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Have You Been Away from the Church?

Has it been months, years or decades since you have been to the Catholic Church?  Why did you leave?

  • If you just neglected to attend Church, you can come back once you go to Confession.  That’s all it takes.
  • If you have sinned and don’t think Jesus can forgive you, no matter what you have done, all you have to do is go to Confession and ask for His mercy and forgiveness.  He will forgive your sins even if you find it hard to forgive yourself.  Go to Confession/Reconciliation.  Be reunited with Jesus.
  • If you disagree with something that the Church teaches, go to the RCIA classes through the Church or just ask a priest at any Catholic Church.  They can explain it easily and make you feel more comfortable to go forward.
  • If you are just bored with Mass, then I encourage you to research the true meaning of the Mass.  Usually the real reason for boredom of the Mass is a misunderstanding of it.
  • If you have a difficulty with your relationship with God or Jesus, know that He longs for you.  Look to God as your Father and understand His role in your life as loving you more than anyone else.  Look at the Crucifix to learn how much He loves you that He would offer His only Son for you.  Learn more about the Eucharist.  This will help with understanding love.
  • If you got married outside of the Church or if you are in need of an annulment, then I urge you to go to the Church and inquire about the annulment process or the process for getting your marriage blessed so that you are in communion with the Church.
  • If you are missing one of your sacraments, go to the nearest Catholic Church and get signed up for RCIA classes.  These will help you complete the process.  You would get all sacraments together usually, after the classes are completed.  This is an easy process.
  • If someone hurt or offended you in the Church, I apologize to you for the hurt they have caused.  Please don’t hold their actions against the Church.  The Catholic Church is the “hospital for sinners” and sometimes people don’t understand how their actions can hurt others.  Please find it in your heart to forgive them and come back to the Church.
  • Whatever the reason for being away from the Catholic Church, there is help within the Church to resolve the difficulty.   You will find forgiveness and mercy in the Church.

Please come back to the Church.  We miss you and we love you but even more important…Jesus misses you in the Eucharist.  Come home.

Please check out this website and learn how to come into or come back to the Catholic Church.  http://www.catholicscomehome.org/

For other topics click here.

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The Power of the Sign of the Cross

Sign of the Cross

 Touch the forehead, stomach, left shoulder, right shoulder, then fold your hands in prayer.

Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross?  What does it mean?  Is it just a gesture or superstition?

 

The sign of the cross dates back to the second century in the Early Church.  It started out with making the cross on the forehead with the thumb or index finger but then changed into a larger cross on the forehead, chest and shoulders.  People used it to secretly mark themselves during religious persecution.  In the ninth century, Pope Leo IX instructed the faithful on this devotional/prayer.  It is a reminder of the crucifixion and suffering of Jesus.

We bless ourselves with holy water and the sign of the cross when we come into or out of a church, during a sacrament, and in remembrance of our Baptismal promises.  Catholics usually begin and end all prayers with the sign of the cross.  What we are saying is the prayer or request “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen”  When we say a prayer in the name of the Trinity as above, we are calling upon them with confidence that our prayers will be answered and in love and worship of the Trinity.  The word “Amen” means “I believe”.  When we do this, we are asking for and receiving grace from God.

Making the sign of the cross is a prayer in itself.  A very reverent devotion a person can do is every time you pass by a Catholic Church, is to make the sign of the cross as you pass.  Why do that?  Because, Jesus is in the Church in the Eucharist in the Tabernacle.  You are saying you believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  I do this every time I pass by one even if I’m just passing by in another town.

Another thing you can do, every time you see an ambulance or life-flight helicopter for someone ill, make the sign of the cross in a prayer for the removal of their sins and salvation of their soul, also for their quick recovery.

If you ever feel alone, lonely, in danger, or that evil may be around you, make the sign of the cross and this will help to keep your soul safe and keep the safety and security of all of heaven around you.

Making the sign of the cross with holy water also absolves your venial (little) sins.  Make the sign of the cross often.  Keep a bottle of holy water handy and do it before you go to bed, get up in the morning, leave the house, return home, feeling ill, anytime that you feel the need.  The sign of the cross is a short, humble little prayer but so powerful.

See this link for more information.

 

 

 

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Will it be God’s Will or My Will be Done?

In the Our Father prayer or the Lord’s Prayer we say “Thy will be done” but do we really mean it?  Most of our culture these days really mean “MY will be done”.  We want what we want when we want it!  We have no patience or obedience anymore.  We just about have a heart attack if our computer doesn’t download something in the first two seconds.  “What’s taking so long!”

When was the last time we sat down and prayed to understand God’s will?  And accepted God’s will and carried it out without asking “what’s in it for me”?  Many people speak with their actions and decisions saying “I’m going to do what I want” or “it’s all about me”.  We need to step outside of ourselves and our selfishness and ask what would God want me to do?  When we go with what we want, we are going away from God, but when we are going with God’s will, we are heading with God, walking with God and loving Him.

Adam and Eve wanted “My will” instead of God’s will.  That’s why we have Original Sin, our fallen nature.  Jesus healed us with God’s will by sacrificing Himself.  Nothing was about Him because it was all about us returning to God.

If we are sinning but we are rationalizing what we do to make it right is our eyes, then we are not following God’s rules.  All of us rationalize our own behavior, making excuses for it, however, that doesn’t make it right.  It’s hard to follow God’s rules but we would be so much happier if we do.  Jesus never said it would be easy; He said that the path to Heaven would be narrow.  We fall off of it with excuses, rationalizing, and selfishness.  We put ourselves first.  That is how we end up with bad consequences. 

Hell is full of those who say “My will be done”.

Let’s put ourselves aside and put God first and “Thy will be done” and say this is for God’s glory, not mine.  After all, our heart is beating only because God wills it to.  It should beat for the love of God.

The next time you have a decision to make, ask yourself, am I saying “God’s Will be done” or “MY WILL BE DONE”?

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Why do Catholics go to Reconciliation/Confession?

One of the seven sacraments is called Reconciliation or Confession.  Catholics have a gift that can be found no where else, going to Confession.  In Confession, we go in to the Confessional and receive great blessings and graces from God in this sacrament.  These graces help us to perfect our virtues and to detach ourselves from sin.  The priest sits in Persona Christi, or in the person of Christ.  This means that the priest acts as Christ on earth.  This doesn’t mean he’s God, he’s doing what Jesus would do and he’s also acting on the authority of Jesus.  Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins.  ” I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19  This authority is only given through the Catholic Church passed down through Jesus.  Contrary to beliefs in other churches, this is not a valid authority in other denominations.

Can’t I just go directly to God for forgiveness?  You can for smaller sins, if your life is in danger, or you can ask for forgiveness directly from God but if you go to Confession, you will receive so much more.  You will receive large amounts of grace to resist sin and you will also be affirmed hearing the priest say the words of absolution.  God and Jesus meant for all to go to Reconciliation and to benefit from the sacrament by putting it into place through the apostles.

When we go into the Confessional, we can either sit facing the priest or we can go behind a screen in anonymity.  We make the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me father for I have sinned.  It’s been ( how many months or years) since my last confession and these are my sins.  (State your sins here and their severity or frequency)  For these sins and the sins I can’t remember, I am sorry for.”  At this point, the priest counsels the person on the sins and gives them penance, then absolves them of their sins.  The words of absolution are very comforting to hear and you have a sense of relief that your sins are gone.  You don’t get that when you confess to a minister of a different church.

The Seal of the Confessional is the absolute vow that the priest will not reveal what is discussed in the confessional.  Even if a person confesses they committed a grave sin, that sin cannot be revealed to anyone else.  The priest can’t even reveal anything if they are subpoenaed to court.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God.  When we go to Reconciliation, we “Reconcile” with God again because we repent and amend our lives, detaching ourselves from sin.

Penance is given by the priest to maybe help us with understanding a teaching or some prayers.  Penance is meant to “make up” or in reparation to God for what we have harmed with our sins.

Reconciliation/Confession is a wonderful gift from God to people who want to rid themselves of the shame, guilt and burden of sin.  You can walk out of the Confessional feeling refreshed, lighter, relieved and knowing the true gift of God’s mercy when we really don’t deserve it.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

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You can’t avoid Hell by thinking it doesn’t exist.

I’m not going to give you the fire and brimstone talk.  This is not meant to scare you, only to get you to consider the idea of how would you change your life if Hell does exist.  I know that there are many who don’t believe that Hell or Satan exists, but St. Faustina said that in her vision of Hell she noticed “that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell”.  http://www.divinemercysunday.com/vision.htm

Hell is locked from the inside.  Hell is full of volunteers.  If we are going away from God or rejecting Him, we are choosing Hell.  There is no other choice if we reject God.  The sin of omission…  “The sin of omission shall condemn many to hell, be they layman or Hierarchy.  I repeat:  not the sin of commission, but the sin of omission will commit many to hell.”  Our Lady of the Roses,  October 6, 1980

If you don’t believe in Hell, that’s ok but do you really want to take that big of a chance on your eternal soul?  You would be chancing Hell for eternity.  We can’t understand truly what eternity really is but when a soul is in Hell, there is no way out and no end. Many people don’t play the lottery because there is not much chance of winning but are willing to take that chance on Hell.  There are only two choices, Heaven or Hell.  What will you choose?  And after you die, you can’t change your mind, there is no going back.

Many saints have been given a glimpse of Hell and all have tried to warn us about it. See the links below for documentation of these visions.

If God is so merciful, then why is there a Hell? God respects our free will and if we choose to reject Him then WE are the ones who choose Hell, not Him. He is giving us what we want.  We should take out some fire insurance to protect us from Hell.  It would be the best policy ever.  How about “INFINITY INSURANCE” for the salvation of our souls for infinity?  It doesn’t cost anything but will have a huge payout in Heaven!

Please don’t take the chance on your eternal soul.  You and your soul are too precious to loose by taking such a big chance.  Even if you are right and there is no Hell, why take that chance??  But what if you are wrong and there IS a Hell…?  Don’t follow the crowd, in our culture, by falling into the pit of fire.  Stand tall and follow God’s rules.

Read the book called “Jay’s Journal” by Anonymous.  This is an actual diary of a 15 year old teenager who got involved in the Occult.

http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/bosco_hell.htm

 

 

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What do all sins have in common?

All sins have selfishness in common.  All sins are about me, myself and I.   Virtue is about others.  Quite a difference when you think about it.  That really stood out for me.  It made it easier to understand what was a sin and what wasn’t.  If I am thinking about someone else then I put their best interest first…Virtue.  If I get angry, greedy, lustful, jealous, prideful, or lazy, that puts me first.  There are many others but these are the seven deadly sins.  They lead us to much worse sins.  It’s very hard to think outside of ourselves and this culture has become more and more selfish.  We have to think outside of our own selfishness, which we all have, and see what others need from us, such as kindness, patience and compassion.  That’s when the world will be a better and more peaceful place.

Also, sins have one more thing in common, they separate us from God.  We choose something else over choosing God.  This is our fallen nature.  Adam and Eve chose sin and disobedience over God. Reconciliation and repentance brings us back to God and He welcomes us back with open arms.  He isn’t looking to convict us, He just wants us to come back to Him with love.  Even though we don’t deserve His mercy, He is more than willing to give it to us, but we have to ask for it.