A boy wanting to clean up a vacant lot and turn it into a ball-field was trying to move a large stone out of the way, but no matter how he tried, he couldn’t budge it. His father was watching him, and asked, “Are you sure you are using all your strength?” “Yes, I am,” […]
Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category
This is what Christian unity looks like. It doesn’t ignore the differences that we have with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters.It isn’t triumphalistic.It isn’t us vs them.Rather, it is the love of Christ for all people. Jesus prayed for Christian u…
All of us have difficulties with prayer and we have to understand this is normal. Prayer is a relationship and one that takes a lot of work to get even to the point of even being OK.In many ways prayer is like any other relationship. Many of us start o…
I don’t stress out much, even though my personality can be pretty high-strung. I do it by applying (most of) these strategies to my life.55 Ways To Reduce StressMental prayer (meditation) every day.Pray with Scripture daily.Frequent The Sacraments – Ma…
21 Ways To Make A Marriage GreatStay chaste and celibate before marriage - This goes for all your relationships. The statistics show that doing so means a much higher chance of a successful marriage. Those who don’t have premarital sex h…
LORD, bless us with a greater unity and solidarity with the faithful throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the young people. Give us the grace to give generously to those who are rich in faith but lacking in resources. May we learn fro…
There is an old tradition that Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge on Christmas Day 1777. Certainly the wretched condition of the Continental Army in December of 1777, with a hungry winter beginning, would have driven commanders less pious than Washington to their knees. However, Washington was pious and prayed every day. The tradition […]
There is a spiritual battle that rages in places we cannot see with our eyes or hear with our ears. It rages in our hearts, our culture, and in our world.
In the Sacred Scriptures God continually warns His people to prepare for war. Yes, He is The victorious King who has entered the fray, but he calls you and I to take up our weapons and fight with Him against the enemy – Satan.
All of hell knows there is no hope of final victory, but out of spite, they fight to ruin whatever souls they can. The rest of creation cries out for salvation.
Our war will not be fought with weapons made of our own hands, but of the grace of God.
How have you prepared for war this day?
What are you doing to help others survive it?
Are you prepared to go into battle?
Whether you are or not, war is upon you.
Now is the time to fight. Now is the time to put on the armor of God and take up the sword.
If we fail to pick a side in the war, it means we have already chosen – “he who is not with me is against me.”
Can you not hear the bombs falling and the guns firing? Pick up your cross – it is your weapon against the enemy – and follow The King of All into battle.
He will come again, but until that day – it is up to you and me to take up His cause and fight the enemy.
9 Ways to Overcome Temptation:
1. Avoid and/or flee from it. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
“She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” -Gen 39:12
2. Submit your thoughts to God. He knows better than we do what is good.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Phil 4:8
3. Overcome your selfishness. True Love doesn’t know selfishness. Because, if you love Jesus you don’t belong to yourself
“and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” -1 Cor 3:23
4. Expect and be ready for temptation. We need to be prepared for Spiritual battle.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” -Eph 6:13
5. Remind yourself of the consequences of sin.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Gal5:19-21
6. Memorize God’s Word. Filling our minds with the thoughts of God and having them readily available to us is very wise.
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11:28
7. Cultivate a sense of God’s presence But don’t just listen – obey.
“Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” -Deut 5:27
8. Frequent confession heals us and we start over spiritually healthy.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” -James 5:16
9. Accountability helps us avoid sin. When we are accountable to both man and God it helps us overcome temptation.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:9-10
Last week in spiritual direction I heard something that really stuck with me. I was discussing my work with many young men who struggle with purity issues and how their humiliation and shame also burdened me, because I feel so bad for them. My spiritual director said, “Jesus is harsher against pride than he is against any other sin, including lust.”
I have been thinking about this for a while and it is very true. Look at the Biblical evidence. When faced with sexual sins of others, this is how Jesus reacted:
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.””
When dealing with lust, he says:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
The teaching could be summarized in the following points:
- Avoid lusting after (using) another person and the things that tempt you to lust.
- Don’t commit adultery with your body OR mind.
- Repent when you have sinned sexually.
He does not say it isn’t a serious sin, but he is MUCH harsher on pride.
Here are some verses where he talks about pride – notice there are many more instances of rebuking pride than there are sexual sin:
“Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” -Mark 12:38-40
“Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the front seats in the synagogues, and the respectful greetings in the market places. “Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.” -Luke 11:43-44
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The writers of the New Testament epistles echo these harsh warnings against pride:
“‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. “-James 4:6-7 AND 1 Peter 5:5
Furthermore, in opposition to pride, Jesus praises those who are humble:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” -Matt 5:3
“every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 18:14
Pride makes us believe we don’t need God. We are either too good or too bad for God. In turn, pride makes us incapable of turning our lives over to God, because we make ourselves into autonomous creatures who have no need of a Savior or Lord. In other words, pride makes us dependent on ourselves alone and God has no place in our lives.
Many Saints have said that the most foundational of all virtues is humility, because without a dose of humility, we aren’t open to God’s love and grace. This is why Jesus was much harsher on pride than sexual sins.
In fact, Jesus frequently uses the humiliation and shame of sexual sins to crush our pride and increase our humilty – so we depend on Him even more. God can take something bad and bring something good out of it. With that in mind, we are to become like Christ who was the model of humility. As St. Paul says:
“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” - Phil 2:3-8