New Life & Power

We all want a new life power of faith and grace that is given by God. But how do we go about doing this? In this episode, Father David goes deeper into the heart of the matter that there is power in prayer and the graces of God are just waiting for us!New Life & Power of Grade ~ Episode 41

We all want a new life power of faith and grace that is given by God. But how do we go about doing this? In this episode, Father David goes deeper into the heart of the matter that there is power in prayer and the graces of God are just waiting for us!

Check out Father David’s Book!

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.



In this podcast, I am continuing the themes and harmony of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. However, we cannot pass this day by without mentioning that this is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Most Catholics probably do not know much about this day. I would like to lead in by presenting a brief explanation of Our Lady of Lourdes, a universal shrine for healing near Lourdes, France.

New Life Power of Grace

In 1858 the Virgin Mary Immaculate appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes, France within the cave of Massabielle. Through this humble girl, Mary called sinners to conversion and enkindled within the Church a great zeal for prayer and charity, especially service to the sick and poor. The following is what Bernadette briefly tells us: “I had gone down one day with other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river Gave, but the trees seemed quite still, and the noise was evidently not coming from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale, yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads. The Lady asked Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners…after a while in her time she told me that she was the Immaculate Conception”.

Conversion and life-giving repentance truly bring about new life and power. The Church as an ecclesial body needs to do repentance for numerous things, no repentance no restoration: sexual abuse both sacerdotal and laity, excessive institutionalism, clericalism, materialism, buying into the neopagan social religion of secular humanism and all its moral abuses, allowing the abuse of modern technology (all members of the Church), mistrusting the leadership of women, very poor pastoring of the clergy for the laity. You may have a few other issues in mind. In listing these concerns I am not trying to bring condemnation, but an honest and open look at our sin, and then doing what is necessary to travel the path of change in order to experience the blessing of Restoration.

There are at least three important things to embrace, in addition to life-giving repentance, in order to move along the path of change toward restoration: all three are interrelated.

  1. We as the Church (all segments of the Church) need to bring the spiritual power of the New Covenant in the new creation out of the dry dock and place the practical theology and spirituality of the New Covenant at the heart and center of all spiritual and pastoral growth and formation in the life and relationships of all the segments in the life of the Church, including the teaching about the Sacraments. The notion of the Covenant exists in the scriptures and office books for sure, but in catechesis and in individual formation it seems to be ignored. The New Evangelization is almost impossible without making this change. The teaching of the New Covenant is what places the Scriptures as the foundation for living the Gospel.
  2. The Second Vatican Council II is the tremendous work and the overflow of grace of the Holy Spirit for our time. I am not speaking about the many goofy interpretations of the Council that emerged after its close in 1965. You may hear a good number of people criticizing the Council, and some have gone so far as to try and remake the Church like it was before the preparation and promulgation of the Documents of the Council, and some who believe this are among the Episcopal leaders in the Church, and many priests have ignored preaching about the content of the Council in their homilies. Here is the litmus test: when you ask individuals who are critical of Vatican II, have you read the documents? You will hardly find any person who has or even read a few of them. How can your criticism be legitimate, if you do not know what the Vatican Council teaches?
  3. The impartation of the grace of the Holy Spirit in the practical lives of members of the Church. In the years following the close of Vatican Council II, there were spiritual renewal movements and programs, which promoted a new life in the Holy Spirit, and anointed teaching that made a notable positive difference in the spiritual lives of many individuals within the Church and other Christian groups as well. This powerful actual grace led to many endeavors of corporal and spiritual works of mercy as well as groups of prayer, praise, and community relationships. Many years have passed since the close of the Council, individuals have gotten older and some have moved on to a life of glory in heaven. There are many young people searching for something more than those graces of the recent past because naturally, they are distant from the youth. Those who are still involved with the spiritual journey of life have had many experiences. Modern life is a very demanding and complicated existence. Many of those who started well have tired out and lost momentum, enthusiasm, and zeal. If God so chooses, it may be time for a second refreshing outpouring of the Holy Spirit; a new conferral, bestowal, impartation of the actualizing grace of the Holy Spirit centered in the Churches Grace of Renewal and Reform. In addition to various groups and communities celebrating life-giving repentance satisfying the Lord God’s expectations, it would be necessary to design a program or some type of structured experience that would hold and promote the necessary elements of transformation that could move us forward in a grandiose yet humble and grateful manner. What do you think? May we hear from you! What kind of a program would you design?


May We Pray!

Holy Father in each age of the Church’s existence you have been most faithful in pouring out your graces and power. We know and believe that you love us, and you desire us to experience a mystical transformation in this time by the direction infusion of your love in the power of the Holy Spirit. For this divine impartation, we are hungry and thirsty. While living in this earthly reality we desire to rise above the challenges that beset us, but through this empowerment may we continue to know, love, and serve you with our whole heart. We pray this prayer through the intercession of Mary our mother and in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gift of New Covenant

The tremendous grace of the gift of the new covenant comes to us each and every day and Father David once again gives a clear and concise podcast on the topic, to renew our faith!The Gift of the New Covenant Episode 40

The tremendous grace of the gift of the new covenant comes to us each and every day and Father David once again gives a clear and concise podcast on the topic, to renew our faith!

Check out Father’s book!

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

The scripture in the Old Testament that is most quoted which declares God’s promises for his people is Jerimiah 30:31-34. Since it is the foundation that declares restoration for God’s people it is worth quoting: The days are coming says the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts, says the Lord; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. “No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the Lord. All from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” This wonderful promise is all about restoration! However, that is not where we are as a people at this present time of crisis, which is suffering in a pandemic, which shows no sign of conclusion. It seems there is more purification which is ahead. What will it take for the human community, and specifically the Christian community, to satisfy our Lord?

In the recent past we Catholic Christians have over-emphasized the Church as an institution, and narrowly presented a singular picture of the Sacraments as the only path to living in grace. There certainly is the truth about all this, but we just assume that devotions will somehow to pick up the rest. All awhile not really explaining to our people how this all works in the realm of the practical realities of daily life. Rarely, in our catechetical and homiletic presentations is the word Covenant mentioned. Viewing all this from a spiritual and biblical point of view it seems we need to go back to the experience of the Covenant and seek the elements of the meaning of the New Covenant as the heart of our Christian way of life. A solid balanced spirituality is not just built on praying devotions and prayers that other people have written. These things are good but clearly incomplete. Through and in the New Covenant we need to go to the heart of the matter in the personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Covenant of the New Creation, and the root of it all is a profound personal experience and relationship with Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Before this recent pandemic broke into the life of the human community we experienced some concern that so many of our churches were closing or being amalgamated with other worshiping bodies. Our Catholic members who go to church did not seem to realize just how drastic this process is because it happened so gradually. Our Catholic communities in the United States, for the most part, are comprised of older people. I saw a statistic recently, and I hope it is not true, that seventy percent of our youth who have been raised in Catholic families leave the practice of their religion by the age of twenty-seven. I am also very aware that there are many young people who are experiencing a wonderful renewal of their Christian life. Still this pandemic has shut the churches down. Some people have not been to Mass for almost a year, and some have not seemed to have missed it. The lengthy process of this pandemic crisis has many people bewildered! Pope Francis mentioned recently in his new book “Let Us Dream”, the path of a better future, that the human community is going to come out of this extended crisis for the better or worse. We certainly hope for the best!

We find in Hebrews seven that Jesus became the guarantee of a better covenant. He is the mediator of the New Covenant. Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry, just as he is the mediator of a better covenant. Jesus tells his disciples that he did not come to set aside the Old Covenant, but he came to fulfill it, and establish a new covenant of power and life. God’s goodness and graciousness is an expression of the Covenant. God is our Father because of the covenant relationship. The messenger of the Covenant whom you desire is like a refiner’s fire and he will purify his sons and daughters. As we are called by a transforming, grace we are called to offer a response of faith and love. Christ instituted the New Covenant in his blood and water which poured forth from his side. He has joined each member of his Body in an everlasting covenant. Therefore, the Church as the New Covenant People of God, and each member is alive and in the union in a covenant relationship with the glorified Christ.

This mysterious union is entitled the Paschal Mystery, a New and Everlasting Covenant, and the action of the Holy Spirit is at work continually in the People of the New Covenant. This mystical covenant between God and his people prepared the way for the new and everlasting Covenant in which the Son of God by becoming Incarnate and giving his life has united to himself in a certain way all humankind saved by him, thus preparing for “the wedding feast of the Lamb”. The entire Christian life becomes the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Christian marriage becomes a beautiful and endearing and efficacious sign, the sacrament of the Covenant of Christ and the Church. The spouses celebrate a true sacrament of the New Covenant.

May We Pray!

Dear Lord, the struggles and trials of Christian marriage at times become hard and challenging. We know you will not abandon us when these trials occur. For we have received the covenant grace of Christian marriage. The vision given to us by the grace of the Sacrament, an everlasting assurance that you will lead and guide us in our vocation within the New Covenant Church community. With this assurance, we pray for a special charism of renewal and refreshment of the espousal grace. When we hunger for a deeper love with you. May this special charism be given to us at times when we desire to pass from a good Christian marriage to a more mystical experience of the Divine union of love. We pray this prayer in the spousal relationship of Mary and Joseph, as we thirst for a deeper union with our God who is Eternal Love. Amen.




Bestow A New Anointing

Bestow a New Anointing - The next two podcast shows are probably the most important ones that will appear in my podcast listings or shows.Bestow A New Anointing Episode 39

The next two podcast shows are probably the most important ones that will appear in my podcast listings or shows (  The overall topic I will be discussing in this show is the Church’s Grace of Renewal. I would like to start by reviewing a bit of history of this topic. Immediately after the close of Vatican Council II in 1965 a wonderful spiritual grace began happening in the Catholic Church. This grace manifested itself in various renewal programs which provided individuals the opportunity to receive a powerful transforming grace of spiritual renewal. The one approach that I am most familiar with is the happenings in the Charismatic Renewal. In the 1960’s some of the young leaders in the movement wondered what to call this movement. After consulting with several Catholic theologians, they decided to call it the Charismatic Renewal. The reason for this title resided in the fact that what was manifested experientially was some of the charisms listed in the scripture. The anointing that individuals were powerfully experiencing they entitled the “Baptism of the Spirit”. This experience initiated a tremendous spiritual change in one’s Christian life. This identification of the anointing was probably unfortunate for several reasons. First it easily led to the “haves and the have nots”. This reality led to many negative experiences. Secondly, the word “baptism” led to some confusion between this actual grace of anointing with the reception of water baptism, which is a very different thing. The baptism in the Spirit is simply an actual gift of grace give by God for a current conversion of life. Water baptism is the reality of the Divine indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the gift of eternal salvation. It is easy to see why this tension and confusion arose among Christians.

What seems to be the present situation? About 65 years have passed since the initial emergence of the Renewal appeared right after the close of the Council in 1965. Many years have passed and what was fresh, new, and exciting has waned. At the beginning there was a flurry development of prayer groups all over the world, especially in the United States. Today most of them have discontinued or usually consist in a few older people in the later years of life. Some individuals have left go of the initial empowerment and no longer consider themselves a part of the movement. Many have gone home to the Lord. In short, many things have changed in society in relationship to moral principles and behavior, and in the Church, which is experiencing a tremendous amount of downsizing. Plus, the fact that the neo-pagan social religion of “secularism humanism” has brought a huge amount of “spiritual darkness”, moral confusion, and unfaithfulness among Catholics who were formerly committed to their religion and its practice. For example, a statistic I read awhile back maintains that 70 percent of those raised Catholic leave the Church or the practice of the Faith by the time they are 27.

Where do we go from here? Quite frankly I believe we need to view the past anointing of the Spirit experienced through prayer and various spiritual renewal programs as the first installment of a much greater outpouring of the Spirit. At this point instead of looking wistfully at the beautiful empowerment of the Spirit in the past. For example, the Baptism of the Spirit identified in the Charismatic Renewal. We should humbly desire a fresh second empowerment that bestows a new fresh anointment of the Spirit for the current needs and spiritual desires of individuals, and the powerful grace to meet the mission of the Church to establish the Kingdom of God now! A new impartation of the Holy Spirit at this time could set on fire many souls for greater holiness. Equip individuals with the tools for fighting against the modern forms of neopaganism in our society. For example, current attempts to destroy Christian family life in our American culture. And stand for the truth revealed by the Word of God and the authentic moral principles of the Church (check out the last podcast)

Are there any individuals who may have a strong desire to develop an organized movement to unfold prayer, study, and action to humbly attempt to investigate and possibly initiate possibilities in a new spiritual direction? What would be some of the considerations necessary to discern any planning about these matters in the days ahead?

  1. First is this conferring of a second empowerment of the Spirit need to be something that God wants to bestow on His People?
  2. What sort of gathering could exist or come into existence that some may see it necessary to evaluate these possibilities?
  3. Is there anybody who really believes in this possibility, and is willing to put some effort forth to consider making this happen?
  4. We want to hear from you in order to initiate a good discussion about these matters.


May We Pray!

Dear Father, we approach you in your Son Jesus because we have many serious and painful concerns in our hearts. The spirit of negative secular humanism is rapidly growing in our society. Many of those accepting this new social religion are working against the revealed truths of a Christian way of life, and they are promoting a spiritual darkness and abandoning the wonderful teaching of Jesus and his way of salvation. Immorality and violence are increasing in our culture. Fear, mistrust, and hatred abound in many sectors of our society. Families are suffering greatly. We know that there are many good people who desire to live in a spirit of love, honesty, and service for others. We pray with a trusting and humble heart that in your goodness and mercy you would pour out you Holy Spirit anew among those whose hearts are open to receive a divine impartation which would equip many to serve to embrace the liberating freedom of holiness, enlightened truth, and the zeal to serve brothers and sisters in need of your goodness, mercy, peace. We pray this prayer in Jesus most holy name. Amen.

Blessing of Purification

Blessing of PurificationThe Blessing of Purification ~ Episode 38

Is purification a blessing? Can the blessing of purification happen in our own lives? In this podcast, Father David looks at how we are purified each and every day and the ways that the Lord works in our lives to bring about a change, a renewal and a deepening of our faith.

Check out Father David’s Book!

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

There are plenty other examples which we could site to illustrate the challenge and magnitude of this crisis. Sometimes the last one we look at is the spiritual opportunities, and the divine intervention and possibilities which may be available for us. About a month ago slowly awakening from a fretful sleep I became starkly aware of the Lord’s communication: “my Mercy is in your wounds and hurts.”  I followed in response: “I am a poor man, I have not a thing I give you my heart”. Awake now, my mind went back to the time in my life when, a year after Ordination, I experienced a tremendous conversion and empowerment by God in my life. A huge blessing for sure! And in joy a gift of the Church’s Grace of Renewal

However, that experience happened almost fifty years ago. Many years plus various assignments and commitments have passed. Laying there I started to seek out the meaning and truth of that journey in my life. What stuck out in my mind was this: What was once a powerful grace-filled intense transformation in my life gradually lost its impact, and slowly I experienced a fatigue and weariness in my life and ministry. For sure some of this was a result of naturally aging, and many changes and challenges in the Church and in our current sometimes traumatic society. But in the last 10 years a too frequent change in my assignments, both locations and ministries. and a lack of vibrancy in my commitment to serving God’s People sapped the spiritual energy in my life. These challenges and obstacles surly call me to a deeper repentance. And require a personal generosity in being open to healing and atonement for sin. Reparation and prayer for a Church deeply influenced by “the negative spirit of the world” and unfaithfulness in bringing forth the light and power of the Gospel to its members is also necessary.  It seems that many Catholic Christians need a second installment of the Church’s Grace of Renewal; a second empowerment and impartation even more powerful than the first empowerment that many in the Church received over the last fifty years or so. Has the salt lost it flavor in your spiritual life as well? The present trials and vicissitudes of the current Pandemic may be one of the Lord’s ways of purifying his people to receive a powerful new Divine gift of a second installment of Spirit-filled empowerment and impartation; a Pandemic Blessing for sure!

Three things need to come about and are necessary to give God an open door to bestow a follow up impartation of a new empowerment of grace. Are we hungry for a new refreshing ability of personal transformation, and enthusiasm to continue the mission of building the Kingdom of God on earth? The following are the three requirements:

  • Is this the time and place for the Divine Plan of God to be manifested in a unique manner to meet the desperate situation we experience at this time in the human community, but more importantly in the Church?
  • Are individuals open and hungry to receive such a precious impartation of gifts and grace?
  • What are the structures which may be able to contain and hold such a Divine impartation, and are we willing to sacrifice to provide those entities which would advance God’s powerful work anew on the planet earth and within the Church?

If our response is yes!  Yes God, please pour out you Spirit anew upon our lives and relationships! Then let us boldly storm the heavens humbly with prayer and pleas for a time of impartation and bestowal of God’s powerful gifts and graces.

May We Pray!

Blessed Lord Jesus we recognize that over the last fifty years many things have changed in our society. Moral compromise and loss of faith have reached such a high peak that it has been necessary for your Holy Spirit to bring about a second installment of the full empowerment and renewal of the Holy Spirit in the Church and our society. New forms of neo-pagan religions have infiltrated the very depts of society, also within the Church. We are very grateful for the early experiences of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit given to many after the close of Vatican Council II. However, much more is very necessary to move the Church and each individual more deeply into the necessary repentances and conversion to meet the devils work in souls and to counteract the infusion of the “spirit of the world” which is about the destruction of Christian family life. Come Holy Spirit and re-anoint and refresh your people to embrace the spiritual warfare necessary to defeat the tremendous evils emerging in our world. We pray this prayer in Jesus name! Amen.

Absolute Moral Principles

Absolute Moral Principles | What are the absolute moral principles that Christians especially Catholics must believe? In this episode, Father David explains the five clearly without any doubt or confusion. While some want to push falsehoods, there is a big difference in what we must believe. #christianpodcast #podcast #MoralPrinciples #Christianmorality #christianmorals #morals #Christianity #Christians #CatholicAbsolute Moral Principles Episode 37

What are the absolute moral principles that Christians especially Catholics must believe? In this episode, Father David explains the five clearly without any doubt or confusion. While some want to push falsehoods, there is a big difference in what we must believe.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Since Biden has been elected the Christians, especially Catholics may be confused. It has been no secret that his administration leaders would be chosen to reflect President Biden, who is a Catholic, socially progressive philosophies and attitudes towards moral behavior in American life. This matter is important for Catholic Christians because he has not always supported authentic Catholic moral teaching, especially in the recent past. For example, his clear and public endorsement of Planned Parenthood in the recent election campaign.

Therefore, at this time in our society, it may be helpful to examine what really is the moral teaching of the Catholic Church in relationship to certain non-negotiable absolute moral principles that pertain to the sacredness of human life. For the sake of our reflection and discussion, we can identify five non-negotiable absolute moral principles from the Catholic point of view. They are as follows: abortion, euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual marriage. Always and everywhere the belief and practice of any one of the five is objectively a serious grave moral evil.

Over the last one hundred and fifty years in Christian churches in American society, there has been a history of gradual moral comprise, especially in the moral practices of infanticide (abortion), contraception, and homosexual marriage. Little by little each of these moral issues were gradually allowed. As society became more secular humanistic, it evolved into a total acceptance of these moral issues as completely allowed in modern civilization which has come of age. For example, one of President Biden’s appointments to a cabinet post is an individual who publicly identifies himself as a partner in a homosexual marriage, whose husband supports his appointment.

In the second part of this Podcast, we will look briefly at the above five non-negotiable moral issues to present the Catholic Church’s teaching about these challenging principles. To begin with, we will not be considering moral culpability or specific judgment on any individual. We will simply restate what the Catholic Church holds about these moral issues. Abortion is a grave moral evil contrary to the natural law. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual from the moment of conception to natural death is held by the Church and has not changed. Any state approving abortion is denying the equality of every human individual. Just recently the law in the United States is permitting abortion clear up to full term. This is one of our Nations greatest evils, if not the greatest. Abortion is the practice of child sacrifice! The next absolute moral evil is Euthanasia, which consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, elderly, the sick, or dying persons. It is a grave moral evil. The present form of Euthanasia which is practiced in the United States at the present time is physician-assisted suicide. Some of the States laws in this regard are weak, and thus in some places, it is being practiced at the present time. Denying the truth that it is God who remains the sovereign Master of all life.

We will treat Embryonic stem cell research together with Cloning human beings because they are related by the fact that they are both a part of the stem cell development process. The Catholic Church supports ethically acceptable and responsible stem cell research. What the Church opposes is deliberately destroying innocent human life at any stage for research or any other purpose. It opposes embryonic stem cell research. Stem cells are cells that develop very early in the human embryo after fertilization. The Church opposes any research that exploits or destroys the human embryo. It opposes destroying some human lives now, on the pretext that this may possibly help or save other lives in the future. In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to remain true to moral principles and at the same time destroy potential human life in the process. To obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo is destroyed. This means destroying a potential human life.

In cloning human beings, to achieve the necessary stem cells the embryo has to be destroyed. The Church’s document on Christian views of cloning, entitled Declaration on the Production, the Scientific, and the Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells; all three approaches of proposed solutions are morally unacceptable.

The Church teaches that from the moment of conception begins the development of a human being; therefore, the embryo cannot be considered just another clump of cells. As an individual, it has a right to its own life. And any negative action no matter for what purpose is a moral violation of an individual’s right to life. Any intentional damage to the embryo is a grave immoral action. No end believed to be good can justify an intervention to the embryo that destroys its life. A good end does not make right an action which itself is wrong. A human being is to be respected and treasured as a person from the moment of conception to the finality of natural death.

In the issue of human cloning: it is morally erroneous and unacceptable for anyone to engage in this process for the creation of human beings. It is morally unacceptable to develop a cloned embryo and then destroy it in order to produce a new cell structure moving towards the development of a human being. Because this process violates the sacredness and dignity of a God-willed and man-made human being. It consists of grave moral evil. In conclusion, it is not hard to see the serious gravity of the ethical problem posed by embryonic development and the attempts to clone other human beings. Where this has been attempted in the animal world serious and devastating problems have arisen. Some of the animals have developed major disproportions of structure, size, and organs. This process has made some extremely susceptible to viral depletions and vulnerable diseases.

The last topic for consideration is a huge hot button issue in our contemporary society, namely “Same-Sex Marriage”. First, may we say that the Church has a deep commitment to human dignity and the equality of all human persons. Why then is Same-sex Marriage disallowed in Catholic teaching? In Gaudium et Spes, the Council maintains that childless marriages are still truly marriages. The United States Catholic Bishops reflecting on this teaching state that the rightness of male-female marriage is demonstrated in the possibility of reproduction, maintain that there are also “personal and spiritual dimensions” revealed by that espousal union that are equally essential. There are deeply personal, social, and affective aspects of masculinity and femininity that are seen in males and females. Each person is complete in himself or herself, yet there is a complimentary and the communion of persons that is essential for marriage. This genuine complementary is impossible for same-sex couples.

The Catholic Church teaches that same-sex (gay and lesbian) marriages are not possible. Even though the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal. The Catholic Church does not accept this court ruling. The reason why is that the Church believes and accepts that Marriage is, was, and always will be the union of one man and one woman, in a permanent, faithful, and fruitful union. God is the author of marriage, not man and not society or the government. Marriage is a sign of a covenant between God and his people, between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Men and women complement one another, emotionally and anatomically. Adoption and artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, or surrogate parenthood, are not viable means to render a relationship capable of married fecundity and espousal communion.

Homosexual unions contradict nature. They imitate but do not complement and that is key. The Church holds that same-sex inclination is objectively disordered. (the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2358). There may be no culpability if there is no activity but the orientation itself is irregular. That does not mean that persons with a homosexual orientation cannot be outstanding citizens or saintly persons.

Every human being regardless of orientation is called to live a life of personal holiness. While the inclination is disordered, only the activity itself is sinful. Homosexual acts as well as heterosexual acts outside and/or before marriage are all sinful and immoral. Only sex between a husband and wife is morally permitted. Deliberate and willful impure thoughts are also wrong as they lead the will into an area where the person because of their current state in life should not go and stay far away. The family is the foundation of the church and the state. Civilization is built upon it. Family is also rooted in the marriage of one man and one woman, committed to a permanent, faithful, and fruitful union. Same-sex unions are not marriage and can never replace it, they can only imitate it.

  1. In this regard, the ruling of the Supreme Court is nothing more than a travesty. A court cannot change Natural Law nor can it change God’s Law, nor can it change the nature of marriage, no matter how many judges rule in favor of the change.
  2. making homosexual marriage a moral reality by legal decision is the same as deciding that the Law of Gravity is unconstitutional. The words may be changed, and people may fool themselves, but the reality of marriage remains the same, just as the law of gravity exists.
  3. In this country we have been participants in moral compromise for a long time. We should not allow ourselves or others to confuse and deceive us into accepting same-sex unions as marriage.
  4. It is a revealed principle that the Good God bestows on us all the grace we need to know and practice his will and truth in our lives. We all should beech him for the wonderful light of grace and the consequent actions of truth to guide and confirm his love and will in our understanding, guidance, and choices we make to live and act in his truth.

(Much of this teaching has been taken from an article by Fr. John Trigilio, Ph.D., ThD. In Catholic Action.)

May We Pray

God our beloved Father we are so thankful for all the gracious goodness you have bestowed on those who love you. We thank you for the unique way in which you created human beings in your image and likeness. Above all, we thank you for becoming man in the person of your beloved Son Jesus Christ. In these confusing and unfaithful times in our society, we stand firm rejoicing in your revealed truth, giving light and wisdom to your Church holding to the Revelation of scripture and the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church. We so desire to be faithful to you and the teaching of your Son, Jesus. Fill us even more with the power and light of the Holy Spirit in whom we continue to seek and live in the Truth. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Secular Humanism

Secular Humanism | Secular Humanism introduces a spirit and way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the supernatural. | #podcast #christianpodcast #secularhumanism #CatholicPodcast #Christianthemes #secularThe Spirituality of Secular Humanism ~ Episode 36

Secular Humanism introduces a spirit and way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the supernatural. It renounces or ignores the presence, action, and the expectations of God in our human endeavors of life, pushing God out to the margins of life and removing his existence, awareness, and influence in our minds, and in the daily practical actions of our human choices and development.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

And so now we live in a spiritual fog, atmosphere, and social environment with many former Christian believers, who still identify with some degree of Christian affiliation, which affiliation makes no or little difference or impact in one’s practical daily human existence. Everything is focused or centered on the I or Me because I am totally in charge of my human life for the search of the truth. I effectively answer to no one about anything in the framework of my human life and relationships. Even though I need to be accountable for civic and social aspects of my life and relationships, God is not in the picture. In a sense, I have replaced God, revealed truths, and the supernatural with myself as the central meaning of life. One living this way of life embraces a lifestyle of a humanistic spirituality or religion.  The new developments of science, modern society, and my personal achievements are more than sufficient to accomplish the human fulfillment of my existence, maturity, and ultimate happiness, so goes the refrain. Many different degrees of this spirit of secular humanism mix with other values of an individual’s convictions. In the end one can easily feel that there is really no need to worry about spiritual emptiness or what will happen to me when I leave my time on earth!  Along with this thinking goes a spiritual darkness, which most are unaware, that opens the door of one’s human being to all sorts of negative and destructive possibilities. This range of experience may eventually include personal unraveling, demonic influences, and the loss of my integral dignity as a human person, and ultimately the loss of my soul.

May we review a biblical story that illustrates this reality. Omri the King of Israel contracted a political marriage for his son Ahab with Jezebel the priestess daughter of the King of Phoenicia. She moved to Israel bringing her pagan religion with her. Most writers hold that she became the power behind the throne. Ahab and Jezebel ruled in Israel for twenty-two years. During that time Ahab with Jezebel almost wiped out the Covenant that God made with Israel, replacing it with the worship of Baal, the god of fertility, and Astarte the feminine counterpart. This pagan religion consisted of all possible types of sexual immorality as worship.

The goal of this worship being child sacrifice. The people would burn their children in the fire before an image of Baal as a sacrifice to appease the gods and receive their blessings, which would be all aspects of materialism in addition to depraved sexual license. Ahab built a huge temple to the gods, plus many shrines throughout the land. In short Ahab and Jezebel fostered and replaced the worship of Yahweh with this pagan worship. The “religion” of Secularism Humanism in all its negative forms today is a modern replica of the ancient pagan worship of Baal in the time of Ahab and Jezebel. Case in point, over 60 million abortions in the United States since 1973, is not that child sacrifice? Our Country today has adopted the obvious patterns of the major sexual revolution which embraces confusing gender identity and numerous sexual values and practices which are clear violations of Christian morality. These attitudes and practices find their way into all walks of life. And to some sad degree also within the Church. These audacious practices are germinated in our adherence and attachment to the false god of materialism, which bears fruit in adopting a spirit of narcissism while adhering to a quasi-religious way of living a human life. This in a sense could be defined as a social secular humanistic religious approach to human living. Western Civilization and our own Nation is replete with these attitudes, values, and practices, which results in a very worrisome spiritual sickness within our society and also within the Church.





Historical Roots of Secular Humanism

Roots of Secular Humanism |  What are the roots of secular humanism? Where do they come from and why should they matter to Christians? Listen as Father David explains the roots and how this humanism has entered the lives of those even in the church. | #podcast #christianpodcast #christiantruth @secularhumanism #CatholicPodcastHistorical Roots of Secular Humanism ~ Episode 35

What are the roots of secular humanism? Where do they come from and why should they matter to Christians? Listen as Father David explains the roots and how this humanism has entered the lives of those even in the church.

The stress and process of the current pandemic place many unexpected challenges in our lives that are not always easy to handle. Shutting down of churches, government mandates, confusing reports, fear of infection, and lastly our own personal faith responses to name just a few. We did not just arrive at this cultural dilemma recently; this societal breakdown has been coming for some time. What are some of the significant movements that have contributed to our current “state of affairs”?

Roots of Secular Humanism

What are the roots of Secular Humanism? It begins in Europe.

In Europe, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a major movement emerged entitled the Enlightenment. This social event happened in strong reaction against the mandates, prescriptions, and controls of Christian belief systems, especially Catholicism. For some academic professionals, this was an honest attempt to search for the truth beyond the rules and regulations of current society. Acting against the societal faith norms in control, it eventually led to an abandonment of essential established ways of life producing a complicated ferment against the peaceful balance of the age. In short, it consisted of an aggressive attempt to separate the principles and values of humanism from their Christian foundations. This movement emphasized a purely scientific and rational approach to human realities and the truths of life.

The Enlightenment held and promoted an exclusive approach to truth that did away with biblical revelation, supernatural beliefs, the Ten Commandments, and no need for God to live a moral, meaningful, truth-filled way of life. If God remained in the picture He was pushed off to the outer margins of existence. Of course, the Church soundly resisted this movement, sometimes violently. This movement impacted all the domains of human reality. Specifically, in the French Revolution, its aggressive momentum ignited the fire of violent rebellion against the Catholic Church. Bishops, Priests, religious, and many laypeople were brutely put to death. Even though several Popes and Church leaders proclaimed their errors this philosophy of life caught on significantly affecting the thinking and lifestyle of Europeans, and by the way made major inroads in the emerging way of life of many Americans.

The European brand of the Enlightenment influential among the French tended to fuel the thinking and ideals of the Foundering Fathers of our Country, along with the ideas of Deism. The beginnings of the American ideals, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were encouraged by France who supported the Founding Fathers in their efforts to be free from English domination. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France. Benjamin Franklin made frequent lengthy visits to France. He was very comfortable with the more modern view of an enlightened life and personally espoused those principles in his lifestyle. Many of our Fathers really held the belief system of Deism, which is the core of the Unitarian faith. This religion holds to faith in unity in the One God, however, we are left to develop a humanistic spiritual or religious way of life without any or very little demands on the individual. One is pretty much free to carve out a good and moral life stance by humanistic efforts alone while placing our efforts in deciding our own truth about life or one’s self enlightened humanism. Thus, the principles and values of the Enlightenment and Deism infiltrated the spirit and reasoning of our Nation.

Over a relativity short period of time, the spirit, principles, and values of enlightened human liberalism captured the social atmosphere, the thinking, and development of “the American Dream.” Wealth, and attitudes of comfort, affluence, scientific advancement, social, and economic control infused and infiltrated the American way of life. Over the last seventy years, these accepted and promoted realities have nurtured and matured in our society expanding and deepening among the peoples of our Country. All the while infiltrating the minds, hearts, and relationships of our citizens and our young people and subtlety producing a new religious or spiritual humanism called secularism humanism.

Secular Humanism is a world view and way of life. It believes God is not necessary to be moral. As a spiritual state of being it presumes that human beings are capable of being ethical or moral without being religious or believing in a deity. Along with this is an understanding and conviction that secular humanism is a way of life that continually adapts searching for truth through science and human experience and various philosophies. It consists of a world view that is primarily concerned with the promotion of human welfare in this world. Secular humanism denies the subordination of human dignity and happiness to supernatural realities. It would reject religious faith and hold distrust in absolutes when they are religiously proposed, rejecting moral absolutes in any form. Our moral sense of which concluded in a blind alley leading to mental confusion. Secular humanism would lead to moral relativism, ethical bankruptcy, and religious indifference.

In the later part of the 19th Century, secular humanism emerged in the world and specifically in the Church as a movement entitled Modernism. It was a strong effort to liberalize the “tight” laws, principles, and practices of Catholic life. The Popes of the time engaged in an aggressive effort to eliminate its influence from Catholic life. Pius X took a fearful shut down approach to this invasive cultural influence. Leo XIII who followed him in the Papacy was more open to defeat this cultural disintegration by opening the doors to evaluation, study, and constructive adaptation. This approach encouraged an intellectual reassessment of scripture, liturgical development, and a review of pastoral theological considerations. This was an honest attempt to curtail the negative effects of the Enlightenment and its brainchild modernistic secular humanism. Some would say that this effort would unintentionally open the door for its advancement in the 20th Century and its 21st Century maturation. For example, a case where a prominent official publicly referring to the grace of God while supporting and promoting the practice of abortion and the enterprises of Planned Parenthood.

Roots of Secular Humanism started long ago.

Years of study and planning transpired before Pope John XXIII announced the opening of Vatican II in 1961, which concluded in 1965. The Documents of the Council are a sound presentation of teaching designed to move the Church into a fresh authentic adaption of the Church in the modern world. The aftermath in the Church a major struggle. Pope Paul the VI did his best to steer the ship in a positive and fruitful direction, but the inroads of the Enlightenment and Modernism caused controversies so that this positive effort would not be the case. Eventually, confusion, reaction, and misrepresentations emerged, which we still suffer from today with even an increased intensity. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI firmly promoted a “hermeneutic of continuity” as a standard for the implementation of the authentic traditional teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is committed to the teaching and values of Vatican Council II. His approach appears to be on an emphasis to adapt the Council’s teaching to the areas in the Church and world where human life is taking place, and where justices are ignored, and the poor suffer the consequences. Therefore, without compromising authentic traditional Catholic teaching he attempts to move the Church where human life is happening. In this regard, he appears to be a supporter of meaningful and just socialism. Obviously, this approach is not going down well with some members of the Church led by some members of the hierarchy. This opposition has become an intense battle that has reached the position of a new scandal. It has become a complicated mess. This battle has some relationship to society’s struggle and adherence to the pseudo-spirituality and religiosity of contemporary secular humanism. Pope Francis’s hesitation to present clear Catholic moral teaching, especially in the areas of sexuality and family life is very upsetting to some sincere members of the Catholic Church. This concern needs significant attention.

May we ourselves do a life review to discern if we have been influenced, adopted, or caved into some aspects of the religion and spirituality of secular humanism; even if we unintentionally ingested these discordant values to some degree into the ambient, environment, or culture of our American life.

Church in the Pandemic

Church in Pandemic | Are we a church in crisis? What is the church in the pandemic? As a Christian what do you do in this time of confusion? Where can you find the truth? Here Father David talks about the church and how you can find strength in Christ. | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #pandemicandfaith Church in the Pandemic – Episode 33

Are we a church in crisis? What is the church in the pandemic? As a Christian what do you do in this time of confusion? Where can you find the truth? Here Father David talks about the church and how you can find strength in Christ.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

The Church in the Pandemic

Coming from the Temple: “…Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. (Ezekiel: 47: 8-9) Most Catholics living today struggle with what is happening in the Church. This stress and confusion has developed it into a Church in crisis. This is not something new caused by the pandemic; it has gradually been developing ever since the close of Vatican Council II. However, it has reached the level of a crescendo. Before the Council, most of us were content to live in a Church that viewed itself as an institution which dispenses the Sacraments. This view emphasized stability and external clarity. One writer stated in his book entitled, “The Models of the Church” That the main model of the Church should never be primarily viewed as an institution. It is true that the Church needs to be a visible organized structure existing in society, but there are other very important ways to view the Church. Since the close of the Council, a tremendous grace has been given for renewal and reform in the Catholic Church.

The change of focus has been a move away from the institutional model of the Church towards a “mystical communion” understanding. This approach would emphasize internal nature. In short, it may be called the Church as a Mystical Communion, which would highlight the inner work of grace in the power and activity of the Holy Spirit. In our Baptism of water, each one of us received the gift of the Divine Indwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we all have the potential to live in a magnificent union of love and grace with each other. In the words of St. Paul, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? …for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. (1Cor 3: 16-17)

Can there be a church in the pandemic? Will it survive?

At the close of the Council, this Church’s Grace of Renewal began to manifest itself in various ways. The main experience focuses on interior transformation and the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This process of spiritual renewal has been occurring for over fifty years. However, in recent years the renewal of the Church has moved from spiritual renewal to reform. Reform basically deals with the structures, forms, or visible expressions of the Church. Reform always initiates a significant crisis. We human beings love the security of what we were born and raised with. What is unfortunate about reform is that it usually becomes messy, and things are changed too quickly, or changes are made that are unhealthy or sometimes destructive. It is not surprising that reform engenders a crisis of faith and calls forth the validity of truth. We usually do not enjoy this experience, for some of our closest friends think very differently about matters that are very important to us. This obviously puts a strain on our relationships. This volatile confrontation happened to Jesus. He went up to Jerusalem for Passover and went into the temple. He found that the central courts of the temple were desecrated with animals and money changers. Jesus took a whip of cords and made the money changers move everything out of the temple. He was confronted by the Scribes and Pharisees, who were financially profited from this enterprise. When asked by what authority do you do this, Jesus said “Zeal for my Father’s house will consume me”. Jesus then prophetically prophesied about his own body, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” (Jn. 2: 13-22) A classic example of confrontation when reform is at stake!

The infamous Pandemic that arose in our midst last February and March added significant stress and chaos to already pastorally charged issues in the life of the Church. Our leaders in the Church had to give a major amount of time and energy to work with civic leaders to try to bring this cultural crisis under control. This is not to obscure that there are already multiple uncomfortable issues and other events occurring in the life of the Catholic Church. The sexual abuse crisis since the last part of the twentieth century and the first twenty years in the twenty-first century has been a scandal in the Church that most Catholics who are alive today never had to deal with in their lives’. Much suffering has been experienced by all living in the Catholic Church at this time. In addition to these occurrences there arose in the Church a major conflict and disagreement between those who give a strong place to Church external law and traditional teaching matters and clear doctrines, and those who believe that the Church needs to reach out to the poor and disenfranchised. The present Pope’s care for creation and emphasis on socialism, plus statements made that are confusing and unclarified have added fuel to the fire. These differences have intensified an already unclear doctrinal mismatch.

Some might say the Church’s teaching already clearly exists in the New Catholic Catechism. It has been about forty years since it has been published. Realistically who has really read much of it or seriously studied it?  Teaching and pastoring go together. You cannot have one without the other! The last point that I want to make is this. I believe the lack of personal pastoring of the flock of Christ in the Church is itself a scandal. In these negative occurrences in society and in the Church, which has happened to the lay faithful. Our leadership, for the most part, has been silent, unavailable, or ignoring matters that needed good communication. I need not mention the difficulties the lay faithful have experienced since the close of the Council. I believe they are clear to anyone who gives a little time to think about what has been happening in the Church over the last sixty years or so. I also realize that it has been very difficult for our leaders for many reasons, and they may be working on many things of which I am unaware of. However, when the lay faithful go to youtube and talk shows to get an understanding of the crisis of truth and the teaching on faith, it is a sad day indeed in the pastoral life of the Church. American Catholics need clear upfront teaching on the five non-negotiables: Abortion, Euthanasia, or physician assisted suicide, Embryonic Stem-Cell Research, Human Cloning, Homosexual marriage. Is it possible that a written moral compendium or a pastoral letter by the USCB to the American Church might be helpful?

May we Pray!

We pray for light, wisdom, and understanding from the Holy Spirit at this challenging time in the Church and in the world. Dear Lord, we pray that each and every one of us will spend the time needed to reflect on oneself and ask the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to show what we can do to bring love and peace for those who have especially a hard time with what is currently happening. Give healing, truth, and a more profound faith to us as we continue the journey of this troubling age. We make these prayers in the heart of Mary given to her son Jesus. Amen

Christian Mysteries of Light

Christian Mysteries What are the Christian mysteries of light? No, this isn't some new-age ideal. This is actually meditation of the active life and ministries of Jesus Christ. It allows us to think about and contemplate the Lord's work on earth. | #Christianpodcast #christianfaith #catholicfaith #luminousmysteries #LifeofJesus #JesusChristThe Luminous Mysteries: Christian Mysteries of Light ~ Episode 32 

What are the Christian mysteries of light? No, this isn’t some new-age ideal. This is actually meditation of the active life and ministries of Jesus Christ. It allows us to think about and contemplate the Lord’s work on earth.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Some spiritual writers identify the Mysteries of the Rosary as the compendium of the Gospel. Pope John Paul II identified five special events in the public ministry of Jesus as unique mysteries that involved Jesus as the light. He wrote an Apostolic Letter proclaiming these five events as additional mysteries of the Rosary. He believed these five mysteries called the Luminous Mysteries gave monumental evidence of Jesus as the light of the world, focusing on the active ministry of Jesus. Adding the luminous ministries would complete the other three sets or categories of the Rosary, which would then present all four as a unique completion of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christian Ministries of Light

The four sets of the mysteries of the Rosary are:

The Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Luminous, and the Glorious Mysteries. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are called “mysterious of light” because they shed light on who Jesus Christ is. He brings light into the world and into each soul who believes. Christians understand the whole person of Jesus as light and the fulness of spiritual life; his mission one of light and life. Being light in the world Jesus brings us true freedom through spiritual transformation. Each of these Luminous mysteries emphasizes the unique aspect of the truth of who Jesus is during his public ministry. Each mystery reveals the Kingdom of God present in the person of Jesus who proclaims a call to conversion, and an invitation to enter the Kingdom of God.

I will present in this podcast each individual mystery of light and a brief reflection on each one. The first Luminous Mystery is the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Jesus in and of himself did not need to go through the baptism of water for his salvation. However, he submitted to the baptism of John receiving the Holy Spirit for the sake of doing his mission. In another place, Jesus tells Nicodemus unless a person is baptized in water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God  This fact is confirmed by the Father when a voice called out “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” John and those around saw the Spirit of God like a dove come down and enter Jesus.

The second Mystery is the changing of the water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. When Mary, the mother of Jesus, realized the great embarrassment of the young bride and groom because they had run out of wine, she mentioned it to Jesus. He immediately put the whole event into a much greater context. That is the moment of inaugurating his divine mission! Mary told the servants to be obedient to what Jesus would tell them. Then Jesus told them to fill six water jars with water. He blessed them and the water was changed into wine. The head steward commended the couple because they had held the best wine until last. In this event, Jesus began his mission by revealing his divine nature and power, and his disciples began to believe in Him. We also might understand this event as the initial revelation of the mystery of the Eucharist.

The third luminous mystery is the Proclamation and Establishment of the Kingdom of God by signs and wonders. This mystery entails all that Jesus said and did in his active ministry. He taught the message of salvation by announcing the teaching of the Gospel, and he confirmed his power and authority by signs and wonders and his victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness, which he would ratify by his own death and resurrection, and with the Father sending the Holy Spirit for all believers, calling them to life-giving repentance and conversion in order to experience the fulfillment of the life of the Kingdom.

The fourth luminous mystery is the event of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the high mountain, and there the Transfiguration of Jesus occurred. He shined with tremendous divine splendor and his garments became as white as snow. Moses representing the law of the Covenant and Elijah representing the prophetic tradition appeared in conversation with Jesus about his death and resurrection. This prophetic experience highlighted par excellence the mystery of the glorious resurrection of Jesus. It announces Christ’s Resurrection, the final magnanimous victory of light over darkness, life over death, and the glorious promise of our own resurrection and the gift of eternal life. Again, at the conclusion the Father spoke in confirmation of the truth, “this is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

The fifth luminous mystery is the institution of the Eucharist. This mystery reveals the permanence and fidelity of God’s love for all of humanity, but especially all believers. Christ, in sacrificial love offers his body and blood, testifying his eternal love for all. The sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery is a “now” revelation of the Kingdom present in the person of Jesus. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven…whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:54-59)

In conclusion, the adding of the Luminous Mysteries to the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries makes the corpus of the major mysteries of Christ found in the Gospel more complete. In praying all four sets of the Rosary one opens their heart in order to experience the transforming graces of the major mysteries of Christ in the Gospel. The fruitful result which occurs is a very real and powerful transition from a good normative Christian life to a deep rich mystical union in the grace that loving reveals its own reward in living in union with Jesus through Mary.

May we pray!

We most humbly and graciously thank you Father for the deep heart-felt life of grace you have bestowed on us in living out our life in devotion and love for the spiritual gifts of grace and love which you genero32usly pour out on your beloved sons and daughters. May these precious rewards lead us to share willingly these possibilities with our brothers and sisters. We pray this prayer through the gentle heart of Mary in a grateful relationship to you our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.



Grace of Renewal Workshop

Grace of Renewal Workshop This podcast will present the grace of renewal workshop. The suggested format that will relate to the Church’s Grace of Renewal. Since it is being proposed that for a full life of transformation, it is necessary to go beyond what we have recently traditionally known as the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”. #podcast #christianpodcast #christian #christianity #charasmaticrenewal The Grace of Renewal Workshop – Episode 31

This podcast will present the grace of renewal workshop. The suggested format that will relate to the Church’s Grace of Renewal. Since it is being proposed that for a full life of transformation, it is necessary to go beyond what we have recently traditionally known as the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Which is a wonderful program for receiving a new actualizing spiritual power of the Holy Spirit in one’s personal Christian life? This new format which is being proposed consists in the actualizing power of the Holy Spirit, the practice of the gifts or charisms of the Holy Spirit,  experiencing the graces of the Paschal Mystery (the Cross, Death, Resurrection of the Lord Jesus), and the spiritual anointing of the Holy Spirit for carrying out the mission of building the Kingdom of God here on earth.

The Grace of Renewal Workshop

Considering a practical pastoral perspective, there are several ways to structure the format of this program. I will suggest two or three possibilities.  For those who live a busy and involved life this approach may be helpful. 1) Participate in a day of recollection from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on a Saturday, which would include three or four presentations with discussion. Then have two successive week-nights with three talks and a time for praying as a group and individually for each person for the Church’ Grace of Renewal. 2) The second possibility would be to have two talks on a Friday night, three on the following Saturday, and hold on the following weekday night one session for preparing individuals, praying with the group, and individually for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. 3) Have the whole program recorded on CD or video which groups or individuals could borrow and listen to at home individually or as a group, and then gather for a night of prayer for healing and preparation to be prayed with for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. For sure there are other ways for structuring the format of this program. Please do not hesitate to suggest them to us.

I would like to give you some idea about what this renewal program would consider. We would need to first look at the specific nature of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. How does this differ or build on other spiritual renewal efforts? This presentation would try to bring together other renewal programs. We would look specifically at Charismatic Renewal. We would – consider the graces flowing from Vatican Council II; specifically, why the Paschal Mystery is so important. We would need to consider the advantage of living a life of prayer, as the heart of love. The four types of conversion, forgiveness, and the healing of the whole person, the joy of sharing one’s life in some form of community (small merciful penitent fellowship groups). Doing the mercy mission of the Church as compassionate servants of mercy and missionary disciples gives us the desire to practice the virtues of sacrifice, repentance, atonement, and power centered intercession. There would be other good things as well.  In addition to Catholics, Christians from other Christian backgrounds would be welcome.

When individuals sign up for a workshop, we would give a more detailed explanation of what specific things would be done, and the title and nature of each presentation would be geared toward spiritual renewal and personal transformation. The following is a rough outline of several formats and topics. I am going to present the eight or nine topics that we would consider in the workshop.

  • Living a life of prayer: Discovering the way of love.
  • The spiritual gifts of the Spirit or charisms: The practical application of the Pentecostal Experience.
  • The four types of conversion and the healing of the whole person (Ongoing conversion).
  • The Charism of Crucified Mercy: The source and power of being a servant of Mercy.
  • The role of the Sacraments as the foundation for transformation: a vision for the practice of a Catholic way of life.
  • Doing the mission of the Gospel by building the Kingdom of God on earth: Evangelization and the proclamation of the Gospel.
  • The challenge of servanthood by practicing the ministry of atonement and power-focused prayer and intercession.
  • Receiving the Church’s Grace of Renewal by experiencing the gift of being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery.
  • The importance of communal prayer and praise and being a part of a small group of faith sharing; participation in a merciful penitent fellowship group (optional).

Suggested Format Model

Making a Saturday day of recollection with four talks and discussion, followed by an evening talk the following week, and a second follow up evening talk the next week. At the first one-two, presentations would be given and at the second one preparation for and praying for individuals to be baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery. All presentations, with the exception of the prayer time, would be 30 minutes or less.

Topics for a day of recollection model

-The day of recollection:

1) Life of Prayer

2) On-going conversion and healing

3) Practical use of the spiritual gifts or charisms

4) Role of the Sacraments in spiritual transformation

-First, follow up night session the week after the day of recollection

5) The invitation to be a servant of Mercy and an explanation of power focused prayer.

6) Doing the mission of the Church: Evangelization; living and proclaiming the Gospel.

-The second follow up evening session; the second week after the day of recollection.

7)The importance of fraternal relationships.

8) Preparation for being “prayed with” for the renewal in the Spirit of the PM.

May We Pray!

Dear Lord, we deeply rejoice at all the beautiful graces you are giving to individuals to bring about spiritual renewal and personal transformation. We know that your gifts come from your deep love for us. May the programs we offer bring great peace, wisdom, and Joy to the hearts of all participants. Pour out these graces from the heart of Mary our spiritual Mother. Amen.

Baptized in the Spirit

Baptized in the Spirit | Can those baptized in the spirit learn to share their faith? Yes! In designing a formation workshop, Fr. David shares the importance of building on the graces received in the Church through the renewal movements, especially the Charismatic renewal. | #podcast #christianpodcast #christian #christianity #baptizedinthespiritBeing Baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery ~ Episode 30 

Can those baptized in the spirit learn to share their faith? Yes! In designing a formation workshop, Fr. David shares the importance of building on the graces received in the Church through the renewal movements, especially the Charismatic renewal. The reason for this approach is that the basic features of the Charismatic Renewal are the essential building blocks of grace in relationship to the process of conversion and spiritual renewal in the human personality.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.



These features can be identified as a deep personal relationship with the Lord, the development of a life of prayer, a hunger and desire to know and live in the Word of God, and a profound experience of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit. As basic and important as these elements are they are by no means the last word in regard to the complement of graces an individual needs for a complete and total renewal in the Holy Spirit identified as The Church’s Grace of Renewal.

It is not a coincidence that the spiritual renewal movements in the Church occurred at the same time as the Vatican Council II. Pope Benedict was tireless in reminding everybody that the basic renewal and achievement of the Council was again placing the experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ in the heart and at the center of all Church life. The scripture in the Gospel of John chapter twenty, which recounts the appearance of the Risen Jesus to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room Easter Sunday night clearly illustrates this profound reality. The core elements of the Paschal Mystery are the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. Easter Sunday night Jesus appears in the splendor of the Resurrection, shows the disciples his wounds, and breathes on them the commissioning gift of the Holy Spirit. When an individual is being prayed with for, being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery, they are receiving the powers of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. A threefold experience of power which is one actualizing power of grace. There is much more here than what one thought that they were usually receiving when they were baptized in the Spirit in the Charismatic Renewal.

The terminology used in the early days of the Charismatic Renewal was presented by well-meaning individuals who usually did not have a theology background. This powerful experience for the most part was identified as an experience of the Holy Spirit and the charisms. It was not clear that the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus was also a part of the mix. Many in their growth gradually moved to see that a profound experience of the Holy Spirit should lead to experiencing the power of the Cross and the Resurrection, but many did not. Therefore, fifty or sixty years later some are saying that it is necessary to build on the experience of the Baptism of the Spirit, and include the profound experience of the Cross and Resurrection; the essential parts of the Cross and Resurrection should be integrated in the prayer when praying for an individual or group for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. Being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery may be a more accurate way of identifying this powerful actual grace of renewal. The next podcast will provide a suggested outline for a workshop offered to people who desire a more powerful experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, or for being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery.

May We Pray!

Dear Father, we ask you and your beloved Son, Jesus to enlighten and guide us to design a program which will fill us with all the graces we need to experience the Church’ Grace of Renewal. We desire to be deeply infused with all the graces which can come to us in regard to a new life in the Spirit together with a complete experience of the power of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And may this beautiful mystery of love be given through the immaculate heart of our Mother Mary, who may lead us into the wonderful mystery of Divine transforming love. Amen

Grace of Christian Renewal

Christian Renewal |The grace of Christian renewal begins with faith in a living God. In the last podcast, I reviewed the initial development of the Charismatic Renewal and what has happened to the movement to this point. | #podcast #christianpodcast #Christianity #ChristianfaithThe Grace of Christian Renewal ~ Episode 29

The grace of Christian renewal begins with faith in a living God. In the last podcast, I reviewed the initial development of the Charismatic Renewal and what has happened to the movement to this point. We surely want to thank God for the wonderful works of grace that have been available within this movement. Yet along with the Charismatic movement and other programmatic offerings of spiritual and pastoral renewal in the Church we need to ask ourselves the question,  are these opportunities in and of themselves sufficient to bring about a mature or completed experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal? For the sake of this presentation I would like to answer, they are not! And if not, is there something we can consider that may move us forward in this consideration?

The Christian Renewal begins with this book:

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Christian Renewal:

What most did not seem to understand was the fact that this outpouring of special grace was simply the initial experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. The activity and special presence of the Holy Spirit was intended by the Lord to move into a full and complete experience of the glorified Lord by each individual Christian. In other words, much more was intended to happen after the initial experience and empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Which gifts are the practical application of the Pentecostal Experience in the daily life and activity of Christians? How might we identify the complete experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal?

At times in the Charismatic Renewal, individuals tended to over concentrate on the Holy Spirit as the central reality of spiritual transformation. For sure that concentration is necessary, but if it becomes excessive or overdone other dimensions of the process of growth and transformation are neglected. When a person exercises a balanced approach to the grace of spiritual transformation three powers become one: The power and gifts of the Spirit, the power of the Cross of Jesus, and the power of the Resurrection. Therefore, the power of the Cross of Jesus and the beautiful splendid experience of the glory of the Resurrection comes into play in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit. For a mature and most effective experience of the life and power of grace involves a threefold power of the Spirit, the Cross, and the power of the Resurrection. This is what is meant by the Church’s Grace of Renewal. This is what Pope Benedict XVI Identified as the main message of the Second Vatican Council. Pastoral theology identifies this threefold experience as the Paschal Mystery, which includes the effects of the death, Resurrection, and the Pentecostal experience. When Jesus appeared in the splendor of his glorified state in the Upper Room on Easter Sunday night, he showed the disciples his wounds, and breathed on them to receive the power and commissioning of the Holy Spirit: “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, Peace be with you!” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I send you”, and when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn. 20:19-23)

The Father and the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. After that momentous occasion when Jesus appeared on earth, it was no longer the historical Jesus before his resurrection. It was now the splendor and power of the glorious Jesus risen from the dead. He now radiated the glorious power of heavenly reality. Jesus still bore his wounds magnifying the mighty power of the Cross. And he was filled in a new manner with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. All the spiritual gifts were incarnated in the person of the risen glorious Son of God.

At times in the Charismatic Renewal, individuals tended to over concentrate on the Holy Spirit as the central reality of spiritual transformation. For sure that concentration is necessary, but if it becomes excessive or overdone the other dimensions of the process of growth and transformation are neglected. When a person exercises a balanced approach to the grace of transformation, the power of the Cross of Jesus, and the beautiful experience of the glory of the Resurrection comes into play, in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit. For a mature and a most effective experience of the life and power of grace involves a threefold power of the Spirit, the Cross, and the Resurrection. This is what is meant by the Church’s Grace of Renewal. This is what Pope Benedict XVI identified as the main message of the Council. Pastoral theology identifies this threefold experience of grace as the Paschal Mystery, the effects of the Death, Resurrection, and the experience of the Power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. And we see this reality symbolized on the night of the Resurrection by Jesus, when he appeared in his splendid glorified state of being, showed the disciples his wounds, and breathed on them to receive the power and commissioning of the Holy Spirit. (Jn.20:19-23)

Therefore, the conclusion is that it is necessary to develop a renewal program in a retreat or seminar atmosphere, which integrates all three renewing powers of grace and the charismatic gifts for individuals, who want to participant in a specifically designed program that will achieve the necessary objectives of the Church’s grace of spiritual renewal.

May We Pray for Christian Renewal!

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for the wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our life. In the Church, there are many brothers and sisters who are hungry for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that will bring sanctification and holiness in their human lives. We humbly seek your wisdom and understanding, which will help us serve our brothers and sisters in their journey of holiness and peace. We pray this prayer in the name of Jesus through the heart of his mother, Mary, the Mother of the Church. Amen.








Charismatic Renewal

Charismatic Renewal | Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church in this country emerged right at the close of Vatican Council II in the years of 1966-67. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #charasmaticrenewal #charismatic What Happened to the Charismatic Renewal Episode 28

Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church in this country emerged right at the close of Vatican Council II in the years of 1966-67. Young leaders in East Lancing and Ann Arbor, Michigan and a few other places began holding prayer and praise gatherings, and some of the participants began experiencing the manifestation of the charismatic spiritual gifts.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

What Happened to Charismatic Renewal?

To mention a few: praying in tongues, prophesy, healing, words of wisdom, etc. (1 Cor. 12: 4-9) They did not know what to call these spiritual gifts, so they consulted several theologians in the Church. They asked the leaders what was happening? The leaders related what was happening at the prayer meetings. The theologians responded that these manifestations were charisms. They suggested that the leaders call it the charismatic renewal. This suggestion may or may not have been a wise one, because right from the start it separated those who received the gifts from other believing Christians. This quickly caused a reaction and resistance by those who had not received the gifts. From time to time you would hear people say, “that is not my spirituality!”

Over 50 years have passed since the beginning of this phenomenon, and many wonderful things have happened in the Church. Initially, prayer groups sprang up within the Church. Many individuals went through a short preparation program called a “Life in the Spirit” seminar, after which a person would be prayed with for an actual grace of empowerment called “the Baptism in the Spirit”. This experience for an individual usually brought forth a wonderful new experience of grace, empowerment, and refreshment; usually a transforming gift of love from the Holy Spirit where a huge difference happened in their spiritual life, in addition to the experience of some of the spiritual gifts. Significant activity and effects from this grace of renewal began in a person immediately. A personal relationship with Jesus became so real with many individuals, a new love for reading the Word of God, a noticeable and permanent enhancement of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit guiding and leading one in their daily personal life, and other blessings as well.

The dynamism of this grace made major contributions in many aspects of relationships, services to the poor, and significant spiritual growth. Different types of new communities or associations developed for the purpose of providing various kinds of Christian service for others. Some of these new communities became identified as covenant communities, which made available growth and personal formation and supported members in living a fuller and richer way of life. The Renewal Movement developed many different types of mercy services and good Christian teaching for others. It also provided for various ministries and works of evangelization. It cannot be overstated how much personal good this movement and its fall out have had for many individuals and for abundant life in the Church.

I can assure you that I would not be sitting here preparing this podcast if God in his goodness and mercy had not bestowed this wonderful grace of new life, spiritual refreshment, empowerment, and transformation on me in 1969. I am profoundly grateful that the Lord poured out this beautiful unmerited gift of grace upon me at the time of my deepest need; and I will praise and thank Him forever for his gracious mercy to me.

From the early days of Charismatic Renewal until this very day many things have changed. Some prayer groups have died out for lack of interest or just disappeared. The early leaders who were young at the time never recruited new members and the young leaders are now in their late seventies and early eighties; the numbers in attendance have significantly depleted. Some people who received a meaningful spiritual renewal have gradually lost the strong impact they once experienced. The new social religion of Secular Humanism has caused many who began well to not be ending very well in the process of Christian maturity and a holy way of life. Secular Humanism has infiltrated all aspects of society, also many aspects of Church life. Generally, it could be defined as a way of understanding what it means to be a human being. It entails living a set of values that holds there is no need for God in our human life. It is necessary to push God out of the margins of human existence. We, humans, are independent and have no need of God or religion. It tends to be narcissistic and rigorously independent submitting to no one; yet leaving the human soul anxious, empty, lonely, and fearful. If we tried going back to the beginning of the Renewal attempting to recapture the grace and enthusiasm, we may find that effort impossible.  So the question I leave with you is this: Where do we go from here, and how do we benefit and increase the wonderful things that God may want to do in us and for us in the days ahead? The next podcast will look at some possibilities that may be helpful!

May we Pray!

Father, we rejoice in your love and mercy. We know that you have a wonderful plan for the Church and for our personal lives. We truly hunger for your love and grace in order to know, love, and serve you in every way we can. We plead with full assurance for much more of your Holy Spirit and the precious gifts that you have in store for us in the days ahead. Together with Mary our Mother we humbly and peacefully beseech you abundantly for these rich treasures through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen



Some Values Vatican II

Vatican II | Many in the Catholic Church have no or little awareness of the key values of Vatican Council II | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #VaticanII #Catholic #ChristianitySome Values of Vatican II ~ Episodes 27

Many in the Catholic Church have no or little awareness of the key values of Vatican Council II. Rarely is it referred to in homilies or significantly proclaimed in religious education programs. I suppose we could say it is ignored by most Catholics.  When an Ecumenical Council is officially held in the Church, it always ushers in a tremendous time of renewal and reform. Vatican Council II was no exception to that reality.


This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.


Vatican Council II presented a renewed vision of what it means to be the church. It shares in the joys and sufferings of the real world in which we live, and presented a new appreciation of the roles and worth of lay people in the Catholic Church; especially a deep regard for the role and place of family life. The Council promoted full and active participation which made it necessary to translate the Mass into local languages, which then fosters communication between the celebrant and the people. Yet we all have experienced this in many ways, and it also includes the continuation of the celebration of the Latin Mass.

The teachings of the Council strongly encourages all Catholics to respond to the holiness of life in this age and to take up the call to be missionaries by evangelizing others to embrace the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to live their lives in the Kingdom of God here on earth. This is done not primarily by going to other lands, but to respond to evangelizing through the various vocations that they choose in their lives. We pray that the Church flourishes in all the nations of the world, but before all else in the family. It is the family which provides a strong spiritual life and foundation for each believer.

The Council provides the opportunity to relate to other Christians and members of other Religions. It encourages a spirit of respect and dialogue. It most importantly encourages all roles and vocations in the Church to work together in ways that they did not in the past. This is not always easy to do, but through prayer and charity, many good things can come about. The recent Popes saw Vatican II as a chance for deep and personal renewal in a complex changing world. This resulted in reforms that would make the Church more accessible to others, for example, shared prayer and the Mass in English.

However, a primary priority is to return the Church to its roots. This means a renewed appreciation for Scripture, which would make it more accommodating for others to join the Catholic Church. It also made it a significant priority to invite women to be more equally involved in decision making in the Church, and many other aspects of Church life. The Council has made many opportunities for spiritual and pastoral renewal for all members of the Church. And the Council declaring Mary the mother of Jesus as Mother of the Church, which gives Catholics an opportunity to share about this beautiful mystery, and why she is so important to us in light of the abundant and splendor of who she really is for us.

And lastly, the foundation and the most important of all is what Pope Benedict declared when he stated that the most important message of the Council is to draw the whole Church into the experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and the full experience of the Pentecostal experience and the gifts of the Spirit. (Some of the above was taken from various presentations of Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans)

May We Pray!

Father, we pray in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, in order that we may be filled with the true spirit of Vatican Council II. May the sixteen Documents of the Council be for us the core and foundation of the ongoing spiritual renewal and reform which enables the Church to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. Amen.



Spiritual Warriors

Prayer Warriors | Warriors are focused and ready for battle. The same with spiritual warriors. In the midst, of difficulty in life, the Lord looks for generous | #podcast #christianpodcast #christian #prayerwarriorsSpiritual Warriors Episode 26

Warriors are focused and ready for battle. The same with spiritual warriors. In the midst, of difficulty in life, the Lord looks for generous individuals who are “spiritual warriors” who are willing to do penance in order that the Lord will more quickly show his healing mercy. We hesitate at this invitation because we are well-aware of our sin, imperfection, and our character weaknesses. Yet the truth is that the Lord loves to do good and perfect things with imperfect and weak people. We are also aware that we are living in a secular culture that is filled with secular humanism promoting itself as the new popular religion.


This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Secular humanism can be generally defined as a system of faithlessness which really does not need God any longer, and conveniently pushes him out of one’s life and beyond the margins of human society. This reality is compounded by many who feel that they are victims and develop a negative pessimistic attitude about life and society. As a result, they tend to struggle with hopelessness and powerlessness, which makes them very hesitant to stand for truth. There are some who have retained a nominal identity as Christian, while practically practicing in their attitudes, choices, and decisions characteristics of the religion of secular humanism. 

Spiritual Warriors

When the Lord gives individuals a beautiful gift of knowing him and a clarion call to change their lives, they wonder what is the best way that I can do this. There are a number of ways, however, one of the best and most effective is to accept the invitation to become a merciful penitent, and experience the transforming love of God, which leads to a tremendous amount of spiritual freedom, peace, and joy in one’s heart. The question that one may ask is what then are the fruits worthy of being a merciful penitent? “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 Jn. 2: 15-17)

The early Church Fathers called this struggle to change “spiritual warfare” The converse to this is spiritual warriors! This challenging struggle in Christian history is one that practically takes place in our daily life against the world (in a negative sense), the flesh (the sinful part of our human nature), and the devil or Satan. We all experience this reality in our trials and tribulations daily. The first spiritual gift we all should pray for is the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits. This gift is the ability to know what temptations of darkness are coming from our weak human nature, the work and lure of sensual attraction in the world, and the direct interference of the devil in our lives. This gift and others serve the purpose of strengthening our hearts to be and practice being merciful penitents.

To support this way of life we grow in the fruits worthy of penance. What are some of them in addition to the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits? The first fruit of being a penitent is to renounce and receive healing from resentments against any person, principles, or institutions we experience in our mind or heart. The second is the renunciation of our deep-seated fears of worthlessness, powerlessness, or experience of the non-acceptance of ourselves. And in joy and peace embracing ourselves as the person God created us to be. The third is setting aside any personal relationship that is seriously sinful or dysfunctional. And relying on the powerful grace of the Lord to gradually bring these gifts about in one’s life. There are others, however, this is enough for now. Therefore, we may ask what is the process that enables us to change as a merciful penitent? Pray daily! Pope Francis recently remarked that if a person does not pray, one has no room for the Holy Spirit in one’s life. A merciful penitent grows in compassionate love by offering their patient sufferings to the cross of Jesus, and thus reap a rich harvest of love, goodness, peace, joy, and degrees of spiritual freedom. Put on the armor of Christ and become Spiritual warriors today.  


Prayer Life

Living A Life of Prayer | The fruits that come from living a life of prayer, even if it is a life of penance are amazing spiritual fruits. “I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.| #podcast #christianpodcast #livingalifeofprayer Living a Life of Prayer  Episode 25

What is living a life of prayer? We read in the Scriptures, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn.15: 15-16)

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Living a Life of Prayer

We find ourselves in a very difficult time today in the struggles that the Church is going through, and also in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. How do we handle these difficult situations: people dying early, millions losing their position of employment, escalating prices, restricted relations, and other restricting and painful situations? The real solution is to center our life in our current situations in the gift of prayer, which is the heart of living out the reality of our life.

A while back I was viewing a You-tube video that spoke about a young Catholic teenager who was struggling with all the trials and temptations of living in our broken culture today. In frustration one night he went into his room closed the door and knelt on his knees and began to pray. In his personal life, he never developed or experienced a personal relationship with the Lord. He was used to the normal sacramental and devotional life of the Church. He was determined to continue this practice and hoped for something to happen interiorly. Eventually, he began to experience the presence and tenderness of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and of the Church. He felt as though she had put her arms around him. After a number of these prayer experiences, he went on to receive the Church’s Grace of the Renewal. From that point on he began to experience a deepening in his personal relationship with the Lord. He began to see some things in his life that needed to change. Cooperating with the inspirations the Lord was giving him he made significant changes. He went on to become a priest and now lives and serves in a religious community in the Church.

The key to this reality is to center our life in prayer. Prayer in our life is something we should enjoy. It is certainly hard work at times there is no question about it! But as we grow in prayer, we experience the beautiful gift and intimate presence and love of God in our hearts. This gift draws us to appreciate who we are as a person and at the same time a beloved son or daughter of the Father. The prayer life we develop, of course, should take place according to our vocation, and the personal time we have in our lives. The heart of our prayer life is the experience we have in our hearts of the love of Jesus who calls us his friends.

Most of us realize this reality to some degree in our minds, but it rarely seems to go deep into our hearts. People seem to realize this when I sometimes ask them this question. Do you realize that Jesus who is your friend really likes you? He really, really likes you as a person, the real-life person that you really are! He created you and knows you inside out, and he loves you deeply and intimately as your friend. Gradually as our life of prayer grows, he places more and more of his love in our hearts. Many people do not love themselves very much, and so they find it hard to accept this love of Jesus in their hearts as their friend.

There are three things we need to consider when we reflect on the love of Jesus as our friend. This special gift of love has three interrelated aspects for us to experience. The first is conversion, the second is a conversation, and the third is communion. The goal of communion is a union! As we grow in these three realities the Spirit of God’s love gradually fills our heart with the fruitfulness of these truths. These three beautiful gifts are not something we bring about in our hearts by our own willful efforts alone. But they are three ways the Holy Spirit of Love works in our lives and in the very center of our hearts. The effects of these three graces we receive as we walk in our life of prayer constitute a dynamic relationship of God’s love in our heart, and brings about our relationship with Jesus, the Lord, as our special and intimate friend.
Conversion is the process of transformation that enables us to make the changes in our lives that God may want, or that are obstacles that block God’s love from filling our hearts. These may be such things as conscience or willful sin, unresolved resentments past or present, and excessive attachments to persons, places or things. When we are sincerely willing to make the changes needed, the Spirit of God will work in us and gives us the grace and power to make the necessary changes. The young teenager began to see some of the things in his life that he needed to change in order that the gift and power of the Spirit would make a difference in his life. It took him a while to make those changes so that the Spirit could bring this love and intimate friendship of grace into his personal life.

Conversation is the ability to dialogue with the Lord in our hearts where he speaks to us and we speak to him. The Spirit of God fills our inner faculties which God has given to us so that we are able to communicate in our mind and heart with the Lord through the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit working in our interior life. The young teenager learned how to have a conversation with the Lord as his friend, also with Mary his spiritual mother. In this process, he moved from making times for prayer to living a life of prayer, where he was able to witness and speak about the beautiful love that God placed in his heart.

The third thing he experienced was Communion. The goal of communion is union. It was through this realization in which the young lad was able to set aside his fears and anxieties coming from his stress and struggles he experienced in trying to live a good and peaceful life. He began more to see through wisdom and understanding the great priority of allowing God to be the one who was doing so beautifully work in him. He found that as his heart grew in friendship with the Lord, he was able to experience spiritual freedom in his life. Communion points us to the goal of oneness and union in our relationship with God, “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, you are in me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” (Jn. 17:21-22)

May We Pray!
Father our hearts are thirsty for the living waters of Grace. And we hunger for deep and personal friendship with you. May the Spirit of the Lord fill us to overflowing with the Gospel of Grace. Fill our hearts more and more with your tender love and mercy, wherein the spiritual freedom we experience will flow from our deep personal intimate love which you place in our hearts, and in that love always seeking to glorify our beloved Father. We ask these graces with great confidence in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen

Days Of Darkness

Days of Darkness | Have you heard about the three days of darkness? About thirty- five years ago in spiritual renewal circles, a call went forth by some proclaiming that a period of three days of darkness was coming soon. | #podcast #christianpodcast #Christian #prayingDays of Darkness

Have you heard about the three days of darkness? About thirty- five years ago in spiritual renewal circles, a call went forth by some proclaiming that a period of three days of darkness was coming soon. This darkness was to be so thick that people would not be able to see well what was in front of them. When this event happened a period of enlightenment was to occur. This enlightenment was to be so profound that a person would see the sinfulness of their life in one moment. This experience would be a powerful call to repentance and conversion greater than one had ever experienced before. It was predicted that this was going to happen very soon. Individuals went out and purchased candles and food, expecting everyone to be sequestered for some time. The three days of darkness never happened!


This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

Recently a few videos appeared on YouTube again predicting a coming event of tremendous enlightenment, and the drastic consequences of unfaithfulness to God and the way he wants humans to live. No doubt surfacing because of the advent of the coronavirus and the ethical/moral conditions of the whole human community, at least in part. How should we respond to this situation? I am sure individuals have a goodly number of suggestions about these matters. Without attempting to exhaust all the possibilities, I would like to express my opinion as humbly as possible. The ideas I present in this “show” do not represent the opinions or policies of any of the communities or institutions to which I belong. The following are simply my beliefs about the matter. 

I realized that the human community would be stressfully and painfully dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for a long time to come. It is important to understand that this issue is a major matter among the whole human community. Its very life and existence before God and his plan and will for the future of all human beings is at stake. I did a quick survey of the major and a few minor prophets in the Old Testaments. What happened when the Hebrew nation was unfaithful and rebellious to the Covenant and promises that God gave to them because he loved them?  

When the Hebrew people were disobedient to the way of life He revealed and gave to the people, He would allow, (God does not directly will evil), other nations around them to punish and invade them. In other words, He permitted an extended time of severe purification on them. After many painful tribulations, the people would come to a clear understanding of how great their offenses were before God, and they would repent of their sins and unfaithfulness, and sincerely attempt to change. He would then pour out his abundant mercy upon them and their situation would be changed in a magnificent manner. You may want to check out chapters 55 to 66 in the Book of Isaiah.

When I saw how consistent the Lord’s plan of conversion was for the people he loved, I was taken back at what was happening in the wake of the coronavirus. A similar or identical conversion pattern seems to be happening to us within the whole human community. This virus may have been made in a test tube, and probably was unintentionally released through experimental animals. Man’s sinful ingenuity apart from the Lord’s revealed plan, plus a multitude of moral and ethical violations worldwide in the universal human community, may have placed us under a time of major purification greater than any three days of darkness.

I think what happened in the past in reference to “three days of darkness” many innocently gave a literal interpretation to the “three days.” However, these types of revelation should be understood to be in the category of “prophetic symbolism.” Even when presented by certain mystics or the Mother of the Lord. The exception to this is when a great “wonder of God”, a miracle, takes place; such as the Miracle of the Sun during the apparitions of Fatima, or other signs and wonders. These happenings and predictions are usually presented as prophesy, it is wise to appreciate the awareness that prophesies many times includes progressive or successive stages of fulfillment. So just a literal interpretation of a specific time or date may set us up for misguided predictions. In the spirit of Fatima, we are invited by the glorified Lord Jesus to share in his atonement by a ministry of reparation; uniting our sufferings and sacrifices with his own to atone for the sins of the world and the Church. As we do, they become a powerful source of grace. Pope Benedict XVI said that “the Cross of Christ is the goal and guide of history. The Cross both stands for and transforms human misery into the means of salvation. It is therefore a sign of hope.” So what can appear on the outside during this pandemic as a desolate time can actually be a powerful opportunity spiritually? (Ann Pozuc)

In the years of 1961 to 1965 three powerful happenings took place in the Catholic Church. The first was the creation and completion of The Second Vatican Council. The second was a profound spiritual renewal entitled the Charismatic Renewal. And the third was a lengthy apparition of Mary the Mother of the Lord in Garabandal, Spain. All three of these events were initiated by the Lord during the same time frame. In this “show” I want to present the content of the messages presented to the visionaries, which relates to a series of prophetic messages. In summary, Mary proclaimed that a great chastisement would become on the world because the human community has abandoned faith in God and the ways he wants human beings to live.

“The cup is filling up”, pray for those who are unwilling or have not changed their sinful ways of life, or those who do not know him. The world must change much or soon a great chastisement will come. She asked that individuals be holy, live good lives, pray often, and do much penance, make many sacrifices; make visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Ask for forgiveness, sacrifice more, and meditate on the passion of Christ and live the Paschal Mystery. The time is short and many clergies are on the path to perdition; the devil is working among many in the Catholic Church. Much change must take place! Is it possible that what we are currently experiencing in the world and the Church is at least a part of the darkness and chastisement, which Mary prophesied would take place? The Virgin’s messages at Medjugorje are consistent with the previous two.

My first visit was in 1988 before the commercialization started. The apparitions had been moved from the church to a large room in the rectory. The crowd was pushing hard at the door. As soon as the door opened, I went across the front of the room instead of moving to the back. From this position, I was standing ten feet from the faces of the three visionaries, who were kneeling quietly with heads bowed in prayer. At six o’clock on the button their heads raised up and beautiful smiles appeared on their faces, recognizing someone for whom they had deep love and affection, their lips began to move in prayer. At that moment I became a believer! I had no doubt that we’re seeing Mary. The message: pray, sacrifice, fast, and do penance.

For sure we need to come to a special period of enlightenment. The Lord sometimes uses a period of pain and suffering to give those he loves a “new spiritual awakening”.  When this experience happens, it may inspire people to do sincere full-hearted repentance and penance. This is necessary in order that righteousness may be restored. This means making the necessary changes in our lives, which will bring from the Lord a period of wonderful and abundant mercy.  There surely is hope for wonderful things ahead. Let hear from you, what do you think? May we pray!

Dear Father, you have given the Human Community so many wonderful gifts and blessings, yet we have misused some of them in immoral and hurtful ways to others. Please forgive us and show us how to use your gifts for others in a merciful and  compassionate way. Teach us to love the truth, which flows from your loving mercy and enlightenment, and give us the wisdom and courage to find ways to serve you and our brothers and sisters in all the world. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.


Penance and Spirituality

Penance and Spirituality | Do penance and spirituality go hand-in-hand? In this episode, Father David talks about the necessity of understanding that all hardships in life are worth learning from and ways to increase your love of all things holy. | #podcast #christianpodcast #Christianity #Christian #Spirituality #Christianfaith #penancePenance and Spirituality – Episode 23

Do penance and spirituality go hand-in-hand? In this episode, Father David talks about the necessity of understanding that all hardships in life are worth learning from and ways to increase your love of all things holy.

Look for Father David’s book  Evangelizing Catholic Culture: A New Vision For A New Creation on Amazon here.

Merciful Penitential Spirituality

Introduction: As I begin preparation for this “show” or podcast presentation on the topic of “Penitential Spirituality”, my mind is full of the many things which the President of Franciscan University just presented to the University community regarding necessary action in relation to the coronavirus pandemic for a specific action. For example, the closing of all public Masses until a later date.

This worldwide pandemic and its subsequent consequences are a major crisis for humanity. The impact is affecting everything in our way of life. This afternoon I spent a bit of time reviewing some of the major and minor Prophets words to the people when they had violated the Covenant by rebellion and social injustice. At some point, God seemed to say that it is enough! And he usually allowed major devastation to occur in the Nation. In other words, the people came under judgment! These were generally very painful and destructive periods in the life of the Nation. This chaos would last until the people realized their sin and commenced to do significant social and individual repentance. Yahweh would then forgive them, and then pour out his abundant mercy upon them. However, formal communal and individual public repentance had to come first. I cannot help wondering if the whole of present humanity has not come under God’s judgment because of the horrendous sins of the Nation and Humankind.

What does scripture say about penance and spirituality?

“I urge you therefore, brothers and sister, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern or know (what is the will of God, what is good, and pleasing and perfect. (Rom. 12:1-2)

Turn back to the Lord and do penance (Lent). Doing penance is being renewed in mind, heart, and spirit. Penance is a wonderful and beautiful grace that brings the Father’s mercy and the transforming power of the Spirit of God into our minds and hearts.

The beautiful graces of God’s abundant mercy are the first part of the story. However, the second part of the story is the experience of Divine love in our hearts, which enables us to generously to the power of the Cross of Jesus by our corporation and participation in this dynamic grace of this transforming union. By living a penitential life, we make up by our love, responding generously to all that God has done for us. Our goal in being merciful penitents is to live in Christ the life of the New Creation. It is all about a way of life called love. These tremendous graces generate an experience of Spirit-filled love and life-giving repentance as merciful penitents. We make up for what is lacking in the Body of Christ.

The spirituality of being merciful penitents opens the door for us to treasure each suffering and trial in the present moment, thanking the Lord for what he places before us, and gives us the strength to enter into the sufferings of Jesus, because we are living in the Eternal perspective. Many times we see our sufferings vanishing, and only love remains in the soul.

To unite our suffering to his means to enter his own dynamic of suffering love—sharing in his light, and, strength, and peace. It means to discover within us a new and abundant presence of God. To unite every suffering with Christ on the Cross means to become one with him and in him, instruments and unique gifts of saving love, by leading others whom we serve with his mercy into the Kingdom. For those called to a penitential way of life, there is a special gift of grace one is given called Crucified Love and Mercy, an empowered penitent in the New Creation—it consists of a penitent’s power, life, and wisdom for loving and serving others. These gifts of grace flow from the Father’s heart through the pierced Heart of Christ. These rivers of grace-filled mercy make us fruitful merciful penitents living in a time of spiritual renewal and reform.


The Seventh Word of Jesus

The Seventh Word of Jesus On The Cross | What is the seventh word of Jesus on the cross? Why is this important? Have you considered the last words Jesus said and applied them to our lives and perhaps what we go through daily in our struggles? | #podcast #christianpodcast #wordsfromthecross #seventhword #Christ #JesusChrist #goodFridayThe Seventh Word of Jesus On The Cross ~ Episode 22

What is the seventh word of Jesus on the cross? Why is this important? Have you considered the last words Jesus said and applied them to our lives and perhaps what we go through daily in our struggles? Listen to this episode with Father David as he teaches us from his vast years of experience as a Catholic Priest.

Look for Father David’s book  Evangelizing Catholic Culture: A New Vision For A New Creation on Amazon here.

The Seventh Word of Jesus Crucified

“Father into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk.23:46). In St. Luke’s account of the last word of Jesus, as he surrendered his life to the Father, Luke mentions that darkness covered the whole world (eclipse of the sun). And the veil in front of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was ripped in two. In the Church’s tradition, the word used to describe this last or seventh word of Jesus on the Cross is Reunion. Even though he felt completely abandoned by the Father he knew the truth. The surrender of Jesus was total; his gift of himself as sacrificial love was complete even though his human body was annihilated. In the Book of Revelation we read, “Behold, I make all things new!” “All things have been accomplished!” (Rev.21:5)  One of the last prayers at the end of the Last Supper lays out the goal for Jesus and for all of us, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, just as we are…And I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one as we are…” (Jn.17:11-26)

The Paschal Mystery, which we are about to celebrate, is in a sense the very beginning of making “all things new” on earth. (Jn.20: 19-23) The consecrated gift of the sacrificial love of the Paschal Mystery is the divine/human, threefold power of Grace, given to us as a gift of love which, enables and brings about all dimensions of transformation. It seems that on Easter Sunday morning Jesus meets Mary Magdalene at the opening of the tomb. He asks her not to touch him because he has not yet ascended to the Father. It is a different situation on Easter Sunday night. He appears to those gathered in the Upper Room fully glorified. He shows them his hands, feet and the wound in the side. When they had time to accept this magnanimous reality, he commissioned them by breathing on them and saying “receive the Holy Spirit…(Jn.20:19-23)

Easter Sunday night they receive the mystical power of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, the power of the glorified Resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit as the practical application of Jesus making all things new; the fullness of the Paschal Mystery. For example, some would say, the celebration of the Eucharist is the sacramental mystical participation in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Paschal Mystery.

Application: I will mention a few possibilities, however, you may be inspired to discover your own:

  1. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic life is going to be very different; may we be weaned away from an excessive materialistic mind-set and lifestyle of living.
  2. May the leaders in the Church clarify in writing the accurate moral teaching about the troubling moral positions in relationship to technical, moral, and ethical positions emerging in this country. For example, euthanasia and related suicides.
  3. In my personal life what changes do I need to make for me to be more faithful to the Lord’s will?
  4. What are some of the ways that I can be kind, tender, and loving in my relationships to others?

Behold I make all things New!






Why should we do sacrifice and penance? In this episode, we look at the ways we can sacrifice and how the Lord uses this in our lives to bring us closer to Him in our faith and spiritual growth. | #podcast #christianpodcast #penance #sacrifice Why Do Penance? with Father David Tickerhoof ~ Episode 21

Why should we do sacrifice and penance? In this episode, we look at the ways we can sacrifice and how the Lord uses this in our lives to bring us closer to Him in our faith and spiritual growth.

Micky Cohen was a mob leader on the west coast. Several of his henchmen went to a Billy Graham revival, and they made a major conversion and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Micky was very interested in being a Christian and had several meetings with Billy. However, in the end, he did not convert. When his henchman questioned him about this resistance, he responded “ What is wrong with being a Christian gangster? He was not able to see that unrepented sin was a major obstacle to being a Christian.

Father David is the author – Evangelizing Catholic Culture: New Vision for The New Creation available here.

On Pentecost when many people heard all the noise and commotion down at the Upper Room, they came and saw all the signs and wonders, and they wanted to receive these gifts? They asked the disciples what should we do? Peter answered: “repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts: 2:38).

The gift of forgiveness is a powerful grace freely given, and it consists of a wonderful experience of grace, which brings the goodness of the Father’s mercy and the transforming life of God into our minds and hearts. When we put faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ we receive the gift of salvation. However, this is not the end of the story of the goodness of Divine love and mercy. We are also expected to respond to this gift, by our cooperation and participation in the sacrificial love of Jesus to the Father. We do this by doing penance for our sins and expressing gratitude in a love offering for all that God has done for us. Jesus did indeed die for all; therefore all have died. “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 15). “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come…be reconciled to God.” (2Cor. 17-20)

Generally speaking, all are called to do penance in their individual Christian life, but some people are called by Jesus to do more. Therefore, some are called to live a complete life-style as a penitent. The call and life of servants of mercy,  missionary disciples of mercy, who receive the grace and its transforming power from the blood and water flowing from the pierced heart of Christ; the pierced heart of the Crucified One. The Father’s gift of mercy reveal’s his love and riches in the glory of his Son. This transforming gift of Crucified Mercy enables one to surrender himself in a process and journey of evangelical (Gospel) conversion for reconciliation and sanctification. These graces generate an experience of Spirit-filled and life-giving repentance, which enables one to enjoy a deep sense of gratitude, glory, and praise while embracing the Gospel mission of the Church, and leading others into the glorious life of the Kingdom as mercy-filled penitents.

Peace of Living God’s Will

peace of living God's will | The peace of living God's will is easy with these tips. | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #peaceofLivingGod'swillThe Peace of  Living God’s Will Episode 20

The peace of living God’s will can be found in so many aspects of our life. A number of years back when I was stationed at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was serving as the Director of Christian Renewal and overseeing two small households in the Renewal Center.

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Peace of Living God’s Will can be found in duty.

One of the women in the women’s household was a very capable women leader whose name is Sr. Ann Shields. She is now a part of the Sisterhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan and serves in the Ralph Martin Ministries. Sr. Ann was asked by Fr. Michael Scanlan to pick up women at the Pittsburgh Airport, whose name was Mother Theresa of Calcutta. A  benefactor at the University, a personal friend of Mother Theresa, asked her if she would come to the Graduation and receive the Poverello Medal. A medal of honor in the spirit of the poor man of Assisi, Francis. It is a medal given each year to a person who has made major contributions to the service of the poor. Sr. Ann herself has in public told this story.

The peace of living God’s will is available for everyone. 

Everything went well at the airport and they were on their way back to the University and crossing over the bridge from Weirton, West Virginia to Steubenville, Ohio. At that time all the steel mills were producing at full tilt, and the Ohio Valley was saturated with heavy air pollution. It seems that Sr. Ann was a little embarrassed and mentioned how unjust it was to pour out all this air pollution on the community. Mother Theresa response was something like, I really wouldn’t know because God hasn’t called or asked me to take responsibility for that!

When we are looking to discern and know God’s practical will in our lives we very much need to know two things:

  1. First, the goal of knowing God’s will is to give greater honor and glory to God.
  2. The second is to know what God has given me responsibility for in my life and what he has not!

In a tumultuous time in society when many individuals take self-appointed responsibility for many things and make negative judgments almost about everything, those of us who are concerned about discerning God’s practical will in our lives need to refrain from that thinking and behavior,  “Through the mercy of God offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice, pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your minds, so that you know God’s will, what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3.

There are many things big and little that we need to consult the Lord about! The big things: vocation, who should be my friends, who do I want to spend the rest of my life with? What is the vision and goals of our family life, what educational opportunities should we seek for our children?

Do we want to homeschool the children? job, what career path should I choose, professional training, where I live, what kind of car should I buy, finances, when should I retire etc. Little daily things, yet very important: What are my priorities? Spending time with the kids, frequent prayer time, vacation, amount of sports activities for the kids, support relationships, exercise, nutrition, special time with my husband or wife, etc. There are many choices of an ongoing nature which we will need to make as time moves forward. However, the fundamental underlying reality is this: If I do not have a continual personal relationship with God in which I daily walk in communication, how is it possible to do discernment and know God’s personal will in my life?

The servant of the Lord needs to try and keep watch over his actions, interior as well as exterior, always being careful and working toward and maintaining “purity of heart.” One should seek to maintain peace of mind and heart, in attempting to always know the gracious will of God, saying within oneself: “Oh Lord what do you will me to do now? Will it please you if I do this or that? For the Lord himself speaks through interior inspiration to a person’s heart, “saying do this or leave that undone. When one feels that the Lord wills or permits him to do anything, one should speak in this way, the Lord does this in me and through me. But if one perceives that this particular thing does not please the Lord, he should immediately deny himself or herself and should leave the thing undone, however small it may seem, see Blosius the Venerable, Magnificat, vol. 20, n. 3, May 2018, pp. 369-370.

The peace of living God’s will depends on our attitude. It is good if we have an open and peaceful attitude in seeking God’s will in our daily life. It is important to be willing to choose what God wants even if it is not what I want. A loving heart desires above all to please the Lord, and listen carefully to God’s guidance and direction. When we choose in faith what God wants, we may feel drawn to an option and we just know with a peaceful certitude this is what God wants. You will feel it when it happens! Some articles on discerning God’s will mention two states of the inner person: consolation and desolation. I actually think it is a little more involved than that.

Peace of living God’s will is sometimes hidden.

I find it useful to identify three states of the inner life or soul: revelation, consolation, and desolation.

Why is that? Because we are speaking about a beautiful dynamic relationship where the Lord and the person are working together to seek and discover the truth of God’s will in very practical circumstances.

  1. Revelation is knowing how to receive and understand all the tender and merciful ways in which God communicates with a person. This requires a personal knowledge and loving relationship with the Lord.
  2. The consolation is the second state. This would consist of an inner peace where the soul experiences the blessing of the Lord. You know it when you feel it!
  3. The third state is a desolation, which can be characterized by a certain sadness, a lack of the experience of heavenly love and grace, spiritual dryness. Sometimes a feeling of a spiritual emptiness and disturbance. It is good to peacefully be attentive as to what state of spiritual experience one is going through. Sometimes there can be a subtle shifting back and forth.

The important thing is to look for a consistency. If desolation seems to be around too long ask the Lord to remove what is causing this gentle sometimes painful darkness. Sometimes it is the Lord who is allowing it because he wants us to grow in trusting him in faith no matter what! The inner action of these three spiritual feeling states is a normal way the person relates to the inner mystery of grace and the action of the Lord and the Spirit in the inner person. For example, discerning the will of God in relationship to deciding to leave one job and take another.

Be patient and look for recurring patterns. Consolation and desolation are a normal part of the spiritual life, and in fact, they come and go interiorly all the time. Our decisions and choices are not just based on feelings but on revealed and reasonable truth communicated to us by the Lord. And seeking the good advice of others. The good Lord does speak to our interior being and to our mind. These states of our human beingness are very useful in discerning God’s practical will for our life. When God reveals his will we just know it. He built us as humans to be in a knowing relationship with him. If we need further confirmation about our decision about what job the Lord wants us to take, we may turn to a more analytical approach.

An analytical approach should be used when it is helpful, or when you are seeking confirmation of decisions you want to make because you believe this is what God’s will in now in this particular situation. I am leaving my superintendent position in Lake Andes, and I am going to accept the offer I have received for the same position in Plankinton. All my prayer, advice, and considerations have pointed significantly to make this change. I see it as God’s will for me and my family at this time in my life.

The pay is about the same, this, is where my family has lived for years, and I feel called to serve the folks in that surrounding community. And besides that, I will have more time to take care of the cattle that I have on my property. However, I want to be sure, and I don’t want to hurt the folks in Lake Andes, they have been good to me, and very supportive of my family. This decision is going to help me and my family give greater glory to God. Tonight my wife and I have set aside a couple of hours to do this discernment, and seek to give greater glory to God in our service here, but again I want to be sure this is what God’s will is for me and my family at this time.

Some say that when you are evaluating the strengths and weakness of a situation, and we are going to use the pros and cons analytical method, It is good to write the pros first and then the cons. However, when we are doing discernment, we are seeking first the glory of God and serving him faithfully, we may want to write the cons first and then the pros. The following is a suggested method which has worked for us in determining God’s will in other situations. We did this a number of years back when we moved from Chicago to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Boy! It worked for us like a charm; we had no doubt about our move here. Tonight we will get the kids settled and retire to the study, and each spends about 15 or 20 minutes thanking and praising the Lord for all the good he has brought into our lives.

With the Bible and notebook in hand, we will seek first the Word inviting the Lord to give us any Scriptures which may assist us in seeking his glory and his will. Then we will write down together the cons, and list everything, no matter how small they are when they come to us. And we will turn the paper over and list all the pros. In these situations sometimes the will of the Lord is confirmed quickly, and his glory becomes very evident.

Then we will have a peaceful and relatively short discussion about what the Lord showed to both of us. When we have done this in other instances his will becomes very clear in a short period of time. We pull together all the specific aspects which give us a clear unified vision for our family, and the specific choices we may need to make. If for some reason the certainty we are seeking does not materialize we will let the discernment sit for a day or so, and then come back and do it again. However, only in a few instances have we needed to do it a second time. In the end, we could confirm what we believed to be God’s glory and will for us in the next leg of the journey of being missionary disciples in God’s call and will for this season of our lives.

This method is a good one to use in periods of tranquility when our hearts are at peace and free from disturbing feelings or passions, which may influence our choices or decisions. The pros and cons should be spiritually based and not centered on personal preferences such as financial conditions or levels of comfort. After we make the list of items there are two ways to arrive at choices or decisions. In a spirit of prayer, we place before ourselves the options. We seek honestly and clearly what the Lord wants, without any attachments or hidden motives. We then humbly ask the Lord to move us toward the option(s) which will bring him the most glory. Then after considering each pro and con, we make our choice at the right time and then ask the Lord to confirm our choices with a gift of peace; assuring the Lord of our love for him and a deep desire to do his will.

Various Considerations:

When we have several goods and equally positive options, marriage or religious life God gives us the freedom to choose. For example, if we are discerning between these two equally good options, God will give us the freedom to choose which one is most in our heart. Whatever the choice and decision one makes, he will bless it with abundant grace and all that we need to gain our salvation. “But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”, see Mt. 6:20-21; 7: 21-22

As I said before consolations and desolations can be experienced for no apparent reason. When both are spiritually in consolation and desolation and you are looking to make a right choice, pray about your desired choice. Look for a pattern to see if it is consistent, then present your choice to God in prayer. Sometimes you may see clearly how God is giving you direction, and it may teach you more about engaging in consultation with the Lord.

God doesn’t get upset when we make mistakes, this is usually rather frequent. The point is to keep seeking God’s will. Most decisions are changeable or reversible. Much of our choices depends deeply on trusting in the Lord and his Providence, and his loving intervention in our life, which in our society today is very difficult for us. If you are having trouble discerning a direction, wait and continue to pray. The Lord will show you the way.

There are specific principles for discerning God’s will. The choice and action I am considering: Is this going to bring me closer to the Lord and advance God’s plan for my life, and for those for whom I may have significant responsibility. My vocational choices are important because it becomes the context for the practical decisions of practicing God’s will in my daily life. There are many goods, which of these are going to bring greater glory to God? The importance of prayer cannot be overemphasized. It surrenders our own will to the to the action of God’s loving will. It eliminates from our lives the things that would hinder union with God, and strengthen our desire that all the good things we do shall be done for his honor and glory.

Two important attitudes: What seems to be the best way of these possible goods for me to give greater glory to God? How am I going to serve God and constantly seek his glory in my life and his practical will in my life, or in the life and well-being of my family? The second one is to want to do what God’s wants in my life because I know and trust the Lord has the greatest good for me and my family in doing his will in the practical areas of our lives.

May we pray!

Since we desire to be in communion with you Father in your Son Jesus, we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our personal lives and to be active in us as we make the choices and decision’s which are most pleasing to you. We deeply thank you for your love and care in our lives and relationships. We especially thank you for the spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, and discernment. And we pray for abundant peace in our minds and hearts as we move forward to serve and build the Kingdom of God in our world, but most especially in our personal situations. We ask you to be with us constantly in all our efforts to please you and to love our brothers and sisters. We pray this prayer in the name of our glorious risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

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Joy In Living God’s Will

Joy In Living God's Will | The joy in living God's will can be found with these steps. #christian #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicJoy in Living In God’s Will Episode 19

The joy in living God’s will is right before us and we often miss it in our daily lives. Before we look at the practical tools of discerning God’s will in a given situation, I think it can be useful to develop an awareness or atmosphere of worldliness in contemporary society.

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A list of worldly practices or issues which project a negative spirit of worldliness. Within the context of our affluent society, some of us may carry a deep-seated attitude of entitlement. It could go something like this: When I want something I need to get it! I deserve it, and I want it Now! And I should be able to do whatever it takes to get it. After all,  we live in a land of freedom and I should be able to get what I want when I want it, even if some people are inconvenienced a little by my action. Why should I sacrifice and serve others? After all, it takes everything I have,  and I am too busy to spend time worrying about other people’s situations. Some of my friends think I am narcissistic because I always look to my needs first.

The Joy in Living God’s Will escapes so many! Here are some real examples:

We live in an anxious worrisome stress filled society, and some of us are so busy because we have so many things and projects to accomplish. Down deep inside I feel that unless I do all these things I won’t feel happy. A teacher who cares for me asked me the other day why my sense of self-worth is so low! When I get down I just go to the store and buy something. My husband makes plenty of money, and I just feel so compelled to buy so many things. I love nice things and my family always encouraged me to frequently spend and buy many things. My husband kids me about being so compulsively materialistic.

The other day uncle John and aunt Maureen showed up from the coast. What a huge expensive camper they have; they just spend months traveling all over the place. We were having a beer last night and John told me that his pastor was disappointed when he refused to undertake some church responsibilities for mercy work. He said I told him,“I can’t take on those services and still enjoy my recreational pursuits.

Thanks for picking me up Pete. Boy, I need a good workout! Harriet blew up at me last night. She said that she was fed up with my incessant worrisome attention about little details about my life. She said I am so perfectionistic about little details in my life, that I never spend quality time with the two boys, which, in her mind is much more important than the little things I get involved in. Boy, my friends at the club are reality irritated at the pastor. He gave a homily where he mentioned that this country is so addicted to sports that it has reached the point where it has become a false god, or at least obsessive idol worship.

My kids feel that they need to participate in all the sports at school. Do you realize how hectic that is for our family? When I try to limit it, they cry and complain that other kids parents let them do this, and they fear they will be rejected and pushed out of the circle of popularity. Sports is a good thing and has many positive features in its activities. However, it seems that in this country it has become an inordinate preoccupation. All year long some go from one sport to another. It becomes the main manner of socializing, and for some, it has become a necessary escape from the pain of modern life, and the distressing conflicts in contemporary society. It can lead to a significant disorder in the relationships and the well-being of family life. It seems for some it has reached the level of an idol or false god. For some, it has replaced the priority of worship of God on the Lord’s Day, and the good of rest and being with those we love the most.

The joy in living God’s will can be found with several keys:

Here is a key way of determining where I find the temptations to give in to the negative spirit of the world in my daily life: Where are my excessive and inordinate attachments in my life? Is it food, sex, physical exercise, excessive need for comfort and protection, compulsive need to be loved and accepted by others, hidden seeking of approval from others, inordinate fear of rejection, power and control over others, inordinate personal relationships, excessive use of I phones, androids, iPads and other technologies,  workaholism, inordinate need to accomplish, acquiring excessive possessions, living a life of  false pretensions and undealt with addictions, erroneous religious practice and attachment to rigid religious structure without highlighting a personal love and knowledge of God,  etc.

All of these things can contribute to or be containers of a spirit of worldliness. And these challenges directly pertains to knowing and following God’s will in my daily life.  Returning to the preparation Jesus gave to his disciples at the Last Supper. Just as Jesus prepared and pre-planned for his disciples by way of sending them the Holy Spirit, who will teach them all truth and give to them the strength to be the chosen, called, committed, and faithful against the spirit of the world.

And to ensure the disciples that they will have all that is needed to fulfill their mission as they establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They will be empowered with the Spirit and given the wisdom, gifts, and skills the active dynamic presence of Jesus in the world. No small task!

The preplanning of Jesus includes us. We are humbled and privileged to participate in the same empowerment and gifts which sustained the Apostles. Therefore, we are called daily to do the will of God as active agents in renewing the life of the Gospel in the Church, in our families, and in all the situations of our human life, all the decisions, choices, and behaviors.

The joy in living God’s will is shown at the wedding feast of Cana.

It is one thing to hear this taught or preached, but it is another thing to learn how to do it! What is the next step in this process to make doing the will of God a practical thing in our life? It seems we should cut to the chase in this matter. Early in the ministry of Jesus Mary tells the servants to do what Jesus tells them. They did and the water was changed into wine at the wedding feast of Cana.

Therefore, this gives us the basic principle of action, do what Jesus tells us! How do I know what he is telling me? There are some things about doing the will of God which are not hard to understand. But how do I know it is the will of God?  What is it like to listen to the Lord and discern what to do? It seems to me it is easy to make mistakes in this attempt, that possibility makes me nervous. How do I know it is the Lord who is speaking to me? I have always tended to rely on myself in making decisions rather than on God. I was brought up that way. Sometimes I know what God wants, but when and how should I put it into action? There are many questions for sure, let’s get started to try and get as much clarity in this matter as possible.

As we begin the practical considerations of doing God’s will, it is good to remember that the principle of grace always invites us to make good changes in our life. It is a known principle in the life of grace that God gives sufficient grace for whatever he asks us to do.  In view of the original sin of humankind, both personal and social, we tend to our sin and weakness and discover that to do the good is always a struggle. This encounter with the world, the flesh, and the devil the early Church Fathers called spiritual warfare. The psalmist reminds us that our call is to surrender to God and he will do everything for us.

May we turn from evil, learn to do God’s will; the Lord will strengthen us if we obey him. “ If you trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live in the land and be secure. If you find your delight in the Lord he will grant your heart’s desire…commit your life to the Lord, trust in him and he will act so that your justice breaks forth like the light, your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait in patience…Then turn away from evil and do good and you shall have a home forever; for the Lord loves justice and will never forsake his friends”, see Psalm 37: 3-7a.

The areas in our life where it is relatively easy to know God’s will: All Christians know where to go and what to do to find and know what is God’s will and where it is revealed for them. Every Christian needs to be born again from above by water and the Holy Spirit. This experience initiates us into what we know to be life and union with God unto salvation. God reveals himself in a special way through the Old Testament Covenant to the Israelite People. God revealed the natural law as the way he wanted humankind to live. The Old Testament Covenant given to a special people is called the Ten Commandments. Jesus makes it very clear that he did not come to set aside the Old Testament Covenant, but he came to bring it to fulfillment in the New Testament Covenant in his very person through faith in him. The New Testament reveals what Jesus taught and did in his ministry, And his wonderful life culminated in the Paschal Mystery; his Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and confirmed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Here in lies the vast majority of God’s will for all the Christian People. In our present day and age, it is manifested in various churches and communities. If you really want to know God’s will for your life pray and read the Word of God,  both the Old and New Testament. And become very familiar with the authentic teaching of the Christian community within which you were baptized and have made the necessary commitments. Given this reality which is a good thing! It does not completely answer the day by day practical discernment in one’s daily life.

Need patience and good discernment to do God’s will:   “Be patient, therefore brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient, make your hearts firm…”, see Ja. 5: 7-9. God wants happiness for all. Yet there is the uncertainty of life, its complete dependence on God, and the necessity of submitting to God’s will to help us know and do God’s will and what is right, you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. In terms of what we are going to do, “If the Lord wills we shall do this or that,” this is the condition we should employ to qualify all our plans.

It is part of the personal vision of our life, which we should consider before making choices and decisions for all our plans. In many ways, it is not that difficult to know God’s will in a given set of circumstances. The important thing is to be prayerfully seeking it. The grace of discernment each Christian receives in baptism and in the actual graces that one has because of their personal relationship with the Lord. These gifts are tremendously helpful in knowing practically what God’s will is in a given situation. The charism of the discernment of spirits aids us in knowing if a desire for a particular action is coming from a selfish part of me, or is a deception or temptation from the evil one, or is coming from an inspiration from God, specifically the Holy Spirit.

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but put the spirits to a test to see if they belong to God because many false prophets have appeared in the world. This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, while every spirit that fails to acknowledge him does not belong to God. Such is the spirit of the antichrist which, as you have heard, is to come; in fact, it is in the world already”, see 1 Jn. 4:1-3.

Now here is the “kicker” and presents quite a challenge for one from time to time. Let me give an example here: In the last five years, I have moved every four or five months to a year to different locations eight times. In every one of those situations, by praying and discerning the circumstances I pretty easily received a sense of what the Lord’s will was. However, there are three aspects necessary to know and carry out the will of the Lord in practical ways. The first is to have a moral certitude, a relative certitude or knowledge of what the Lord wants. The second is to know when to put something into action, and the third is how to go about doing it.

For the most part, after embracing the physical and emotional challenge, being in my later years of life, I knew pretty much what the Lord wanted. Because I tend to look to the future a great deal, I would naturally expect a flexible time frame in regard to action. I would usually get a sense that it was time for a partial action. I thought I would hear, or get a sense that the Lord wanted me to pack, it is time to pack! Yes. In over half of the cases I would spend the next two or three months taking items out of storage containers that I needed to use. I really made mistakes in knowing when to move to action. The how is usually a little easier to handle because things in that realm tend to eventually come together. I would say my track record in doing all three aspects of doing the Lord’s will consistently and accurately is not perfect.

Its okay to make mistakes, it doesn’t make the Lord unhappy, but it is personally humiliating, significantly inconvenient, and sometimes costly. The more we practice discernment in knowing and doing God’s will, the better we get at it. The main problem seems to be to learn how to listen to the Lord’s various means of communicating to us.

And by all means, it is important to consult other qualified people about the matter, especially those who are qualified to give good advice and spiritual discernment, at least in important decisions. Also, we need to learn how to let the Lord lead, and then as a humble disciple to follow behind. The Lord will lead and show us what to do if we are patient and give him a chance. “In waiting and in calm is your salvation, in quiet and trust your strength lies.”, see Isaiah 30: 15. A really important thing to keep in mind is that the circumstances of one’s life are a significant way the Lord communicates his will. When we seek and ask him He will give us guidance and direction in regard to the practical doing of God’s will in the practical arena of our reality.

It really is a matter of listening, discerning, and obediently acting in trust and faith. May we return to the wedding feast of Cana. “They have no wine!” This statement was really hard for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. On one hand, she was full of compassionate love for the young married couple who were running out of wine. A huge embarrassment!  On another level, she knew in her heart discernment that it was time for Jesus to begin his short ministry. It met for her stepping on to the road which would lead to his death. Jesus may have thought to himself, I never do anything unless the Father is working. Jesus says, “woman what is this to you and to me? My hour (his journey to his death and resurrection) has not yet come? Maybe in her heart, she said to the Father, “Oh no Father, please, not now!” Yes, Mary Now! Discerning and knowing what the Father wanted:  Mary told the servants, do whatever he tells you! Jesus knew then, this is the will of my Father, and he told the servants to fill up the water jars with water, go and give them to the chief steward. And the water became wine initiating the will of the Father, the beginning of the final years of Jesus historical life on earth.

And the chief steward said this is amazing most guests give the best wine to their guests first, and after the cheaper wine later. But you have saved the best wine until now! God’s will always does it better than our mere human initiative. In this incident, Jesus knew the will of the Father. In Mary’s question, he discerned the time, now! And he knew it and he did it. It is time for me to begin my hour, the short journey on the road to Calvary, and the accomplishment of salvation for humankind! Knowledge, discernment, and action because of the will of the Father, see Jn. 2:1-11. I would very much like to point out that this discernment process was right in the middle of a marriage situation. It wasn’t in a church basement preparing for a catechetical program. Although that also would be a wonderful time to use a practical discernment process.

Discernment is always easier if we have experienced some degree of spiritual renewal and empowerment by the Spirit. In addition to the overall context mentioned above, discernment of God’s will for my life becomes real when it happens within the context of my vocational life. What is the vocation I choose that specifies the journey of my life unto salvation? In this context the discernment of God’s will in my choices and decisions becomes a frequent occurrence; it is helpful if I grow in mature self-knowledge, and learn the method. If I am living a life of prayer, and always strive to hear the voice of the Lord. I will naturally and supernaturally grow mature in knowing, hearing, discerning, and doing the will of God in my life.

May We Pray!

Father, we thank you for the beautiful gift of your merciful love. It is important to us that we know you will, hear your voice, and do what you ask. You have called us at this time in the Church and world to be the disciples and servants of your Son Jesus. Just as you equipped you Son, Jesus with everything that he needed to do your will. We humbly ask you, your weak and humble servants, to live out your will in our life and in the life of my family. Banish fear, laziness, and pride from our lives. And grant to us the gifts which will bring love, joy, and truth to our brothers and sisters. We confidently beseech you these requests in and through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

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After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

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God’s Will While Living The Gospel

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.

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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.


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After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family

Growing Spiritually Serving Others

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growing spiritually serving othersTools for Growing Spiritually Serving Others

Episode #17

In this episode, we will explore ways to grow spiritually and serving others.

Show Notes: Tools for Growth in Serving Others

In the First Letter of John, the writer speaks of the anointing we who are baptized have from Christ. “But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you have knowledge…As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you everything and is true and not false, just as it taught you, remain in him.” (1 Jn.2: 20-27)

The “anointing” referred to here is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the baptized, source of wisdom and understanding. The Jerusalem Catechizes, presented in the Liturgy on the Octave of Easter Friday also speaks about the anointing with the Holy Spirit.

“When we were baptized into Christ and clothed ourselves in him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God. Having destined us to be his adopted sons and daughters, God gave us a likeness to Christ in his glory, and living as we do in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones.” When he said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us…But we too have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing, we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life.

This year we are now in the midst of celebrating the great season of the Pascal Mystery. It is the heart and core of the life and power of our Christian life. As Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, during the Vatican Council II,  the Paschal Mystery is the heart and center of the Council’s teaching, and as such is the heart and core of a Christian’s life. How should we view this very clear teaching in relationship to the Church’s Grace of Renewal? In the spiritual renewal movements, the approach is usually a seminar which prepares one to be prayed for “a new empowerment of the Holy Spirit.” There is plenty of evidence of the wonderful things that happen for a person who has had this experience, and if one feels drawn in that direction of renewal, seeking to receive an empowerment of the Holy Spirit, a new special grace of spiritual refreshment, I highly encourage it.

However, I am proposing a different approach to a similar reality, which I have called the spiritual experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. The basic scriptural reference that I suggest is the Easter Sunday night experience of the disciples gathered in the upper room, recorded in St. John’s Gospel (Jn.20: 19-23). The heart and core of this approach is the full gamut of the Paschal Mystery, which includes the sending of the Spirit by the Father and Jesus. Certainly, we would need a preparation program including a series of teachings. The prayer of spiritual anointing and commissioning at its conclusion could be termed, the Baptism of the Spirit in the Paschal Mystery. The starting point of the threefold empowerment of the Resurrection, the Cross, and the Spirit would be the experience of the Glorified Risen Lord and Savior. It would also certainly include the empowerment of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts.

It is with this understanding in which I am presenting four opportunities to provide for others some tools for growth. In a previous reflective teaching, I presented some tools that focused on spiritual growth for individuals. Now in this teaching, I want to present a few tools that focus on group opportunities for others who may be seeking a relational program that is ongoing and growth producing in holiness of life. This reflective podcast teaching is going to concentrate on four opportunities which the podcast sponsors or supports for serving the spiritual growth of other brothers and sisters. In outreach, to others, this teaching is going to review the possibilities of serving a person or a group of individuals, who may want to be in relationship with others for the ways and means of spiritual growth and/or service to others. These four opportunities are ways of doing Evangelization.

The first tool which we want to consider is Power Focused Intercession. This means of growth, healing, and empowerment for others is looked at in some of the other podcast presentations. (The Path to Spiritual Freedom) Some of us may feel a real disconnect when we pray for others, or In the “Universal Prayers of the Faithful,” when it is hard to connect with the petitions. So we may settle for a dry cerebral or a disconnected prayer. We don’t seem to have a dynamic connection with the individual or group we are praying for.

This doesn’t mean that our intellectual prayer recitations for others are not blessed by God, they are! But what we want to try and do is proclaim and promote that we can have a connected grace-filled experience when we pray for others, which comes from our hearts and is experientially based. Where real change and miraculous results in the lives for whom we pray are happening.

Recognizing that in this approach we are exercising the beautiful truth that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and Jesus wants to give to us an invitation to join him in ministering a powerful happening in grace for the benefit of others. The key is in knowing how to connect up with the powerful working of the glorified Lord’s grace for the specific needs of an individual or group.

The simple formula: I am sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you. I take limitless responsibility for all that has happened to you! Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. Now before we are tempted to begin a rationalization that finds some difficulties, let’s take a look at how this formula is prayed in a direct union with the Lord himself.

We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, by virtue of our water Baptism. We are in a dynamic personal relationship with the glorified Lord Jesus and one another. We are all the Body of Christ. This truth is the foundational truth in which we begin our intercession for another person or group.

The night of the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, who had already ascended to the right hand of the Father appears and says, Peace be with you! (Shalom!) It is done! I have accomplished it all! It is over and done with! Jesus gives the disciples and us the full experience of the Paschal Mystery. He breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit…”, and commissions them to do also with others what he has accomplished and gives to them, and he will do it in them! In Romans chapter 8 it says, that both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us.

When we express our sorrow for the person we are praying for, we immediately leave our mere human desire and place ourselves in the heavenly plane; in total union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have just entered the supernatural realm. We then picture the person or group we are praying for and we enter into union with our glorified Lord and all that this means in light of that event, the Lord does the actual intercession, reparation, atonement prayer in which we are with him for he has accomplished it all!

So when we take limitless responsibility we are doing so in union with the Lord. So we should never take on the negative or destructive attitudes of the one we are praying for. So as we say, “please forgive me” it is the Lord who is acting in power. When we say I love you we are doing so truly with our human ability but now joined with the love of the Lord for that person. In this is the power we have of sharing in a miraculous power of love to change and heal another human being. And when we say “I thank You” we are “divinely” acting to affirm and identify the full purpose in which God has created that person.

This prayer of “power focused prayer” is a ministry and mystery of Love! When this procedure is a Spirit-led Experience and performed primarily with the heart, one will actually feel the powerful presence of the Lord working in a mysterious manner. Now, this is so good! When one does this prayer of cleansing, the individual will also feel the cleansing and healing going on in oneself. Therefore, while we are doing this mission of love for another person, the Lord is doing a work of tender healing and cleansing in the one praying. “Two sides of the same coin” The way to really learn the experiential truth of all this is by practice, practice, practice! The more we do this the more we are drawn into the power and the more we experience the cleansing power in our own life.

Unbound Ministry: An approach to healing and deliverance that fits well in Catholic Life: The approach to healing and deliverance which seems to fit best in the ambient of the Catholic Church is the ministry developed by Neal and Janet Lozano entitled “Unbound Ministry.”

It follows a similar approach to the general basics of praying with individuals for healing and deliverance. However, its uniqueness consists in the fact that the ministry operates from a position of “non-confrontational deliverance,” and the recipient of the ministry does the renunciation and takes personal authority of the specific aspects of personal evil. It uses common sense and the exercise of practical wisdom, which does not permit one to fight with evil spirits, but ministers truth in love to the recipient. In short, it is a ministry of evangelization, which provides deliverance from personal evil, and also aids the recipient in receiving spiritual healing and the gift of genuine freedom. Essentially it involves the “five keys to spiritual freedom”:

  1. The first key is to stand in the experience and truth of faith and practice life-giving repentance.
  2. The second key involves forgiveness: seeking forgiveness from God, forgiving others, and forgiving oneself. It also means giving forgiveness to others in all situations of life where I have been hurt or offended. The follow through in this key is after forgiveness then let things go and surrender them to the Lord, the icing on the cake is praying for those who have sinned against and hurt me. The fourfold features of completed forgiveness. Because all four are exercised it brings closure in the process of forgiveness.
  3. The third key is the acknowledging and renouncing in the name of Jesus, the identified attitudes and the spirits of darkness, which have been oppressing, harassing and working in one’s life.
  4. The fourth key is taking authority in the name of Jesus over these entities and commanding them to leave.
  5. The fifth key is finally praying with the recipient for the Father’s love and blessing. This blessing confers grace for the recipient in which they experience that they are a beloved son or daughter of the Father, and they are especially loved by God.

Fire Groups: A source for helping people make changes in their life, and living the Christ-Life.

Fire by its very nature has the ability to make changes in things. However, it is primarily used symbolically in Scripture. One may recall Moses seeing the bush on fire but not burning up; representing God’s awesome holiness. It purifies one from the dross of sin. It illuminates the mind and enables one to see what is pleasing to God. In the human person, the symbol of fire illuminates the mind, energies of the will, and gives strength to the soul. In relationship to personal holiness, it inflames us with love.

In the recent past in this country FIRE was used as an acronym to identify changing ones life and living a new life in Christ. At this time it is useful to identify a flexible small group opportunity that meets occasionally to help one another grow more deeply in the Lord.

A salient feature in a small fire group is this:

F stands for Faith; I stands for all the forms of Intercession. R stands for life-giving Repentance. E stands for Evangelization and doing mercy work. These four topics are joined as one, and they represent a process of opportunities for growing in Christian maturity. So FIRE represents a small group fellowship. These groups could be made available to those who are interested. These groups would be useful for spiritual growth, formation, and transformation

Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups: Fields of Compassion.

I served at Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1968 until 1990. In those years the Friars, members of the faculty, students, and members of the lay community worked together to develop spiritual renewal. Individuals at that time were trying to grow in holiness and serve others to grow in holiness and human maturity. Many were talking about “eating right” and losing weight and bemoaning the frustration of consistent failures in their sincere attempts. Someone mentioned about a group program started in the Boston area that claimed to be very successful in achieving the goal of weight loss. It was called, “Diet, Discipline, and Discipleship.”

Some decided to research and then provide the opportunity for those who desired to develop this approach of small groups, where individuals kept track, openly reported results and failures, and were held weekly accountable. The results were amazing! Individuals lost weight easily and consistently. The success of this communal relational endeavor was quite impressive. One of the lessons of this group centered accomplishment was the huge success that happened when individuals quit trying on one’s own and joined in a group effort.

The Church in this country is just beginning to appreciate the value of small fellowship groups developed to aid one in growing in Christian holiness and maturity. “Evangelizing Catholic Culture” Podcast will eventually be providing two types of small group fellowships for the purpose of growth and support in the Christian life. The first one is FIRE Growth Groups mentioned above, and the second one is Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups. The Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups are designed to help individuals grow in living a committed Gospel form of life. The MCFG’s are designed to provide a flexible formation experience as a modern penitent, to assist individuals to grow and share one’s faith, and training to do some type of evangelization or mercy service. Who may want to take a look at this opportunity?

  1. Anyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus, and feels called to deepen their skills in prayer and outreach to others.
  2. Anyone who wants to grow in the use of the spiritual gifts and qualities of mercy by practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
  3. Anyone who enjoys prayer and desires personal transformation, and formation in the life of grace.
  4. Anyone who wants to grow more comfortable and skilled in sharing their personal faith story.

May We Pray!

Lord, we trust in your abundant Mercy and ask that you would fill our hearts with the desire to grow in holiness. May the Holy Spirit move us to become aflame with a desire to bring your love and mercy to those we serve. As missionary disciples give us a willingness to reach out to those who are suffering and struggling to live a happy life in this post-modern world. Let the joy of the Gospel and our humble acts of mercy bring your goodness and love to others. We ask this prayer of our Father who is ever ready to lead us more deeply into a union with Jesus Christ, his beloved Son. Amen,



Daily Spiritual Growth Tools

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Daily Spiritual Growth ToolsDaily Spiritual Growth Tools

Episode 16


Some tools for Daily Spiritual Growth

“Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness is born of truth. (Ephesians 4: 23-24) Over the last 50 years or so I have met a good number of sincere and well-meaning people who genuinely desire to grow and mature as a Christian. A high percentage of these individuals have experienced significant times of profound graces of conversion, but for various reasons seemed unable to follow through with the necessary activity to grow in the gift of living life in the kingdom of God.

In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is traveling from town to town preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Many had come from the surrounding town’s and a large crowd had gathered. Jesus spoke in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold. After he said this, he called out “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.”

Later, when his disciples asked Jesus about the parable, he said to them.” This is the meaning of the parable: “The seed is the word of God, Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground, are those who when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, bear fruit through perseverance…take care then how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Lk. 8: 4-18)  

Living faithfully the way of life I have committed myself to live as a Christian. For some this will be living a “Catholic Way of Life”, for others it will be living according to the requirements of the Denomination or Christian group to which I belong. These commitments are fulfilled specifically in light of the permanent vocation which I have chosen for my personal life. The Christian life is not the life of “a lone ranger”, but a life in community. As I grow in faithfulness to these commitments, I receive an abundance of opportunities to grow in holiness and maturity.

The development of a frequent or daily personal prayer time. Please review the podcast reflection entitled, “A Frequent Personal Prayer Time”. The goal of the Christian is not just to have a frequent personal prayer time. The goal is to live a life of prayer. The key to this reality is to have an ever growing personal relationship of love with Jesus. For the Christian, this experience is lived in relationship with the Father who draws us to live in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many written materials for practical advice designed to establish this objective.

A frequent reading for prayerful study of The Word of God. Almost all the Church Fathers and current writers in the Christian life give strong encouragement for a frequent reading of Scripture, both the Old and New Testament. Our life lived in a Holistic Contemplative Spiritual Journey bears abundant fruit, in light of the fact that each one of us is called to be holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Our beloved Father calls each of his children to be formed as sons and daughters by the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The method that best accomplishes this objective is called “Lectio Divina”. In this practice, one takes a short Biblical story or selection from Scripture, reads it slowly and meditatively, and then spends a period of time in conversation, communication, and the experience of communion with our Lord. Realizing it essentially involves being in the presence of the Lord, and listening to how and what he speaks to us!

Designing a Spiritual Growth Plan for my life. The Spiritual Growth Plan is a flexible tool which assists one in growing in the spiritual life and aids in the development of personal maturity. This plan relates to keeping my priorities in good order. For example, I may be spending an inordinate amount of time, on say point number five which is serving in building the Kingdom of the Lord or church work. However, I may be spending very little time with my children. A spiritual plan helps me become aware of this neglect and aids me in making the necessary adjustment in my priorities. The key issue that I may want to ask myself is this, am I generally experiencing a balance in my growth in holiness, my responsibilities, and human maturity? The aim here is to develop a flexible, adjustable, plan that fits my situation, and which I frequently and honestly evaluate. It is important in designing a spiritual growth plan that I am very specific, direct, honest, and patient with myself. I realize that I can keep this personal plan private if I choose.

A Model

Is my relationship with God, my number one priority, in a good place at this time in my life? Do I have a decent prayer time identified in my schedule? Do I frequently use Scripture, and open to use other meaningful devotions? Am I disciplined in my life, and practice the responsible virtue of “self-control”; avoiding inordinate excesses?

Are my personal relationships going well? Am I faithful to my church commitments? Do I spend the right amount of time with my key relationships? Do I participate in a bi-weekly or monthly small group which is supportive and life-giving? Is my work and service relationships in a good place, and in a consistent balance?  Am I free from frequent negative or sinful communication with others? Am I wise in choosing good friends who are supportive of me in my way of life?

Am I willing to do the necessary study, using all the contemporary technologies at hand, which will joyfully and peacefully assist my personal growth, and demonstrate a generous service and cooperation with others?

Am I avoiding spiritual narcissism (excessive preoccupation with spiritual matters) by concentrating on good solid communication at work, in my professional life, service projects, and ministry?

Am I generous in serving others by sharing my faith, doing mercy work, and choosing good projects according to my gifts and talents? Am I also willing to do service which will stretch me in ways in which I feel uncomfortable when I am asked?

Again being reasonable is the key: Do I take the time for exercise, recreation, good opportunities with others? Am I responsible to take good care of my health, nutritional eating is the modern way of fasting, get the necessary rest, and take the “down time” when I need it and do I enjoy my social opportunities and vacations times?

Community and Interconnection. This consideration involves the gift and sacredness of being human. When God created me as a human he gifted me with the joy of intimacy, the happiness of sharing, and the pain of sacrificial love. These values embody the second great commandment: Love in action is the continuous discernment between truth and compassion. Speaking the truth without compassion is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as possible violence. Acting compassionately without truth is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as enabling, allowing others to continue their own destructive patterns. Each life situation will ask me to discern what kind of action I must take in order to do the most loving thing—and my action will not be without personal cost. When in doubt, I must err on the side of compassion. (Matthew 12: 1-8; James 2: 13 – Mercy triumphs over judgment). (Fr. Bernie Tickerhoof)

May We Pray!

Lord, I pray that you would give me the resolve and strength to design a spiritual growth plan that is a simple, flexible, concise and effective. I desire to use everything which will help me grow in Christian holiness and equip with the means to generously serve those you have brought into my life. I know Jesus, that holiness is wholeness, and I ask you with the help of the Holy Spirit to inspire me to move forward in a sincere and generous effort to become the best servant of mercy that I can be. I pray this prayer in your name, Jesus. Amen.





Sharing Christian Faith

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sharing christian faithSharing Christian Faith

Episode 15

Practical Ways for Sharing One’s Faith

Sharing Christian faith isn’t always easy. There are a number of ways to do evangelization. One could participate in a program for preparing individuals to practice evangelization such as Christ-Life or Alpha. It is also possible to go through a training program in order to do “street evangelization” or one-on-one personal evangelization. Even some of the current ministries of healing focus on doing evangelization.

How does sharing your Christian faith work in your life?

However, this presentation is concerned with doing evangelization using the method of personal faith sharing in small groups, which can also be applied to personal relationship based evangelization. Therefore, we need to know what specific content of our personal witness and the method that we use when we are sharing.

For example, several years ago two piolets were flying a commercial plane from somewhere on the east coast to the Minneapolis airport. They flew 150 miles past the airport and were immediately fired. How did this happen? The newspaper reported after the inquiry, that they were joking with one another and messing with their personal computers. They missed the vector, a signal that comes from the airport of destination to the airplane that guides the plane to the right airport. When we do evangelization or faith-sharing in small groups we need to know what approach we use, and what content we should share in order to make this opportunity effective and fruitful for the recipient(s) for whom one is giving their personal witness.

From the viewpoint of sharing one’s faith in a small group, it important to understand that if we are going to share our personal faith we need to personally experience what we believe, live it, and understand what we are about to share. It is also important to be attentive to where the others in the group are coming from. Our first consideration is to try and make sure that we have a balanced understanding of the model of Church within which we will approach the sharing of the Good News of the Gospel. In reflecting on this matter in my own life I did a little study of the models of the Church, a book written by Cardinal Avery Dulles, a well know Jesuit theologian who died several years ago.

I specifically consulted a summary of these models of the Church written by Chris Castaldo in regard to the expanded edition written in  2002. This section of the recording may be a little heavy, so listening to this part several times may be a good idea. Since we are currently moving in the Church from the position of seeing evangelization to be giving a good example only to doing various forms of faith sharing and personally witnessing to the Resurrection of Jesus, we need to consider the various models of viewing the Church, some are more conducive to personal evangelization and faith sharing than others.

The first model, Church as Institution, defines the Church primarily in terms of its visible structures, especially the rights and powers of its officers. It is called a hierarchical form of Church government and emphasizes its nature as a visible and palpable community. As instruments of God’s sacraments, the priesthood opens and shuts the valves of divine grace, and is rooted in the apostolic life passed down by Christ’s disciples. The strength of the institutional model is in its public, visible manifestations of solidarity. It presents a tangible communion of faith. The weakness of this model is that it may become rigid, doctrinaire, and conformist. Cardinal Dulles explains that this model must not be primarily because of its nature; structures are subordinate to persons and life.

The church as Mystical Communion: According to this model, the church consists of faithful men and women who are bound together by their participation in God’s Spirit through the living glorified Christ. The nature of this unity is not institutional but “Spirit-filled”, communal, and personal. The goal of this model is a spiritual or supernatural one. The church aims to lead its members into communion with the divine. It is a communion of persons, primarily interior but also expressed by external bonds of creed, worship, and ecclesiastical fellowship. The bond of unity, in this model, consists of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the external bonds are also important.

The Church as Sacrament: This model brings the others closer together, retaining structure while also promoting dynamic spiritual life. Accordingly, the church as a sacrament is a sign and transmitter of God’s grace to the world. As an embodiment of the grace that it signifies, the Church exists as the presence of God to the nations. Another important element of this model highlights and affirms that the sacraments are communal realities and not individual transactions. Nobody baptizes, absolves, or anoints himself. It is unthinkable for the Eucharist to be celebrated in solitude. The reality of grace corresponds to human nature and is relational. A man comes into the world as a member of a family, a race, a people. He comes to maturity through an encounter with others. Sacraments, therefore have a relational nature. They take place in the mutual interaction that invites the people to achieve a spiritual breakthrough that they could not achieve in isolation. A sacrament, therefore, is a socially constituted or communal symbol of the presence of grace coming to fulfillment. This is the strength of this model. The weakness is that it has little warranty in Scripture and in the early tradition of the Church, and could lead to a sterile practice and almost an isolated and narcissistic form of contemplation by a few.

The Church as Herald: The herald model related to the proclamation. The herald model differs from the others in that it makes the ‘word’ primary and the ‘sacrament’ secondary. It sees the Church as gathered and formed by the word of God. The mission of the Church is to proclaim that which it has heard, believed, and been commissioned to proclaim. This model looks upon the Church as a herald—one who received an official message from the commission to pass it on. The heart of this model of Church is the activity of calling its members to renewal and reform. The strength of this model is its emphasis on the message of the gospel and the pursuit of the Great Commission (evangelization). Its weakness is that it can often be devoid of incarnational service (mercy work). This can result in appearing merely as ideas without tangible reality. This is especially obvious when it focuses too exclusively on the witness to the neglect of action. It may become too reluctant to give human effort to establish a better human society in this life.

The Church as Servant: The servant model asserts that the Church should consider itself a part of the total human family, sharing the same concerns as the rest of men. Following in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord, the Suffering Servant. The Church announces the coming of the Kingdom not only in word, through preaching, and proclamation, but more particularly in work, in her ministry of reconciliation, of binding up wounds, suffering service, or healing. The Lord was the man for others, and so must the Church be the community for others. The weakness of the servant model is that it can get so caught up in “this world activity” that is would compromise the biblical deposit of faith which Christians are called to guard. I recall a Sister who was preparing about 20 young enthusiastic college girls for a mission trip. After a great deal of training, she said to them, now we must look at the Christian motivation behind all this, and they said, “what do we need to do that for”?

Integrating the models: Each model offers insights and positive contributions to our understanding of the Church. When the most genuinely biblical qualities are preserved from each model and integrated together, we realize a more balanced vision of the Church. Each of them (the five models) brings out certain and important qualities. The institutional model makes it clear that the Church must be a structured community and it must remain the kind of community Christ founded. Such a community would have to include a pastoral office equipped with authority to preside over the worship of the community as such to prescribe the limits of tolerable dissent, and to represent the community in an official way. The mystical community model is evident that the Church must be united to God by grace and that in the strength of that grace its members must be lovingly united to one another. The sacramental model brings home the idea that the Church in its most visible aspects—especially in its community prayer and worship—be a sign of the continuing vitality of the grace of Christ and for the hope of the redemption that he promises. The proclaiming model points out the necessity for the Church to continue to herald the Gospel and to move men to put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The servant model points up the urgency of making the Church contribute to the transformation of the secular life of man, and of impregnating human society as a whole with the values of the Kingdom of God. The sacramental model is the most comprehensive because of its ease in integrating the best elements in the other four models. The goal here is to experience a balancing integration of all five models in order that various groups, big and small, become communities of disciples of Jesus inspired with a missionary spirit.

Here is a little test:  A number of years ago I participated in an evangelization training program. After three days of class and group discussions, the members of the program were divided up into units of two. We were sent to a local mall and moved in different directions. It was directed by the leaders that we should respectfully approach individuals and attempt to share our personal faith with them; hoping that we learned some things that they taught us in our sessions. I have to admit that I was feeling a bit nervous and hesitant. I was with an older woman who had an outgoing personality. We both entered the section of the mall where there were seats for people to sit around. On one bench there was an older man sitting by himself. In a moment the well-intentioned woman went over to him and sat down beside him. She introduced herself and then launched into a series of questions about his faith. These questions were aimed at his specific denomination and his attendance and participation at church. I could sense that he was a little non-pulsed, after a few moments he turned to her and said, “ Lady, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, let’s just leave it at that! What model of church was my colleague coming from in her good intention to share her faith?

May We Pray!

Father, we experience a tremendous blessing from you in giving us the gift of you Son, Jesus. In your Word, Father you led your Son Jesus to found the Community of Believers call the Church. This gift to us is a great means for Salvation. It is in ecclesial communities in which we find great love of you and your Son. For those of us praying on the above reflection may we deeply appreciate the abundant graces which you bring about by the work of the Holy Spirit in all our Christian communities, where you are glorified and the name of your Son Jesus is know as our Lord and Savior. Amen.




Power Focused Prayer

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power focused prayerPower Focused Prayer

Episode 14

Part One — podcast here

Power focused prayer brings everything in relationship to forgiveness to complete freedom. I want to repeat the summary of this approach which was in The Fire of Forgiveness One. This process leads to complete freedom in relation to forgiveness:

1) A sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) Willing to receive the necessary ministry that surfaces surrounding the forgiveness situation

3) Letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved in the forgiveness itself, and those things that have surfaced around the forgiveness

4) power prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness let us experience complete freedom.

Some things to think about generated by the content of what I just presented: After going through each step of the process check to see if the negative attitudes and hurts are gone. The memories may still be there, but they have lost the power to hurt or wound. The memories may gradually fade naturally away over time. Be open to understanding that the forgiveness process may need more than one episode of forgiving prayer. Also, consider that the process may happen by uncovering subsequent levels.

This could be the case in long-standing abuse or hurts by others. In some situations, the thought of betrayal or of the wounds “triggers” unhealed hurts, attitudes, and wounds in other areas of the person. For example, the thought of the current event brings up other deep negative feelings; say of self-pity. Self-pity is a subtle form of self-hatred or self- rejection. The feelings of self-pity anesthetizes our pain and it makes us feel good so we indulge in self-pity. Maybe we have a problem with anger that makes us feel vengeful or victimized, so we compulsively want to get back at the one who hurt us. These real issues may not necessarily be directly related to forgiveness.

Therefore, we may need some simple deliverance or healing in adjacent areas so that our freedom from forgiveness can take hold. And power focused prayer for those who have hurt us can bring freedom in our heart by some self-healing prayer. Also, some of us by our upbringing and training may have a struggle with anxious perfectionism, for which there may be a need for some spiritual ministry or pastoral attention beyond the forgiveness process because these painful issues are deeply rooted in our human personhood, they may automatically surface significant other areas which need healing.

If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. Let this be the pattern for all when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you. Therefore, let prayer, penitential sacrifice, and mercy be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor. With this offering of sacrifice, the Lord will receive it as an offering, for this kind of a sacrifice to God is a broken wounded spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Liturgical Prayer, Vol. 2, pgs. 231-232; penitential sacrifice replaces the word fasting.)

Offer yourself to God, make him an oblation of your penitential sacrifice, so that you may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God, “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12: 1-3)

A suggested approach for complete freedom through forgiveness:  I mentioned above four steps necessary in order for a person to experience complete spiritual freedom in relation to significant forgiveness. I would like to present a suggestion which would be connected to the fourth step, which is, power-focused prayer for individuals I have forgiven. This approach can easily be used for praying for others for atonement, forgiveness, reparation, intercession. I use the term “power focused” because it has remarkable results in bringing about change in the lives of those we pray for. It is a procedure for cleansing, healing, mercy, and conversion. I am going to present a simple formula, and then I will give further commentary on the specifics.

First, we place ourselves in the presence of the Divine Merciful Love of God. Then we picture the person or group we want to pray or do intercession for. Even though I am praying for a particular person we directly address this formula to the presence of the Divine in my prayer for a particular person or group.  And we say, I am very sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you in this particular situation and in your whole life. At this point you have just stepped up into CELP, the compassionate evoking love power of the Divine, thus God’s love becomes the primary and proactive power in this process of forgiveness. I take complete concern and total responsibility for everything you have experienced   

This doesn’t mean that you take on any guilt or negative experiences of the person you are praying for; it simply means that you have become one with the Divine power of the prayer. I sincerely ask you to please forgive me!  This action brings the healing power of the Lord to the recipient of the prayer, and secondarily, but really to you as well. I love you very much, and I thank you for everything.

When you pray this prayer, you become a conduit for the Divine power of the Father, Son, and Spirit to act in the recipient’s life, and yours as well. This procedure should be a Spirit-led experience done with your heart, primarily open for inspiration, rather than your mind. You have placed yourself in the Divine Connection so now the powerful love of the Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit is intimately and proactively present to the person or group you are praying for. When you say “I love you” you are bringing and sharing the infinite love of God for the person you are praying for. When you pray “Thank You” you are grateful for the unique and special person that God has created them to be in this new creation.


O Lord spur us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and though time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.

Even now, in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to your, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of you merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you!. We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

Fire For Forgiveness

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fire of forgivenssThe Fire of Forgiveness

You may not think about the “fire of forgiveness when you think about this Scripture. When Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud: “For your name sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us…For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. But with a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received, so let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly, for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, and we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord” (Daniel 3: 25, the prayer in the fiery furnace)

Today we are going to talk about compassion evoking love power as a primary gift of forgiveness and healing is given by the Lord to the Church. The key of receiving many transforming favors from the Lord is centered in “wholehearted forgiveness”. We see this directly taught by Jesus in the parable of the unjust steward: Peter asks Jesus how often, seven times, should I forgive, Jesus responds: not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Jesus then proceeds to tell the parable of the unjust servant who had been forgiven by his master a huge amount, because he pleaded for mercy. Then he went out and met a servant who owed him a much less amount, which the unjust servant would not forgive. He took his fellow servants possessions and had the servant and his family put in prison. His fellow servants told their master about this, and he called in the servant for whom he forgave a huge amount. The master said to him, “You wicked servant, I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you.” Then in anger, his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart. (Mt. 18: 21-35)

“Reproduce good fruit as evidence of your repentance…I am baptizing you with water for repentance…Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the FIRE. I am baptizing you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and FIRE.” In contrast to John’s baptism in water for repentance, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. By early Christians, the ‘holy Spirit and fire was understood as the outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost, but according to John, the Spirit and fire are relating to the purifying and refining characteristics of the Spirit and fire poured out at Pentecost. (Lk. 3:16-19)

In the biblical story of the Golden Café which the Israelites made out of all their golden jewelry, symbolizing their sin, worldly revelry, and idol worship, Moses infused all of it in the fire and melted it down, put it in water and made the Israelites drink it as a reparation and purifying punishment for their disobedience and sensual revelry.(Exodus 32: 1-20)

In his mercy the Lord bestows compassion and the purifying fire of the Spirit when he forgives our sin, “for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3: 3-5) The tongues of the purifying and transforming fire of Pentecost comes upon us when we receive his divine mercy and compassion in forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not always an easy thing! The purifying fire of repentance and forgiveness burns.   Frequently we try to forgive because it is what the scriptures call for, and it is the right thing to do. Sometimes our forgiveness can be very cerebral or superficial. There are times when we say, “I forgive you” when we really don’t mean it, or we are taken by surprise by the hurt of another and haven’t had time to process the incident and thus are not really ready to forgive. Or it is a long-standing wound that runs deep in us and a simple ‘I forgive you’ doesn’t do the job. Therefore, often we don’t truly forgive the offenses of others from our hearts. We don’t forgive the entire debt of another’s words or actions that have been hurtful and wounding. We merely tolerate them. Or we let them accumulate and accrue with interest. It is possible to allow unresolved resentments to fill our scorecard until we can’t stand it anymore, and it surfaces in us in some painful or ugly ways within us. The statement of Jesus, that we have to forgive others from our heart, requires us to erase the full measure of the hurt, pain, loss, or betrayal that others have caused us. This requires our dedication or commitment to reach out and extend a liberating mercy and compassion to others and ourselves, whether it is the first offense or the result of many longstanding and accumulated hurts.

Because we live in an imperfect, sometimes dangerous and sinful world, very few people escape the reality of receiving, intentionally and many times unintentionally, the wounds and hurts from others in the various stages of human development from conception to adulthood. Added to this is the reality of our personal sins and mistakes we make in life. Sometimes we are more vulnerable than we realize. No matter in what manner we come to the understanding of God’s merciful goodness and his deep personal love for each one of us, we automatically desire to respond to the Lord’s initiatives as fully as we can. So when we respond to some degree, we experience the wonderful working of the grace and power of God’s love actively present in our life. The scriptures clearly reveal a personal commitment to Jesus Christ activates for those who are baptized in water, an experiential knowledge that the Father in Jesus through the Spirit dwells proactively within our very being. “Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit.”; and “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.”

This basic and fundamental reality sets us on a dynamic path for holiness and human maturity; the narrow way Jesus speaks about in the Gospel. As we begin praying more the Spirit of God begins to gently show us areas of unforgiveness in many relationships and situations in our life. This process can go way back to the time of conception. Life-giving repentance in the Holy Spirit actively leads us to forgiveness of those who have hurt us in the past and even now in the present. And as we forgive others we begin to feel some freedom from various types of darkness and oppression. We are also led to ask the Lord to forgive us for the hurts or harm we have done to others. And most importantly we are called to forgive ourselves. This process of transformation can have many aspects and levels in the Christian growth of our human personhood.

First of all, it is important to consciously realize that the Lord with his compassionate love and mercy is the initiator and sustainer of the gift of forgiveness that leads us to spiritual freedom. It is good to remember that forgiveness is a big benefit to me, and by no means lets the person who has wounded me off the hook. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. We may never be reconciled with the other person, yet we may experience God’s gift of freedom in our self. When we do forgiveness we should try and stand in the living faith, and in the active power and presence of Jesus. The life-giving Spirit-filled repentance and forgiveness is an experience of the Father’s merciful love in our lives. Forgiveness is a process experienced at various levels of our human development, sometimes with the person, we have forgiven before. My personal action of forgiveness is the Mercy of Jesus in action. My personal exercise of forgiveness, as a servant of mercy, is practicing the spiritual and sometimes corporal works of mercy. Forgiveness is at the heart of Divine Mercy.

How do we bring forgiveness to full completion and freedom? In an attempt to do forgiveness in our heart there are various reasons to consider why individuals do not complete their repentance and forgiveness, and as a result, they do not experience the complete freedom of forgiveness. In the first instance, a person may recognize ones unforgiveness or sin, and make a sincere decision to repent by confessing it to the Lord or another authentic person who is able to receive it. And then stop there; they may not check to see if they need healing or deliverance for those hurts which surround the wounded situation or sin. Even when they do this they may still not complete the process of forgiveness by not performing the actions which are going to really give them the closure they are looking for. This next phase of the forgiveness process to completion has two parts. After genuine and substantial forgiveness, and receiving the necessary healing or counsel, it is important to leave go or surrender the negative experience and the hurting event. Some individuals do not want to let go of their hurts and wounds, and as a result, they do not experience total freedom, and painful memories keep coming back. the second and final part leading to complete freedom is power centered praying for the person(s) who have hurt us, not just a superficial prayer which doesn’t penetrate and change the situation. But power centered prayer which brings everything to the freedom of completion. This is especially true in longstanding abuse, hurts, or wounds in the relationships which were the occasion for the unforgiveness. Here is a summary of this forgiveness process leading to peaceful complete freedom: 1) sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) receiving the necessary counseling, healing, or deliverance surrounding the situation, 3) letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved, and 4) power centered prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness to bring complete spiritual freedom.

May We Pray!

Our Lord spurs us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and through time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone. Even now in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to you, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of your merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you! We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

Five Keys To Personal Freedom

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five keys to personal freedomFive Keys To Personal Freedom

Spiritual Freedom

Five Keys To Personal Freedom are an important part to healing in our lives. Before I speak about a particular Catholic approach to healing and deliverance I would just like to mention two ministries, which have great credibility among other Christian communities.

Five Keys to personal freedom begins with a healing and deliverance ministry developed by Dr. Charles Kraft. It is explained in a little book entitled “Two Hours to Freedom”. He especially emphasizes healing from the moment of conception until infancy. His position, which I support, is that some deep level attitudes of a painful nature, which many times don’t disappear even after much healing and deliverance, are rooted in the time the embryo is in the womb. The second ministry is founded by Dr. Ed Smith, a family counselor,  he developed a healing ministry entitled Transformation Ministry, formerly, Theophostic Prayer Ministry. His approach involves looking for the source and origin woundedness, which is the root of other significant negative memories.

When the source and origin woundedness is discovered it is relatively easy to heal the other wounds. For example, if you are camping in the mountains and you have built a campfire, and you decide to go hiking but you get lost. You can find your way back to the camp (source and origin wound), by following the smell of the smoke trail from the campfire.

Unbound Ministry:  Most Catholics believe that they are saved, but at times are perplexed by an unsuccessful struggle in the area of emotional woundedness and spiritual confusion and darkness. They are plagued by various pressures of bondage and influences of personal evil operating in their lives. Thus some Catholics believe they are saved but do not understand why in some ways they are really not free. So they rely on the Sacraments, devotional practice, and struggles against temptations to bring about the necessary growth in the Christian life, all wonderful means of growing in grace, but why am I not free in the significant areas of my life?

Unbound Ministry founded by Neal and Janet Lozano provides a format for a successful plan of pastoral and spiritual healing and deliverance. It is a non-confrontational approach and also gives attention to the area of ancestral healing as well. It is non-confrontational in the sense that one does not do combat directly or do fighting with evil spirits but totally focuses on the love and charity of the person who is the recipient of the ministry. The effect of this ministry of mercy and charity results in the experience of a deeper freedom from bondages, oppression, and woundedness in one’s personal life. It also teaches us the truth that in addition to the wonderful freedom one may receive, it also calls us on to a process of transformation and freedom in human maturity and is realistic in inviting us to take up the necessary struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil in order to keep our freedom and grow in genuine Christian holiness. The essence of the ministry is using the Five Keys of Freedom. One is taught how to listen and respond in five key areas as the recipient seeks greater freedom and helps others to do the same. As mentioned above each key incorporates practical direction on how to respond to the grace which unlocks the door and sets one free.

“Picture a locked door. Opening the door represents liberation from spiritual bondage. The door has five locks, each requiring a key. As a believer in Christ, you have all the keys you   need to be free from the influences of evil spirits.”   (Unbound, pg. 53)

Freedom is so fundamental to our humanity that we are told in Gal 5:1b, “For freedom Christ has set us free,” It is through our union with Jesus the Son of God that we are restored to true freedom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2Cor.3:17). The Holy Spirit is the love of God poured into our hearts. (Rom.5:5) He is the Spirit of the Lord; he is the life of God, making his home within us. The Spirit of God brings us into an intimate relationship with our Father and thus restores us to full freedom. “And because you are sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba!’ Father!’ So through God, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son than an heir” (Gal. 4:6-7).

Because of sin, our parents, (even the best of parents) and many others have failed to represent the Father of Love to us. The fruit of original sin causes us to identify more as a slave than as a child of God. We all have areas of our lives that have yet to experience full liberation. These sins, habits, and bondages are the devil’s door to tempt us to think and act as though we were still slaves held in bondage. Freedom is life in the Son of God. The Son has overcome every deception that we have believed about the Father who has always loved us, who has always been present, who has always blessed us. Satan seeking to rob, steal, and destroy, poses as a counterfeit father. Jesus tells us, “He is a father of lies” (Jn.8:44). We know that God’s word has power because it is the Word that comes from God. Deception has spiritual power as well because its source is a spiritual being, the devil who is a liar. Sin entered the world through one man and with sin came the great deception.

Deliverance is removing the power of the lies so that we can hear the voice of our Father that has always been speaking deep within us. Knowing the Father through the Son is our place of deepest freedom; it is where broken humanity is healed, and where we receive all the healing we need at any given time. Unbound ministry lets us experience a deeper life with God and teaches us how to listen and respond in five key areas as you seek greater freedom and help others to do the same. Unbound ministry is really a ministry of Evangelization. Each of the keys incorporates practical direction on how to respond to the grace that unlocks the door and sets us free

The Five Keys to Personal Freedom:

Repentance and Faith: There is no greater deliverance than embracing the grace of one’s baptism in water, by turning from sin and turning to the Lord. Jesus is our deliverer and He is our deliverance. The first key also involves ongoing repentance and conversion as the hidden sins of our heart are revealed.

Forgiveness: If we want to be like Jesus we need to forgive from the heart. Many believers who know that they need to forgive have failed to understand how to access the power of forgiveness that Jesus has given them. As forgiveness is pronounced by faith and the power behind unforgiveness is renounced, it is defeated.

Renunciation: Each Easter Catholics renew their baptismal vows beginning with “I renounce Satan and all of his works and all of his empty promises.” Renunciation is a declaration before the kingdom of darkness that I no longer make a home for sin, deception, and the power behind it. I am no longer in agreement with this lie that has been buried in my heart and my thoughts. Specifically renouncing our enemies brings victory. For example, one  and in the name of Jesus, I renounce lust…loneliness…a spirit of anger…resentment and bitterness…hatred. I renounce the lie that everything is my fault, that I am no good…I renounce the idol of fame and recognition…”

Authority: When the Lord said to Moses, “I will be an enemy to your enemies” (Ex. 23:22), He did not mean that Moses would sit and watch. He meant that as Moses fought, so would to kGod. Moses had God’s authority. In Christ we too have authority over our enemies who seek to destroy us. We can take our stand against them through repentance, forgiveness, renunciation and then declare the truth of their defeat by saying, “In the name of Jesus I command any (or every) spirit that I have renounced to leave me now.”

The Father’s Blessing: The Hebrew sense of blessing means to speak that empower someone to prosper and thrive. They are words that give life and peace. Words carry spiritual power. Ever blessing that the Father spoke to Jesus is ours. The Father reveals to us who we are as we come before him in the Son. What we have longed to hear all of our lives has already been spoken. As we learn to receive His blessing, so we are healed. To be “unbound” means that the obstacles to the gift that has been waiting for us have been removed and the Father’s love and affirmation is made real to us in Christ.

Neal Lozano, Heart of the Father Ministries,

Freed from the pain we get into the Plan!

In concluding this presentation I would like to share with you the approach I generally use when I pray for spiritual healing with individuals. I primarily use Unbound Ministry and follow the five keys to freedom. I have found this approach very effective and I am grateful to Heart of the Father Ministries for sharing this method with us. I also have been trained in Transformation Prayer Ministry and for a good number of years have found this approach developed by Dr. Ed Smith effective as well. When a person requests spiritual healing and deliverance I set up an initial time for a detailed interview session. I then prepare a ministry plan based on what the person has shared in the first session. The second meeting is designed to use the Unbound Ministry. When the individual has experienced a number of deep emotional wounds I will move to pray directly for those identified areas. I always give careful attention to family bondages and ancestral areas of vulnerability. In light of the wisdom of Dr. Charles Kraft, I specifically check for possible roots or vulnerable issues in relationship to embryonic development and infancy. When a person has experienced deep emotional wounds at the center of their personhood, I will pray for that individual for a healing of a “broken heart”. I do not heal anybody, I do not have a special healing ministry, the solemn glorious truth is Jesus Christ is the healer. Healing occurs in a person when the Lord mercifully acts along with the humble cooperation of a particular individual.

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name, Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn, SJ, Director of Spirituality at St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida)

Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

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Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

Podcast #11

Obstacles and Blocks In Our Spiritual Lives

Freedom from unnecessary suffering is the second presentation on spiritual healing and will concentrate on the obstacles and blocks which exist in the lives of some individuals. This causes unnecessary conflicts of a painful nature. The first consideration will be to look at the beautiful Mercy of a loving God and review the notion of Christian suffering, and its possible role in the life of a person seeking Christian holiness. Then we will briefly look at why Jesus himself healed, and the fact that he bestowed his power to heal and deliver from personal evil on the Church. The question to ask is this, what are some of the access points where individuals can experience negative forces, pain, and disruptions in their personal lives. In spiritual healing three, we will review the type of ministry that is able to bring freedom for Christians, and also review some of the spiritual gifts which are needed to assist this growth in spiritual freedom.

In the scripture, Jesus encourages us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful! A good case in the translation could also say, be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. We see this in the prayer of Daniel, “I prayed to the Lord, my God and confessed, Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your covenant and show mercy to those who love you… we have sinned…Justice, Oh Lord is on your side…we are ashamed for we have sinned against you. But to the Lord, our God, belong compassion and forgiveness. (Dan. 9: 4-10)

To show mercy is a praiseworthy thing to do. It suggests that this approach comes first from the head, and not directly from the heart. For example, when a court shows mercy to a guilty party. In some cases showing this kind of mercy is the right thing to do. Compassion on the other hand, is prompted by the heart. It implies feeling another’s pain and their painful condition, and be willing to suffer with them. In others word, we are being asked to love our neighbor as ourselves with both mercy and compassion. This complete understanding describes the Father’s mercy. God is merciful because he has deep paternal feelings for us. This is so beautifully revealed in the biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15: 11-32). Jesus who shares intimately the heart of the Father, himself shares this reality with us as he shares himself. We surely realize that God not only knows us intimately but also has deep feelings for us. All our joys, hopes, grief, and anguish are deeply felt by our God who loves with divine and human compassion and mercy.

All Suffering and evil that is or that ever will exist in this world and all of reality is now objectively taken up and transformed through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all human suffering introduces a transforming quality initiated through the divine reality rooted in and flowing from the glorified Jesus Christ. This reality is at the center of the Catholic theology of salvation, reparation, restoration, and atonement. In recent years we see this reality modeled in the life and ministry of Padre Pio. He experienced the wounds of the Crucified manifested in his flesh, and it illustrates for us the transforming mystery of healing centered in the Cross. It is a challenge and sometimes hard for us to understand the all embracive and tremendous power available to us in the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the Cross. Yet in the dynamic experience of a living faith, this reality highlights the complete picture of healing in the Church.

Elizabeth Leseur was a French Catholic woman who died in 1914. She and her husband were very much in love. They were from an upper-level background financially. Her husband came under the influence of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and became an atheist. He constantly pressured Elizabeth to follow his path of belief and abandon her Catholic commitment. On one occasion they made a pleasure trip to Rome, and Elizabeth went to the tomb of St. Peter to offer a prayer. While she was kneeling there she became filled with a special gift of Divine love and a new infused experience of faith. From that point on Divine love, mercy, and compassion filled her soul. Elizabeth records in her journal, “Has my life known any unhappier time than this (various forms of suffering and desolation), And through all these trials and in spite of a lack of interior joy, there is a deep place where all these waves of sorrow cannot touch…There I can feel how completely one with God I am, and I gain strength and serenity in the heart of Christ.” Elizabeth was uniquely transformed by the suffering she experienced in her life.

Back in France, her hidden life of love, suffering, and grace was hidden from others. In raising her children and serving others she became known for her caring wisdom, love, mercy, and good counsel. She experienced a tremendous amount of suffering because of the cleavage in the faith stance between her and her husband. She loved him very much and so experienced much suffering. There were other areas of her life where the suffering of the Cross of Jesus displayed itself. She had breast cancer, which became arrested. She eventually experienced very poor health and internal physical sickness. Eventually, the cancer returned and caused her death. She died in the arms of her beloved husband at the age of 48. Her grieving husband was sorting out her things after her death, and he found her two journals. He sat down and read both of them. As a result he converted to Catholicism, eventually, he went to a seminary, became a Dominican priest, and served in the Church for 20 years.

Why did Jesus perform healing? When Jesus was moved with pity he would heal to express his compassion. The raising of the widow’s son from death to life is an example of his great abundant love, mercy, and compassion. In Mark chapter one he healed the leper for the same reason. Jesus healed to lead others to come to faith in him and to believe that the power and authority he possessed was from God. Recall the paralyzed man let down from the roof. When Jesus saw the faith of the friends who brought him he healed him, and to confound the scribes and Pharisees he also forgave the man his sins. He healed Peters mother-in-law and she got up and served. He healed the centurion’s son from a distance because he had Covenant faith, “I have never found so much faith among the Israelites.” Jesus healed and delivered from personal evil, recall the Gerasene demoniac who used to break chains, and the demons would drive him into places of solitude, their name was legion. They found the man sitting and dressed and sitting at the feet of Jesus and in his full senses. All these manifestations of the power of Jesus were signs and wonders to demonstrate the presence of the Kingdom of God, and they occurred to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. And occur now through the ministry of the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as well.

What are the access points where wounds and negative effects of personal evil are manifested in the human personality?

Most authors identify four access points, however, I would suggest there are five. Briefly, they are as follows:

1) Unforgiveness and childhood trauma (wounded identity and self-image)

2) Unhealthy (dysfunction) or sinful relationships

3) Occult involvement directly or indirectly

4) Family bondages and National sin; 5) Primordial wounds of the heart and severe addictions.

  • Unforgiveness and childhood trauma: There may be certain areas in us where un-forgiveness effectively blocks God’s forgiveness and grace, particularly the grace of healing. It is a consistent and well know experience of confessors and prayer ministers that when praying for healing in the lives of prayer recipients, and a problem is not responding, un-forgiveness is most often at the root. Somewhat related to the area of unforgiveness is trauma. Trauma creates a shock to one’s spirit, at least for a time, and develops a belief system in the mind based on serious misrepresentations or lies which take hold in the mind. This experience can lead to convictions or acceptations about truth which causes us to become vulnerable to wounds or lies about self or others. An inaccurate self-acceptance can profoundly influence one’s self-concept, which can develop thoughts and feelings of self- condemnations, worthlessness, inadequacy, abandonment, and self-rejection. This thinking can make one very vulnerable to the influence of personal evil, and the manipulations of Satan. Thus a person can develop a hardness of heart or a debilitating fear that robs one of the goodness of life.
  • The second access point is unhealthy or sinful relationships. Destructive relationships are not physical and emotional they are also profoundly spiritual. What can be called harmful is when the friendship is not enhancing the God-created good in either person, making it an ungodly relationship. This type of relationship begins to have negative spiritual consequences for those involved. Thus there becomes spiritual baggage or negativity between the two people. This negative spiritual influence is a powerful bondage and opens the door to sin, manipulation, and oppression by the evil one. This type of relationship can unintentionally invite the evil one to come and have significant influence in the relationship. Here we could include all kinds of relationships, but especially unhealthy sexual relationships, pornography, and other abusive relationships.
  • The third access point is occult involvement: This topic itself deserves a specific study. I only mention it here to make us aware of its very negative impact on individuals. Simply put involvement in the occult puts Satan on an equal footing with God; not only a simple creature of his but a creature who in his very rebellion against God, wanted to be like God. It is precisely because we confirm Satan in being Satan when we turn the glory and honor due to God to him. He can get significant power over us, which is more than ordinary influences of evil. By the way, some in our contemporary church life ignore, deny, or dissociate from this truth, certainly to their detriment and possibly to the detriment of others as well.
  • The fourth access point is family bondages: The four common areas in which bondages can come into families are circumstances of life, behaviors, diseases, and habits or patterns of difficulty. Look for consistent patterns which identify spiritual, emotional, and physical difficulties that are repeated in ancestral lines on both sides of the family. Just open your eyes to any episodic happenings by any given individual, especially of a negative or destructive nature. Be aware of the results of adoptions. Sometimes the primordial wounds of the heart exist in the hearts of some who don’t know their parents of origin. You may notice that often you may not be able to find “factual proof” for some of these things. However, the painful and debilitating evidence is expressed in symptomatic behavior. If there is a problem consistent for a long time, it is worthwhile working it down to its roots, through the frequency of repetition. Some issues in healing need to be gradually related to through in-depth un-covering level by level.
  • Addictions and compulsive behavior: In the current literature of human development the primary attention is being given to personality disorders and to alleviate the harm caused by the huge number of multiple addictions prevalent in our society. Some say that addiction is rooted in the mind. However, if this is true the emotional upheaval and spiritual disintegration accompanying cognitive dissonance is also a monumental and painful experience. As many in our Nation are moving away from a God-centered society, the values and behaviors are now more infested with the destructive forces of secularism, individualism, and materialism. Most caring people have become significantly more aware of the massive amounts of compulsive destructive addictions and violence in our country and sometimes in our own families. The contemporary opportunities of asceticism, counseling, and spiritual direction as good as they are in themselves have only made a small dent in the cure and advancement for individuals. One of the reasons why freedom from addictions is so difficult is because of its compulsive nature. Some say where there is addiction there is unrighteousness and sin. For our purposes here it is important to note that addictions easily become a major vulnerable access for the oppression and infestation of personal evil, in addition to feeding off of the hurts and wounds of the heart.

Freed from the pain ~ we get into the plan for the freedom from unnecessary suffering!

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name, Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. Fr. John Horn, SJ, Director of the Spiritual life at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida.

Spiritual Healing In Our Daily Lives

Spiritual Healing in Our Daily LIves Spiritual Healing in Our Daily Lives 

Episode 10

Spiritual healing in our daily lives is the topic today is the first of three presentations in regard to spiritual healing in the pastoral life of the Church. The first one is a basic introduction to the developing review and survey of the nature of the charism of healing in the daily life of Christians. The second presentation will be about the specifics of the ministry and the removal of obstacles and blocks in the personal life of some Christians, the third offering will discuss the various approaches to the healing of the whole person.

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Awhile ago when I was in my office a person came in experiencing a high degree of distress and some profound fears. When I asked her what I could do for her she told me that she was experiencing so much internal emotional pain that she could not stand it anymore. After listening for a while, I recommended that she consider having one or two sessions for spiritual healing.  There is a growing awareness among those who are sincerely attempting to live a Christian life and others as well in this post-modern world. That there are some painful things inside them that are causing problems in embracing a meaningful and happy life, which won’t go away and present multiple problems in relationships. Many will take some kind of action to do something about this disruptive pain and some won’t. Some try a variety of self-help methods, others go to counseling, which usually is helpful, but the pain and problems don’t go away.

Spiritual healing in our daily lives often hit a wall…

Most of us are very aware of various forms of breakdowns and destruction in relationships in our modern society. Some families are experiencing painful episodes and broken relationships among its members. Marriages are falling apart at an unbelievable rate. Some people just simply dissociate or ignore their inner pain, and others try various types of addictive behaviors that eventually lead to serious addictions to escape their pain, ie., drugs, alcohol, deviant sexual behaviors etc. All are usually an attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to deal with or hide their pain or embarrassment from themselves or others as well.

Living in the spirit of “the grace of the present moment” there is the need to determine what is really going on in the context of our situation; in our life and in our heart. Therefore, we seek out what the Lord may want to do in our midst or is already doing. Much of religious literature is identifying these times as a wonderful outpouring of the goodness, mercy, and action of the Lord, God Himself. Within the Catholic communion, the last three Popes have made major contributions relating to the Mercy of God. St. Pope John Paul II wrote his third encyclical on the topic of God’s mercy. Pope Benedict’s first major writing was on God’s love for us, and Pope Francis declared a jubilee year of mercy. These contributions all highlight that this time in the world is a tremendous season of God’s Divine Mercy manifested in the Church and in the world. “…on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’” (Jn. 7: 37-38). The gift of Divine Mercy for the healing of the whole person is an abundance of Mercy for healing within the whole person. It is the compassion of the Lord which evokes the power of love. The extraordinary power of God working within all the dimensions of the whole human person.

Spiritual healing in our lives comes through the life of the Church. What is the nature of healing within the Sacraments? The sacramental system provides a huge amount of healing for every participant and the community as a whole. The Eucharistic presence and celebration is itself the apex of all healing contained in the person of the glorified Lord Jesus. At every celebration of the Eucharist, we experience the complete salvific healing power of the Lord’s love, as we go through in time the very death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When the Eucharistic celebration is completed many individuals can witness to frequently experiencing the healing power of Jesus in their personal life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation in addition to divine forgiveness and a new start when celebrated sincerely, lifts off the oppression of the effects of sin as we experience the healing power of the Lord’s compassion and forgiveness.

Some time ago a woman asked to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As she began her confession I asked her to give me a quick review of her struggles. Among major emotional abuse from her deceased husband, she had been in and out of mental institutions and told me she had been hearing voices since she was a young girl. She had been under the care of a psychiatrist for a long time. I told her at the end of the prayer of forgiveness it is good to ask the Lord to deliver the person from any other evil, and could I do that with her. Then I said with her a very short prayer to be delivered from every other evil, and in the name of Jesus if any evil spirits are present that they leave her immediately. Several days later she called and said the voices were gone, and then several weeks later I had a conversation with her and she said that she had lost her identity as a person because of all the sin and abuse in her life. And she told me that the Lord had given back her identity as a person, which she considered greater than not hearing the voices anymore.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick through the anointing with sacred oil focuses on physical healing or the preparation of an individual to make one’s Passover into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Even though a person may not be healed for further life on this earth, every anointing brings the experience of the healing power of the Lord in the grace of the present moment. These three Sacraments relate to healing directly.

The Charism of Healing: There is a direct relationship between an encounter for healing with the glorified Christ in the Sacraments, and the practice of the charism of healing identified in first Corinthians 12: 9. However, the two dimensions are distinct in their relationship with each other. The charism of pastoral healing is designed to alleviate the brokenness in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the Church coming from sin and woundedness from others. It seems that some of the opportunities revealed in the Gospels for using the tremendous healing power of Jesus may have been unintentionally neglected in the contemporary life of the Church. Jesus himself used the “charism of healing” exercised by the power of the Spirit consistently in his ministry to others. The healing that Jesus did was for the most part always connected to his evangelization, his efforts to build the Kingdom of God. When we pray with people outside the sacramental liturgies, we should also do evangelization if the situation calls for it. Many people carry a lot of garbage within, the various wounds of the mind, heart, and spirit. Where the garbage is stored the rats gather, referring to an individuals vulnerability to unnecessary pain and influenced by personal evil. When you get rid of the garbage, the various wounds of the mind, heart, and spirit, the rats go. Also, some individuals have been wounded so much that they experience a “broken heart”. I should mention here that all pain in the heart does not need healing. There exists in the Church in the tradition of the Church an understanding of various degrees of spiritual pain identifying with the pain in the heart of Jesus unto the love-union as a gift from above.

Jesus gave every bit of his power and authority to heal to the Church. “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn. 20: 19-23) This is the Lord’s invitation and commissioning for the Church to exercise the power Jesus gave the disciples after the Resurrection. This gift was given in a magnanimous manner to be exercised in the pastoral and practical daily lives of its members, beyond the sacramental rites of the Church. This power from Jesus can be performed in other forms of ministry, especially in the healing ministry. The pastoral charism for healing can be exercised also in many other areas of the daily life of the members of the Church. For example, when individuals pray with one another for their individual needs. When fathers and mothers pray for their children when they experience hurts in family life or in school. Also in other legitimate gatherings and groups. Certainly, individuals who pray with and for others really need to be well trained and practiced in sensitive, humble, and peaceful ways of serving their brothers and sisters, always seeking permission from those to whom they are offering prayer, and only praying for the things that the recipient requests.

May we pray for the spiritual healing in our daily lives!

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of your salvation. Amen





Path To Spiritual Freedom

Path to Spiritual FreedomA Path to Spiritual Freedom

Episode 9

A path to spiritual freedom is available to all of us. In light of the human condition, we face many struggles in regard to a reasonable approach to growing in spiritual freedom. Because of original and personal sin, the Church will always need to be renewed and reformed until the end of time. This is one of the reasons why evangelization is such an important consideration. There are other areas as well which usually need specific attention in relation to spiritual renewal and reform in the Church. Over the last five years, I have spent considerable time at six or seven parishes. Several of them which are large have two priests stationed respectively in those parochial communities. Each week less than 15 or 20 individuals celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and some were repeats. This raises the question as to how the Faithful are relating to the notion of conversion and the sin problem in regard to spiritual freedom.

Conversion and the sin problem are at the heart of sincere effort to grow in Christian maturity. The fundamental issue in this effort is about change. Human change for the better is always a challenge and usually presents elements of painful growth. Many find their best efforts on their own unsuccessful and at times downright discouraging. Powerlessness, helplessness, and failure by purely human effort alone can be very frustrating. Thus the need for abundant amounts of the saving power of grace to accompany sincere human effort. In relationship to prayer for intercession most formal efforts seem to be very generalized, cerebral, and powerless. Therefore, the real issue here is how does one make intercession, reparation, atonement etc. power centered, which brings real change and miraculous results in the lives of those we pray for, and a genuine path to spiritual freedom?

I am going to present the following formula in a simple form and then follow up with commentary: I am very sorry for all the pain and all that has happened to you, the suffering and difficulties in this situation and your whole life. I take 100% limitless responsibility and accountability for all of it. I am very sorry that these things have happened to you. Please forgive me! I love you! And I thank you. This is a beautiful cleansing prayer and is meant to have miraculous results in the person, persons or group for which the prayer is offered.

And now for the commentary: Did you notice the god-like qualities alluded to in some of the statements. For example, “I take 100% limitless responsibility and accountability for all of it? This could be misleading and questionable at first glance. What is the point here? Once you start praying “ I take 100% responsibility etc., you have intentionally and consciously moved from the pure human level or plane to connect directly to the power centered prayer in the  Divine, “ Holy Father keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. I pray for those who believe in me…so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me and I in you…that they may also be in us…so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the love which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (Jn.17: 20-26).

From this point on your primary prayer and reality is in and directed to the Divine, thus your prayer now becomes primarily the Lord’s action and will of love for the person or group you are praying for. It is not necessary for you to know the outcome, but by leaving go and surrendering to the Divine, and secondarily praying for the person you are focused on you are releasing the Divine power and activity of Love, CELP (Divine compassionate evoking love power) for that person, and miraculous things may and do happen. The last phrase, “And I thank you” This phrase is a deep revealed knowledge that all human beings are children of the Father.

Created in the image and likeness of God each person is a special person with eternal dignity. No matter what they have said or done. Therefore, in union with the Divine, we acknowledge their eternal existence and honor the dignity of their personhood no matter what. When we do this in union with the Divine we are honoring the God of all creation himself, and we are opening ourselves to receive the powerful love action of God’s healing power for our own needs. The origin of this approach comes from the work of a clinical psychologist who served in a mentally ill prison. In four years all the inmates were healed to the point where they were able to function in society again, and the prison was finally closed.

“Power centered intercession” is a process of cleansing and love. I love you and cleansing my memories as I pray for the individuals and situations that the Spirit of the Lord brings to my mind. “I love you!, cleansing, I love you cleaning memories, I love and cleaning etc. This is the key to the powerful love action of the Divine. This is power centered intercession, atonement, reparation etc. Of course, it would be a mistake to take on personally the guilt or negative elements present in the other person, such as guilt, judgment, or condemnation. This would be a violation of the process and personally destructive for you. It could also block the Lord from acting in a wonderfully powerful way in the person being prayed for and the healing at the same time which could be happening in you.

Path to Spiritual FreedomWhat are some of the beautiful opportunities and positive features of this prayer? When one practices this method of prayer it eventually becomes “second nature”. The light and understanding in the mind increases by the action of the Holy Spirit. There is also an expansion in its meaning and effectiveness for the person or group being prayed for. Because this prayer of intercession is elevated to the level of Divine miraculous power centered intercession, very positive things can happen to the recipient far beyond our hope and expectation. This prayer may be applied far beyond what we may want for the recipient, and we may not need to know or ever know the wonderful things the Lord may do for the recipient, or what means he uses to bring them about. It is in this mode of merciful trust in which we leave go of control, and open the floodgates for many blessings for the recipient and for ourselves in a secondary but very real happening.

This type of power centered prayer may actually become a mission or ministry, as we mature in the practical aspects of engaging this prayer. In the Christian arena, we enter into a dynamic union with the glorified risen Jesus. It the Spirit and Jesus who do intercession for an individual or group. Both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us at the throne of the Father, the throne of mercy and grace. (check out Romans 8 for verification in this matter) Participating in this dynamic power union of prayer, we with the Spirit and the Son become the generating power center in operation. We become missionary disciples of Atonement, at one with the Divine in Jesus, making unheard of wonderful changes for specific individuals, and bringing about the building up of the Kingdom of God in many situations. This method is also very effective for us to receive the freedom of forgiveness and healing, in sense we become self-ministers. Unforgiveness is never an issue. If we use this method in a correct manner; forgiveness even in small matters will occur, and in great things, the surprises of the Spirit will eventually become evident. Give an example of a power-centered intercession situation.

Let’s Pray

Lord Jesus, To know You is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry am sorrow for all of my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In Your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen.


Renewal and Reform

renewal and reformRenewal and Reform 

Episode 7

Renewal and reform has become somewhat stagnant. The times have changed, for some, the initial enthusiasm has waned or has been lost by a return to past weaknesses, or a more lethargic spiritual life in a very secularized society. The business,  distractions, distress, and fatigue of modern life can easily draw people away from centering on “the hard work” of spiritual growth, human maturity, and generous service to others. It seems like a good time to look at the possibility of reasonably providing new opportunities for transformation beyond the confines of any specific renewal movements. And also consider supporting individuals who may want to make new starts, and at the same time provide opportunities which possibly could serve others in seeking spiritual empowerment for themselves.

The Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform:

Mentioning again that Pope Benedict XVI said a number of times at the Council that the reality of the Paschal Mystery is the central message of the Council, and combining that statement with the words of St. Anthony of Padua which was, every Christian needs to bring alive the reality of Pentecost in their life before they die. We find ourselves at the doorstep of the possibility of a “new empowerment” of the grace of the Holy Spirit beyond the confines of the renewal movements in the Church. This is a good thing! While not minimizing in any way the on-going good that the renewal movements continue to do. We can try and design an approach that brings about the same reality in a somewhat extended and altered format. A format which also may be attractive at this time in the Church’s life beyond the positive activity of the renewal movements in individuals very busy and active lives. This effort may also give us the opportunity to broaden the characteristics of this new approach, which can include some elements of growth that are not normally considered in the sound methods of the renewal movements. For example, little effective “spiritual growth plans”, power-centered means of intercession and atonement. This type of thing is really about finding ways of effectively evangelizing Catholic culture.

The Challenge:

The challenge presented here is how should we go about designing an effective program or activity that would accomplish the necessary objectives? I know Jesus told his disciples that a wise servant knows how to bring out of his storeroom things, both old and new. Instead of us using one of the seminars in the renewal movement, which we are all familiar with, and which are very effective when focusing on a renewal in the Holy Spirit. We may want to try and adopt a format which approaches “a broader experience which embraces the Churches Grace of Empowerment.” Here we are not speaking of a new catechumenate or a form of the RCIA, these very good programs are far too lengthy. We need something simple which becomes “the new wineskins” to hold the new wine of our hoped for objectives, and considers the full perspective of the Paschal Mystery. What we are seeking is the full impact of the death, resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, which is an experience of the full power of the Cross, Resurrection, glorification of Jesus, and empowerment of the Spirit sent by Jesus and the Father at Pentecost. A simple format or program, which brings these crucial graces together as one!

When we give attention to the complete experience of the Paschal Mystery it is necessary to concentrate on “the new life in the Mystery of Christ”. This new life is at the heart of and the core of the form of the Gospel. The starting symbol would be the blood and water flowing from the pierced  Heart of Christ on the Cross. The gift of Paschal spirituality is the gift of Divine Mercy. In this season of Mercy, we seek to live in the new life of the “Power of the Cross” which generates, sanctifies, and consecrates us in the gift of Salvation.

The Lord from the Cross spoke to Francis of Assisi, he had a mystical experience, “Francis you see that my house is falling into ruin, go and rebuild my Church” In a real sense today we have a similar call from the Lord in regard to the Church’s grace of renewal and reform. It starts with a renewed experience of living in “the power of the Cross”. Francis felt that it was truly Christ crucified who had spoken to him. ( Omnibus, 903) His conversion was centered upon Christ on the cross. In Christ on the cross, Francis felt that the deepest and truest root of his choice to be a penitent was touched and made real. The suffering of Christ explained, illuminated, and justified all human suffering. Francis’ conversion fell within the context and sphere of the suffering Christ. It became an effective sign for all those who wanted to abandon their sinful way of life, in order to unite themselves with Christ and in Christ. Francis saw the suffering of Christ was as a superhuman value in the reality of human existence. It was the only power able to give meaning and sense to human suffering, to the point of attracting people to seek this suffering and to accept it freely in order to come closer to Christ and to be one with him in the Father. ( The high priestly prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel, c. 17) What impressed Francis was the power of the Cross for all who wanted to call themselves Christian, and who wanted their whole life to be freed from living selfishly, as lived independent of God, that is a life not consciously lived in response to God. Therefore, we may want to embrace a life of penance: not specific actions but a conversion of heart, not simply just penitential practices, but a life lived “in God”.

The power of the Cross, the power, and life of the Resurrection, the power and life of the Holy Spirit: The Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. Now we need to look at the power and life of the Resurrection. A good approach to this task is to go right to Easter Sunday night: Appearance to the Disciples. “On the evening on the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this he showed them his hands and side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Who sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” The power and life of the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost was given to them when Jesus breathed on them, for Jesus, who had not gone to the Father when he met Mary Magdalen at the tomb, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not ascended to the Father”. (Jn. 20: 17) Jesus was now fully at the right hand of the Father; exercising his full Divine power of the Resurrection as the Glorified One. Breathing on them he powerfully commissioned them to bring this new life and power to others. He baptized them in the Holy Spirit. Now we turn to what scripture calls the Gentile Pentecost. Peter arrives at the household of Cornelius and begins to tell them about Jesus. Before he could finish, the Holy Spirit fell on the whole household and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. A short while later Peter is back in Jerusalem, and he is being criticized by some of the Jewish priests who had become converts. So he tells them the whole story, and at the end of it, they say, “we see! The Gentiles have been given “Life-giving Repentance”, just as we have!” (Acts 11:18)

The Power of the Cross

The power of the Cross, the gift of the power and life of the Resurrection, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit: The threefold empowerment as one experience of the Paschal Gift of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. It will be the task of all of us to design a dynamic program which may be called, “The Baptism in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery.” This approach is verified by a prayerful reading of Scripture, and the core message of Vatican II, which message is the proclamation and centrality of Paschal Mystery.

It seems to me a teaching format which can bring Christians who want to receive or recommit to the Church’s Grace of the Renewal in a fresh manner would be necessary. This program would need to contain the substance of the threefold Paschal graces of empowerment. It would also necessarily be adapted to our busy post-modern society. This program would not follow the current lengthy adult education formats, but probably should be designed to a short seminar style, which could be done on a weekend or possibly a three-day approach. The teachings would not be long, maybe about 20 or 25 minutes with an opportunity for some discussion. At the end of the program prayer for commissioning and empowerment would be necessary. And some suggestions on how to keep the graces of the program while using some appropriate and useful tools for growth would be good. To start the teachings from scratch without some preparation would probably not be wise. Individuals should be ready and open to enter the program; therefore some means of preparation would be a good “jump start.” A life review session with a trained person, who could guide a person to necessary forgiveness or other matters of transformation would definitely be a real plus, but not absolutely necessary. Another possibility is that the person making the seminar would prepare by reading some appropriate scripture or some chosen devotional. What would be the content of the presentations? What basic themes would attract us to this renewal seminar?

Some possible themes for the presentations: We would probably need about nine presentations to do justice to the quality of a renewal seminar. This is where I would invite those who are good at designing faith formation programs. Would you be willing to share your thoughts and wisdom with us? Here are some themes to consider:

  1. What is the Paschal Mystery and its relationship to the Word of God?
  2. Who is the Person of Christ who lives and dwells within the Father’s children who have received water baptism?
  3. How do we want to understand the “power of the Cross”, “the new life and power of the Resurrection”, and “the complete empowerment of the Holy Spirit”?
  4. This is a season when God is being super generous with his mercy. What does it mean to know and follow Jesus in this special time of grace?
  5. As I grow in the love of the Lord, what kind of changes do I need to make in my personal life?
  6. What hopes and desires do I have for the future? What are my expectations?
  7. Once I have a clearer direction for my life, and I am living the Risen Life of Christ, what does it mean to share Jesus with others. Am I interested in small group sharing?
  8. How do I believe the Lord wants me to serve him in gratitude for what he has given to me.
  9. What is the mission in being a Christian?

The Fire Movement: John the Baptist told the people, “I am baptizing you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and FIRE. (Mt. 4: 11) If you have made any contact with “Evangelizing Catholic Culture Podcast. Com”, and may have an interest in small group fellowships this possibility will eventually be available through the podcast. What is the nature of a FIRE group?


Fire by its nature has the ability and power to cause destruction; it consumes what it ignites and totally changes the object which it consumes. It is used in numerous ways in the Scriptures: In the story of the destruction of the towns of Sodom and Gamora it is used for destruction, because of the depravity of the citizens of those two towns; in view of God’s judgment it is seen as punishment. However, it is primarily used symbolically in the Word of God. For example, Moses wandering in the desert comes upon a bush burning without being consumed. He is warned not to come any closer because a voice told him that he is on holy ground. In this instance fire symbolically represents the active presence and energetic source of God’s holiness. In the book of Revelation the symbol is used as a purifying agent; it purifies from the dross of sin. Symbolically it will test our work of Christian perfection when the Lord comes, “ it will be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each ones work”(1 Cor.3: 13).   When viewing the work of fire internally in a human person, we see it illuminates the mind, in Ephesians 5:29 it is a light that illuminates and leads us to see the things that are pleasing to God. It illuminates the mind and energies the will as it gives strength to the soul. It warms the heart with the consolations of the Spirit. In relationship to personal holiness, it inflames us with love. And finally, at the Pentecost event tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the disciples. This fire represented the Pentecostal anointing which bestowed on each disciple all that Jesus won for us in the Paschal Event; the passion, death, resurrection, glorification and the sending of the Spirit by Jesus and the Father.

A good number of years back four individuals put together a ministry called FIRE MINISTRY. The reason the acronym “FIRE” was used was the fact that it defined the nature of the ministry. Drawing on the reality that the meaning of the word called upon all the rich meanings of the uses of the word in the Word of God, it identified a preaching ministry and each letter stood for a salient feature in the ministry itself: F stood for Faith, I stood for all the forms of Intercession, R stood for life-giving Repentance, E stood for Evangelization. The FIRE team would set locations in various places, in an auditorium, and schedule a FIRE event. Each individual would give an inspirational talk on the specific topic. It was very popular in the Renewal for several years, but for various reasons, it seems to have lost its attraction.   However, when the four topics are joined as one the word identifies a tremendous process of evangelical transformation, some would use the term Spirit-filled conversion. Taking the dynamic reality of this process of transformation, it is very possible and expedient to identify and apply this work of grace to a fellowship process. In other words, it is the intention of the “Evangelizing Catholic Culture Podcast” to encourage and work toward establishing a “movement” of FIRE Groups as units of growth to provide the development of this fourfold work of formation and transformation. This attempt would definitely be an example of the Podcast’s work of evangelization. “Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12: 29)

May We Pray!

Lord Jesus, to know You is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask You to bless them. In Your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of  You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in  Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade. Where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn)




Defining Catholic Culture

defining Catholic Culture

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Defining Catholic Culture

Episode 6

Defining Catholic culture might vary for some. One possible definition of Catholic Culture: In setting up a podcast entitled “Evangelizing Catholic Culture” it is important to try and clarify that some aspects, attitudes, and ideals of Catholic Culture need to be re-evangelized. Most of us have been raised in a Church that has overemphasized the Institutional/Sacramental model of the Church to the detriment of the other three models. Many members of the Church were born and have been raised and possess a restricted idea of the nature of the Church. The institutional model entails high levels of authority, organization, visibility, projects, and encountering Christ in the sacraments, “and make sure you get to church” syndrome. So the next number of paragraphs are somewhat ponderous.

A blended model of defining Catholic Culture 

In the following section, I have tried to present a blended model of the Church in order to get a glimpse of what the Church can be in a broader sense, to see briefly that the Church, some of its operational methods, and it’s cultural expressions’’ really need to be evangelized. Sometimes new wine needs new wineskins in order to manifest vintage quality. The approach I present is an attempt to see that there is a real need to evangelize the Catholic Church in its internal operation and its expression in society of its immediate visible cultural format.

What is the Catholic way of life?

There are a good number of definitions of the word culture. The way I am using the definition here is in the sense of “a way of life.” What are some of the visible elements and components of a Catholic way of life? These elements would consist in specific things which describe what a “Catholic Way of Life” could really look like. First off, it would be a visible organized communal structure with legitimate authority, which exists in our society and is visibly clear to others, both within and outside of its visible reality. It would consist in a world-wide universal ethnicity. Its members would profess a clear set of doctrines based on the Gospel way of life and have different roles in these endeavors. Some would be chosen as leaders, and other would not. The use of authority would be based on the imitation of Jesus as a humble servant of the Father’s mercy and love. Yet many would engage in various roles, works, and ministries. The bond would consist in a living faith in the person of Jesus Christ, the heart of which would be a triune spirituality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a plenitude of splendid grace where individuals are drawn by the Father, who is manifested and revealed through the person of Jesus Christ, the splendor of the Fathers glory, personal Lord, and Savior. The relational life of its members would be celebrated in sevenfold sacramental communal rites in which there would be opportunities for encountering the living God in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Its celebration would consist in a dynamic grace-filled worship, individual personal relationships with God, and a multiple series of devotions which would be a prayerful means of a loving spiritual growth and worship of the living God.

defining Catholic CultureExperience of God ~ Spirit of the Living God

There would be a mystical (meaning direct experience of grace) dynamic bond with God and one another in the Spirit of the living God. The members of this Body of Christ would be invited to exercise a missionary zeal, in order to invite and assist others in joining the group identified as the church. The members of this community would have a clear vision of revealed truth as a basis for their commitment and service, and they would be required to reach out generously to others who are poor, broken, and in need of ministry and other types of mercy services. Those who grow into maturity would be called disciples of the Lord, humble servants of mercy, with a call to be missionary disciples of the Lord who would bring a sacrificial transforming love to one another, and all other members of the human community where possible.

The Paschal Mystery: The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, states that “The Paschal Mystery of Jesus, which comprises his passion, death, resurrection, and glorification stands at the center of the Christian faith, because God’s saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI stated during the Second Vatican Council that the most important and central message of the Council: “The Paschal Mystery is at the center of what it is to be Christian and is therefore at the center of the Christian life…” The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming humankind and giving perfect glory to God. Jesus achieved his mission given him by the Father principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension, whereby “dying he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life.” For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth, “the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 5, n. 10, 47, 61).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The Paschal mystery of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ (CCC 571). The Paschal mystery of Jesus is a real event that occurred in our history, but is unique: “The Paschal mystery of Christ cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is–all that he did and suffered for all humankind—participates in the “Eternal Now” as well as divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made intimately and uniquely present in each specific period of time, as well as in all time.

Cross and Resurrection 

The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.” (CCC 1085) It also explains that “The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all the justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.’ Justification consists in both victories over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. This fact brings about the reality that in Christ we truly are sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters to one another. (CCC 654)

Pascal Mystery – 

All human activity is to find its growth and purification in the Paschal Mystery. Christians believe that all human activity is to find its purification and perfection in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man redeemed by Christ and made a new creation in the Holy Spirit, can and must love the very things created by God, in a spirit of thankfulness and reverence, he uses and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom, he enters into true possession of the world, as one having nothing and possessing all things, for all things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. Jesus reveals to us that God is Love, and the human perfection of all is the new commandment of love, in this truth is the transformation of all things, including the whole world and the ordinary circumstances of life. Therefore, we share in the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given, and he is at work in the hearts of all through the power of his Spirit. He awakens in us a longing for the world to come, and inspires, purifies, and strengthens each one of us to have generous desires to make our life more human and to achieve this same goal for others. The gifts of the Spirit are manifold; he calls some to directly witness these longings for eternal fulfillment, and he calls others to dedicate themselves to the service of his brothers and sisters here on earth. Yet he makes all free, so that by denying their inordinate love of self, and taking up all earths resources into the life of humanity, all may reach out to the future, when humanity itself will become an offering acceptable to God. ( The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Lent, vol. II, pp. 331-332)

A Brief History of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform:

I am presenting a selected summary of some of the work and power of the Spirit in the life of the Catholic Church over the last one hundred years, to provide a context for us to understand a little better the working of the grace of renewal and reform in our most recent period of time. Pope Benedict XVI in one of his writings mentions that the Church will always need spiritual renewal and reform because of the human condition and the reality of sin. Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the century in the late 1800’s was concerned about the progressive spiritual movements alive in Europe and the young American nation, and gave scholars permission to carefully study how some of the more positive ideas could further a better understanding for the Catholic laity in regard to the practical application of the work of the Spirit in the realm of the Scriptural, liturgical, catechetical movements, and various other issues in the life and teaching of the Church. He was deeply motivated by an understanding that the Church needed to go through a profound spiritual renewal. For fifty years most of this activity unfolded quietly in the areas of study. This was the time the world was caught up in the devastating period of World War I and II. In the 1950’s many of the Church’s leaders realized that some type of spiritual renewal and reform was most necessary in order to lead the Church forward in adapting to the developments in the modern world. Such as the developments emerging after the turmoil of the two world wars, advances in the industrial revolution, the new discoveries in the sciences, and the various movements of secularization, some detrimental to the life and growth of the Church.

All through the first half of the 20th Century, many leaders in the Church could see that the Lord was preparing for some kind of great spiritual enterprise, which was sorely needed. Pope John the 23rd was elected to the papacy in 1958; a jovial relational leader and open to the work of the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed a surprising worldwide Ecumenical Council which began in 1961 and ended in 1965. He died in the middle years of the Second Vatican Council, and Pope Paul VI was elected to bring the Council to conclusion, and then pastor the many changes necessary in light of the pastoral documents and proposals developed in its four years of preparation. And he was chosen to responsibly guide the implementation after its conclusion. In and of itself the Council was a monumental achievement and an obvious work of Divine grace. However, as central and long-standing as this reform would be in the Church it was by no means the only work and activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and in other Christian denominations as well.

Also in the life of the Church in the first half of the 20th Century under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, a number of spiritual and evangelical movements of a pious nature were developing. Some of these were focused on achieving personal holiness, and others aimed more at catechetical development, humane services, and mercy work. However, at the conclusion of the Council, a surge of the empowering activity of the Holy Spirit also came to the fore in a notable fashion. For example, the Cursillo movement which began in Spain and quickly moved to the United States and other parts of the world. Also Antioch for young people, Focolari and others. However, the one that made the most impact in the United States and worldwide in the Catholic Church was the Charismatic Renewal. This movement leads participants to experience a refreshing empowerment of the Holy Spirit, along with the experience and use of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Once this “new anointing” of the Spirit is experienced, it begins a natural and supernatural process which significantly affects one’s personal relationship with the Lord. This effectiveness in grace spreads gradually to all the dimensions of one’s spiritual life, and if one is faithful in developing a life of prayer this actualizing grace positively effects the personal growth of Christian holiness and maturity in all areas of one’s human endeavors. However, this consistency is not always the case. It is like many other opportunities of growth, if one does not foster and focus on a process of conversion, growth in personal holiness, and generous service to others, it can easily lose its vitality. Initially receiving this empowerment should lead one to a deeper experience of a personal relationship with Christ, and to a more attentive awareness of the presence and operation of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. For many over the last 50 some years this has been the case. In fact, this refreshing experience of the Holy Spirit has generated a good number of ministries, special communities, and other forms of service and mercy work in the life of the Church. This podcast is presented to provide a context to consider more specific areas in the life of the Church which may need some significant attention.

May we pray!
Lord Jesus, to know you is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all of my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me as you bring healing to my life, and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask You to bless them. In Your Name Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind and heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By your grace and most intimate love, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn)

Importance of Evangelization

importance of evangelization

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The Importance of Evangelization

Podcast 5

In this episode, Father David tackles the importance of Evangelization and how we, as Christians can follow the calling. If the Lord has indeed offered us the challenge, how can we say no? Join Father David weekly as he offers us food for thought.

Show Notes: Importance of Evangelization

In recent years within the Church there has been a clarion call to advance the mission of the Church to “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. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I  am with you always until the end of the age”. (Mt.28: 18-19) Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he (The risen Jesus) commissioned them to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

The basic ways to do evangelization are programmatic evangelization and personal one-on-one relational evangelization, or small group evangelization. It is a matter of learning how to share our faith, whether we do this in opportunities in programs such as Christ-Life or Christ Renews His Parish.  Or in one-on-one situations or in small group fellowships.

Our Baptism calls us to Evangelize

By the very nature of our Baptism, and subsequently through our personal relationship in Jesus through faith, we are called to witness to His Resurrection and share with others the Good News of Salvation in Christ. Evangelization is one of the major responses of the Church to offset the moral degradation, secularization, and dehumanization of the human person present in our world today in addition to proclaiming that the risen Jesus Christ is our personal Lord and Savior.

Most sincere Catholics want to be holy, but they don’t want to talk about it or to share their faith with others. A missionary spirit and zeal for the Gospel can be hard to find among many of us. We certainly try and live a holy life and witness to the resurrection of Jesus by giving a good example (situation of Kateri Tekakwitha). It is possible that not all of us are called to do personal evangelization because we may not have the natural and spiritual gifts to do it, but some are, and to different degrees depending on our situation. However, at least all of us should be willing to be trained to do personal evangelization. It is good to learn how to do faith sharing in any situation., ie. various parish, congregation, small groups or with our children and other relatives.

All the Popes over the last 70 years have encouraged Catholics to share their faith with others in various situations where personal evangelization is appropriate. Pope Francis recently has consistently encouraged Catholics to reach out to others in every possible way. Also, he warned pastoral workers to be careful and avoid “spiritual selfishness” By that he meant that they should not always be putting personal effort into spiritual things with a  self-centered mindset which attitude concentrates it is all about me, my personal holiness. (The Joy of the Gospel) In Evangelii Nunciandi on Evangelization Pope Paul says, we should expect to personally experience in evangelizing or sharing our faith,  a fresh forward impulse capable of creating with those whom we share the undying strength and power of Pentecost, a new period of sharing the Good News in a way that is understandable and inspiring.

When we share our faith or seek to evangelize another person, what is it we should share?

The first thing that we should consider in a prayerful spirit is this: The glorified risen Lord Jesus is already present in me, and in the person, I am going to speak to. This should give me a certain amount of inner peace. Realizing what is going to happen to the person I am sharing my faith or evangelizing depends primarily on the work of the Lord in that person, and the person’s ability to respond. Therefore, we humbly approach the relationship with a discerning spirit seeking inner light for guidance and direction.

So what is the content which we are going to share? I am going to share what I personally understand and believe about the inner experience of my personal faith in the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t mean that I have all my Catholic doctrine at my fingertips, but should know where the books are that I can refer them to. We should be able to share our personal experience of the risen Christ, and how he is present and active in my personal life. It is also important to experience what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. St. Anthony says in his writings that every Christian should ultimately end up fulfilling in their lives the full experience of Pentecost. When Peter was asked by those witnessing the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, what should we do brothers to receive this experience? He responded, ”Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So I am going to share with another person that my personal experience of faith is the reality of my personal relationship with Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That Jesus has given me a personal understanding of God as my Father, and a rich and full life in the Holy Spirit. I know that God loves me, and I am his beloved son or daughter; he has revealed his mercy and goodness in my personal life. I know that I am a sinner and realize it more and more every day. As a result, with his help, I have changed my life through life-giving repentance, forgiveness, and an experience of a new life with the Lord and the Holy Spirit. This gift has led me to a rich and new life of faith and love. My life is not always easy but with this experience of a new faith, I see new growth in my life each day. In other words, I am really different than I used to be, and the peace and joy of the Lord is permanently in my life. I have been truly empowered by the merciful gift of the Holy Spirit.

importance of evangelizationThe Acts of the Apostles could be called the model for evangelization.

There are so many scriptural accounts in the first part of the Acts of the Apostles, which proclaim and identify the significant features, and principles of Spirit-filled evangelization. These stories and events portray God’s purposes of salvation and nothing stands in the way. Of the four marks of the Church, the last one being Apostolic, we see the clear operation of the power of the “Apostolic Charism” in miraculous operation. We see an enlightened work of the Holy Spirit about an experience of the Lord Jesus and his saving power, which results in many people coming to a new faith. New Christians repeating in various ways that God became man in the person of Jesus that we might receive Salvation. That Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection has reconciled us to the Father and saved us from eternal damnation because of our sins. He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and they sent the Holy Spirit as a gift living within us to assist us in our Christian growth in holiness, and given us the ability to share this Good News (Gospel) of salvation with others. The Acts of the Apostles, by prayer, deeds and words, witness and demonstrate in the power of the Spirit the core truth of Salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.

Attitudes that hinder individuals from doing evangelization:

  1. Thinking that my good example as a Christian is all I need to do for evangelization.
  2. Fear of being rejected, made fun of, making a fool of myself, people won’t listen.
  3. Thinking that I have to know Catholic doctrine very well.
  4. My life is not what it should be; I am not worthy to share the Gospel with others.
  5. I am a sinful person; I would be a hypocrite to share spiritually.
  6. I do evangelize—I always “preach to others” and nag those I know to go to Church.
  7. A lack of trust in the Lord that he will be working in the person or group I speak to.
  8. Laziness or I need deep personal spiritual renewal myself.

Helpful or useful in evangelizing or faith sharing.

  1. Just share simply the good things God has done in my life
  2. That I am sincere in following the Lord and willing to change those things that hold me back.
  3. It is good if I am aware of the presence of the Lord in the event, and open to his gifts.
  4. I believe in God’s personal love for me, and in the events of my life.
  5. To know that I am not focusing on my perfection and holiness, but on the wonderful ways, the Lord has worked in my life.
  6. I understand that I learn by practice and making mistakes. I should know that I don’t always share my whole testimony, but only as much as fits the situation I am in, and the specific persons need.

A general format for giving my personal witness or testimony.

  1. What was my life like in the past that led to a change? (specific elements).
  2. What happened that made me change my life. (describe the change).
  3. What is my new life of faith like now? (give evidence)

A life of prayer is what helps me share my faith and do personal evangelization.

Frequent Personal Prayer Time

prayer time

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Frequent Personal Prayer Time

Podcast #4

A Frequent personal prayer time

Prayer time is one of those things that often escapes us. In this episode, Father David explores setting up frequent and personal prayer time so that you can grow closer to God. Join Father weekly as he explores timely topics and digs deep into the scriptures.

Show Notes: A Frequent and Personal Prayer Time

In one of Jesus’ journeys to the temple in Jerusalem he stood up in the midst of the people and he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink, and rivers of living water will flow from within him.” ( Jn. 7: 37 )

From the pierced heart of Jesus flows streams of living water. Knowing the Heart of Jesus and loving him is the same thing. A life of prayer is rooted in the heart of the One who keeps asking, “Do you love me?” If we do not love him we end up being strangers to our own and God’s heart. It is through prayer that our relationship with the One who first loved us grows and deepens. The goal of having a good personal prayer time is to learn to live a “ life of prayer.” This type of personal prayer is centered on, “the grace of the present moment.”

Prayer time in the midst of family business.

There are four siblings in my immediate family; three brothers and one sister. All three of us brothers have a great love and respect for our sister, Ruthann. Near the top of my list is the fact that she remained single and took excellent care of my father and mother until they passed away. My mother died at 84 and my father at 96; he needed extended and intensive long-standing care until he died. Recently on one my trips back to the family homestead, she told me that she was very grateful to me because after she had made a great conversion and renewal in the Holy Spirit I told her this. If you want to grow more quickly in holiness and prayer you need to build into your daily schedule a frequent or daily personal prayer time. She said I did what you suggested, and I will never regret it because it has proved to be so true for me.

“Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his home ( I will come into him!) and eat with him, and he will eat with me. To those who win the victory, I will give the right to sit beside me on my throne, Just as I have been victorious and now sit by my Father on his throne.” ( Rev. 3:20 ) This passage highlights intimate love, union, and sharing in the victory of the glorious eternal life. Knowing the methods of prayer is not enough to establish a rich prayer life, but the inner dynamics of a heart to heart relationship with the Lord is what is essential. Without a meaningful prayer life, dealing with the experience of the daily issues of our existence will often leave us quickly scattered,  or over-invested in intense and stressful ways.

What keeps you away from prayer time?

Is there anything keeping me from entering into a journey of frequent prayer and union with the Lord? If today the Lord is knocking on the door of my heart, is there anything keeping me from opening the door wide and inviting the Lord in? If I understand that the Lord has an abundant love for me, what could hold me back? Francis of Assisi exhorted his brothers, “pray always and do not lose heart! ( ER, C. XXII, n. 28-31 )

For all of us establishing a frequent or daily prayer time is hard work, and we can usually find many other things to do before we want to do that. We live in a society that thrives on being busy and provides many distractions for us. Also, some experience a real desire to pray often because of special grace they received in some spiritual program or experience; filled with a new found joy and desire they may neglect prayer and sort of lose interest, then their desire for prayer and growth in holiness gradually diminishes.  If we stick with our efforts to grow in prayer, our taste for prayer and personal holiness will gradually grow stronger. And the graces and favors of the Holy Spirit will noticeably increase.

The Practical Aspects of designing a Personal Prayer Time

May we look at the specific elements that can be useful in assisting us in designing a desired plan for a prayer time. It is important to do this in a way that best fits our vocation and life situation at the present time. Some individuals pace of life and schedule largely determines how they bring this time into their daily schedule.  Some people pray better in the morning when the day is just starting; others pray better when the day is drawing to a close. Each of us is different so we should choose the time that best suits us.

The setting for prayer time:

It is helpful to pick an environment that is conducive to prayer. There may be a chapel available that makes the situation peaceful for me. For those whose mission it is to raise families a nice basement family room where it is quiet and all the electronic devices are off, including the cell phone is desirable. I may want to keep a notebook handy where I can jot down key insights. If I do journaling it is probably not a good time to do it all the time. Sometimes journaling during prayer time can draw us away from the more important things the Lord may want to do with me doing my special time with him. Each individual should determine that for himself or herself.

Many find that secondary aids are used to get one started in prayer. The Church has always favored using the Word of God. The scriptures, the Gospel stories or the letters of St. Paul, are particularly useful because they are especially inspired by the Holy Spirit. A good devotional book or something from the life of a saint is also noteworthy. If I am musically gifted and can sing I can use my talents to begin praising. Beginning one’s prayer time with praising is helpful in opening my spirit to the movements of grace in my heart and mind. It also gets my mind off of myself and other distractions.

If I never had a frequent or daily prayer time before, it may be good to start it in a reasonable length of about 15 to 20 minutes. The focus of my prayer at the beginning should be on God and not on myself. I may start with praying and asking the Lord for the grace to have a blessed time of prayer. Then make a peaceful but conscious effort to empty my mind of distractive thoughts and considerations. After a short period of silent reflection, it is good to share with the Lord what is in your heart. During the main part of my prayer, I should be particularly attentive to what the Lord is showing me as I place myself in a listening mode. The Lord will “speak” to you and also the Holy Spirit may inspire you with light and insight about what you reflected on in your heart, those things he has brought to you in prayer. Choose what is most important to you, and make a choice to be influenced by the insights or lights in regard to action or choices which may have a particular bearing on certain aspects of my life. At times, if appropriate, I may seek the Lord about the events or issues of the current day. Towards the end of my prayer time, I may want to thank the Lord for the graces given to me in my prayer time and ask the Lord if there is anyone I should briefly pray for before I finish my time.

Some concluding reflections: My personal prayer time is my special opportunity to have a conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord. It should be a peaceful time for prayer. It is uniquely my time! Therefore, I need to trust in the Lord’s love for me. He really wants to and delights in being with me. The Lord will take the initiative to give me the graces I need to prayer well. The Lord will also lead me to lengthen my prayer time when it is time. The key thing is that during my time with the Lord, relax and let the Lord lead the way my prayer time unfolds.

The Grace Of The Present Moment Part II

the grace of the present moment

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The Grace of the Present Moment Part II

Podcast #3

The grace of the present moment part two is still about living in God’s grace. However, the first reflection on living in the Grace of the Present Moment or “hearing the voice of the Lord” was a little heavy.

Biblical teachings for living in grace:

What I attempted to communicate was the context of what this gift entails; the pastoral theological context for the purposes of understanding. In this second reflection, I would like to discuss some of the biblical principles that enable us to put our understanding into action as we live in the grace of the present moment.

In Marks, Gospel Jesus speaks about the parable of new wine being poured into new wine shins, “Likewise no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mk 2: 18-22)  Applying this scripture to represent the Bridegroom who is now present in a direct and personal way for the purposes of our personal transformation.

What does this transformation require?

And this transformation requires direct action by the Lord to bring about both the gift of the new wine of the Spirit and changes in the new wineskins. It is not just a matter of interior change by the new wine of the Spirit, but also a significant change in the personality and character of the person. The whole person has to change when coming into contact with the voice and action of the Lord. The whole person benefits; both spiritual growth and human maturity takes place. Holiness is wholeness! This is our focus when attempting to live in the grace of the present moment.

Living In The Grace of the Present Moment takes living in grace.

Viewing the issue of living in the grace of the present moment, may we reflect on three significant considerations of this reality. Within the context our growth in the grace of the present moment we can identify the following: 1) The wisdom of developing a daily or frequent personal prayer time; the building of a deep personal relationship with the Lord, 2) The challenge of learning how to do “spiritual warfare” against the negative forces of the world, the flesh and the devil, and 3) The need to develop an action plan in order to focus and maximize our spiritual growth and human maturity; the construction of a flexible spiritual growth plan.

1 Jn 2:16

“I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one. Do not love the world or the things of the world For if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust and enticement of the eyes, and a pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 Jn 2:16). The meaning of the world in this negative sense is the power of the world under the influence and direction of the evil one.

God shows us his love as we are living in the grace of the present moment:

In Ephesians chapter six, St. Paul gives us the basic principle for doing spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil. “Finally draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything to hold your ground. So stand fast in faith with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Eph.6:10-17)

Our struggle is not with flesh and blood.

The Roman soldier, fully armed with his shield his breastplate and helmet, would have been a familiar image in the ancient world. The Ephesians are to prepare themselves to live the Christian life as the Roman soldiers prepared themselves for combat, but instead of armor and weapons, they are to use what God gives for our protection: truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation. Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, for Christians in every age have experienced persecution at the hands of other people.  But Paul insists that the enemies to fear are the forces of evil in the universe, forces which assail the Christian like an army of invaders. (commentary on Ephesians in the NAB}

The Church today is just getting around to looking seriously at the presence, operation, and benefits of the “spiritual gifts of the Spirit.” Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly are used for the benefit of building up the Body of Christ. They are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and all members of the Church. (CCC 799) The spiritual gifts of discernment and the discernment of spirits are essential to determine what spirit is influencing us in and at the present moment of time.

“We belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one (the meaning of the term “world” in the negative sense). We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 5: 19-20); Charismatic gifts in  Corinthians, (1Cor 12:1-14: 25). In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays a beautiful prayer for believers, that we may have wisdom and revelation—gifts from the Holy Spirit—to understand more fully the hope of our own call and the greatness and glory of God. In Ephesians 4: 7-13 we see identified the spiritual gifts for an apostolic mission, witness, and service. Gifts given…” and he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.

Are you engaged in spiritual growth and human maturity?

Each baptized Christian needs to be very proactive in engaging spiritual growth and human maturity; the new wine of the Spirit is poured into new wineskins, the attitudes, behaviors, and maturity of our human person, as we travel on our personal journey of our life. The fundamental choices and decisions primarily take place in the midst of the grace of the present moment! In order to support our growth in Christian holiness, it is essential to develop a daily or frequent personal prayer time. This is the context where we learn how to read the movements the evil one who may be trying to confuse us, or using our personal weaknesses and vulnerable areas of our lives to lead us into sin or other modes of darkness. Again Pope John Paul II reminds us that spiritual combat is a secret and interior struggle in which Christians engage daily temptations and opposition from the “spirit of the world”, our personal weaknesses, and the works of Satan.

Discernment is needed to exercise the spiritual gifts:

I present here a few simple tips using a good discernment or exercising the spiritual gift of the discernment of spirits. When you feel something going on psychologically where negative or compulsive dark thoughts are affecting your mind make prayer your first response. If we sense something taking place in our spiritual realm, where we are sort of out of sorts also turn to prayer and ask the Lord to give us insight and give us a picture to what is going on, and then wait patiently for positive inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Try to recall something positive which came to you in regard to your personal intimacy with the Lord, something based on liberating truth and not just on our personal feelings. Evil spirits just hate to be confronted with the truth, or praises of Scripture or turning to the Lord and praising him. A Christian has a spirit given gift or ability to distinguish between what is from our human nature, and what is from the Spirit of God, and what is from a demonic source or presence. Do not be afraid to use the anointing or gift that God has given you! Take authority in the name of Jesus over what you sense is coming from the dark side of things. Do not be surprised if “things” clear up and peace returns. Don’t forget to be thankful for the freedom you receive, this pleases the Lord.

God acts on our behalf and we can simply pray, using spiritual warfare:

In the Name of Jesus, I bind this negativity (or whatever is plaguing you) and command it to leave. Continue to praise the Lord and ask Him to fill you with His love, His peace, and His joy.






Living in the Grace of The Present Moment

living in the grace of the present moment

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Living in the Grace of the Present Moment  ~ Episode 2

Do you live in the past? Or are you living in the grace of the present moment? In this episode, Father Tickerhoof takes on this topic head on and explores what it means and how we as Christians can change our look at the past and live a new life in Christ. He explains how to listen to the voice of the Lord, personally, literally and clearly.

Show Notes: Living in the grace of the present moment

Last year I was living in St. Petersburg and assisting the chaplain core at Bay Front Trauma Hospital. The Catholic chaplain on the core shared a talk she gave to graduating physician assistants. She spoke with them about how important it was to live in the present. In the process of her speech, she said something to this effect. If you live your life in the past you will never be able to live fully in the present, and if you live your life primary in the future you will not be able to fully live in the present. She apparently suggested to them that they should try to live fully in the present. Of course, we need to receive wisdom about the past and we need to reasonably to plan for the future.

She encouraged them to live a balanced life fully in the present and give special attention to live in the grace of the present moment. I am sure that at some time we have met individuals who are always looking to the past, proclaiming how good it was in the past, usually preoccupied about their life, events, and experiences of the past Sometimes a fearful rigidity can emerge that betrays a great deal of insecurity. Then on the other side of things, we can run into individuals who are always saying what they are going to achieve in the future. We may be a little uneasy with their preoccupation about the future because we sense a dissociation from living in the present, and have an awareness that many of the things they may be planning and thinking about in the future surprisingly may not really happen.

We want to please the Lord in all things!

The grace which the Lord gives to us to respond to him and live our life primarily comes to us in the present moment. A good reason for this is that God gives us the power and ability to respond to him and to the responsibilities of life exclusively in the general context of the present moment. This is naturally and supernaturally the way he created us as human beings. Love as the hallmark of life reveals itself in the human activity of the present moment. We can communicate about the past and the future but we actually live engaged in the present moment. Therefore, if God gives the abundance of his grace in the present ambient of our lives then we want to be very attentive to that reality, in view of the fact that God’s will for my life is revealed in that context. One of the main goals for personal salvation is the knowledge of God’s will in all things, and generously and gratefully living that out to the best of our ability. Surely we want to try and please the Lord in all things.

Living in the grace of the present moment means listening for the voice of the Lord.

In view of the above reflection may we look more closely at the notion of listening to and hearing the “voice of the Lord.” What does it mean to listen to the voice of the Lord? God speaks to us all the time through Sacred Scripture, liturgy, people, circumstances, events and in other ways. Some would say when you do all the things that Catholics do and follow all the teachings of the Church then you will know what the voice of God is all about. These things do communicate God voice to us; however, there is much more to personally and literally hearing God’s voice in our daily lives.

I am aware of the cautions which St. John of the Cross and Ruth Borrows, a Carmelite sister, present in their writings in regard to special spiritual favors and the practice of the spiritual gifts. When situations involve immaturity, superficiality, or initial spiritual experience, individually or culturally, there can be a problem. However, this does not justify “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” The real question is if you do not know how to listen to the Lord, to hear the word of the Lord and discern it, or the voice of God, why not? There is nothing to be ashamed of, but many well-intentioned and serious Christians do not know how to listen to the Lord. It is very clear that it is God’s merciful intention to intimately speak to every baptized disciple of Christ. It is important to know how to maturely hear and listen to the “voice of the Lord.” What I mean is God speaking to us personally literally and clearly.

Are you living in the grace of the present moment?

“To hear the voice of the Lord” is a natural and supernatural experience, which is important to appreciate and understand for the sake of personal holiness and other reasons as well such as, good discernment, good communication with others, a fruitful prayer time, to know and experience his personal love, to know his will, to receive guidance and direction etc. So then how should we personally try to grasp this notion, especially in our personal lives, pastoral ministry, and Christian service?

The context within which we grow and mature in the practice of listening to the Lord is reading the revealed Word of God and the inspired teaching of the Church. The dynamics of knowing how to listen to the Lord’s word need to be practically taught to individuals; a seminar is needed on the podcast. For example, the practical elements of learning how to follow inspirations from the Lord in our minds and know how to receive “his word” in our heart. We have been naturally created by God to learn how to do this. We have been gifted by our Baptism in water. We can easily learn how to identify the presence and movements of God in our souls. Know the awareness of the presence and grace in our interior life. God is Spirit and Jesus the Glorified Lord, relates to us in our spirit through his active presence, and through the insights, inspirations, and power of the Holy Spirit. This experience of grace in us is humanly intelligible, though a mystery it may be. What a joy it is to understand that we can practically know the Lord and his active presence in our hearts, our lives, and in our relationships, and thus experience communication with the Lord.

living in the grace of the present momentThe great news is that the Lord created us with exterior and interior receptors to be able to receive and understand the movements of the Holy Spirit in our communication with the Divine. For example, if we are walking down the street by ourselves we should not be surprised to realize we are talking to ourselves about many things. This is the same interior faculty in which the Holy Spirit is able to infuse or form words in by the action or work of the Spirit when we give prayerful attention to this reality. The saints experienced this reality frequently and the Church identifies this mode of communication as “locutions.” It is important to know what are the Lord’s methods of communication. We can also receive direct revelation in our understanding as well as in many aspects of communication by the Lord through various forms of inspiration, including the circumstances of life, and yes sometimes even in our dreams.

Of course, any communication from the Lord needs to be tested and discerned, St. John tells us to test every spirit…”

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

It is not easy to become good at discerning the word of the Lord. We need to relax and be patient with ourselves and realize that it is okay to make mistakes. A good to sense of humor goes a long way. We always need to ask ourselves the question: is what I believe to be the word of the Lord coming from the Lord, my unredeemed part of me, or from a deception by Satan. The devil is good at mimicking the various communication gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that Satan presents himself as an “angel of light”. It takes a great deal of humility and practice to mature in hearing the word of the Lord and knowing when and how to act on it in a manner that is pleasing to God. The divine/human interplay in grace through the spiritual activity of conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord is what we mean by hearing the word of the Lord and listening to it as he speaks to us, giving us various forms of guidance and direction in a given situation.

The obvious question would be how do we make this happen?  Is there some button we may push? In an attempt to make a response to this question I will only mention briefly a few things about this wonderful possibility. The first and probably the most fundamental point is that the Lord in his great love and mercy for us created us naturally for interaction and communication with Him. An involved and mature communication with God in our life and ministry presupposes that we walk closely with him in all the moments of our daily life, especially in our prayer time. Praying always is one way of expressing this reality. Mary is identified in spiritual writings as the attentive Virgin who is always open and receptive to divine communication. Depending on the situation sometimes the Lord takes the initiative and sometimes we are able to do that. The door to this relationship is a life of prayer. This process is enhanced by an active life in the Holy Spirit, and a practical ability to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit which pertain to what is going on in a given moment or situation, particularly in personal prayer or the context of a ministry situation.







God’s Love For His People

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God's Love For His PeopleGod’s Love for His People

Episode 1

God’s love for His people will astound and bless you — in the scriptures, He says, “Beloved let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God is revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love. Not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (1 Jn. 4: 7-12)

“… who remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (v. 16)

We are called into a  love relationship with God in Jesus Christ through the power and life of the Holy Spirit. We live a covenant relationship in Jesus Christ in the New Creation. Those committed to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ live in a relationship with him in the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We have been created for God

We have been created to naturally live this life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and come to completion or perfection as a human being in the dynamic of this triune relationship of love. In the book of Revelation Jesus says “Behold I make all things new”! Jesus is the source of the New Creation

By love, we become a new creation, a new man or woman in Christ. Jesus invites us into the New Covenant of Love through our Baptism in water

(The story of Dianne) — listen to the podcast for more.

God’s love for His people is unending!

The only way we can grow in love is by the power of God’s love Therefore we are called into a relationship where we are willing to embrace a process and journey of changing. Sometimes change is easy sometimes it is hard, “unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains just a seed, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (Jn. 12) The story of Jimmy Cohen – a little book entitled Love of God by Charles Colson,  in a chapter entitled “Whatever Happened to Son.”

If God is love and lives in us, we need to love others. The basic call of our vocation is love. A successful and meaningful life is a life of love: giving our life away, giving our love away, and giving our death away! Our transformation and growth in divine love and human love brings spiritual happiness and also human maturity.  (The story of Alex Bombara)

Love is a gift from God, both divine and human love, a fruitful life. A fruitful life lived in the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit brings forth in our transformation generosity and gratitude. In humility we need to be patient, learn to appreciate and accept ourselves as we are, and trust in God’s merciful love to achieve all He has planned for us.