should continue to do it.

Funnily enough, as I draw one of my many spiritual pictures, I seem to be quite happy with the end result, as though my drawing skills have returned - sometimes improved. Trying to draw something else, something secular so to speak, is another story. It's like the Holy Spirit is making me draw these images, helping me improve, but only so long as its something that I would call a "prayerful piece".

These are a few pieces I have made in the past couple of months. Not the best quality as they are photographs as opposed to scanned-in images due to lack of owning a scanner at the moment... but you get the idea!
Immaculate Mary



Symbolic Sacred Heart of Jesus

Queen of Heaven