Pick your Saint Squad

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Meet the Author

Amy J. Cattapan is a middle-school English teacher and Catholic speaker, retreat leader, and author who has written or contributed to several books, including Sweet Jesus, Is It June Yet?, Chicken Soup for the Soul: From Lemons to Lemonade, and the award-winning novels Angelhood and Seven Riddles to Nowhere. She hosts the podcast Cath-Lit Live!, where she interviews Catholic authors with new releases.

Cattapan has appeared on The Katie McGrady Show on SiriusXM, EWTN’s Bookmark, Catholic Faith Network Live, and the Son Rise Morning Show. Her writing has appeared in Highlights for Children, Hopscotch for Girls, Pockets, and Catechist. She also served as the host for Shalom World TV’s BOOK.ed.

Cattapan earned a bachelor’s degree in English secondary education from Marquette University, a master’s degree in instruction for secondary education language arts from Northeastern Illinois University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University Chicago. She has spoken at a variety of conferences, including NCEA, NCTE, the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, and the C3 Conference.

All the Saints!

Let’s face it, it is easier to be a teacher if you have your saint squad helping you! Amy has gathered and organized 45 saints according to various needs: creativity, patience, building strong relationships, teaching in difficult times and more. Choose the topic that fits your situation and then read about a few saints who overcame difficulties and obstacles.

Published by Ave Maria Press.

Download free prayers for teachers including a Litany of Saints from the book on Amy’s website. 

And do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram.

 

Do a bit of research on a saint, choose one thing about them you admire and adopt that quality or virtue.

 

Please contact me to speak at your parish or group!

 

Conclusion to the book Fearless

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Conclusion to the book Fearless | Establishing a foundation of peace and fulfillment in life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, is a matter of delving more deeply into the reality of God’s connection to us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Knowing&BeingKnown #HealthyCommunication #ConclusiontothebookFearless #FearlessConclusion to the book Fearless

Conclusion to the book Fearless. Establishing a foundation of peace and fulfillment in life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, is a matter of delving more deeply into the reality of God’s connection to us. Fully receiving and being transformed by the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity is an ongoing process. Faith in God’s love for us becomes more surely our source of confidence and self-worth, hope in him becomes our foundation of joy no matter what may come our way, and his love is our unfathomable fulfillment “packed together, shaken down, and overflowing” (Luke 6:38) that overflows into the lives of others. The more we grow in wholeness, the more we pursue holiness unencumbered. As we grow in holiness, our personal integration and interpersonal relationships become more peaceful. It all starts with receiving from the Lord, as he has first loved us (1 John 4:10). However, recall that our relationship to ourselves is our mode, the lens that influences our ability to perceive him clearly.

Seeking health in our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives is interwoven, since those aspects of our person are interwoven. This quest is a beautiful collaboration with God’s perfect plan and redeeming grace as we endeavor, in as much as is our part, to prepare a greater dwelling place for him in our hearts. As our capacity for him increases, his presence progressively fills and permeates us, setting into motion a metamorphosis that transforms all we do. This is what will heal each wounded heart, convert each wayward desire, and unite families, peoples, and nations as the bride of Christ.

A practical tip in times of difficult communication, whether with ourselves or with others can be remembered by the acronym V.E.S.T, as in inV.E.S.T in relationships.  V stands for validate the emotions.  This does not require us to agree with the emotions, but to acknowledge them.  E stands for express compassion, thereby from our heart meeting the other.  S.T. stands for speak the truth.  If there is something we really believe ought to be illuminated in the situation, we can do so after first validating and expressing compassion.  Of course, we can’t control how another will respond, but any truth we illuminate at that point will be more palatable by whomever we are addressing.  This simple formula can lay a foundation for peaceful relating.

In times of stress or turmoil, first consider if the most fundamental difficulty is a break down in connection to God, self, or others, and then consider if it is a struggle with boundaries, knowing we are valued, being known, or chosen.  This can help us all drill down to the crux of the problem and be instruments of His light and love.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

Evil Tactic

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Evil Tactics | What is an evil tactic? It is something employed by the evil one to take souls to hell. Harsh? Maybe. But, this is something that few of us want to talk about or consider. | #podcast #ChristianPodcast #combattingevilEvil Tactic  – Combatting Evil ~ Episode 225

What is an evil tactic? It is something employed by the evil one to take souls to hell. Harsh? Maybe. But, this is something that few of us want to talk about or consider. In this podcast, Felice will explore the tactics used and how to prevent being led to the dark side.

Visit this month’s wonderful sponsor who helps bring this network to you for free, visit CTCMath.com for a great math curriculum for grades K-12

Few people realize the greatest tool of evil is to convince people that evil does not exist. Everything is fine, it’s good, there is nothing to worry about. Everyone gets a free pass to go to heaven. Don’t worry, proclaim God once, claim Him and go on and live your life in whatever way you see fit. I realize we all come from different faith walks. Some are non-denominational and others adhere to a specific denomination. Some teach it is faith alone and others that it is faith and works.

In the previous podcast, I cited James 2:14-26, Faith without works is dead. With this thought, we must look at the ways that evil sets to destroy not only others but specifically our lives.

I see evil glorified everywhere I look during the month of October, whether I am in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Some people celebrate fall with leaves and such, but many, enjoy what they believe is making light of darkness with evil-looking and scary decorations. While spoofs are fine, being surrounded by evil-looking decorations is not something I enjoy. Walking into a hair salon while hearing an evil cackling voice is not my idea of fun, and believe me, I soon went to another hair salon.

Here is a short list of things that are considered evil tactics:

  1. Not believing evil or satan exists. John 8:44 (read)
  2. Fearfulness (in a minute I’ll read from Matthew 10 which helps us to combat fear)
  3. Deception and lies, Confusion, Twisting of words – reproductive freedom, no big deal, not for us to judge
  4. Division – because when we are divided we are weak. John 17:20-24 (read)
  5. Diversion – an overload of information, social media, anxiety, and distractions of everyday life Matt 10:26-32 (read)
  6. Discouragement and depression – personal setbacks, always wanting more, if “this” happens, I’ll be happy. (humility)

There is so much packed into these verses, first, we have nothing to fear, the next is that we should not fear the body because what is most important is our soul, and the only person to fear is what can destroy us -that is giving into evil tactics and ultimately hell. Then there is the wonderful verse about the Father’s intimate knowledge about each one of us because he even knows the number of hair on our heads. We have value to God, my friends more than we know! We must also acknowledge God, we must not be afraid of our Christian faith or deny him unless we want to be denied before the Father in heaven. Powerful words!

5. Humility – the key to discouragement and depression is humility. Realizing we can do nothing without God. This is not a way to push off blame or alleviate our guilt, it is a way however to realize that when we do things under our own steam we are setting up ourselves for failure. Have you ever wondered when your life falls apart, and you can’t seem to handle anymore that you are “doing” it yourself and without God? Sure, we are all gifted in some way, but those gifts should be attributed to the Almighty.

In our humility we ask the Lord for help, to come into our lives in a deeper way (I know – I must sound like I repeat myself over and over) but it is a truth that when we grow closer to God we find things that are so important in our life or that we think are important fall way. All the people who suffer loss realize in the end that these are things they can not take with them when they die. That is why we are taught to look to the end, to look at our lives and when we do, when we grow closer to God we can see the areas where we have sinned.

Evil tactics are lost on those who are grounded, who surround themselves with like-minded Christians, and who immerse themselves in all that is good and holy, beginning with your relationship with Christ and the Scriptures. This week make a list of the evil tactics aimed at you and work at ways (with God, Scripture, and prayer) that you can combat the evils.

 

Glorious Encounters with Mary; A Guide to Living the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Meet our Author

Maria V. Gallagher is an author, advocate, speaker, and life coach. Her latest book is Glorious Encounters with Mary: A Guide to Living the Mysteries of the Rosary. Her other books include Mercy’s Power and Joyful Encounters with Mary. Maria previously worked as an award-winning radio reporter and television news producer. She is a member of the worldwide Cursillo Movement, the mother of one beautiful ballerina, and a mentor to many. Her books are available from Marian Press at Shop Mercy.

My Key Take-a Ways

  • Mary is a sign of hope
  • turn to Mary in times of need and she will help you
  • look for her intercession and thank her and God for it
  • write those “Mary Moments” down
  • focus less on the cross and more on the blessings
  • Our Lady Undoer of Knots wants to smooth out the ribbon of our life

 

 

Learn more about Maria

Her Website
Instagram

 

This week, uncover the “Mary Moments” in your life and write them down!

Contact Deanna here to learn about speaking for your parish or group!

 

Pseudo Connection

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Pseudo-Connection | Since reciprocity between people in the areas of connection is essential for healthy and holy relationships, it stands to reason a lack of give and take in these areas leads to unhealthy and even abusive relationships. |  #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Knowing&BeingKnown #HealthyCommunication #NavigatingRelationalStruggles #NavigatingStruggles #PseudoConnectionPseudo-Connection

Since reciprocity between people in the areas of connection (boundaries, valued, known and openness) is essential for healthy and holy relationships, it stands to reason a lack of give and take in these areas leads to unhealthy and even abusive relationships. For example, in any type of abuse, there are boundary violations of a physical, emotional, and/or spiritual nature. In pornography, for example, there is no reciprocity; instead God’s boundaries for another are exploited, while their value is reduced to use, and their personhood is disregarded. Also, the one viewing pornography violates their own dignity and God’s protective limits for themselves.

There are a wide variety of ways we can attempt to satisfy our desire for connection with God, ourselves, and others in life-giving and life-affirming ways. Food, shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, excessive work, are just some examples. For a brief moment they may distract from our hunger for authentic connection, but in the long run they fail to satisfy and their fruits are internal and external discord rather than peace and love. I attended a talk a number of years ago by Vincent Felitti, M.D., about the effects of adverse childhood experiences. In discussing the attempt to drown out the residual internal pain from early traumas with substances he said, “You can never get enough of what almost works.” The same is true of attempts to use a substitute for the innate need to connect. We would never be able to get enough of what might almost work. We would end up chasing faulty remedies and create cycles of frustration and internal and/or relational conflict.

Often, there is much talk about chastity among teens in religious circles. While this is an important value, it’s also important to teach young people how to connect in a healthy way. Sexually immoral behavior is, oftentimes, a desire to connect acted out in uneducated, immature, or wounded ways. Given that we are made for connection, we need to learn, practice and teach healthy connection so relationships are truly fulfilling, leading to the wholeness and holiness the Lord wants for us all.

The more we grow in healthy connection, the more we are set free from bondage and decay, and grow in the freedom God intends for us as his children. We can begin to recognize the factors of connection in peace and their absence in conflict and so learn to calibrate our internal meter during times of struggle. It is difficult, if not impossible, to think of a human suffering that can’t be traced back to a breakdown in connection. Once we identify the relationship where the gap is, we are well on our way to knowing how to direct our efforts towards peace.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making & Turnaround

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making & Turnaround

Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times #1: Decision Making

Decision Making & Turnaround

Do you regret a decision you made? God can help you find a turnaround. The Book of Ruth is about turnarounds and finding new joy and purpose in difficult circumstances. Join the podcast and uncover how a book written over 3000 years ago can speak to us today.

Then and Now

Welcome to Ruth-Finding Joy in Tough Times and Trusting in God’s Goodness Episode #1. The Book of Ruth reveals God’s goodness. It’s about God’s providence, Godly relationships, and most importantly, how God uses faithful women in Salvation history, especially Ruth, a refugee and convert who ended up in the lineage of Jesus Christ. God’s Word is always alive and fresh and will speak to our hearts by the Holy Spirit and in this case, through the Book of Ruth. Hebrews 4: 12 assures us: “[T]he word of God is always living and active.”

 

My Journey

My journey with Ruth started when Pope Benedict XV1, in the summer of August 2011, encouraged the faithful to read the Book of Ruth. So I did and invited others to join me. Then, in 2022, Pope Francis called the faithful to study Ruth.[1] Others joined me again. We had fresh insights both times, and God spoke to our hearts in amazing ways, filling us with joy.  So, even if you have read Ruth before, let’s read it again with a new heart and open mind to hear what the Holy Spirit may teach us. Today, we cover the following points.

Background for the Book of Ruth

  • Ruth is one of five Old Testament books (with Esther, Song of Songs, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes) that make up the Megillah; each is read in the synagogue during a specific Jewish festival.
  • Ruth is about 1/4th of the way into the pages of your Bible, between Judges and 1 Samuel.
  • Ruth is among the historical books in the Old Testament; with the time period, “In the days that the judges ruled (v. 1),” which is about 1380 BC to 1050 BC.
  • It was a dismal time for Israel; the people would not listen to the judges God sent, turned away from God, and fell into idolatry and immorality (Judges 2: 16-17).

 Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon & Chilion Move to Moab (Ruth 1: 1-2)

  • The family moved from Bethlehem to Moab because of famine, but problems arose from that decision.
  • Elimelech’s name in Hebrew means My God is King, but Elimelech did not look to God, just wanting out of the famine.
  • The family were Ephrathites. Ephratha is the former name of Bethlehem in Scripture and is about five miles south of Jerusalem.
  • God cautioned the Israelites about associating with their enemies, especially the Moabites because they hated Israel and led them to worship their idols.
  • God always gives his people choices (Deuteronomy 30: 19).

Ten Years Later & Great Loss (Ruth 1: 3-6).

  • Elimelech died, the boys married Moabite women, and after ten years, both sons died.
  • Naomi suffered emotionally, plus knowing legally, the family name and inheritance would be gone.
  • She was left ONLY with two daughters-in-law in a foreign country,. BUT GOD!!
  • Psalm 146: 9: “The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow.”

The Turnaround (Ruth 1: 6).

  • Grief-stricken, Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD came to help his people with food in Bethlehem.
  • Naomi rose and, with the daughters-in-law, started the return to her people, her faith community, and her God.

Personal Reflection & Application

  • What impacts you most from these first six verses of Ruth?
    • Arise. Have you made a choice you regret? God will lead you forward. Arise. Don’t look back or stay in despair.
    • Remember. Do you feel like God has forsaken you? Are you bereaved or lonely? Naomi remembered the Lord. Do you remember God’s goodness? Start today thanking God for how he has blessed and helped you, even in the smallest matters.
    • Listen for him to speak to you, especially in the Scriptures.
  • God is with you always. God has a plan that can change devastation to joy.

Prayer Response

  • Read, memorize, and pray these verses:
    • John 6:37. Jesus said, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” (Good News)
    • Hebrews 13: 5. The Lord God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (NRSVCE)
    • Jeremiah 29: 11.“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” (Good News)

Links

[1] Pope Francis:

 

God’s Word Revealed (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God's Word Revealed | We often read the Bible and are left unmoved, but through the words of scripture, God's word is revealed. | #christianpodcast | #podcast | God's WordGod’s Word Revealed – Episode 220

We often read the Bible and are left unmoved, but through the words of scripture, God’s word is revealed. Why is that? What are the tools you need to get you into the right frame of mind before praying and delving into the scriptures? Stay tuned and find out.

We are so appreciative of this wonderful company and our sponsor CTC Math – for a math curriculum that is geared to teaching children K-12 visit CTCMath.com our sponsors help keep this show and our network on the air.

When was the last time you read the Bible or listened to the Bible read to you in church and found your mind wandering or the words had less of an impact than you hoped? God’s word teaches and instructs us and it can reveal truths to us that will help us in our daily lives and we are taught are good for our eternal soul. What is revealed in God’s word is more than can we usually unpack on our own and that is where the commentaries are helpful.

A quick guide to reading scripture.

  1. Pray to the Lord for the forgiveness of past sins.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit for a blessing upon you to open your mind to the words the Lord wants you to hear.
  3. Close your eyes and pray thanksgiving for all the Lord has done for you.
  4. Put on the “mind of Christ,” and pray for understanding.
  5. Open your Bible and read!

As I was preparing this podcast I thought about some of the highlights of which there are many but these were earth-shattering revelations about the sovereignty of God.

God revealed His name in Exodus to Moses in the burning bush – we learn that it was a miraculous event, the bush was not consumed in fire and by the power of God, he sustained it, and revealed Himself with the promise of liberating the oppressed people.

Exodus 3: 1-8 [Read on air] The bush was sustained by the power of God and in this passage, God revealed His name. I AM. What a miracle and one that we wish was happening today – a miracle to set His people free those of us who are believers who are crying out to the Lord for help. Not as I want my God but as you want for me. That too is takes a miracle of faith to trust in God and His insight and knowing what is best for us.

The Lord revealed His plan of a Savior through his prophetic word, and even through Mary. We may not consider the Mother of Christ sharing a prophetic word but she did and we know this because we read her prophetic word in what is known as the Magnificat, in some translations I read Mary’s song but I feel that falls short of the magnitude of her words: Luke 1:46-56 Please read those words and think about them, friends.  My goodness, when I read … my soul magnifies the Lord we should pray for that blessing and grace. To trust as Mary trusted what a gift! Sure, she was visited by an angel of God, but we all know that the punishment for an unwed woman in those days was death. I’m sure she was afraid but still, she went to tend to her cousin, Elizabeth and we further read the baby in Elizabeth’s womb lept for joy. That baby was the future John the Baptist.

I think that is why so many of us feel so strongly about abortion that we never know who the future child that will be born is, and all are gifts from God and created in God’s image. Again, we have to suspend our thoughts and put on the mind of Christ as the scriptures teach.

And another prophetic word by Zechariah – the father of John the Baptist. Because he did not believe the word he received from the Lord when he was in the temple offering the sacrifice of the people, he was struck mute. Yet once his wife Elizabeth argued about the name that should be given to their child, the Lord gave him his voice back. Luke 1:67-80 (this was soon after Mary’s words).  His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied that his son would be a prophet called by God the Most High. The miracle next to that of Elizabeth being barren, and old and still giving birth to a healthy child.

Those prophetic words and the many that the Bible contains are not just for your neighbor, your friend, or the people down the street, no. These words are for you and for me! There are prophets of today some are sound and teach truth and others I believe want to sow fear in our hearts. We do not need to have a spirit of fear but we must be of sound mind and that comes from putting on the armor of Christ!

Your challenge this week is to pray to discern God’s Word in the scripture and to pray to only hear the truth and discern when it is not of the Lord. May you be blessed today and always.

 

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Navigating Relational Struggles

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Navigating Relational Struggles | As surely as we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity through baptism, we are meant to be occasions of grace for each other | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Knowing&BeingKnown #HealthyCommunication #NavigatingRelationalStruggles #NavigatingStrugglesNavigating Relational Struggles

As surely as we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity through baptism, we are meant to be occasions of grace for each other. Since it is our call to be incarnations of God, his hands and feet in the world at this time, even our simple interactions can minister his love, mercy, and healing. Yet, life can be complex and, of course, we all come with different temperaments, personalities, histories, and preferences. There are a great many moving parts that make up who we are.

Because of this, two or more people gathering often present challenges. But notice that, in the scripture above, they have drawn together in Jesus’ name, to enter into his presence. Considering what characterizes how the Lord relates to us, we know he engages with us through seeing and hearing us as uniquely good and that he cherishes us and respects the free will he’s given us. In short, he longs and seeks to relate to us with the deepest connection. Actually, we are made not just for communion, but for union with him. We gather in his name when we imitate his example. When we hit speed bumps and rough patches in relating, it is helpful to go back to these basics. In openly seeking to see and hear each other as uniquely good and cherished, we are able to not just go through tough times, but to grow through them as individuals and in communion with each other.

Years ago I taught these connection principles to a 16-year-old boy and his mother. They’re so simple, he was quickly able to grasp them. We used them each week to gain insight into his relational struggles with his parents and peers. After only a couple of weeks, he could explain how he was using these concepts to assess interactions in his relationships, and when something felt off he was able to get right back on course. He and his mother began to work together to calmly examine difficulties they were experiencing and peacefully arrive at understandings. Their relationship began to flourish. Beginning with a mutual understanding that they were both seeking connection made a world of difference. Suddenly, defenses were dropped, and they were able to examine circumstances together. They had attitudes of collaboration because they understood they had a common goal, common needs, and rules of engagement.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

Spiritual Life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Foundations of the Spiritual Life | The foundation of a spiritual life is a call to holiness. We (the human race) must decrease as He (God) must increase. This, in essence, means dying to self, and no one in this age of temptation can say they do not struggle with this from time to time | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode307 #GodIsWithYou #Peacemakers #SpiritualBaggage #FoundationsoftheSpiritualLife #SpiritualLifeFoundations of the Spiritual Life ~ Episode 307

The foundation of a spiritual life is a call to holiness. We (the human race) must decrease as He (God) must increase. This, in essence, means dying to self, and no one in this age of temptation can say they do not struggle with this from time to time. We all, if we are striving for holiness will be before the face of God at some point, and we will have to account for our lives. Sure, there are many who believe that once saved, always saved, but this only goes so far. My Christian friends who share this philosophy will agree that you can not live a life of sin and claim to be saved. So, it is, yes–an acceptance of God as Lord and Savior, but also renouncing sin.
One of the greatest sermons of all time is the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5 through 7. Here, we learn at the feet of Jesus how we should live our lives. It starts beautifully with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-11 When I was younger, I read these passages and thought – well, I’m a failure; I am never going to make it to heaven. This is a tall order, and how can someone who lives as a mom and wife mourn, become poor in spirit, develop a pure heart, become a peacemaker, and be persecuted for righteousness’s sake? Well, as you know, just being in a family qualifies you if you are open to God’s will– and Christians are currently being persecuted for what they believe. Just putting the 10 Commandments in schools, as several states have asked, seems to cause an avalanche of lawsuits and cries of injustice.

Recipe for  the Spiritual Life:

Let’s read the Beatitudes: (Read on air)

Only through the gift of God’s grace can we achieve this. Doing it on our own will cause us to fail. And we need God’s grace to get through each day. The Kingdom of God was created for us; God created us to be immortal, to never die but to live forever with Him in the beautiful garden he created, but due to sin, this door was shut, and death and destruction entered, so that leaves us with free choice and free will. Evil happens when good people are too scared to speak out and to stop it because, as Matthew 5:10 states, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We all want heaven without persecution!

Can you believe that the Creator of the Universe allows us a yes or no in deciding whether or not we want to serve Him? That is why Matthew 5:13 is so scary to us. It says,

The Narrow and Wide Gates

How can we find that narrow gate? How can we find the road that leads to life? Let’s look at the Old Testament for some help: 2 Kings. The book of Kings is about – yes, the Kings. Here, we learn the sad fate of the people who turned their backs on God. The intermarried people of different faiths were swayed in their worship, and the decline and collapse of Israel and Judah were devasting. Israel was captured by the Assyrians, and Judah was exiled to Babylon. They disobeyed the covenant of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and were handed down by Moses. God said, “I am your God, and you are my people.”

A quick search shows this verse is in Exodus and Jeremiah.

  • Exodus 6:7: “You will be my people and I will be your God. I am the LORD your God, and you will know that I made you free from Egypt.”
  • Jeremiah 30:22: “And you will be My people, and I will be your God.”
  • Jeremiah 32:38: “They will be My people, and I will be their God.”
  • Exodus 29:45-46: “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them.

Our cry, personally in prayer, should be, “God! I want to be your people — please, please be my GOD!” We should also look at the example of King Hezekiah; he showed us how to find that narrow road and narrow gate.

  • 10:1-7 and King Hezekiah. Read on air.

What did the King do? He repented, renounced his sin and the sins of the nation, fasted, and paid homage through sacrifice to the Lord. He also asked everyone to do the same. And God heard his prayer. The Lord is the beacon of light for those who love and trust Him. King Hezekiah trusted God no matter the outcome. He prayed and fulfilled another scripture—not to throw what is holy to the dogs or throw your pears to the swine.

Who would throw pearls to the swine? This is a colorful example that we read in Matthew 7:6, where Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord is teaching, strengthening, and preserving our faith. Here, the Lord shares a jarring description of what happens when we take what is holy and should only be reserved for God, and we throw it, if you will, toward those who will not appreciate it. Take, for example, a movie star or perhaps a pop star. The obsession people have with these stars is an example of throwing your pearls. You are talking about a kind of worship and giving it to someone who won’t appreciate it coming from you. Collectively, we often hear the stars say how they appreciate their fans. But individually, no. The appreciation and worship you have are one-sided; they are not reciprocated.

However, our love and worship of the Lord is appreciated and blessed. Our worship does nothing to make God greater, but it is something we were created for — to love and serve the Lord. Getting too involved with the world can rob us of our faith and make it difficult to live our convictions. It takes our eyes off of God and puts them on another created being. This could be anything that we spend our time and focus on without time and focus on the Almighty.

In addition, these obsessions often cause compromise. We lose sight of what is holy. Sadly, this doesn’t help us eternally, and it isn’t going to get us anywhere. Surely, it is the wide road most traveled, not that narrow gate. We need time for God and a place in our home where we can pray and focus on our time with the Lord and not lose faith.

Ultimately, the spiritual life can be summed up in the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Basically, this means treating others as you would treat yourself. And this, my friends, is the key to finding that narrow gate. With confidence, we pray for God’s grace to follow this less-traveled path. Amen!

Variety Show

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s Summer

And this year I’ve set aside July to do some deep work in my soul. I need it. It’s been a tumultuous year and I have a desire to reconnect with God and me!

Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts about hazard lights and blinkers; “homemade food” in restaurants and some fun or maybe odd things about me.

Upcoming Episodes

Find out what is coming in July with some great author interviews. I also review the mysteries of the rosary.

Variety

This episode is meant to be fun and lighthearted, like those variety shows we watched when we were kids. Like the Donny and Marie Osmond show! A little bit of this and little bit of that. So listen and enjoy!

Connect with me on Instagram or contract me via email at Deanna (at) livenotlukewarm(dot) com.

 

 

Healthy Communication

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Healthy Communication | The fool takes no delight in understanding, but rather in displaying what he thinks. – Proverbs 18:2 First, let’s sum up what we’ve learned about connection so far. We all need an authentic sense of safety, respect, and being known as good in order to facilitate openness | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Knowing&BeingKnown #HealthyCommunicationHealthy Communication

The fool takes no delight in understanding,

but rather in displaying what he thinks.

 – Proverbs 18:2

First, let’s sum up what we’ve learned about connection so far. We all need an authentic sense of safety, respect, and being known as good in order to facilitate openness. Putting this information to use, we have a solid foundation for communication. Regardless of the subject matter for verbal dialogue, these are ever present needs in people. Because they are invisible and because we have the same needs, we tend to ignore them and press ahead into talking, all the while neglecting the conversation running in the background.

Am I safe? Am I accepted as I am? Am I seen and heard as an individual who is good? These questions are the litmus test we generally use to assess how safe it is for us to open up, become vulnerable, and share our inmost selves. We need to start by plugging into God for the affirmation of who we are in him and strive to accept this truth more deeply. This is our mode from which we will receive what others present to us. When we begin a conversation with another after having first adjusted our vision of the Lord and ourselves in him, we are better able to approach the other calmly and with compassion.

Of course, we cannot control if others are doing the same, but we can do our part to ease the communication process by keeping in mind that others have the same needs for safety, respect and acceptance. So, it is important to communicate these and to be present to truly see and hear them, not just their words. Here are the things we can do:

  • Safety and Respect – shown by awareness of and honoring a person’s boundaries. Being gentle with our words, tone, and body language are all important since we communicate in all three of these ways.
  • Valuing and Accepting – don’t make the other person’s worth, even in your mind and heart, about the outcome of the conversation. When our peace seems contingent on the response from the other person, we need to focus more on the Lord before engaging. He is our Prince of Peace. Nothing anyone else says or doesn’t say can make or break us.
  • Validate – acknowledge the other person’s view and/or difficulty. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, but we can agree and recognize their struggle.
  • Be gentle; Smile (if appropriate) – this may sound remedial, but it’s a way to remind them, and us, that they are of unfathomable worth.
  • Make eye contact – this helps to communicate that we are paying attention.
  • Don’t multitask – not being distracted by phone or activities sends the message that we value the other.

Remember to practice these activities and thoughts in your own life and begin to see how your relationships flourish because of them. Furthermore, healthy communication is greatly facilitated when we have a common language and framework from which to approach it. Consider sharing this book with your family, friends, groups, teams, or community so that you can begin to bring some equilibrium and common understanding to the way in which the relationships in your life develop and grow.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Spiritual Burden

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spiritual Baggage | What is spiritual baggage, and does this pertain to you? I found that we all carry some baggage, and in this show, we will discuss ways to lessen the load | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode306 #GodIsWithYou #Peacemakers #SpiritualBaggageWhat is a spiritual burden, and is this baggage, and does this pertain to you? I found that we all carry some baggage, and in this show, we will discuss ways to lessen the load.

Spiritual Baggage Episode 306

What is spiritual baggage? Or should it be called spiritual burden? I heard a great analogy of this the other day, and it was related to backpacking in the wilderness. When roughing it, it is important to take the essential items the things (such as food and water) that you can not live without, but in doing so, you end up weighing down your bag. The more you add to your backpack, the more you have to carry, and after a while, it is so heavy it will become a burden or slow you down. This is the same with our spiritual burdens. These are the things that weigh us down and stifle our growth and relationship with the Lord. It affects our emotions,

It affects our emotions psychologically, our relationships, and our well-being. Not only are we struggling to carry this weight every day, but often, the baggage spills over onto others. There are all types of spiritual and emotional baggage, and this can be summed up in our emotional well-being. Are we hurt, frustrated, traumatized, or has our faith been damaged in some way? Often, when we struggle with trauma, we can become bogged down in grief, anger, or sadness. Daily we struggle with not getting enough done or accomplishing all we hoped, and then we are upset with ourselves or others.

If you’ve listened to this show, you know I encourage spending time with God. When I don’t, I feel like I let the Lord down, and my spiritual growth is inching along instead of leaping ahead. Many times, we struggle with unrealized goals or how we think things should turn out instead of actual circumstances.

Baggage can also be things of the past, fighting past sins or grievances. Perhaps we still struggle to forgive someone who has hurt us, or we are carrying the pain from past relationships. Something could trigger a past response or remind us of something in the past, and we react badly. Then, of course, that spirals into guilt.

I believe the worst baggage is the unidentified ones that are in our subconscious, but we don’t realize or just don’t acknowledge. This can affect our everyday interactions with our family and those around us. It keeps us in bondage, and that, my friends, is something we must rebuke.

Baggage slows us down and can keep us from living a life that is filled with love, laughter, and the knowledge that our lives center around our faith in God.

What should we do? Daily, we should put on the whole armor of God to combat the schemes of the evil one, as Scripture states! Read Ephesians 6

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (Read on air.)

Our spiritual baggage is not won by anything we can physically do on our own – as the scripture states, “for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” Strongholds are areas in our lives that we give over to the evil one!

I love Matthew 11:28-30. (Read on air.)

It gives us all so much hope! We are laboring and carrying a burden we don’t have to and that God never wanted us to carry. It is something that we have to release on a daily basis. I often pray, “Lord, I give you my worries, my needs, and all of the things I can not control in my life. Please, Lord, take this burden from me and allow me to rest in the knowledge that you are there for me, always.”  Write your own prayer and focus on the words, allowing your burden to lighten. If you can’t think of anything, ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

We can overcome our struggles with anything by first acknowledging there is a problem. This is step one in any addiction program: recognizing you have an addiction first so that you can overcome it instead of being in denial and thinking it is not a problem. We can not overcome something we do not acknowledge.

Overcoming Spiritual Baggage

  1. Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to reveal burdened areas of your life and write them down.
  2. Acknowledge these burdens with the hope that the Lord will lift them from you!
  3. Pray. Ask someone to pray with you, visit your priest or clergy, and ask for help. If you have a prayer partner, ask them to pray as you discern ways to deal with the issues at hand.
  4. Acknowledge anyone you need to forgive. Forgiving is a decision, not a feeling (Podcast on forgiveness here), and asking for forgiveness here.
  5. Letting go and letting God is a form of releasing our stress and anxiety to Him and Him alone.
  6. Asking the Lord into your heart in a deeper way and praying for God’s guidance and healing.
  7. Surrendering all to the Lord. Daily.

Will you pray for me? I will pray for you that you can release your burdens to the Lord and enjoy life, because your burden will be light!

Christian Retreat (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Christian Retreat ~ At Home – Episode 213

It is time to fill up your spiritual tank with a Christian retreat. No matter what time of the year a refilling is good and that begins with a good Bible Study, or you, the Holy Spirit, and a pad and paper. Have you ever tried to listen to God and then had a sense of something you wanted to write down? In this way, we can communicate (in our own fallen way) with the Almighty. While it is not the same as face-to-face, we’ll have to wait for that time at the end of our lives, it is still a way to have a Christian retreat in our own homes.

– and if you missed my podcast on Renewing Your Faith you can catch it here.

Not all of us can leave to go on a weekend retreat, but if you have ever had the opportunity to go on a really good one, you know the blessings are unsurpassed. In the past, we’ve talked about spending time with God, the entire purpose or theme of this podcast, but this takes it one step further. Prayer is a communication of some sort, many times we feel it is one-sided. We talk, we listen and we hear silence. Or we look for a particular feeling, one of joy, thanksgiving, or peace. When we try to find these things and don’t we feel that we’ve failed in some way, or perhaps given up.

If you could go on a retreat what are your goals? What is it that you would want to get out of it? Is it getting closer to God? Growing in your relationship? Is it learning, listening, or perhaps making a point to rely upon the Lord? Or, is it to rest in the Lord, to become infilled and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

Recently I read something that really caused me to analyze my own relationship with the Lord. It said that if we are short-tempered, finding ourselves quickly annoyed, or unable to deal with the detours of life, we need to look at our relationship with the Lord. The people who are on track, who have a good relationship with God, and who feel that they spend time in meaningful prayer, learning, sharing their faith, and giving of themselves in service to others are the ones that can handle most things calmly.

Wow, that was eye-opening. In fact, I had just shared with my husband shortly before that the opposite. I asked him why I was unable to deal with all of the minor issues, many of them computer related that normally didn’t cause me to become upset. In the space of two weeks, my husband’s website was hacked, junk emails were created and sent from his account, and we had to move our server to a more secure one including this podcast network and the other one I owned, and website. Not only that, but the accounting software my husband’s business uses was giving me issues! And, I had no patience at all.

Sure, we all have things that happen in our lives and sometimes we handle them better than others, but this type of thing never bothered me. I was attributing my irritations to getting older! But, the Lord set me straight. If I truly believe, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my savior, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 then I have to live my life in this way. And, the best way to begin is by filling back up and renewing my relationship with God.

And, today we will discuss a customized retreat just for you!

First, if you have been on a retreat, think about some of the things you enjoyed. I’m going to share my list with you, be sure to add to this or subtract things that don’t interest you. You may need to tweak or adjust it to fit your schedule.

My favorite aspects of the retreat are the following?

  1. Quiet.
  2. Time for prayer.
  3. Praise and Worship.
  4. Solitude.
  5. Time for confession.

Retreats usually contain some type of guest speaker who gets us started on the journey of turning our hearts toward God. This may be several talks or one key talk. I spent the weekend at a retreat that started with a keynote on a Friday evening, then the silent part of the retreat. We were asked to go back to our rooms, and if we had a roommate to still remain silent. We could break our silence the next day at breakfast. The focus was on giving our thoughts to God and reading, praying or spending time in that quiet thinking about what the speaker said that was impactful but more importantly to train our busy minds to slow down. When you take communication out of the equation and are forced into quiet it is amazing. It allows you a chance to breathe and relax.

When you are in the car, can you just drive in silence? If the answer is always no, maybe it is time to begin your car trip with prayer. I plan to do another podcast on this very topic at some point soon. I use my car trips always the very beginning of one to pray. Once I am finished with my prayers, then I can flip on the radio or podcasts. But first I must have time with God.

The point of a retreat is relationship and communication only with the Lord. It can be a time of prayer and petition for yourself, wait another time to pray for others, unless you are really led to do it during this time.

So, your dream retreat what would it look like? Here is a thumbnail outline to start you off.

  1.  First, ask the Lord to fill you to overflowing with His love joy, and peace or whatever the goals are for your retreat.
  2. Find a quiet place. Somewhere you will not be interrupted.
  3. Have a journal, a pen, your Bible, and something to drink.
  4.  Praise God – either in word or song. If you can sing, do it! Have a favorite playlist? Play it.
  5. Wait until you feel the joy or the sense of peace and allow that to fill you in the quiet. Remain in this way as long as you’d like or time permits.
  6. Write down any thoughts or words. Don’t be in a hurry with this. Close your eyes and just wait upon the Lord.
  7. Read scripture if you are led to a particular scripture. Again, write down the words that touch you, and in the quiet and listen. Mediate on what they mean in your life.
  8. Ask the Lord, in prayer to strengthen your faith (or whatever it is you want to ask the Lord).
  9. Write down any thoughts or goals you want for this day or the future. Make these goals reachable!
  10. Praise God and thank Him for this time with Him.

Create your own retreat and you will be blessed.

 

Prayer Time Ideas

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Our Authors

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mother of three young adults, a music minister at her parish, and a Secular Franciscan. She is the editor at CatholicMom and blogs at FranciscanMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. She is the author of The Handy Little Guide to Prayer and The Handy Little Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours published by Our Sunday Visitor.

 

Allison Gingras is the founder of ReconciledToYou, where she shares the love of Jesus and her Catholic faith with relational stories, laughter, and authentic honesty through everyday, ordinary life occurrences. Allison is a Catholic social media and digital specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Diocese of Fall River.
Gingras developed the Stay Connected Journals for Women series, including her volumes The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites You to a Life of Grace and Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust, and a new volume coming in 2025 from OSV. The story of her daughter’s adoption was shared in Encountering Signs of Faith; Unexpected Journey with Sacramentals, the Saints, and the Abundant Grace of God (Ave Maria Press). She has also contributed to numerous books, including Our Friend Faustina ; the CPA award-winning The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers and Called by Name Daily Devotional for Catholic Women; and Living the Word Catholic Women’s Bible. She joyfully lives out her vocation as a deacon’s wife and the mother of three.

Key Points of Our Conversation

  • There are many different ways to pray.
  • God appreciates our efforts; we don’t need to be perfect.
  • The types of prayer we use will change and vary over time and depend on our life circumstances.
  • All prayer helps us know God better.

This week, choose a new prayer or type of prayer and pray it.

 

Learn more about prayer when you sign up for my newsletter! 

Knowing & Being Known

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Knowing & Being Known | In choosing how we relate to others, we start at the heart, that is, we start with believing the other to be very good and made in God’s image and likeness | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Knowing&BeingKnownKnowing & Being Known

In choosing how we relate to others, we start at the heart, that is, we start with believing the other to be very good and made in God’s image and likeness. This is a central tenet of our faith as Catholics and is the heart of our respect for human life. As human beings, we are all works in progress. Since this is the truth of the Lord’s relationship to us, why would it be any less true for someone else? If we stop at the fact that he sees us this way and don’t extend the same to others, we risk being egocentric and arrogant. We also call into question how much we believe in God’s unchanging love for us. Very quickly, we can become either an idol or insecure in the Lord’s love. Looking at others with God’s view creates in us a capacity for empathy, reverence, and respect of the other that we cannot attain any other way. This is a part of taking on God’s mind for creation.

The quote from Scottish author and theologian Ian Maclaren, “Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle,”1 encourages us to imitate how the Lord relates to each of us. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to assume we know what is going on with a person based on what we perceive on the outside. If we are going to look for a fundamental truth to guide our interactions with others, this is the safest one; we cannot possibly know what is going on inside a person based on their exterior. Many times we are not even fully aware of what is operating within us on the deepest level.

We relate to the people in our lives with differing degrees of intimacy and yet we can communicate the concept of knowing others as very good in simple yet powerful ways. If you don’t already do this, the next time you go to a store or a restaurant, look the person who is assisting you in the eye with the mindset that they are a person performing a service, not the service itself. They are not a means to an end. Smile. Ask them how they’re doing and truly listen to their response. It’s amazing how much a person is touched by being seen and heard as an individual.

We all need to be known and as we’ve discussed, healthy boundaries help us to safely navigate this. Remember our focus should be on being rather than doing. The same way the Lord called the apostles to be fishers of men, rather than to do the catching, it is our responsibility to see and hear others. We can’t necessarily make someone feel seen and heard or known to be very good. How another will respond to us is a matter of their view of themselves. What we can do is that which God has called us to, to reverence them and see them for the valued creation they are. This fosters connection, but we can only do our part.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Calm the Storm or Rest with Jesus ?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

Scripture

Jesus Calms a Storm at Sea, Mark 4:35-41 

Reflection

How about instead of asking Jesus to calm the storm we ask him to help us rest like he is? That’s my discussion on this episode!

And there are a few random thoughts about weather, moisturizer and my problem reading an eye chart. Enjoy!

Need a speaker? Let’s talk!

 

Valuing and Being Valued

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Valuing & Being Valued | To value another the way God values them means seeing them as they truly are, a treasure of immeasurable worth. People are not a means to an end | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #Valuing&BeingValued #ValuingAndBeingValued #BeingValuedValuing & Being Valued

To value another the way God values them means seeing them as they truly are, a treasure of immeasurable worth. People are not a means to an end. In other words, whether we agree or disagree with someone has nothing to do with their inherent value. I could disagree with someone’s opinions, beliefs, or actions, but it shouldn’t change the acceptance I have for them as a human being and the dignity with which I regard them. Remember, our dignity comes from the fact that God is who he is and that he showed his value for us when he purchased us with the price of his own Son.

It’s amazing what happens when we begin to see others in this light. It actually begins to change how we view ourselves. Suddenly, we’re more capable of realizing our own worth is unwavering. It doesn’t matter if we are right or wrong, perfect or imperfect. Reminding ourselves that our neighbor’s value doesn’t change helps us recognize the same is true of us. We begin to accept that truth at a deeper level. Recognizing this about others affords us greater objectivity and, in the long run, the lesson blesses our view of ourselves, as well. In a very real way, we begin to see the circumstances of the day as scenery on the journey to an ever-deepening reception of God’s gift of himself. Less and less is offensive.  Less and less disturbs our peace. More and more is recognized as gift until all is seen as a personal, intimate self-gift of God.

There’s an ironic consequence of treating people with value regardless of if they agree or cooperate with us. It’s that they begin to agree and cooperate a lot more. When we are treated like our value is contingent on someone’s approval of us, it can cause us to shut down because that estimation is fundamentally not true and we know it intuitively, even if we don’t know it consciously. Remember, openness is a byproduct of having our boundaries respected, being valued, and being seen as good. We cannot make cooperation the goal. To do so sabotages the very point; we all have the same value no matter what.

Regardless of our best efforts, we can’t make each other feel valued and accepted. Once I worked with a client who was completely convinced I was judging and rejecting her. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. I had actually struggled with some things in very much the same way she did and felt great compassion for her. It pained me not to be able to alleviate her pain caused by her belief that I saw her with condemnation, but it was not within my ability to do so. The issue was the lenses through which she viewed herself. I had to stay in the place of being accepting and fight the temptation to try to control her. To force my acceptance on her would have violated her boundaries and would have been fighting a losing battle. It was helpful to remind myself that she could only connect with me to the extent she was connected to herself. In situations like that, we can trust that the Lord loves the other person way more than we possibly could and his ability to heal is infinitely greater.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Summer Reading for the Working Woman | Summer replay

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Summer Reading for the Working WomanEpisode 90–Summer Reading for the Working Woman

 

Deanna Cauthen, the host of The Working Woman Radio Show, shares 10 of her favorite books to encourage summer reading for the working woman.

The nice thing about the summer is that most people usually take vacations during the summer, and this can be a great time to catch up on some reading that you may not have been able to do during the other months of the year.

The list that she shares is not in any particular order as far as preference is concerned.

So she encourages you to put your feet up, kick back, and take a little time to do some reading this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Resources:

The following are a list of the books that I mentioned on the podcast:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

The Wisdom of Menopause  by Christiane Northrup, MD

Emily Posts Complete Encyclopedia of Etiquette by Emily Post

Love is a Verb by Gary Chapman

Soothe Your Nerves by Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett

Becoming  by Michelle Obama 

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

The Boy Crisis by Warren Farrel, Ph. D and John Gray, Ph.D

The Power of a Praying Wife  Stormie Omartian

Announcements

 

 The Elevate Talk Show

The Mother/Daughter Talk Show that elevates your life.

The Elevate Talk Show wants to feature you on our show!

Tell us a story about something you’ve done to elevate your life or someone else’s. It could be something you’ve done to better the life of a family member or friend, or a creative way you enhanced your home decor home. It could also be something you’ve done to improve your health like losing weight, and more.
If you would like to be featured in our ‘Before We Go’ segment, share your story with us. To sign up, go to The Elevate Talk Show YouTube channel and subscribe. Then email us your stories and pictures to elevateytchannel@gmail.com.
Also, become an Elevate! Facebook friend by visiting, https://www.facebook.com/cauthenproductions/
and share your stories and pictures with us on our Facebook page.
To view the Elevate! YouTube channel, go to Elevate!
Also, if you live in DeKalb County, Georgia you can also listen to episodes of Comcast channel 25.

God’s Will While Living The Gospel | Special Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God's Will While Living The Gospel | Finding God's will in our lives is found when looking at the Gospels. #podcast #christianpodcast #catholic #findingGodsWillGod’s Will While Living The Gospel Podcast 18

How can we find God’s will while living the gospel? Often when a member of a family receives a threatening or fatal medical diagnosis. The tendency in this situation, especially for the individual, is to devote themselves to putting everything in order.  They may update their will, re-deed their property, even preplan their funeral. All of this is to ensure that their loved ones are well taken care of once they are gone.

Finding God’s will while living The Gospel can be seen in the last supper.

At the Last Supper Jesus does the same with his disciples. In his preplanning to physically leave them, he tells them the following things to remember and do: He tells them to remain in him, if they don’t they will not produce fruit because apart from him they can do nothing. If they remain in him they can ask for what they want and it will be done for them. If they keep the commandments they will remain in his love, especially the great commandment of loving God and loving one another. He tells them that they are his friends and he has given them everything the Father has given him…

“I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them the word and the world hated them.” Then he tells them the world is going to hate them because they do not belong to the world. “because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may be consecrated in truth”, see Jn. 17: 11-19.

God’s will while living the Gospel…

God’s will while living the Gospel shows up in the consecration in this scripture means being set aside for the purposes of being a sacrificial love offering through suffering and death. Hatred here means to resist, plot against, persecute and kill. And they will do this because they do not know him or the Father. The world will hate them without cause. When this happens they will remember that he prepared them and told them that this would happen. However, he will send them the Holy Spirit and he will guide them and teach them all truth. He told them to take courage because he has conquered the world. They are told by him to remain committed, courageous,  and merciful in the face of adversity, struggle, trial, suffering, and persecution. In this consecration, for the sake of the truth of the Gospel, his disciples will discover the will of the Father.

I was speaking to a close friend a short while ago and he, reflecting on the state of the world at the present time, referring to the mayhem in our post-modern world, he said that the world has become a very dangerous place to live. Many people undoubtedly are perceiving these same realities.

The question one may hear occasionally is, why is God allowing these things to take place? How does this situation reflect on the consideration of God’s will in our daily life? When we look at the world around us and take the time to reflect on the beautiful and wonderful world of creation, we can’t help to be deeply moved by the glorious wonder of God’s creating love. And the truth that we partner with God in the unfolding of his creative love.

How many gifts the good Lord has given us. We all have received many tremendous blessings both spiritual and temporal. Just in the recent years the many new discoveries in medicine and the rapid development of modern technologies. Original, personal, and social sin has deeply marred the beautiful world of creation which is an expression of God’s gracious love for us. This is the world of reality in which we live.

To counteract the broken reality of sin in the world, God’s plan is fulfilled in his beloved Son, Jesus, our Lord, and Savior. “We know that no one begotten by God commits sin, rather, God protects the one begotten by him, and so the evil one cannot touch him. We know that we belong to God, While the whole world is under the evil one. We know too, that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to recognize the One who is true. And we are in the One who is true, for we are in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life”, see I Jn, 5: 18-20.

“Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticement for the eye, the life of empty show—all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever”, see 1 Jn. 2:15.

What does it mean to leave go of the worldliness of modern reality and do God’s will in all things, especially and primarily in my daily life? If we give up our worldly way of life and begin to follow the ways of the Holy Spirit we surrender our own isolated way of life, our own isolated determination of our human life.

We then take on the supernatural likeness of Christ and imitate the life of Christ, living a life in the Holy Spirit who lives in us and is united to us. Then our nature is transformed so that we are no longer merely human beings, but also sons and daughters of the Father, spiritual human beings by reason of the share we have received in the divine nature. This makes us all one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We are one in mind and holiness, we are one through our communion in the sacred flesh of Christ and our sharing in the one Holy Spirit, see St. Cyril of Alexandria, Liturgy of the Hours, vol II, p. 873.

It is easily seen in the Scripture, that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell. He so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life.

“As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another. 2 Cor. 3: 18.  And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

What does it mean to leave the world of modern reality and seriously look to change some things in our modern and post-modern life? The goal is being free from “the negative spirit of this world”, as we live our good and wonderful human life in this material world created in God’s love. The key goal is the seeking and doing the will of God.

It is probably one of the most ignored and neglected understanding of the truth of God’s will in our Christian growth. “Through the mercy of God, offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your mind, in order to know what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3 How can we know God’s will in our lives, if we don’t directly relate to attitudes, choices, decisions, behaviors, in the practical situations of our daily life?

“Just as the truth is in Jesus, “that you should put away the old self of the former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth”, see Eph. 4: 21-24.  A fresh new spiritual way of thinking! Do we run the risk of mistaken opinions, disagreement’s, and criticism from others? Absolutely! Nevertheless, we really need to cut to the chase here. Can we identify the attitudes and the system of negative values which characterize modern thinking and acting? Which things are opposed to the revelation of God and his most precious will for those he loves?

For the sake of honoring God and loving our brothers and sisters, we should humbly try! The first step in this attempt is to identify some of the idols, false gods, and then look at some of the attitudes and behaviors which are antithetical or hostile to God and his will. And follow and obey what he wants for the nations of the world, and specifically for family life in the Church, and for each individual living in the world of our time.

Of course, it would be impossible to cover everything that may need to be mentioned, but I will attempt to identify some things that may stimulate some specific considerations for us. It would also be helpful if you think about some things that may easily come to you which I won’t be mentioning. These things may point out some areas in your own life which may need some attention in regard to, leaving the world. The Lord may give you some wisdom and understanding in growing in spiritual freedom as you attempt to do the Fathers will in your life, and in the lives for whom you may have some responsibility.

Identifying some idols and false gods in our society: St. Pope John Paul II came to the United States a decent number of times even before he became Pope. He really loved the American people and recognized the potential for American Christians to make a tremendous impact on the international scene in terms of proclaiming the Gospel and living by those values. One time a group of Americans were complaining about all the bad stuff on TV, and asked what should we do? His simple answer was, turn it off. He also took the time to warn American Christians that democracy without a religious base could easily become a new Totalitarianism, which he knew well because of his personal experience in the European situations.

These situations characterized a negative philosophical nihilism, a meaningless and emptiness of life without God, violent destruction of peoples, and two world wars. The leaders of this movement abandoned God and designed new false gods of atheistic humanism and abusive murderous control of individuals. As we today in this country remove God and his values from the American scene, we become victims by tolerating violent destructive behavior and obliterating the dignity and value of God-given human life. A recent article about the toxic destruction of being exposed to third degree of smoking which means living in places where people have smoked for years.

The theory is that individuals living there now are absorbing the toxic poison through their skin. Have we, with little thought bought into our societal values a destructive secular humanism, because we just absorb these attitudes and beliefs, as God’s will is ignored in society and in the media? The commercials on television and movies in a very charming manner promote or present a way of life on TV, which highlights the negative values of unbridled materialism, compulsive buying and spending, liberal sexual behavior, immodest dress and behavior, and programs that foster violence, indecency, killing, materialism, indecent exposure, and paranormal forms of the occult etc.

Ingesting these attitudes unconsciously over a period of time actually changes our way of thinking and our value system. It gets us used to ignoring God and his commandments and not feeling guilty about it as we give in to an inordinate and quiet toleration of all things in society. Do we allow our children to have unsupervised access to watch whatever they want, by having televisions in their rooms? And carry their iPhone computers and TV’s all day long and into the night? Democracy without God leads to bondage and the loss of the dignity of the human person. We see many forms and degrees of destructive behavior very evident in the life of our beloved young people. Many feeling lost and abandoned by others, and open to do destructive things to themselves and in some cases to others.

May We Pray!

Dear Lord grant us the grace to love you with our whole heart, mind, and soul. In love and truth, we seek to know and do your will. Help us, oh merciful Lord to leave the “negative spirit of the world” which fosters destructive behavior and darkness of mind. Give us a Spirit-led discernment of the worldliness of modern life, that we may have the light of your Father and the Holy Spirit unfolding your will in our lives. And grant us purity of heart to do your loving will for ourselves and our brothers and sisters for whom you have asked us to serve. In Jesus Name, we pray! Amen.

 



Peacemakers

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Peacemakers | Who are the peacemakers? Are you a peacemaker, and do you find yourself in that role? What does the Holy Bible say? This podcast discusses being a peacemaker and how we can all strive to do our part | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode305 #GodIsWithYou #PeacemakersWho are the peacemakers? Are you a peacemaker, and do you find yourself in that role? What does the Holy Bible say? This podcast discusses being a peacemaker and how we can all strive to do our part.

Peacemakers ~ Episode

If you look up the word online, you will find that being a peacemaker is not a good thing. In all fairness, this information came from a search using the latest AI technology, artificial intelligence. There have always been computer programs that search for keywords and match websites with the words. However, the latest technology gives a synopsis of what is found in literal seconds, which needs to be corrected. One of the reasons is technology does not have a heart; a human element is missing.

My search showed me that a peacemaker is drawn to those who disagree and are typically worn out or frustrated, and it is a person who does not take care of themselves. While all of that can be correct, making a blanket statement in some people is not always good. It is said that peacemakers are not assertive. How can you be a peacemaker without speaking up and trying to see things from different sides? That requires diplomacy. Sure, not everyone is diplomatic, but it is a gift if you are. I try to see things from both sides outside my family, and the frustration comes when I can not understand an evil motivation. I can not computer things like abortion on demand or late-term abortion. In truth, I can not understand abortion at all, the killing of a life. In some states, legally. As one popular television personality said, he was for abortion. He agreed it was murder, and he said he could live with that thought and urged abortion advocates to embrace that terminology.

Wow. Our world is a place where evil is recognized and allowed. And we should all be okay with it—are you? We must pray, dear friends, because there is good news. The good news is that Jesus reigns now and forever, and evil has no hold over those who profess Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (if they live holy and, in my case, sacramental lives).

When we discuss the word peace in a religious context, we are talking about a feeling that comes from an action. This can be caused by an action on our part, being in a quiet room, reading a scripture verse, and meditating on the meaning, which comes from God’s grace. However, a peacemaker can refrain from using words that can incite or cause problems or dissension. A peacemaker can see a situation that has gotten out of control and turn it around into one that is diffused, forcing those in disagreement to agree or compromise.

Recently, I watched someone do this effortlessly. This person took a volatile situation filled with misunderstanding and frustration and, in a few sentences, told each of those affected what the other was trying to say diplomatically. I was impressed. It caused me to think and consider the idea of being a peacemaker. Who are those who strive for peace, and how are they rewarded? As the scriptures tell us – we are told, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Wow! I want to be called a child of God.

I have to admit that I have not always been a peacemaker outside my family. It is sometimes easy to get others riled up, and it is under the guise of teasing, just having fun, or trying to make a point. I realized that it did more harm than good, and while I am not being specific here in my examples, I believe we can all look at our own lives and find situations where we could have used our words more effectively and in a way that would do good rather than harm.

Being a peacemaker is a good thing. In the Bible, we have Christ’s wonderful words when he was surrounded by the crowds. The Beatitudes contain words we should read daily (read on air).

These are words we should read daily. I remember reading these words back in my smart-aleck days and thinking, well, I’m no meek or humble; I’m in trouble! Friends, I was laughing at myself here and kidding around, but I had much work to do on my spiritual journey! It has been quite the journey, and the Lord is still working with me—praise you, Jesus!

Being a peacemaker in this world means making a conscious effort to examine your words, what you are saying, and how they impact the lives of others. Words matter. (More on air.)

Trusting God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does trust mean?

What does the word trust mean? “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.”

Who do you trust? What things do you place your trust in? Has someone ever broken your trust? Have you ever caused a person to stop trusting you? When we think about trust we see how easy it is to both take it for granted and abuse it at the same time. Maybe we do that with God.

Our human relationships often mirror our relationship with God, until we learn that God is not
like people. Thank God! He is far more forgiving, all-knowing, loving, faithful, giving, loving, wise, patient, kind, and and and, fill in your word, than we are in our dealings with each other and with him. Yet he is faithful to us, always allowing us to return to him when we seek him.

Scripture

  • Do you have a firm belief in God being reliable? Deuteronomy 32:4
  • Do you know that he is Truth? John 14:6-7
  • Do you know that he has great ability? Luke 8:24-25
  • Do you know his strength? Psalm 73:26

Openness from Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Openness from Others

A number of years ago, I was supervising a team of therapists, and at the end of the workday, I received a call from one of them wanting to consult about a teenager she was treating in a weeklong intensive program. The therapist said she didn’t think the child was appropriate for the week of treatment and thought she would need more time to build rapport. She told me for their three-hour session that day the girl had insisted she didn’t believe in emotions. She said that she thought they were an artificial idea human beings had invented. The teen very much needed intensive trauma work. Sadly, she had been in counseling for over a decade at that point, all with little benefit.

I asked the therapist if she would mind if I attended their session the next day. She readily agreed. When the client came into the room and saw me with her therapist her eyes widened. She thought she was in trouble. I simply said I was her therapist’s supervisor, and I had heard they had a difficult session the day before and wanted to see if I could help. I told her I had gone through the same treatment years prior, expecting no relief, and instead was greatly helped. I went on to add that I had looked at her chart and knew she’d been in therapy since she was a toddler, which meant we, as mental health professionals, had failed her or she wouldn’t still be struggling so. I added that I couldn’t imagine she would want to tell her story to one more person. She sat still and silent. Finally, she asked, “Are you a unicorn?” I had no idea what she meant. She said, “You came skipping in here throwing trauma sprinkles and rainbows and suddenly I want to do this.” I realized she was connecting to me and so I knew I needed to spend a few more minutes casually chatting with her and her therapist to get them comfortable with each other before I left the room so they could get to work.

What I learned from that experience is that openness is a byproduct. It can’t be a goal. The young therapist was so interested in the client cooperating with treatment that she was, metaphorically, attempting to bash the young lady’s door down, forcing her to accept it. She was asking her to be open, but all the while, she was sending the message that she would have value if only she would participate in the therapy. On the other hand, I hadn’t used a technique of some sort on her. I was simply relating to her the way I would have wanted to be treated. If I wanted her to be honest, it only made sense that I be honest, too. In expressing to her that I understood her, acknowledged her value regardless of if she chose to participate in the program, and respected her boundaries, she readily opened her heart and ended up doing fantastic work through the rest of the week.

It would be a drastically different story if I had gone into the treatment room and said the same things but with the goal of getting her to cooperate, as opposed to the goal of connecting. She, most likely, would have been able to sense a lack of consistency or sincerity and would have walled off her heart, and all for good reason. I wouldn’t have been trustworthy if I had made treatment a goal. She had to be the goal. I had to surrender potential failure in front of one of my team, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t matter at that point – not to her.  I had to know I mattered to the Lord and to myself. It was my job to communicate that she mattered. I didn’t really fully understand how important what I was doing was and didn’t know why she so quickly decided to engage in treatment until I prayed about it after the session. Through that meeting, the Lord taught me openness is a byproduct rather than an end in and of itself. That lesson changed how I aspire to relate.

Whether or not others choose to open at a given time or in a particular circumstance, reverencing them is an honor because it is an opportunity to imitate how the Lord relates to us. When others do open up to us, it is profound and humbling and deserves to be met with reverence and respect.

Action Step

Take advantage of time in a store, restaurant, or gathering and note what fosters openness among people and what tends to shut people down. See if you notice how boundaries, acceptance (value) and being known come into play.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Testimony of Alexandra Andrews

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Alexandra Andrews | Alexandra is a wife and mother of two young boys and a Pro-Life speaker who shares her testimony as an Abortion Survivor. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #AlexandraAndrews #TestimonyofAlexandraAndrewsTestimony of Alexandra Andrews

Alexandra is a wife and mother of two young boys and a Pro-Life speaker who shares her testimony as an Abortion Survivor. Alexandra reveals the ways in which God carried out His plan for her life, to bring her out of an orphanage in Russia so she could spread the message of the Gospel. Alexandra has a powerful message of mercy and forgiveness as she healed from the rejection of being unwanted and the low self esteem she carried for many years.

Alexandra shares what she learned from a priest by attending a retreat and other influential individual’s wisdom that she has gleaned from in her journey of faith and hope.  She applied the knowledge in her own life to forgive her birth mother and overcome the obstacles. She received true freedom, forgiveness, and love that only the Lord can give through His abundant mercy. She wants people to know that they have experienced her similar situation and that there is hope for them, too.

Alexandra is an active member of her Parish, a Registered Nurse, and a Creighton Model Fertility Care Practitioner Intern.

This testimony was given to the Rochester, NY Chapter in April of 2021.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

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Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Questions Christians Ask

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Questions Christians Ask | I ask questions all the time. It is the nature of a teacher to ask, or it is part of my makeup anyway. When my kids misbehaved, I asked them questions to see exactly why they were stubbornly refusing the rules or if they had a different motivation | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode303 #GodIsWithYou #QuestionsChristiansAskDid you know there are questions Christians ask? What are they, and how does this pertain to you whether you are walking with the Lord or don’t know Him? In this episode, we explore this idea of questions we should ask and ponder.

Questions Christians Ask ~ Episode 303

I ask questions all the time. It is the nature of a teacher to ask, or it is part of my makeup anyway. When my kids misbehaved, I asked them questions to see exactly why they were stubbornly refusing the rules or if they had a different motivation. My husband, an athlete, would ask my children, “What were you thinking?” when they were playing sports and messed up. We ask questions each day, of ourselves or others. How many of us use popular search engines online on our computers or phones to search for answers to our questions?

Besides typical questions we ask, there are those that are deep.

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. What is my purpose?
  4. Who am I?
  5. What do I believe?

Many of these questions, while asked by the greatest minds of all times, philosophers, and others throughout the centuries, all stemmed from a lack of purpose, knowledge, and faith.

So, it should not be startling that, as Christians, we should also ask questions. “Does God exist?”

If we are honest with ourselves, we have all wondered if God exists at some point. Sure, we can attribute that thought to the evil one, but all people struggle with the idea, “What if it is not true?” at some point in their lives.

But, “What if it is true?”

The worst that can happen if you follow a Christian life is that you may die, and there is no heaven. The worst that can happen if you deny Christ exists is eternal damnation. Don’t take my word for it, look it up! However, if you don’t believe the Bible is true, that may be problematic.

Questions Christians Ask ~ Leading a Virtuous Life

For those of us who have faith, we know that God does not force anyone to believe, however, He is clear in the scriptures that there is only one way to heaven. What is the way? Deny yourself, pick up the cross, and follow Him. Denying yourself means leaving sin behind. Picking up your cross deals with facing the trials in life (that we all face at one time or another). No one who is deeply in sin is happy. Sin makes a person miserable.

How do we know God asks us to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior? And, should we fear? Of course not, but be warned. Let’s read Matthew 10:32-33 (Read on air)

Mark 8:38 (Read on air)

Sounds like that verse is very applicable today.

John 3:36 is a verse we know. (Read on Air)

God is loving, kind, full of grace, and ready to forgive. God is also righteous. Often we think God must act the way we expect Him to while we get a pass. We expect more out of the Almighty than we are willing to do ourselves.

The ultimate question we should ask is are we ready to meet our maker? Are we ready to face the Lord? Many of us are not. We each need to strive through God’s grace to avoid sin. That is why we pray for God’s grace. God has given us a conscience for this very reason. Many know in their hearts that God exists but are not ready to follow Him on His terms.

At the beginning of this podcast, I listed some age-old questions. Let’s look at these questions in light of Christianity. How would you answer them?

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. What is my purpose?
  4. Who am I?
  5. What do I believe?

I’m not going to answer these questions for you, but I do know how I would answer them. This is one of those times that I really wish we were all in a room together so we could discuss everyone’s answers! Take some time to truly think about these questions, and if you are struggling with the answers, go to the scriptures and read them, especially the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There you will find the answers and that my friends should give us joy. May God be praised now and forever.

Openness With Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Openness with Others | Being open with others is something that requires great courage. Hopefully, by this point, we can begin to put the pieces of connection together and see how they interplay | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #OpennesswithOthersOpenness with Others

Being open with others is something that requires great courage. Hopefully, by this point, we can begin to put the pieces of connection together and see how they interplay. We have looked at how having a foundation of being known deeply and treasured dearly by God gives us the highest authority upon which to base our identity. Also, we have discussed viewing other people as precious to the Lord and not basing our contentment on their thoughts or actions. It is from this vantage point we can engage with others, knowing their response to us does not make or break us, no matter how truly painful it might be. Another’s actions toward us do not affect our value in any way, because we have inherent worth as children of God.

Being able to be vulnerable with another is far easier when we have grown, and continue to grow, in connection to God and ourselves. It’s also important to remember that trust is a process. The same way we grow in trust with the Lord and with ourselves, we also grow in our ability to navigate a relationship with another person. This is not accomplished at one time, but is a process that takes time. As discussed, we will generally begin a relationship by sharing something good about ourselves. If we are compassionately received, we may venture into sharing one of our less glorious moments. Perhaps we even come to share an area of hurt, struggle, or shame. This is the process of growing in relationship. Interestingly, scripture actually tells us not to trust others (Micah 7:5-6). If we are looking for another person not to fail us, we will be disappointed, because every person is as human as we are. Only God will not break our trust. Instead, we should look for noble intentions and efforts at consistent good will from other people, and understand that there may be times when they fail us out of their own human frailty.

What are the signs that another person wills us good? Does the other person truly know us, or make efforts to do so? Do they treat us in a way that shows us they value us for who we are or do we feel used as a means for them to get their desired goal? Do they respect our physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries or do they send the message we are not allowed to have limits? If we see red flags in any of these outer layers of connection, we may want to tread the waters of vulnerability very carefully and not have high expectations for healthy connection with them at this time. It may be risky to share sensitive information with them in hopes of being known. Remember when others aren’t able to be present to truly hear and see us, recognize our value as children of God, or respect the boundaries we have put in place, often it is not personal. Rather, it is a reflection of what they’re capable of at the time.

Finally, in all peer relationships, there ought to be reciprocity – give and take. It doesn’t mean we keep score, and certainly some days are better than others. Patience and understanding with others is essential. We don’t want to engage with others with a constant scrutiny of every interaction, the same way we would fail if we were judged so harshly. Given the ebb and flow of life and circumstances, these factors of connection can be guidelines to help us avoid drama and hurt in relationships. With practice we will grow in greater peace and fulfillment from the Lord’s indwelling presence, and that which we receive will flow from us out to others.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Passion of Jesus Christ

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Passion of Jesus Christ | In this 20th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, reflects on how the life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice of our Blessed Lord's Passion and death and how the sacraments are powers that come forth from the risen body of Jesus and are always life-giving | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode20 #ThePassionofJesusChrist #ThePassion #JesusChrist Episode 20 – The Passion of Jesus Christ

In this 20th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, reflects on how the life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice of our Blessed Lord’s Passion and death and how the sacraments are powers that come forth from the risen body of Jesus and are always life-giving.

James recounts how The Passion commenced shortly after The Last Supper when Jesus made his wedding vows in a deeply personal act, “This is my body which is given for you.” He details how our Lord, in his immense suffering, was not only burdened by the horrors of His impending Passion and crucifixion, but also by a profound sense of abandonment and sorrow over humanity’s sinfulness, offering a comforting understanding of our own struggles.

James further explains how we are subject to trials throughout our lives. Amidst our trials, however, and even while heaven’s assistance seems far off, we should look to Getsemene. The heavenly Father, who knows all and eternity, knows what is best for us. “Not my will, but yours be done.”

James also relays how the Apostles suffered during The Passion. However, their responses demonstrate human frailty, as Jesus said to Peter, “The spirit Is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Only by relying on Jesus, not ourselves, can we conquer our will and receive transforming graces. However, despite the Apostle’s desertion during The Passion, Jesus’ love and forgiveness continue to follow and unite the Apostles, leading them to a deeper understanding and gladly pick up their crosses to do the Father’s will.

This is the 20th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

 Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

God Is With You

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Is With You | I'm a note-taker, even at church. Sometimes, after prayer, I look through my notes to see if something resonates in my heart. This struck me as I read the words: "God is with you..." Take a few moments to consider this. How does it make you feel? | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode302 #GodIsWithYouAt church, you often hear that God is with you, but do you really believe that is true? How would you lead your life if you thought about the Lord walking beside you daily? And, should you think of the Almighty in such a personal way? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz explores these thoughts.

God IS With You ~ Episode 302

I’m a note-taker, even at church. Sometimes, after prayer, I look through my notes to see if something resonates in my heart. This struck me as I read the words: “God is with you…” Take a few moments to consider this. How does it make you feel?

More importantly, do you believe it? Do you truly believe that God is with You?

Matthew 28:16-20 – The Great Commission (Read on air)

From the mouth of Jesus, friends! “…Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Now do you believe? If you are a Bible believer your answer should be a resounding, “Heck, Yeah!” If you are not a Bible believer, I can understand your hesitancy. How can you become a believer? Renounce sin, follow Christ, and at your first opportunity, receive Baptism in the Name of the Father, the Name of the Son, and the Name of the Holy Spirit.

Receiving Christ into your hearts should bring you peace. And, considering God the Son being with you should bring you hope and happiness. What a wonderful thing to consider.

God Is With You And Gives You Hope

We have such hope in our faith, don’t we? We may be challenged to lead better lives and to choose better options in our prayer and spiritual lives, but truly, there is hope. There is always hope when we lean upon the Lord, and realize that He is here in our midst.  And we are assured that Jesus cares about us and our needs in a personal way. We have verse after verse in the Bible about how Jesus spoke to the common people, he lived a humble life. He could have come as a prince of men, but instead, He came as the Prince of Peace, the Prince of the heavenly realm.

Jesus walked among men, and through His example, we see how to live. As we reflect on these thoughts, how do you feel God is calling you today? He does call us each day to a deeper walk, but many times we are so busy we ignore this call. We know the call is there (search your hearts) but we often say in our minds, later. I will get to it later.

Later may never come! Do it today. Do it now! Recommit your life to Christ, thank Him for being with you, ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to give you the strength, the grace, and the joy that comes from doing what you should do all the time. If we strive for the best and we fall short that is better than striving to do the minimum and falling short of our goal. No one said following Christ is easy, but it truly is rewarding.

Do you need hope? Do you need strength? Do you need God’s grace? Ask.

When we struggle, we often forget to pray. We are so bogged down with the problem at hand that our minds race to come up with solutions, or for some, to ignore the problem and carry on, or worse, shut down. We must persevere and consider that God’s word is truth. When Jesus rose into heaven He did not leave us orphans, He sent the Holy Spirit to infill the disciples to empower and strengthen them to face death.

John 14:1-2 (Read on air)

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe[a] in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Then read John 14:15-25, I will read you a portion of it…

Then in verses 25-28

Jesus taught the disciples, these simple men, that the first thing they must do is believe, not let their hearts be troubled, and be fearless because God is in control. This tells us also the same thing. God is here; He is in our midst, and we should not fear. Amen, and Amen!

Metanoia is Change

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is Metanioa?

It is change, a conversion toward God. In the book, Our Lady of Hoy Messes, Getting Real with God in Dive Bars and Confessionals by Leticia Ochoa Adams she says this about metanoia:

 

“Metanoia is not just any change in any direction, but a radical 180-degree turn in the opposite direction. That change is not easy because it begins with the acknowledgment that you are going the wrong way. It is not easy because it is not done once in a life and then everything is fine. Life has a lot of 180-degree turns. Healing, repentance, and conversion happen over and over in life. Just when I think I’m going in the right direction, I learn something about myself and have to repent all over again.”

 

Scripture

“Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit.”: Psalm 51:11-14

Links for this episode

 

Pray with Psalm 51 and ask God where you need repentance. Invite the Holy Spirit in when you begin your prayer time.

Testimony of Laurie Walsh

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Laurie Walsh | Laurie Walsh is a retired therapist, probation officer, and published author. She is the youngest of three girls. Laurie was raised in a small Montana town, attending Catholic Schools and the local University | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofLaurieWalsh #LaurieWalshTestimony of Laurie Walsh

Laurie Walsh is a retired therapist, probation officer, and published author. She is the youngest of three girls. Laurie was raised in a small Montana town, attending Catholic Schools and the local University. She shares her story of being rescued by the Lord from addictions and sins that caused deep depression in her life.

Laurie began her interest in working with people early on when she and her husband managed a state group home where over a three-year period, they fostered 58 troubled teens. Laurie and her husband “H” relocated to Arizona in 1987 where she earned a master’s degree in counseling and human development. For the next 35 years, she worked with adults and teens specializing in cases of molestation, domestic violence, trauma, and addiction. Laurie was the founder and coordinator of the Phoenix Magnificat Chapter for 8 yrs. and since 2018 has been the Region 3 Communications Representative of the International Ministry.

Laurie has been a featured speaker and trainer at various parishes, conferences, and diocesan events in the U.S. Laurie’s greatest joy is giving her time to honor Our Mother Mary.

This testimony was given to the North County San Diego Chapter in May 2024.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Respecting the Boundaries of Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Respecting the Boundaries of Others | Everyone is unique and has their own body, mind, and spirit. Each of us has the responsibility for setting our own boundaries in these areas | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthersRespecting the Boundaries of Others

Everyone is unique and has their own body, mind, and spirit. Each of us has the responsibility for setting our own boundaries in these areas. We all are required to obey the laws set out by rightful authority (not going against our informed consciences). Within those parameters, we are all called to be good stewards. Our first duty of stewardship is to honor the gift of self that God has given to each of us. Each of us has a different personality, temperament, and life experiences that come together to form who we are in the present moment. Since we are endowed with the dignity of being made in God’s image and likeness, each one of us is deserving of respect.  We must regard others with the honor with which they are divinely endowed.

Boundaries provide us a sense of self and safety. Simply put, there’s a place where we stop and another starts. We don’t have the right to cross any lines in regard to another person’s body, emotions, or spiritual life. Each person has the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity and so is sacred. We need to be invited in by the other person. One lesson I’ve learned as a therapist is that people are not able to hear answers to questions they haven’t yet asked. Trying to force them to do so can do personal and relational damage. The same way we would not desecrate the Eucharist, we ought not violate the boundaries of another, since each person is made in God’s own image and likeness and is precious to him.

There are two fundamental emotions: love and fear. Scripture tells us that love drives away fear (1 John 4:18). As we respect the boundaries of others, what they need to feel safe, we are behaving toward that person in a loving way. Even with the best of intentions, we can cross another’s boundaries. Unfortunately, this can easily happen in the name of religion. It’s easy to convince ourselves that our expression of zeal is for the other person’s good. We actually work contrary to his grace in another when we try to force, manipulate, coerce, or guilt them into something. Doing so, especially in God’s name, can cause another person to shut down, build walls, or make vows against the godly message or even toward God himself.

It actually makes the most sense to be grateful to others when they have clear boundaries. It lets us know what they need in order to feel safe, respected, and loved, and isn’t that how we are called to treat them? It can often be humbling to accept another person’s boundaries, but it isn’t our job to change them. When we do respect the boundaries another person has set, we are truly valuing that person and not making their worth about our desired result.  This fosters true connection and allows us to remain an incarnation of God’s love for them, and as such, a vehicle of his grace. It can be difficult to grant each other free will, but in his infinite wisdom that is what God has given each of us. And are we not called to imitate the Lord?

Blessed Virgin Mary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Blessed Virgin Mary | In this 19th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explores the unique gifts God bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary as the 'chosen one.' | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode19 #BlessedVirginMary #BlessedMaryEpisode 19 – Blessed Virgin Mary

In this 19th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explores the unique gifts God bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary as the ‘chosen one.’ He also discusses how it is the Father’s plan to incorporate all his earthly sons and daughters into the Blessed Trinity—the salvation of souls.

James explains how the Lord, in his Divine Providence, chooses to work within human limitations. Every human has a destiny to achieve in the divine plan—a vocation accepted or rejected as God loves but never forces his will.

When we honor the holy heroes—the saints—we are not just celebrating their achievements, but also the power and love God has manifested in them. For without God, their accomplishments would have been nothing.

James also discusses the Old Testament and Mary’s unique role from the very dawn of civilization and the ‘first gospel,’ which foreshadows the future Messiah to the graces given to Mary in order to fulfill her unique role.

This is the 19th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Blessed Assurance

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

There are few things in life we have assurance in but with the Lord, we have the blessed assurance that He is there for us. In this episode, we look at the ways that we know, that we know, that we know that God is in charge and there for us.Blessed Assurance – Episode 178

There are few things in life we have assurance in but with the Lord, we have the blessed assurance that He is there for us. In this episode, we look at the ways that we know, that we know, that we know that God is in charge and there for us.

I’d love for you to visit my website MediaAngels.com and to look at some of my books, for example, a book that will help kids with faith: Print version or download: A Few Minutes with God plus study guide

Great for summer reading: The Truth Seekers Mystery Series – Entire Set and Study Guides

And, my book that tells how one big mistake translates into three more blessings — One More Child: Book

Unknowns

So many things in life are unknown. In fact, each day is like an adventure we never know what to expect or what we will find. Even if we have everything planned and scheduled the unexpected can throw us off. In fact, this happens to me all of the time. What about your life? Is it predictable? Or, like many do you have unexpected surprises (not the good kind) that take away your peace and sometimes even your joy. My daughter reminded me recently that in my quest for making sure that things go according to plans (mine not necessarily God’s) I tend to rush things. Recently something was not turning out the way I had hoped and she reminded me that it was God’s will and not mine that needed to take a front and center role. And, she is right.

What is the ultimate goal in our lives? The eternal and the salvation of our souls. Not what goes the way we hoped or planned and definitely not what we think should happen rather than what does actually happen. Sure, we can still plan and we can still hope. Hopefully, we are praying with a focus on what is truly important

There is blessed assurance in:

  1. Eternal life for those who follow the Lord. John 10:28 states – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
  2. God’s enduring love – Psalm 107:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever…
  3. Unfailing love – Psalm 36:7 – How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
  4. Faith without sight. We know that we know that we know that God is there for us: 1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
  5. God is always with us. Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Read these scriptures and study them.

Write then in a prayer journal. Look them up and the verses that surround them and tell me how you feel after you read them after you allow the words to permeate your heart, and after you rest in the assurance, the blessed assurance that you are not allowed. By opening yourself up to the love of God you will realize that any pain we have or disappointments are already known by the Lord.

When we have hardship and disappointments we typically learn from these experiences.

It is after the fact that we realize the growth and the lessons learned. Of course in the midst of the struggles we won’t see this nor will we look at the situation with fondness. None of us want to struggle and hurt. But just as we grow we see that there is no way we would learn what we now know without this effort. This love of God and his provision and this assurance allows us to expand our horizons and to understand that with the Lord we can come as we are.

There are no illusions or false faces we put on because God knows us better than we know ourselves.

We can live our lives trying to do the best that we can but the assurance we have is the safety net that is God’s love for us and His providence. We can place our trust in His capable hands, recognizing that He has plans for us. These plans will unfold if we simply seek His guidance. As Christians, we invite Him into our hearts, yet we often forget to invite Him into our daily lives.

The ultimate goal?

Heaven and we can be assured, John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” What a blessed assurance our salvation is to us as we traverse this obstacle course of the life in which we live avoiding the traps, going around the hardships, and learning from our mistakes.

Let Us Pray –

I praise you and thank you my God for you are good and gracious. Lord, I trust in you and realize that all that I have and am is known by you… I can rest, rest assured that you are there for me and that in my times of need you are holding me up, even if I do not feel it. Thank you, Lord, for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for loving those I care for and I ask a special blessing for the following… dear Lord please hear my petitions and even those I did not mention, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

A Living Relationship

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 

 

God’s not Dead was a popular song a few years back. And he certainly is not dead, but very much alive. As are we. How often do we think about a relationship with him? If we believe in him and love him, then a desire to have a relationship follows.

Prayer is a Living Relationship

The desire to know God and understand God and be closer to God grows as our faith does. Prayer is what we need to grow closer to God. It is spending time with him. Spending time with people is how we grow in our relationships with our friends physically with us, so why not do the same with God?

Contemplation, Ignatian Style

What is it?

  • a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, “to his likeness.”
  • the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in (our) hearts through faith” and we may be “grounded in love”
  • also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ; we learn the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him. Ignatius of Loyola
  • the Holy Spirit makes the mystery of Christ come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts

What does it mean to enter into contemplative prayer?

We “gather up” the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.

How to Pray Contemplative Prayer

  1. Bless yourself and begin with a prayer; call on the Holy Spirit
  2. Sit in silence, placing yourself in the presence of God, settle your mind and soul
  3. Ask the Lord to give you a specific grace or state a prayer request
  4. Read the scripture passage once or twice to get the general sense of it, put it aside and close your eyes
  5. Place yourself in the passage; are you watching the scene or a part of it as a person who interacts with Jesus? Do not decide ahead of time, rather, wait and see what rises up in you
    1. Allow the story to unfold before you (what do you hear, see, smell, notice?)
    2. Allow your imagination freedom
    3. Pay attention to your feelings during prayer
  1. Have a conversation with God
    1. Talk about what happened
    2. Ask God what it means
    3. Listen to what He says
    4. End with the Our Father
    5. Journal your encounter; even a few sentences help to process what occurred
  2. What word or words touched you during the prayer time?
  3. What feelings did the prayer evoke in you?
  4. What do you sense God is saying to you or where is He leading you?

Scripture Passages

Luke 19:1-10;  John 15:1-11; Acts 2:1-4

Need some prayer support?

Contact me and let me know how I can help!

Fr. Robert Cavalier

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Robert Cavalier | Fr. Robert's priestly call has its origin in an experience of the sacrament of Penance and its growth and continuation in movements in the church that have formed since the Second Vatican Council | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofFr.RobertCavalier #Fr.RobertCavalierTestimony of Fr. Robert Cavalier

Fr. Robert’s priestly call has its origin in an experience of the sacrament of Penance and its growth and continuation in movements in the church that have formed since the Second Vatican Council. He witnesses to the truth that all things are possible with God. The faith journey God has led him on is one of ongoing personal conversion and service to the people of God. Highlights will be shared that are out in the uniqueness of a French Catholic heritage in the New Orleans and bayou areas of Louisiana.

Fr. Robert Cavalier is a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans who has served in numerous parishes and other assignments for almost 52 years. He has taken an active role in many ministries throughout his vocation, Marriage Encounter, Pro-Life, Rachel’s Vineyard, Grace and Mercy Healing ministry, and Spiritual Direction, pilgrimages, and worked closely with Immaculee’ Libagiza and Kitty Cleveland in their perspective ministries.

Our Lady of Mepkin is his most dear image of our Blessed Mother which is in the Trappist monastery of the same name in South Carolina. Currently serving as resident chaplain for the Teresian Sisters in Covington, he is also chaplain of the Magnificat Chapter in Mandeville, LA.

This testimony was given to the West St. Tammany, LA Chapter in May 2024.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Boundaries for Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Boundaries for Others | As a therapist, I’ve noticed that not many people, at least not many who come to therapy, have been taught good things about boundaries. In fact, some people have been directly or indirectly sent very negative messages about them | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Boundaries for Others #Boundaries #OthersBoundaries for Others

Good fences make good neighbors.

– Robert Frost

As a therapist, I’ve noticed that not many people, at least not many who come to therapy, have been taught good things about boundaries. In fact, some people have been directly or indirectly sent very negative messages about them. Many have been given the idea boundaries are a sign of entitlement, artificial walls, or unhealthy distance. Others have set boundaries only to have them continually criticized and have been shamed for them. Still others have never been taught there is such a thing as setting physical, emotional, and spiritual limits, much less that doing so is a gift for themselves and others. Boundaries play a huge role in healthy communication and relationships.

When discussing or setting boundaries with others, it is best to do so in a time of calm rather than conflict.  This makes it easiest for peaceful communication and minimizes the need for defensiveness. People learn to relate to us the way they do based on what boundaries we do or don’t establish. When we realize we need to change or establish boundaries with someone, it can be a humbling experience. Being clear is essential, so the other person knows what we are comfortable with and what we aren’t. All the while, clarity must be achieved without neglecting charity. That might sound like, “I’m uncomfortable when you say or do (x).” The other person may readily accept your boundary and apologize and then the air is clear. Others may insist on their way and further discussion is needed. Fundamentally, we have a responsibility to communicate how we are okay with being treated and how we aren’t. Otherwise, we’re relying on others to guess what we’re thinking, which is a setup for disaster and is not fair to either party. Most often, people have good intentions and simply aren’t aware of our needs. We are all so different.

There may be times when someone may try our boundaries. It may be intentional or unintentional; regardless, we don’t have to be upset by such interactions once we are aware of our responsibility to have healthy boundaries. It is natural for people to forget that the boundaries have changed and behave the way they are used to. They may simply need a reminder. The more you see boundaries as a gift for the other person, the more setting and maintaining them becomes easier.

Setting boundaries used to be difficult for me, but over the years it has become much easier. A number of years ago I went to a dentist who tried to pressure me into having elective work done which I didn’t want. During a dental appointment, I stated my desire and my rationale. When he pushed the issue at the same visit, I reiterated my wishes. He proceeded to tell his assistant to do a panoramic x-ray of my mouth to see if I was a candidate for the work he was trying to pressure me to have. She put the lead apron over me and was moving the x-ray machine into place. My immediate thought was, “He is older, and a doctor, and so maybe I should do what he’s suggesting.” Thankfully, that thought only lasted a couple of seconds. The next moment, it came to me that since I am an adult and it is my mouth, I have a right to have my wishes respected. Even if I was wrong, I had the right to be wrong. I respectfully removed the x-ray apron and handed it back to the assistant and very calmly told the doctor it wasn’t going to work for me to treat with him. I calmly got up from the chair and left without any drama. That experience was a personal victory and stands out as a positive memory. I learned my safety and peace aren’t contingent on the respect others have for my boundaries. The process of deepening connection to God and myself brought me to the point of being able to respond in such a way.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us your children, and for your faithful, unfailing love. Help us all to know that you desire that we live together in love and peace, and that you give us the grace to bring your kingdom to the world in who we are and what we do each day. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Celibacy and Purgatory

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Celibacy and Purgatory | In this 18th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the spiritual aspects of celibacy and how it is connected with the sacrament of matrimony and the Church’s teaching on Purgatory | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode18 #CelibacyandPurgatoryEpisode 18 – Celibacy and Purgatory

In this 18th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the spiritual aspects of celibacy and how it is connected with the sacrament of matrimony and the Church’s teaching on Purgatory.

Celibacy is the voluntary vow to remain unmarried and to practice sexual abstinence. The Church teaches that all the ordained ministers, except permanent deacons, are typically chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate and intend to remain celibate for the sake of the Kingdom of God for the rest of their lives. (Mathew Chapter 19).

Jim explains that those who faithfully live their celibate vocations proclaim that Christ has come, the Kingdom is here, and we live it now. Jesus does not command celibacy but rather offers it as an exception to the general vocation, which is to marry. Pope John Paul II said celibacy is a gift, a charismatic sign—a grace and a personal choice made for the Kingdom of God. James further discusses fidelity and fruitfulness in celibacy, union with God, and human marriage.

In discussing Purgatory, a word that means “cleansing,” James shares that Purgatory is where those who die in God’s grace and friendship go. While ensuring their eternal salvation, those souls in Purgatory cannot enter heaven until they are purified. God forgives sin, but as evident in sacred scripture, temporal punishment is necessary before entering heaven. James further discusses mortal sin, venial sins, and their consequences.

This is the 18th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Allow God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Allow God | Allow God in, allow God to use you, and let God's love penetrate your heart. I'm sure you've heard all of these things and lots more if you've been a Christian for any time, but how do you allow God? Truly? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz discusses her struggles and victories | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode301 #AllowGodAllow God ~ Episode 301

Allow God in, allow God to use you, and let God’s love penetrate your heart. I’m sure you’ve heard all of these things and lots more if you’ve been a Christian for any time, but how do you allow God? Truly? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz discusses her struggles and victories.

Consider this: the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, has given us the incredible gift of free will. He allows us to choose, to say yes or no. He even allows us to take the driver’s seat in our lives. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, how’s that working out for you? Reflect on the times when you’ve chosen your own path instead of surrendering to God’s will.

How did that work out for you? I can tell you it didn’t work out well for me!

You may have seen pictures of allowing Jesus to be a driver in our car, the car symbolizing our lives. We are the passengers, and we allow Him to take the wheel. Whenever we get ahead of the Lord’s plans for our lives, things begin to fall apart, even if they are well-meaning. Then, we need to stop, re-evaluate, and make another plan.

Take a sheet of paper or your prayer journal and write the words “Allow God” as your heading. Once you’ve done that, begin with prayer and ask the Lord how you need to allow Him into your life more deeply. Take some time for this activity; I promise it will change your life.

When we allow God in, it may be painful at first. We may need to purge some of the baggage we’ve carried around with us, some of us for years. We may need to forgive those who have hurt us, and we may need to shed a few tears.

Your experience may be different. You may find yourself set free, feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, and, for the first time, genuinely focus on what it means to let the Lord into your life.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 (Read on air).

Surrendering to God allows that joy to seep in, enabling us to have a deeper faith and hope in the providence of Almighty God. I find that when I surrender, I have greater peace and am less stressed about things because I am confident that the Lord hears me, even if his answer is no or not yet.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read (Read on air).

As my husband reminds me when we are tested or going through trials, the Lord shows up in a mighty way and gives us the grace to handle it – this grace is His love.

James 4:7-10 (Read on air.)

Think about that: when we draw closer to God, He will draw near to us! Praise you, Jesus, come, Lord Jesus, come!

One of the surprising joys of allowing God is how He can use me in His work. At times when I was home (and I shared this with you before on this podcast), I felt like I wanted to be the one out there sharing the good news. Instead, I was home, caring for the kids, washing the millionth load of laundry, and vacuuming the floors. Invariably, something would happen: the pest control guy would show up, or something would break. The Lord allowed me to share my love for Him in those times.

I try to remember this when things break or I am interrupted. When we say, “Your will, Lord, not mine,” amazing things happen!

Are you ready to let go and let God into your life? Are you ready? Then say it with me, “Yes, Lord, Yes!”

Journal How To

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 Journal How To | The key to keeping a journal is how to be consistent. The missing ingredient is including praise with your prayer. #christianpodcast #podcast #howtojournalJournal – How-To

Episode 25

Journal – how to do it and keep it consistent is the emphasis of today’s podcast. Do you keep one in the traditional way or do you keep a journal as a tool to jump start your Christian walk?

Journaling is an amazing way to see the truth, answered prayers and your spiritual growth. There are many ways to journal and there is no definitive way, however, in this episode, we discuss ways to journal.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

How to get started:

You can pick up a book and start writing and that would be considered a journal, but I prefer this method which I will share with you.  I found that the way I set up my journal that the most impact on the way I was consistent or not. When you journal, make it personal.

You can find some very inexpensive books at the store. I found very inexpensive lined-paper, bound books for a few dollars with a hardcover that I prefer.

I set mine up with a combination of praises and prayer requests. It was a wonderful way to begin  and I felt that praising God and thanking him for all he had done for me!

It allowed me to ask Him in prayer without the fear that I had not been grateful for all the ways He has blessed me! I also wondered if God heard me, which was another reason I would write. In this way I felt I had a conversation going with the Lord.

How To:

  1. Purchase a small journal and keep it handy.
  2. Keep it with your Bible.
  3. Write on the cover or inside — make it your own.
  4. Divide your journal if you would like the way I did, in my explanation in this podcast, or…
  5. Just begin writing. It helps to put the date of your journal entry.
  6. Try to write in your journal every day.

 

I wanted to praise God before I prayed. I felt that I wasn’t being thankful.

A Sharing Between Friends

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

“Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” St. Teresa of Avila

Contemplative Prayer

What is contemplative prayer? (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2709-19)

  • the prayer of the child of God
  • the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son
  • the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer
  • a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty
  • a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts
  • an intense time of prayer
  • a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus; “I look at him and he looks at me,” said a farmer to St. John Vianney
  • a focus on Jesus; a renunciation of self; His gaze purifies our heart
  • hearing the Word of God; the Father speaking to us his incarnate Word
  • silence where the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus
  • a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude

Scripture

Psalm 42:7-9

Pray with Psalm 42, and listen to what God wants you to know. Spen 10 to 20 minutes in quiet and then, write down your thoughts and feelings from your prayer time.

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about inviting me to speak, you can find information on my speaking page!

 

 

Testimony of Fr. Gary Copping

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Gary Copping | Fr. Gary was born and raised in New Orleans, in a family of four boys. Fr. Gary knew from an early age he wanted to become a priest and began researching different orders in middle school | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofFr.GrayCopping #Fr.GrayCopping #Fr.GrayTestimony of Fr. Gary Copping

Fr. Gary was born and raised in New Orleans, in a family of four boys. Fr. Gary knew from an early age he wanted to become a priest and began researching different orders in middle school. Fr Gary attended HC Schaumburg, St James Major Elementary, and Brother Martin HS.  He studied Biophysics for 3 years at the University of New Orleans and was a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity.  After going on pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1987, he left UNO to study at St Joseph Seminary College for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  He received his BA in Liberal Arts and went on to study at Notre Dame Seminary.

After two years at NDS, he left the seminary in 1993.  In 1996, he married his wife, Judy, and they were married for 13 yrs.  Judy died in 2009 and Gary reapplied to the seminary.  He was re-accepted and studied for another three years, receiving his MDiv degree in 2013, and was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 1, 2013.  He has served as Parochial Vicar at St Anselm in Madisonville, St Margaret Mary in Slidell, and he is now the Pastor of St Joseph Church & Shrine in Gretna and St Anthony Church in Gretna since July 2017.  He is active in two KC Councils, he is  the Chaplain for a Domestic Church Group, and for both David Crockett Fire Department and Gretna Police Department.

This testimony was given to the Marerro, LA Chapter in March 2021.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Connection to Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Connection to Others | There can be an imbalance in parenting when a child is taught he’s very special, but isn’t taught everyone else is, too. This quickly plays itself out in behavioral issues and entitlement. | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ConnectiontoOthers Connection to Others

There can be an imbalance in parenting when a child is taught he’s very special, but isn’t taught everyone else is, too. This quickly plays itself out in behavioral issues and entitlement. There is a danger in connection to ourselves and the Lord without this third leg of connection to others to balance the tripod. Being called to love and lay down our lives for each other draws us out of the self-centeredness of how special we are and into the trenches of sandpaper ministry, where we are all refined and our rough edges are smoothed. In relationships with others, our weaknesses and woundedness are revealed. It cannot be all giving and no taking, and vice versa. The nature of relationships is reciprocity and we soon find in giving we do receive and sometimes even more than what we are able to contribute. Loving others gives us the experience of being a gift. For such a blessing there is no substitute.

We are created for connection and actually tend toward addictive behavior when we do not have healthy connection with others. British journalist Johann Hari who researched drug addiction, is famously noted as saying, “The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”1 This isn’t only true in terms of drug and alcohol addiction, but also food, sex, work, and the other many ways we may try to self-medicate. Because God made us to be one in him, lacking community can leave us lacking an experience of unity, and this can leave us feeling unfulfilled.

As we’ve considered many times so far, the foundation for all relating – relating to ourselves in addition to everyone else – must be a healthy relationship with the Lord. He is the only one who will ever know, value, and be able to protect us perfectly, in this life and in eternity. With this basis in place, we are able to minister and receive his love to each other without anxiety, even in the face of rejection or abandonment. These feelings are very real and human, yet they begin to diminish as we become more rooted in God’s constant and unconditional love.

The same pattern that has been revealed in our relationship to God and to ourselves is manifest in our relationships with each other, being known and valued, and the need for boundaries and openness. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at those aspects in terms of the give and take in relationship to peers.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Mass Part II

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Mass Part II | In this episode (Part two of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode17 #TheMass #TheSacramentoftheMass #TheSacramentoftheMassPartII #Part2 #TheSacramentoftheMassPart2Episode 17 – The Mass Part II

In this episode (Part two of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass.

The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, when viewed as a whole, evokes a profound sense of reverence and awe. The liturgy of the word, in its preparation, guides us to enter into Jesus’ offering of himself to the Father. The priest at the altar, functioning in the person of Christ, the head, reminds us of the eternal high priest who operates in and through the human priest. During the offertory, as we make the gift of ourselves, we understand that our heavenly Father joyfully accepts the gift of broken men and women, further deepening our sense of reverence and awe.

As the priest holds up the Host, it is a moment for each parishioner to offer themselves, to personally connect with Jesus through the heavenly Father. Jesus, in his incarnation, opened the door for us to become partakers of the Divine nature and God’s adopted children.  James explains the role faith plays in the mass and the deeper meaning behind the communion preparation and their mystical natures—mixing water with the wine, the priest washing his hands, the acknowledgment of parishioners offering themselves, the four eucharistic prayers approved by the Vatican, the words of consecration, and the miracle of transubstantiation. This personal connection and transformation is what makes the Mass a truly unique, divine, and engaging experience.

James also discusses the Divine offering of Christ—why it was necessary and eternal, how Jesus acts as an intercessor, and how the Mass is the offering and sacrifice of Christ and parishioners to the Father.

This is the 17th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Testimony of Angela Rizzo

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Angela Rizzo | Angela Rizzo’s journey began in the Bronx, NY where she lived until the age of 28.  Born into an Italian - American family she lost her mother to cancer when she was 12 1/2. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofAngelaRizzo #AngelaRizzoTestimony of Angela Rizzo

Angela Rizzo’s journey began in the Bronx, NY where she lived until the age of 28.  Born into an Italian – American family she lost her mother to cancer when she was 12 1/2.  With a loving father, younger brother and lots of extended family Angela grew up feeling loved.  But in her teen years she began to suffer from anxiety, worry, fear of death and hypochondria.   She was newly married at the age of 22 but feeling sad and lost.  Then she was introduced to a charismatic prayer group at her local parish.  It was there that the Holy Spirit began the process of healing her heart and her mind.

The spirit of despair and hopelessness began to leave her as she entered into praise, worship and inner healing. She went through a divorce after 33 years of marriage, and had her faith tested many times along the way but God’s word from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans not for your harm but for good…” always lifted her up. Angela founded the Immaculate Heart of Mary chapter of Magnificat in Rockville Centre Long Island 25 years ago and continues as Coordinator as well as serving as the Regional Rep for Region #7 to the northeast. She is a Personal Life Coach, Mother of two adult children and 5 beautiful grandchildren.

This testimony was given to the Morgantown, WV Chapter in March 2023.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot

Planning Time For God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

planning time for GodPlanning Time For God Podcast #3

Have you ever wondered how you can really love someone you’ve never met? It might seem tricky at first, but the answer is pretty simple—get to know them! Just like making a new friend, you spend time with them, talk to them, and learn about their likes and dislikes.

Now, think about this in terms of God. We often hear that God loves us, but how can we love Him back if we feel like we don’t know Him? The key is to spend time with God, just like you would with a new friend.

In today’s episode, we’re going to explore the wonderful love God has for us and how we can get to know Him better. When you spend time with someone, you learn more about who they are, and the same goes for God. By reading stories from the Bible, praying, or just talking to Him about your day, you start to build a connection.

Prayer is like having a direct chat with God.

You can thank Him, ask for help, or even tell Him about things that worry you. Reading the Bible helps too because it’s like reading letters from a friend. The Bible tells us about God’s personality, His plans, and how much He cares for us.

Another great way to feel closer to God is by spending time in nature or listening to music that makes you think of Him. These moments can help you feel His presence and love more deeply.

So, remember, getting to know God is like getting to know a new friend. The more time you spend with Him, the closer you’ll feel. Let’s take this journey together and learn how deep and amazing God’s love for us is!

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

 

Show Notes: Planning Time For God

  1. Can you love someone you don’t know?
  2. What is the best way to get to know someone?
  3. How is your faith strengthened in prayers?

 

Body, Mind, Spirit

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Body, Mind, Spirit | God created man. He didn’t create spirit, soul, and body separately and then somehow weave them together. In the scripture quote above, St. Paul refers to all three of these aspects as what makes us an entire person | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body,Mind,Spirit #BodyMindSpirit #Body #Mind #SpiritBody, Mind, Spirit

God created man. He didn’t create spirit, soul, and body separately and then somehow weave them together. In the scripture quote above, St. Paul refers to all three of these aspects as what makes us an entire person. Because of the great expanse of knowledge regarding the different facets of the person, they have become artificially divvied up into distinct areas of study. The truth, however, is there is a continual interplay between them. Maximizing our pursuit of holiness also requires seeking wholeness, and vice versa. We are body, mind, and spirit. We can’t opt out of that fact. Spiritual balance and personal wellness require that we tend to all three of these aspects of our person.

The four main hormones that cause us to feel good are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. Dopamine is primarily associated with learning new information and accomplishing goals; oxytocin is associated with love, trust, and friendship; serotonin has to do with a sense of respect and importance; and endorphins are released when we push past our physical limits, as in a runner’s high – oh, and eating chocolate! Each of these speaks to God’s design – in his wisdom, he literally created us for cooperation, collaboration, and connection.

Cortisol is a stress hormone. It is released in times of fear and perceived threat. The release of this hormone shuts down the production of oxytocin, which we said above is necessary to foster trust, friendship, and love. Personal and interpersonal disconnection causes us to exude cortisol. That’s a fact of how we are made. This is all the more reason to respect boundaries and relate with compassion.  Otherwise, we’ll likely fuel stress in ourselves and those around us which will undermine our peace and relationships. Respect and compassion are crucial and perpetuate the cycle of connection from God, through self to others. This is critically important in every cell of our body and is an ongoing factor in every one of our relationships.

We are not at the mercy of our body’s use of hormones to keep us on guard.  The practice of contemplative prayer has been shown to decrease cortisol18. With less cortisol in our bodies, we are more inclined to calmness, compassion, and collaboration, because oxytocin is not reduced. Through such peaceful and loving interaction, mutual respect fosters serotonin because it offers us a sense of importance. We are able to accomplish more, since we are all different members of the body of Christ with varying gifts and skills working together to build the kingdom of God. Thus, the release of dopamine is bolstered. We may even push past our normal physical limits since our interactions are fueling our positive mood and so we receive an endorphin rush. God’s design is beautiful. It starts with plugging in through receiving his love in prayer.

      There are many facets to wellness for our body, mind, and spirit, and needs vary from person to person, yet some things are consistent. Physically we need good nutrition, hydration, exercise, and sleep. To have a healthy mind, we need to take on the mind of the Lord in all things. To be healthy and grow spiritually we need to be rooted in God’s love and truth. We do well to consider in what areas the Lord is calling us to greater health and discipline in each one of these areas; that way we are moving towards ever-greater holiness and wholeness. This is a much more peaceful and effective way to live rather than only seeking solutions when problems arise.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Mass

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Mass Part I | In this episode (Part one of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode16 #TheMass #TheSacramentoftheMassEpisode 16 – The Mass Part I

In this episode (Part one of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass.

James tells us that the Mass is not about fellowship, although that is a remarkable aspect. The Mass is also not about beautiful music, although that is desirable. The Mass is about surrendering oneself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—who created us out of love and for love. The Mass is a summary of Catholicism, incorporating the Old Testament’s longing for the savior, which brings us to the advent of the Son of God made Man. The Mass explores Jesus’ public ministry, Passion, death, and resurrection.

Parishioners are called to participate actively in the Mass, which is transformative. The Liturgy of the Word, the first part of the Mass, prepares us to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb presently, now, and for eternity. James also explains how the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and a storehouse of inexhaustible riches and proceeds to explain how the Mass is a three-fold sacrament—of Jesus’ real presence, his unique, singular sacrifice, and how it unites us to Jesus in the reception of Holy Communion. The Mass also invites us into the presence of Jesus’ death on the cross and His triumphant reign in Heaven.

James continues to explain the various aspects of the Mass, its richness, and how it has a tremendous impact on the Eucharist’s ability to transform our lives by entering in a personal encounter with Jesus.

This is the 16th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Testimony of Mary Wilson

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Mary Wilson | You will be intrigued by Mary Wilson’s raw sense of humor as she shares her conversion story. Mary is from Central Louisiana. She has been married for over 50 years and is a mother of three grown children and 10 grandchildren | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofMaryWilson #MaryWilsonTestimony of Mary Wilson

You will be intrigued by Mary Wilson’s raw sense of humor as she shares her conversion story. Mary is from Central Louisiana. She has been married for over 50 years and is a mother of three grown children and 10 grandchildren. She considers herself very shy but comes across very relatable. She admits she made many mistakes in her life but trusts in a merciful God who can make all things work for good. In 1998, she was called to a deeper walk in Christ and got involved with the Charismatic Renewal. She became very active not only locally but also nationally. Presently, Mary is serving a three-year term as a Board Member of Pentecost Today USA (PTUSA). Mary has previously served on the PTUSA Council as a representative of Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women.

Mary is a woman of many talents. She exclaims,” God took my ‘jack-of-all-trades’ talents and put them to good use for His glory. If God can work with, in, and through me – He can work with, in, and through anybody!” She is the lead musician at her church and with various prayer groups. In her 29 years as a professional, she spent her career as a teacher and coach at the middle and high school levels and then as a high school administrator serving as principal.

Mary is the current secretary for the Central Service Team – the governing body for Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women. Her favorite saying is “Do whatever He tells you.”  Her favorite scripture is John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you….so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you”.

This testimony was given to the Palm Desert, CA Chapter in September 2022.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Openness with Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Openness with Myself | Like any relationship, your relationship to yourself is a process. When you look at a baby or small child, do you think they have a grasp on the fullness of who they are as an individual | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #OpennesswithMyselfOpenness with Myself

Like any relationship, your relationship to yourself is a process. When you look at a baby or small child, do you think they have a grasp on the fullness of who they are as an individual? No! Rather, it is through the process of being loved by their parents, discovering their strengths and weaknesses, growing in compassion for others, and beginning to understand who they are to their parents and to God that they begin to know and value themselves, see themselves as gift and learn to return that gift to the Lord. As this happens, their dawning awareness allows them to more consciously participate in God’s loving plan and to embrace their baptismal commission as priest, prophet, and king. We don’t hit a certain age and suddenly arrive at human, spiritual, or relational maturity. Scripture tells us we are to grow up into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). That is a lot of growing to do and it is a long process.

In his book, Addiction and Grace1, psychiatrist and theologian Gerald May says that we all suffer from repression and addiction, which prevent us from responding fully to grace. So, our need to be honest with ourselves is important as we look to move more deeply in connection to God, ourselves, and others. Openness, honesty, and authenticity with ourselves are essential to greater openness to God’s mercy, healing, and grace. Realizing how vulnerable that requires us to be also gives us a gentler eye toward our neighbor striving or struggling to do the same.

Since this connection to ourselves is a process, there is no need for discouragement, particularly when we stay rooted in the foundation of connection to God. We’re not to grow in self-actualization for the sake of becoming more of ourselves for ourselves alone. Rather, the spiritual journey is about aspiring to drink more deeply of the Living Water of the love of Christ so as to be more transformed into and more intimately united to him. Taking on his mind and his regard of us is part of union with and imitation of him.

Remember, openness with ourselves, like openness with God and others, is a byproduct of the factors of connection. We naturally open up in our relationships when we experience being truly known, valued, and safe. Therefore, if we find honesty with ourselves challenging, we can consider in which of these areas we may be able to relate to ourselves with greater grace so we have the courage needed for greater truth. As a friend of mine often says that any problem is fundamentally a problem between the person and God. Conversely, any healthy formation fundamentally comes from growth in relationship with him. Authenticity doesn’t come from being perfect, but in knowing that while imperfect we are perfectly loved.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode15 #TheSacramentofHolyMatrimony #HolyMatrimonyThe Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series.

In the Old Testament, God created the covenant of marriage beginning with Adam and Eve. This union is also a metaphor that depicts God in a marital relationship with the human race. In the New Testament, Jesus’ first public sign that prompted the disciples to believe in his divinity was at a wedding feast at Cana. After the miracle Jesus performed, turning water into wine, Jesus was viewed as the bridegroom Messiah. Also, in the New Testament, Jesus is depicted as the heavenly husband, with Heaven being the eternal wedding supper of the Lamb with, and thus, Jesus with His bride, the church.

God created humans out of love and for love, and as such, God calls humans to love. The church teaches loving is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human. Church helps us develop a loving relationship with God to transform our lives, and the marriage union between a man and a woman calls each spouse to love one another as God loves us.

The sin of Adam and Eve ruptured God’s plan for marriage, and the original sin inclined married couples to dominate and control one another, causing discord.

“To the woman, he said: I will intensify your toil in childbearing; in pain — you shall bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, who shall rule over you. To the man, he said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you shall not eat from it; cursed is the ground because of you! In toil, you shall eat its yield all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:16-17).

In addition to discussing the original intent for marriage and what matrimony became due to the fall of Adam and Eve, James Seghers also relays the blessed opportunities for those who overcome marital challenges, God’s view on divorce, and much more.

This is the 15th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Prayer To God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

When was the last time you wrote your own prayer? What about a prayer to God? Have you ever done this? If not, today is the day. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz explains how she expressly keeps a small journal in her purse for this purpose.When was the last time you wrote your own prayer? What about a prayer to God? Have you ever done this? If not, today is the day. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz explains how she expressly keeps a small journal in her purse for this purpose.

Prayer To God – Episode 300

Have you ever tried to write a prayer? We have such a great example, The Lord’s Prayer that perhaps we think there is no way we can even come close. Well, praying is from the heart, and it can be something you pray about and think about or something that comes to mind quickly. Yet prayer is more than a list of petitions and needs it is also a time to thank and praise God.

So many times, we feel that our prayers are not answered, that God does not hear us, but what I’ve learned over the years is that God absolutely hears us and knows the needs of our heart before we even ask for it, but we still ask. If our prayers look like a list of what we’d like to see happen, even if it is well-meaning, we may need to tack on “your will, Lord, not mine.” That, my friends, is the hardest thing to do, to die to ourselves to die for what we want!

Here are some podcasts to help you with prayer:

Before Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer what preceded was chastisement or a warning how not to pray! In a nutshell and in our terms it is:

  1. Don’t pray loudly before others (because our reward would be on earth, from those who consider us pious) rather than by our heavenly Father.
  2. Don’t brag about praying.
  3. Don’t brag about how much you tithe or give to charity
  4. Don’t be proud of yourself for how much you give to charity.
  5. If you pray or you give do it from the heart and not because of your reward in heaven.

Let’s read the Lord’s Prayer as the ultimate example of how to pray. Matthew 6:5-14 (Read on Air)

Later in Luke, we read a slight variation. In this case, the Lord had been praying, and his disciples asked him how to pray.

Luke: 11:1-4 (read on air)

In the example of how to pray, we see that first:

  1. We praise God’s name.
  2. We ask for God’s will to be done here and in heaven.
  3. We ask God for our needs – our daily bread.
  4. We ask for forgiveness of our sins.
  5. We ask for the Lord’s protection against the evil one
  6. We ask that the Lord forgive us as we forgive others.

Our prayer does not need to follow a formula or be in this exact order, but it is helpful to see how the Lord taught us to pray. If you feel awkward about this, don’t. I keep a small notebook in my purse for the times I am inspired to pray, usually it is while at church. Most of the time my prayers are for those that I pray for regularly, like family members. Currently, the prayers include dear friends who are struggling and ill. Whoever is on your list, by writing it down, helps us to remember and recall who we should pray for and their needs.


In celebration of the 300th episode of A Few Minutes with God, Media Angels is making the eBook, A Few Minutes with God, free until Saturday, 4/27/24  

A Few Minutes with God | #ChristianBook #faithGet your copy here.

Introduce your children to a deeper walk of faith, within the pages of a novel, A Few Minutes with God.

Testimony of Judy Zelden

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Judy Zelden | Judy will share her life-changing experience of receiving the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ the tragic death of her father, the conversion of her husband, Michael, and the great privilege of seeing her youngest son enter the seminary | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofJudyZelden #JudyZeldenTestimony of Judy Zelden

Judy will share her life-changing experience of receiving the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ the tragic death of her father, the conversion of her husband, Michael, and the great privilege of seeing her youngest son enter the seminary.

Judy Zelden was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. She attended Catholic schools through college and graduated from Loyola University. She married Michael Zelden and they have three grown sons and nine grandchildren. They moved to Baton Rouge, LA., in 1983. After many years of Judy praying for her husbands conversion, Michael entered the Church in 1977 and serves as a Eucharistic Minister and loves to serve at Mass.

In 2015, Judy wrote her first bible study for Magnificat, ‘Women, Called by Name’, and in 2021, she wrote a second bible study ‘Women, Called and Sent’. Both bible studies have received the imprimatur. She is presently working on a bible study on the gospel of Luke.

Judy has been involved in Magnificat since its inception of its 42- year history and is one of the original CST members.

This testimony was given to the Nashville Chapter in February 2024.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

My Boundaries for Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

My Boundaries for Myself |Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #MyBoundariesforMyself #MyBoundariesMy Boundaries for Myself

Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves. We put gates up in homes with babies and toddlers to protect them from dangerous situations. They also protect caregivers from having to fear for a child’s every move. I have a fence up around my yard, which protects my dog from getting lost, stolen, or hit by a car. It also protects me from worrying about her, having to go look for her were she to run off, other people from getting bitten or chased, and drivers from accidentally hitting her. Moreover, it allows her the freedom to go outside without a leash so she can explore and relax in the beautiful outdoors. Boundaries establish rules of engagement and facilitate peace for all parties involved.

Maybe we were never taught that we get to have boundaries for ourselves and so experienced them as hostile walls or as rejection from others. Most people I’ve talked to didn’t have healthy boundaries modeled or set and were never taught how to set them. The reality is that boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Remember, boundaries will look different for different people, because each of us has unique needs. Boundaries are important in protecting us. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility.

Since we are body, mind, and spirit, we have a need for boundaries in all three of these areas. Are R-rated movies really good for us just because we are older? Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s conducive to our growth in wholeness and holiness. When we set limits for ourselves, we are keeping the bad out and the good in. Doing so keeps the living waters Jesus wells up within us from being wasted or polluted.

We spend exponentially more time talking to ourselves than we talk to others. That is not to say that we are constantly talking out loud, but our inner voice, thoughts, or expressions can be almost constant. What do we say to ourselves? What does our running commentary sound like? When thoughts that aren’t good for us come into our minds about ourselves, others, or situations, what do we do with them? Do we entertain them or do we “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ”? (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is a simple example of setting a healthy boundary in how we relate to ourselves. It is rooted in the boundaries God sets for us in scripture and overflows in our relationship to others.

Considering that God sees us as beloved and precious and values us beyond measure sets a firm foundation for healthy boundaries, which determine the way in which we think about ourselves. Many years ago, I had a job that required an enormous amount of travel. Being on the road so much, I often ate at restaurants. One day I realized when the hostesses would ask me how many were in my party, I regularly answered, “Just one.” This may sound like a little thing, but even though I was the one saying it, I felt a sting every time. It felt like the message I was unintentionally sending myself was that my existence was less because I was alone. Instead, I chose to say, “One, please,” and that’s what I say to this day. Each time I feel an honoring of my dignity as a person, rather than the sense of being diminished, as if I need another’s presence to give me significance.

I noticed something similar several years later. Pulling out of the driveway on my way to work, I realized that I had neglected to grab my computer bag or lunch. I caught myself saying out loud and with irritation at myself, “Ugh! I forgot that!” It made me feel frustrated and discouraged. I examined the situation and considered that actually, I had remembered the item before I drove away from the house. Good thing!  I changed my message to myself to one of gratitude that I recalled the needed item before I left.  This simple change in attitude helped me avoid so much useless frustration at myself. I felt joyful and energized rather than demoralized. Words are powerful.  The ones we speak to ourselves regularly shape how we see ourselves, and if we aren’t consciously monitoring, our self-talk can often fly in the face of how God sees us. Aligning and realigning our self-concept with the Lord’s concept of us is crucial for operating in reality and peace.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode14 #TheSacramentofHolyOrders #SacramentofHolyOrders #HolyOrdersEpisode 14 – The Sacrament of Holy Orders

Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series.

Sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony are two sacraments of service ordered to the salvation of others—matrimony to one’s spouse and children with the self-donating love of Jesus. Priests are uniquely conformed to the cross of Christ in order to pour themselves out for the salvation of the heavenly bridegroom’s bride—the church—and they do this in the “person” of Jesus.

St. Paul touches on this transformation, “I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.” (Galatians 6:17). James discusses the unique gift of the Holy Spirit given to priests to function in the person of Jesus. He also discusses the role of the priest in the Old Testament, beginning with Moses.

James mentions that Sacred Scripture teaches us that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (in Genesis 14:18–20, Melchizedek brings out bread and wine and then blesses Abram and El Elyon.) Jesus, by a single offering, has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, and the sacrifice of Jesus is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the church—the Mass. James continues to explain the hierarchy of the Holy Orders and how the rites of ordination function.

This is the 14th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #10 – Celebrating God’s Goodness & the Feast of Purim

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #10: Prayer, Reversals, & JOY

Esther and Mordecai Writing the Second Letter of Purim, Painting by Aert de Gelder, 1685

Celebrating God’s Goodness

Do you celebrate God’s goodness? Reflecting on what God has done can inspire you to trust Him more and will strengthen your faith. For Esther and Jewish families, the Feast of Purim is an annual celebration that reminds them how God delivered them from their enemies and continues to do so. Join the podcast today to celebrate God’s goodness and review the many reversals in the Book of Esther.

Reversals Continue

Approximately two months and ten days after the first decree was issued, Mordecai wrote the second edict, empowering the Jewish people to defend themselves against their enemies. The turnarounds were astounding! Today, we share at least 15 reversals and cover these points:

No Plundering (Esther 9: 1-17)

  • To plunder means to steal goods by force, often during a war and with an objective of making profit.
  • In Esther 9, the Jewish people remembered the violation of God’s commands in their heritage (1 Samuel 15) and acted in holy retribution for self-defense but took no plunder for their profit.

 The Feast of Purim Established Forever (Esther 9: 18 – 10: 3)

  • Mordecai and Esther declared two days of celebration in an official decree to be remembered forever.
  • Purim means “lots” or dice which is what Haman used to pick the date for the Jewish annihilation.
  • The Book of Esther, also called the Megillah,  is read twice during the Feast dated according to the Hebrew calendar.
  • Children “boo and hiss” and throw popcorn when they hear Haman’s name.
  • Today, Jewish families celebrate by bring gifts to the poor, giving gifts to each other, and eating fruit-filled triangular cookies called Hamantashens [haa·muhn·taa·shn] or Haman’s Ears. They are delicious! You can pick up a recipe card on my website WRAPYourselfinJOY.com or in my book.

Banquets and Feasts in Esther

  • Esther begins with a banquet and ends with a feast, all with great joy.
  • Four pairs of feasts celebrate the turnarounds and triumphs of God.

The Dream, Memory, and Plot (Esther 10 – 16).

  • Esther 10 -16 , the Deuterocanonical additions A – F,  suggest Mordecai remembers a Dream. It foretold God’s deliverance relating to the main events in Esther. In addition, these chapters add a few details to the occurrences.

The Hero of the Book of Esther is GOD

  • God used the beautiful Esther, caused the sleeplessness of the king, brought down Haman, exalted Mordecai, and gave the Jewish people victory over their enemies.
  • God showed tremendous power on behalf of his people. Almost like fireworks, the reversals came quickly and spectacularly, fifteen in all.

Remembering God’s Goodness

  • The Feast of Purim, still celebrated yearly in the Jewish tradition, helps families remember God has delivered them and will continue to deliver them.
  • Psalm 77 calls us to remember God’s goodness.

Personal Reflection

  1. Do you set aside time to remember, joyously celebrate and thank God for what He has done for you? How can you implement Esther’s example?
  2. Do you call upon God for creative solutions or turnarounds when problems arise? Try it!
  3. Are you encouraging others that God intervenes in history when his people seek him with prayer, repentance, and fasting? Please consider it!

New Podcast Series & Cup of JOY Women™

  • Join my newest podcast coming this summer: Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times and Trusting in God’s Goodness.  If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women™ ” study with your friends, email me: karen@WrapYourselfInJoy.com. It’s free and I will send you all the materials you need for the weekly one-hour discussion and study over coffee. You can read more HERE on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.

Links

Restoring Relationships

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Restoring Relationships | Relationships matter, whether with someone you love, someone you like, or someone you don't like but need to get along with at work or school. Relationships are the very fabric of human culture, and our relationship with God is the main theme that runs through the Old and New Testaments | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #Episode299 #RestoringRelationships #withJesusRelationships are built over time and yet can be destroyed in seconds. It all depends on the foundation. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz shares how our relationship with the Lord can endure and carry us through our most difficult times to victory, in Jesus!

Restoring Relationships ~ Episode 299

Relationships matter, whether with someone you love, someone you like, or someone you don’t like but need to get along with at work or school. Relationships are the very fabric of human culture, and our relationship with God is the main theme that runs through the Old and New Testaments. Our pastor likes to discuss relationships when he talks about scripture, and in fact, he has preached on the topic in sermon after sermon, pointing to the first sin (Adam and Eve and their disobedience in the garden (Genesis 3) and how sin is a break in their relationship. In regard to Adam and Eve their breach of relationship with the creator, God. The same with all of the human race afterward.

The cause of the brokenness led the people of God to rebel time after time after time. For the last two years, I’ve been studying the Bible, and I become weary, to say the least, when I have to listen to the whining of the Israelites in the desert or the distress of Moses when, once again, the people turn back to their false gods. Yet, it is a reminder to us all that restoring relationships between a nation of people, and God is symbolic of our relationship with the Almighty.

Yet, time and time again, after the rebellion, God still calls for us to return. In Isaiah 65:17-21 we read:

If you are familiar with the Bible, those verses are familiar to you; if not, spend some time with the Bible and look them up, study them, and apply them not only to the people for whom they were written at the time, yes– but it was written for us today. God is promising us a new Jerusalem, and He sent his son, Jesus, to us in order to live, teach, and sacrifice so that this could happen. We have a new life with Jesus; we have a new life for eternity.

We cling to this life, we all do. We know this world and even with all of its flaws and the trials we face daily, we don’t want to leave anytime soon. Yet, Jesus, in His entire work on earth, continued to call us to open His arms wide and to reclaim and restore the people. The New Jerusalem is Christ, He is the fulfillment of the Scriptures, and he is the fruit of our faith and hearlds the new heaven on earth. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God is at Hand! That saying stumped me because I was looking too deeply instead of seeing it for what it was, Jesus, the Kingdom fulfilled and at hand.

The proclamation of the Kingdom of God is the news that Jesus Christ, true man, and true God– Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. Just as Jesus served the disciples by washing their feet and serving them bread and wine at the Last Supper, for us these signs point to a deeper truth. Jesus himself is the bread and wine, he asked of us to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood. For some the saying was too harsh.

Restoring Relationships True Food

Read all of John Chapter 6 but an excerpt is here, John 6:53-59

The teaching was too hard for many. Is it too hard for you and for me? The apostles were stumped, but not Peter. The same Peter who would later deny Jesus three times. John 6:66-68

How do we feel about these verses? Do we wish to go away like so many did? It always struck me that Jesus didn’t call them back, He didn’t say, “Wait! I was talking symbolically.” It was problematic for many at the time and for many today.

Do we truly believe that Jesus wants to restore us, to restore our relationship with Him? Perhaps your church celebrates the Last Supper symbolically by sharing bread and wine. My church celebrates the Last Supper in communion each time we attend Mass. We truly believe the words of Christ. Literally.

In communion, we are united with Jesus in a deeper way; we strive to live lives with God’s grace that are pleasing to Him. The King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is truly the Messiah. When we approach the altar, we bring Him our worries, our concerns, our problems, our failures, and our joys. We lay them there at the foot of the cross. Jesus died once and for all. We do this as he said, In remembrance of me.” With God, there is no time. He is with us always in the present. Mind-blowing, I know!

Take the idea of a relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to heart. Bring your concerns to Him, the Almighty, He is waiting to restore you and to bring you with Him into everlasting life at the end of your life. If you have time compose a prayer to the Lord, and pray it daily. Ask Him to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him and start today!

 

Testimony of Kitty Cleveland

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Kitty Cleveland | Kitty Cleveland raise in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans, LA. She was the middle child of six girls. Her father was a lawyer and wished for all his daughters to follow in his footsteps | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofKittyCleveland #KittyClevelandTestimony of Kitty Cleveland

Kitty Cleveland raise in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans, LA. She was the middle child of six girls. Her father was a lawyer and wished for all his daughters to follow in his footsteps. Kitty had a dream of her own, to become a singer on Broadway and see her name in lights. But she chose the path her father had for her and became a lawyer. After three years in her profession, knowing she was unhappy, she left. At the same time, her father was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 10 years in prison. It was devastating for the family because he was innocent. The word the family received from the Lord was that his power was made perfect in weakness and that His grace was sufficient in this time of trial.

In 1998 during Adoration, Kitty clearly heard the Lord tell her to go into Music Ministry. Kitty is a singer and songwriter. She has appeared on television and radio, EWTN and the Johnette Benkovic’s, ‘Women of Grace’ show, she has performed in many concerts and has been a keynote speaker at home and abroad. Kitty is married a to a musician, and they adopted a daughter from China in 2005.

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA. Chapter in May 2018.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!
Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Valuing Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Valuing Myself | How common it is for us to find our value in our performance, talents, skills, physical appearance, wealth or status? The scripture at the beginning of this section puts our value in right perspective because it reveals God’s perspective | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #ValuingMyselfValuing Myself

How common is it for us to find value in our performance, talents, skills, physical appearance, wealth, or status? The scripture at the beginning of this section puts our value in right perspective because it reveals God’s perspective. Jonah was sent by God to preach repentance to the Ninevites and, when they did repent and God had mercy, Jonah was angry about it. We take a look at the scripture above and find how God saw them. They were clueless! He said they couldn’t tell their left hands from their right hands! That’s not a statement of harsh criticism from the Lord, but rather an explanation to Jonah of why he was gentle and didn’t smite them like Jonah would have preferred. That clearly reveals the heart of our good shepherd who values his people simply because we are his own.

In Genesis, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by making them think they weren’t good enough and needed to be like gods (Genesis 3:5). Even in our time we hear constant echoes of that moment. Commercials bombard us every day with messages about the myriad ways we are not good enough – how their products can rescue us from teeth that aren’t white enough, clothes that aren’t bright enough, and vehicles that aren’t fast enough, the list goes on. Focusing on the externals to find our value keeps us continually trying to earn what we already have.

Hanging our value on anything other than God’s love for us corrupts our vision and becomes how we measure ourselves and the way we believe others see us. When we try to find our worth in people or things other than God’s love, we end up hiding and are left thinking if people knew who we really were, they wouldn’t accept us. I’ve known very wealthy people who found their value in their wealth and became paranoid, thinking others only wanted to relate to them for their money. Because their lenses were faulty, it was impossible to convince them otherwise.

Our value is inherent. It can’t be earned because we already have it – we are God’s children. When we work to prove our value, we’re actually placing our worth in something transitory. These can easily become the things we hide behind. Each of us has inherent dignity in the Lord and resting in that fact alleviates so many issues. We no longer have the same self-criticism, arrogance, or condemnation of ourselves or others.

Actually, our confidence becomes unshakeable because it is in God, not in us.  This doesn’t mean we should stop giving our best effort, but that we should do so from a place of confidence in our okayness, regardless of the outcome. Our performance is no longer an attempt to earn worth, but a gift of gratitude to the Lord for the gifts he’s given us. We stop trying to control how things turn out in order to justify our existence. When we have the being right, the doing flows peacefully and joyfully. The irony is that when we don’t spend our valuable time and mental and emotional energy worrying about the outcome, things generally turn out far better. When there is struggle, we are better able to adjust in a healthy way since our focus is on the Lord.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Anointing of the Sick

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Anointing of the Sick | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode13 #AnointingoftheSickEpisode 13 – Anointing of the Sick

In this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

To receive the church’s Sacrament of Anointing the Sick through the ministry of a priest, there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death—a severe illness is sufficient. The hope is that the individual will be healed if it is God’s will. Without physical healing, the individual receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage.

James continues to delve into how Jesus came to heal both the physical and spiritual. Jesus did not heal all people’s physical ailments, but the miraculous healings performed were to demonstrate the signs of the coming of the Kingdom.

Illnesses and suffering have always been among the most significant problems of human life. James discusses how enduring suffering matures a person by producing endurance, character, and hope and bringing one closer to God and how one can use their suffering as a redemptive suffering, uniting oneself with Jesus’ Passion.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

This is the 13th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #9 – Creative Solutions and MORE Reversals

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #9

Esther Reigns as Queen

Creative Solutions for Esther & Her People

Do you need some creative solutions for your life?  It may look like there is NO way out, but God working behind the scenes can always give a perfect solution. Today, we watch the reversals in Esther unfold through a second edict as many watching Esther and the nation’s deliverance express a desire for conversion.

In this podcast, we will cover the following points.

Mordecai Authorized to Write a Second Edict (Esther 8: 3-8)

  • Mordecai not only acquired Haman’s wealth and property but also his position.  The king gave him his signet ring making him the second most powerful man in Persia.
  • However, there was still unfinished business! If Haman’s first edict issued in the king’s name was not overturned, all Jews would still be killed. Legally, a king’s edict was irrevocable.
  • For the second time, Esther appeared before the king, and using gentle leadership asked for Haman’s decree to be revoked.
  • The king had given Mordecai his signet ring allowing Mordecai to write whatever he pleased.

Reversals: Jewish People Empowered (Esther 8: 9-10, 13-17 & 16: 15-23[E])

Two months and ten days after Haman issued the first edict, Mordecai summons the king’s secretaries and wrote a second edict that counteracted Haman’s edict, empowering the Jews to defend themselves.  At least six more reversals transpired:

  • Haman‘s edict was written and dispatched to kill the Jews (3: 13-15) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s edict was sealed and dispatched to give the Jews authority to attack those who would attack them.
  • Haman‘s edict becomes the law (3: 14) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s writ becomes a decree that all must obey.
  • Mordecai mourns in sackcloth, and ashes (4: 1). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai wears royal robes of blue and white, a crown, and a mantle.
  • Mordecai wails in disgrace at the king’s gate (4: 2). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai was honored as the whole city shouted and rejoiced.
  • The Jews mourn in sackcloth and ashes with fasting (4: 3). The Reversal (8: 16): They celebrate a time of gladness, joy, and honor with a royal festival and holiday.
  • The Jews were weak and dispersed in the culture (3: 8). The Reversal (8: 17): The turnarounds brought about such fear of the Jews that many Persians converted or said they were Jews.

Personal Reflection

Do you need creative solutions and more reversals? Don’t give up.  Ask our Lord to show you creative solutions for your impossible situations. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your ears to what you don’t yet see.   Remember God loves reversals and His solutions are always the best solutions and they will bring JOY!! Principles from Esther to help guide you in difficult times might include:

  1. When God defeats your enemies, they are vanquished.
  2. Assemble with others for increased strength to defeat foes.
  3. God can give gladness, joy, and honor to replace sadness, darkness, and despair.
  4. When people observe reversals and empowerment on your behalf, it could lead to turnarounds, change of heart or conversions.

Links

Consumed By Joy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Consumed By Joy | We are Resurrection People! Consumed by joy! Shouldn't that be the theme of our lives, especially for those of us who are committed Christians? If you feel your life currently falls short, listen in as Felice Gerwitz explores ways to bring that joy back into your life | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode298We are Resurrection People! Consumed by joy! Shouldn’t that be the theme of our lives, especially for those of us who are committed Christians? If you feel your life currently falls short, listen in as Felice Gerwitz explores ways to bring that joy back into your life.

Consumed By Joy ~ Resurrection People Episode 298

As I share this podcast, we’ve completed our Lenten journey of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This does not mean we should ever stop; it just means that during Lent, we seem to make a renewed effort to turn our hearts to God. It seems that when Easter Sunday finally comes, we are past ready to rejoice and sing Halleluiah! This is what we’ve been waiting for, and in a renewed way we see it in the lives of our family and extended family members when we gather to celebrate.

Easter is so much more than chocolate bunnies and overly commercialized merchandise. We are so blessed as Christians to see this and to bring this reality to our family celebrations. The focus is on the Resurrection, and as I prayed about this, I kept thinking the words, “Resurrection people—we are Resurrection people.” But, what does that mean? So, I prayed and I researched and I finally concluded it means different things to each one of us, depending on our journey toward the Lord.

Consumed By Grief – Now Consumed By Joy:

I read a quote from John Paul II that said, “We are a Resurrection people and Alleluia is our song!” In other words, we rejoice in what the Lord has done for us, and we celebrate this in our hearts and minds. If we allow it to, this is transformative. We are no longer in the proverbial “ashes and sackcloth”. We are in celebratory mode.

We are consumed by grief as we read the scripture verses about the crucifixion and the Marys at the foot of the cross. John 19: 25-26 (read on air)

We know from scripture study that the disciple is John. They watched in horror, and we are often in horror as we read those verses. Most of the time, if you are like me, you want to skip the verse and go straight to the resurrection, the empty tomb, but I often remind myself that without the crucifixion, there is no resurrection. In this, we can be overcome and depressed and even despair, but we know the end of the story. We know that our despair as Jesus was taken to the tomb was short-lived. When we are discouraged, when we have doubts, when we are depressed or in desperate situations, we rely on the Lord because, by the very fact that we are Baptized Christians, we no longer belong in despair but should be reminded to rejoice!

We should bring the Lord all of the situations in our lives, our pain and suffering, our impatience and irritation with others, and ourselves… when we look at those things in light of the death and resurrection, we can see that our worries and our cares are fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Sure, we can acknowledge our pain and our suffering, but we also must put that in perspective. The evil one wants us to wallow in pain, in guilt, in self-recrimination, but Jesus, to a sinner, says, come.

We were blessed to attend the Easter Vigil, that is the service, the Mass that begins on the evening before Easter. It begins in some churches after sundown at 8 or 8:30. This service is beautiful in that the readings are from the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 1:1-2:2, verses from the Psalms are read in between, and then verses from the Old Testament. Most notably as follows:

  • Genesis 22:1-18
  • Exodus 14:15-15:1
  • Isaiah 54:5-14
  • Isaiah 55:1-11
  • Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4.4
  • Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28

New Testament:

  • Romans 6:3-11
  • Mark 16:1-7

Some services select four from the Old Testament and Mark from the New Testament. This is so that salvation history is read and the fulfillment of the words is joyously proclaimed. Mark 16:5-7

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went looking for the Messiah, but instead, they became disciples—they were the bearers of good news to tell Peter and the others! What an extraordinary grace! They were previously consumed by sorrow, and now they were consumed by joy! God, the creator of the universe, showed us that nothing is too small or too insignificant for Him. He showed us by his extreme sacrifice that our sins would be redeemed and that our sorrow was no longer necessary.

We are resurrection people. Please take some time to think about this and what it means to you. Just like you, I have problems, difficulties, and sorrows. Sometimes, the burden seems too big to carry, and I despair. Yet I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me by virtue of my Baptism, by virtue of my yes to the Lord, and sometimes, it is a yes that happens multiple times a day. When we consider the resurrection, our hearts should be consumed by joy; it should convert us, and if not, think and pray about this if you can.

We have so many stumbling blocks we put up on our own and in the Name of Jesus, we pray they are removed! Our desire and longing should be for the Lord, for relationship with Him and our prayer is: “Dear Lord, please fan the flames of your love for us, within us, let it rage like a bonfire and ignite our hearts with love for You as you have love for us.” Amen!

Testimony of Julia Monnin

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Julia Monnin | Julia Monnin grew up in a good Catholic family in Ohio. She was one of 5 children. Like most kids growing up she was swooped in the ways of the culture and made some bad choices in her high school and college years | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofJuliaMonnin #JuliaMonninTestimony of Julia Monnin

Julia Monnin grew up in a good Catholic family in Ohio. She was one of 5 children. Like most kids growing up she was swooped in the ways of the culture and made some bad choices in her high school and college years. She was ashamed of the sinful nature she had chosen for herself and became aware there was a need to change. Her mother knew something was bothering her and suggested she go to confession. She took her mother’s advice and that was a turning point in her life. She began to pray more and gain a deeper relationship with Christ.

After Julia’s major conversion, she left her job and went into full time ministry. She is an author, speaker, and spiritual companion. She published her first book in in 2017, ‘The World is Noisy, God Whispers,’ Vol.1. She writes a monthly blog and host two monthly podcasts (“The World Is Noisy – God Whispers”® and “The Schoenstatt Way of Life”), co-hosts a weekly podcast with Fr. Sean Wilson (“Darting Through the Faith”), and hosts a semi-monthly radio show on Radio Maria called “Living the Lectionary.”

Julia is the founder and president of the Catholic nonprofit apostolate Journeys Revealed Ministries whose mission is to “Spread the Love of Jesus by Sharing the Stories of Our Souls, One Intimate Moment at a Time.”

This testimony was given to the Pittsburgh Chapter in August 2021.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the origins of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode12 #TheSacramentofReconciliationConfession #ReconciliationConfessionEpisode 12 – The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession

Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the origins of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series.

In John 20:21-23, Jesus, having risen from the dead, bestows the miraculous power to forgive sins. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

James discusses how the grace of the spirit has been bestowed on priests and how to understand the marvel of this Sacrament, one must comprehend the terrible reality of sin.

Using scripture to demonstrate, James describes how Jesus warns us that sin is inherent in human appetites and how specific human desires go against the will and law of the Father. Jesus also implores humanity to draw closer to the Father to receive grace and mercy in order to strengthen us and fight the pull of earthly appetites.

Additionally, James explores the types of sin, the degrees of their graveness, and how confession was even instituted in the Old Testament as a means of repentance, healing, and forgiveness.

This is the 12th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #8 – Reversals Begin

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #8 – Reversals Begin

Painting: Esther reveals Haman’s plot to the King by Jan Lievens, 1623

God Loves Reversals

Do you need reversals in your life? Let Esther encourage you. God loves reversals, and He can make them happen for you.

Three Reversals

Today in our podcast, we encounter three reversals in Chapter Seven of the Book of Esther. This is God’s providence, bringing dramatic changes in circumstances in response to the prayers of His people. It can happen again, and it can happen in your life! Join us today as we cover these points:

God’s Intervention

  • When King Ahasuerus cannot sleep, he reads his chronicles and discovers Mordecai’s service needs a reward.
  • The King asks Haman what he can do for the man he delights to honor.
  • Haman replies the man should wear the King’s clothes, ride the King’s horse, and be proclaimed for service throughout the streets.

A Peripety

  • Haman hates Mordecai and is humiliated when the King tells him to proceed with these actions for Mordecai.
  • It is a peripety – a significant reversal of circumstances or turnaround of intentions written in heaven.
  • When Haman told his friends and wife Zeresh about the Mordecai incident, they warned him: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

God Reverses Evil (Esther 7: 1-8)

  • Esther dishes up sweet words to the King.
  • She knew when it was NOT time to speak and when it was time to say her request to the King.
  • She used the exact words from the edict so that the King knew he was hearing the truth.

Persian Culture

  • In Persian culture,
    • Diners eat at a table while reclining on a couch.
    • Men could not come within seven steps of a woman in the King’s charge or harem.
  • Haman approached Esther’s couch to beg for mercy – he had overstepped his bounds by 7 feet.
  • To the King, he was assaulting Esther. So, he orders a face cloth draped on Haman.
  • In the Persian culture, a facecloth covers an enemy of the King so the King would not have to look upon the one he condemned.

The Lord Loves Reversals  (Esther 7: 9 – 8: 2)

  • Harbona, one of the King’s chief consultants, appears to know of Haman’s hatred for the Jews and of the gallows he built in his backyard to execute Mordecai. He suggests Haman hang on these gallows.
  • Oh, how the Lord loves reversals! His divine providence reversed three evil events for today.
    • The gallows built in Haman’s backyard for Mordecai are used to hang Haman.
    • The King removes the signet ring, indicating “a second in charge” position, from Haman and gives it to Mordecai.
    • Haman’s decree is reversed.  Instead of plundering the property of the Jews, the King gives Haman’s property to Queen Esther.
  • What the study of literature calls peripety—an event that suddenly brings a reversal of fortune and dramatic change in circumstances, is what Christians call a miracle.

Personal Reflection

  • Romans 15: 4 reminds us: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” Let Esther give you hope. God can give you reversals too:
  • Which of the following principles do you find most helpful for you?
    1. God can reverse the evils around us.
    2. Gentle leadership with prayer and God’s discernment accomplishes much.
    3. Teachers of drama or literature call a reversal “peripety,” but Christians call it a miracle.
  • What miracle or turnaround do you need today?  Based on what you observed from Esther and Mordecai, how will you pray for one?
    1. Read Psalm 37: 1-5 and notice all the phrases “do not fret” and “trust in the Lord” instead. Which will you do? The Lord will act as you delight in Him and commit your way to Him.
    2. Ask Jesus to bring laughter and joy to your life as you pray for the reversal.

Links

Invitation To Hope (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Invitation To Hope | Do you need an invitation to hope? Well I did, and I’m convinced that everyone has a story to tell. #podcast #christianpodcastInvitation To Hope – Introduction Episode One

Do you need an invitation to hope? Well, I did and I’m convinced that everyone has a story to tell. Every single one of us struggles yet we don’t want anyone to know about it. We want to paint a rosy picture and let everyone know we are living the dream. My life was just that way; I was struggling on the inside yet smiling on the outside. There is hope and joy in life and I am here to share this message with you.

I will discuss real concerns that you have as a woman, as a mom or someone who is learning and growing in their faith. I want you to know you are not alone. This podcast is meant to support, encourage and to give you hope! Some of you are stay-at-home moms some of you at our work at home moms and some of you work outside of the home, yet we all have common struggles. Anyone who tells you that life is great all the time is not being truthful. Life has struggles, this is not heaven, and I often have to remind myself of this very fact. Happily ever after does happen in real life but it happens not necessarily in the way you think.

You might think this is a strange name for a podcast – One More Child – but it has impact and meaning. Once I was open to God’s will in my life, in everything–even being open to having one more child, I felt as if my eyes were opened to the truth. I could no longer compartmentalize my beliefs and my life. I also found that my daily life struggles were manageable because I was not doing it alone.

In this series of podcasts, we will discuss so many topics that affect our happiness. And you will see a reoccurring theme one of trust, of truth and of focus. Can you use more of that in your life? I know I can!

As I record this episode I am just beginning to share my book with the public, it is a story about faith and redemption, and how my last three children are a miracle story. I thought God might bless me with a third child, but he decided I needed a fourth and a fifth as well! My God is abundantly gracious.

In this series for the One More Child Podcast, I’m going to discuss different topics that relate to openness to children, family, faith, and relationships – I also want to encourage you to find joy and hope no matter what your life’s situation may be.

So who am I? My name is Felice Gerwitz, and I have been online in some capacity since 1999 representing the company I created and founded Media Angels. I’ve been writing and publishing for over 24 years.

When I started, there were no podcasts, no online forums or even social media as we know it today. But I am so happy we have these things so I can connect with all of you!

Now that my five children are grown up, with my two youngest currently in college, I find myself at a crossroads. I wrote a book that I felt compelled to write through the urging of the Lord, in writing this book I found that I had much more to say than the 100 pages of the book, so since I am no stranger to podcasts, I decided, “Why not?”

I know this podcast would have helped me as someone who was struggling, as someone who  had no one to talk to about private issues — well let me amend that, I had plenty of people I could talk to but no one I wanted to tell my story to nor was I open to any solutions at that time. I held a secret in my heart that was eating away at the very fiber of who I was as a woman as a mom and as a wife. Sometimes there are things you just can’t share with anyone. And this feeling was something I couldn’t even share with my husband even though if you had asked me I would say we were very close.

I don’t want this podcast to be a one-way conversation. I want you to join me with questions and perhaps as a guest on this podcast if you are open to this idea. If not, I totally get it! No one believes I am shy—no one. But truthfully I’m a private person that the Lord has stretched and taken me out of my comfort zone. Has that ever happened to you? We grow when we are stretched and believe me I have grown and continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord.

At one time I believed that if I shared my secret I would admit my inadequacies and I was not in a place spiritually to do this. My walk with the Lord was one-sided—I followed Him on my terms. You may wonder about my secret what was it that had me in turmoil? It was regret. Regret over a decision that thousands of people make each day and that is to limit the size of their family with a surgical procedure. For us, it was a vasectomy.

Once my faith grew and I began to understand what it truly meant to be a Christian in the full sense of the word, I began to regret the decision. My husband was also feeling the same way but he didn’t tell me either until years later.

If this story didn’t have a happy conclusion I wouldn’t be sharing this right now! I know the wonderful outcome could only happen by the grace of God – His mercy and His love for me. My last three children wouldn’t be here unless we had a change of heart, and I can’t tell you what a blessing they have been. Has it been easy? No – but can you tell me one thing in your life that has been worthwhile that is super easy?

What I want to share in future podcasts is that God does answer prayers and His answers are so much more glorious than anything you or I can imagine – and believe me, I have a very vivid imagination! God poured out His grace on me, my husband and my family and I can’t wait to share the good news with you!

One thing you can be sure of … there will be no pretense in these episodes. I have learned so much and I’m happy to share helpful solutions and encourage you along your journey in life if I truly have lived it — and my heart’s desire is to share the wonderful and amazing hope that comes only my relationship with the one true God! And, you know what? IT is available to all of you.

Welcome my friend. If you are a long-time friend and listener of my other podcasts I thank you in advance for coming over to yet another podcast I host and your loving support. You know who you are. If you are a new listener, I hope to meet you and for you to become a friend. My hope is that you will join me on social media so we can have a chance to connect, meet and get to know each other. The information is on the podcast page at One More Child Podcast.com – or if you are not on social media please share your comments and questions with me at Felice@MediaAngels.com.

I’m excited about this new journey the Lord has me on …and I pray it is a hundred-fold blessing to all of you. Until next we meet…

 

 

God’s Grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God's GraceGod’s Grace is Sufficient

Episode 21

God’s grace, is it sufficient for you? Or do you rely on the world for the help you need? In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read the passage that many sermons are built around, but how do we apply this to our life? In this episode, I’ll explain how I strive to have more of Him and less of me in my life.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

How do we live a grace-filled life when most of the time we can hardly get out of bed without being overwhelmed with all that needs to be done each day? Now that my children are older I’ve taken on some extra activities that put me in the path of people from all walks of life. Some are Christians, others are not, but it is hard to tell the difference. Years ago a good friend of mine used to be asked all the time, “What is different about you?” She carried the joy of Jesus Christ with her wherever she went. She was my writing partner and while we each attended different churches, she was an evangelical Christian and mostly attended non-denominational churches, I am a Catholic. We agreed on the solid foundation that without Jesus there can be no joy in your life.

Jill showed the love of Jesus in her life. She showed others that even if she was under a life burden she would still praise God. Jill loved her children unconditionally as she loved her friends and even her acquaintances. She didn’t live a life without hardship. She went through a painful divorce, bankruptcy and she died suddenly in 2007. Before she died she told me she would soon be homeless if things didn’t change in her life. Yet, she told me she was not worried – she had God. And, instead of being homeless, God took her home. I have never publically told that story before, and while I still miss her tremendously I am happy for her because I know that as she lived she was an example of God’s grace being enough.

It is the inspiration from friends that we surround ourselves with that we too can learn about that joy and that grace should be sufficient for us. That grace that surpasses anything that we can earn or attain in this world. Remember friends, it is in Him that we can have true life. As I record this episode it is the end of November and I approach the Christmas season with a sense of expectancy in the true miracle of the birth of Christ, but also in the miracle that we can be, by example for each other.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Testimony of Mary Lou McCall

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Mary Lou McCall | Mary Lou was a ‘military brat.’ Her family moved every three to four years. Her father was in the air force. Her mother was German, and her family spent much of her growing up years visiting her mother’s relatives in Germany | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofMaryLouMcCall #MaryLouMcCallTestimony of Mary Lou McCall

Mary Lou was a ‘military brat.’ Her family moved every three to four years. Her father was in the air force. Her mother was German, and her family spent much of her growing up years visiting her mother’s relatives in Germany. Mary Lou was raised Catholic, and her mother showed by example the reverence for the Church by their many visits to the Cathedrals all over Europe. Mary Lou was a middle child, shy and introverted. She married her college sweetheart, and they had five sons together. She became a television journalist and documentary producer bringing political and spiritual news to the forefront.

As a television reporter, Mary Lou was given an assignment to go to Medjugorje. The experience changed the trajectory of her life. She and her family have experienced intense spiritual warfare. She will explain as she shares a number of her sons’ various addictions.

She became a Drug Addiction Prevention Specialist and spokesperson. In 2020, Mary Lou was commissioned by the Archbishop as an Ecclesial Lay Minister as part of a graduate program at Notre Dame Seminary and she also has a master’s degree in Pastoral Leadership.

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA, Chapter in June, 2022.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

The Eucharist Part II

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Eucharist Part II | On the second part of a two-part episode on the Eucharist in the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheEucharistPartII #Episode11Episode 11 – The Eucharist Part II

On the second part of a two-part episode on the Eucharist in the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.

The prologue of St. John’s chapter six recalls two miracles that prepare Jesus’ audience for the following Bread of Life discourse. The first miracle identifies Jesus as the Messianic profit like Moses, which was predicted in Deuteronomy Chapter 18. The second miracle occurred when Jesus walked on the sea to meet up with his disciples. This is an act heralded Jesus as God in his Divinity.

In Chapter 6, Jesus multiplied five barley loaves and two fish, feeding the hungry gathering crow who began to follow up because of the signs Jesus was performing. The next day, the crowd, seeing Jesus and his disciples had left the area, the crowd began to search for Jesus, and when they found him, Jesus responded, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life— which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (John 6:26)

In his conversation with the crowd, Jesus informs the crowd not to think of the material but the spiritual. The crowd, understanding, always asks what they must do to receive this bread. Jesus responds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. (John 6:35). In this statement, Jesus states that he is the life-giving bread that challenges the crowd to change their focus and understanding.

Jesus explains the holy wonder of his body and blood becoming the food for eternal salvation and instructs the crowd to proceed in faith, challenging them with their limited understanding. However, the crowd, still lacking in spiritual awareness, remains resistant and unwilling to accept Jesus’ teaching.

This episode underscores Jesus’ message as the Bread of Life “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. (John 6:54).

This is the 11th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #7 – God-Designed Comedy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time - Prayer, Reversals & JOY

Mordecai Led Through the City by Haman by Azor Masters, Painting, 1420 AD, The Hague

God-designed Comedy

God-designed comedy can reverse calamity! Don’t you wish every tragedy turned into a good laugh instead? Sometimes, we think God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Today in our podcast on Esther, we cannot help but see the comedy from the hand of God that reverses a tragedy.

In Between Dinner Parties

In our last study, Esther asked the king and Haman to a festive banquet dinner she prepared. At the end of the dinner, Esther invited the king and Haman to a second dinner the next day. She delayed the real request because her discernment through prayer and fasting told her the timing was not right.  Between the two dinner parties, Haman bursts with pride to family and friends at being asked to dine twice with the king and queen of Persia. However, his joy disappears at the sight of Mordecai, who refuses to stand up in his presence. Today, we join the king, whose sleeplessness, ordained by God, leads to a reversal of circumstances. We cover these points:

The Sleeplessness of the King Results in a Peripety (Esther 6: 1-12)

  • The King can’t sleep, so he entertains himself by reading his annals – large volumes that record the history and accomplishments of a king’s reign.
  • The King’s sleeplessness begins with peripety (pronounced “pe-rip-e-tē”). The term is used in dramatic arts to define a sudden reversal of fortune with a change in direction.
  • In a tragedy, the plot turns a lead character’s fortune into ruin.
  • In a comedy, the reversal changes tragedy into comedy.
  • In Esther Chapter Six, we see both kinds of peripety.

God’s Reversals (Esther 6: 12)

  • The king turns in his annals to an event that occurred five years earlier, only to discover that Mordecai’s service had NEVER been rewarded.
  • Just then, Haman arrives at the inner court after constructing a 75-foot-high gallows for hanging Mordecai.
  • Haman lusts for power and hopes to wear the King’s robe.
  • The ancients attached great significance to wearing a royal robe. It was considered a mark of great favor and honor.
  • Haman tells the king what could be done to the man whom the king wants to honor.

Haman Humbled (Esther 6: 13-14)

  • Haman hated Mordecai and was greatly humbled when he proclaimed his greatness while wearing the king’s robes and crown and riding the king’s horse.
  • God’s hand seems to create a peripety: Haman, once honored as second in power to the king, is humiliated, and Mordecai, in sackcloth and ashes, is exalted in the king’s robe and attire.
  • Haman’s friends and wife Zeresh realize that the Jews worshipped a God, who seemed to be intervening.
  • Haman did not know the warnings of Proverbs 16:18 and Matthew 23: 12.
  • Proverbs 16: 18. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. NRSV-CE or
  • Matthew 23: 12. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. NRSV-CE

 The Greatest Peripety of All (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

  • The greatest reversal of all God planned since creation was our redemption from sin and eternal death through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
  • It was the greatest REAL peripety of all.

Personal Reflection

  • In Esther Chapter 6, we see God’s hand at work reversing many situations. Which of the following principles do you find most helpful?
  1.  Wait for God’s timing and guidance: He can intervene in your life with a miracle that changes everything.
  2.  God intervenes in history when His people call out to Him with prayer, repentance, and fasting.
  3.  Jesus Christ is your reversal of fortune—He died out of love for you to forgive your sins and offer you eternal life. Now is the time to accept His forgiveness as His plan for your life.
  4.  I will try to remember these verses to remind me of God’s ability to intervene in the worst of circumstances:
  • Isaiah 59:1. See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
  • Jeremiah 32: 27. See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? NRSV-CE

Links

Agony and Victory

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Agony and Victory | Is there such a thing as agony and victory? Everyone has agonized over something in their lives, yet there is hope. Most of us on this side of heaven have struggled and had trials and tribulations. In this podcast, we discuss agony with a twist: the victory that comes on the other side | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #AfterTheAgonyAgony and Victory

Is there such a thing as agony and victory? Everyone has agonized over something in their lives, yet there is hope. Most of us on this side of heaven have struggled and had trials and tribulations. In this podcast, we discuss agony with a twist: the victory that comes on the other side.

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Jesus wants us to live a life free from agony and strife. He wants us to live a victorious life, but how can we do so when there are so many hardships in our lives? How can we hold on to the hope that is the bedrock of our faith without caving in and losing hope? We can do this by looking at the scriptures but also taking them into our hearts and applying them to our lives.

Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets in the Bible. I love his steadfast, single-minded focus on the mission at hand. Like most disciples, he left his family and home to pursue the mission God called him to, and in so doing, tragedy could have been averted. There was a movie made for television on the prophet Jeremiah. As we watched it, I kept stopping the DVD player to say to the children who were watching it with me at the time, “Look! Look! Do you hear that? It is the same thing that is happening today.” Finally, the children were so frustrated they asked if we could finish the movie before we talked about it.

The movie depicted Jeremiah’s upward battle and struggle as he agonized over sharing God’s message with an unwilling people. He was willing to articulate his agony in Jeremiah 20:10:13 (Read on air).

God is a God of mercy and forgiveness, but also righteousness. Jeremiah says, “But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior, so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.” When God sends someone to do His mission, He will equip them and provide for them. Jeremiah’s message was not very different from Jonah’s message to Ninevah: Repent. Repent. Repent. Yet, while Jonah was not a very good prophet and was a reluctant one, Jeremiah was obedient, and it cost him so much.

Jeremiah is said to be a prefigurment or a type of Christ in that he was crushed, maligned, rejected, and in anguish, the same as Jesus during his passion, the way of the cross toward the crucifixion.

Jesus quotes the words of Jeremiah: Jeremiah 5:12  (Read on air.) in Mark 8:18 – “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?”

He also quoted Jeremiah 7:11. (Read on air) with Mark 11:17 (Read on air.) and also Luke 19:46

Why did Jesus quote Jeremiah? Because he, too, was rejected, despised, maligned, crushed, and in anguish. As Jesus reflected on the words of Jeremiah, he must have heard an echo of what was to come. The amazing thing, as our pastor pointed out during a sermon, is the same people, the Pharisees, scribes, and scholars who were amazed at the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple, amazed at his wisdom and comments and answers to the questions, were now ready to get rid of Him. These were the same people who wanted to crucify him.

The lesson is that out of His suffering, redemptive suffering for all of us comes the VICTORY of the Resurrection. Jesus was born, lived a simple life, and died on the cross to set us free. We can now rejoice because, as we read in the scriptures, the victory has been won!

1 Corinthians 15:54 (Read on air)

The death of Christ was not the end, as we head into the last week before Easter we recall His passion, the events leading up to His crucifixion, but it is what is on the other side that leads us to rejoice!

Jesus wants us to be whole; he wants us to be without the burdens we carry. Yet, he wants us to strive for truth and righteousness. To be like Him, we can look at the example of his mother, Mary. She said to do what he tells you at the wedding feast in Cana. She points to her son, and we, too, take that clue and abandon ourselves to Him.

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina said, “The cross will not crush you; if its weight makes you stagger, its power will also sustain you.” Isn’t that beautiful? It is such a powerful truth. The crosses in our lives often make us stronger, and we grow through suffering.

God abandoned himself for us; shouldn’t we abandon ourselves to Him?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Luke 9:20:23—After Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus gave one of his most famous discourses. He predicted His death and gave us a mission in life.

After Peter said, he was the Messiah. Luke 9:21-23 Read On Air.

Friends, to be disciples and follow, we must pick up our crosses daily. When we agonize and despair when we are rejected, lonely, and forgotten, remember the one who will never abandon or forget you, and cry out to Him. When agony comes, remember victory is at the other end. Maybe not how we would like it, but always within the perfect will of God. As we approach Easter or whatever time of year you are listening to this podcast, focus on the task at hand, yes—but rejoice in the Lord and His perfect will in our lives.

Testimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero | Fr. Tony Mugavero is pastor of Holy Apostles parish in Rochester, NY. He has been devoted to the vocation of the priesthood for 44 years. He loves his vocation and he has many God stories | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofFr.TonyMugavero #Fr.TonyMugaveroTestimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero

Fr. Tony Mugavero is pastor of Holy Apostles parish in Rochester, NY. He has been devoted to the vocation of the priesthood for 44 years. He loves his vocation and he has many God stories. He shares a fond memory of his sister Rosalie and the 25th wedding anniversary he and sister planned for their Italian parents. Fr. Tony encourages his audience to also share their God stories that profoundly speaks to the question the Lord asks, ‘Who do you say that I am.’

Fr. Tony has overcome all trials especially when he was arrested and convicted of harassment for talking to women wanting to enter an abortion clinic to end their child’s life. He served 15 days in jail. He is a strong and brave man of conviction.

Fr. Tony is a strong advocate for life in all stages and has deep respect and love for mankind, willing to help in all circumstances. He believes that ‘All things work for good for those who love him, those he has called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28

This testimony was given to the Rochester, NY, Chapter in October 2022.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

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Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Just the Way I Am

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Bare Bones Show Notes!

Here’s the thing: I love to speak, and I love to write, but for some reason, show notes. UGH! I might want to take some of the advice I give in this episode about the way I am and see if it changes. We shall see.

Scripture Quoted

Revelation 21: 5 “The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 :  “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The main point

When we say, “That’s just the way I am,” we put ourselves in a box and deny the possibility of change, which we can do with God’s help.

 

Pray with this question: God, what do you want to make new?

Would you like to pray together or learn ways of praying to help you change with God’s help? Please contact me.

 

 

Connection to Self

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Connection to Self | Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingConnection to Self

Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries. Ideally, a child experiences being known, valued, accepted, and protected by good and loving parents. When this happens, it’s a natural bridge to having self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

So, why is it important to talk about this? Did we just move from talking about spirituality in the previous section to selfishness and being self-consumed? Not at all! Take a look again at the scripture from Mark 12 at the beginning of this section. The teacher who approached Jesus asked him which law is the most important. Jesus answered his question by also telling him the second most important law: To love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This answer hinges love of neighbor on love of self, revealing that in order to have the former, we must also have the latter.

As we consider loving ourselves, let’s remember what true love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a passage we might already be familiar with, details the definition of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but where am I supposed to get all this love to give to others?” The truth is, God who is love dwells within us. First, we must believe it – more and more. Then we can begin to receive it and embrace it, and allow his love to modify our own ways of thinking and flow out from us toward others. Being more deeply formed in God’s mind causes us to continually reform our ways of thinking and behaving until we are eventually thoroughly transformed. That’s holiness, which is the goal of this life for all of us.  It’s not just for clergy and religious. We are all called to be holy.

If we pour a large amount of water into a container, the container will soon begin to overflow, much like we are called to overflow with God’s love for each other. Even if Niagara Falls is poured into a colander, at the end we will still have an empty colander. When we tear ourselves down in our own thoughts or self-talk, we poke colander-like holes in our hearts.  No wonder we feel so empty! When our relationship with our own self is in shambles from our constant criticism, all the helps God wants to give us can’t find a place to hold on. Even forming and maintaining a healthy external relationship becomes nearly impossible when our internal relationship is hurtful. Next thing we know, we hit a rough patch in an external relationship and we begin to wonder where God is in it all.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “What is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.”1 The way we relate to ourselves can be considered our mode. If we don’t believe we are lovable, we won’t be able to believe someone else loves us and their love can’t reach us. For this reason, it is crucial that we make an act of our will and conscious efforts to open to God’s grace so that when he tells us he loves us, we can allow his grace to convince our hearts that it is true. Then we will receive what we can and regard ourselves a little more charitably. He will tell us again, and we will embrace the truth a bit more, and so on. It’s a never-ending cycle; since there’s always more of him and we, with our cracks, tend to be a bit leaky.

It’s essential for us to make a shift in how we choose to relate to ourselves – it is a necessary part of being spiritually and emotionally responsible. Otherwise we are very prone to make the mistake of making God responsible for our emotions when we are the ones making ourselves miserable.  If we constantly send ourselves the message that we’re not lovable, it only stands to reason it will be hard for us to believe he or anyone else could or would love me. Taking on the mind of Christ includes shifting how we think of ourselves to how he regards us.  That is absolutely non-negotiable if we really believe he is God.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll break down the same aspects of connection we considered in connection to the Lord – knowing, valuing, and having healthy boundaries – so we can grow in our ability to fully accept, receive, and embody Jesus’ words and redeeming love for us.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

The Eucharist

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Eucharist Part I | On this two-part episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the Eucharist, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheEucharistPartIEpisode 10 – The Eucharist Part I

On this two-part episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the Eucharist, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus knew he would depart from this world to the Father, and not wishing to leave his followers desolate, he gave us the sacrament of coming to us in the humble form of bread and wine as a testament to his unconditional love and mercy.

Jesus’ ardent love drives our Lord to be present in the thousands of tabernacles worldwide, where he patiently waits for our visits to embrace us in his eucharistic heart.

Through sighting historical and biblical evidence, James shares the meaning of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist and why the Eucharist is the summit of Christian life. He also debunks teachings against this fact, offering solid evidence disputing heretical mindsets.

This is the 10th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #6: Pray, Wait and Discern

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time, Wait, Pray, & Discern

Image: Esther before Ahasuerus (1547-48) Painting by Tintoretto

Pray, Wait & Discern

Are you praying, waiting, and discerning? Have you ever prayed in a daunting situation? Were you looking for a quick solution? Sometimes a quick solution is not the best solution. In our podcast today, Esther shows us the value of prayer, but also why it’s important to wait and discern God’s solution.

Esther Puts Her Life on the Line

Esther’s name comes from the Hebrew root “SIT-UR seter,” which means “concealed.” It suggests her identity would be concealed for a time, but the time had come for her to reveal her faith.  Mordecai asked her to go to the king to stop the edict against the Jews, but without an invitation, she could be executed.  Esther finally agreed to put her life on the line for such a time as this. She knew she needed God’s intervention, so she called for three days of fasting from food and water for all Jews, and even her maids. Then she would go to the king with the conclusion, “If I perish, I perish.”  In the podcast today, we will cover these points.

The Third Day (Esther 5: 1-8)

  •  The “third day” in the Jewish faith is significant. A Jewish commentary suggests believed God’s deliverance for Israel would come after prayer on “the third day” (Midrash Raba, Esther).
  • For example, in the Old Testament, Hosea 6: 2 says,  After two days, He will revive us; on the third day, God will raise us up, that we may live before him. NRSV-CE
  • The third day also connects to the Christian faith and Jesus’ resurrection.

Esther’s Gentle-Discerning Leadership (Esther 5: 5-7)

  • Esther “stood” before the king, radiating inner strength and outer beauty from God.
  • Esther 15 (Deuterocanonical): the King invited Esther to him, saying: “Come near. 11 Then he raised the golden scepter and touched her neck with it; 12 he embraced her, and said, “Speak to me.”
  • Gentle leadership characterizes a leader who is kind, compassionate, loyal, and willing to listen to the needs of those around her.
  • A discerning leader prays and waits for God’s direction.
  • Queen Esther was truly a gentle and discerning leader.  She leaned completely on God for strength and guidance.

 Esther’s Discernment and the First Banquet (Esther 5: 9-14)

  • The fasting and prayers of Esther and God’s people changed the heart of the King.
  • On the third day of fasting, Esther abandoned herself in total submission to God, put on royal robes to show her authority as Queen of Persia, and became the leader God designed her to be.
  • Esther asked the king and Haman to a festive dinner banquet she had prepared.
  • At the end of the meal, Esther delayed and again asked the king and Haman to come to a second dinner on the following day.
  • God’s guidance and discernment indicated Esther needed to wait one more day.

 Haman and His Prized Sons

  • Haman boasted to his family and friends (v. 10-12). He had 12 sons.
  • Historian Herodotus says the Persians prized a large number of sons, second only to great courage in war.
  • Haman’s pride burst with pride at being invited to dinner twice with the king and queen of Persia.
  • Only the sight of Mordecai, who would not bow to him, pricked his joy. His wife, Zeresh, suggested he build a 75-foot (50-cubit)- high gallows and hang Mordecai immediately.

Personal Reflection

  • Which principles on prayer, waiting and discernment will you apply?
  • I need to seek God with other pray-ers for support to stand firm in spiritual battles.
  • To become gentler and more discerning, I need to increase my time in prayer, repenting for myself and others, fasting, and waiting.
  • I want to rely more on God’s discernment. I must wait where God has placed me and invite his discernment and leadership.
  • I will try to remember this verse: Isaiah 40:31.“But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” NRSV-CE

Links

Jesus and His Mother

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Jesus and His Mother | Have you considered Jesus's relationship with His Mother, Mary? By examining this aspect of Sacred Scripture, we can grow in our love for our Lord | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #JesusandHisMotherJesus and His Mother ~ Episode 296

Have you considered Jesus’s relationship with His Mother, Mary? By examining this aspect of Sacred Scripture, we can grow in our love for our Lord.

Thanks to our Sponsor, Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is a Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today.  Check it out here!

A Son’s Love For His Mother:

Many of you listening have children or extended families. We know of the bond between mother and child and mother and son. We mothers have the ability to love without limit, and it grows with each child. Sometimes we wonder if we will have enough love, but then, our love expands. In our human condition, we have the ability to love, but can you imagine the love of the Son, Jesus Christ, for His Mother? Yet, we know Jesus and his mother spent time together; she raised him after all; she cooked, bathed, and took care of him. If we love our own parents, how much more did the Lord love his Mother?

Why would Jesus love his mother other than the obvious? When we read scripture, we can see the great sacrifice she went through and how his love must have expanded. Yes, I am using words we understand to describe a Divine occurrence, but we can, by our human reason (because faith requires reason), see between the lines because nowhere in Scripture does our Lord say, “I love you, Mother.”

Yet, by His Divine Nature, Jesus was obedient. His obedience was perfect. He was obedient unto death, death on a cross. Phil. 2:7-8 (Read on air.)

Sometimes, we forget that Jesus took his humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He respected His mother and was always obedient. When he went to Temple at age 12 they were amazed at his wisdom and the questions he answered. He stayed with his parents until he was 30 years old always obeying. Mary was the one who caused him to start His ministry.

We can read the entire verse in John 2:1-12 — Please read and meditate on these verses; they say so much to me, and I get filled with awe every time I read and think about them.

This is the account of the wedding feast of Cana; they ran out of wine, and Mary offered her son’s services, basically to perform a miracle. Jesus said to her in John 2:4 – And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

When Jesus refers to his mother as a “woman” here, some people think it is a sign of disrespect. Can you imagine referring to your own mother as a woman? It might not go over too well. However, this was in fulfillment of Scripture. (remember, Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament!) But, this reference in particular is in regard to Genesis 3:15. Adam and Eve had sinned; Adam blamed Eve, “the woman you gave me,” and Eve blamed the serpent, “The serpent tricked me.” So, God, who is righteous and all good, not only cast them out of the Garden but said in Genesis 3:15 (Read on air).

The woman and Eve and the man, Adam, were the Old Testament symbols of disobedience. In the New Testament, the new Adam is Christ, and the new Eve (the obedient woman is Mary). The point Jesus made here to all those scripture scholars was clear. He was a fulfillment of the role of Savior, and His first public miracle was turning water into wine. But, not just any wine, the best they had tasted. John 2:4-6 (Read on air).

Mary always points to Jesus and says, “Do what He tells you.” John 2:11—(Read on air).

In other places in scripture, it says, “his hour had not yet come,” and he was able to escape or was not arrested, but at the request of His Mother, he was obedient. John 2:12 (Read on air.)

The hidden years, the years before the first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, are called the hidden years. They are hidden from us because the scriptures do not reveal what went on in Jesus’s life in the home of Mary and Joseph. All we know is that Jesus was an obedient son and that he loved his parents. He loved Joseph, but Joseph was his stepfather. But Mary? Mary was his biological mother; she gave him life by her fiat, her yes.

Their relationship was special. Mary could count on her Son, and she knew in her heart that he was destined to do the Father’s will. He must have performed miracles at home because why else would she ask him to perform His first, publically? Can you imagine the joy of having such a Divine Son, yet with that joy comes crushing hardship and sorrow? Next week we will mediate on the road less traveled, the Stations of the Cross.

Before we end, I want you to know that the Lord, by His life, His death, and His Resurrection, gave us an example of a virtuous life. Join me as we pray. Today Lord, I want to share my love for you and my joy that You are My Savior. I ask, Lord, that you open my heart to be more virtuous and strive for those things that lift me up. I love you, and I thank you for the gift of my life. I ask for Your love and protection, now and forever. Amen.

 

Testimony of Denny Charbonnet

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Denny Charbonnet | Denny grew up as an only child in a devout Catholic home. She attended Catholic schools. Her mother had breast cancer while Denny was in high school but recovered. Shortly after, she lost her father to an unexpected heart attack | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofDennyCharbonnet #DennyCharbonnetTestimony of Denny Charbonnet

Denny grew up as an only child in a devout Catholic home. She attended Catholic schools. Her mother had breast cancer while Denny was in high school but recovered. Shortly after, she lost her father to an unexpected heart attack.  Denny’s plans to attend Theatre Arts in NY were dashed. She married her high school sweetheart, but it was a troubled marriage and eventually ended in divorce.

While on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1987, Denny experienced an undeniable, life-changing interaction with the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit. Involvement with the Charismatic Renewal further solidified her conversion experience and launched her into a lifelong relationship with our Lord and his mother, Mary.

Denny has always been quick to credit God’s guiding and sustaining hand in her life. She has taught Theater Arts to hundreds of students for the past 31 years at St. Paul’s Catholic High School in Covington and has used the stage as a forum to bring Christ’s Gospel message to both her students and audiences.

Denny’s role as a mother is her most precious gift. Her children followed in her evangelistic footsteps, attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, and volunteering their time in the Catholic Church in various ways. Her oldest son, Beau, is pastor at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Metarie, and her son, Jean, and daughter, Elise Angelette, who passed away from cancer, and her 10 grandchildren live close by on the Northshore.

Denny offers Romans 8:28 as the Scripture that has been written onto her heart in a profound way these past four years as she walked alongside her daughter Elise in her battle against breast cancer. “For we know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and are called according to His purpose.”

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA, Chapter in September, 2018.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

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Going Deeper

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Going Deeper | When we take a moment to look at nature, we find that life is always a process. Whether it is the acorn becoming a mighty oak, an egg hatching into a duckling, or a baby growing into an adult, life is a process | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #Suffering #GoingDeeperGoing Deeper

When we take a moment to look at nature, we find that life is always a process. Whether it is the acorn becoming a mighty oak, an egg hatching into a duckling, or a baby growing into an adult, life is a process. Since physical life is a process, why would emotional and spiritual life be any different? We would never look at a toddler and think they are wrong or bad for not being an adult. The very idea is outrageous and would deny the beauty of the child and the process God has made.

The process of growth surrounds us. It is beautiful and wonderful to know that we always have more room for development in our relationship with God, as formation is a lifelong process! He is infinite!  We grow when we allow him to increase our capacity for him and receive more of who he is. The more we receive of him, the more we are transformed into who we really are, the more our capacity for him increases, and so on.

Like any relationship, we first approach another by opening up and revealing the good things about ourselves. Next, we might show some of our less glorious moments, and begin to be vulnerable. Finally, we reveal our pain, our shame, and our weakness, that which we hold deep within us, hidden from view until we know it’s safe. Once we have a firm trust in another person’s acceptance of us, a bond is developed. We find this same pattern as we grow closer to the Lord.

As we begin to improve our relationship with our creator, we begin to see things as if through God’s eyes, which allows us to see Him more clearly and to be drawn more deeply into union with Him. This doesn’t happen once and is complete. Instead, we tend to follow a winding staircase as our deepening union with God reveals to us more dross, which we are then able to release. Liberation from our own garbage helps us know God even more closely and become more one with him. Good mental and physical health work together with our growing spiritual health. They are not at odds with each other, but together bring us into a state of wholeness and holiness that is our birthright as sons and daughters of God.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it.”1 We need personal integration and rightly ordered relationships. By seeking God’s kingdom first, everything else falls into place. As we learn with the help of God to quiet the clamor and chaos of disorder, his grace brings wholeness to our lives. God’s perfecting work leads to fulfillment and order, personally and interpersonally.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In what ways can you see you have grown in your relationship with God over time?
  2. What areas of your own formation are you growing in the most at this time?
  3. How might it help to consider your relationship with God as a process?
  4. How might it help you to consider other people’s relationships with God as a process?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank you for coming to us to reveal the heart of the Father and to redeem us in your love. It was not enough for you to save all mankind, but you desire a personal relationship with us. We want to grow closer to you every day. Please give us the grace to do so and to be patient with ourselves in the process. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

What’s one thing you can do to take a step closer in the way you relate to the Lord? Take that step this week.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you what the biggest block is to your receiving and responding to more of his love at this time in your life. Ask him what he wants you to know about that and journal what comes to you.

Scriptures for Meditation

Jeremiah 29:13

Luke 2:52

James 4:8

1 Peter 2:2

Revelation 3:20

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Confirmation

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Confirmation | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into how Christ, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, sends us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheSacramentofConfirmationEpisode 9 – The Sacrament of Confirmation

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into how Christ, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, sends us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the three sacraments of initiation. This Sacrament completes the Sacrament of Baptism and unites the confirmed more perfectly to the church, which is Christ’s mystical body. James explains how, through the Sacrament of Communion, Jesus marks each confirmed Christian with the “seal” of the Holy Spirit, empowering Christians to be faithful witnesses of Christ. James relays the story of the beautiful St. Agnes of Rome, who became a virgin martyr because of her commitment to Christ.

Additionally, James relays the characteristics of this unique “seal” — our belonging to Christ, a permanent enrollment to receive Christ’s services, and gives Christians a promise of divine protection and the final trial at the end of time. The confirmed person also receives the power to boldly proclaim faith in Christ publicly with courage.

James discusses several instances of how the Sacrament of Confirmation was foretold in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus proclaimed, “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12).

James continues that with free will, the confirmed can either receive or block God’s grace and explains how when we are open to the Holy Spirit, this Sacrament roots us more deeply in divine affiliation, unites us more fully in a loving relationship with Christ, increases the gift of the holy spirit, renders our body with the church more perfectly, and provides a spirit of strength.

This is the 9th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time # 5 – Your Mission For Such a Time as This

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Your Mission For Such a Time as This

Do you have a mission for such a time as this? You indeed do, and this podcast will help you!  Join us today as Queen Esther trusts the power of God in prayer, gains needed courage and discovers her mission.

A Passover Turned to Weeping

In Esther Chapter 3, Mordecai refuses to bow down and pay homage to Haman.  Enraged Haman hatred for Jews and cast Purim (somewhat similar to our dice) to determine the date for the killing of all Jews throughout all of Persia. The king agreed, and the announcement for the annihilation of all the Jewish people was distributed throughout the kingdom on Passover—the very day Jewish families annually commemorate the time God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and saved their firstborn.

Now, their joy-filled Passover celebration was turned into a time of wailing. Could you imagine this happening to you, your family, or your church family on a celebration like Easter?

For Such a Time as This is a phrase that comes directly from Chapter 4 of the Book of Esther.

Today, we cover these points:

Sackcloth and Ashes (Esther 4: 1-4)

  • Mordecai heard of the edict, and he sobbed greatly, tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth and ashes. He wailed and wept bitterly on the city square at the palace gate.
  • For all Jews, the happy celebration of Passover with family, friends, traditions, and food quickly turned into wailing, fasting, and prayer. According to Scripture, the Jewish people always linked prayer and repentance with fasting.
  • Sackcloth, made from grain bags, was scratchy and could cut the skin. It served as an act of penance and pleading with the Lord. Ashes, worn on the head or sat in, were a sign of self-humiliation and deep sorrow, often over a national disaster. See Joel 2:12 and 17 to summarize this Biblical purpose for fasting, weeping, and penance.

Persian Palace Life (Esther 4: 5-12)

  • Esther lived in the plush palace environment, but she may have become secluded from the world around her. She was not aware of Haman’s edict.
  • She tried to send clothes to Mordecai. Only when he refused the clothes did she ask what was wrong? Mordecai gave her the evidence of the edict, but she indicated she could not go to the king as he had not called for her in over 30 days. She could be put to death if he did not reach out.

National Fasting (Esther 4: 13-17)

  • Esther called a day of national fasting.
  • Throughout Old Testament history, fasting meant fervently calling out to God with a heart of repentance, sorrow, submission, and supplication to seek his help, protection, provision, and forgiveness. For example, refer to Judges 20, Deuteronomy 9, Joel 1-2, 1 Samuel, and Jonah 3.
  • Every year, according to Leviticus 23, all of Israel fasted on the Day of Atonement, and a scapegoat would be driven into the desert to represent the people’s sins (a foreshadowing of what Christ would do on the cross for us). As they prayed, repented, and humbled themselves, their sins would be taken from God’s sight on the scapegoat.
  • See Esther 13 and 14 for examples of how to intercede/pray for a nation from Esther and Mordecai’s prayers (e.g., praising God’s goodness, repenting for your sins and the sins of your nation, pouring out your heart to God, asking for God’s intervention).

Planning a Fast

  • Fasting is about aligning ourselves with God—drawing close to Him, worshiping Him, hearing from Him, repenting (turning), and changing our ways.
  • Fasting requires planning for most of us, but most importantly, it involves replacing our time spent focused on food and “busyness” with prayer and seeking the Lord.
  • A fast, drinking only water or juice, can last for a meal, a full day, or more. Fasting can also involve refraining from certain foods (see Daniel 10: 2-3). or refraining from distractions like media or television, internet usage, shopping for a certain amount of time, etc.).
  • For the plan, you may want to take five steps: (1) write down your objective, (2) decide how you will fast, (3) schedule time in adoration & personal prayer, (4) read God’s Word & ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you (e.g., John 14 and 15), and (5) believe that God will answer with discernment, direction, and/or a miracle.
  • In Esther’s case, an extreme response would be required for her to safely go to the King, so she called for an extreme fast— three days of abstaining from food and water for the entire nation!

Personal Reflection

Today, our story teaches us:

  • At first, Esther was unaware that God had a mission for her—God planned to use her powerfully. With Mordecai’s help and God’s providence, she discerned her mission but was initially afraid and denied it.
  • Esther needed fellow pray-ers. She asked her entire Jewish nation to pray, fast, repent, and seek God’s intervention. Only after three days of prayer and fasting did she find the grace and strength to proceed in her mission- to be used by God to save the Jewish People.

Application

  1. What is God’s mission for you at your place and time? The Lord Jesus has a mission for you. Ask Him in prayer. Often, it involves bringing God’s love and testimony to those around you. But sometimes, it may be more than you ever thought possible.
  2. Finally, you can pray with St.  John Henry Newman’s Prayer I Have a Place. Start with praying these few sentences:  “I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name. God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, which He has not committed to another. I have my mission…” The rest is in a free bookmark on my website WrapyourselfinJOY.com.

Links

Who Is God?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who is God? | What is your relationship with God? Who is God? Do we really know and understand the magnitude of our prayers or what the Almighty has done for us? In this podcast, we will discuss the mystery of God and explore, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  (Matthew 16:13) | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #Who Is God?What is your relationship with God? Who is God? Do we really know and understand the magnitude of our prayers or what the Almighty has done for us? In this podcast, we will discuss the mystery of God and explore, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  (Matthew 16:13)

Who is God? ~ Episode 295

Thanks to our Sponsor, Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is a Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls growing in their faith and learning about the women who have impacted the world. Check it out here!

Many of us have grown up with some type of faith, but even if you haven’t, there may have been a prevailing sense that something out there existed. We are told in the first paragraph of the Catechism – 198: Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,1 the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works.

That is very good, but who is God? Years ago, I heard a debate between a creationist and an evolutionist. The creationist didn’t stick to the science; instead, he pointed out that the evidence for creation was in the Bible. Can you guess why he lost the debate? That’s right. The other person did not believe that the Bible was accurate, let alone that God created the world.

So, if the foundation, belief in God, isn’t there, the entire argument falls apart. Not just creation vs. evolution but faith vs. no faith.

God is undefinable. He is a mystery. He can only be understood (by me, anyway) under the premise of faith. My pastor always says to pray like this, “God, I love You as You Know Yourself to Be. Basically, that means we can not grasp the majesty of the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and so we pray in a way that is pleasing to Him and understood only by Him.

Too deep?

Seriously, I’ve been thinking about this question, and in looking at the hundreds of topics on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network and on this podcast, A Few Minutes with God, I’ve realized that we’ve discussed so many things, but not. Who. He. Is.

If I asked you to stop the audio and jot down short sentences describing God (and you can do this if you’d like), your list may look like this one:

Who Is God?

  1. God is the Creator. (Genesis 1:1 In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth.)
  2. God is love. 1 John 4:8 (Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.)
  3. God is our salvation. Pslam 68:19 (Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation)
  4. God is our Savior. Acts 13:33 Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised;
  5. God is the way of life and the truth. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the wayand the truthand the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

But Who is GOD?

We can define God; we can talk about the virtues evident in God. We can discuss the Trinity, but the word Trinity is not found in Scripture. However, we are taught about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One God and three distinct persons.

We read in Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

We baptize as Christians in the Name of the Trinity.

But what did Jesus say about himself, his divinity? Matthew 16:13-19 not only tells us about who Jesus is but also the power He bestows upon men. In this case his disciples. (Read on air.)

Reading that passage, we learn many things.

  1. Jesus is defining himself by asking the question, “But who do you say that I am?” The reference “I Am Who Am” Exodus 2:14 – God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
  2. Simon Peter, the first disciple to define Jesus correctly, says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
  3. The Holy Spirit (Father in Heaven) revealed this to Peter.
  4. On this rock, I shall build my church – the foundation of Christianity (as an aside, Catholics believe that Peter was the first pope, which is why the papacy is called the “Petrine” office. The pope is the Bishop of Rome. Jesus further confirms this when he says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bin on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
  5. Do not tell anyone that I am the Messiah — why!

In conclusion, what we say we know about God is a tiny microscopic speck of who He actually is, and it takes faith that can only be given by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to change our hardened hearts. Please make an effort to seek God, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk. Just be still before the Lord and say the words, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will,” and watch the miracles happen in your life. Praise Be Jesus Christ now and forever, Amen.

5 Ways to Prepare for Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s Good to Prepare for Prayer

Sometimes, prayer becomes difficult because we can’t decide what to do, when to pray, or where is the best place—so many questions when all we want to do is sit down and focus on the Lord for a bit. As I listened and talked with people, I realized that often, what is lacking is a concrete plan to make prayer happen. I pulled a few of my favorite ways to be ready when it is time to pray.

5 Ideas for You

  1. Decide ahead of time what type of prayer you will pray. There are many options, and it can be overwhelming. Choosing in advance means one less thing to think about. You might even make up a weekly schedule of different types of prayer each day.
  2. Put together your prayer tools. If you are using a Bible, journal, pen, or pencil, put it in a bag or basket. If you are reading a book or praying a specific novena – whatever it is, leave it out or near your prayer space. Which brings me to
  3. be consistent in your place and time of prayer. At times, we may go elsewhere to pray in Adoration or outdoors, but where is your usual place? What is your usual time? Pro tip: pick a time when you are not sleepy. If it helps, schedule it in your calendar.
  4. Keep it simple. Focus on God and quiet, not the externals of candles, special lighting, incense, music. The more that has to be set up, the less time for actual prayer!
  5. If you are distracted in prayer, before settling down to pray, make a list of what is going on in your mind. Then, when prayer time is over, it will still be there. And solutions may come to you during prayer for some problems.

Bonus

I believe quiet and silence are non-negotiables in prayer. No matter how, when, or where, I encourage you to spend time looking at God and allowing him to look at you. Silence gives God room to make himself known. He comes to us in stillness, not noise.

I’d love to come speak to your group or parish. You can look here for previous talks but know that I love to craft new talks specific to your needs.

 

Testimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers | Deacon Kevin Helfers was ordained in the Diocese of San Diego in June of 2018 as a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. He has been married to his wife Yvette for 31 years and together they have six children and four grandchildren | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofDeaconKevinHelfers #DeaconKevinHelfersTestimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers

Deacon Kevin Helfers was ordained in the Diocese of San Diego in June of 2018 as a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. He has been married to his wife Yvette for 31 years and together they have six children and four grandchildren. Kevin and Yvette have been active in Cursillo for 30 years and have been active in youth ministry, RCIA, bible studies and other charismatic prayer groups. Kevin was raised Baptist and attended various other Christian churches. Yvette was a cradle Catholic and as they became parents, they knew it was necessary to find common ground to raise their children.

Reluctantly, Kevin entered RCIA not convinced this would end well. But God had other plans and revealed them in part through a vision and ignited an excitement for serving God’s People that ultimately led him to be open to the diaconate. As a Deacon Kevin has been growing in his spiritual gifts and learning to be guided by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Just this last year after completing the Encounter School of Ministry program he has begun to teach and encourage others what Jesus meant in John 14:12 when he told his disciples “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”.  Deacon Kevin shares his excitement and inspirational story of the Holy Spirit working in his life.

This testimony was given to the North County San Diego Magnificat Chapter in February, 2024.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Powerlessness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Powerlessness | The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #PowerlessnessPowerlessness

The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about. This in no way diminishes our fundamental value; it simply part of the human condition. We come into the world almost totally powerless.  As we grow and develop and gain power, we have to learn to navigate our abilities without running over others, literally and metaphorically. Even though our ability to cause change increases as time goes by, we still have limitations.  These limitations can at times mean inconvenience for us and at other times they may lead to great suffering.  Regardless of our age, we always have a limit to our power.

What we do with our powerlessness greatly affects our spiritual life, peace, and joy. If we meet times when we don’t have power with pride, our self-reliant response will fail. Our failure leads to shame and shame leads to a desire to hide. When we hide, the isolation can lead to disconnection and deeper suffering. We don’t have to look very far to see this pattern in people of all ages when faced with challenging situations. There is a better response.  We can choose to accept the fact of our helplessness and meet the difficulty with gratitude that all will be used by God as gift for us, no matter how painful it may seem at the time. When we choose this way of interpreting a difficult situation, our faith and hope in God transforms the very same situation. Even though from the outside it may seem that nothing has changed, our ability to stay aware of the truth that God is with us and for us can help us to remain at peace.

St. Francis of Assisi had a particular devotion to Jesus’ incarnation, his suffering and death on the cross, and the Eucharist. He was awestruck by the humility of the omnipotent God who chose to make himself powerless to stoop down to us and raise us up to him. In doing so, Jesus gave us these three profound examples of how to embrace our own powerlessness. When we have times when we are painfully out of control, we can take consolation in the fact that the Lord understands our experience and we can trust that he is present to us through them. They can be occasions for intimacy with him if we choose to endure them with him. There is something about accepting and even embracing our powerlessness that prevents us from complicating already difficult situations.  Walking through the trouble with Jesus enables us to reject the temptation to put inordinate pressure on ourselves (or others) to fix things that are beyond our control. Once we’ve done all the Lord has asked of us, we lay the experience at his feet with hope, not for a particular outcome, but hope in him and his goodness that will use the trial for our good.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What emotions arise in you when you think of Jesus choosing to embrace powerlessness as a baby, at his death, and in the Eucharist?
  2. What emotions arise in you when you think of being powerless?
  3. What do you think about the idea of embracing your powerlessness as imitation of the Lord?
  4. Do you think it would affect your experiences of suffering to consider them as occasions for intimacy with the Lord, as a sharing in his powerlessness and an imitation of him?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the immensity of your omnipotence and the exceeding humility with which you laid your majesty aside for our sake, to embrace the incarnation, your suffering, and to remain with us in the Holy Eucharist. Thank you for showing us how deeply you desire intimacy with us and for leaving us examples of how to embrace the powerlessness of our humanity. Help us to remember that you are with us always in the Blessed Sacrament. We pray all this in your holy name. Amen.

Action Step

Find a time our Lord set aside his omnipotence for our sake and place a reminder of it, either as a scripture quote, an image, a song, etc., somewhere you will see it throughout the week.

Journaling/Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you what you most fear about your own powerlessness and invite his perfect love into that place of fear.

Scriptures for Meditation

Mark 10:45

Luke 1:26-38

John 13:3-72

Corinthians 8:9

Philippians 2:5-11

Hebrews 4:15

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Baptism

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Baptism | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Baptism in four parts. First, James explains what it meant when Jesus declared himself "the living water | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheSacramentofBaptismEpisode 8 – The Sacrament of Baptism

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Baptism in four parts. First, James explains what it meant when Jesus declared himself “the living water.” “Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38). Second, the necessity of Baptism, how Baptism was used in the early church, and what the Sacrament of Baptism does for the individual.

Jesus’ body is the true temple of God and was foreshadowed by the prophet Ezekiel. “I saw water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east. The water flowed out toward the right side of the temple to the south of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1) James relays more biblical examples that identify Jesus as the life-giving water to eternal life.

In his crucifixion on the cross, Jesus gives his bride the Holy Spirit—the “living” water that flows from his pierced side. This living water is the marital bath that cleanses Jesus’ bride from sin so she can be wedded to Christ through the sacrament of Baptism. James also describes additional “water” symbolism that explains how we are reborn by Baptism. Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5). James also highlights the necessity of Baptism and how this sacrament forgives sins, demonstrates obedience to what Jesus commands for entrance into Christ’s church, and other examples of what God’s mercy and Baptism do for souls.

This is the 8th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #4 – Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

Esther for This Time #4

Esther 3: 8 Painting: “Haman Convinces Ahasuerus” by Masters, 1420 AD

Do you ever have unwavering resolve? In relationships, we use compromise for cooperation and keeping the peace. Nonetheless, we must stand firm, determined, and unshakable in some situations.  Join us today as Esther reveals the importance of unwavering resolve in difficult times.

Persia, 474 BC – Five Years After Esther’s Banquet

Welcome to Esther & Turnaround Joy Episode #4: Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict, where we encounter Esther and Mordecai five years after King Ahasuerus sponsored the beauty contest, crowned Esther as queen and celebrated with Esther’s banquet.

Next, we watch as the providential hand of God becomes more evident. We will see why God put Esther in a position of influence—even before the Jewish people faced the possibility of annihilation.  It’s 474 BC, and we join Mordecai as he stands near the palace gate and overhears a plot to kill the king. We cover these points:

Mordecai at the Palace Gate & Assassination Plot Foiled (Esther 2: 19-23)

  • Mordecai is “sitting at the gate” checking on Esther and likely working in a government position.
  • Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her nationality.
  • While at the gate, Mordecai overheard a plot to kill King Ahasuerus and reported it to Esther, who told the king. He hanged the would-be assassins Bigthan and Teresh.
  • Acts of loyalty like Mordecai’s were officially recorded so the king could reward the hero.

Mordecai is Resolute (Esther 3: 1-6)

  • Mordecai stood firm with unwavering resolve, which means firm, determined, not shakable, and displaying unwavering loyalty. (Vocabulary.com dictionary).
  • Therefore, he refused to bow down to Haman because God had commanded the Jewish people not to bow in adoration to anyone (e.g., Exodus 20: 3-6).
  • Haman was the king’s top advisor and “an enemy of the Jews” (Esther 3:10).
  • Haman was an Agagite, a descendent of King Agag of the Amalekites, who was of a fierce nomadic tribe that made their living by raiding settlements, killing the men, women, and children, and then taking their possessions. They had a “blood feud” with Israel, which demanded total extermination of the Israelites (see Exodus 17 and Deuteronomy 25).

The Pur, the Plan, and the Drink (Esther 3: 7-15 & Esther 13)

The Pur

  • Mordecai stood firm in his faith and obedience to God’s law and would not bow to Haman.
  • Infuriated Haman in April 374 BC cast the purpurim is the plural form.
  • The Purim were similar to our dice and were thrown to help make decisions and choose dates.
  • Esther 3:7 indicates the pur fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Aadar, March 7, 374 BC, for destroying all Jews.

The Plan

  • Haman offered the king 10,000 talents or about 375 tons of silver, which of course he hoped to acquire by killing Jewish families and plundering their homes.
  • King Ahasuerus gave Haman his signet ring, his signature used to stamp the wax on an official letter from the king.
  • Haman summoned the scribes to draft the edict on the day before Passover- April 17th, 474 BC (Esther 3:12).
  • The announcement was sent out to the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire on Passover—the day Jewish families annually commemorated God delivering them from slavery (see Exodus 12). The date was chosen to dishearten and terrorize the Jewish people.
  • The Passover celebration with family and friends quickly became a day of confusion and weeping. How ironic! The day of the announcement would fall on a commemoration of God’s deliverance. Could God again deliver them from destruction? It would be only God who could!

The Drink

  • To Haman and the king, it was just another day to celebrate their power, so they had a drink.
  • Haman’s heart was hardened with generational hatred, so he rejoiced in the genocide of the Jews.
  • Hebrews 4: 13 reminds us: “before him [God] no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.”
  • Little did Haman know that the God of heaven was in control.

Personal Reflection: Unwavering Resolve

  • We witnessed a good example of unwavering resolve with Mordecai. He showed us there are times for unwavering resolve when we must follow God no matter the cost.  We cannot deny God’s commandments ever.
  • Mordecai refused to bow in worship to anyone other than the God of heaven and earth. He followed Exodus 20, “You shall have no other gods beside Me…You shall not bow down to them…”
  • Psalm 119: 2-4 reminds us: “Happy [blessed and joyful] are all who search for God and always do his will, rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths. You [O God] have given us your laws to obey.
  • Unwavering resolve and devotion to God may be met with persecution. However, I can stay strong in the Lord and keep his commandments. 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 says: Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
  • Ask God, ”Where do you want me to have unwavering resolve?” Henceforth, ask God for help to be resolute. He will give it to you.

Links

Don’t Suffer Alone

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Don't Suffer  Alone | When you feel let down or are suffering, don't suffer alone! There is no need. The victory is won, and you can rejoice in the good news. Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares her thoughts and ponders about God's Word and how He will never disappoint you | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #Don't Suffer  AloneWhen you feel let down or are suffering, don’t suffer alone! There is no need. The victory is won, and you can rejoice in the good news. Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares her thoughts and ponders about God’s Word and how He will never disappoint you.

Don’t Suffer  Alone ~ Episode 294

Thanks to our Sponsor, Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

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Have things been rough lately? Have you struggled with just making it through the day? Everyone I’ve talked to, myself included, feels like we’re under attack. Things are going wrong in an unprecedented manner, and to make matters worse, it doesn’t seem to get better.

When you’re going through hardships, it is hard not to place blame on the individuals who caused you harm or the situation, yet it is only through his permissive will that we are allowed to suffer, for lack of a better word. God knows it’s happening. Nothing surprises him; truthfully, that is a comfort for me. The situation may surprise me, but it’s not a surprise for him. I know that God has this, even if I don’t. Hardships happen. (Story shared on air).

Other friends spoke about their hardships, illnesses, family loss, financial issues, and lawsuits. In the grand scheme of things, when we discuss life everlasting in heaven) these events, while complex and tragic, are fleeting. We don’t have to do it alone, we don’t have to suffer alone, and we are not alone. The Lord gives renewed grace to deal with these issues.

Don’t Suffer  Alone

Today, we will rejoice and be glad, not only because the Lord does hear our prayers but because He has mercy upon us. Just look at the book of Daniel, particularly Daniel Chapter 3. We read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is a powerful lesson for us all — for when you feel alone, for when you are defeated, for when you think there is no hope. The three are put in the furnace to burn because they angered the King. At first, they praised the Lord, repented, and lamented to the Lord that they no longer had a leader (sound familiar) and had been handed over to their enemies. But they asked for mercy. Again, please read it all yourself, but I wanted to focus on this portion for you, Daniel 3 42-45 (read on air.)

Then it goes on in verses Daniel 3:46-50, and I am paraphrasing here — The angel of the Lord comes down having heard the prayer of Azariah and his companions, and we read he drove the fiery flame out of the furnace and made the inside of the furnace as though a moist wind were whistling through it. The fire did not touch them and caused them no pain or distress.

God sent an angel to drive away the flames. He can also do that for us because when we suffer, we feel as if we are consumed; we can’t think of anything else, and all we can do is dwell on the issue. But we should know by now, especially if you are a long-time listener, that God is in charge. We further read in verses 51-56 (read on air)

Here are some past episodes that may help:

Overcome Daily Struggles

Fill Up Your Spiritual Tank

Your Heart, Your Faith

Those verses should make you rejoice in the Lord. Even amid hardships

The Lord knows our hearts, and he knows when we are hurting, when we are distressed, when we feel broken. He knows our hearts when we are happy and rejoicing and good things are happening in our lives. So what should we do? We rejoice and be glad we thank God for everything, even the hardships, and we pray for those who have hurt us. That friend is the hardest thing to do! Why is forgiveness so difficult when God forgives us? I think for one reason: it’s because of the injustice we see in the situation. We look at it with human eyes and say oh my gosh, why is this happening to these people we know, or why is this happening to us?

But if we spend our time realizing that everything that happens is allowed in our life by the Almighty’s permissive will, then we know it’s for a greater purpose, and what is that purpose? It is so that we can grow closer to him. One of our dear elderly pastors always makes the overarching remark about the New and Old Testament, which can be summed up in the thought that God wants a relationship with his people. Isn’t that true?

So, let’s not suffer alone. Let’s turn toward the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray; let’s read the Word of God. The Almighty is waiting for us. He wants a relationship with us! He is there, and he is the constant in our lives. When we suffer, we pray and ask our friends to intercede for us and our heavenly friends, such as the saints who have gone before us.

Instead of getting bogged down with semantics, worrying about the outcome, and doing all the things the enemy wants us to do, which will take her eyes off of God, we need to focus on him. Recently, something good happened in our lives, and my husband and I were stunned that we were not joyful and jumping up and down. Instead, we were worn out by the ordeal that happened beforehand, and that’s all we could focus on, so we began to pray for those involved and praised God for the good results!

Friend, this is what our enemy does. He keeps us focused on the things that do not matter and keeps our eyes off of the Lord and toward ourselves, angry toward others who have wronged us, and towards situations we have no control over. I hope it helps you to realize that we all suffer. No one’s life is perfect, and altogether, this side of heaven, so friends, I leave you with this thought: You do not need to suffer alone; rejoice in the Lord always!

Testimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski | Fr. Kyle Gorenski was raised in a Catholic home in Rhode Island. His mother was devout, and she was involved in many ministries in the Church, his father was a Sunday Catholic | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofFr.KyleGorenski #Fr.KyleGorenskiTestimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski

Fr. Kyle Gorenski was raised in a Catholic home in Rhode Island. His mother was devout, and she was involved in many ministries in the Church, his father was a Sunday Catholic. He was the 2nd sibling of four brothers. High School was a struggle for Kyle as he had several learning disabilities. He contemplated becoming a priest but found out that it required much more schooling, so he put the thought aside. Kyle chose not to go to college and enlisted in the Army. He had three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. His self-image improved and he learned not to give up. After two tours, he came home and got a job as a State Highway Patrolman. He enjoyed the job but felt something was missing.  Kyle entered the Seminary in Rhode Island, but his grade point was low, and was asked to leave. He pursued his quest to become a priest and applied to many dioceses in New England. The Diocese of Albany, NY, accepted Kyle and he was able to complete his studies despite his low academic prowess, thanks to a parish priest who believed in his calling to the priesthood.

This testimony was given to the Vancouver Magnificat Chapter in June, 2022.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Knowing Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Knowing Myself | What is the truth of who we are as God sees us? In creating us he made us in his own image and likeness and called us very good | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #Suffering #KnowingMyselfKnowing Myself

What is the truth of who we are as God sees us? In creating us he made us in his own image and likeness and called us very good. (Genesis 1:31) He called us his own and bound himself in covenant with us. He has a plan for our good. He sent his only Son to reveal the depths of his love and mercy to us and to adopt us as his children. He has every hair of our head counted. (Luke 12:7) He gives himself to us intimately through the Eucharist and runs to embrace us as soon as we turn to make our way back to him after we fall.

In being a missionary of God’s love to ourselves, it’s necessary to know something about ourselves. It’s important to take time to get to know what we need in order to be at our best. When we grow in knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses and learn what motivates us, we are able to understand ourselves as the gift God made. This self-knowledge gives us an insight into the needs of others, as well. Coming to understand ourselves better doesn’t mean that we will necessarily look to the fulfillment of our selfish desires; rather we are more equipped to stay along the narrow way to the Lord. It really is like taking a step back and considering our soul as a little child. With greater understanding of who we are as individuals, we can have better patience, wisdom, and counsel for ourselves. This is self-talk at its best.

Without true self-knowledge, we inevitably end up desperate to be known by others. While we are made for community with our brothers and sisters, it is meant to be from a place of health, reciprocity and freedom, not a place of anxious need. Sadly, if we are frantic to be known by others, we devalue ourselves, disregard the healthy boundaries we need, risk crossing others’ limits, and end up relating to them as a means to an end, without being present to the gift they are. Happily, when we start from a place of being filled by the Lord’s knowledge of us and taking on his mindset about ourselves, we start from a place of fullness rather than starvation. This is how we can foster peace in our lives and in our relationships and drastically reduce unnecessary complications, pain and even trauma.

Using how God sees us as the gold standard of truth makes us fearless in self-examination. It’s amazing how powerful this can be – like an inoculation against comparison, judgment and rejection, even of ourselves. A quote I mentioned before is “God sees sin as pain in us”1 from Blessed Julian of Norwich. When we look at ourselves with God’s eyes, we don’t hide in shame and can get back on the right track much more quickly when we stumble. Even our sin, as God sees it, is an occasion for compassion. We don’t have to worry that forgiving ourselves for sin or weakness will lead to complacency if we remain open to the Lord.  The compassion of God is always oriented to making us more like him.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

God’s Grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God’s Grace | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains how grace heals us, how Martin Luther was in error in explaining grace, how Jesus established His church as the instrument in which his grace comes to us, the importance of good works and how the sacraments lead to have grace and live the Christian life | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #God’sGraceEpisode 7 – God’s Grace

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains how grace heals us, how Martin Luther was in error in explaining grace, how Jesus established His church as the instrument in which his grace comes to us, the importance of good works and how the sacraments lead to have grace and live the Christian life.

Sin and death came to the world through Adam and led to condemnation for all men; one man’s act of righteousness — Jesus’ life, passion, death, and resurrection led to the acquittal of sin, grace, and life.

Christians have always believed in the redemptive power of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. In the 16th century, however, Martin Luther promoted a flawed understanding of what God’s grace does for us and how we must respond. Luther confused the tendency to sin (temptation) with actual sin. Luther taught human nature was essentially corrupt even after receiving the grace of redemption; thus, good works that please God were impossible. This distortion makes Adam’s sin more potent than the merits of Jesus Christ. Luther also taught salvation by faith alone and that the Bible is the only authority—not the church. James discusses how this belief is not historical or biblical and how the flaws and problems that developed with the perpetuation of this false belief caused a severe fracture between Christians. James also details the role and importance of good works, how we receive grace through good works, and how they constitute the Christian life.

This is the 7th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Esther for This Time #3 – The Spa & A New Queen

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #3: The Spa & the New Queen

Esther Bedecked by Aert de Gerder, 1684; The Painting shows Esther about to be crowned & bedecked in an ermine-edged coat

The Spa & A New Queen

Are you seeking attractiveness and favor with others?  On the way to becoming queen, Esther offers us an example of attractiveness, God’s way. Join us today at the Spa, circa 479 BC, and hear how the attractiveness of heart wins friends and favor and witness the providence of God unfold.

Persia, 479 BC

  • Four years have passed between Chapters One and Two of Esther (see Esther 1:3 and 2: 16). According to Greek historian Herodotus, during that time, King Ahasuerus suffered a great military defeat by the Greeks and returned home to consume himself with overindulgence and sensuality.
  • He also missed the lasting relationship with his beautiful wife, Queen Vashti, whom he dethroned at his last party. The king’s advisors suggest a beauty contest with exotic spa treatments to help find a new queen. So today we are off to the spa to witness a new queen’s crowning.

Mordecai Brings Up Esther (Esther 2: 1-8)

  • Mordecai was introduced as a Jew in the family line of Kish (King Saul’s family) of the tribe of Benjamin. (Calling him a Jew repeatedly suggests that he was somehow still a foreigner and not completely accepted into secular Persia.) A person’s family line shows his status in Jewish lineage. When the Scriptures mention Nebuchadnezzar carried away Kish, the verses refer to the Babylonian captivity, with a second forced removal involving King Jeconiah of Judah in 597 BC. Likely, Mordecai’s grandfather and family members were among those taken captive in 597 BC.
  • Mordecai was born in Susa of Persia after the defeat of the Babylonian Empire. He and his family had chosen not to return to Jerusalem when Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return home beginning in 539 BC.
  • Esther was introduced as Mordecai’s younger cousin (Esther 2:7) whom he raised because she had been orphaned. Likely, her parents died when she was young. So it would have been Mordecai who taught her the Hebrew Scriptures and the Jewish faith

Esther & The Spa Treatments (Esther 2: 9-12)

  • The beauty contest was not the usual Persian way to select a queen. Normally, kings took their wives from the families of the Persian nobles, which is probably how King Ahasuerus crowned Vashti. However, a self-indulgent and powerful king could choose any woman he wanted for a wife.
  • In Susa, Esther was given seven servants plus food, probably laden with oils to fatten her up and help her display the Persian ideal of beauty. The women were given oil baths of delicious-smelling flowers and herbs to soften the skin and add a fragrant aroma.
  • At Susa, Divine Providence – God unfolding his purposes – becomes more visible to the spiritual eye, as we notice Esther found favor with Hegai.

Esther is Crowned Queen (Esther 2: 12 -18)

  • After twelve months of beauty treatments, it was Esther’s turn to come before the king.
  • Esther pleased the king, even though we do not know the details or how this happened in one evening. Obviously, the king saw her inner and outer beauty—the first woman that pleased him since Vashti. It was Divine Providence behind the scenes that surely turned the king’s heart toward Esther, even if she was only cooperating with circumstances that were beyond her control.

Esther’s Banquet

  • When King Ahasuerus crowned Esther as his Queen, he. gave another party, calling it Esther’s Banquet. This celebration included both men and women, generous gifts, and even tax relief.

Personal Reflection

Today, our story teaches us:

  • The Lord can turn the heart of a leader. We can trust and pray that He does in our times as well.
  • God is at work even though we don’t see him right away. We can pray to see God active in the scenes of our lives, for he is surely there at work.
  • Ultimately it is God who turns the heart of the king. He gave Esther favor, and her inner beauty seemed to capture the king’s favor and love.

Personal Application & God’s Attractiveness Plan

  • Read Proverbs 31: 30 and 1 Peter 3: 3 to summarize God’s beauty plan.
  • Proverbs 31: 30. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears [worships, honors, and respects] the Lord is to be praised. (GNT)    Obviously, with age, beauty fades, but to worship, honor and respect God creates a lasting attractiveness that appeals to others too.  God blesses all of our attempts to honor Him. So how is your attractiveness quotient when you consider spending time daily to worship and honor God is an important part of any beauty plan?
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4. Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes [outward adorning] to make you look beautiful. 4Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet [with a calm temper and contented mind]. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special [precious in His sight]. (GNT)  It’s not that God objects to putting our best foot forward, so to speak, or trying to look our best at any age, but His Word suggests an attractiveness plan.
  • Does your attractiveness plan include a gentle, quiet spirit with a calm temper and contented mind or demeanor? Ask the Holy  Spirit to help you. Ephesians 5:  22 says, the fruit of the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and more in our lives. 

Links

Love of Family

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

LovLove of Family | The love of family comes from an outpouring of our love for God. In this episode, we will discuss why our families should be a priority after our love of the Lord. Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #LoveofFamilye of Family ~ Episode 294

The love of family comes from an outpouring of our love for God. In this episode, we will discuss why our families should be a priority after our love of the Lord.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls as they grow in their own faith and learn about the women who have impacted the world. Check it out here!

I read an article that claimed most people don’t really love their family. They feel a sense of obligation and duty. What? While we may feel a sense of obligation and duty, that typically happens because we love our family, not as a result of some mistaken obligation. You and I know that our families are under attack, but we have the source of all goodness and truth, that is, the Bible.

Family and marriage have value, and by virtue we are following in the mandate God gave in Genesis 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” We are also told that marriage and family is an honor – Hebrews 13:4 (Read on air)

That is not what we hear from those who are in the world, and sadly, even among Christians who believe that living together is a good idea, especially as it saves money and gives each person a chance to see if the relationship will work. Statistics show that among those who live together before marriage, the rate of divorce is higher.

STATS here.

Most Christians get married, but some are led to a life of celibacy, for example, priests, nuns, and other religious as well as lay people. Yet, even singles would agree that family is important. So, why do the world and the secularists continuously try to minimize godly love or the love of family because they want the family destroyed? Why is this?

If you destroy the family, you destroy society. We were created in the image and likeness of God, and the enemy hates us! One-third of the angels refused to serve God it was infact due to pride.  A link here to Biblical verses.

Jesus says in Luke 10: 16-20 (Read on air).

Let’s rejoice that are names are written in heaven but realize that disruption in families begins by dividing the spouse and the children from their parents. It begins slowly with including people in commercials that are not godly examples.

There was a headline that caught my attention, and it read: Extinction activist wants humans to voluntarily die out: ‘Feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em’  – I have a link in the show notes for you to see for yourself –Here you will read about

What is happening in our world? What is happening to all of those who follow the Lord but remain silent? Friends, we must pray – Proverbs 18:21 states. (Read on air).

Isaiah 54:10 (Read on air).

I recently interviewed Kirk Cameron on my podcast for homeschoolers, Vintage Homeschool Moms – link here. He made a compelling argument for the state of American Family Values, and he said it happened on our watch. Wow – he is right. It happened when so many of us were afraid to speak up, but if God is in it – if God leads us, we will have the grace to follow through. Here is an actor who could spend his time however he wants and instead is fighting for families.

We know God is merciful.

Psalm 86:15. (read on air).

He is merciful, but he is also a just God.

No doubt, the breakdown of the family is Satan’s prime target because he knows that marriage is the earthly representation of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-32). And if he can destroy the marriage (and family), he can destroy the church. For this reason, we must always be ready to fight against his attacks by arming ourselves with the weapons of war as found in Ephesians 6:4-20: The first verse begins with  Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ” but it ends with the Armor of God, because friends, we need that Armor!

We must be the beautitudes. This could take up an entire podcast, but I recently read Matthew 5:1-10 and felt like my eyes were opened. It moved me, and it sums up what our attitudes should be as Christians.

Matthew 5:1-10 (read on air)

… do we want to enter the kingdom of God? Here is the path, the direction, the outline, if you will. To be poor in spirit, to allow to comfort us when we mourn, to be meek, thirst for righteousness, be merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and if we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we will receive the kingdom of heaven.

To serve our families in a selfless matter, whether they appreciate it or not, to serve our friends and those in need, and that friends is what a Christian looks like – Amen!

Suffering

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Suffering | There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingSuffering

There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us. Even if we’ve had mountaintop experiences of God’s love, sufferings such as these can cause us to feel isolated, disconnected, or abandoned, even from our all-loving creator.

Let’s take a look at the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the archangel Gabriel appeared to her. He greeted her as “favored one” (Luke 1:28). He went on to promise that the son she would conceive would rule with greatness over an everlasting kingdom. Yet, she is the Mother of Sorrows. She went on to be told, by Simeon, that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. She had to flee to Egypt to protect her newborn baby, watched him be contradicted continually throughout his life, deserted by his closest friends, mocked and mercilessly tortured, and subjected to a shameful death without seeing the fulfillment of those promises. It was not because God didn’t see who she was or value her. Remember, she is highly favored. We see the greatest example in Jesus himself, whom the Father called his beloved Son, and yet the cup of abuse and death was not taken away from him.

These cases show us that God has a much bigger big picture than ours. He is outside of time and sees all eternity. When suffering comes, it is not a result of not being loved and valued by the Lord. He will work all things to our good, even if it does not happen in this life. We’re used to watching sports or playing games – whoever has the most points at the end is victorious. In this life, we don’t see the scoreboard. Only after death will we know fully how God, who will not be outdone in generosity, will repay all we have to endure.

When Jesus was betrayed, Peter was so terrified of physical suffering he three times denied knowing him. Even so, only days after the Lord’s resurrection the Acts of the Apostles presents us with a bold and courageous Peter proclaiming the truth regardless of threat and persecution. He even rejoiced when he was physically abused for the sake of preaching about Jesus. Peter finally learned through the Lord’s resurrection what Jesus had told him all along; His kingdom is not of this world. When we remember the same fact, we are able to keep our view on eternity rather than seeking our reward in this life.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Recall a time of suffering or trial in your life. Did you question God’s love, value, or protection of you? Why or why not?
  2. What, if anything, have you found helpful to remind yourself of God’s love and to connect to him during painful times?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we know you suffered and left us an example of faith in our Father’s love. Please grant us the grace to follow you. Remind us of the Father’s constant love for us, even in the most difficult times. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

Consider what it is you are most caused to doubt about God during times of suffering. Write a letter to yourself reminding yourself of God’s love that you can read when difficulties come your way.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider your answer from number two in the discussion questions. Ask the Lord what he wants you to know about that and note what he brings to mind.

Scriptures for Meditation

Sirach 2

Wisdom 3:1-9

Luke 2:34-35

Romans 11:33-36

Hebrews 4:14-16

Even amid your sufferings, may the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Testimony of Mildred Moy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Mildred Moy | Mildred Moy was born in Hong Kong. She was the youngest of four girls. She was a very shy child. She was born and raised Catholic and received a Catholic education through High School | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofMildredMoy #MildredMoyTestimony of Mildred Moy

Mildred Moy was born in Hong Kong. She was the youngest of four girls. She was a very shy child. She was born and raised Catholic and received a Catholic education through High School. Her mother fostered in her a close relationship with the Virgin Mary. Her mother told her that the Blessed Mother never fails to console her when she is sad, and Jesus loves us, and we can trust him in everything. Mildred moved to Vancouver, Canada when she was 17 and attended college. She graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. Mildred wanted to prove to the world that a female could succeed in business and technology. She did very well in the business world and received a special achievement award from a Fortune 500 company with stock options. She had everything the secular could dream of; the sports car, brand named clothes, the affluent social life, a great career and lucrative salary. but her spiritual life languished only attending Mass out of duty. Mildred was faced with challenging decisions to live her life for Christ or in the secular world. She lived in deep darkness.

Mildred’s life changed when she went on a street ministry retreat. She began to desire a deeper walk with Christ, and she also attended a Life in the Spirit Seminar. She wanted to do full-time ministry work. She went to China to check out volunteer opportunities in an orphanage and she returned to Vancouver to quit her job and began her work in street ministry eventually opening Mary’s Street Ministry catering to the emotional, homeless, drug addicted and prayerful needs of women. She has seen many miracles of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in the lives of the street people. Mildred discovered that only when we are living and giving to others are we truly alive.

This testimony was given to the Vancouver Magnificat Chapter in October, 2022.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Jesus Comes to Save Us

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Jesus Comes to Save Us | The name 'Jesus' means 'God saves,' and 'Christ' means the 'Messiah' or 'Anointed Savior' who fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodEstablishesHisKingdom #JesusComestoSaveUsEpisode 6 – Jesus Comes to Save Us

The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves,’ and ‘Christ’ means the ‘Messiah’ or ‘Anointed Savior’ who fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament. In this episode, James explains how, in each Gospel, Jesus is introduced as the Divine Word became flesh to bring about a new creation so humans could become children of God, highlighting moments in Jesus’ life that demonstrate his mission and message from the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.

Jesus’ mission begins with a call to repentance — turning away from sin and embracing self-sacrificing love. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, speaking with Divine authority, teaches how to think and value correctly and do the will of God. James takes us step-by-step through highlights in Jesus’ teachings.

Before Jesus begins his passion, he tells the apostles, “I give you a new commandment,” says the Lord. “Love one another as I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35). With his death, Jesus also gives the gift of his mother (John 19:26-27), and his identity is revealed to the world, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). Jesus’ love, passion, and resurrection conquer sin, allowing us the opportunity and a pathway to eternal life.

This is the 6th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Key To Repentance

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Key To Repentance | As a Christian the cornerstone of our faith is the key to repentance. It is an important ingredient to turning toward God and finding that our faith deepens. The key to faith is the topic of today's episode | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #KeyToRepentanceKey To Repentance  – 293

As a Christian the cornerstone of our faith is the key to repentance. It is an important ingredient to turning toward God and finding that our faith deepens. The key to faith is the topic of today’s episode.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls as they grow in their own faith and learn about the women who have impacted the world.

Key To Repentance:

The key to repentance begins with a realization that you have sinned. Just like an person who suffers from drugs, alcoholism or some other form of substance abuse in order to get better you first have to recognize you have a problem! This problem is then addressed and the first order of business is to repent.

We can break it down to repentance to anything contrary to Biblical teachings that crop into our thoughts, our words and manifested in our deeds. This happens over the course of time, making one bad decision after another, and another. These decisions often lead us down the road to difficulties for us and for our families. This is why it is important to surround ourselves with people who are uplifting and likeminded in our Christian walk.

But the good news is that repentance is a first step in following God. In accepting the Lord, at some point in you life you made a decision. The decision was not only to recognize sin and renounce it – but to promise to “sin no more.” Repentance is taught throughout scripture. The first teaching our Lord gave is in Matthew 4:17 –  From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

He was announcing that He was ready to begin his public ministry, and now he asks others to join him.

The Lord asked us to repent and then went on to find “fishers of men,” the apostles. He saw Simon and Peter and his brother Andrew. He asked them in Matthew 4:19 “Come follow me…” Then he found two more Simon Called Peter and his brother Andrew. He called them as well.

He invited them to join His mission of conversion of the world to Christianity. Of course it wasn’t called Christianity at that time, but we have come to recognize Christ as the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in that order. When we repent the Lord opens our lives to an entirely new way of thinking.

This invitation is for us as well, are we ready to drop our nets and follow him? The nets in our life can be the very things that keep us bound to worldly pursuits and away from a deeper relationship with the Almighty. I’m not talking about caring for our family, or working, I’m talking about those things that keep us bound. The pull of the internet or social media. One friend shared that she checked Facebook every few minutes because she had the fear of missing out of not knowing what was going on with her friends. She finally realized that it was pulling her away from what she needed to do each day, and made sure to set a time limit for visiting the website, and then eventually rarely if ever visited.

This may seem extreme but each one of us has to analyze what the pull is on our life. Are we drawn to something of value or to a waste of time? I know that when I visit social media for work I get drawn in on what my friends and family are doing and I can waste so much time. So, I rarely use social media. Again, each of us has to decide for themselves. Is social media a sin — of course not, but if it is uses for sinful actions we need to be aware and take heed. Repent and move on!

God is in the today – He is here to give us the graces we need each and every day. Repentance is like taking a shower and washing off all the grime, it is like putting on a white robe of righteousness and vowing to take a step in the right direction. One. Step. At. A. Time. Is it easy, no. It can only be done by God’s grace, so pray and ask Him for it!

Praying For God’s Grace – Key to Repentance:

  1. Ask the Lord to call to mind areas of sin in need of repentance.
  2. If you can, go to confession (Catholics). This is a sacrament of grace.
  3. Ask the Lord for forgiveness.
  4. Ask the person you have harmed (if any) for forgiveness.
  5. Ask God for the grace to sin no more!

Repentance allows us to heal, not only from our human and bodily illness but from spiritual illness. In Matthew 23, after asking us to repent, and asking the apostles (and us by extension) he began to teach and heal. Matthew 4:23-25 (Read on air.)

What great news! Amen and Alleluia. What comes with repentance? Healing.

God gives us the grace, especially with prayer and fasting to live a life that contains self-control and is godly. We begin good habits, avoid the near occasion of sin, whether it is social media, television or other sources. Whatever it is, ask God for the grace to have the control to avoid it! There is power in God’s grace. The first step is to want it and to receive it.

When we repentant there is a painful element of purification. This can be as I just shared by asking those we hurt to forgive us, but there is more. We must understand the reason we sinned in the first place. Getting to the root cause helps us to avoid getting into this sin, again. Maybe you think you can’t do it — you can’t change. But, if we find that difficult to repent we must remember the sacrifice of Christ.

Christ died and suffered for a sin that He did not commit. Yet, He did it for us. John the Baptist was put into prison through no fault of his own.

In Mark 1:15-15 (Read on air.)

Jesus said that the time had come and His Kingdom has come. And once again we read “Repent and believe the good news!”

Repentance is a gift that God gives us to change our ways. It is a mission for us, and we can be transformed. Through the life, death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ he calls us with His love and mercy. I pray you search out the way the truth and the life John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Amen and Amen, let’s seek goodness and truth each day, beginning now.

Esther for This Time # 2 – The Queen, the Refusal & the Bad Advice

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
The Queen, the Refusal & the Bad Advice

Vashti Dethroned

Queen Esther ~Refusal of Bad Advice

What can you learn from Queen Esther? Do you need more wisdom and less bad advice in your life?  Today, we will encounter the outrageous King Ahasuerus, who regrets the outcome of his bad decision based on bad advice! Join us as we discuss the true wisdom from God that does not disappoint.

The Party (Esther 1: 1-8)

Welcome to Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY Episode #2 based on my book Esther For Such a Time As This: Prayer, Reversals and JOY.  The Book of Esther in the Old Testament was written so that even 2500 years later, we can still relate it to our culture. We can learn so much from Queen Esther.

Today, we continue in Esther Chapter 1 with our introduction to the pompous and extravagant King Ahasuerus and the opulent six-month party he threw in the capital city of Susa (modern-day Iran) in the third year of his reign. Ancient historians suggest over 15,000 men came to the party, which lasted 187 days. Amid the grand party, the king received and followed bad advice. In the podcast today, we will cover these points.

Vashti’s Refusal (Esther 1: 9-12)

  • Queen Vashti was throwing a grand party herself for the wives of governors, nobles, and officials who came to the king’s celebration when the king called her to appear before an unruly, intoxicated horde of men to show off her beauty.
  • She refused to come for reasons we might guess.
  • When she refused, she did not expect the king’s boiling rage!

The Bad Advice to the King (Esther 1: 13-21)

  • King Ahasuerus’ wise men, led by their spokesman Memucan, advised the king to dethrone and remove Vashti forever. Guided by his wounded pride, with no respect for his wife, the king followed this bad advice and dethroned Vashti.
  • The Scriptures teach women to honor and respect their husbands and men to love their wives (Ephesians 5: 25, 3). But the king was a pagan consumed with pride and self-indulgence who did not know God’s commands or God’s ways.
  • Greek Historian Herodotus records that King Ahasuerus won a great battle after this feast but later suffered a terrible loss to the Greeks during the four years that occurred between Esther Chapters One and Two.
  • The King returned home from battle and likely consumed himself with even more indulgence and sensuality, only to find he missed a lasting relationship with his lovely wife.

Personal Reflection

Where do you need wisdom today? Our historical story teaches us

  1. Be cautious when taking counsel from worldly advisors who stroke your ego or are motivated by a desire for power.
  2. Be courageous and maintain your integrity in difficult situations.
  3. Anger and violence do not demonstrate strength in a husband or a leader.

Application

  1. Read Proverbs 3: 5-7, James 1: 5, and Proverbs 3:17.
  2. These verses instruct us to ask God for wisdom, who promises to give it generously and ungrudgingly.
  3. So, ask God to lead YOU and clear the road for YOU to follow.

Links

 

Openness & Self-emptying

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent – it’s not only about you

“Where is your brother?” is the second question Pope Francis asks in his Lenten message for 2024.

The first is, “where are you?” which I talked about in the previous episode, Where are You?

In the book of Exodus, God reaches out to the Israelites. They are so downtrodden that they are unable to even call out to God for help. But God cares for them. And cares for each of us.

3 Pillars of Lent

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to be three separate acts. One leads to the other, pulling together the three leads us to learn how to detach from created things of this world that separate us from God.

The three together, as Pope Francis says, create an openness and self-emptying that rids us of attachments.

Then, we are able to better care for those around us.

Our attitude has an effect on others.

 

Connect with me here!

 

Come Follow Me

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Come Follow Me | Fr. Tom Sparacino reads from the Gospel of Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened. And I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #Fr.TomSparacino #ThoughtsandPonderingsCome Follow Me

Fr. Tom Sparacino reads from the Gospel of Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened. And I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

The Lord calls us. He has called us from the moment of our baptism. He’s called us into these new waters to come to come and be with us. Come and be filled.   Come and be strengthened. Come and have hope and how powerful a thought, all we need to simply do is to go, he says. Come and we go. The question is, do we go? Do we realize that our lives are not an option? That it’s a demand really of the Lord when he says, “Come, follow me.” It is a matter of life and death, heaven and hell, salvation, and damnation. When we feel that we are burdened, we need to come after him and he will make us disciples. He will strengthen us to live in his presence. We must try to form a habit, of always walking in his presence. We must live, eat, eat, literally Jesus. Love him with all your being. Then, and only then, will you be able to come and follow him.

Fr. Tom has been a priest of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1998. He has served as high school chaplain, and co-vocation director and is currently the Rector of St. Paul Seminary and the Director of Pre-ordination Formation. Fr. Tom has been the spiritual advisor to the Magnificat Pittsburgh Chapter since 2010. The Holy Spirit has poured His joy into Fr. Tom, and he gladly pours it out on all of us. His infectious laughter and lightheartedness and like a bright light in a dark world. We know you will be inspired as you listen to this joyful servant of the Lord.

Fr. Tom Sparacino’s teaching was given to the Pittsburgh Magnificat Chapter in August 2021.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us www.magnificat-ministry.org

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Embracing God’s Boundaries

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Embracing God’s Boundaries | In our connection to God and fully seeking to respond to his love for us, we now come to the concept of embracing the boundaries he sets for us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #EmbracingGod’sBoundariesEmbracing God’s Boundaries

In our connection to God and fully seeking to respond to his love for us, we now come to the concept of embracing the boundaries he sets for us. We’ve discussed morality as God’s protection over us since he is our all-loving creator. The Ten Commandments are the starting point of these boundaries. They lay out for us, in the most foundational way, how to live under the umbrella of God’s protection. He’s not lying in wait for us to break his law so he can zap us. Rather, as the good shepherd, he provides safe pasture, knowing what we need and what truly nourishes us.

And so, we move from the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes. It would have been too much for these teachings to have come in any other way than by the mouth of Jesus, who made them incarnate for us. He has called us to follow in his footsteps, not just to obey the rules but also to be one with him. He whom we are called to espouse forever in Heaven is our crucified love. In the Gospel of John, Jesus told us:

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own, but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 18 – 20).

Obedience to the law will be empty and confounding, but taking up our crosses and following him will lead to the deepest intimacy. Rules for the sake of rules lead to turning inward. Receiving the boundaries, he sets for us as coming from the heart of our all-loving Father rather than from a place of control leads to boundless life and gratitude.

As a therapist, I have seen others longing or even adamantly determined to obtain an end they cannot see, which would be disastrous. It’s been humbling because I know the Lord has seen me do the same. At times, he’s said no to my petitions, and I’ve taken it as rejection, proof of a lack of love, when in truth, it is quite the opposite. Not only that, but he’d rather risk being misunderstood by me than give me anything other than what is the absolute best for me.

Our Lady of Lourdes told Saint Bernadette Soubirous, “I do not promise you happiness in this world but in the next.”1 We know the Lord has our eternal good in mind for us. Whatever limits he sets or requires of us in this life, or whatever he might ask us to endure is to our ultimate and perpetual good. In her book, Crucified Love, Ilia Delio writes of God’s goodness, “This nature of the good underscores a Trinity of eternal love whose immensity of divine goodness is such that no greater good can be thought.”2 Put simply, if we think something is desirable or a good idea, it is only a shadow of the goodness of God.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Have you ever taken care of children or a pet and experienced the child or animal seemingly regarding your protection as meanness? Describe the experience from your perspective as the caregiver and consider God acting in this way toward you.
  2. What might be preventing you from seeing that God’s limits for you are in fact his protection?
  3. Do you tend to see God’s law as what he wants from you or what he has for you?
  4. If you look at God’s law as what he wants for you, why do you think that is?

Prayer

“Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out your holy and true command.”3 – St. Francis of Assisi

Action Step

Consider your life. In what area do you tend to feel God is asking the most from you? Ask him to show you what he has for you in that same area.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Spend some time considering the paradox of a personal cross as a mysterious gift and note what comes to you here.

Scriptures for Meditation

Proverbs 3:5-6

Psalm 16:11

Psalm 119:105

Luke 9:23

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Hebrews 10:36

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

God Establishes His Kingdom

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Establishes His Kingdom | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses God’s founding of the Kingdom from the days of King Saul and King David to the destruction of the Temple in 586 to the Babylonian captivity | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodEstablishesHisKingdomEpisode 5 – God Establishes His Kingdom

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses God’s founding of the Kingdom from the days of King Saul and King David to the destruction of the Temple in 586 to the Babylonian captivity. James also gives examples of God’s boundless love, mercy, and forgiveness. James explains the many natural gifts bestowed on King Saul to make him a great ruler. However, Saul’s poor moral choices undermine his rule and faithfulness to God. King David, from the tribe of Judah, is chosen as Saul’s successor.

Capturing Jerusalem after a hard-won battle, King David made the city the capital of his Kingdom. He desires to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant, temporarily housed in a portable tabernacle. However, through the prophet Nathan (1 Kings 8:17-18), God tells David, “In wishing to build a house for my name, you did well. But it is not you who will build the house, but your son, who comes from your loins; he shall build the house for my name.”

David, through adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent placement of her husband, Uriah, to be slain in battle, eventually repents and is forgiven. However, he pays a hefty price— for the rest of his life, conflict, and war plagued his family and Kingdom.

David’s son Solomon, who also begins his reign faithful to the Lord, Under Solomon’s reign Israel reached her greatest point as a nation—honor, wealth, power, and respect, but at the end of Solomon’s reign, Israel became temporally and spiritually bankrupt.

God had a special love for David: “I will be to him as a father, and he will be to me as a son.” (2 Samuel 7:13–16). James delves into how this relationship lays the foundation for the future coming of Christ.

This is the 5th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.