For several days now I have sat down at my computer to post about what is going on in this country and I haven’t been able to get any words down. Anger, bewilderment, and  sadness have clouded my thoughts.I have been left speechless…

 I have often thought it was time for Christians to prepare themselves for a heroic and public witness of faith. There is a martyrdom coming. I do not know if it will be a martyrdom of blood and death but we better be ready to stand against an unprecedented hostility. We must pray for our Bishops and Priests to continue to speak out and we must prepare for the consequences.

Everytime I get a chance to hear the news someone says, “this is the most important election of our countries history!” While I believe this  to be true I also know there is only one solution to the real problems our society is facing. God has solved problems like ours before. Not through politics, with money, job markets, media, think tanks or even conservative ideas (although these will help). God solves problems with Saints. We don’t need just one new president we need many new saints.

God is asking you to solve the problems of the country…even the problems of the world! Do not stress about this. You need not worry about plans, programs, organizations politics and big ideas. Holiness is what will change the world. God uses holy people. He needs holy people.

I am disgusted by President Obama’s actions. But a move like this was bound to happen. Darkness cannot parade around as light. We walk as children of light and children of darkness will always try to extnguish us. Bothers and Sisters let us rise against this injustice. Let us fight this growing hostility to a culture of life and a kingdom of God. Let us be Saints…

The heart of the Christian life is all about deeper surrender to Jesus Christ. Its not as easy as it sounds. There is more to this than just saying Jesus I surrender to you. Every facet of our life needs to be submitted to the Lord. When I think of all the grace I have received and I am so disappointed at how much of myself I still need to give over to the Lord but each day we must all look at what we have not yet surrendered to God and work to give Him everything.

Below I have listed things that have really helped me along the way. As each of these things we incorporated into my life I saw more and more progress against certain sins, faults, attitudes and failings. I hope they will help you as well.

  1. The Charismatic Renewal. The renewal, at its heart, is all about total surrender to God. In the renewal you learn to use all your faculties to praise and submit to God. There is so much freedom and surrender in using your bodies to praise God. In many ways it is incomprehensible to worldly minds.
  2. The Preparation for Total Consecration by St. Louis De Montfort. I first said these prayers as a freshman in high school and I have renewed them many times since. It is a great and profound way to give yourself to Christ.
  3. Memorizing Scripture. Many battles for deeper surrender will take place in the mind. Why not fill your head with the Word of God so that it will be fruitful soil for God’s Word made flesh?
  4. The Brown Scapular. I have no way of proving this but I truly believe that besides mass and confession the brown scapular has been the single most efficacious spiritual tool in my life. I believe there were many sins in my life that I would still be slave too if I had never clothed myself in Our Lady‘s garment.
  5. Obedience to a schedule. Time must be surrendered to God as well. Pray hard and then make a schedule and submit yourself to that schedule each day in hopes of surrendering your time more fully to God. It doesn’t necessarily need to be forever but it does need to be for a good period of time.
  6. Fasting. Fasting is pretty much extremely beneficial to any spiritual endeavor.

Give yourselves fully to the Lord. Surrender to Him. Be Saints!

The Sleep of Saints

March 30, 2011

I just wanted to share this great little article on the sleeping habits of saints. 

I give myself too many breaks when it comes to sleeping. I am not saying that everyone is called to get very little sleep for the kingdom but this amazing article gives us a little perspective on the priorities of those people who lived the Radical Catholic life to the end. 

 

http://www.spiritdaily.com/saintssleep.htm

St. Catherine of Bologna gave up a life of leisure to live as a Poor Clare in the 1400’s. Her 7 Spiritual Weapons are a great guide for us trying to journey towards sainthood.

The Seven Weapons:

  1. Be careful always to do good.
  2. To believe we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves.
  3. To trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves.
  4. To meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death.
  5. To remember that we must die.
  6. To keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds.
  7. To be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions.

The Evil One tried time and again to take St. Catherine’s heart from the Lord but she remained faithful always knowing her place in the kingdom of God. These seven spiritual teachings passed on to us from her will help us to crush the head of the serpent in our life.

St. Catherine of Bologna…Pray for us!

During this time of year don’t forget to consider spiritual resolutions along with all your other goals for the year. Here are some you may want to consider:

  1. Weekly confession.
  2. Daily Examination of Conscience.
  3. Daily time for silence and listening.
  4. A strong commitment to fighting those sins you confess over and over again.
  5. Enter the Pro-Life Battle in someway.
  6. Pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  7. Pick one Saint and get to know him better than you ever have.
  8. Fast once a week for spiritual and intercessory benefit.
  9. Pick a Virtue to pray and strive for.
  10. Prayerfully surrender your entire self to Christ each and every day this year.

Make this the year you give your all to strive for Sainthood.

The year of the Lord’s favor… Isaiah 61:2

Lessons from the Nativity

January 4, 2011

There is great benefit in the spiritual life for those who spend time meditating on the Nativity. We can learn several lessons from those present at the birth of the Christ child. Radical Catholics would do well to take the time to place themselves inside this beautiful scene and learn from our Lord and His Holy Family.

The following are some brief reflections to help you enter into the mystery of the Nativity:

The Silence of Joseph: Once again we learn about the importance of silence. Joseph’s silence throughout the Gospel should remind us of its importance in attaining the degree of holiness meant for us. Joseph had to protect Mary and Jesus from the powers of evil. It was important for him to be a man of silence in order to hear the command of the Lord. If we want to hear God we must be people of great silence.

The Full Surrender of Mary: While Mary’s original Fiat didn’t take place during the Nativity we can’t help but see it in this mystery. We learn the lesson that when we say yes to the God we come closer to His son. We need to live our life as a constant “Yes” in full surrender as Mary did.

The Humility of Baby Jesus: How could anyone read the story of Christ’s Nativity and not realize the importance of Humility? Our Lord, the King of the universe came as a baby. Without humility we will never grow. Learn from Baby Jesus and humble yourself and God will raise you up.

The Shepherds Poverty: Shepherds were poor people and the Angel came to them to announce the good news of the birth of our Lord. The angel did not go to kings or wise men but to poor shepherds. We can only assume that if we strive for poverty of spirit God will endow us with the riches of His grace. We must come to the Lord as poor beggars for His mercy.

The Wise Men’s Conversion: The Gospel of Matthew tells us they “departed by another way.” Isn’t this the same for every true encounter we have with Christ? When we encounter our Lord we experience conversion and we change the direction we are going. We do not go the same way we came. We go a different way. The Wise men remind us of the conversion we all seek when go to the Lord.

Let us make a manger in our heart for the Lord Jesus that he may come into us and teach us His way.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.  Matthew 2:14

Without Ceasing…

December 14, 2010

One of the mysteries of the Christian life lies in the scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which says, “pray without ceasing.” This simple phrase has been the subject of countless books, sermons, talks, retreats, classes and now this blog post.

How does one pray without ceasing? Are we to pray every single second of the day? How can this even be accomplished? The answer to this question is a lesson that every Christian must learn if they are striving for Sainthood.

One classic text that takes up this topic is called, “The Way of the Pilgrim.” The Pilgrim asks a wise man how he can pray without ceasing. The wise man tells him to take up beads and to pray the Jesus prayer 500 times a day. When he has done this the wise man tells him to pray the Jesus prayer 1000 times a day. Then 5000, 10,000 and so on. Eventually the pilgrim prays the Jesus prayer continually. Continuously each moment of the day he calls on the name of the Lord. At some point the pilgrims prayer becomes an inner disposition of his heart and he realizes that even without consciously doing so his inner heart of hearts cries out for God’s mercy without ceasing.

Another classic book on the topic is “The Practice of the Presence of God” b Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence suggests that we converse with God plainly all through out the day. He tells us to constantly remind ourselves of God’s presence throughout the day and in this way we will remain in constant conversation with the Lord.

Many Saints practiced different ways of constant prayer. St. Teresa offered herself to god 50 times a day. St. Francis of Borgia prayed 100 times each day. St. Gertrude repeated the prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” 365 times a day. When St. Alphonsus Ligouri was asked how a soul can pray so much duing the day he replied, “show me a soul who truly loves God, and she will know how to do it.”

We must learn to pray constantly to our Lord. It is the way for us to grow in great graces. Start by remembering to pray 3 times a day, then each hour, and so on and so on. Eventually your soul will learn to pray constantly. When you learn to pray continuously a peace will rule your soul that cannot be easily taken.

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive.   Brother Lawrence

Sit down in silence. Lower your head, shut your eyes, breathe out gently, and imagine yourself looking into your own heart. Carry your mind, that is, your thoughts, from your head to your heart. As you breathe out, say, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” Say it moving your lips gently, or simply say it in your mind. Try to put all other thoughts aside. Be calm, be patient, and repeat the process very frequently.       From The Way of a Pilgrim

Pray without ceasing… 1Thessalonians 5:17

Priorities…

December 2, 2010

I recently received an email from someone asking if everything was okay because I don’t seem to be posting as often as I had previously. The email got me thinking about priorities and how they apply to our life here on earth.

When our Son Max was born time became a real treasure in the life of my family. Many of you experience this “tug of war” of responsibilities on a daily basis. In these busy periods of life it is always important to review your priorities so you can budget your time to live the life you are called to. I have been focusing on prayer, family and work because those are the most important priorities in my life.

You should pray about the priorities in your life because when time and attention become limited you need to know where to devote these two treasures.

Here are some thoughts on what our priorities should be:

1. Your own salvation: The number one priority is to grow in your relationship with Jesus and achieve that level of holiness God has called you too. This means prayer, mass, and spiritual growth are not ever optional

2. The Salvation of your family: The number two priority is to bring your family to heaven. Spending time with your spouse and children is never optional.  The Prophet should first share the Lord with his own family through example and words.

3. Practical Responsibilities: If you have a family then God has entrusted those people to you for care and protection. This is an integral part of your vocation. I feel blessed that my wife does not have to work outside the home. I consider this an important part of raising a Holy Family and it is one of the main priorities in my life.

4. Apostolate: It can be hard to subject your apostolate or ministry under the first 3 priorities. Keep firmly in your mind that our responsibilities are first to our own salvation and then to our family. Our apostolate can never be successful if we neglect our own relationship with God and our family.

5. Rest and Recuperation: In order for us to give adequate attention to other priorities we must have time for rest. This is something I really struggle with. I wish I could stay awake all night and work but it will always hurt us in the end if we don’t get the rest we need. Each person needs a different amount of rest but it is important to find what you need really stick to it.

Budget your time and attention for the Glory of God!

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, the Gospel versus the anti-gospel. This confrontation lies within the plan of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church must take up.

 Pope John Paul II

Brothers and Sisters this is the time for heroes, this is the time for saints. We are living in an unfaithful generation in a culture that is becoming increasingly secular and pleasure seeking. Each and every one of us is called to be part of a remnant of faithful disciples of the Divine lamb.

Now is the time for each of us to be respond to this call. It is now time to dare to strive for heroic holiness. The Lord is just waiting for us to respond to His call.

Now is the time to listen…

The Lord is waiting to communicate with us deeply in the silence of prayer. If you haven’t made time to listen before this is your chance. Work towards beautiful silent prayer which will become a fortress over time. Let the Lord guide us in this dark time. He can only be our guide if we take time to listen.

Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire; we have this day seen God speak with man and man still live. Deuteronomy 5:24

Now is the time to be holy…

Let us shed the sin in our lives. Now is the time to fight our carnal desires. Now is the time to tear from our hearts anything that is taking room away from the Lord. Do not treat sin like a check list to be finished; instead let us continually reexamine ourselves and “lay aside every encumberance of sin.”

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

Now is the time to do battle…

Enter into that spiritual warfare that tears down strongholds and pushes back the enemy of our souls. Now is the time to take up the battle for souls in our prayer and actions. Claim souls for Christ and speak His message. Claim times and places for His saving work and preach God’s kingdom. Now is the time to battle against the enemy of our soul. Now is the time to strom the gates of hell to claim back what is the Lords. Take up your rosaries, your novena’s your praises, your devotions and every spiritual weapon and let us unleash the storm of fire and grace the Lord has waiting for us. Now is the time for battle!

“Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Joel 3:10

Brothers and Sisters now is the time for heroes…

When I talk about “Radical Catholicism” I simply mean that we are striving for more than the status quo in our relationship to God. We are working towards being radically committed to His teaching. It is a lifelong journey of continual conversion and surrender.

For us to stay on this journey towards radical faithfulness one question will become incredibly important. Jesus tells the rich young man that to attain eternal life he must love God and neighbor and follow the law to which the young man replies, “What still do I lack?”

The question, “What still do I lack?” implies a serious humility on the part of the asker. We wouldn’t be asking what we lacked if we didn’t realize there was something lacking. If we humbly approach the Lord with this question we will slowly be able to see ourselves as we truly are. Continually asking this will combat both luke warmness and a tendency to become like one of the Pharisees thinking we lack nothing in our relationship to our Lord. We need to remember that even the great Saints had need for further repentance and conversion even at the end of their lives.

The question, “What still do I lack?” is an attitude of constant and total surrender to the Lord. It represents the poverty of spirit needed to approach the Lord of heaven and earth in order to ask for the spiritual treasure of himself.

How do we live this question? Here are some ways to cultivate a “What still do I lack?” attitude in your life:

  • Pray for Humility everyday for the rest of your life whether you think you need it or not.
  • Listen before action: Ask God to reveal His will to you before you assume you know what it is.
  • Self knowledge is key: Examine yourself often and deeply.
  • Meditate on the words: Put yourself into the Gospel and prayerfully ask Jesus, “What still do I lack?”

I saw all the Devil’s traps set upon the earth, and I groaned and said, “Who do you think can pass through them?” And I heard a voice saying, “Humility.”

St. Anthony the Great