Do you ever look around at all the actresses, singers, athletes and reality stars and wonder why you can't be famous like them? Maybe you pray at night that you'll get 'discovered' on YouTube. Or maybe you want to get famous spreading God's word. That can't be bad, can it? After all, can't you do more for him as a celebrity than as an average person?
My goal in life is to be a saint, and I hope yours in too, so we need to ask ourselves … how do I treat people when I disagree with them?
Look actions 1 – 4 above and replace ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏSt. Peter' with whomever you disagree with. Are you more likely to gossip about the person, tell other people how wrong they are, or even fight with the person? Or are you mature enough to respectfully talk with the person and still give them the honor they deserve?
Philip Neri's prayer life is what kept him so joyful. His entire life became a prayer. He only ate once a day and, even then, it was only bread and water. Though he had a bed, he usually opted to sleep on the floor, without a pillow. He had few possessions, endured great spiritual attacks, and daily, during his intense prayers that lasted hours, it was not uncommon for him to experience ecstasies and visions.
Far from offering an escape from the problems of the world, the Rosary obliges us to see them with responsible and generous eyes, and obtains for us the strength to face them with the certainty of God’s help and the firm intention of bearing witness in every situation to 'love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony' (Colossians 3:14).
This month of May … dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary – offers us a unique opportunity to deepen our contemplative prayer life.
Just as Mary pondered all the early events surrounding Jesus in her heart (Luke 2:19), we are invited to contemplate what the Holy Spirit chose to inspire and share with us regarding Mary – not only as Christ’s mother – but as our own (John 19:27). Below is part of a reflection I wrote some time ago that I recently rediscovered. Perhaps it will bless your own contemplative prayer life . . .
How did she do it? How did she manage to remain focused on God while she had the most unique and challenging role in all of human history? And how could I possibly be anything like her, when I get stressed out by the everyday pressures of my comfortable life? Her Immaculate life was so unlike my own awkward existence that I had no idea where to even begin if I was going to try to imitate her.
I'm a girl and I love weddings.
Growing up, I never had a devotion to Mary. I mean, I liked the idea of her . . . but I didn't have a relationship with her. The Virgin Mother was a porcelain statue, a gold-etched picture on a Christmas card. She wasn't real to me. My only connection to her, at best, was a panicked 'Hail Mary' before a pop-quiz.
What I've learned is that Mary is way more than a boring stained glass window. She lived an exciting life and did amazing things. And outside of Jesus, she is one of the greatest gifts we've been given as Catholics. Although I didn't have a relationship with Mary growing up, I have fallen in love with my mother since then, and let me tell you: OUR MAMA ROCKS!
Deep in the heart of Paris, there is a Catholic Church that you could walk right past, if you weren't paying attention. It's on a cobblestoned road lined with shops and apartments with classic french windows that you half expect the characters of Beauty and the Beast to pop out of, yelling, 'Bonjour!' and 'I need six eggs!' It was only at the tip of a local that my friends and I ventured down ru de SÌÄ®ÕÌâå¬vres and into the Chapel of the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission. We were told that it was the burial place of St. Vincent de Paul and not to be missed.
It's kind of fun to imagine what Jesus was like as a young boy.
God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God's mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, 'Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.'
In St. Joseph, then, we're given a glimpse into the heart of God the Father. It would be completely illogical to think, after all the trouble of the incarnation, that he would fail to choose a man who reflected his divine image of paternal love with the highest possible measure of human faithfulness.
But is there ever a time when it's not a good idea to start launching into a defense of the faith?
If you find yourself under attack for your faith, Saint Ambrose is a great intercessor to have in your corner. When you stand for truth, not only do you defend the faith, but you will also help others to abandon the world's lies in favor of the freedom only found in Jesus Christ. Ambrose brought many souls to Christ, and he baptized one person you'll probably recognize: a certain guy by the name of Augustine. Wherever he went, Ambrose preached the truth … something it seems he had been born to do.
About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, 'Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it's not even in the Bible?' “Well, first’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ_' I replied, 'Mary did not ascend into heaven; the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power. Mary was taken up into heaven by God.' That little difference is a big difference, so I wanted to be sure he understood it.
Billy then replied, 'Okay, fine’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ_but it's still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.'
This is where the conversation got really interesting.
Do you ever catch yourself doing or saying something exactly like one of your parents? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, trust me, one day it will and you’ll freak out. I am definitely turning into my mother. This summer, we were at Mass together during a big thunder storm. At one point a bolt of lightening that lit up the entire church. We turned to each other, then broke into a verse of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – “Thunderbolts and lightening, very, very frightening…” at the exact same time.