How Daily Mass Benefitted My Day to Day Life

Prayer is at the heart of any relationship with God, but to many people, including myself, maintaining a healthy prayer life is a constant struggle. Our daily schedules become so filled with our careers, family, and other activities that it seems we barely have time to breathe. But this is really when we need prayer the most. As I write this I am reminded of a quote from St. Francis de Sales, “Every one of us needs a half hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy, and then we need an hour.” In other words, as life becomes increasingly more complicated and hectic, that’s when our relationship with God becomes ever more critical.

In my personal experience, attendance at daily mass as helped me greatly in this area. I am fortunate in that there are a few churches near my job that offer daily mass at times that are easy to attend before I have to report to the office. I also realize that not everyone reading this may be in a similar situation and finding a daily mass may be much more difficult. I strongly encourage everyone to give it serious consideration. Start off slowly by attending a daily mass once or twice a week and you can eventually grow from there.  The benefits and graces from faithfully attending a weekday mass even once or twice weekly are powerful.

Crisis Magazine: A New Devastating Critique of the Global Sexual Revolution

"It is quite remarkable that we are fighting the same battle from before the French Revolution, the fight between sexual license and sexual morality. The fight has been non-stop. Sometimes we are winning, other times, like now, we are losing."
-Austin Ruse,  Crisis Magazine.

The link above is to a remarkable article about a powerful book that analyzes the roots of the sexual revolution and its resulting destruction all around us. The most eye opening part of this article is that the immoral sexual ideology of today's progressive movement can trace its roots to cultural Marxism and arguably as far back as before the French Revolution. The battle between sexual license and morality really goes back to the serpent in the garden convincing our first parents that they could be like God and determine for themselves what is right or wrong. 

I recommend this book as well as Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage by Paul Kengor, Ph.D. Both these books provide the reader a much better perspective of what is really driving the LGBTQ agenda in today's culture and the historical roots of this revolution.

My hope is that books and other media like this will be successful in waking people up to the madness around us before it is too late.

The Hypocrisy of Our Culture and Our Condemning Silence

By now, most people have already heard how former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was fired from his position at ESPN. (see story here).The reason for his termination was a post he put on his personal Facebook account that some found offensive to the transgender (or whatever we are calling them this week) community. ESPN then went so far as to remove virtually any reference to Curt Schilling in documentary they produced about the Red Sox 2004 World Series win, in which he played a large part in.

You can view his facebook post at this link. While I agree that it is somewhat unpleasant to look at, it points out the absurdity of the transgender bathroom debate in our culture right now. To sum it all up, the "progressive" minded folks in our society are willing to put our children at risk in public bathrooms in order to appease a very minuscule, but very vocal, percentage of the general population that due to a mental disorder, cannot identify with their God given gender. Schilling agrees with those of us who see the need for states to pass these "bathroom laws" to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

Gay Marriage - A Pro-Life Issue

The video below is from the March 26 episode of Piers Morgan's show on CNN. By now you may have already heard about this video where Morgan and his guest Suze Orman try to debate Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation on the issue of gay marriage. Anderson did a brilliant job of defending traditional marriage despite the fact that the whole event was a farce and staged against him. I don't want to rehash the whole debate, but if you want more details please watch the video below and then read this article: How not to have a debate about gay marriage.

What I want to discuss here is what happened beginning around the 11:25 mark in the video. It was both eye-opening and disturbing. Anderson attempts to explain how the true definition of marriage  is not just about uniting a man and a woman, but also about the procreation and raising of children.It was at this point that Orman and Morgan mocked him and encourage the studio audience to do so as well. Their point was that Anderson was wrong and that marriage has nothing to do with children and is only about whatever two consenting adults want.

I shouldn't be too surprised about this reaction. Our society has embraced death through the use of artificial contraception and abortion. The logical progression from there would be to separate marriage from openness to life. Blessed John Paul II in the Theology of the Body, described marriage has having two important aspects that can never be seperated, the unitive and procreative. Unfortunately, as Ryan Anderson tried to explain in the video, we began to change marriage and split those two aspects 40 years ago with the sexual revolution and widespread use of contraception and abortion.

The sad result of that is exactly what we saw in the video, our society does not see the importance of both the unitive and procreative sides of marriage. Instead it sees marriage as just a type of recognition of a sexual relationship between two people. If children and openness to life is not important in marriage, then it's no surprise that a growing number of people support same-sex marriage.

This is why this battle to protect traditional marriage is a pro-life issue. It all goes back to the central issue of life. Gay marriage will only further the split between marriage and children that began 40 years ago. Future generations will not see children as a blessing and part of the very nature of marriage, but instead as an incidental outcome or even a burden. The daunting challenge that we face is changing people's hearts to accept that sex is sacred, every life is a blessing, and participating with God in the creation of a new human life is at the very heart of marriage.

We Are an Easter People

In this Easter season, we rejoice in the hope and promise of victory that we see in the Risen Christ. Just as the Lord conquered sin and death, we know that through Him we will be ultimately victorious. We, as the Body of Christ, are an "Easter People" because at the core of our faith is the hope of the resurrection.

This world constantly tells us that our Church is outdated and dwindling. Judging by the media, it seems as if we are losing the battles against intrinsic evils such as abortion and homosexual marriage. Think about how many times you have heard lately that the Catholic Church is on the wrong side of history and the most Catholics don't agree with Church doctrine on issues like contraception and gay marriage. Judging by all of these messages, it sounds as if the Church is on it's death bed.

The truth is that like Christ on Good Friday, we will be mocked and condemned in the court of public opinion. This world want's nothing more than to see the Church on its own road to Calvary, where it will be put to death once and for all.  As the Body of Christ, our Church will be persecuted and suffer. It seems we may be entering into those dark times right now with the threat to our religious freedoms casting a large shadow over us. But as an Easter people we know that the story doesn't end there. Because of Christ's Resurrection, we know that ultimately we as the Church will be victorious over sin and death.

During this Easter Season, let us celebrate and show the world that Easter is more than just a day about spring, eggs, and bunnies. It is a time to rejoice in the promise of victory that we have witnessed in the Risen Christ! Alleluia!

Related story:
How we can be Easter people

Update on my Last Post About the Catholic Vote and Non-Negotiable Moral Principles

I wanted to share a few responses I received to my recent letter to the Providence Journal regarding the Catholic Vote and the non-negotiable moral principles. Below are two letters published on the Journal' website rebutting my letter. (My comments about these and much more are after the fold.)

Think for yourself, rather than heeding pope

Ah, there is a rivalry of consciences in the letters to the editor. ("My conscience as a Catholic voter," Oct. 28, by Ray H__; and "Catholic teachings," Nov. 1, by Rob A).Mr. H__'s discussion of the decisions of his conscience was reasoned and well explained. I admire his conscience.
Mr. A's conscience seems to rely on the teachings of a man who happens to be pope. None of those "non-negotiable moral principles" came from the pope under the cloak of infallibility, so a Catholic can disagree with him and follow his own conscience.
As I recall, there is not supposed to be anyone in the voting booth with us, directing how we vote.
I do not admire the conscience of Mr. A, who seems content to not struggle with these hard things himself, but, instead, lean on the words of the pope.

Peggy G__

Church is not a political party

Rob A's Nov. 1 letter ("Catholic teachings") states that Catholics cannot vote for President Obama because Obama violates moral principles that "Pope Benedict XVI has stated repeatedly ...should come before all other issues in politics."If true, Benedict's political directive is contrary to the teaching of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
In addressing the question of legalized abortion in newly democratic Poland after the fall of communism ("Witness to Hope" by George Weigel), John Paul echoed the voice of Jesus with regard to politics: "The Church is not a political party nor is she identified with any political party; she is above them, and no political party can claim her."
It is the Church's role to be "a guardian of the moral order and a critical conscience... the laity's task to be directly involved in the area of politics." And it is the responsibility of the people to "learn to dialogue with one another in truth and with respect for their own dignity and that of their counterparts, who, although differing, are not enemies."
John Paul knew instinctively that mixing politics with the pulpit eventually will corrupt the pulpit.

Jack O___

My first reaction to these letters is to be defensive. But the best course of action would be to pray for these people and our nation. These responses are unfortunate indicators of the state of faith in our world. They are also a reminder of the significance of Pope Benedict's call for a year of faith. Religion and faith are being increasingly ridiculed and pushed out of the public sector and confined to home or church on Sundays.

The Catholic Vote and The Non-Negotiable Moral Principles

With Election Day approaching, I think its important to clarify what Pope Benedict XVI has called the non-negotiable moral principles. I want to first start with a letter that was published recently in my local newspaper, The Providence Journal by a self identified "Catholic" voter.

My conscience as a Catholic voter

Conscience and voting have been the the topic of concern throughout the Catholic community as well as many other religious communities. Seeking to establish a clear and informed conscience, I have concluded:
* To gut many safety-net programs for the poor, the handicapped and the elderly would be contrary to the Vatican II declaration of "preferential option for the poor."

* To force us as citizens to make the lives of illegal immigrants who have not committed any other crime in our country so miserable that "they will want to leave on their own," flies in the face of our commitment to charity and the corporal works of mercy.

* To remove the long-overdue opportunities for so many more of our citizens to receive health care is blatantly unjust in our democratic society. Trying to justify this just to satisfy a "teaching" that all contraceptives are either a means of abortion or at least contrary to the unfounded notion that intercourse between husband and wife must be with the accepted knowledge that a pregnancy might result is wrong.

Our Catholic leaders' role is to persuade; not to control. And the range of persuasion is to its own and those who might be interested. Many Catholic institutions employ large numbers of non-catholic people.

* To believe that running our country like a huge corporation will result in millions of new jobs, increase in wages and major reduction of debt in four years is, to say the least, unrealistic.

* To think that our modern world of global communication and myriads of governments and religions will be convinced by military domination is naive and dangerous.

Thus with a clear and informed conscience (which my Catholic Church teaches is the bottom line for any decision-making) I will vote for another term for President Obama.

Ray H__.

This is my reply letter which was published the following day:

Catholic Teachings 

This is in response to the letter by Ray H__ , “A Catholic's Vote”, published on the Providence Journal on October 31, 2012. While the issues of safety net programs for the poor, illegal immigration, and healthcare are all very important, Mr. Hodges own remarks demonstrate that his conscience is not as well informed on Catholic doctrine as he thinks it is.

Pope Benedict XVI has stated repeatedly that there are three non-negotiable moral principles that should come before all other issues in politics. Those principles are the protection of human life, the protection of traditional marriage and family, and religious freedoms. President Obama has failed miserably on these three issues. Ray H. is correct that the Catholic Church teaches about the primacy of the conscience. But that applies to a conscience well formed by Catholic teachings grounded in moral and natural law. By this standard, no Catholic in good conscience can justify voting for Obama because of his disregard for these moral principles.

Secondly, Ray H__'s comments such as “gutting safety net programs” and removing healthcare demonstrates that his political beliefs are not formed by the Catholic Church or Vatican II documents but by the falsehoods of a Presidential administration that has been an abysmal failure over the last four years.

Rob A.

I shared this to highlight how so many Catholics are in denial , misinformed, or poorly catechized about these moral issues. I agree that issues like aiding the poor, illegal immigration, and healthcare are all very important matters which deserve consideration when voting. However, the three non-negotiable moral principles, mentioned in my letter above, are the foundation stones which all others are built upon. When these are not properly respect and come under attack, society and all other issues will greatly falter as is clearly evidenced by what is happening in our nation today.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI as well as Blessed John Paul II have spoken and written extensively on the utmost importance of these moral principles. Unfortunately many Catholics and non-Catholics alike have yet to open their minds and hearts to this truth. Please pray for our nation during these final days before the election that all people and especially our newly elected leaders will embrace these principles and rebuild a culture of life. I have included links below to a voting guide on based on these moral principles and to a speech given by Pope Benedict in 2006 in Europe regarding these same issues. Please share this information with others.

Re-emergence of the Church Militant

 I want to share with you an outstanding article by Fr. Rick Heilman on the growing prosecution of  our church:
The Growing Persecution of the Church and the Re-emergence of the Church Militant.

In this article Fr. Heilman quotes Pope Pius XII and Pope Benedict XVI on the attacks the Church has faced in the past and up until the present day:
“The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
In 1953, the Pope who had led the Church through two decades of darkness in a world besieged by war, Pope Pius XII stated, “We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass Her destruction.”
We are becoming increasingly aware in our time that we are the Church militant as we battle the ravages caused by the culture of death. In addition, as we witness the growing hostility toward the church throughout the world, we realize that we are indeed engaged in a spiritual warfare.
This article from Fr. Heilman is a great reminder that there is an ongoing spiritual battle and we are all enlisted to stand against this evil and defend our Church and our faith. Pray for our Church, our Pope and Bishops, and our families, that God may strengthen us in this spiritual war and that more Catholics also wake up and stand with the Church Militant.

I have also included below the awesome video, "The Church Militant - Bringing Catholic Back", which Fr. Heilman included at the end of his article. Please take the time to read the full article and watch this powerful video.


Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Recently, the Vatican announced that the cause for canonization for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has progressed to the next step and he has been declared Venerable. This announcement was made on the same day as the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. I am not sure if this is just a coincidence, but we as the Church now have Venerable Fulton Sheen as an intercessor for us in this battle for religious freedom. 

To commemorate the Vatican's announcement, I have re-posted a video that I had shared here sometime ago that tells a great story about Archbishop Sheen and his passion for the faith.

Venerable Fulton Sheen, please pray for us and for our nation!

The Line in the Sand

By now everyone has probably heard about the disappointing ruling by the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Roberts inexplicable decision to support Obamacare. While I would have preferred seeing this so called Affordable Care Act completely struck down, the SCOTUS decision upholding Obamacare will serve a greater purpose in defending religious freedoms in the long term.

If this healthcare overhaul was struck down, the HHS Mandate lawsuit would have also ended since the mandate itself would no longer be in effect. However, the question of religious freedom would have gone unanswered. The current administration has set a dangerous precedent by infringing on religious freedoms to further its political and ideological agenda. The lawsuits against the mandate will now continue and hopefully end with the Supreme Court definitively ending this abuse of power and disregard of religious freedoms by the President.

How can we be so hopeful that the Supreme Court will make the right decision in regards to religious freedoms? As reported by Michelle Baumann of Catholic News Agency: (emphasis mine)

[Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel, The Beckett Fund] pointed to the majority opinion, penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, which states, “Even if the taxing power enables Congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the Constitution.

The opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, was even more explicit, she said.

Ginsberg wrote, “A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”

The direct mention of religious freedom as a reason to find such a mandate unconstitutional is a hopeful sign in the battle over the contraception requirement, Smith said.

She explained that these two statements are “essential” in suggesting that the court may strike down the contraception mandate if asked to rule on it, a positive indication for defenders of religious freedom.
The line in the sand has been drawn. The current administration is now even more emboldened with this Supreme Court victory. This can become a defining moment in history for us as Catholics. By coming together and supporting our Bishops in this battle, we can truly show the world what  it means to be "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic".

Even though the Fortnight for Freedom is over, the battle continues. There are several things that we can all do to help our Bishops in this fight. First, we must pray and fast for religious freedom. Secondly, speak out publicly in favor of the Church and against this HHS mandate. By this I mean call and write to your elected officials and write to your local newspapers. You can also write about it on your blogs and social media sites. We need to get the truth out to counter the lies in the media. This isn't just some "Catholic thing" about contraception or abortion. This is about protecting the religious freedoms of every citizen in this country. In this battle, we are all Catholics. Finally, take the time to educate yourself on Obamacare, the HHS Mandate and how this impacts our freedoms. This will help you better understand the issues when you vote and allow you to better defend the position of the Catholic Church on this matter.

The line in the sand has been drawn. The question is now do we stand and fight or do we stick our head in the sand and ignore it?

Fellowship of the Unashamed - Part 2

This is a great video presentation of the Mission Statement I wrote about in my last blog post. This video was too good to pass up and definitely worth sharing with others.

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I found this mission statement on the blog of Catholic author and speaker Patrick Madrid back in September of 2011. I am posting it now because more relevant than ever in light of the open hostility of our society and government towards our faith.

God is calling every Catholic today to live up to the ideals in this mission statement and follow in the steps of the the saints and martyrs of our Church. This is how we defend our faith, protect our families, and fight against this culture of death.

(Author unknown)

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid