31 Days of Prayer – Act of Faith

For the next couple of days we are going to pray some traditional prayers. Today we are going to reaffirm our faith.

31 Days of Prayer - Act of Faith

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Today’s prayer is the Act of Faith. Of course, God doesn’t need us to make acts of faith. We do. By making a prayer of faith frequently we remind ourselves of our beliefs and encourage ourselves to live in faith. The following prayer is a prayer that I learned as a child and taught my son.

O my God, I firmly believe that You are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; I believe that Your Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths that the holy Catholic Church teaches, because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.”

Dear Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!

*********

Tweetable: 31 Days of Prayer – Act of Faith

31 Days Writing Challenge

Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

(repost)

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Image by Icb (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

I will never forget watching an episode of Women of Grace  on EWTN a while back where the guest speaker said that only 30% of Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This statistic shocked me. Belief in the Real Presence is a central and essential doctrine of our Catholic faith. Truly, the Real Presence is part of the foundation of our Catholic faith. In fact, it is a non-negotiable article of faith; to be Catholic one must believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. However, the doctrine of the Eucharist remains a source of confusion and misunderstanding among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

There are many passages in the Bible that deal with the Eucharist. Most of us are aware of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-30 and in all the gospels) and the “Bread of Life” discourse (John 6:22-69). The Catechism of the Catholic Church has whole sections that deal with the Eucharist (See Part 2, Section 2). Additionally, the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has been spoken about by many saints. I highly recommend that you take a look at these references for yourself and pray about them. For now, I just want to do is give you, in a nutshell, is what it means to believe in the Real Presence:

Believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist means that at the consecration at Mass the bread and wine is transformed into the very real body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Although the physical appearance of the bread and wine do not change, they are no longer bread and wine but Jesus Himself.

This is hard for many people to accept. That is why so many walked away from Jesus (see John 6:66-67) when He said those words and why many are still walking away from Him in our own time. How is it possible that Jesus can be contained in the Eucharist? How can this happen? Those are valid questions. However, it is a sublime mystery and we trust Jesus at His word. The mystery of the Eucharist is a miracle. It is a gift from God Himself out of love for us. With God, all things are possible – including Jesus making Himself present in the Eucharist!

—————

Tweetables:

Corpus Christi: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

What  Catholics believe about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

Have Courage

We must always remember that no matter what happens in our lives, God has already won the victory in Christ Jesus. Our job is to take heart and to bear our trials with patience, even when it is not easy. Check out this encouraging quote by St. John of the Cross:

CourageandPersJohnofCross

There will be trials ahead, both personally and as a society, but if we remain fast, persevere with courage, and trust in the Lord, all will work out according to HIS plan, and for our greater good! God bless!

***************

Tweetable: Have Courage

Quote found at Catholicbible101

The Secret to Holiness

(Repost but still relevant!)

Catchy title, eh? 😉 I don’t claim to truly have the secret to holiness, obviously. However, I think that as I’ve been The Secret to Holinessgetting older, I’ve discovered the secret of holiness for me.

In reality, holiness is nothing more than growing into a deep, living and personal relationship with God. We get to know God through liturgical and personal prayer, frequenting the sacraments, practicing virtue, reading scripture and studying our faith. It is living our lives in Jesus, and through Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, with the Father. It is having our hearts aligned with God.

Isn’t that what the saints did (do)? They have an abiding prayer life – even when it is dry and difficult for them. They receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, regularly. They practice virtue, often to an heroic degree, daily. They often have a great understanding of scripture and the precepts of our faith, as well. (FYI, knowledge of scripture doesn’t always mean being “learned.” There were, and are, many “uneducated” people who have great knowledge of the ways of God!)

The saints make no excuses. They are consistent in following the ways of the Lord. Instead of falling into complacency they actively seek God and work to serve Him. And, therein, for me, lies the secret to holiness: consistency. Consistency is key.

I don’t know about you, but I make excuses. It is just SO EASY to make excuses or to put other things first. I make resolutions and fail to keep them. I justify myself when I fail in virtue (he “made” me be impatient, because he won’t do what I want!). Sometimes I feel like I am the seed that was choked among the thorns (Matthew 13:1-23). I start out promising to be patient or pray more or go to daily mass or whatever; then, life gets in the way. Or, rather, I let life get in the way. I don’t manage my time properly or get my priorities mixed up. I’m inconsistent in living my faith, not only the way I “should” live it but the way I ultimately WANT to live it.

Is it a lack of faith? Maybe. I’m not sure. Maybe, if I had the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), all the excuses, justifications, and inconsistencies would disappear. I don’t know. I do know that I need to work at being more consistent and focused.

How about you? What do you think about this? what does holiness mean to you? What do you think is the secret of holiness to you?

**********

Tweetable: The Secret to Holiness

Prayer Gives Strength

Prayer Gives Strength’nuff said….

———-

Tweetable: Prayer Gives Strength

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Your Life is Precious and has Value

No matter what you are going through, no matter how bleak life seems sometimes, please never forget that life is a gift. You are precious, unique, and you are on this earth for a reason.

YouMatter

I write this because last week I read how a 24-year-old healthy woman in Belgium will kill herself this summer via assisted suicide. Her name is Laura.

According to LifeNews,

“Euthanasia for psychological reasons is done when a psychiatrist agrees that the psychological pain that a person is experiencing cannot be relieved in a way that the individual finds acceptable. That means, Laura may be treatable, but Laura has decided that the only acceptable “treatment” is death.”

How unbelievably sad and heartbreaking. Euthanasia should never be an acceptable option, especially for “psychological reasons.” People who suffer from depression or other type of psychological pain need help and support; what they don’t need is to be killed off, even if they “think” that’s what they want.

God has created every human being in HIS image. Life is a gift and God is always with us, whether we realize it or not. Which leads me to the heart of the issue here. Life is hard. It just is, but life without God, can be almost impossible.

Belgium is supposed to be a predominately Catholic country. But where is God in this situation? He has been completely disregarded and ignored. The doctors and government officials have made themselves “god.” God’s existence and active presence has been almost completely eradicated from the minds and hearts of so many of us, it is  not that too surprising that death has become a viable option for some.

Listen, I’m not a Pollyanna. I have struggled (and sometimes still struggle) with depression. In fact, there have been times in my life when I seriously considered suicide. So believe me, depression is real and psychological pain is very real.

However, I also have the love and support of wonderful family and friends. I am also blessed with an uncompromising faith that knows that God is there, even in the dark times. Over many years, I have received healing, grace, and unbounded hope and trust in the Lord. Yes, that trust and faith waivers at times, but it is the foundation of my life.

And, that is what this poor woman Laura needs. It is what every person needs. Until we rediscover our faith and begin a real and living relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never understand the real, amazing gift and value of life.

So I say again, YOU are precious, YOU have value, YOU matter. If you are struggling, get help. Talk to a priest (or other clergy if you aren’t Catholic). Get help from health professionals (preferably faith-based) who will guide you and help you into a better place. Because, things DO get better.

As always, know that I pray for you, my readers, and if you have a special intention never hesitate to contact me. I will add your name to my prayer list that I pray over almost every day.

———–

Tweetables:

YOU Are Precious, YOU are Unique, YOU Matter

Your Life is Precious and has Value

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (June 8, 2014)

Sunday Snippets

I didn’t have any time for blogging this week so I only have one post for Sunday Snippets this week: my weekly goals.

Question of the Week:

What do you think of Catholic schools?  Are they an important part of passing on the faith to the next generation or are they an expense whose usefulness has passed, or something in between?

This is a tough question for me to answer. Growing up, I went to both public and Catholic schools depending on where we lived at the time, but I was very shy and reserved, so I was often bullied and picked on. Academically, however, the Catholic schools I went to were superior for the most part then our local public schools.

Nowadays, as most people know, I homeschool my son so I do not have first-hand experience of how the schools are – just from what people have told me. We also have had several Catholic schools in our area close down, including the one I graduated from eighth grade. And, unfortunately, I’ve heard of families where the children actually lost their faith going to Catholic school. So, my opinion is that, although not all Catholics schools should  be discounted,  parents do need to be discerning. Some Catholics schools are awesome and definitely play a part in passing the faith and others do not.

A New Year and a New Focus

A New Year and A New Focus!

Another year is over. Wow. Where did the time go? It went fast, I tell ya. 🙂 In looking back over my goals from 2013, there are many goals achieved, and of course, some that weren’t. In many ways it was a year of growth. I got through two semesters of college and I only have about two more to go! Andrew grew in many ways and accomplished a lot in homeschool. We moved and added a new addition to the family by way of a  dog (we are actually picking him up tomorrow, New Year’s Eve).

Blogging was another story. Classes took up a lot of my time and so the blog suffered post wise. It was what it was and I am okay with that. However, now in looking ahead, I feel called to go in a slightly new direction with the blog. I feel the Lord is calling me to use this blog as a form of ministry to busy Catholic women. I want this blog to be a place of refreshment and spiritually uplifting to women who are pulled into many directions on a daily basis. I also feel the Lord is calling me to challenge women to grow in their faith and in their relationship with Him.

How this new focus will look like in the coming months, I’m not sure. The Lord has been nudging me to share my faith and faith journey is a more personal way. That’s hard though, isn’t it? There is a risk in letting oneself be vulnerable, in showing one’s true self, but if it is what God wants, it is worth the try. 🙂 I also want to find ways to encourage women to read the bible more and will probably offer up my own reflections on scripture from time to time.

One thing for sure, there will be less “filler” posts. I won’t be posting much  about Andrew’s homeschool, recipes or home management tips unless it relates to what I am writing about. I will be sharing about those things on Facebook and Pinterest, though, so if you aren’t following me there, please do! By the way, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up for email updates. I will be sharing exclusive content with subscribers on a regular basis that you won’t want to miss (as well as the free ebook “Six Unique Ways to Find Time for Prayer” you receive when you sign up). To subscribe, fill in your name and email address in the box on the side bar or under this post.

As far as the blogging schedule, I will probably focus on one or two posts a week. Classes start up January 20th so I will feel less pressure (a pressure I put on myself, I know!) to blog or feel (unnecessarily) guilty if I miss a post or two.

My desire for 2014 is to be more intentional, purposeful and to grow and be all the God wants me to me. I want this for you, too. My prayer for each of you during the New Year is that you be filled with all the blessings, joy and peace that only God can bring!

(P.S. If you are regular reader/subscriber to Simple Catholic Living, THANK  YOU! If you commented on the blog or emailed me during the year, THANK YOU. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share with and connect with each of you. 🙂 )

 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is one of my favorite feast days: the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We know that the heart represents love and so this feast is yet another reminder of God’s great love for us, of the love that Jesus has for all of us; a love which compelled Him to become man, to spend 33 years on earth, to suffer horribly and die for us and to rise for us!

So for this week’s 7 Quick Takes I’d like to share some links about the Sacred Heart for you to pray over and think about:

1. EWTN devotionals.

2. SacredHeart.com.

3. SacredHeartDevotion.com.

4. Women for Faith and Family. (Page about the Sacred Heart.)

5. New Advent. (Doctrinal explanation of the feast.)

6. About.com. (History of the feast.)

7. Wikipedia. (Not a terrible explanation of the feast. 🙂 )

A blessed Solemnity, everyone!

—————

Tweetables:

What do you know about the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Some links…

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

7QT: Devotion to the Sacred Heart

———-

7 Quick Takes Image

Catholic Linkup Blitz

How to “Get Something” out of Mass

Over the years people have told me (usually in explaining why they don’t bother with church anymore), “I don’t get anything out of the Mass.” I’ve been hearing it again recently by several different people. This is a sad statement. It tells me that the person saying this doesn’t understand what the Mass is all about and that’s a shame. It is a sorry testament of how little many of us, even many of us faithful Catholics, really know what our own faith.*

Eucharist

(photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc)

The statement “I don’t get anything out of the Mass” also brings me to ask at least two questions. 1) “What are you looking to get out of Mass?” and 2) “What are you putting into the Mass?”

“What are you looking to get out of Mass?

If you are looking for good music, a great preacher and being filled with fluffy feelings, you aren’t always going to get it. That’s not what mass is about. Sure it helps if the music is beautiful and uplifting but that won’t always be the case. Sometimes the singing stinks. Sometimes there isn’t any music at all. Sometimes the priest is a good speaker that gets everyone fired up; however, the reality is that most priests do the best they can but they aren’t good speakers. Who hasn’t fallen asleep (or almost fallen asleep) listening to a priest who is monotone and uninspiring? And most times when you go to mass you aren’t going to have fluffy feelings. Sure, once in a while you’ll get an overwhelming emotional “something” when yo go to mass but more often you won’t. But here’s the thing, Mass isn’t about good music, good preaching or good feelings.

“What are you putting into the Mass?”

Do you show up for mass at the last second or late? Do you leave right after communion? Do you spend time talking with the Lord or chatting up the people around you? Do you let yourself get distracted or caught up in whatever is going through your mind? Is your heart and mind open to what the Lord wants to do or say to you during Mass? If so, how do you expect to get anything out of Mass if you aren’t willing to put any effort into it? I think it is safe to say that most of us know that the more we put ourselves into something the more we get out of it. This is true even with the Mass. Don’t get me wrong. We all have things that distract us. We all have crosses to bear and life can push its way into our minds, distracting us. But are you trying to make an effort? There are things we can do to prepare ourselves so that we can get more out of mass. I’ll talk about those things tomorrow.

What DO you get out of Mass?

JESUS! We get the honor and privilege of participating in the un-bloody sacrifice of the Lord. Jesus gives himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, completely to us in the Eucharist. He does this, not for Himself, but for us. God doesn’t need our worship, but we have a deep desire and need to worship HIM. We need to receive Him and be united to Him.

Another thing we get out of Mass is grace. We get God’s grace to help us and strengthen us in our daily lives, to help us avoid and overcome sin, and to live the life we have been called to live.

The secret to getting “something” out of Mass.

Want to know the secret to getting something out of Mass? Forget yourself. Just drop the idea that you are supposed to get something out of Mass. Refocus your attention to where it belongs – on Jesus. I promise you, if you shift your mindset and focus on Jesus, if you keep your heart and mind open, looking for Him to speak to you, He will.

Don’t get me wrong, if you have children, don’t ignore them if they need something or have to be settled down. If you have elderly parents, don’t pretend they aren’t there! What I’m saying here is do your best to focus on what is happening at the Altar, expecting God to touch you. Every time we receive the Eucharist Jesus comes to us. Let’s be ready to receive him. In tomorrow’s post I will offer some practical tips and ideas to help you do this.

———-

Click to Tweet –> “How to ‘Get Something’ Out of Mass.