Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Adoro recently published a post about Praying Always, which made me contemplate how much I really do pray. Yes, we are to have a set prayer time, and for those of us who are in religious communities, whether a Priest, Religious, or lay, we have the Liturgy of the Hours (LOH) that we must pray.

So the question arises, how to 'pray always'.

This came to light this morning as I was shoveling the driveway. I offered all of the snow that I shoveled for anyone who needed prayers and for those in Purgatory. I offered my work for those in need. On my way to work I take the train where I usually pray the Rosary. Today, however, I felt the need to pray for those struggling in these dark economic times and prayed the Hail Mary repeatedly.

It's not that we must always utter prayers every moment of the day, although I'm certain God would not disapprove. It's offering your day or a part of your day for someone or something. Sometimes when I am driving or riding the bus, I would offer up every rotation of every tire on the road as a prayer for someone or something - a friend who is going through a difficult time, a Priest who is just starting out, a stranger I met the day before, a family who is struggling due to a loss of a relative. Before I go to sleep (if I remember), I offer up every breath for those in Purgatory.

If you are unsure of what to pray for, pray for the Pope's intentions. Pray for the World Day of Peace with the Pope. Pray for those in Purgatory or for your family (immediate & extended). Pray for the Priests. Pray for the God's Angels or Guardian Angels. Pray for anyone who needs prayers.


Satan loves to distract us when we are trying to talk to God. Music, TV, Wii, games, phone calls, email, work, etc. Distractions are all around us. How do we overcome these distractions? There are several things that have helped me.

  • Asking one or more of the Saints to pray with you
  • Asking your Guardian Angel to guide and protect you
  • Blessing yourself with Holy Water before praying (I keep a small vial in my purse & in my office)
  • Asking for Mary's intercession

These are only a few that I commonly use. I also ask my Guardian Angel to pray with me and if I fall asleep during my prayers at night, that he will continue praying for me.

What to Pray

God wants a relationship with us. Think of your best friend. What do you talk about? How do you greet each other? How do you feel when you are with this person? God wants this same type of relationship. Yes, He already knows what you are going through, He already knows your fears, your desires, your needs, your joys, but He wants to hear it from you. He wants you to share your life with be a part of your life like your best friend is a part of your life.

When you are not sure what to say, you can ask God just to be there with you in those moments of silence. Just like a friend, sometimes it is good just to be present.

For those times when you need to pray but can not find the words, pray the Hail Mary or the Our Father. Pray the Rosary. Pray the 23rd Psalm. Pray the Act of Contrition. Pray a favorite Bible passage (mine, Galatians 2:20).

The more we talk with God, the closer we become. So offer those tire rotations, offer up every breath you take, offer up every word you utter at work, offer up every letter you type, offer up every movement, every eye blink, every step.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Be Still & Know that I am God

This morning I received an email from a Benedictine Sister that I do not know. How she received my email & why she sent me this e-card, I'm unsure. But what I do know is that God knew I needed this card.

After I woke up this morning & got ready for the day, I did a quick check on emails and just happened to fall upon a St. Jude web site that asked for prayers/petitions. At the end of a year, I always ask God for one petition for the New Year and I have been praying about what to request this next year. (One year I asked for patience - it was the longest year of my life!) There was only one petition that has a lot of meaning for me this next year - to become a worthy spouse for our Lord. I fall short, way short. However, I know that our Heavenly Father can mold me into a spouse that is worthy of His Son.

I am trying to do it all - get it done quickly, efficiently, and effectively ... but God is telling me to 'Be Still...and know that I am God.'

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The $600 Billion Human

I recently read an article about 'Chimeras'. These are the beings that "scientists" are creating that are part human & part animal. The Bishops in the U.K. are stating that these beings have a right to live. Read the article.

After doing additional reading/research, these "scientists" are extracting some DNA and replacing it with animal DNA. For instance (and this is only a 'for instance' - no medical or scientific backing what-so-ever), extracting the DNA that makes us run with that of a cheetah so we can run faster & stronger.

(picture from BBCNews)


Usain Bolt, from Jamaica, is considered the fastest man in the world - running 100 meters in 9.72 seconds! What, this isn't good enough? By the time the race started & he finished, I would have made 2 steps toward the finish line (there are times when I can barely get one foot in front of the other).

(picture from

Sorry, sidetracked...back to the Bishops

Yes! If these cells start reproducing, they have a right to live - by God's moral standards. We already know that IVF and most of the bio-cell research is morally wrong, and the scientists will have to go before our Maker on judgement day. In the meantime, we, as moral human beings, must live by God's moral standards. And yes, if any of these experimental cells start dividing & redividing, we must give it a chance to live. It is only God who can decide when we are to die...not us.

The $600 Billion Human

I used to love to watch the $6 Million Man, Steve Austin and his sidekick, Dr. Oscar Goldman. As kids, we used to move slowly while muttering the infamous 'dididididididididididi' so it sounded like we were Steve Austin (or Jaimee Sommers - the Bionic Woman). And the theme of the show ... 'Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, Stronger, Faster.'

When is enough enough? When will we stop trying to make us better. (God made us - we are pretty darn good!) But ... better than what? We are not meant to have the talons of an Hawk, the beak of a Flamingo, or the running capacity of a Cheetah. Why try to downgrade us into animals? Humans are the most intelligent creatures on the face of the earth (of course, this is also questionable with all of this 'scientific research' going on). God made us with a very sofisticated mental ability - to be able to choose between good & be able to choose between right and wrong ... to be able to love, freely. We are meant to be superior over all of the animals ... so why are we trying to be like the animals? Why are we downgrading ourselves to be less than what we are?
(picture from

When will we finally be satisfied for being God's children? When will we stop trying to be or play god? Yes, we can clone beings - for certain there are animal clones, I shudder to think scientists have created a human clone (although not entirely out of the question) - we may be able to create a clone from cells, but we can not create the living cells.

This is my rant & rave. You may agree - you may disagree - that is totally up to you. For me, I am saddened by the fact that our scientists are focusing on making us less than what God made us to be, rather than focusing on the things that really count.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's difficult to put into words all of the angst, pressures, temptations, fears, and
excitedness that I am feeling at this moment.

Yesterday it finally hit ... as I am sure it will many more times between now and February.
Yes, February!

You got it! Sometime in February I will be moving.
I'm not exactly sure when, but it seems like time has sped.

Tick - Tick - Tick

Yesterday at Mass, someone asked me how much longer. Without
thinking, I remarked, '2 months'.
2 Months!!! Oh no!!!
Wide-eyed, I looked at my parents, who attended Mass with me, and I must have
had a look of fear or trepidation on my face because my mom
started laughing. Of course, she's feeling the same.

Tick - Tick - Tick

I went to Confession this past Friday and the Priest made a
remark that really hit me - I am being tempted and succoming
to those temptations.

Okay, Priests & Religious everywhere... Help!
How do I combat these temptations? The fears, anxieties of leaving
'home', leaving the 'comforts' of 'home', leaving my parents & family
behind, managing to remain sane as I walk (actually I feel like I am running)
toward God and His plan for me? How did you do it?

Tick - Tick - Tick

2 Months!
And before I know it ... 1 Month! YIKES!

It was so nice to be able to say 'in a year & a half' or 'in 6 months'
because it was always far ahead in the future...
but as the clock keeps ticking, so does the time ... away.
And before I know it -

Tick - Tick - Tick

2 Months!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Changed by the Eucharist

I recently had a learning experience about the Most Holy Eucharist.

At Mass & Adoration, I understand (granted I may understand although I do not fully comprehend) that Jesus is present, really and fully, although it's so magnanimous that it is difficult to comprehend it all. Yet, it's still Jesus & me...separated. I'm in the pew or the chair/kneeler and Jesus is present in the Eucharist on the Altar on in the the same room but independent of each other. (photograph by Mike Hoyt) I would allow Jesus, even invite Him, pleading with Him, to enter into my heart. I thought this was all there was ... Jesus knocks on my heart, I open the door & ask Him to enter.

That is until I attended a session about the Eucharist after Saturday Mass a couple weeks ago.

The Gospel reading was about the Parable of the dishonest judge (Luke 18:1-8). The Pastor remarked that the widow refused to enter into the judge's world. Instead, she pleaded with him every day until he was so exasperated with her nagging that he decided to render her a just decision - just to get her off his back. In effect, she pulled him into her world.

Is it not the same with Jesus and us at Mass & Adoration? He wants us to join Him in His world - not ours. He wants us to experience Him in His Heavenly world, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, all the Saints and Angels.

Jesus IS the Head of the ecclesial Body. He asks us to partake in His divinity through this Body ... and through Him.

I have heard many Priests & other religious teachers explain how Jesus is not alone in the Eucharist. He is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity and cannot be separated from the Father nor the Holy Spirit. He is also present in 'real' time not at one moment in time. He is, at this moment, in Heaven, with the Father, the Holy Spirit, Mary, all the Saints and Angels...and He is inviting us into this Heavenly mixture - to experience the Heavenly bliss through Him, with Him, and in Him.

I understand yet I can not fathom the greatness of this experience. What joy to be drawn into Him and His world ... the fullness of joy I can only imagine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The kings and comedy

What would happen if the king met the king?

No, not just any king ... the 'King of Pop' met the 'King of Rock & Roll'

Watch & find out...

Now meet Taylor Mason. I'd love to see him in person!
What a night that would be!

The Role of the Blessed Virgin in our Lives

I received this information from 'Message of Merciful Love to Little Souls', a daily dialogue between a woman in Belgium and Jesus from 1965 - 1975.

(Imprimateur: Thomas Holland, Bishop of Salford, 14 May 1979; Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, 13 March 1978).


Yes, Mary,

  • Pure Jewel of My Heaven
  • Mediatrix between Myself and men
  • Channel by which My graces flow to the children of the earth.
  • Mary, Shining Star, reigning over all the souls in Heaven and on earth

Do not disregard her power, for it is immense. It is through her that the spirit of evil will be vanquished. Judge, therefore, of the importance of prayer to Mary. Men's actions gain in value when they are done with her and through her. My heart is thrilled with joy when, with her maternal hands, she offers Me your gifts. If you know the heart of your gentle Mother better, you would be more appreciative of the gift of My love. Lover her, give yourself to her.

It is much more pleasing to Me to receive you from her hands. Can you conceive that I could reject you if she asks help and assistance for you? How sad for Me to see My Immaculate Mother so neglected, even in your churches. Render her the veneration due to her. She is My Mother and yours. Bond of union between us. I will be favorable to those who bear her true love, she who never ceases to pray for you.

She is the pillar of My Church. Nothing escapes her watchful gaze. She is terrible to the enemy. Trust yourselves to Mary. She will bring Me your sorrows, your cares, your joys. Have confidence in her. Lover her with the same love you have for Me. I shall not be jealous. And I gave her the care of leading you to her.

The bringing together of the peoples is desireable in so far as it does not injure the fundamental Truths of the Church. I will not suppress an iota of the devotion due to My holy Mother, evin if that should cause the suggested plan to fail. It is particularly painful for Me to note, in certain of My children, a want of love towards Mary. Know that he who loves Mary, loves Me too. Was I not formed in and nourished by this virginal flesh? Was it not in echo to her heart-beats that My Heart began to beat for you, My children? It is her 'fiat' that permitted the Redemption. It is she who was the first to love Me. Nothing is more pleasing to Me than the veneration of her maternal heart by your hearts. It is her herat which gave life to My humanity.

Be consoled my child, warm your heart at the flame of My Sacred Heart. Your knowledge of evil is limited. But as for Me, all the moral and physical distress which overwhelms humanity is revealed to Me. It is difficult to make myself loved. My Holy Mother stands between mankind and Me. Love her and pray to her with all our soul, for she is your Mother and she loves you with a love pediliction. Always remember it is she who put Me in your arms and gave you to Me.

(For more information regarding this book, write to: Pope Publications, PO Box 6161, San Rafael, CA 94903)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;
to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You're A Good Person

Here's an article (You're A Good Person) by Lorraine V. Murray about Confession that was posted in The Georgia Bulletin (Official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta).

Going to confession regularly—and by this I mean about every three or four weeks—helps me better understand who that person in the mirror really is. In fact, she is not such a good person, really. She can be incredibly vain, envious, angry, worried and selfish.

If I only go once or twice a year, I tend to forget many of my sins. If I yelled at someone in May, what are the chances I will remember that in December? Some people apparently believe confession is only for mortal sins. They figure if they are only committing the smaller transgressions, there is no reason to go. Problem is, overlooking a pile of little sins can pave the way to commit the big ones.

Satan does not want us to go to Confession. He wants us to think we are so good that we do not need to go. However, from personal experience, the more I visit the confessional and accuse myself of my sins, the more I realize how much I really need God in my life and how great His mercy is.

It's interesting - people think that just because I am going into the Convent (Trinitarians, hopefully soon) that I am this great holy person. I try and I fail. There are so many times that I cry during my examination of conscience because I know I do not deserve God's mercy. Yet He gives it to me freely.

Yes, there are times when I have to force myself to go through that doorway. But my love for God is greater than my fear and love of self. It has only been through God's grace that I am here today. He gave me His life freely, I am giving mine back to Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Children and Teens Abandoned by their Parents

LINCOLN, Neb. – The mother was running out of more than patience when she abandoned her 18-year-old daughter at a hospital over the weekend under Nebraska's safe-haven law. She was also running out of time: She knew that state lawmakers would soon meet in a special session to amend the ill-fated law so that it would apply to newborns only.

"Where am I going to get help if they change the law?" said the mother, who lives in Lincoln and asked to not be identified by name to protect her adopted child.

To the state's surprise and embarrassment, more than half of the 33 children legally abandoned under the safe-haven law since it took effect in mid-July have been teenagers.

WHAT is wrong with society? What is wrong with these parents?
When they abandon their teenage children, they are ultimately telling their children that they don't care; that no one cares. The teenage years are challenging and confusing enough as it is - multitudes of feelings, peer pressure, not fitting 'in', questioning 'who am I?', and feelings of aloneness; then to find out that not even your parents care about you!

My heart goes out to these children and parents. Yes, the kids have probably strung their parents up by their last nerve (tell me a teenager who hasn't at one point or another). Yes, they are probably unruly (again - teenagers - if they are unruly on the outside, just think about what's going on in their heads!). Yes, they probably talk back to their parents and others. Can you imagine the scars that are left behind because of this? At times teenagers feel that 'no one cares' - but not only to get that from your own parent - but for that parent to prove that it was true. How sad.

The parents need to be there for their good times and in all times. There is no 'magic wand' that states which child will be the best behaved, the best educated, the best all-around child. Life is tough enough as it is - especially these days. Granted we may have many 'modern conveniences' but what we have in conveniences, we lack in good morals. WE, as neighbors, as friends, as the Body of Christ, need to be there for both these children and their parents...through prayer, a simple sacrifice, an ear.

These children and their parents need help. They need our support. They need our prayers!

Photo by Roar Christiansen - CARF

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Evolution of a Wedding Dance

If I were ever to get married, this would be the wedding dance I would want at my reception.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Disturbing Thoughts

It's 2:30 - I had to get up in just over an hour anyway ... I can't sleep. I have been tossing and turning since 2:00. Turning over, I grabbed my Rosary on the side of my bed and prayed. Medjugorje messages, Father Corapi's message (There is still a God in Heaven!), conversations ... all going through my mind.

After 20 minutes of praying the Rosary and various other prayers, I decided I might as well get up, get dressed and be ready for an early day at work. Thoughts of the new government have been invading my mind. I clicked on the web and the first news story I read disturbs me. 'Obama to Use Executive Orders for Immediate Impact.' What are some of these executive orders? Here are some of my predictions:

Abortion - under this new regime, I predict forced abortions and where a child of 9 years old can get an abortion without parental consent, yet this same child, can not get aspirin at school unless she has parent's and doctor's consent. This child can have a major surgical procedure yet can not have an aspirin for a headache. Forced abortions - scary thought - but I see it coming.

Euthenasia - I am predicting anyone with a serious illness, anyone in a nursing home, anyone in a health care facility will be immediately killed. They will be too much of a burden on the rest of society and to ease that burden, murdered.

Stem Cell Research - I am predicting that many of these aborted children will be used for "scientific research." As if abortion is not enough, using those aborted children to create hybrid beings and extra limbs all in the name of 'research.'

Armed Forces - I predict Obama will bring the troops out of Iraq, Afghanastan, and other countries by September 2009. We have a purpose in Iraq and we should not bring them home too soon. We are training their troops so they can continue this new form of government. If we bring them home too soon, they will revert back to their old ways - not because they want to - because they don't know anything else. These people we are training have never had to think for themselves, they have always followed orders, becoming 'yes' men. We are trying to train them to think for themselves, to question, but it is going to take time.

To be quite honest, I am not looking forward to this month's Medjugorje message (November 25th). I am frequently haunted with a vision of Mary looking at the world with tears in her eyes, tears for her children. I am scared for this country (and world), we have made a mess of everything and I pray my predictions do not come to fruition. I pray that we will have the sense to turn our ways and our eyes back to God, soon.

God in His infinite wisdom has a plan. I pray I am part of His plan. Maybe this is why I needed to be consecrated into Mary's Army (Militia Immaculata) - to fight for the Truth. I am not sure. Until the day when I see God face to face, I will continue to pray.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saints & Souls

Happy All Saints Day!
Happy All Souls Day!

Visit my new site: Purgatory Page
Add a name & Pray for a soul today!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Examination of Conscience - Ten Commandments & Precepts of the Church

A Detailed Catholic Examination of Conscience
(Taken from Beginning Catholic)

A good Catholic Catholic examination of conscience can be a great help in making a new start in the life of faith. We use an examination of conscience to help call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection before approaching the priest in Confession. It's important for a good Catholic examination of conscience to be thorough. This will help you learn about things that you may not be aware of. It's also a chance to develop your conscience. This is a critical aid for the beginning Catholic.

To make an examination:
Set aside some quiet time for reflection. Start by praying to the Holy Spirit, asking for help in making a good examination to prepare for Confession. Read through the items on this list and honestly reflect on your behavior for each item. If necessary, take this list or some brief notes (keep them private!) to Confession to help you remember things. A Catholic examination of conscience traditionally follows the outline of the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Catholic Church.

The Ten Commandments

First Commandment
I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

Have I...
* Disobeyed the commandments of God or the Church?
* Refused to accept what God has revealed as true, or what the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
* Denied the existence of God?
* Nourished and protected my faith?
* Rejected everything opposed to a sound faith?
* Deliberately misled others about doctrine or the faith?
* Rejected the Catholic faith, joined another Christian denomination, or joined or practiced another religion?
* Joined a group forbidden to Catholics (Masons, communists, etc.)?
* Despaired about my salvation or the forgiveness of my sins?
* Presumed on God's mercy? (Committing a sin in expectation of forgiveness, or asking for forgiveness without conversion and practicing virtue.)
* Loved someone or something more than God (money, power, sex, ambition, etc.)?
* Let someone or something influence my choices more than God?
* Engaged in superstitious practices? (Incl. horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc.)
* Been involved in the occult? (Seances, ouija board, worship of Satan, etc.)
* Formally left the Catholic Church?
* Hidden a serious sin or told a lie in confession?

Second Commandment
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Have I...
* Used the name of God in cursing or blasphemy?
* Failed to keep vows or promises that I have made to God?
* Spoken about the Faith, the Church, the saints, or sacred things with irreverence, hatred or defiance?
* Watched television or movies, or listened to music that treated God, the Church, the saints, or sacred things irreverently?
* Used vulgar, suggestive or obscene speech?
* Belittled others in my speech?
* Behaved disrespectfully in Church?
* Misused places or things set apart for the worship of God?
* Committed perjury? (Breaking an oath or lying under oath.)
* Blamed God for my failings?

Third Commandment
Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

Have I...
* Set time aside each day for personal prayer to God?
* Missed Mass on Sunday or Holy Days (through own fault w/o sufficient reason)?
* Committed a sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament?
* Received a sacrament while in the state of mortal sin
* Habitually come late to and/or leave early from Mass without a good reason?
* Shop, labor, or do business unnecessarily on Sunday or other Holy Days of Obligation?
* Not attend to taking my children to Mass?
* Knowingly eat meat on a forbidden day (or not fasting on a fast day)?
* Eat or drink within one hour of receiving Communion (other than medical need)?

Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother.

Have I...
* (If still under my parents' care) Obeyed all that my parents reasonably asked of me?
* Neglected the needs of my parents in their old age or in their time of need?
* (If still in school) Obeyed the reasonable demands of my teachers?
* Neglected to give my children proper food, clothing, shelter, education, discipline and care (even after Confirmation)?
* Provided for the religious education and formation of my children for as long as they are under my care?
* Ensured that my children still under my care regularly frequent the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion?
* Educated my children in a way that corresponds to my religious convictions?
* Provided my children with a positive, prudent and personalized education in the Catholic teaching on human sexuality?
* Been to my children a good example of how to live the Catholic Faith?
* Prayed with and for my children?
* Lived in humble obedience to those who legitimately exercise authority over me?
* Have I broken the law?
* Have I supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church?

Fifth Commandment
You shall not kill.

Have I...
* Unjustly and intentionally killed a human being?
* Been involved in an abortion, directly or indirectly (through advice, etc.)?
* Seriously considered or attempted suicide?
* Supported, promoted or encouraged the practice of assisted suicide or mercy killing?
* Deliberately desired to kill an innocent human being?
* Unjustly inflicted bodily harm an another person?
* Unjustly threatened another person with bodily harm?
* Verbally or emotionally abused another person?
* Hated another person, or wished him evil?
* Been prejudiced, or unjustly discriminated against others because of their race, color, nationality, sex or religion?
* Joined a hate group?
* Purposely provoked another by teasing or nagging?
* Recklessly endangered my life or health, or that of another, by my actions?
* Driven recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?
* Abused alcohol or other drugs?
* Sold or given drugs to others to use for non-therapeutic purposes?
* Used tobacco immoderately?
* Over-eaten?
* Encouraged others to sin by giving scandal?
* Helped another to commit a mortal sin (through advice, driving them somewhere, etc.?
* Caused serious injury or death by criminal neglect?
* Indulged in serious anger?
* Refused to control my temper?
* Been mean to, quarreled with, or willfully hurt someone?
* Been unforgiving to others, when mercy or pardon was requested?
* Sought revenge or hoped something bad would happen to someone?
* Delighted to see someone else get hurt or suffer?
* Treated animals cruelly, causing them to suffer or die needlessly?

Sixth & Ninth Commandments
You shall not commit adultery. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

Have I...
* Practiced the virtue of chastity?
* Given in to lust? (The desire for sexual pleasure unrelated to spousal love in marriage.)
* Used an artificial means of birth control?
* Refused to be open to conception, without just cause? (Catechism, 2368)
* Participated in immoral techniques for in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination?
* Sterilized my sex organs for contraceptive purposes?
* Deprived my spouse of the marital right, without just cause?
* Claimed my own marital right without concern for my spouse?
* Deliberately caused male climax outside of normal sexual intercourse? (Catechism, 2366)
* Willfully entertained impure thoughts?
* Purchased, viewed, or made use of pornography?
* Watched movies and television that involve sex and nudity?
* Listened to music or jokes that are harmful to purity?
* Committed adultery? (Sexual relations with someone who is married, or with someone other than my spouse.)
* Committed incest? (Sexual relations with a relative or in-law.)
* Committed fornication? (Sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex when neither of us is married.)
* Engaged in homosexual activity? (Sexual activity with someone of the same sex.)
* Committed rape?
* Masturbated? (Deliberate stimulation of one's own sexual organs for sexual pleasure.)
* Engaged in sexual foreplay (petting) reserved for marriage?
* Preyed upon children or youth for my sexual pleasure?
* Engaged in unnatural sexual activities?
* Engaged in prostitution, or paid for the services of a prostitute?
* Seduced someone, or allowed myself to be seduced?
* Made uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances toward another?
* Purposely dressed immodestly?

Seventh & Tenth Commandments
You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Have I...
* Stolen? (Take something that doesn't belong to me against the reasonable will of the owner.)
* Envied others on account of their possessions?
* Tried to live in a spirit of Gospel poverty and simplicity?
* Given generously to others in need?
* Considered that God has provided me with money so that I might use it to benefit others, as well as for my own legitimate needs?
* Freed myself from a consumer mentality?
* Practiced the works of mercy?
* Deliberately defaced, destroyed or lost another's property?
* Cheated on a test, taxes, sports, games, or in business?
* Squandered money in compulsive gambling?
* Make a false claim to an insurance company?
* Paid my employees a living wage, or failed to give a full day's work for a full day's pay?
* Failed to honor my part of a contract?
* Failed to make good on a debt?
* Overcharge someone, especially to take advantage of another's hardship or ignorance?
* Misused natural resources?

Eighth Commandment
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have I...
* Lied?
* Knowingly and willfully deceived another?
* Perjured myself under oath?
* Gossiped?
* Committed detraction? (Destroying a person's reputation by telling others about his faults for no good reason.)
* Committed slander or calumny? (Telling lies about another person in order to destroy his reputation.)
* Committed libel? (Writing lies about another person in order to destroy his reputation.)
* Been guilty of rash judgment? (Assuming the worst of another person based on circumstantial evidence.)
* Failed to make reparation for a lie I told, or for harm done to a person's reputation?
* Failed to speak out in defense of the Catholic Faith, the Church, or of another person?
* Betrayed another's confidence through speech?

The Precepts of the Church

First Precept of the Church
You shall attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
* (see examination under the Third Commandment)

Second Precept of the Church
You shall confess your sins at least once a year.

Have I...
* Made a good Confession of my mortal sins least once a year?
* Purposely omitted telling my mortal sins in my last Confession?
* Performed the penance I was given?
* Made reparation for any harm I have done to others?

Third Precept of the Church
You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.

Have I...
* Fulfilled my Easter duty to receive Holy Communion at least once between the First Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday?
* Received Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin?
* Fasted an hour before receiving Holy Communion?
* Received Holy Communion more than twice in one day?

Fourth Precept of the Church
You shall keep holy the Holy days of Obligation.
* (see examination under the Third Commandment)

Fifth Precept of the Church
You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.

Have I...
* Done penance every Friday, if not abstaining from meat, then some other form of penance?
* Abstained from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent (if I am 14 years of age or older)?
* Fasted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (if I am between the ages of 18 and 59)?
* Spent time in prayer, doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and practicing self-denial?

Sixth Precept of the Church
You shall contribute to the support of the Church.

Have I...
* Contributed a just amount of my time, talents and money to support my parish and the work of the Church?

Seventh Precept of the Church
You shall observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

Have I...
* Been living in a valid and licit marriage according to the laws of the Catholic Church?
* Abandoned my spouse and family by separation or divorce?
* Kept company with someone whom I cannot marry in the Catholic Church?
* Given scandal by living with a member of the opposite sex without the benefit of a marriage blessed by the Catholic Church?
* Entered into marriage with more than one person at the same time?

This detailed Catholic examination of conscience should help you reflect on how you are responding to the demands made by the love of God.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Greatest Commandments

As I reflected over this coming Sunday's readings, a barrage of thoughts came flooding. Some were statements from CDs and talks I had listened to and attended, others were from recent readings, and yet others were reflections within my mind.

This Sunday's Gospel is about the Greatest Commandment. Jesus is asked for one, however He gives two: 'You shall love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all mind. This is the greatest and the first Commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets rely on these two Commandments.'

Some of the thoughts that came to mind during my reflection were:

  • Open my eyes to see as You see
  • No one is so faulty that You can not make them a Saint
  • My weakness is no deterrent to His grace
  • The only one who could fulfill the justice of God is God Himself
  • There are no limits to the mercy of God
  • We are called to be Saints - to be holy
  • We affect everyone we come in contact with - everyone in our lives
  • Jesus gives us a new Commandment: Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU

So many thoughts running through - but what do they all mean?

Love your neighbor as yourself. Do I love myself? If I do not love myself, how can I love my neighbor? There is dignity and honor to being one's neighbor. I have the choice to love God, love myself, and love my neighbor. Do I act upon that love?

Then I started thinking about my neighbor - WHO is my neighbor? Geography came to mind - people next door, down the street, next street over, parishioners in my Church, and others who I come in contact with every day.

Then THAT neighbor came to mind. You know the one. The one who is absolutely obnoxious; drives you crazy; makes you upset just looking at him/her. The one most unlike (like) you - or - The one who uses your things and never puts them away; the one who borrows things and returns them broken; the one who allows their dog to poop in your yard and never picks it up; the one who revs the bike late at night when you're trying to relax or sleep; the one who plays that loud, awful music; the neighbor you would love to hate. And you think, Oh, if only God would allow it just this one time. And He humbles you.

There are no limits to the mercy of God. We are all God's children - He would never forsake one of His children. The refusal of God's Fatherly love is always at the root of humanity's divisions. How can I say that I love God and not love this neighbor? If we are all made in the image and likeness of God ... then that goes for my neighbor as well. God loves my neighbor, even the most obnoxious of all neighbors, despite their faults. We have a certain dignity in being in the image and likeness of God. We also have a responsibility as such.

True love of God yeilds love for our neighbor - without it, it may temporarily relieve our [my] conscience, but it will never bear lasting fruit. ~ Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

St. Jude

A Prayer to St. Jude

Most holy apostle, St. Jude,
faithful servant and friend of Jesus,
the Church honors and invokes you universally,
as the patron of hopeless cases,
of things almost despaired of.
Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Make use I implore you,
of that particular privilege given to you,
to bring visible and speedy help where
help is almost despaired of.
Come to my assistance in this great
need that I may receive the consolation
and help of heaven in all my necessities,
tribulations, and sufferings, particularly

(here make your request)

and that I may praise God with you and
all the elect forever.
I promise, O blessed St. Jude,
to be ever mindful of this great favor,
to always honor you as my special
and powerful patron,
and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prayers for our Priests

Special prayers are needed for the Priests in the Cleveland Diocese.
They are attending a Convocation for the week.

Please keep them all in your prayers.

My prayers for them

That the Holy Spirit will come down upon them and rekindle
their love for our Lord and the excitement they had becoming Priests.

That Mary, our Heavenly Mother, will guide their discussions.

That the Lord's will shall always be first and foremost in their hearts and minds.

Co-mingled with God

This tale is a great example of how we are all co-mingled with God - we are one Body - the Body of Christ. We are all in common union with each other, with God as our leader.


On a Saturday night several weeks ago, this pastor was working late at Almighty God Tabernacle, his church, and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00pm, the pastor let the phone ring many times, but his wife did not answer. He thought it was odd but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he called again, she answered immediately. He asked her why she had not answered before, she replied that the phone had never rung. They brushed it off as a fluke.

The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why the pastor had called that Saturday night. The pastor could not figure out what the gentleman was saying. Then the man said, 'It rang and rang, but I did not answer.' The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he had intended to call his wife.

The man said, 'That quite okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, 'God, if you are there, and you do not want me to do this, give me a sign now.' At that point, my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and it said 'Almighty God'. I was afraid to answer.'


We may never know why God wants us to do something - but it is all part of His plan.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What is in a Name?

We all have heard this Sacrament being called by many names:

* Confession
* Forgiveness
* Penance
* Reconciliation (also Penance & Reconciliation)
* Conversion
* Healing

Accusing ourselves of sins, confessing these sins, forgiveness, absolution, receiving God’s mercy, reconciling with the Church, conversion of our hearts and souls, performing the given penance, and our resolve never to offend God again – these are all aspects of this Sacrament. The names most commonly heard are the aspects associated with this Sacrament. What is the Sacrament’s real name?

Let’s take a closer look at each of these aspects.

Accusation & Confession of Sins

We accuse ourselves of the sins committed after Baptism and confess them to Jesus Christ, through a Priest. Why sins committed after Baptism? At our Baptism, we are created anew. The sins of Adam and Eve (original sin) are wiped away; we are then christened with water and oil signifying that we are now a part of God’s family. The sins committed after Baptism are the ones we commit against God and neighbor. We need to atone for these sins, requesting God’s mercy, in order to share in His Heavenly Kingdom.

God is pure holiness and nothing unholy can enter His Kingdom.

In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, a man sent invitations to all his relatives, friends, and neighbors, asking them to come and share in this joyous occasion. When his friends and neighbors refused to come immediately, he called for the poor, blind, and lame, the outcasts of society. Before they could enter, they are given basins to wash in and new clothes to wear. One man entered the home not dressed properly for the feast and was immediately escorted out of the house and off the estate.

If our hearts and souls are not properly cleansed, we cannot enter into God’s Kingdom nor join in His Heavenly banquet.

‘In a profound sense, it is also a ‘confession’ – acknowledgement and praise – of the holiness of God and His mercy toward the sinful man.’ You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the Sacraments of Christian Initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for Him who has ‘put on Christ.’ But the Apostle John also says: ‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ And the Lord, Himself, taught us to pray: ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ linking our forgiveness of one another’s offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us. (CCC 1424 – 1425)

We need to go into Confession with a contrite heart. Contrition is true sorrow for your sins with the resolution not to sin again. Perfect contrition is when your sorrow and repugnance for sins committed comes from a love for God Who is loved above all else. Contrition is imperfect when the fear of damnation and other punishments that could occur because of our sins are greater than the love for God. By itself, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins (mortal sins), but it does influence the sinner to obtain forgiveness through this Sacrament. (CCC 1453)

By confessing our sins, we are taking an in-depth look at ourselves and the sins we are guilty of, taking responsibility for them, and opening ourselves up to God and into common union with the Church.

‘Those who approach the Sacrament of Penance, obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offenses committed against Him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church, which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example and by prayer, works for their conversion.’ (Lumen Gentium II)


Jesus instituted and entrusted to His disciples a gift of His love and mercy, a gift of forgiveness of sins. ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. Whose sins you retain, they are retained.’ (John 20:22)

Through Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins is offered to each person by means of sacramental absolution by His Priests, the ministers of the Sacrament. The Council of Trent stated that Jesus instituted this Sacrament so the faithful, who have fallen into sin after Baptism, might receive God’s grace and mercy and be reconciled with God and the Church. When the Priest absolves you of your sins, Christ is absolving you. God’s Priests are the stewards of the Sacraments; the Priest’s work is secondary to Jesus. What was visible through Jesus’ work on earth has passed over into His mysteries.

Throughout history, God made covenants with His people, and sealed the covenants with an outward sign, a physical sign, and a shared meal.

* Noah – rainbow; sacrifice of animals
* Abraham – circumcision; sacrificial lamb
* Moses – sprinkling of blood of first born lamb; first born lamb
* Us – A New Covenant – Jesus; the Lamb of God

At the heart of every Biblical covenant, there is a solemn and sacred oath, with real power to change lives and history. The Sacraments still carry this power today. When we confess our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness, we are also vowing to God that we will not sin again and will amend our lives.

But the effect of this Sacrament depends on our disposition to receive it. Are we truly sorry for offending God? Do we regret asking God to partake in our sin? Yes, when we sin, we are ultimately asking God to partake in the very sin we are committing. God made us in His image and likeness, and through Baptism, we become members of His family, partaking in a share of His Divine Nature. When we sin, we are asking God to also partake in that sin, which He is unable to do. By our sin, we offend God.

Confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness, restores us into God’s family.

The Sacramental Rites strengthen our resolve through His Divine Grace, so that we may also enjoy in the Divine society, the Communion of Saints. Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the world. He is also the creator, the second Person in the Most Holy Trinity. The One Who made matter and spirit also redeems matter and spirit; and He uses that matter and spirit to redeem us as well.

In the Our Father, we petition God to forgive our sins, but not only to forgive them, but also to forgive them ‘as we forgive others who sin against us.’ His mercy cannot penetrate our hearts if they are hardened against our brothers and sisters. The heart of the elder son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son was full of resentment and hatred toward his brother. When his brother returned, the mercy and forgiveness that his father had toward his brother was not able to penetrate his own heart, it was full of the enmity and prejudice and not open to God’s love and mercy. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to God’s Grace. (CCC 2840)

In the Last Supper discourses of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a New Commandment: ‘You therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. A new Commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.’ (John 13: 34) Not only are we to love each other, we are to love each other as Jesus loves us. Jesus’ love for us loves to the end of time. As disciples, we are commissioned to do the same.

The Parable of the Merciless Servant ends with ‘…so also my Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.’ (Matthew 18:23-35) God will forgive us as we forgive others. If the resentment and hatred fills our hearts and we are unwilling to forgive them, God will forgive us in exactly the same way. ‘The heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.’ (CCC 2843)

Jesus insists on forgiving our brothers and sisters: turning the other cheek, giving our cloak to the one who has taken our coat, forgiving and loving our enemies, and granting forgiveness seventy times seven times, without limit.

Absolution & Reconciliation

When we confess our sins, we are reconciled back to God, Who is anxiously waiting to take us back. We are also reconciled back to the Church, the Body of Christ, who was also wounded by our sins. He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: ‘Therefore, if you bring your gift to the Altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the Altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.’ (Matthew 5: 23-24)

During His public life, Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: He reintegrated forgiven sinners back into the community from which their sin had them alienated or even excluded. A remarkable sign of this fact is that Jesus receives sinners at His table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God’s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the people of God. (CCC 1443)

Reconciliation with the Church is entwined from the reconciliation to God. They are inseparable.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger son sins against his father by asking for his inheritance before his father is dead, stating that his father is already dead. The son is mesmerized by the temptation of living on his own, independent of his father and family. He becomes disappointed by the emptiness of the mirage but pride keeps him from returning. Alone and dejected, the son hits rock bottom and finally decides to return to his father’s house, humiliated. No longer feeling worthy as a son, he returns ready to become a slave.

We do the same thing every time we sin. By our sins, we proclaim that God is dead; that we can do anything and everything without his assistance and love. We decide that we can live the way WE want rather than doing His will.

Once we find that our way does not provide satisfaction, we return humiliated and broken, no longer feeling worthy to be His sons and daughters, we beg His forgiveness and ask to become hired hands.

‘The Church can forgive nothing without Christ and Christ does not wish to forgive anything without the Church. The Church can forgive nothing except to a penitent, that is to say, to a person whom Christ has touched with His grace: Christ does not wish to consider anything forgiven in a person who despises the Church.’ Sumo 11 (1 Dominica II Post Epiphaniam, 1)

When we forgive, our hearts have to be open to forgiveness and mercy. If they are hardened, we will be unable to receive God’s graces and love. God, Who has been anxiously awaiting our return, is waiting with open arms; He welcomes us back, forgiving and forgetting our sins. We are made anew – we are reborn, restored into His family.

Jesus prepared His Priests to act as fathers in the Church. They forgive like the father forgives in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. They help God’s children to be properly cleansed and clothed for the Heavenly banquet, to be reconciled back to God and the Church. The most important thing the Priest does in this Sacrament is to pronounce the words of absolution:

‘God, the Father of mercies,through the death and the resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among usfor the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Churchmay God give you pardon and peace,and I absolve you from your sinsin the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’

Penance & Satisfaction

It is called the Sacrament of Penance since it consecrates us, as sinners, to personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction. For after we confess, we make amends for our sins. In our penance, we are not paying the price for our sins, since no human price could match what Jesus obtained for us on the Cross. It is, however, a personal commitment to God to begin anew. It is a way to join our physical and spiritual mortification to the Passion of Jesus, who obtained forgiveness for us.

In order to have the sins forgiven and absolved, the penitent receives from the confessor what is called a ‘penance’, usually in the form of prayers, actions, fasting, alms, the Stations of the Cross, etc. The confessor, according to the sins revealed, determines the quality and extent of the penance. Sometimes the penance can be performed immediately, other times it may take a couple days, such as during Holy Week. Penance can also be defined as ‘The payment of the temporal punishment due on account of the offence committed against God by sin.’ (St. Thomas, Summa Theologicae Supplement. 12.3)

In the early Church, not only were the confessions heard publicly, but also public penance was prescribed and performed in order to ensure that the penance was completed.

Conversion of our hearts & souls

Although we receive pardon for our sins through this Sacrament and God’s grace and mercy, it does not permit us to commit sin in the future. In fact, if we go to Confession with the attitude of expecting forgiveness and the intention of committing future sins, expecting those will also be forgiven, not only is our confession meaningless, but we have also sinned to a much greater degree.

This is a Sacrament of Conversion because it makes Sacramentally present, Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father after straying by sin. (CCC 1423) We recognize ourselves as sinners and inclined to commit sin, but through this Sacrament, God’s grace, and His mercy, our hearts are returned to God’s. When we request this Sacrament frequently, it also gives us greater resistance against sin and a resolve to do what is right and pleasing to God. When we are faced with difficulties, we can and are encouraged to seek assistance from friends, Priests, or Religious, who are faithful, prudent, and well informed of the Church’s teachings and the Catholic Faith. The Church also invites us to take our concerns to God in a special way, through this Sacrament.

At times, more than one decision can be morally justified but we may never do evil so that good may result from it. (CCC 1789)

Moral and spiritual conversion must be rooted in prayer and the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharistic. The more we pray with humility before God, the better we will be able to hear Him speak in the depths of our hearts. If we sincerely desire to live in a manner holy and pleasing to God, we must ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, Who will remain in us and lead us all to Truth. A conscience formed by the Spirit of Truth will be upright and reliable. (How to Form Your Catholic Conscience)

Contrition and Conversion draw us nearer to God, through rediscovering our true identity, which was upset and disturbed by sin. It is a liberation of the very depth of self and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of people in our time are no longer capable of experiencing. (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation – Reconciliation and Penance)

So, what is the real name? It depends on which aspect you are speaking. As a whole, the Church, in the Catechism, says it is the Sacrament of Penance. Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation – Reconciliation and Penance, calls it both the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. In Lumen Gentium II, the Sacrament is called the Sacrament of Penance. As long as you frequent the confessional with a humble and contrite heart, it really does not matter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Confessional Humor

Part of the reason why I love the Sacrament of Confession so much is because of what I have learned. I have made so many errors making my confessions. Looking back upon the myriads of mistakes, I'm sure when I walked into the confessional, my regular confessors were shaking their heads & thinking, 'oh no, not her again.' LOL
(they probably still are)

Remember...I'm a cradle Catholic! It took me 30+ some years to finally figure out WHAT I'm supposed to do & say.

Here's a for instance...

When I first started going to confession regularly, I would try to memorize my sins. By the time I got into the confessional and in front of the Priest, I would be so nervous that I would forget everything. Yes, I mean everything; sins, Sign of the Cross, even the Act of Contrition. So I started making 'laundry lists' and taking the Act of Contrition, written on a piece of paper, with me into the confessional.

However, I never really studied HOW I was supposed to go to confession, the process, and made more blunders.

I would rattle off my laundry list of sins as fast as I could, hoping that the Priest would not hear everything. Once done, I would fold up my list, put my hands in my lap, and look at the Priest.

I wondered why the Priest always asked me, 'Is that all?'
Thinking...What? Isn't this enough? You want more? You want my blood, too?
(although never stated aloud).

With a little trepidation, I politely answered 'yeah.'

It took me quite a few months and a lot of reading about the Sacrament before I figured out that I am supposed to let the Priest know I'm done by saying something like 'for these and all my sins I am truly sorry.' Guess the hand signals and eye contact were not enough, eh?

So if you go into the confessional and make mistakes, don't worry ... I've already made them all and I still love this Sacrament! Go ahead ... make a list of sins and bring in a prayer card with the Act of Contrition. I did, and still do; it really helps.

Purgatory Box

I was reviewing some information on Spirit Daily and came across this article:

What a wonderful idea! A couple years ago I had so many people ask me to pray for them, I was 'forgetting' to put some on the Altar at Mass and then I felt horrid! How could I forget this person? I felt as if I let them down. That was when I created my 'Jesus Jar.' It is a wicker basket (actually a kleenex box basket with lid) where I drop in a note with a prayer intention or a person's name that I am praying for. At Mass now, I place the 'Jesus Jar' on the Altar - and I know everyone is included.

Why not do the same with those in Purgatory? I have already listed relatives who have died in my Jesus Jar (my grandparents - both sides; Aunts; Uncles; Friends; and others who I know need prayers)...but why not include more? Why not include all of the Priests, Deacons, Religious, and all lay people in the Jesus Jar - or - in this case - a Purgatory Package.
I have been told that there are many in Purgatory who need our prayers. When they are finally lifted into Heaven, able to share in God's Heavenly Kingdom, they pray for those who prayed for them, asking God to send us graces beyond our comprehension.

I have some International Coffee boxes in my office - I think I will convert one into a Purgatory Package...and pray for them often.

St. Gertrude the Great prayer: A prayer which would release 1,000 souls from purgatory each time it is said.

"Eternal father, I offer you the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. - Amen"