Miracles Happen All Around Us, Take Notice

A car accident happened in Missouri recently, and a pretty miraculous story has come from this tragic event. A head on collision occurred causing Katie Lentz to be crushed and trapped inside the vehicle. Katie was obviously distraught, but she managed to keep herself calm and asked her rescuers to pray aloud with her. Not long after this, a priest approached the rescuers and Katie at the scene. The priest prayed with them. Everyone felt a sense of calmness from the prayer and the priest’s presence.

Not long after the rescue team successfully freed Katie from the car. She has gone through several surgeries and is now on her way to recovery. She wanted to find the priest who came to the accident scene to thank him but no one knows him and did not know where to look for him. It was then that they realized that the priest might have been an angel in disguise, there to save her and guide her rescuers. Miracles happen all around us during life, sometimes we just aren’t paying attention.

“About an hour into the rescue, Katie asked rescue workers to pray out loud with her. That’s when a priest appeared out of nowhere.”He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer. It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle.Where did this guy come from? We’re looking for the priest and so far, no one has seen him. Whether it was a priest as an angel or an actual angel, he was an angel to all those and to Katie. We would like to find this gentleman and be able to thank him,” “

You can read more about this story at Catholic Online by clicking here. This amazing story is proof that God does not abandon us, and that prayer is quite powerful. Miracles happen all around us, we just need to take notice of these great works.

Pope Francis Gave a Surprise Phone Call

For as long as I can remember, the Pope has been one of the most important role models in my life. I never imagined that the leader of our Catholic Church would be so down to earth and friendly. Recently Pope Francis received a letter from an Italian boy, and he really went the extra mile. Instead of just reading the letter he responded. I don’t mean through letter either. Pope Francis gave a surprise phone call to this student recently.

Pope Francis is gaining a reputation for being a very down-to-earth person. Despite his position at the Vatican he seems to live a really simply life. Personally, I believe that his deeds reflect the type of leadership that we need as Catholics. He lives the life that we should all strive to live. The Pope has that humble aura that even doesn’t intimidate people, and the fact that Pope Francis gave a surprise phone call to this student affirms that.

You can read more about Pope Francis’ conversation with the Italian teenager here: “Hello, It’s the Pope”: Francis Calls Student

Looking For A New Devotional? The 7 Prayers of St. Bridget

There really is a prayer for every need. There are prayers for before bed or grace for before meals. If you are looking for a new devotional that you can pray daily to have that alone time of prayer and meditation, there are St. Bridget’s 7 Prayers. According to iPadre Catholic Podcasting, when the devotional is prayed daily for one year, it holds a corresponding promise.

The promises are listed as follows:

1. The soul who prays them will suffer no Purgatory.

2. The soul who prays them will be accepted among the Martyrs as though he had spilled his blood for his faith.

3. The soul who prays them can choose three others whom Jesus will then keep in a state of grace sufficient to become holy.

4. No one in the four successive generations of the soul who prays them will be lost.

5. The soul who prays them will be made conscious of his death one month in advance.

The prayer is recommended to be said during adoration and as a form of meditation. If you are looking for a new devotional I think that the 7 prayers of Saint Bridget could be something nice to try out.

The Age For First Communion in the Catholic Church

For Catholics, the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are two equally important stages that everybody goes through during their life. A discussion has emerged about whether or not these Sacraments should be given earlier to members of the Catholic faith. The age for First Communion in the Catholic Church is currently seven. Originally, it was Pope Pius who said that

“The age of discretion, both for Confession and for Holy Communion, is the time when a child begins to reason, that is about the seventh year, more or less. From that time on begins the obligation of fulfilling the precept of both Confession and Communion.”

According to Confession And The Age Of The First Communion:

“The desire to protect the Eucharist from profanation is admirable; but the way to do so is not to deprive children of the graces that they would receive from the Sacrament of Communion, but to insist that parents and pastors help those children avail themselves of the graces they would receive from the Sacrament of Confession. Delaying the age of First Communion because all too few Catholics avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession would not solve the underlying problem; it would only make it worse.”

Personally I agree with this assertion. The main problem is that these children celebrate the Sacraments of First Communion and Confession, but then they don’t celebrate them again frequently enough. Most of the time they aren’t receiving Communion or Confession frequently enough because their parents do not bring them to Mass. Children are less capable of making their own decision to attend Mass, so that responsibility falls on their parents. I agree that we are not talking so much about a question of the “age of reason” in the Catholic Church being the problem, but more a cultural issue pertaining to parents. The age for First Communion in the Catholic Church is somewhat arbitrary in my opinion. Whether a child is seven years old, four years old, or ten years old they are going to require some help from a parent or guardian to attend Mass each week.

Giving More to Those in Need: Pope Francis’ Message

“The important thing is not looking at them from afar, or helping from afar. No, no! It is going to encounter them. This is the Christian! This is what Jesus taught: to go meet the most needy.” These are the words of Pope Francis to his fellow Argentinians as he paid them a visit on the feast day of St. Gaetano.

The message of the Pope focused on “encountering and touching the poor, rather than helping them in a distant way.” I find this message to be a much needed reminder for all of us who might be holding the belief that it doesn’t really matter how we give so long as we are giving. The focus should be on giving more to those in need, and I don’t mean more things.

As Christians we should approach the act of charity as Jesus did. He did not just “throw alms and leave.” He always made sure to go out there, meet people, touch them and then help them by giving them what they needed. When we give without meeting, we are just giving something perishable–something that will no longer be there in the next day or two. When we give with a handshake, a hug, a short conversation and a prayer, we are giving them comfort, love and a sense of importance–things that linger on much longer.

If you want to read more about the Pope’s message during the celebration of St. Gaetano’s feast day, you can read it here: “Touch the poor and needy, Pope tells Argentineans.” Giving more to those in need is something that Pope Francis advocates, and I think this is great.

3 Things That Remind Me of God’s Love

Reading “Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You” inspired me to do this post today. While this article gives readers 10 Bible verses that remind of God’s love, I’d like to make a list of the things that remind me of God’s immeasurable love. Here are 3 things that remind me of God’s love:

1. My family. There is no greater reminder of God’s love than the joy and love I receive everyday from my family.

2. Sunsets and sunrises. The wonderful display of the beauty of sunsets and sunrises remind me of God’s unfailing love. As Lamentations 3:22-23 says: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

3. Rainbows. Seeing a colorful rainbow after a rain reminds me of God’s faithfulness and forgiving love for mankind despite our sinfulness. As you remember, the rainbow was created by God to stand as a covenant of God’s promise to man that there will not be “any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”

How about you? What are the things around you that make you remember God’s amazing love for us?

Feeling God’s Closeness Through Meditation

One very important, but overlooked way to connect with God is meditation. In this busy world that we are living in, very few people actually take the time to stop for a while, clear their minds of worldly cares, and direct their thoughts to the Lord. Meditation is a very crucial part of our spiritual growth and formation. Together with the reading of God’s words, meditation is the key for our thoughts and actions to be in line with our savior Jesus Christ. Feeling God’s closeness through meditation is something all Christians should get to feel during their life.

St. Paul even emphasized the importance of tuning our minds to the Lord in Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” 

It is through the habitual stilling of our thoughts and emotions that we can hear God’s whispered response and lead truly Christian lives.

Try this Meditation Exercise to experience the beauty and power of meditation. Feeling God’s closeness through meditation is a gift I want you all to experience!

Become Spiritually Rich: Your Wordly Possessions Don’t Mean Too Much

Father Jim Hogan’s Weekly Homily drew my mind to this Bible text: “And he said unto them, take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) What I take away from this is to become spiritually rich during life.

Living in a world that is becoming more and more obsessed with material things, all Catholics need a reminder lest we become one of those people who have (consciously or unconsciously) made worldly possessions their gods–people whose love of worldly attractions have become insatiable.

Obsession with worldly goods and the adulation of personal wealth can draw us away from God. It will keeps us from fulfilling our Christian duties, makes us selfish to the point that we will no longer care about the misfortunes of others and keep us from directing our thoughts to God.

As God’s children who look forward to living with him in heaven, we should focus our minds on the accumulation and possession of heavenly and spiritual riches and not become attached with the false treasures that this world offers. Become spiritually rich and keep that spiritual wealth with you forever.

Selective Catholicism is Not Okay

An article from the National Catholic Register titled, “The 12 Most Popular Catholic Buts” inspired this post today. Although brief, the article paints a clear picture of the the attitude and perspective of a lot of “Catholics” nowadays. Many people live their lives thinking that Catholicism or even Christianity is like eating in a buffet where you are free to choose which food to eat and which not to eat–that they can just freely pick the aspects of Catholicism that they want to follow.

This attitude is termed by some writers as “selective Catholicism.” Simply put, a selective Catholic is someone who just chooses a few bits and pieces of doctrines and teachings the church and the Bible to believe in, adhere to and live by. For instance, someone who says, “I’m a Catholic but I don’t go to church” or “I’m a Catholic but I don’t find value in confession.” My opinion, selective Catholicism is not okay. We shouldn’t be watering down our faith by saying what is and is not important. Everything about the Catholic faith is important.

Being a follower of Christ requires you to live your life just as Christ lived his. We have the Bible and the doctrines of the Church to guide us. The Lord has laid down his commandments in hopes that we will live by them and find ourselves worthy of life eternal in the end. The choice is whether we will follow his words or the dictation of our erring minds. Selective Catholicism is not okay. This is not a buffet, this is our faith!

The Best Tool For Sharing Christ With The Youth

The World Youth Day celebration in Brazil was a huge success! Thanks to the millions of enthusiastic young faithfuls who made the effort to make the pilgrimage to Rio. The Pope gave strong and uplifting messages all throughout his trip in Rio, but I would like to give emphasis to what he said about how we can best evangelize to young people.

During the culmination mass of the World Youth Day, the Pope said, “Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path to follow! It’s so simple really. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is other young people. 

As we all must know, the most effective way to lead a person to Christ is to reach them where they are and communicate with them in a way they can relate to. Who could possibly communicate and relate better to young people than their fellow youths? So if you are wondering why your parish is not drawing a lot of young people in, you might want to look into this counsel by our Pope. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is by having other young people talk with them. One dedicated Catholic teen can turn friends into faithful Catholics quickly.