Lately I have been slipping. I haven’t been making it to Mass as often as I could. I’ve started to let some days slip by without praying my rosary and my time for silent prayer has been getting shorter and shorter.

In this blog I write often about different devotions and practices that assist us in the spiritual life. We need to have strong foundations to build on with those devotions and practices. If we look at Radical Catholic Living as a fortress then I would suggest that Holy Communion, The Rosary and Silent or Listening prayer are the foundation of that fortress. We build this fortress for two reasons: to protect against sin and temptation in order to commune more fully with God and also to have a place to launch attacks against the gates of hell in order to win souls.

The Rosary

It is in my opinion the most effective devotion in our battle against sin and our battle for souls. The daily rosary wraps us in Mary’s mantle and protects us from temptation. It is especially effective against sins we are already ensnared in. Have an intention? Place it in the hands of Our Lady though the rosary.

Silent Prayer

Intimacy with God is what we want. Right? We must strive to listen to what messages God has for us. Everything we do we must take to God in prayer. We have to communicate with our Blessed Lord everyday to acheive this intimacy.

Holy Communion

As the Catechism states, “the mass is the source and summit of Christian life. It is where it all comes together. We spend our day trying to surrender and listen to Jesus and finally in Holy Communion we receive him in the most intimate way possible.

Holy Communion, Silent Prayer and The Rosary are the foundations we need to build the fortress of Radical Catholic living. Start laying your foundation today.

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Confession is one of the two greatest assets in the arsenal of a Radical Catholic. Our battle here on earth is the battle against sin. The battle is primarily in our own heart and that is why frequent confession is so important. As you already know when we go to confession we are absolved of our sins and given special grace against those sins we confessed. Each and every time we confess a particular sin we are given special graces during that confession to fight that sin. Each time we confess our sins to the Priest we confound the plans of the evil one by shedding light on our secret life of sin. Satan always wants to remain a secret so he tries grow a spirit of embarrassment and shame inside of us. This spirit of shame grows and culminates in us keeping our life of sin a secret and withholding certain sins in confession. The devil delights in having secrets with us. Do not let him delight in you. If you are thinking of your sin and taking stock of your life and you are tempted with thoughts of keeping those sins a secret then remember that temptation is not of God and should be cast out.

As Radical Catholics we need to become very good at confession. It is a an amazing source of grace and peace. Frequent confession will strip us of sin so that we can run faster and faster into the loving arms of Jesus.

 

Here are just a few thoughts to help you go deeper with your confessions:

  • Work to imagine you are confessing your sins to Jesus himself. Cultivate this image of Jesus waiting for you in the confessional and hear His voice in the voice of the Priest.
  • Examine your conscience daily so that when you do your pre-confession examination of conscience you are prepared. Confession shouldn’t be taken lightly. You need to really think about your sins. Dig for them as though you were digging in dirt for something. You are about to place those sins at the feet of Jesus, hopefully, never to pick them up again this should take effort.
  • Confess every sin you struggle with. Get that sacramental grace.
  • Plan out your confession. Decide what you will say first and so on. Be very deliberate while in confession make sure to remember what sins to confess. This will help you to remember what you need to say.
  • After confession renew your baptismal promises, rebuke evil spirits, ask for God to heal the wounds left by sin, do penance.
  • Leave your sin in the confessional at the feet of Jesus. Set your mind to the idea that you are leaving that sin forever.

Go to confession frequently, go to Jesus in the Ocean of Mercy of confession, have no shame with Him, sit with Him and bare your soul to Him. Lay that sin at His feet and never return to it.

 

On June 11th we celebrate the wonderful feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is another great opportunity for us to give more of oursleves to Jesus. Our Lord revealed the following to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:

And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source. He should be honored under the figure of this Heart of flesh, and its image should be exposed…He promised me that wherever this image should be exposed with a view to showing it special honor, He would pour forth His blessings and graces. This devotion was the last effort of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and thus to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.”….. “The devotion is so pleasing to Him that He can refuse nothing to those who practice it.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is important for Radical Catholic Living. It represents the goal we are striving for. Our whole life should be centered around replacing our heart with the heart of of Jesus. We need to fall deeply in love with the Sacred Heart. One way I foster this devotion in my life is to constantly offer my heart to the Lord and I ask Him that He give me His instead.

Deepen your devotion to the Sacred Heart by preparing for and celebrating the feast that is fast approaching. Below is the Novena to the Sacred Heart that Padre Pio prayed. Try praying this Novena to prepare for the feast then plan to enthrone the Sacred Heart in your life on June 11th.

Give yourselves completely to the wonderful Sacred Heart of Jesus. He waits for you and has a deep thirst for our love. Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us.

Novena to the Sacred Heart by Saint Padre Pio:

(This powerful prayer was recited every day by Padre Pio for all those who recommended themselves to his prayers)

 

I. O my Jesus, You said “verily I say to You, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you”, behold I knock, I seek and I ask for the grace of…

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

 

II. O my Jesus, You said, “verily I say to You, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you”, behold in your name I ask the Father for the grace of…

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

 

III. O my Jesus, You said, “verily I say to You, heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away”, behold I encouraged by your infallible words, now ask for the grace of…

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

 

O sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of Thee through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your and our tender Mother.

 

Say the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) and add, St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!

 

“This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin! This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.” (From the Easter Vigil liturgy)

Make this Easter a time when you start over and leave your old self behind. At Easter we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin, death and darkness. Make this personal in your life. Ask God for the special grace to leave sin behind. Especially that one thing that you know is keeping you from a passionate relationship with Him. There may be something that you have given up on, something that you believe is a lost cause, maybe even an addiction. This is the time to ask God for a special grace and then believe He can heal you of anything and everything. The Chains of death could not hold Him. Do we believe it or not? If He rose from the dead what makes you think He can’t raise us out of our tombs of sin and darkness?

Here are some tips to make this Easter a time of Grace:

  1. Read the prayers and readings from the liturgy ahead of time. Even if you will be unable to make it to the Triduum liturgies the prayers and readings are super rich in grace. Especially the special grace of breaking from sin and entering into freedom.
  2. Spend extra time in prayer and meditation. Prepare your soul to fully enter in to the Easter graces.
  3. Deliberately enter in to Easter and ask God to rid your life of sin. Its easy to get caught up in the Easter festivities and let the real meaning of Easter go by the wayside.
  4. Be bold. Ask God for the grace to conquer sin and then make a solemn promise to never do it again.
  5. Remember more than anything that Jesus loves us so much that He died for us. This celebration commemorates love. He wants every part of us. Every last part of us. Surrender all!

“This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness. This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.” (Easter Vigil Liturgy)

Expertise

January 29, 2010

Expertise: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.

You can become an expert in almost anything if you do it enough. Everyone has expertise in something, if you think about it. My 14 month old son has become an expert at drinking his bottle. It took him a while to figure it out but now he doesn’t struggle at all. When I was involved in martial arts I must have done 10s of thousands of roundhouse kicks. I believe I am an expert at performing and teaching the round house kick. Repetition can make you an expert at something.

Unfortunately that’s not always a good thing. I remember a time in my life when I was an expert at sinning. There were certain sins that, sadly, I committed so many times I became an expert at them. I’m sure that if you think about it there are certain sins that you have become an expert at because you have committed them so many times and in so many different ways. Think about the 7 capital sins. Have you become an expert in Pride, anger, greed, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth?

Thankfully you have the ability to become an expert in something good as well as long as you work at it. I have worked very hard to become an expert at the Sacrament of confession. As much time as I spent becoming an expert in sin it seemed only natural that I should strive to get the most out of the sacrament of God’s healing mercy. How did I set about to gain this expertise?

  1.  I received the sacrament frequently (that means weekly or maybe monthly.)
  2.  I studied what the Church says about the Sacrament (open up your catechism and look in the index under “Penance”)
  3.  I studied what the saints and spiritual masters had to say about the reception of the sacrament (recommended books: Frequent Confession: Its place in the Spiritual Life by Benedikt Bauer, Luke warmness: The Devil in Disguise by Francis Fernandez Carvajal and I am currently reading Pardon and Peace by Fr. Alfred Wilson C.P.)

Why not try to become an expert in confession this year?

Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

Lukewarmness

Lukewarmness

 

Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

Frequent Confession

Frequent Confession