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Heralds of the Gospel

January 13
"We need heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who know the depths of the heart of many today, who share in his hopes and joys, his worries and his sadness, and at the same time are contemplatives, in love with God. For this, new saints are needed."
-St. John Paul II
Today's Reflection:
God has given us life at this time to be the "new saints" and the "new evangelizers" who will proclaim His love to the world.
How is God calling you to fulfill this very mission in your own life?
  

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I have not stopped giving thanks for you.

 

Blessings in the New Year to you and your family!

Because of your generous prayers and financial support, Women of Grace came very close to achieving its year-end financial goal. We will begin 2022 in a position of strength.

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Christian life

January 12
"Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit... and the door that gives access to the other sacraments."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213
Today's Reflection:
In what specific ways can you embrace the grace of your Baptism?
  

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When Satan Torments the Mind

                                                                                                      Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

By Monsignor Stephen Rossetti

I continued to be saddened by the number of people who suffer from mental torments (see Diary #164). I daily receive frantic emails from people who are at their wits end. They have been mentally tormented for years and are losing hope.

These mental obsessions typically begin with a "normal" psychological weakness: low self-esteem, depressive thinking, dark ruminations, anxiety and fear, frustrations and anger. However, Satan then takes advantage of this human weakness and exaggerates it. Our low self-esteem becomes self-hatred; our anxiety becomes despair; our dark rumination becomes suicidal ideation. What should have been a typical daily irritant now becomes a full blown crisis.

Satan's denigrating messages to us center around six common themes (see Diary #156): "You are a terrible person", "There is no hope for you", "God doesn't care about you", "This torment will never end", "You are going to hell", "You should kill yourself."

These demonic obsessions are doubly dangerous because Satan is usually able to hide behind a person's psychic flaws. Individuals do not realize the demonic source and thus they are even more convinced of their hopeless wretchedness. They may sink further into despair. I do not have a quick fix. Real progress is gradual. But I pass on the kinds of interventions we are giving to those in our ministry. Individuals can choose a combination of those which they find most helpful...

+Recognize the true source of your mental torments. Yes, you have underlying psychological weaknesses which makes you vulnerable to these negative ruminations. But Satan is tormenting you with them. Once people can recognize the action of the Evil One, they may feel less culpable and more emotionally distant from them.

+Let them come....and let them go. Many people find it difficult just to stop these mental obsessions. In fact, the more one tries to stop them, the stronger they often become. Rather, offer no resistance. Let them come in one ear, and let them go out the other ear. Try not to latch onto them. As one Saint said when seeing Satan at the foot of her bed, "Oh, it's only you."

+Breathe and relax. Our bodies tense up when we are stressed. Take long, slow deep breaths. Inhale slowly, exhale slowly. Breathe deeply. Exercise the body by walking or whatever exercise works for you. When the body relaxes, it helps the mind relax.

+Close the door to the demonic. Satan is taking advantage of a psychological weakness. There are hurts and traumas from the past which have given rise to this weakness. Seek to heal these inner psychic wounds. Psychotherapy, healing prayers, spiritual direction, rituals of forgiveness, and the sacraments can all be sources of inner healing.

+Deliverance prayers focused on the particular torment. For example, if the person suffers from self-hatred, then say often, "In the holy name of Jesus, I renounce the evil spirit of self-hatred and command it to leave me." Or if the problem is anger: "In the holy name of Jesus, I renounce the evil spirit of anger and command it to leave me."

+Turn to Jesus- repeatedly. Regularly using short exclamatory prayers can help focus the mind on Jesus. Typical prayers are: "Jesus I trust in you" or "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me a sinner" or "Jesus, Mary" or another short holy prayer of your own choosing.

+Offer your suffering for others. We all have our own sufferings. Some people have great physical sufferings. You have great mental sufferings. These mental torments, when given to Jesus in faith, can be a source of grace for others, and for you.

+Be at peace. You are flawed and broken. You are suffering. It is okay! That is precisely why the Son of God became flesh. He died for your sins. You will not save yourself; you will never be without suffering in this life. Trust in Jesus; he will save you.

This blog was originally published at he St. Michael Center for Spiritual Renewal and is reprinted here with their kind permission.

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Handing on the Gospel

January 11
"In the long run, is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one's personal experience of faith?"
-Evangelii Nuntiandi 46
Today's Reflection:
Personal testimony remains the most effective means of evangelization. Through it we inform, instruct, and insure others with the truths of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
What does your personal testimony say? Are you ready to share it?
  

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Sin makes men accomplices of one another

January 10
"Sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1869
Today's Reflection:
Each person who sins cooperates in bringing suffering to the world. To what extent do you give in to temptation and sin?
  

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When people will not endure sound teaching

January 9
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching,
but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening
to the truth and wander into myths."
-2 Timothy 4:3-4
Today's Reflection:
In light of this passage, how should we evaluate what is presented to us from the vantage point of our Catholic Faith. Are you currently influenced negatively by things in your life that are contrary to our Faith? What are those things?
  

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Resist the devil

January 8
"Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
-James 4:7
Today's Reflection:
Anytime we are serious about our relationship with God, we can be certain that Satan will try to dissuade us in every way possible. He will taunt us, tempt us, and try us in an effort to make us give up and give in. What are your biggest distractions? How is God calling you to remain faithful to your time of prayer?
  

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Hear God speak

January 7
"The chief exercise of prayer is to speak to God and to hear God speak in the bottom of your heart."
-St. Francis de Sales
Today's Reflection
Prayer is a gateway to intimacy with our Creator and Lord. Through it, we find fellowship with Him. What effect does such an interaction have?
  

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