This Is me, might it also be YOU?

Our Ego Keeps Us From the Greatness We Were Made For

Our souls are expansive. They are able to reach depths that we cannot fully fathom. When we begin to see this part of ourselves we often experience fear and awe. We do not know what to do with this part of ourselves because we are often blind to it in our daily lives. We are blind to it  because — more often than any of us would like to admit  — we allow our ego to rule us.

The ego keeps us from seeing the great love God has for us and the gift of giving ourselves over to others in love. The ego keeps us from the greatness we are made for. It keeps us blind to the true depths within each one of us.

The ego is where all of our fear, pride, vanity, grasping, envy, and selfishness dwell. It is the part of us that tells us to cling to what we want no matter what, even to the point of discarding and hurting other people. Our egos keep us from loving the people around us as we should because we’d rather hold onto some small modicum of control than give freely to the people God puts in our path.

Center of the Universe

It is within our vocations whether lay, religious, or priestly that we learn to confront this part of ourselves.

The ego causes us to place ourselves at the center of the universe. It leads us to grasp at the smallest and pettiest of things, because when we allow our ego to be at the center of our being unchecked, we live in a place of fear and distrust; we see God and others as a threat. Bishop Robert Barron in his book And Now I See explains:

“But what exactly is the problem with the way we think and see?…perhaps a simple answer can be given in these terms: we see and know and perceive with a mind of fear rather than with a mind of trust. When we fear, we cling to who we are and what we have; when we are afraid, we see ourselves as the threatened center of a hostile universe, and thus we violently defend ourselves and lash out at potential adversaries. And fear — according to so many of the biblical authors and so many of the mystics and theologians of our tradition — is a function of living our lives at the surface level, a result of forgetting our deepest identity.”

If we were to consciously pay attention to how we respond to people throughout our day, we would discover that we often interact with others from a place of fear. We allow our own ego to take the reins in our relationships, which is why we often experience conflict with others. Whether it’s with our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, or our brothers and sisters in Christ, most of the issues that arise in our relationships are the result of our ego and the heaviest of sins: pride.

Pride is the most destructive sin we battle. It places us at the center of all things over God and all others. It is the sin that leads to great spiritual blindness and it is the sin that tears people apart the most. Pride is the what got us into this mess in the first place. It is the desire to be God, to grasp at power. Pride leads us to fear because we view others—even the love of others—as a threat to our own illusion of control. This is why God tends to use dramatic means to rip this sin out of us through our relationships with everyone around us.

Love and Fear

The irony is that we are the most happy, free, and at peace when we live with God at the center of our lives not our own ego. It is in opening ourselves up fully to God that we can then turn in love towards others free of the fear the ego causes within us. Bishop Barron states:

“At the root and ground of our being, at the “center” of who we are, there is what Christianity calls “the image and likeness of God.” This means that at the foundation of our existence, we are one with the divine power which continually creates and sustains the universe; we are held and cherished by the infinite love of God. When we rest in this    center and realize its power, we know that, in an ultimate sense, we are safe, or, in more classical religious language “saved.” And therefore we can let go of fear and begin to live in radical trust.”

Much of the fear we experience as a result of our ego has to do with whether or not we know we are loved.

We question our worthiness of being loved by God and by others. In our Fallen state, we know that we place ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position by allowing other Fallen people love us. They will inevitably — even if they love us deeply — hurt us. Spouses hurt one another all of the time both inadvertently and intentionally. The same goes for all of our relationships with others.

The greatest fear we battle is in relation to God’s love for us and our willingness to open ourselves up to Him. In our woundedness from the Fall and the lies the Enemy is constantly bombarding us with day-in-and-day-out, we question whether or not God truly loves us.

In our fear, the Cross isn’t even proof enough for us. This is why we have to re-orient away from ourselves and move make God our center. If we don’t make the concerted effort to make this shift every single day, then we will become fearful and fall into sin. We will once again allow the ego to take the lead, and all of us know that it becomes a tyrant once we allow it to rule.

Our egos cause us to cave in on ourselves and to live in the shallows rather than the depths God calls us to. The ego makes us small, when we are made for greatness. It is the ego that keeps us from loving God and loving others as we are meant to. When we begin to wrestle free from its grip over us, we quickly see that it is the ego that most often keeps us from loving. Love is freedom because it comes first-and-foremost from God. It is perfect love that casts out all fear. We cannot grow in love as long as we allow our egos to keep us from the love of God and love of others.

We don’t think so, but in reality, loving others is much easier than trying not to love others. Any broken relationships in our lives should be proof of this truth. It is much more exhausting to stay angry at or distant from a family member, friend, co-worker, or brother and sister in Christ than it is to choose to love them and relinquish the hurt and anger that’s been caused. Letting go of our pride is to choose freedom. It is to choose to love and to admit that we are not the center of the universe, God is the center. He forgives. He loves and so should we. That’s where we will find the peace and joy He wants for us. It is in this relinquishment that God heals us and heals our relationships with others.

Our egos hold us back from living the life of holiness that God is calling each one of us to. He is inviting us to enter into the love of the Divine Persons. He’s made us for communion with Him and communion with one another. We cannot enter into that dynamic encounter with Him if we place our egos at the center of our lives. We also cannot find the courage to love others in the way we are meant to because fear will hold us back. Charity always requires fortitude and there’s nothing that blocks fortitude more than our own ego. Let us place God at the very center of our lives so that we can live in His love and radiate that love out towards others.

image: Sonia Alves-Polidori /


Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in philosophy.  Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (

The Task & the Cross of Perseverance A reflection by Patrick Miron


   The Task & the Cross of Perseverance

A reflection by Patrick Miron

Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

I suspect that all who receive this Lesson has been a true “saint” at least once. Perhaps for many, very much more. But is that sufficient to get me and you into heaven? No!

Matt.19:21 “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Mark.10: 2]” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Luke.18: 22 “And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

So the questions seems to be: What does “Come and follow Me” mandate and command?  …

Have you ever reflected on what this teaching means to us in the times and world in which GOD places us?

At the time, place and circumstances of that teaching, Christ was being quite literal. He was speaking to a rich by inheritance, one presumes, young SINGLE man, All though it is possible that he may have been married? In effect God was offering this guy an opportunity to become another apostle

To the best of my personal knowledge, only Peter was actually known biblically evidenced to have been married, and there is no mention of him having children. Though it is thought that because of Jewish Tradition that many; perhaps all but John, were also married and may even have had children. It was not Jewish Tradition of the time for men to remain single and celebrant. But that was a different time, place and conditions when the community would normally have stepped in to fill the needs of their families.

That so many would give up so very much to Answer God’s call is telling just how compelling, how urgent, that Godly call was. And it is not to be overlooked that Jesus, through Divine Providence would certainly have assured the Apostles that their families would be taken care of, if for no other reason than it permitted the Apostles to focus on the task at hand. … Just as compelling though is that Jesus came to share a lesson of love and servitude, and Divine Justice would have demanded such a response from our Just and Loving God.  Below is a brief EWTN article you can read if interested.

… I don’t think in its application to our lives that Christ is asking, and certainly not commanding us to leave our spouses, kids and break up our families to serve Him; nor is that even necessary in our personal efforts to persevere until the end, and thus merit our reward.

Each of us will Judged in the end based on what GOD has made possible for us individually to know, to in humility accept and with enthusiasm to live and share. So Gods grading of our own degree “fellowship” and perseverance will be on a sort of sliding scale, depending on the Crosses that he has built for each of us, and then to the degree that we accept those crosses without [excessive] complaint. No complaint being the ideal goal.

What we all can know, and all of should do is pray daily for the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. … These Holy Spirit granted Gifts, are the unfailing prescription for what ails us.

They grow our humility, and meekness, and prevent us from falling spiritually ill from despair. … Further they actually strengthen us, and aid our perseverance       in times of trouble.

Our God ask and expects many things from each of us, and what He ask varies greatly dependent upon our gifts, talents, abilities, and of course, our personal situations. But the girding; the very foundation of all of God’s Just Expectations is perseverance.

Sir.2: 10Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or whoever persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken?
Or whoever called upon him and was overlooked”

Jas.1: 25 “But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing”

Matt.10: 22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who perseveres to the end will be saved.”

Matt.19: 17   …. “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Matt.24: 13 “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Heb.12: 7 “It is for discipline that you have to persevere. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

John.14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

John.14: 23 “Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”

Dear friends, Jesus became a “man” like us for a number of reasons; among them enabling humanity too actually [without undue fear; in Awe] know God, who choose not to reveal himself except in hidden ways in the Old Testament. … Devout Jews to this day would not even say or write the name of G__d.  … Jesus came to, in Love, to demonstrate, the other face of GOD; a God of Love, kindness and Mercy, a God of concern and goodwill; Jesus came as a guide, but even more as a role-model. Not only does Jesus teach us how we can conditionally attain heaven; he actually demonstrated it for us by his lives example. And as our role-model, He Personally tells us, commands us and directs each of us to “COME FOLLOW ME.”

I began this reflection with Jesus advising the young, man to sell everything and to come and “follow me if you would be perfect” …. What is the relevance of this for us in our time, condition and place?

In a WORD; what Christ expected then and now is SACRIFICE. … We live in an age of MEISM, and few of us [myself notably include], are excluded from this experience. We have become so attuned to “THE ME”, that it very often is the first [and often defining issue for our personal decision making] that the “HOW” will such and such effect ME, is often the primary concern; even a “natural” response. And such a reality is a 100% different and opposite reflection of what Jesus modeled for each of us.

Christ always, ALWAYS, placed others needs and wants before His Own. To the degree that we are able to do likewise is the measurement of our Love and Loyalty to Christ message of our personal salvation.

I suspect that each of us have met at least one or more priest who Do model and emulate Christ in His self-giving. A GREAT many Pastors are such role models for us. So that we CAN know, that such a life is attainable. .

Isa.43: 7Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” & [21] “the people whom I formed for myself
that THEY MIGHT declare my praise

To attain heaven we are to LOVE. We are to forgive everyone for everything. We are to share our time, talents and resources with others in greater need. We are to spread HOPE and teach, even if it’s [dare I say] “only” by our lives public-example, our Catholic Faith. Not only are we expected to carry our own Christ designer-crosses; we ARE expected to help others in their efforts to carry theirs.

In effect, we are to take Christ WORDS: “I AM the way, the Truth and the Life” as a instruction of how we are to live our lives. By our examples of SELF-GIVING for others we can give evidence and are expected to share “The Good News.”

The question before us, and not too many years ago expressed in a popular slogan is relevant today: WWJD” ….”WHAT WOULD JESUS DO/” … come FOLLOW Me.

We need to get used to asking ourselves this question so often that it effects the way we liv e and the way we LOVE.

So dear friends, what is IT that Jesus would have YOU do?

 Pray very much! Life is SHORT; Eternity is FOREVER. … So PERSEVERE!

God’s continued Blessings,


A Test of LOVE-Failed; the story of the Original sin and WHY it is our sin too. By Patrick Miron


A Test of LOVE-Failed; the story of the Original sin and WHY it is our sin too.

By Patrick Miron

Chapter One: Circumstantial Evidence

WOW!  That was some apple; or was it? This is the behind the scene exposé of what was really taking place. … Adam & Eve season II.

Their names may have been Claude and Jean; but make no mistake about it; their story is real; it really did happen, though perhaps not precisely as recorded.

I have taught for many years now that everything in the bible is true; but not everything is necessary factual as it has come down to us over the centuries. So I’m still going to refer to our First Parents and Adam and Eve.

There was no absolute reason that God “Had to” create humanity. Nor was God in anyway obligated to create US in “His Own Image.” {Gen. 1:26-27}Therefore it is reasonable; and of critical understanding, to recognize that God {defined as: “All Good things perfected.”} had something specific in mind in doing so. Are we left to guess just why God choose to do so? No; Divine Inspiration answers that quite clearly: Isaiah 43: 7 & 21 {RSV Bible} [7] “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” & [21] the people whom I formed for myself that they MIGHT declare my praise.

It is revealing that in the Genesis Creation account; that man did not exist immediately upon God’s “willing it” {Gen. 1:26-27} as did the rest of His Creation {which means to make something out of nothing; Gen 1: 3 & 9.}…

Gen. 2:  [5]And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew: for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the earth. [6] But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth. [7] And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living {immortal} soul.  … {How many times I have read this amazing account and missed MAN BECOMING A LIVING SOUL}. So in all of the created Universe {which too has to exist for a specific purpose} only humanity is created out of SOMETHING; not, dare I say; “just willed into existence.”{Gen. 1:3 &9}; and only for His-humanity did GOD Breath in His-Life. Then from the incredible to the bizarre, we are told and expected to believe that humanity in some manner actually emulates our All “everything good” GOD….

John 4: 23-24 gives skeptics a solid footing for doubting this teaching: [23]But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him[24] God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. {“God’s truth” is a pesky word whenever we encounter it in sharing or explaining our Faith beliefs}; … so we are Mortal and God is immortal; we are physical; and “God is a Spirit.”    …. How can we reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable differences?  That answer rest in Gen 2: 7 above: “Man {exclusively} becomes a living “Soul.”  But unlike every other type of “living souls”; humanities Soul exclusively emulates our God by being the only Rational-Soul; and the only Immortal soul in the created Universe.

Chapter Two

What’s the BIG Deal about eating an apple?

First of all; it may, or may not, have been an apple. The forbidden tree was in the Midst of the Garden of Eden {Paradise} that contained zillions of fruit bearing trees; and had, no-doubt a great many of the same fruit, every-bit as delicious as was the forbidden tree.

OK, ok, so the fruit tree itself was not the real issue, SO WHAT WAS?

Life is the {a} GOD TEST … WHY is that?

We notice in chapter 3 of Genesis:” [1] now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? [2] And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. [4] And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. {Meaning: spiritual-eternal death} [5] For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”

A Question here: So where did this Snake come from? And WHY?

Ahhhhh, the “snake” probably wasn’t a “snake”. It is far more likely that it was some huge and horrible -evil-monster that COULD have easily taken their physical life. The Jewish language does not have a specific term for this kind of monster.

Prior to the Creation of the Universe and humanity GOD already existed with a myriad of Angels; {ANGELS definition: (symbols). Depicted in various forms to express the will of God, of which they are the mediators. Shown as messengers, in worship, and in executing justice, they appeared in Western art before A.D. 600. Before Constantine their appearance without wings was mainly with a staff indicative of their office as messengers”…….. Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary.}

The Angels are similar to man in rationality; but far more advanced to a higher degree of intelligence and are similar to GOD in essence, and are normally spirits. Thus they too have the ability to choose to Love or to Hate God.  … Rationality is the essential attribute for being ABLE to return to our Perfect God; “Perfect” Love which MUST Be freely bestowed in order to become “Perfect-Love.” God’s Nature can settle for nothing less.

At some point prior to the Creation of the Universe and humanity; a large group of angels; led we are told by Lucifer; decided that being in a perfect existence with God was not good enough for them; they decided that they actually wanted to be God’s; not simply “like” God as they already were; NO, they desired to BE –God’s. So a turf war ensued, and the “Good Angels” led by Michael the Archangel, were victorious. God’s side and the “Good Angels prevailed, and as all actions do have consequences; and Lucifer and his many minions had to be punished {God’s Perfect Justice demanded it}, so God created hell defined as: “The place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God. There is a twofold punishment in hell: the pain of loss, which consists in the deprivation of the vision of God, and the pain of sense, which consists in the suffering caused by outside material things. The punishment of hell is eternal, as declared by Christ in his prediction of the last day (Matthew 25:46), and as defined by the Fourth Lateran Council, stating that the wicked will “receive a perpetual punishment with the devil” (Denzinger 801). The existence of hell is consistent with divine justice, since God respects human freedom and those who are lost actually condemn themselves by their resistance to the grace of God.” ……..Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary.

Did YOU pick up the clue from this definition? The snake-monster was none other than Lucifer himself in disguise. The very “Father of Lies.” John 8:44… And he sold Adam through Eve; the very same prideful desire that he had convinced so many fallen angels to buy into. …Gen . 3:  [4] And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. {Meaning: spiritual-eternal death} [5] For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”

The tree in the middle of the garden was a “LOVE-TEST.” After the fall of the “Bad-Angel” Lucifer and his pride-filled minions; God, for reasons known fully only to themselves {the Trinity}decided to create another form of Rational entities; but this time not quite as close to the actual “image of God” as are His Angels.

Now WE know that God is truly “All-Knowing” and knew what Adam through Eve would choose to do; so when we get to our “Immediate Judgment”, as each of us are assured to do at the very instant of our physical death; we might be able to ask God; just WHY He freely-choose to create humanity anyway?  But the fact remains that GOD did choose to Create humanity in His very Image; and even Breathed His Life into them.

Chapter Three: Failed Love

“Love is {CROSS THAT “is” OUT}; Love can be a many splendid thing.”

So now we must play detectives:

At RISK here was “covenant Love;” Which is WHAT exactly?

A “CONTRACT” deals with goods and services; BUT a “COVENANT” deals with GOD and humanity {persons]. There is no covenant without sacrifice. The sacrifice and suffering is offered by the people to symbolize their offering of themselves to God.

What was Adam’s RISK verses the anticipated gain?

Put at RISK: [1] Being already in “Paradise”, with its literal provisions for every need and desire {except one; that actually Being God} foreseen and fully met. [2] A perfect worry-free-existence with no death, no suffering and complete inner peace; until the Monster arrived uninvited. [3]The uninhibited love of God.

The possible Gain: The gamble and the “possible” gain: “being ‘made AS- GOD’S’ “… Gen. 3:5 knowing right from wrong.

What isn’t expressly spelled out in the Genesis accounting is Adam’s actual Role as understood by both God and Adam.

Adam was charged and empowered to:

Adam, the “Gate Keeper” was charged with protecting the Entrance-gate to the Garden of Paradise God had prepared for and gifted to Him and Eve, as it was the sanctuary of both God and man. Their relationship with God was uniquely intimate and personal.

Adam was charged with the responsibility to protect and care for his wife Eve

Adam was to insure their Love of God over every other consideration


Adam failed to protect the entrance to the garden: Love FAILED

Adam failed to protect Eve {his wife}: Love FAILED

Adam even failed to protect himself: Love FAILED

Adam choose to allow Eve to pridefully {& perhaps frightfully} influence him to choose to HATE God: Love FAILED

Why did God choose to test Adam & Eve in this way?

Because covenant love demands selfless giving in order to fulfill the human relations with God.

Actions DO have consequences:

[16] To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee. [17] And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. [18] Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. [20] And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living.

[21] And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife, garments of skins, and clothed them. [22] And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now, therefore, lest perhaps he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever[23] And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken[24] And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Very much is left unspoken; yet clearly “said.”

Verse 19 expresses the new reality that all humanity will die; by implication here is both a physical death and a conditional spiritual death as well, which had NOT been the original plan of God. Verses 16-18 express that the New and normal condition for humanity will entail laboring and suffering, pain and sacrifice; also not in the original plan of God as in Paradise “work” was to be enjoyable and therapeutic.

The spiritual losses; and the spiritual consequences are even more devastating and discerning. Verse 24 teaches us that Adam {we} were kicked out of Paradise {to be here understood as heaven}and prevented from being able on our own merits to reenter it.

The new normal propensity to sin {having now learned how to}, and the JUST decision by God that these consequences would be shared by all of humanity as the DNA-inheritance of God’s JUST -New Life Test, for all and for each of us.

Humanity in a theological sense has some of GOD’S DNA {a desire for good.  Eccle. 15:18}… Likewise, and easier to grasp; all of humanities DNA can be traced back to and through Adam & Eve; and just as our offspring inherit some of our characteristics; ALL of humanity was to inherit the new propensity to sin; A & E’s “DNA”, and that  Stain of the “Original-sin” which was now predestined to plague us.

ORIGINAL SIN. “Either the sin committed by Adam as the head of the human race, or the sin he passed onto his posterity with which every human being, with the certain exception of Christ and his Mother, is conceived and born. The sin of Adam is called originating original sin (originale originans); that of his descendents is originated original sin (originale originatum). Adam’s sin was personal and grave, and it affected human nature. It was personal because he freely committed it; it was grave because God imposed a serious obligation; and it affected the whole human race by depriving his progeny of the supernatural life and preternatural gifts they would have possessed on entering the world had Adam not sinned. Original sin in his descendants is personal only in the sense that the children of Adam are each personally affected, but not personal as though they had voluntarily chosen to commit the sin; it is grave in the sense that it debars a person from the beatific vision, but not grave in condemning one to hell; and it is natural only in that all human nature, except for divine intervention, has it and can have it removed only by supernatural means.” End Quotes…. Father John A. Hardon’s Dictionary.

 Chapter Four: Explanations


404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his decedents?

The whole human race is in Adam “as the body of one man.” By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ Justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then fall into a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind. That is by the transmission of human nature deprived of its original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted”” and not committed- state and not an act.

405: Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s decedents. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in its natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin-an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence. Baptism by imparting then life of Christ, erases original sin and turns man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summons him to spiritual battle.

God originally planned to invited all of humanity to permanent residence in the “perfect-life” of the Garden of Eden {Paradise} which Adam screwed up for us; so God’s decision to inflict all of humanity with the consequences of Original Sin is justified. Failures in Love

God is a God of Love and Mercy as evidenced throughout the Bibles Old and New Testaments. Indeed the bible is a single WORD could be correctly defined as “Love.”

God inflicted humanity with the consequences of one man; the man Adam; then in time and history choose just one people Exodus 6:7 to once again attempt to reintroduce himself to his- humanity. This was a long, protracted Love {by God}- love & hate by the Chosen People relationship. … Along the way Gen 17:11, God entered into a new Covenant –relationship that was sealed with circumcision {the letting of blood}that effectively removed the stain of original sin from that man, his son’s also by circumcision and his family. Gen. 17:11. So now the “illness: original sin” had a cure. This was later manifested and perfected by Christ who Instituted the new-more-perfect-covenant-relationship through Sacramental Baptism. John 3: 5 and Matthew 28:18.

So the cure for this original- infliction is God’s love manifested with a “cure” for his humanity. The cure for the new inbred propensity to sin is also God’s love now established through Sacramental Confession John 20: 19-23 & 1 John 5: 16-17; which is GOD’S commanded, and the normal way for sin forgiveness by Him.

And that FRIENDS is the end of the STORY which began in love and ends with love.  ….. It’s hard not to love a good LOVE-story.

POST Script:

The Church does not claim to know the final eternal resting place of Adam and Eve. But my personal guess tends towards God’s Mercy for them; IF, if they truly repented {as Adam’s sin was effectively denial of GOD’s Sovereignty.} and did not become bitter because of what they had brought upon themselves and all of humanity {which presumes that they actually understood ALL the consequences of what they had done; for which I could NOT uncover in my research verification of this fact.} The evidence of the murder of Able by Cain affirms man’s propensity towards sin; even SERIOUS sins. Cain’s early offspring flowing from the loins of the new humanity and their obvious propensity to sin, is demonstrated by the unrequited practices of paganism and the multiplicity of god’s of their personal invention.  My position is augmented by God’s later-choice of One Chosen people; One True God and One True Faith and ALL that He accomplished for them in route to this now- exposed & desired One, One, One Commanded-discovery and conversion.


I personally find it amazing that this history, part fable & part truth dates back at least 4,000 years. WHAT an AMAZING God we have!


On the Honor Found in Suffering for Christ ST. JOHN OF AVILA

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation wherewith we also are exhorted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.”

These are the words of the apostle St. Paul. Thrice he was scourged with rods, five times with whips, and once he was stoned in such a way that he was left for dead. He was persecuted by men of all conditions, and exposed to all sorts of afflictions and trials, and this so often that he says in another part of his writings: “We who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake: that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”

In spite of all these sufferings, St. Paul never murmured or complained of the way God treated him, as weak souls do; or gave way to grief, as men do who care for their own honor and comfort; or prayed the Almighty to deliver him from his pains, like those who cannot understand their value and therefore desire to be freed from them.

Unlike some Christians who shirk sufferings, he does not think them slight graces only. Far from it; rising above all ignorance and weakness, he blesses our Lord during his torments, and gives Him thanks for them as for a signal mercy. The apostle holds himself happy to bear something in honor of Christ, who bore such dishonor to raise us from the base condition in which our sins had placed us. For indeed, our Lord beautified our souls and honored us with the gift of His Spirit, and by adopting us as sons of God, He gave us a pledge that from Him and through Him, we should one day enjoy the kingdom of Heaven.

Mercy in Suffering

God seeks to show you what a favor He does us, when the world thinks He punishes us. Oh, what an honor it is for us to be disgraced for seeking God’s honor, and what glory we shall one day get for the affronts we suffer now! How merciful, loving, and gracious, are the arms our Lord holds out to receive those who are wounded in the combat for His sake! In this our true joy far exceeds every bitterness the sorrow of this world can give.

Be sure, that, if you wish for this, and to see and enjoy Heaven, the path of suffering is the safest to lead you there. This is the way that Christ and all His servants trod, and which He calls “the narrow way which leads to life.” He taught us, that, if we wish to come to Him, we must follow Him, for it is not right that the Son of God should have endured dishonor, and the sons of men should pass through life without it. “For the disciple is not above his Master nor the servant above his Lord.”

God forbid that our souls should find rest in or choose any other lot but that of suffering beneath our Lord’s Cross. I know not if bearing the cross can be called “pain,” for to my mind it is to repose on a bed of down and roses.

Be Not Distressed

This article is from a letter in Finding Confidence in Times of Trial.

I commenced by begging and admonishing you in Christ’s name not to be distressed or surprised at the persecutions, or rather the shadow of them, raised against us, as if they were strange or unusual for God’s servants. For this is nothing but the proof, or examination of the lesson we have been learning, which is “to suffer — to suffer for the love of Christ.”

Now that it has come upon us, do not let it frighten us; do not let us be like children who will not repeat the lesson they have learned, but be strengthened in the Lord and in the power of His might. He will defend you for love of you, and although He is but one, He is more powerful than all the rest together, being omnipotent.

Do not fear that He lacks wisdom, for He knows all things; and no one need fear being disturbed who is held fast to God by the three strong bonds of infinite love, power, and wisdom.

Forgive Our Enemies

Care nothing for the menaces of your persecutors. As for myself, I tell you truly that their threats do not weigh a hair’s weight with me, for I am entirely in the hands of Christ. I deeply pity their blindness, for the gospel that I preached in their town is hidden from their sight. As St. Paul says: “The god of this world, which is the devil, hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should not shine upon them.”

I earnestly desire and beg of God to be merciful to them and give them blessings, in return for the curses they have heaped on others, and to give them glory for their insults, or rather, what they have sought to do to me, for I hold that, in reality, the only true honor in this world is to be dishonored for Christ’s sake.

Act in the same way, dear friends, and be followers of Him who gave to the man who had sold Him to His enemies the kiss of peace and the name of friend, and who cried out on the Cross:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Look upon all your fellowmen as God’s creatures, whom He desires to be saved, and you will find that you cannot wish harm to those for whom God has such good will. Remember how often I have told you we must love our enemies, and keep our heart at peace, speaking ill of no man. Be patient in this time of trial, for our Lord will soon bring about a change of circumstances.

On no account desist from any good work you have commenced, for that would be most wrong. Be thoroughly convinced that He whom you have followed is the Lord of heaven and earth, of life and of death, and that, in fine, even though all the world should strive to prevent it, His truth must prevail. Endeavor to follow Him, and then you need fear neither men nor devils nor even the angels, if it were possible for them to be against you in this.

Speak little with men, but much with God in prayer in the depths of your heart, for all good must come to us from Him. He wishes us to obtain it through prayer, and especially to keep before our minds the Passion of Jesus Christ our Lord. If you suffer anything by the tongues of wicked men (and that is the only injury they can do you), take it as a satisfaction for your sins, and a special mercy from Christ. He uses them like a cloth to cleanse you from your faults, for they will be defiled by the foul things they say, while you will be purified by suffering, and your happiness in the next world made sure.

Remain in Humility

I would however, on no account, have you think yourself any better than those whom you see now in error, for you do not know how long you may continue in the right path, nor how soon they may amend. Work out your salvation in fear and humility, and hope to reach heaven yourselves without thinking that your neighbor will never get there. Acknowledge the Almighty’s mercies to you, without reflecting on other people’s shortcomings, for you know that the history of the Pharisee and the Publican is intended for a warning to us.

No sanctity is secure without the holy fear of God, in which I would have you “grow old,” as the Holy Scriptures say, by which they mean to teach us that we must not only begin with this fear, but persevere in it to the end.

This fear is not irksome, but pleasant, and rids the heart of all levity: it keeps a man from self-confidence in his own merits, however good his actions may be, so that he leaves God to be the Judge both of himself and and of his neighbor, as St. Paul says: “Neither do I judge my own self, but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” This is He whom you must fear if you would continue in the right way, so that what you build up may not fall, but stand firmly and rise upward until it reaches the most high God; which end is to be accomplished by love.

I pray our Lord Jesus Christ to bestow this love on you. Amen.

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a letter of St. John of Avila, found in Finding Confidence in Times of Trial. It is available from Sophia Institute Press.

image: Photo by Steven Kamps on Unsplash

End Quotes

Questions Answered: on grace and on a “new heaven and a new earth” reblogged

Questions Answered – February 2019


 Why Do We Need Grace?

Question: St. Thomas believed that man has an inborn understanding and disposition toward doing the good. What, then, is the purpose of the infusion of grace?

Answer: I really do not know where you get the idea that Aquinas thought that man has an inborn understanding. For him, as for Aristotle, the mind was a tabula rasa (blank slate) at birth. Experience of the world through the senses was the necessary foundation for the ability to abstract universal ideas and so gain science. Perhaps you mean that there was a long debate in the Church over certain expressions of St. Thomas which had their origin in a phrase he used to express the final fulfillment of truth in the mind: the natural desire to see God.

This phrase caused a great deal of theological ferment in the last hundred years, and oddly enough seems to be at the basis of many of the problems we are experiencing in the Church now. This is why the debate should occasion some analysis. There are many passages in Aquinas where he explains that the potential of the intellect for truth can only be stilled by knowing the ultimate truth in its essence, namely God. This is natural and innate in the human mind because the mind has a basic potential to know truth. It is not actually in the mind by birth as to its fulfillment. This reflects an idea which Aristotle had in his Metaphysics, which begins with the sentence: “All men by nature desire to know.” Aristotle goes on to explain that man was led into the material world of nature by wonder as to its explanation, what he called causes. Little by little, human beings progressed until they understood that the ultimate explanation of the material world of nature, what he called the final cause, could not be something material, but something spiritual, God. Man discovered this in physics and this led him to conclude there was a science beyond physics, or metaphysics. But this wonder did not stop with only knowing this cause existed, but was drawn on to know what it was. Of course, man cannot do this merely by human reason, and Aristotle went away frustrated.

Aquinas uses this argument to explain that there must be an aid given to human nature if the quest for truth is to be completed: grace and revelation. Reason can never suffice to explain the world. He asks if it is possible to know God as he is in himself, or see God. He states that those who say this knowledge is too high for man are arguing against both reason and faith.

Therefore some who considered this, held that no created intellect can see the essence of God. This opinion, however, is not tenable. For as the ultimate beatitude of man consists in the use of his highest function, which is the operation of his intellect; if we suppose that the created intellect could never see God, it would either never attain to beatitude, or its beatitude would consist in something else besides God; which is opposed to faith. For the ultimate perfection of the rational creature is to be found in that which is the principle of its being; since a thing is perfect so far as it attains to its principle. Further the same opinion is also against reason. For there resides in every man a natural desire to know the cause of any effect which he sees; and thence arises wonder in men. But if the intellect of the rational creature could not reach so far as to the first cause of things, the natural desire would remain void. (Summa Theologiae I, Q. 12, A. 1)

Many theologians have either denied there is a natural desire or tried to make it an innate act of the will. This would not be possible, as acts of the will demand actual actions of knowledge, and what Aquinas is referring to is the potential of the intellect in itself. The will cannot act unless presented with goods by the mind, and this would not be innate in, say, an infant whose intellect was not developed at all. This fact also relates to the question about good. There is a natural tendency in the will for good but this is good in general. Even sinners act for good, albeit a disordered one. The will seeks by nature the satisfaction of all human powers, including the intellect. If the intellect demands grace to arrive at heaven and know God as he is in himself, then a fortiori the will also demands grace to attain the complete perfection of the intellect and man, which is what the will aims at. The answer to the question is that grace perfects, but does not destroy, nature. Aquinas summarizes: “Man is called to an end by nature that he cannot attain by nature but only be grace because of the exalted character of the end.” (Aquinas, Boethius, de Trinitate, Q. 6, A. 4, ad. 5.)


New Heaven? New Earth?

Question: What is meant by the “new heaven and the new earth”? How can there be a new heaven? It is very confusing.

Answer: The source of your question comes from the book of Revelation 21:1: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” This verse reflects a fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah 65:17. This prophecy is followed by the prophecy of the heavenly Jerusalem in which the city has no sun or moon but only the Lamb as its light.

As with all apocalyptic literature, these verses are obscure in their meaning and have been the subject of many interpretations. Still, one Catholic interpretation of this may help. The New Jerusalem descends from God like a bride. This is the Church who is the bride of Christ and shares spousal life with him. This spousal love is characterized by a union of truth and love wrought in the souls of the members of the Church by grace. Vatican II speaks of the three persons of the Trinity as the basis of the union of the Church as a society, and states: “Thus, the Church has been seen as ‘a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’” (Lumen Gentium 4).

The new heaven expresses the fact that by grace heaven has descended and penetrated the earth. In the sacraments, the people of God is made holy and can participate in heaven while on earth. Nature becomes super-naturalized, not in the sense that it is changed as such, but in the sense that through nature man can again arrive at God through the help of grace. The Holy Cloud, or Shekinah, which covered Sinai and showed the presence of God, has become permanent just as the veil covering the Holy of Holies was rent asunder at the death of Christ. The complete elevation of nature is realized in the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. In his body, the whole of nature is fulfilled in man. Man, body and spirit, is fulfilled in God. This fact is completed now in him and in Our Lady, but will only be finally completed in us in our own resurrection at the end of time.

The new heavens and the new earth, then, are not in any sense to be interpreted literally as the same as this earth and heaven we experience in the five senses every day. This new experience certainly has a physical or material aspect because it is experienced in risen bodies. But in this new cosmos, God will be all in all. The motion of the heavens and the earth will cease because, according to Christian cosmology, the primary moving force in nature is not matter and energy, but the love of the Holy Spirit. The material world exists for man and man exists for God. When the number chosen by God of the elect is filled, there is no need for the motion of the heavens and the earth, and they will cease.

End Quotes

About Fr. Brian Mullady, OP

Fr. Brian T. Mullady, OP, entered the Dominican Order in 1966 and was ordained in 1972. He has been a parish priest, high school teacher, retreat master, mission preacher, and university professor. He has had seven series on EWTN and is the author of two books and numerous articles, including his regular column in HPR, “Questions Answered”.

East of Eden; another reflection by Patrick Miron

I Am a Catholic

By Pat Miron

         East of Eden / Tethered or Freefall

America once the Moral Compass for the world; has I fear, deduced it is far Better [and certainly easier] to join “them, “than to fight “them.”  To follow; and no longer lead?

Gauging  by the number of abortions done annually; mostly because of inconvenience; the number of divorces [even Catholic]; the exodus form religion nationally [and certainly within the CC], the number of single family homes; the push for “same-sex” “marriage?,” “gay-rights,” and “don’t blame me and I won’t blame you,” and “It’s [ONLY] RIGHT IF I say it’s right;” with no need for God because we “are gods” ourselves. And yet some cheerfully point to “see how far we have come!” And “they” are Correct; but are they “right?”

It’s happened before, and I suspect that we have failed to learn from it. Is today: NOW PLAYING: Adam and Eve II?

East of Eden is a penitential place; a place to prepare for the inevitable

East of Eden …. What?




& Why?

 What seems to necessitate asking, “is it possible to have too much of good things?” Once, I thought I knew the answer. As a much younger man, I didn’t think so. Too much money, power, sex, good-times; I just didn’t think it was even a possibility. today I know better, and it‘s not the answer I held as a younger man.

Sometimes, with age comes wisdom gained from experience; and if we are so blessed by our Merciful God; Grace is offered to us and a TRUER [fuller-understanding] Wisdom, no longer based on “self,” becomes, at-least a possibility, for a great multitude of souls.

Part of the “what” seems to imply a responsibility to at-least make a serious effort to change it. “What” seems to me to be offering a clear choice of simply accepting “what is; because it-is,“ or being committed to changing it. Of being part of the solution, or settling for being part of the problem.  Duet. 30: 15, 19 “See, I [God] set before you this day life and good, death and evil.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”

So, it seems to me that the “what” is a bit different for each of us, as it has to factor in our life choices to the current time. Still each of us bears responsibility for the world we helped make, and the conditions in which we now find ourselves and our loved ones. “It is” exist either by our laziness or by our participation, by ignorance or our indifference?

I think of this discussion as a suitable Lenten Topic, because Lent too is about change. While we are “changing ourselves” for the better; why not broaden the scope; to include our families, our parish, our country.

 East of Eden …. Where?

 Where must include our, past, our present and our future locations and the choices and decisions we make. Where is located both in reality, and what is imagined; both physical and Spiritual. In our person, our minds, and our Religious Spirit.

 The precise location varies for each of depending on where we were; and where we currently are. “Where” is a reference to our physical location; our mental state, and to our present Spiritual condition..

As a pragmatic, Its easier to explain “where” and what Eden was and what Eden became, than where Eden is, which is a huge variable.

Eden was life as God Ordained it; perfect is every way. No death, sickness, to real “wants” and certainly no real “needs.” ….. Amend that; it would seem that there was at-least one [real?] “want.”

In this singular act of deliberate disobedience by Adam and Eve; one can find elements of all Seven of the Capitol sins:

Pride: “you too will become like God!” Genesis 3:5

 Avarice: They had “everything!” But “everything” was not enough. Gen. 3:1-3 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, `You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;but God said, `You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

Envy: Genesis 3: 4-5 “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 Wrath: Accepting this newly revealed “truth [from the father of lies, catapulted there pride to make them angry at God  “[5]”For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 Lust: There are many forms of LUST; lust foe sexual pleasure, for money, and for power. There’s was a LUST for the power to become “God.”

 Gluttony: Genesis 3: 6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.” Seduction is TOO EASY!

 Gen.3: 1 -6  “Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, `You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, `You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.”

Sloth: Read this once carefully, because it’s profound. “Sloth is “laziness.” Definition from Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary: “Sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer. Implicit in sloth is the unwillingness to exert oneself in the performance of duty because of the sacrifice and the effort required.”

So we might ask how they were lazy. Because, God planed for them; what God desires for us. And it was handed to them without effort on their part; only obedience was required of them from God. And they said “No” to God.

For those of us who pay the price of admission to heaven, will be made by God, very much into God’s very image. All that was “lost” by Adam and Eve will be restored to us. Perfected bodies, minds, intellects and freewill’s and NOW; a perfected soul! And like God we will go from finite to infinite as perfected examples of God’s love.

They wanted “it-ALL.” BUT did not want to pay any price for it, not even if all they had to do was Obey God. God handed them salvation and they said “No Thanks.” Matt.10: 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master;” … 1Tim.6: 1 “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed.”

So God moved the “where” to “East of Eden.A term implying both a changed location and a significantly change if “being.” They chose for us from the menu of “life and death;” ….. ”DEATH,” AND so must we!  …. WHAT! “Are you crazy?”  …. Read on and decide for yourselves.

What was perfect; was changed to imperfect. What was only possible “good,” now had to include a possible “bad.” Where there was no-sin; sin begin to grow and to dominate. Gen. 3: 9-10 “But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” humanity would forevermore be unsatisfied, and have a natural desire to be god; not like God; but god.

We were moved from Eden‘s-Perfection and Happiness; to East of Eden and suffering, misery, longing for more, and more, and more. There would now be only one way to again find true, but yet incomplete happiness. And we would be permitted to know where, and even how to find it.

However, it would require much, demand much sacrifice, and in the midst of knowing that there were easier alternatives; we too would be given a COMMAND regarding “the fruit.” But ours differs from the Command God gave to Adam and Eve. … Do Not eat of the fruit in the middle of the garden.“ ….Our Command is , DO “Eat of the Fruit.”

John 6: 50-56

“This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Because God knows it is easier for man “to eat” rather than “not to eat from,” God changed the command from “Don’t, to Do.” And now many choose spiritual death by not eating; when Adam and Eve chose spiritual death by eating what was forbidden them. Interestingly; the only thing we know of that was forbidden for them, was not to eat of the fruit of the middle of the garden. But they wanted more; they wanted all. And just as amazing, is refusing today by many, to eat what can bring life, and kill death. “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.”

East of Eden …. Why?

“Why” is not always discernible. The Why includes the decisions we too, like Adam and Eve have made. And just as there actions caused reactions from God; so too, our sins do not pass unseen, or without consequences. The “Why” is God’s reaction to our “what.” And just as we too can choose life or death; we are expected by God to “choose Life!” …. Collectively and individually, we will pay the price for not doing so.

 From the Life of Christ; Bishop Fulton Sheen

“The world has room only for the ordinary; never the very good or the very bad. The good are a reproach to the mediocre and the evil are a disturbance. Hence on Calvary, Goodness is crucified between two thieves. That is His true position: among the worthless and the rejects. He is a man in the right place

The conduct of everyone around the Cross was the negation of the very faith the good thief manifested; yet he believed when others disbelieved. A dying thief understood it before the Apostles. This is the only deathbed conversion mentioned in the Gospels, yet it too was preceded by the Cross of suffering.” End Quote

It is so easy to be “average,” to be “normal,” to “not make waves.” BUT, is that why God placed us here? Is that God’s expatiations of our Minds, Intellects, Freewill’s and Souls?

“WHY” is answered in Divine Justice. …Saying “NO” to God demands a penalty; a pay-back. Faith is a Gift; always offered, and often rejected. Love desires to be loved. This last point friend is the summation of “Why.”

“Why” often involves a “judgment call; and requires us to decide.” But be careful judgments are often filled with danger.

Here is an excellent example of WHY God tells us “not too judge .”  Matt.7: 1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

Yet this message seems to be contradicted by a second and different message. Which is RIGHT?

Matt. 7:12-23 “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” ….  “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will know them by their fruits. “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’  “

As we have many times shared: The most significant “key” to correct understanding of the Bible is “That no one passage can contradict another.” Such an occurrence would invalidate the entire Bible.

We are permitted to “judge actions” and to make an informed “moral judgment” of their worth. We ARE NOT permitted to judge others motives and intensions. ” This is God’s task; not ours.

 Yes BUT… didn’t you just pass judgment of Adam and Eve’s motives? Yes I did! But God had done so long before I got around to it. And my judging was in relationship to there actions and the consequences caused by there saying “NO!” to God.

So God moved the “where” to “East of Eden.A term implying both a changed location and a significantly change if “being.” The opportunity to sin, often, regularly, and Grievously, now became part of who and what we had become. Yet, sin was, is and always shall be abhorrent to God. If humanity was, and is to be in a personal relationship with God; which is much desired by God; we are going to have to have help:

H = He is Real, and Really Present: Seek Him … Ask and you shall receive!

E = Everywhere and Every time we are tempted. We can choose to ignore God; but we cannot hide from Him. God will aid us in temptation IF we ask.

L = There can be no greater love by God for us than already given; and no greater love for us towards God than humble, Informed Obedience

P = Prayer has to be a great part of the answer. Normal prayer, sacrifices as prayer, charity as prayer, and Right reception of the sacraments as prayer; most notably, Confession and Eucharist

“They chose for us from the menu of “life and death;” ….. ”DEATH,” AND so must we!  ….

WHAT! “Are you crazy!”  …. Read on and decide for yourselves.”

We in an absolute sense must be the leaders in the revolt against corrupted-truth. Moral truth, and Spiritual truth. By our actions, we must lead, and we must teach by our example. We must be willing to be humiliated, accused, slandered, and even ignored. We must endure, we must pay the price of admission to heaven. KNOW, God has placed each of us where we are, at this moment in time to make a difference for Him, for His Church, for our families, and for the Nation God has to be having second thoughts about. We must be willing to “die-spiritually” meaning; accepting the following priorities is our lives:

 God First: in every thought, every decision, every act; Family is second only to God. Do what is right; do not count the cost. Third is work: one of the penalties of our “inherited sin.” Give to God what is God ‘s and to Caesar his just due. Work hard, smart and with integrity. Forth is our Country. Get involved. Vote only for those who reflect and will act in a moral and just manner. It’s not about “party-politics,” it’s about making a difference, knowing that your doing your share to make a moral and religious statement; rewarding good; and dismissing evil. If your inclined to be involved in politics, do so ONLY if your willing to pay the price for doing so by example, WWJD….  What Would Jesus Do; then do it!

You Shall Not Want

 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

To the lost sheep, He is the seeking Shepherd;
To the needy sheep, He is the providing Shepherd;
To the hurting sheep, He is the comforting Shepherd;
To the bruised sheep, He is the healing Shepherd;
To the anxious sheep, He is the peaceful Shepherd;
To the wandering sheep, He is the guiding Shepherd;
To the fearful sheep, He is the protecting Shepherd;

To all His sheep, He is the Good Shepherd.

By Pastor –Roy Lessin

Tethered or Freefall

Are you a “self” person, or a “selfless person?” Is your opinion of greater weight than God’s? Are you satisfied with where you are spiritually? With the direction your heading spiritually? With the effort you are making spiritually? Are you HUMBLY seeking the singular truths [plural;] on all matters of Faith and Morals of God? Are you open to the truth? [Which does not mean blind acceptance; or acceptance without debate.] Once the evidence become irrefutable; [to the common and ordinary person], then, mandatory acceptance is the rule. Know that God does not so much ask us to agree with Him [but it’s a very good thing to do so], as much as God demands Obedience to the Moral and Faith Teachings of the only Church; only Faith that he personally established; and that he personally protects and guarantees.

Wisdom and Understanding; like Faith, are Gifts from God. Not given to everyone in the same amounts. Pray for these Gifts! If my friend, your heart is pure, your intensions are moral, your goal is heaven; then you are likely “tethered” to God. If your lacking any of the above; you may well be in “freefall” on the slippery sloop, to ????  And in nearly all cases; if your not an informed, practicing, member of the CC, or in process of becoming one; you have much to worry about, think about and pray about. Salvation is possible outside of the CC; but God does not make it easy.



“The Gift-Wrap & The Jewel” by Wanda B. Goines

“The Gift-Wrap & The Jewel”

by Wanda B. Goines

I looked in the mirror and what did I see,

but a little old lady peering back at me

With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair,

and I asked my reflection,

How did you get there?”

You once were straight and vigorous and now you’re stooped and weak,

when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique

My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied,

you’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside

A living gem and precious, of unimagined worth

Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth

The years that spoil your gift-wrap with other things more cruel,

should purify and strengthen, and polish up that jewel

So focus your attention on the inside, not the out

On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout

Then, when your gift-wrap’s stripped away your jewel will be set free,

to radiate God’s glory throughout eternity.


Goines died a year after her poem became an internet success, a few days before her 93rd birthday. There is no doubt that this particular jewel will be shining brightly for eternity.

  Life: A Perilous Journey Another Reflection by Patrick Miron


  Life: A Perilous Journey

Another Reflection by Patrick Miron

My friend, have you ever considered, or even carefully pondered just why we exist? I suspect that most of us have, even if only momentarily.  Many of us though have not given it deep thought, careful in depth consideration; perhaps concluding it’s “too profound,” or simply a waste of time?

Yet not knowing, not understanding the purpose of our existence is self-defeating. Even a “copout.” What we don’t know, can hurt us.

The Bible itself gives hints; like:

1Cor.9 Verses 20 to 27
“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law — though not being myself under the law — that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law — not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ — that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”

Jesus Himself gives some helpful {and at times, frightening hints}:

Matt.10: 38 “and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Mark 8:34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”

Luke 9: 23 “And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”

Which seem to contradict the following:

3John.1: 4 “No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth.”

Jas.1:2 “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials”

Heb.12: 2 “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”

Phil.2: 2 “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

2Cor.8:2 “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part”

Rom.15: 13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

John.15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Awhile back it came to me that a brief, but accurate description of “Life”, can be explained as being “The God Test.”  …. Humanity and the Universe are simply to complex, too profound not to have a reason for their existence.

Paul describes life as a “Race”, and Jesus interjects that “Life” will have its “crosses”, its trails and test.

From this we can conclude:

  1. There will be winners and losers
  2. That Life is by intent a challenge; a test
  3. That there are expectations {a sort of “do and don’t do guide.}
  4. That we are expected to be active participants; actively engaged in this endeavor; not mere spectators, but engaged participants.

What might Jesus mean when he tells us {repeatedly} to “take up OUR crosses?

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

The First thing we must recognize is the literal message of these teachings. If we choose not to permit God to be in complete charge of our lives; we are unnecessarily, even foolishly adding to the burdens of our crosses.

Like choosing right verses wrong, good or evil or as Deut.30:  19 tells us: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” {meaning spiritually: Eternal heaven or hell.} Our choice.

It is because Life is “a God Test” that “crosses”, that is trials and hardships are to be expected. It is then our “test” to see if we are willing to accept them. If and when we do, without complaint; turning to our God with  humble trust: “Thy Will be done,” please give me {us} the grace to accept your Divine Will for me {us} at this time, that we open ourselves to grace, and even, if God wills this cross for me;  in humility, and in benign acceptance seeking God’s help in actually bearing whatever that cross might be.

Consider this reality:

Nothing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to those occasional life-changes events that occur; not one of them takes place without God’s permission. There simply is no such things as “luck” {either good or bad}, or coincidences. Everything, yes everything that passes our life path and everyone we meet even briefly are a part of God’s life-plan for us. ….. A part of our “Life-Test.”

Take the people we meet for example. Every one of them crosses our path so that they might influence us, or that we might influence them, either for good, or for evil. ….. We may never know what a smile meant to some stranger, or a “God Bless you”, or even a “thank you”. …. And even within our families and workplaces we need to be aware that we are constantly on display, on stage as it were. Does this awareness then hold the potential to change our actions, our thoughts, our responses? It should.

Our words and our actions hold the potential to help someone, or to hurt someone; and we may not even be conscious of it.

Everything that happens to us, has a reason. It is either caused or permitted by our God.

1.    Permitted for God’s Greater Glory, or

2.    Permitted for at least the possibility of God’s greater Glory And our possible sanctification.

God is Glorified each time we make the “right” choice. When we choose good over evil.

But consider this: God is also Glorified even when we mess up and choose evil over good. How can this be?  ….. It is because God chooses to give to humanity alone, in all of the Created Universe, the opportunity to be sanctified {offered His grace], by giving each Soul an attached mind, intellect and freewill, thus enabling us to choose for ourselves, good or evil. So then by being enabled to freely choose, we are thereby obligated to choose wisely.

That exclusive ability to freely choose is what makes Life such a perilous journey.  ….. Take time to ponder just why humanity exist.

Isaiah 43: verses 7 & 21

[7] Everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

[21] The people whom I formed for myself,

      that they might declare my praise.

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

“ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 

Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

God Bless you, and may He be permitted by us to guide our life’s-path!


Are you using Aristotle’s 3 ways of convincing? Or being used by them?  Nicholas Senz |

 And what about emotions? Fair game or manipulation?

Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris Missio that the Church was in a “new springtime” for evangelization, a period in which the Gospel message could be proclaimed to the world in a fresh way.

How can we reach people of today with the Gospel message? What are the most effective ways to convince somebody of the truth of the Catholic faith?

The Church has a successful history of borrowing elements of surrounding cultures in order to advance the faith. One of the most famous examples of this is the appropriation of the philosophy of Aristotle by the medieval scholastics in doing theology.

I think we can borrow from Aristotle again in this time—not from his work on metaphysics or ethics, but from his work on rhetoric. Aristotle literally wrote the book on persuasion, and his insights are as relevant today as ever.

Among the many pearls of wisdom in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, his section on the three proofs of persuasion is especially useful for us here. Aristotle writes that to be most effective in your efforts to convince someone, three elements need to be present. By consciously appealing to these three elements in our presentation to others, we can be more effective witnesses.

The first element, or “proof” as Aristotle called them, is logos, or the appeal to reason. This is the argument itself that you’re using to convince the other. Here we want the other to see the truth of what we’re saying, or the validity of the line of thinking we’re using. We should be sure that our arguments are clear, our examples are relevant, and our facts are sound. It’s hard to convince someone when you aren’t making sense! So we should know the content of the faith: Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium; the Fathers, scholastics, and modern theologians; common apologetic arguments and thoughtful responses to frequent questions.

Next Aristotle mentions pathos, or the appeal to the emotions. Our emotions are what attract us to or repel us away from things, so a speaker wants to arouse the proper emotion that will make the hearer well-disposed toward what the speaker is trying to persuade them about. If promoting war, make them angry; if promoting peace, make them docile; if seeking assistance, make them pity you.

This isn’t “emotional manipulation,” where we try to create a false emotion in someone; rather, it’s the attempt to speak in such a way that the emotions that naturally accompany the truths being discussed do indeed arise.

So, in our presentation to others we cannot simply lay out a series of syllogisms in cold rationality. We must also convey to others what these truths of the faith mean to us in our lives, how we’re motivated by them, how we love the teachings of Christ and His Church because they bring us the happiness of a life lived in God’s grace.

Lastly Aristotle mentions ethos, the appeal to the speaker’s own credibility and integrity.  A speaker must display in his speech that he’s trustworthy and reliable, a good person who means well and who wants to make things happen (and knows how to get them done). An audience won’t be receptive to someone whom they think is a liar, or a hypocrite, or who is trying to get something from them. This is where we’re called to authentic witnesses, people who attest to the truth of the faith by the way they live their lives.

Bringing all three of these elements together, using all three of Aristotle’s “proofs,” will make us effective witnesses of the Catholic faith. By conveying the content of the faith to others with passion and integrity, our audience will be much more receptive to what we have to say. This is our way of helping to prepare the soil so that the seed of the Word of God can grow in another’s heart. End Quotes

The Unexpected Graces of Offering Daily Prayer for Others SHERRY ANTONETTI

Saint Paul urges us to “pray without ceasing,” though the translation from Greek means, not that we pray without stopping, but that we keep returning to prayer.  We constantly rededicate ourselves to talking with and listening to God.

Most of us start with the route prayers: Grace before meals, Hail Mary’s, Our Fathers, or the occasional rosary. Some of us also pray like chain smokers when there’s a crisis, one rosary after another. However, dedicating your prayer life to others requires something other than an organic response to others’ needs.  It must be willed.

Last year, as a method of deepening my own prayer, of forcing me to go beyond the ordinary and the organically inspired, I offered to pray for whosoever asked, every day on my Facebook feed. Admittedly, I felt more than a little awkward, posting the question, “May I pray with you?” I knew I had friends who were atheists, friends who didn’t pray, and folks who were friends of friends, who didn’t think much of religion, much less prayer.

As with all things with God, what we receive is always more than we asked, and in excess of what we expect.  I had planned to just post the link each day during Lent, but the needs kept coming, such that the practice became almost expected.  Over the course of the first forty days, the asking grew easier every time I asked, and harder those times I forgot. Acquaintances became friends, friends grew closer, and people I’d not known well became people I wished I’d known better sooner.  People who didn’t pray, asked for prayers.

People who met only because of the petitioning, began praying for each other. When a crisis occurred (and several did), people rallied, both in tangible and spiritual acts of prayer for those they never met in real life, except through the daily dialogue of Facebook.  It became a virtual community.

Some days, the stories hurt; a son struggling with mental illness, a suicide, a car accident, a flood, a divorce, an incurable disease, a death.  Other times, the petitions rang like songs; for graduates, weddings, babies and birthdays.

A year later, I stopped posting daily but it felt like I’d left a critical part of my day off the to-do list.  Something in me refused, despite discovering friends, watching the fruit of answered prayers and knowing we should be praying with and for each other constantly, to continue the practice except when inspired.  Like a runner who stops running, and finds the need to lessen after a time, I found myself slack.

My own will remained insufficient to the task to restart the habit.  Finally, it came to my dimmed soul, to ask for help praying.  To ask my guardian angel to pray, ask my confirmation saint, ask favorite saints, ask those I love who died before me. Ask those who prayed with me during the year. Even the Gospel that week reminded me, “Hey, doofus, ask!” It grew easier, but it wasn’t until I received the gift of someone else’s prayers that I understood something of what that year meant to those who asked for petitions for themselves.

That particular week included a car accident, a trip to the ER for one child, and the normal turmoil parents endure from adolescents (three different ones) on three different nights. We faced worry, frustration, and no small amount of exhaustion. I felt beyond spent. My heart wailed.

The words, “They are out of wine,” floated up into my head, and I knew it in my bones.  I typed “May I pray for you today?” into a post, wondering if I could manage a few Hail Mary’s for whoever posted.  Several people typed “Yes,” and added that they would pray for me. I had said nothing about needing prayer.  Here was the Holy Spirit offering consolation, telling their hearts to minister to mine.

The next day, in the mail, came a card from a friend I’ve only known online. She’d spent an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for my family.  She didn’t know all the scrapes and emotional bruises of my week, but the Holy Spirit tapped her on the heart to pray for me, and she’d prayed.  I felt so grateful, that little card buoyed me all day and into the next three.  I looked at it and reread it, and considered the reality, what a gift she’d given.

We cannot know all the crosses each person carries, but we can like Simon, help carry them by our prayers.  We cannot heal every ill, or solve every problem, but we can minister to those suffering like Veronica, with our petitions.  We can weep with the women who wept.  We can stay awake in the garden with the one who feels alone, even if it’s only online. One almost feels giddy at the idea of countless people, offering their prayers for people’s sufferings, for their cares.  Imagine, if we all knew, other people were praying for us, for our lives to be blessed. Prayer for others is the gift of time, it is the gift of love.  It is always an offering of self, willing the good, willing God’s will for someone else.

The prayer card from my friend remains in my purse.  Her gift brought me back to my own weakness.   I needed to cease needing to feel it, in order to do it daily.

The understanding came while encouraging my twelve-year old daughter to study for exams. I told her “None of us want to take tests, all of us endure them.”  Most preparation for any test involved being willing to put in the time. Leaving her to her studies, I thought about other disciplines: exercise, cleaning up, reading, writing, parenting, relationships.  Everything in life of deeper value, required a form of daily discipline, irrespective of feeling.

I could almost see Saint Peter rolling his eyes at me and giving a not so subtle clearing of the throat to point out where the defect in my own prayer life lay. Most of what is required of any of us in cooperating with God’s will is willing our will to be His.

“Be serious and sober minded so that you will be able to pray.” “Be serious.” I thought about the discipline of exercise, study, and writing. People who are serious about fitness worked out daily, no matter what.  People serious about scholarship, researched beyond the minimum.  Writers wrote daily, inspired or not. No excuses. People serious about a friendship with God, they need to talk and listen daily. “Be sober,” was a not so subtle hit over the head, not to dwell in the land of feeling with respect to my relationship with God and willingness to pray.  I needed to “just do it.”

Praying with others and for others, changes how one prays and why one prays.  We begin by praying for the person’s intentions, we grow in prayer to the point of praying for the person his or herself.  Pray even when you don’t feel it because this world aches and bleeds and mourns.  This world needs more prayer, not less, more people praying the good of others, not fewer.

Trust the Holy Spirit to bring great good out of all that we offer and know that offering and actually engaging in prayer for others fulfills both the mission and creates the missionary community. God uses prayer as a means to bring us always into deeper relationship with Him, and each other. END QUOTES