This blog is based on references in the Bible to fear. God wills that we “BE NOT AFRAID”. Many theologians state that the eighth deadly sin is fear. It is fear and its natural animal reaction to fight or flight that is the root cause of our failings to create a Kingdom of God on earth. By “the power of the Holy Spirit” we can be witnesses and “communicators” of a new and redeemed humanity “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7 8). This blog is dedicated to Mary the Mother of God.
A word used to describe elements of our culture today is "unhinged." Yes, by and large, our culture is unhinged or "detached." We are detached from the Source--God--of our supernatural strength; the supernatural power of "grace." In fact, the critical underlying problem is an epidemic of disbelief in the supernatural. Our culture is supernaturally weak. In the culture and on the political stage, this being "unhinged" has led to anarchy and discord. In our homes and in our hearts it has led to distress and despair. No grace; No hope; No peace!
In the midst of a current epidemic of despair and suicide, even the Psychiatric community is surrendering to the solid evidence that "strong/devout faith" plays a key role in psychological well-being. Applied to our nation's desire to avoid war, President Ronald Reagan famously stated, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." Yet, this is all too true when we apply it to our own spiritual lives. God wants to walk with you in verdant pastures of tranquil repose and beside restful waters. Yes! God wants you to be happy and at "peace."
But, how do we get to this place of peace? God has revealed the prescription in so many ways that all boil down to: "When you are well-connected with Me and supernaturally strong, you will find peace." Moreover, if you are supernaturally strong--"grace shields up!"--and ready for anything, the devil and his minions are less apt to disturb your peace. Yes, "Peace Through Strength." We all know there is an urgent need to make our homes, parishes, communities, country and world strong again. And, deep down, we all know that those places will become strong once we, ourselves, become strong once again. Make America Holy Again begins with each individual's pursuit of sanctity; pursuit of supernatural strength. In this pursuit, we must be willing to accept this challenge and say, "I'm Going In!"
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Acts, Chapter 27,
They hoisted it
aboard, then used cables to undergird the ship. Because of their fear
that they would run aground on the shoal of Syrtis, they lowered the drift
anchor and were carried along in this way.
of Paul’s time often to save a ship in heavy seas would pass a cable several
times under and around a ship and tightening it on deck, to prevent the working
and parting of the timbers and planks in a gale. Additionally to prevent the
ship from getting stuck in the quicksand of the shoal of Syrtis
the seamen lowered the drift anchor.
church is our boat using a metaphor and with the current world situation with
the persecution of Christians, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the
world; to which could be added the storms given the church by secularists and
atheists; our church is definitely being assaulted by an evil
Northeasterner.We need to pass the
cables around our church and put out the drift anchor to keep from being lost.
cables that bind our church are the seven sacraments. We need to use them all.
If single, consider Holy Orders; if parents encourage your children in seeking
vocations; get married, if you are living with another, and be open to
children; go to confession and mass; baptize your children and be confirmed by
the priests; seek healing of your body and soul when seriously ill.
your prayers be your drift anchor.
Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one
thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin? Sin is the result of ignorance,
weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength,
and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the
will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought
to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity.
We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh
THE Church celebrates on this day
the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name
from the Latin word scapulas, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the
shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of St. Benedict as worn by monks over
their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of
the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as
the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed
Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings.
The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church,
began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the
thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on July
16, 1251, while St. Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the
Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to
the saint, she said,” Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the
distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I
have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a
safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end
of time.” “Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.”
It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity,
for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that
end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:
1.Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live
2.Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father,
Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father.
3.Strive to serve God by venerating Mary and imitating
These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach
of them deprives us of all merit; and is not this something to be taken into
account? “He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly.” (n. Cor. ix. 6).
you have not already done so, have a priest enroll
you in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or popularly known
as the "Brown Scapular" and begin wearing it as a sign of your love
for Our Lady.
the Brown Scapular is not an automatic guarantee of salvation. It is not a
magical charm, nor is it an excuse to live in a way contrary to the teachings
of the Church. (see Catechism, no. 1670.)
on Popular Piety the
Brown Scapular is included in the document as a wonderful pious
practice. The history of Marian piety also includes "devotion" to
various scapulars, the most common of which is devotion to the Scapular of Our
Lady of Mount Carmel. Its use is truly universal and, undoubtedly, it is one of
those pious practices which the Council described as "recommended by the
Magisterium throughout the centuries."
Blessed Virgin's scapular should remind us that Christians have an apostolate
against current extremes and extravagances in modes of dress. Clothes are a
symbol of the person. Like the Christian heart, dress must be chaste and
simple, for one judges the interior from the exterior. It should not be
necessary to add that special attention be given this matter when preparing for
church attendance. Examine yourself on how well you reflect Christian modesty
in your dress and if you are a parent, how well you ensure that your children
are modestly dressed.
Medals have been part of Catholic life since the early
centuries of the Church. The most popular is the cross; even Protestants wear
crosses minus the corpus while Catholics wear a crucifix. It is also noted that
in the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe she is wearing a cross about
her neck. We wear scapulars, too, which are mini habits of the religious
orders. Pope John Paul II said that the scapular is a powerful precisely
because it is a “habit” in every sense of the word, both a uniform and a
pattern of good belief and good behavior. Since 1910, Catholics have been permitted
to wear a scapular medal in place of a cloth scapular.
these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things
that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a
father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will
only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so
you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in
the end you will be a more worthy soul."
15.Be firm. Be virile. Be a man. And
then... be a saint.