Why Did The Word Become Flesh?


"HE WAS CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,AND WAS BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY"

This Christmas let us meditate on why the Word became Flesh?

We find the answer to this question in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which tells us the following:

456
With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."
457
The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world," and "he was revealed to take away sins":70
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?71

458
The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."72 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."73
459
The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me." "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."74 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: "Listen to him!"75 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: "Love one another as I have loved you."76 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.77
460
The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81

May It Be Done To Me According To Your Word!

As we begin the Advent season and look forward to the day upon which we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, let us contemplate the events that led to up to this most memorable occasion.

Let us first consider our Blessed Mother’s role in God’s plan of salvation, and in particular her eagerness to do His will. Put yourself in Mary’s place, a very young girl from humble surroundings, betrothed to marry a carpenter by the name of Joseph, and suddenly she is visited by a messenger from God who informs her that God has chosen her to miraculously become pregnant with the long-awaited Messiah.

The author of the Gospel of Luke provides a beautiful account of Mary’s response to the surprising news she has just received, and one from which we can all take a lesson.

Given her circumstances, the news must certainly have been alarming. We can only imagine how her mind must have raced with the many consequences she could possibly face as a result of the pregnancy.

But even if fear entered her heart, it was quickly extinguished by her love of God and her desire to do His will. God did not interfere with Mary’s free will to either accept or reject what He called her to do, just as He does not interfere with our free wills in response to His call.
Mary quickly said YES in the most beautiful way, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."(Luke 1:38 NAB)
At this same time, the angel Gabriele also informed Mary of the good news concerning her cousin, Elizabeth’s pregnancy, since it was thought that she would be unable to conceive due to her advanced age. A short time later, Mary would visit her cousin at which time she would give praise and worship to the Lord in what we now know as The Magnificat, which we also find recorded in the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55).
What lesson should we learn from Mary’s response? Our Blessed Mother sets the perfect example of how we should be eager do God’s will and respond to His call with a humble, thankful, and submissive spirit.
As we live and grow in our faith, let us put some time into learning more about the importance of the role of our Blessed Mother in God’s plan of salvation.
In the Book of Revelation, speaking of our Blessed Mother, the Apostle John writes of his heavenly vision referring Mary as “a great sign appearing in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1 NAB)
Begin reading and learning about Our Lady in SIGNUM MAGNUM translated as THE GREAT SIGN, an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI.

A Lesson On Love!

A Lesson On Love!

In his first letter to the Church at Corinth, St. Paul provides an excellent lesson on the meaning of, and the importance of love.

Let us read the words of St. Paul as they are inspired by God, and really let them sink into our hearts and minds as we strive to emulate our Heavenly Father’s love in our service to others!

St. Paul writes,

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
2
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
3
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
6
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
9
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
10
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
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At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
13
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13 NAB)

Present at Calvary at Every Mass!


Yes! Along with the saints and all the choirs of angels, God, the creator of the universe, allows eternity to fold into the present and the present to fold into eternity at each mass, as we place ourselves at the foot of the cross and celebrate Christ’s one and only sacrifice for the past, present and future sins of all humanity, as Transubstantiation occurs at the moment the priest speaks the words of consecration.

If we believe that God created the universe and all it contains, why is it so hard for some of us to believe Jesus is really present in the Eucharist?

To believe that Christ is really present in the bread and wine following the words of consecration is a matter of faith. It is the Sacred Mystery and the center of our Catholic faith! Jesus instituted this Sacrament on the night before he died as he shared a meal with his friends.

As St. Thomas Aquinas points out in his Summa Theologica, that it is fitting and proper that we as corporeal beings need to be led to spiritual things through the senses of sight, touch, feel smell and hearing. Jesus knew this and so established a way in which he could remain physically present among believers until his return.

The same way he strongly desired to be with his friends at the last supper, Jesus so desires to be with all of us! Do we strongly desire to be with him? As Catholics, we are invited to his table daily, where Jesus himself provides the spiritual nourishment for our journey!

We read in Luke’s gospel, “When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:14-16 NASB)


Research more about the Eucharist @ http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/realpres/a12.html, as well as what St. Thomas


Aquinas has to say about the sacraments, including the Eucharist @ http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4.htm

Abortionist Becomes Pro-Life Activist After St. Thomas Aquinas Appears to Him In A Dream


Serbian Abortionist Who Aborted 48,000 Babies Becomes Pro-Life Activist

In describing his conversion, Adasevic said he "dreamed about a beautiful field full of children and young people who were playing and laughing, from 4 to 24 years of age, but who ran away from him in fear. A man dressed in a black and white habit stared at him in silence. The dream was repeated each night and he would wake up in a cold sweat. One night he asked the man in black and white who he was. 'My name is Thomas Aquinas,' the man in his dream responded. Adasevic, educated in communist schools, had never heard of the Dominican genius saint. He didn't recognize the name."
"Why don't you ask me who these children are?" St. Thomas asked Adasevic in his dream.
"They are the ones you killed with your abortions,” the Dominican saint told him.
. . .Read the full article @ http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08111304.html where it appears reprinted with the permission of its original source, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/

A more in depth and insightful article about Dr. Adasevic can be found @ http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/11/stojan_adasevic.html

Advent Begins on Sunday, November 30, 2008


In a season during which most people experience anxiety at the approach of the Christmas holiday, most of which, by the way, is the result of the impact materialism and commercialism has had on what should be a very peaceful and joyous occasion, let us turn our hearts and minds to the mercy and love of God as we approach the day on which we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Let us start by contemplating the first of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, The Annunciation, and in particular our Blessed Mother’s obedience and surrender to the will of God.

The Annunciation

A devout Jewish girl living in as obscure town during the military occupation of her country is suddenly confronted by a messenger of God. Her familiarity with Scripture would leave her with little doubt about what is happening because all devout Jews awaited the Messiah. Every Jewish girl was given the hope that this might happen to her. But she was not a wife. How could this be?

In her puzzlement she knows what to do. What had the prophets and the holy women of the Bible done before? They had said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). Puzzled, frightened, confused, she says the most simple and profound thing, “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:3:38).

Every real attempt at holiness and friendship with God must begin here. There is no real and honest beginning without an unqualified act of obedience and of surrender.

The above was written by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. and appears in his leaflet entitled, The Rosary: Opening Our Hearts to the Mysteries of Faith, Creative Communications for the Parish, St. Louis, MO, 1995) – you may purchase this booklet and many other works by Fr. Groeschel @ http://www.franciscanfriars.com/books/benedict_books.htm. Fr. Groeschel also hosts a series on EWTN called Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Find out more about this television series @ http://www.ewtn.com/tv/prime_sunday.asp.

What is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?


The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a beautiful prayer! Below is an excerpt from the complete article, What is the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy? found on the website catholicity.com – the exact link is http://www.catholicity.com/prayer/divinemercy.html.

What is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?

Saint Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in the village of Glogowiec west of Lodz, Poland, on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women.

The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added "of the Most Blessed Sacrament," as was permitted by her Congregation's custom.

In the 1930s, Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God's mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God's plan of mercy for the world.

The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; she has been recognized by the Church as a "Saint"; and her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to The Divine Mercy. She would not have been surprised, for she had been told that the message of God's mercy would spread through her writings for the great benefit of souls.

Through Saint Faustina, Jesus also revealed special ways to live out the response to His mercy–one of which is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as both a novena and a prayer for the three o'clock hour–the hour of His death.

View a great version of the prayer put to song by a great artist by the name of Trish Short on Youtube.com – the exact link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AySdEJx50Z0

You may also purchase Trish Short’s CDs and DVDs at http://www.divinemercyinsong.com/

The Eucharist and the Early Church Fathers


There is mystery in the natural world all around us as the great scientist Einstein once observed and this is certainly also the case with religion and especially Christianity, beginning with the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. Christ’s gift to us of Himself in what we call the Eucharist [from the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving" and sometimes referred to as Holy Communion] is such a mystery of faith.

To see them, we need as St. Paul says, eyes of faith, remembering that we must walk by faith, not by sight through God’s mysteries (Rom12: 6-7) but never fearing that faith and reason are brothers in God’s creation. Like Father James T. O’Connor, from whose work The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist much of this manuscript is drawn, I would like to repeat with Chesterton that the theme of the Eucharist is so wonderful that we must take a risk in offering our praise.

The first full treatise on the Holy Eucharist was not produced until the 9th century, however, the writings of the Early Church Fathers have frequent mention of it. This essay will attempt to survey only a small measure of their content to give you some sense of the development of the doctrine of the Eucharist–that is, the Church’s understanding of this great mystery. . . . more . . . (read the entire article, “The Early Church Fathers Speak about the Eucharist: The Body and Blood of Christ, the Real Presence of Christ: Development of Eucharistic Understanding” by clicking on the following link) http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/fathersoneucharist.htm

Do We Know Jesus?

. . . The rise of Christian fundamentalism in our country gives us another reason to deepen our grasp of the sacraments. Today in our country there are fundamentalist Christians who see our devotion to the sacraments and our involvement with ritual and conclude mistakenly that we Catholics are not real Christians at all, but members of some kind of cult. It looks to them as if we do not believe in Jesus or read the Bible.

Many Catholic families are disrupted when a son or daughter, father or aunt, embraces fundamentalism and then informs Catholic family members that they are not saved and are bound for hell. In these painful moments we must each have a good understanding of our faith—not only for our own peace of mind but also to be able to clarify erroneous definitions of Catholic sacrament and worship.

Nothing can be further from the truth, by the way, than the accusation that we do not know Jesus and the Bible. If there is anything we can say about the Mass—or any of the sacraments—it is this: They all start with Jesus. For example, although the Baltimore Catechism’s definition of sacrament does not mention the Bible, the Church clearly teaches that "Sacred Scripture is of the greatest importance" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #24) in the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments. .. . . more (read this entire article, “It All Starts With Jesus” by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. by clicking on the following link) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0893.asp

Learn more about the sacraments by following the link below
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13295a.htm

Pray for Wisdom


At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."


Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"


The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. "


"Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. 1 Kings 3:5-15 (NIV)

Scriptural Evidence

Are the teachings, practices, and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church biblical?

Find out here http://www.scripturecatholic.com/ ! Save this website in your favorites and share it with your Catholic and non-Catholic friends. Peace!

Below is the first paragraph found on the homepage of this informative website.

Welcome to ScriptureCatholic.com, one of the most comprehensive Catholic apologetics websites on the internet. ScriptureCatholic.com provides over 2,000 Scripture citations from the Old and New Testament that explain and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site also provides hundreds of excerpts from the writings of the early Church Fathers (1st through 8th centuries). These writings explain the Fathers' interpretation of Scripture and demonstrate that the early Church was unequivocally Catholic. Through the study of Scripture and the Church Fathers, we see that, not only is the Catholic faith biblical, Catholicism is Bible Christianity par excellence.

The American Genocide

(I saw this piece in the vestibule of a local church, and while very brief, it drives the point home concerning the atrocity of abortion. As Americans, we spend so much energy, time and resources fighting the war on terror, yet we fail to see the terror that takes place in the slaughter and torture of millions of innocent American lives at the hands of their own mothers. We are killing our own people and as a result have become a culture of death, rather than life! God’s love, mercy and forgiveness is available to all who have engaged in this terrible atrocity, but we must turn from this sin, and with humility, repent with a contrite heart to become properly disposed to God’s saving grace, which comes through the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.) Read below

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, over 7,000000 American mothers have murdered their babies. This slaughter continues at the rate of 3,500 murders per day. God’s precious treasures are wiped out like some kind of bad germs. EWTN World News reports: “43% of American Women under 45 have had an abortion.” Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa have both said that the evil of abortion is at the heart of the mess we see in today’s world. Mother Teresa said, “Abortion is the mother of all holocausts.”

At Fatima, our Blessed Mother told Jacinta: “War is a punishment for sin.” In both the Old and New Testaments, whenever God’s chosen people strayed from His Ten Commandments of love, He was forced, as a loving Father, to take drastic measures to bring them to their knees in repentance.

God’s mercy, forgiveness, and amazing grace cannot get through to us until we go to the sacrament of reconciliation and the remove the blockage of sin.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read, “If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

A Prayer to Know & Follow One's Vocation

O Jesus, I desire that you make your will known to me; I wish to follow you. Enlighten my soul and give me the strength and courage to choose the state of life in which you wish me to serve you. Dearest Mother Mary, obtain grace for me through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Market Religion

An authentic religion by its very nature is an established religion because God himself reveals it. Once God has revealed himself to mankind, man’s only valid choice is to make that religion, that revelation, his own. To do otherwise is to contradict the very idea of revealed truth. What the English speaking world has inherited via the kindness of William and Mary is a fractured Christianity, a faith which embraces certain aspects of revelation and ignores other features. Thus the Bible is embraced at the expense of the sacraments; preaching is favored to the detriment of sacrifice; the congregation is preferred to the priesthood; the church’s spiritual mediation is forsaken for individual access. Certainly today’s Catholic is not immune to this market place Christianity. Today’s Catholic will go to Mass on Sunday but never go to confession on Saturday. Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation are prized events in Catholic life but contraception, cohabitation and divorce are frequent options. Some parishes are big on social justice; others are renowned for their piety. Angels, vigil lights and the blessing of Rosary beads remain popular while sin, hell and a firm purpose of amendment are forgotten. The American government might not have a legally established religion. But God does. And believers ignore it at their peril. . . . this is the last paragraph of an article entitled, Is God Well Served by ‘Market Religion’? . . read the entire article @ http://thericatholic.com/stories/1344.html.
You may read many other articles by this prolific and Spirit-filled author, Fr. John A. Kiley, which you can find arranged by topic @ http://www.stfranciswarwick.com/The%20Quiet%20Corner%20by%20topic.htm

Filled With the Spirit: What Does It Mean?

The following is a story of a profound lesson on what it means to be "filled with the Spirit".

While attending a class which focused on the study of Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, a fellow student once posed this question to the professor, ‘what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?’ The professor, a Dominican Friar, paused briefly in contemplation and answered the student in one word, "FREEDOM".

He then went on to explain his answer this way:

He said that man proceeds through life in stages.

He is first directed by others. For example, babies, toddlers and the young need to be directed by others. Some people remain in this stage of being OTHER DIRECTED, while most outgrow this stage and move on to the next.

The 2nd stage is one in which man is SELF DIRECTED, or perhaps more accurately stated, believes himself to be in charge of his own destiny. It is this stage that will produce feelings of anxiety and restlessness.

The 3rd stage is one in which man is able to attain total FREEDOM. This stage is one in which man relies neither on himself nor others but rather places God in charge of his life, or more aptly stated, becomes GOD DIRECTED and FREE.

So we can ponder these three stages - OTHER DIRECTED, SELF DIRECTED, AND GOD DIRECTED. The latter requires a strong faith that God knows what is best for us, and that He alone is in charge! Do we trust in Him? It’s our choice!

How Can We Know God?

Be still! The Psalmist tells us in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

St. Anselm tells us this at the very beginning of his work entitled, Proslogion, a discourse on the existence of God:

“Come on now little man, get away from your worldly occupations for a while, escape from your tumultuous thoughts. Lay aside your burdensome cares and put off your laborious exertions. Give yourself over to God for a little while, and rest for a while in Him. Enter into the cell of your mind, shut out everything except God and whatever helps you to seek Him once the door is shut. Speak now, my heart, and say to God, "I seek your face; your face, Lord, I seek." . . .read more @ http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/anselm.html

“For You hast formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” These are the words of St. Augustine which he wrote in his work entitled, “Confessions” . . . read more @ http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/augconfessions/bk1.html

We are a restless and anxious people. Consider the words of 20th century theologian and bible scholar, Rudolf Bultmann, in his work, entitled, “Paul’s Demythologizing and Ours”.

Bultmann says this in referring to man’s anxious state, “An illustration of this may be seen in the way our attempts to secure visible security for ourselves brings us into collision with others; we can seek security for ourselves only at their expense. Thus on the one hand we get envy, anger, jealousy, and the like, and on the other compromise, bargaining, and adjustments of conflicting interests. This creates an all-pervasive atmosphere which controls all our judgments; we all pay homage to it and take it for granted. Thus man becomes the slave of anxiety (Rom 8:15). Everybody tries to hold fast to his own life and property because he has a secret feeling that it is all slipping away from him.”

The Universal Prayer

The following prayer is contained in a small booklet which was given to me by a wonderful Dominican Friar at the conclusion of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. He directed me to a prayer, entitled, "The Universal Prayer", listed on page 30 of the booklet, and suggested that it be incorporated into my daily prayers.

The prayer booklet is entitled, "The Pocket Prayer Book", edited by Rev. Victor Hoagland, C.P., published by Regina Press, New York, 1998 copyright - ISBN: 0-88271-059-1.

It is a prayer that I would like to share with as many as possible! Please feel free to pass it on.

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning, I long for you as my last end, I praise you as my constant helper, and call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom, correct me with your justice, comfort me with your mercy, protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me: In the way you ask, For as long as you ask, because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding, Strengthen my will, Purify my heart, and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins and to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses and to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am: A pilgrim in this world, A Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those under my authority, my friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, Greed by generosity, Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself and reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning, Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer, Temperate in food and drink, Diligent in my work, Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear, My conduct without fault, My speech blameless, My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me, Keep your law, and Come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing, That my true future is the happiness of heaven, That life on earth is short, and the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death with a proper fear of judgment, but a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

attributed to Pope Clement XI
AKA Giovanni Francesco Albani
Born: 22-Jul-1649Birthplace: Urbino, ItalyDied: 19-Mar-1721Papacy: Roman Catholic Pope, 1700-21

Fr. Larry Richards

I stumbled upon Fr. Larry Richards a while ago while visiting a nearby parish, I noticed a display of CDs in the vestibule. One of the CDs was entitled, "The Mass Explained", by Fr. Larry Richards. I listened to his presentation and liked his sort of tough guy but gentle style. In fact I liked it so much I was determined to find other works by him. This quest took me to his website - http://www.thereasonforourhope.org/.

I ended up purchasing the video version of "The Mass Explained" along with one entitled, "Knowing God's Will".

I strongly urge everyone to visit this site and take a moment to register (it's free), so that you can gain access to some very edifying, informative, and well done short videos by Father Larry Richards. The videos are only a few minutes in length. After registering, please take a minute to watch some of the videos. You'll find them by clicking on the My Account tab and then going to the Archives tab and eventually clicking on Hope For This Week link. They're all good! My favorite so far is one entitled, "A Story About Love".

Let me know what you think.

Enjoy, and God Bless!

Learned of this website on EWTN

Check out this great site. It is a wealth of information for Catholics and Non-Catholics alike. The videos on the homepage and the Real People - Real Stories page are extremely well done.

The Mission: Catholics Come Home, Inc. is an independent non-profit Catholic apostolate that creates effective and compassionate media messages and broadcasts them nationally and internationally, in order to inspire, educate and evangelize inactive Catholics and others, and invite them to live a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, in accord with the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. (http://www.catholicscomehome.org/)

The Need: Here is the evidence that the need for Catholics Come Home is great:

In 2005, Catholics accounted for nearly 23% (64.8 million) of the U.S. population, yet according to the CARA Catholic Poll (CCP), only 33% of U.S. Catholics attend Mass on a weekly basis. That means that approximately 42.7 million U.S. Catholics are not even regular worshipers!

The number of Americans identifying themselves as non-religious/secular increased 110% from 1990 to 2000. It is now 13.2% of the total population.3 Comparing this statistic with the previous one, non-religious-secular individuals outnumber active, Mass attending Catholics by 58% (13.2% vs. 7.59%). Imagine the negative impact these individuals have on culture and public policy.

As many as 100,000 baptized Catholics in the U.S. drift away from Church each year.4
One-third to one-half of Catholic marriages now ends in divorce.4
72% of Catholics have not tried to win a convert to Christ.4

For every four Protestants, there is one convert. For Catholics, the numbers were 250 to one. That is about one convert for every 807 Catholics.4

If every Catholic brought one person into the Church each year, it would only take only three years to be a totally Catholic society.4

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, reiterated the present state of the world's spirituality when he addressed a congress of ecclesial movements on March 9, 2006. He pointed out the obstacles that face the Church's evangelizing efforts.

An expanding secularization and an authentic dictatorship of relativism (Benedict XVI): This sad truth manifests itself in a suppression of any public religious expression and the belief that truth is relative only to the individual who wants to believe it. Immoral acts such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage are seen as legitimate choices and the rights of a free society. The new god of the secular world is the feeding of one's appetites.

In the vacuum left by the suppression of traditional Christian religion an invasion of religious sects and New Age attitudes and lifestyles has occurred. Pseudo religious phenomena such as magic and the occult have now come into vogue. New age philosophies propose that individuals are the center of their own universes and no rules apply to anyone.

Lack of religious formation: Children are being brought up in faithless households without Christian values or boundaries to their behaviors. The liberal press, television, and other media have become the new source for education and values, emphasizing money, power, and social position. While many parents are distracted pursuing their own goals, the TV has become their children's default educator.

3 World Christian Encylopedia's Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World

4 Claveau, Victor The 7% Solution, A Guide to Evangelization at the Parish, Community or Diocesan Level ( http://www.catholicscomehome.org/ )