Monday, July 2, 2018



Acts, Chapter 5, verse 5
When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it.

Piety, Generosity and Holiness cannot be pretended. Ananias’s story is a lesson in honesty. You cannot fool God, who knows your heart and mind.

The problem with pretending[1]

True leaders give of themselves liberally. Being a liberal does not make one generous. Nor does pretending to be; thus comes the sad story of Ananias and Sapphira.

In the early church in Jerusalem a group of believers were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were of one heart and one mind. So, knit together were the hearts of the people that they held all their possessions loosely and willingly shared them with one another, not because they were coerced but because they loved one another. Those who sold land and houses gave of their profits to the apostles, who distributed the gifts to those in need. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira also had sold a field. Part of the profit from their sale was kept back by the couple, and only laid a part of the money was laid at the apostles’ feet. Ananias made a pretense of having given all the proceeds. Peter, who was filled with the power of the Spirit knew instantly that Ananias was lying—not just to him but to God—and exposed his hypocrisy then and there. Ananias fell down and died. When Sapphira showed up, she, too, lied to Peter and to God, saying that they had donated the entire proceeds of the sale of the land to the church. When her lie had been exposed, she also fell down and died at Peter’s feet. This was the sin of hypocrisy. It can be easy today to gloss over the holiness of God, to forget that He is righteous and pure and that He hates sin wholeheartedly.[2]

Here God removed a spiritual cancer from the church by taking their lives and as Luke states in the Acts, “Fear (holy) came upon all the church.” Looking more closely at the problem we can see Ananias and Sapphira:

1.      Clung to their possessions.
2.      Agreed to lie about their giving.
3.      Pretended to be someone they were not.
4.      Thought they could get by with appearing to be generous.
5.      Felt more concerned with their image than their relationship to God.

There is no better consolation under crosses and afflictions than the thought that all the troubles of this world are not to be compared with the glory to come and that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory (n. Cor. iv. 17). And, therefore, St. Bede says: If we had to bear for a while the pains of hell, it would not appear so hard, if thereby we might merit to see Christ in His glory, and to be added to His saints. [3]

In God We Trust[4]

Life is filled with many difficulties and challenges that cause us to worry. Each day we are confronted with many events that may cause us to become apprehensive. What is worry?  The dictionary says that when we worry, we torment ourselves with disturbing thoughts.  According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three adults has occasional insomnia, and one in ten adults has chronic sleeplessness.  Experts are concerned about the ever-increasing consumption of sleeping pills by many Americans. The remedy for worry is for all of us to trust in God. St. Augustine once said that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. We experience God through our life of prayer.  Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real.  God is personal.   No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray and pray daily.  Prayer is the air that we breathe. One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to see and to listen to God.  We can be caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God. Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day. God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions.  He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith.  He is calling us to cling to him and only him.  This journey is difficult, frightening at times and even risky.  But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love. However, without a serious spiritual life, anxiety and fear will overwhelm us. If we are a people who live truly spiritual lives, we will be filled with peace and joy no matter what may be going on around us. And this is so, because we will always be able to trust God.

St. Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: "Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough."

St. Teresa provides us profound words of wisdom for our present times.  The staggering number of prescription drugs available for the many forms of uneasiness and tension illustrates that many of our contemporaries suffer deep inner turmoil. It is true that we are experiencing profound challenges: wars, continual threats of terrorism, problems within our Catholic Church, the rapidly accelerating unraveling of moral decency in our society, an uncertain economy and the terrible wounds caused by the dismantling of family life.  Nevertheless, challenges such as these should remind us that we must always trust in God who is always with us. Trust is rooted in faith which is a gift.  If your faith is weak, ask God to give you more faith.  To do this incorporate into your lives four practices that are so basic for anyone who wants to be a serious Catholic: contemplative prayer, daily Mass or a prolonged visit before the Blessed Sacrament, daily Rosary and the frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession.  These four things will allow you to trust God and they will provide you with the interior peace that all seek.

What are the practical steps that we can take in order to incorporate into our busy lives a serious spiritual life?

·         First of all, we need balance in our lives. When was the last time that we enjoyed dinner with family and friends, or turned off our cell phone and refrained from checking our email at every moment? Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart. 
·         Secondly, a serious spiritual life requires the capacity to be alone.  It is difficult to be alone in our contemporary society.  Even when we are alone, the noise of our own worries and fears drown out the silence of God's voice.  Many people are incapable of being alone and they immediately feel an obsession to talk with someone on a cell phone or check their email. We all need moments of solitude.  Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul.  In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves. 
·         Thirdly, we need order in our lives. Working out daily schedules for the entire family by setting   realistic priorities and minimizing extra-curricular activities for the children are steps that we can take.  Early to bed and early to rise is a wise principle which is still valid today.



Amoris Lætitia[5] Looking to Jesus: The Vocation of the Family- The transmission of life and the rearing of children (80-85)

Marriage is firstly an “intimate partnership of life and love, which is a good for the spouses themselves, where sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning, even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.

A child deserves to be born of that love, and not by any other means, for he or she is not something owed to one, but is a gift, which is the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of the parents. Thus the Creator made man and woman share in the work of his creation and, at the same time, made them instruments of his love, entrusting to them the responsibility for the future of mankind, through the transmission of human life.

The Church’s teaching is meant to help couples to experience in a complete, harmonious and conscious way their communion as husband and wife, together with their responsibility for procreating life. We need to return to the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI, which highlights the need to respect the dignity of the person in morally assessing methods of regulating birth… The choice of adoption or foster parenting can also express that fruitfulness which is a characteristic of married life.

It is urgent that the family respect the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed. So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being.

The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last. Consequently, “those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia, but likewise firmly rejects the death penalty.

It is important to reiterate that the overall education of children is a “most serious duty” and at the same time a “primary right” of parents. This is not just a task or a burden, but an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them. The State offers educational programs in a subsidiary way, supporting the parents in their indeclinable role; parents themselves enjoy the right to choose freely the kind of education – accessible and of good quality – which they wish to give their children in accordance with their convictions. Schools do not replace parents, but complement them. This is a basic principle: all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization. Still, a rift has opened up between the family and society, between family and the school; the educational pact today has been broken and thus the educational alliance between society and the family is in crisis.
The Church is called to cooperate with parents through suitable pastoral initiatives, assisting them in the fulfillment of their educational mission. She must always do this by helping them to appreciate their proper role and to realize that by their reception of the sacrament of marriage they become ministers of their children’s education. In educating them, they build up the Church, and in so doing, they accept a God-given vocation.


Brain Thrive by 25 is a scientifically-designed research-based course designed to change the lives of teenagers and young adults all over the world.
Multi-Dimensional Education, Inc., (MDEI) an independent education research group, studied the effects of Brain Thrive by 25 at 16 sites on over 330 students. They found that the 12-lesson/12-lab course:
  • Significantly decreased drug, alcohol and tobacco use
  • Decreased depression
  • Improved self-esteem
Utilizing a multi-dimensional approach to assessing the outcomes associated with the implementation of Brain Thrive by 25, this study supports the Brain Thrive by 25 positive impact on brain function and schools seeking to help students succeed academically.
According to Dr. Doug Grove, President of MDEI, “After spending a year organizing and implementing the study, and weeks of analysis, the results strongly supported that unlike many interventions we have evaluated, Brain Thrive by 25 was literally making a difference in developing better minds of the students who took part in the intervention.”
The Way[7]

"Read 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."

7.      Serenity. Why lose your temper if by doing so you offend God, annoy other people, upset yourself... and have to find it again in the end?

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please pray for me and this ministry
·         Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.


[1] John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
[3]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[5] Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.
[7]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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