HE IS RISEN!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? “He is not here, but He has risen… (Luke 24:1-6)

Happy Easter to all!  May your families be blessed.  Enjoy the thoughtful reunion with whatever you gave up for lent. I hope this Lenten season brought you closer to God.

Five 1st Saturdays

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Lucy of the Dorothean Sisters, a visionary of Fatima, in 1925.  Below is from Fatima.org

On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin Herself appeared, and beside Her, borne by a luminous cloud, the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin put Her hand on her shoulder and showed her, at the same time, a Heart surrounded by thorns which She held in the other hand. At that same moment, the Child said to her:

‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’

In other words, people are sinning against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Jesus is asking for reparation for these sins by the faithful.  We are tasked to perform an act to pay the debt these unrepentant men owe. Continuing:

Then the Most Holy Virgin said:

‘Look, My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall receive the sacrament of Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to My Immaculate Heart.’

So in order to make this reparation, 5 things are required on 5 first Saturdays.

  1. Receive the Sacrament of Confession
  2. Receive Holy Communion
  3. Recite 5 decades of the Rosary
  4. Keep Mary company while meditating on the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary
  5. Have the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart.

The reward for performing this Act of Reparation is Assistance from Mary at the moment of death with all the graces necessary for salvation.

The thorns placed in her heart are summed up in what is known as the Five Sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
  2. Blasphemies against her Perpetual Virginity
  3. Blasphemies against her Divine Maternity and at the same time the refusal to recognize her as the Mother of all mankind
  4. Blasphemies of those who seek openly to foster in the hearts of children indifference or contempt and even hatred for this Immaculate Mother.
  5. The offenses of those who directly outrage Her in her holy images.

It is important that we also teach our children to adore the image of our Immaculate, forever Virgin Mother of God and of all mankind!

The Annunciation

Tomorrow, March 25, is the Annunciation of The Blessed Virgin Mary.The Catholic Calendar was put together to be very precise, which is why exactly 9 months from tomorrow is Christmas.

When I pray my rosary I like to focus on the relationship of the first decade of all three mysteries.

1st Joyful Mysteries: The Annunciation

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

1st Sorrowful Mystery: Jesus’ Agony in the Garden

And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast; and kneeling down, he prayed,   Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. (Luke 22:41-42)”

1st Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection

The Resurrection is the fulfillment of Gods will.

 

Well, what about the Luminous Mysteries?

In my book FOUND: Prodigal Catholic I left these out intentionally. The reason being is that Mary gave us her rosary with the three sets of mysteries she intended for us to pray. The Luminous Mysteries were given to us by Pope John Paul II.  I have seen from various traditional catholic websites major reasons for not praying the Luminous Mysteries.  I decided that it if the three mysteries that Mary gave to us was enough for the Queen of Heaven and Earth, then it would be beneficial to say those only.

St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  Below is a prayer composed by Saint Patrick in preparation for his greatest victory over Paganism (from the Catholic Encyclopedia):

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

What ‘Death to Smoochy’ can teach Prodigal Catholics

I recently watched an older movie named Death to Smoochy.  It starred Robin Williams, Ed Norton, Danny DeVito and a bunch more.  It was about a wannabe kids star, think Barney but with a Rhino named Smoochy.  He was plucked up by a mob type kids programming ring after their best star got arrested.  Hilarity ensued and the good guy somehow wins in the end.

What got my attention had nothing to do with the plot or anything to do with religion.  There was a scene where Smoochy the Rhino was out to lunch with another character and was asking for some weird vegany food.  Ended up with black stuff all over his teeth and was pretty much laughed at by everyone.  This movie was released in 2002.  It wasn’t that long ago that organic foods and healthy snacks was something only complete weirdos were into.  Now, it’s gone mainstream.

It got me thinking about the state of the Catholic Church.  I wondered why the church seems so concerned with going with the downhill flow of modern society instead of sticking to its centuries old method of holding to the truth that God has revealed to us.  So many Catholics just go along with what the TV tells them they should think about certain topics that are at odds to Catholic teaching, then wonder out loud why the world is in such a terrible state right now.

In order to change the world I think Catholics should stick to what always works:  Unconventional thinking.  We have the truth on our side.  We only need to listen, and act, the right way.

In case you need a refresher on what, exactly, a Catholic needs to be, well Catholic, then buy my book Found:Prodigal Catholic, available on Kindle and paperback through Amazon. 

The Forgotten Ember Days

The Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday were prescribed for the entire church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) as Ember Days.  There are four such weeks and were to be days of prayer and fasting and abstinence in order to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.  They purposely fall just prior to the change in season.  Sometime after Vatican II, these days were removed from the liturgical calendar and are no longer well known amongst catholics.  It may no longer be required by the church, but it can be a very rewarding thing to do.

The other Ember Days are the Wed, Fri, Sat after the Feast of St. Lucia (Dec 13th), this is the Winter Embertide; Whitsunday (Pentecost Sunday), this is the Summer Embertide; and the Wed, Fri, Sat after Exaltation of the Cross Sunday (Sept 14th), this is the Autumn Embertide.  And today starts the Spring Embertide.

These days were known as times to pray for the souls in purgatory, and it was believed that the souls in purgatory were allowed to be seen during Embertide by those on Earth who prayed for them.  It is even said that the days weather will predict the next successive months weather. And women prayed for their children and for safe deliveries.

So today, and Friday, and Saturday, get outside and enjoy God’s gift of nature!  And remember what it means to fast and abstain.  No Meat (no chicken or beef broth either), no eating between meals, and have 2 simple meals and one large meal not larger than your two smaller ones combined.

And if you need help with what to pray, buy my book Found: Prodigal Catholic.

A Lesson in Hate

One of the events that marked the beginning of my prodigal life was when I decided that it was right to have hatred in my heart for certain members of my family.  It shook my faith.  I stopped going to church. I started hanging out with people who had no religion.  I drank too much.  I used women.  Eventually I looked back at myself and realized that through my hatred, I had become the very thing I hated so many years before. A Prodigal Catholic.

I see this dynamic in the “politically correct” arena of society, mostly the so-called “left” or “liberal” spheres.  I see a hatred of Christianity.  The Catholic Church is hated even by other “Christian” religions.  I remember back in my school days learning about how the Catholic Church hinders scientific progress;  how backwards ideas from popes and priests were the cause for such calamity;  that the churches intolerance led to the cruel punishment of many.  These ideas fuel the hatred that pushes the agenda of those who wish to tell us that the churches view of sex and marriage is wrong and they will prove it with a bat and a bullet if they have to.

They are so inundated with their hatred that they do not see their own intolerance and violence is exactly what they are so vehemently pushing against.  Perhaps the saddest thing about all of this is the fact that their hatred of the church is misguided.  The Catholic Church can be credited with the building of Western Civilization.  If you don’t believe me, then read Tom Woods’ book How the Catholic Church Built Western CivilizationAnd if you prefer a DVD, he also made a series of videos for EWTN Titled The Catholic Church Builder of Civilization.

Why is Easter on a different day every year?

The reason that Easter is celebrated on a different day every year is because of the significance of him dying over Passover.  The Last Supper was his Passover meal.  Passover always falls on the full moon after the March equinox.  Because of this, the church set Easter to always fall on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the March Equinox. This method was established during the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.  The table which establishes the full moon dates used by the church was set in 1583AD and has been used ever since.

The March Equinox, end of winter and the start of spring, is on March 20th.  March’s full moon in 2017 is on the 12th, before the Equinox.  This means we will have to wait for the April Full Moon, which is on Tuesday, April 11th.  This makes Easter fall on the following Sunday, April 16th.

Scientists aren’t the only one’s who play God.

Embryonic Stem Cells and Cloning are two big topics that  question the limits to what humans should be pursuing.  The idea that these scientists are trying to play God is nothing new.  But I want to look at a group of people who gave themselves the ability to literally create something out of nothing.  This creation effects the livelihood of virtually everyone on Earth. With this power come winners and losers, and the great majority of people are definitely not winners.  These people I am referring to are Central Bankers.

Money is something we use everyday.  We go to work and expect that we are paid in a sum of money.  But what is money?

–It all started with the trade of one good for another, the barter economy.  Over time, some products became preferred over others.  Eventually, gold was the go-to product to be traded everywhere.  But as governments grew larger, so did the need to buy things that were more costly than the amount of gold in their vaults.  Conveniently enough, the public was already using paper bills that were meant to be redeemable for an amount of gold.  Governments then lowered how much gold could be redeemed and eventually broke all ties to a gold standard.  During this transition period, private banks were created (the Federal Reserve) to have the unique ability to create money.  They use a lot of funky terms and slight of hand maneuvers, but in the end they are literally creating money out of nothing.

My Grandmothers Final Moments

I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother who died while I was in my prodigal years.  The weekend before she died I had a feeling that I should go see her.  I made plans with her to visit that Sunday. Instead of going to see her, I went to the bar the night before and drank so much I was too hungover to go.

Later that week I received a phone call from my father that she had been in a car accident and wasn’t doing well.  When I got to the hospital she was hooked to a breathing tube and couldn’t talk.  I walked up to see her and when she looked at me it was as if she didn’t know who I was. If she did know who I was, she didn’t look too happy to see me.  I left the room feeling awful.  My brother in law, a churchgoing man, had gone in after me. I heard my mom saying how my grandmother jumped up with joy when she saw him.  I felt worse. I would like to say that this event is what snapped me out of my prodigal life, but it didn’t.

As I reflect on this event, I realize an important thing.  My grandmother may have been on her deathbed, and I was a young man with my whole life ahead of me.  But I was the one who was dead; my great grandmother was alive.  Her soul was good.  When I was a kid she used to sing in the church choir.  I remember when her car broke down when she was babysitting and my sisters and I had to go to CCD.  Instead of taking care of her car she marched us all up the road, a good 20 minute hike, to make sure we learned about God.  She was well prepared for her eternal reward.  I, on the other hand, had many mortal sins on my soul.  I was a dead man walking.

I have since left all that sin behind.  I confessed my sins and gained absolution.  It was difficult for me to figure out what a Catholic is supposed to do.  I found confusion and contradiction everywhere I looked.  I kept digging.  I finally figured out what it means to be a Catholic through various catechisms and writings from good Priests.  I decided that since there wasn’t a useful resource to help people in my situation then I would make one.  My book, Found: Prodigal Catholic, is available for purchase on Amazon.

I hope it will help many souls find salvation.  God Bless.