Tag Archives: love

Uniformity of God’s Will and the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ

St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

O Jesus, my love, I am determined to love Thee as much as I can, and I wish to become a Saint; and I wish to become a Saint for this reason, in order to give Thee pleasure, and to love Thee exceedingly in this life and the next!

I can do nothing of myself, but Thou canst do all things; and I know that Thou wishest me to become a Saint. I see already that by Thy grace my soul sighs only for Thee, and seeks nothing else but Thee. I wish to live no more for myself; Thou desirest me to be wholly Thine, and I desire to be wholly Thine.

Come, and unite me to Thyself, and Thyself to me. Thou art infinite goodness; Thou art He Who hast loved me so much; Thou art, indeed, too loving and too lovely; how, then, can I love anything but Thee? I prefer Thy love before all the things of this world; Thou art the sole object, the sole end of all my affections.

I leave all to be occupied solely in loving Thee, my Redeemer, my Comforter, my hope, my love, and my all. I will not despair of becoming a Saint on account of the sins of my past life; for I know, my Jesus, that Thou didst die in order to pardon the truly penitent. I love Thee now with my whole heart, with my whole soul; I love Thee more than myself, and I bewail, above every other evil, ever having had the misfortune to despise Thee, my sovereign good.

Now I am no longer my own. I am Thine; O God of my heart, dispose of me as Thou pleasest. In order to please Thee, I accept of all the tribulations Thou mayest choose to send me—–sickness, sorrow, troubles, ignominies, poverty, persecution, desolation—–I accept all to please Thee: in like manner I accept of the death Thou hast decreed for me, with all the anguish and crosses which may accompany it: it is enough if Thou grantest me the grace to love Thee exceedingly.

Lend me Thy assistance; give me strength henceforth to compensate, by my love, for all the bitterness that I have caused Thee in past time, O only love of my soul!
O Queen of Heaven, O Mother of God, O great advocate of sinners, I trust in thee!

​The Forgiveness of Sins

 

Christ taught about the forgiveness of sins in the parable of the Prodigal Son (1). He instituted the Sacrament of Penance for the forgiveness of sins when He said to the Apostles: (4) “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.”

    What is meant in the Apostles’ Creed by “the forgiveness of sins”? –By “the forgiveness of sins” in the Apostles’ Creed is meant that God has given to the Church, through Jesus Christ, the power to forgive sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if sinners truly repent. 

  1. In the Old Law, sins were forgiven through the merits of the Redeemer that was to come. In the New Law they are forgiven through the merits of the Redeemer Who has come.Pointing to Christ, St. John the Baptist said: “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 
  2. We can obtain forgiveness of sin, because Christ the Redeemer merited forgiveness for us by His death. The Church has power to remit sins through the merits of Jesus Christ, “in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins” (Col. 1:14).During life, Christ actually forgave sin. For example, He forgave Mary Magdalen, the paralytic, and the good thief. In curing the paralytic, He said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins -then he said to the paralytic –“Arise, take up thy pallet and go to thy house” (Matt. 9:6). 
  3. Christ gave to His Apostles and disciples and their successors power to forgive sins. He said: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).This power to forgive sins was not given to the Apostles alone, since men of later ages would need forgiveness as much as men of Apostolic times. The power, therefore, must also remain in the successors of the Apostles. 
  4. It is true, as the enemies of the Church assert, that man cannot forgive sins. Man, by his own individual power, can never forgive the smallest sin. But he can forgive all sins, with the power and authority God gave him, as minister of God, acting in God’s place. Or is God limited because man is sinful? “These things I write to you in order that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just” (1 John 2:1).From the very beginning the Church has exercised this power, through the sacraments of Penance and Baptism, and even through Extreme Unction.
    How may sins be remitted or forgiven? –Sins may be remitted or forgiven by various means, according to the kind and gravity of the sin: by Baptism, by Penance, and by good works. 

  1. Original sin is remitted through Baptism. When we are baptized, we become children of God, and heirs of heaven.None but children of God, the baptized, can have a pass to God’s eternal home. 
  2. Actual sin is remitted by Baptism, by Penance, by Extreme Unction, and by good works. Such good works are: prayer, fasting, and alms-deeds.Good works cannot remit grave or mortal sin; they can only dispose a person to the state of mind which leads him to the Sacrament of Penance. 
  3. The guilt of forgiven sins never returns. Once forgiven, a sin is forgiven forever. If after our sins have been forgiven we commit a new sin, or sins like the ones already forgiven, we are guilty of new sins.A man tells five lies. He repents and confessing his sin, obtains forgiveness. After a month he tells five lies again. He is guilty of having told only five lies, not ten.
    What is vice? –Vice is a habit of sin formed by repeated acts of sin. 

  1. One who makes a practice of stealing has the vice of theft. One who habitually drinks to intoxication has the vice of drunkenness. One who frequently sins against chastity has the vice of impurity.If one commits robbery and ever after avoids that sin, he has committed the mortal sin of robbery, but he has no vice. Similarly one may be completely intoxicated once, but if he resolves never again to drink, and sticks to his resolution, he has no vice. 
  2. A vice is easily acquired. This is one reason why we must be very careful not to commit sin. If we should be so unhappy as to fall into sin, we must at once cut off the possibility of forming vice by contrition, penance, and a resolution not to sin again.After the first fall, one more readily yields to the next temptation. Each yielding weakens the will for the next. Thus step by step one who starts a sin will soon find himself the slave of a vicious habit. “He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little” (Ecclus 19:1). 
  3. A vice is easy to break off in the beginning, difficult to break when fully formed, but always capable of being overcome by a resolute will with God’s grace.It is easy enough to uproot a very young tree. But when it has grown into a mighty tree, it becomes extremely difficult. The vice having been firmly formed, it becomes a necessity and is impossible to break without extraordinary grace. This impossibility often leads many vicious persons to despair and to final impenitence. But God can do all things. One therefore who has contracted a habit of sin must have recourse to God, who will strengthen him, so that he can conquer his vice, by patient acts of virtue and a constant exertion of the will.
    Can all sins be forgiven? –Yes, all sins, however great, can be forgiven, through the infinite merits of Christ, Who is God.The repentant sinner is told in Scripture: “If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow” (Is. 1:17) 

  1. God is always ready to forgive our sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if we are truly sorry for them. No actual sin can be forgiven without sorrow and repentance on the part of the sinner.Our Lord said: “I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance” (Luke 15:7). 
  2. The sin against the Holy Ghost which Christ warned us would not be forgiven in heaven or on earth is persistent impenitence, the sin of one who rejects conversion and dies in mortal sin. One guilty of this sin can never obtain forgiveness of God, because at the hour of death he continues to thrust God away from him.A man mortally wounded cannot have any hope of cure if he not only refuses to listen to his doctors, but shuts his mouth against all medicines, and kicks away all medical instruments and help. Even Judas would have been pardoned if he had asked for forgiveness and made a sincere act of contrition before his death.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​The Theological Virtues

 

Faith is the foundation of all virtue, for by it God makes Himself known to men. As St. Paul says, “Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen. . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11 :1,6). It is this supernatural faith that the Chanaanite woman proved, when she persevered in begging Jesus to cure her daughter. Having tested her, He said, “O woman, great is thy faith. Let it be done to thee as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28).

 

    What are the chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace? –The chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace are the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

     

  1. Good qualities or inclinations, whether natural or supernatural, are generally referred to as “virtues”. Virtue is a habit that inclines us to whatever is good.

    A single good act does not constitute virtue. For instance, one does not have the virtue of faith if one believes in Christ only once a week.

     

  2. Supernatural virtues enter the soul with sanctifying grace, imparted by the Holy Ghost in the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance. With sanctifying grace the soul acquires the supernatural light of faith and hope, and burns with the fire of charity.

    These virtues render us capable of being good and doing good for the love and service of God, to act for instead of against Him.

    We are not to suppose however that sanctifying grace makes us perfect in the practice of virtue. It gives us the power and the inclination to be good and do good, but to have perfection we must frequently exercise our virtues. We are given the power, but if we do not use it, it remains dormant; similarly, we are given legs to use for walking, but if we refuse to walk, the power is dormant. Virtue is a habit acquired by repeated good acts.

     

  3. Natural virtue enables us to perform good natural acts; it deals directly with things human. Supernatural virtue enables us to perform good acts from a supernatural motive, for the glory of God.

    If we are temperate in food and drink because we wish to preserve our health, we have a natural virtue; we act according to reason.

     

  4. Natural virtues compared to supernatural ones are like a photograph compared to the living original. It is only supernatural virtues that will profit us unto life everlasting, since it is only those whose object and life is God.

    What are the three theological virtues? –The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity.

     

  1. These virtues are called theological, from the Greek term theos (meaning God) , because their object is God.

    An appropriate symbol for the theological virtues is a living tree. Faith is the root, hope the trunk, and charity the fruit. The root and trunk are valueless if they do not find completion in the fruit. The common symbols depicting these three virtues are: the cross for faith, the anchor for hope, and the burning heart for charity.

     

  2. He who possesses these three virtues has all other virtues in some degree. Without them, he cannot possess any other supernatural virtue nor reach heaven.

    We should make acts of these virtues every day. We can say very briefly: “O my God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee. To Thee be honor, praise, and glory forever.”

    What is faith? –Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

    “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen” (Heb. 11:1). “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

     

  1. Faith is belief in a truth on the word of another, though that truth be not fully understood.

    In a trial, the judge believes the testimony of a witness known to be an honest man. When a fact is so obvious as “it is dark at midnight,” no belief is needed; that is known and fully understood.

     

  2. Divine faith is belief in a truth or mystery known only because God revealed it. It is grace that helps us to attain faith and to persevere in it, to take God’s word for whatever He has revealed.

    Faith is supernatural because we cannot by ourselves acquire it. It is a gift of God. It is, however, increased by prayer and continual exercise; the apostles prayed to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)

     

  3. Without faith, it is impossible to be saved.

    We must not cease praying for increase of faith, for it is necessary for salvation. “He that believeth not shall be condemned” (Matt. 16:16). “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).

     

  4. Our faith must be firm and complete; that is, both certain and all-encompassing.

    If we are doubtful on any matters of faith, considering opposite viewpoints as possibly true, then we deny God’s authority. If we accept some truths, and deny others, then that is denying God altogether.

    What is hope? –Hope is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, Who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it.

     

  1. God promised to give man eternal life, and the means to obtain it. In this promise is our hope.

    “He that putteth his trust in me shall inherit the land, and shall possess my holy mount” (Is. 57:13).

     

  2. Hope is necessary for salvation. Our hope must be firmly founded in God, Who Promised to give us the means for salvation.

    Such firm hope, however, would not exclude reasonable fear of the loss of our soul. Very often we fall far short of the proper use of the means of salvation granted us.

    What is charity? –Charity is the virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves, for the love of God.

     

  1. Charity is the queen of virtues. It unites God and man perfectly in love. It also unites man and man, for the love of God.

    To love God above all things, we must be willing to renounce all created things rather than offend Him by sin. We should often speak to God in acts of love, opening our hearts to Him.

     

  2. In heaven faith and hope will cease; for we cannot need faith for what we already know; nor can we desire what we already possess. But for all eternity we shall have charity: we can love God forever.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

An Image of God

 

The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the first man and the first woman in these words: “And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs. … And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman” (Gen. 2:7, 21, 22). Such was the creation of Adam and Eve, our first parents. God gave them power over all created things: the earth, the beasts, birds, fishes, plants, and all things else

.

 

What is man? — Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

Before the creation of man, God said, “Let us make man to our image and likeness; and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26).

 

  1. God formed the body of man from the slime of the earth; but He breathed the soul into man’s body. In this way the soul came direct from God, and indicates closer likeness to Him.

    We should always reverence our likeness to God, trying to perfect it by making our soul as holy as possible. Once the enemies of a king tried to make his son do something wrong. But the youth proudly and resolutely answered, “No! I am the son of the king!” By Baptism man becomes the adopted son of God, Who is infinitely higher than any earthly king. His soul is like his Father in Heaven.

     

  2. The soul of man is different from the soul of brute animals. Animals have senses and instinct, but neither reason nor free will. Free will is that power of the soul to choose whether to act or not to act.

    If a horse has not eaten for a day, and you put some hay before him, he will eat, because his instinct moves him to do so. But a hungry man may fast for days, and still refuse to eat however hungry he may be, if he wills not to eat. The difference between man’s free will and animal instinct is that a man can say “No” to himself.

     

  3. The soul and the body are not loosely connected parts of man; they are united in a substantial union. The soul is not located in any particular member of the body, but is whole and entire in each part

     

Is this likeness to God in the body or in the soul? — This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul. Man continues in this likeness to God only when he remains in God’s grace, for then he is a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

 

  1. Like God, man’s soul is an immortal spirit, with understanding and free will. Some deny the existence of the soul, because it cannot be seen; yet the same people would not deny the existence of human reason, even if this cannot be seen, either.

    Some claim that man has two souls, one good and one evil, striving for mastery. But the struggle that we often experience comes from only one soul with different tendencies arising from the fact of our being made of both body and soul, partly material and partly spiritual. In a living person, the soul should not be considered apart from the body; their union is as close as the relation between a musician and his instrument at the hour of a concert.

     

  2. Through his two faculties of the soul, understanding and free will, man obtains dominion over the material world, as God possesses power over the entire universe.

    As God said before creating man: “Let him have dominion over the beasts and the whole earth” (Gen. 1:26). Through his likeness to God, man has the power to know the true, the good, the beautiful, so far even as to know the Source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, God Himself.

     

How can we prove that the soul of man is immortal? — We can prove that the soul of man is immortal, because man’s acts of intelligence are spiritual; therefore, his soul must be a spiritual being, not dependent on matter, and hence not subject to decay or death.

If even matter cannot totally disappear, however small the particle, how can the soul of man, of a far higher order, be thought to suffer extinction?

 

  1. Man has mind and will. He can reflect, reason, plan for the future, make judgments, remember. These prove his soul spiritual. Such a soul cannot die as the body does.

    Man longs for an ideal state of perfect happiness, such happiness as is impossible to attain on earth. This universal longing must have been placed in men’s souls by God Himself; it is a desire for the infinite happiness of a union with the Creator. If, therefore, man’s soul were not immortal, he would have no chance to realize his dream of bliss, and God would be cruel in implanting the longing for it in his breast.

     

  2. There have been many instances of the dead appearing to the living. In the Gospel, Moses and Elias appeared on Mount Thabor to Christ and three of His Apostles. At Christ’s death, many who were dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.

    The Blessed Virgin has through the centuries continued to appear to men; such instances are almost innumerable. Saints have also returned to earth to comfort or instruct the living; even souls in purgatory have returned, to beg for prayers. We must, however, be very careful about believing in particular instances of appearances by the dead; the devil can and often does use this instrumentality to trick the gullible.

     

  3. Belief in the immortality of the soul and a life after death is universal among mankind, including the most primitive peoples.

    In the Bible are many instances of the belief of the Jews in another life, where the souls of the dead would be. For instance, one of their laws forbade holding with the dead. The Greeks and Romans believed in Tartarus and Elysium, places for the dead. Other nations have different cults to the dead, especially during their burial ceremonies. Such cults would be meaningless did those who took part in them not have an idea of another life for departed souls.

     

  4. If the soul were not immortal, the wicked who commit evil all their lives would go unpunished. The just who suffer continually on earth would not receive any reward. This would be injustice impossible to the perfect justice of God.

    If even man, imperfect as he is, can see innumerable examples of injustice in life, could not God? Would He not have a way of correcting such injustice? And if so, since it cannot be corrected in this life, there must be another, where immortal souls go to obtain perfect justice.

     

  5. Holy Scripture, the Word of God, teaches that the soul is immortal.

    “And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always” (Dan. 12:2). Our Lord Himself said to the good thief, “This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matt. l0:28). “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.

God Bless BJS!!

Our Crosses

Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and takeup his cross, and follow me.”Matthew 16:24

I have found that if the things I am doing are hard, there is the possibility I am not doing things right,  but there is also the probability that I am doing the right things. 

This life was not meant to be easy. I use to let things, people, and places get me drunk. And when one loses sight of the end goal you get distracted and caught up in worldy things and pleasures very easily, until they control you. I had the illusion that I could control everything and that it should be done the way I want. This way of thinking was to no one’s benefit. Not even my own. It only served as another reason for me to drink excessively. At least until I got to the point where I didnt care anymore, and I couldnt stop after the first drink.

To quote a twenty-four hour meditation for alcoholics and addicts:

“When you live the right way, things seem to work out well for you. When you live the wrong way, things seem to work out badly for you. You seem to take out of life about what you put into it. If you disobey the laws of nature, the chances are that you will be unhealthy. If you disobey the spiritual and moral laws, the chances are that you will be unhappy. By following the laws of nature and the spiritual laws of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love, you can expect to be reasonably healthy and happy.”

I know that I am only truly happy when I am doing the will of God. Because all good comes from God, I know that what appears good, in the long run often isn’t. The things that are most hard are those that will pay off in eternity. When I let myself become preoccupied with something other than the glory of God each day, such as sloth, lust, or anger, I am focused on myself.

Like a car on the road, I affect the people closest to me with my actions. Everyone ahead of me is gone I cant get through to them, if I slow down everyone behind me does too. I think that is something that hurts me the most about my drinking. I really hurt a lot of people especially my parents. I was selfish my whole life, and I didn’t listen, I have always had the habit of taking the most simple things in life and messing it all up because I got complacent or bored.

I have always battled procrastination or sloth. I have a hard time getting interested into things because everything has lost its shimmer. I have grown up and sobered up and finally see the world for what it really is. Why it has taken me this long when I was told all about it and didn’t listen, I do not know. Right now however,  I can change for the rest of my life.

Part of this change includes an acceptance of His Will for me on a daily basis. When I wake up in the morning I try to get on my knees and offer God every physical, mental, and emotional pain I will have to endure for the day. I do this to say sorry for how I have offended Him and I ask that I may have the grace to know, love, and serve Him that day. There are plenty of tests everyday which I am so thankful for and try to be ever mindful of. The problem in the past was I let these things get to me, when in the end it is the Supreme Judge who will take into consideration our whole life.
Our judgements will be alone with our creator (there will be a general judgement,  and a particular judgment more on them later). We will have to render account for everything before Him trembling and remorseful. When I talk to God, I do so alone, as with most all Catholics I know. This is a reason I do not typically hold hands with others when I pray. I think it takes the attention of what YOU want to say to God and puts it on…well holding hands.

I could write a few pages on the Sign of the Cross, but as most know, Catholics make it before and after prayer and some many times a day. The reason we do this in short, is because  everything should be done or said, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost”, and the cross that is made with our hand is in respect to the tool used for our salvation. To ever remind us that Jesus died for our sins. I never understood why so many people make fun of this holy and sacred act. Given the immense power it has had in healing and miracles,  its all out there, people just have to read.  There are countless testimonials of saints lives, exorcisms, and everyday living that illustrate the power of the Sign of the Cross. Again, it’s out of respect and reverence for Our Creator and Saviour, nothing else.

When I keep in mind that all the sins and sufferings will help me become better at the virtues; it makes dealing with life on life’s terms a whole lot more bearable. When I can  put my needs and wants to death and sacrifice as much as I can to show charity to someone even if they hate everything I stand for, my trials and tribulations are all worth surmounting

You only live once, and those decisions echoe for eternity. Pick up your cross and smile,  walk with The Lord awhile.

God Bless BJS!!