Florida Wants to Bring God Back Into Schools

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Florida two weeks ago, and in an attempt to bring the “light” of God back into schools, Florida’s House of Representatives passed a bill that would require every public school in the state to post the state’s – and the country’s – motto of “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place.

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Lenten Journey Day 12

February 25
Four Steps of Lent
(We will look at each of these over the next few days.)
Treasure the gift of redemption.
Through His act of total self-donation, Jesus pours out His most precious blood that we might be saved from the evils of sin and death. The Cross of Christ becomes the tree of life and all who embrace it find salvation.
To cultivate reverence and gratitude for the passion of Jesus, we must enter into it. We must allow ourselves to meditate upon the great mystery of our salvation and the love which informed it. We must sojourn with Jesus along the Via Dolorosa uniting to His passion our weaknesses, our frailties, our sufferings, our struggles. We must keep watch at the foot of the cross with Mary, our mother, and St. John – silent witnesses to the most important moment in human history. We must hold Our Lord’s tortured body in our arms, as did our Mother. And, we must lay Him to rest in the dark tomb, anticipating what Mary and John may only have known by faith, that Jesus will rise, and sin and death will be overcome.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross will lead us into the passion. A prayerful reading of the passion accounts in the Gospels will cultivate gratitude for our redemption. Fruitful meditation of the passion will stir holy devotion and reverence for the wounds of Christ. By entering the Paschal Mystery our own sufferings will become a source of grace for ourselves and others as we unite them to the passion of Jesus Christ.
Our retreat to the Lenten Desert can be a source of abundant life for us and for others. God is always giving us the grace to grow in holiness and relationship with Him. We have only to cooperate with it. Through prayer, meditation, repentance, conversion, reception of the sacraments, pious devotions, works of mercy, and loving reflection on the paschal mystery, our “desert” will produce much fruit and yield a great harvest.
Let us seek to make this Lent, then, a time of discovery. As we retreat into our “desert” may we find there the love of God, the courage of Christ, and the perseverance of the desert fathers so that we might be the salt of the earth and a light in the world today.

Lenten Journey Day 11

February 23
Four Steps of Lent
(We will look at each of these over the next few days.)

Nurture the interior life.

The barrenness of the desert produced great spiritual fruit in the lives of the desert fathers. So, too, our Lenten “desert” can yield an abundant harvest for us as well. Daily prayer and a regular examination of conscience should lead us to the sacraments, to pious devotion, and to works of mercy.

In her wisdom, Holy Mother Church instructs us to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the season of Lent. It is through this sacrament that we receive the grace necessary to overcome the tactics and wiles of the evil one, to gain ground in our battle against personal sin, and to deal a mortal blow to particular weaknesses and failings.

But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation does more besides. “The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of … the sacrament of Penance (CCC #1421). Through the grace of regeneration available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our sins are forgiven and health is restored. Once again, our souls become a fertile garden, capable of producing the sweetest of fruit.

Such an interior disposition of heart leads to a deeper devotion to the things of God. Reception of the Eucharist becomes what Our Lord intended it to be: a moment of union with His Real Presence; the liturgy becomes an opportunity to enter more deeply into the Sacred Mysteries; recitation of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, private prayer, and other pious devotions work within the receptive soul to produce abundant fruit.

Like a garden irrigated by natural springs, grace bubbles up in the devout soul from the Fountain of Life Who is the Holy Spirit. And, as the springs prepare the soil for new growth, the grace in a holy soul enriches the lives of others through works of mercy and charitable acts. “All that we do to transform and improve our souls serves the divine cause” (Elisabeth Leseur). And that divine cause is the salvation of souls. Our life in Christ, nurtured through the sacraments and pious devotion, becomes a source of new life for others.

40 Hosts Found Miraculously Preserved After Earthquake

A ciborium containing 40 perfectly preserved hosts was found inside a tabernacle taken from the ruins of a church destroyed in the devastating earthquake that struck central Italy in 2016, and is being called a sign of hope by the local bishop.

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Lenten Journey Day 10

February 23
Four Steps of Lent
(We will look at each of these over the next few days.)
Examine Ourselves
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “We cannot decide to become saints without a great effort of renunciation, of resisting temptations, of combat, of persecution, and all sorts of sacrifices. It is not possible to love God except at one’s own expense.” How this wisdom contrasts with the tenor of today’s culture, which urges us to have it all, do it all, and pursue it all! But, Mother Teresa’s words state what Jesus Himself instructs us to do: “Pick up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Lent is the perfect time for the struggle, and the desert fathers give us good instruction on how to do it – practice the virtue opposite the vice. If the struggle is with avarice or greed, practice generosity. If the struggle is with gossip and criticism, restrain the tongue. If the struggle is with sins against purity (pornography, unclean thoughts or desires, immodest dress), clean house: replace indecent thoughts with holy thoughts, change the wardrobe. Lent offers us the opportunity to put these debilities of the spirit to rest once and for all. At the end of forty days, we will have overcome a bad habit with a good one and Christ will be victorious in us.
Finally, make Lent an opportunity to confront some of the major obstacles and hindrances in our lives. Through the light of grace, face the truth of our situation. If we have an addiction to any substance or behavior, if we are living in a relationship that is outside of God’s laws, if we are abusive in word or deed, if we need inner healing, if we have been caught up in the occult, now is the time to break with it. God is giving us the grace; we need to cooperate with it. Seek the spiritual and emotional help necessary.

Bishop Bars Catholic Senator from Communion

In response to the fourteen Catholic senators who voted against a bill that would have prohibited abortions at the point when an unborn child can feel pain, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield has barred Senator Richard Durbin from receiving Communion in his diocese.

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Take Action on New HHS Conscience Rule

If you believe that no one should be forced to participate in medical practices such as abortion in violation of their conscience, then you need to make your voice heard by submitting a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in support of a new rule that will insure the protection of conscience rights.

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Parental Rights At Risk in Transgender Cases

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

In the battle to win “equality” for children struggling with gender identity, state governments are becoming increasingly prone to intervene in ways that have cost one couple custody of their child while another state is considering a bill that will allow children as young as five to determine their own sex and race.

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Lenten Journey Day 9

February 22
Four Steps of Lent
(We will look at each of these over the next few days.)
Let go of distractions. We are a distracted people; Lent invites us to detach. It invites us to come away for a while and listen for the Father’s voice. As we read in the Old Testament, God speaks in a “tiny whisper” (cf. 1 Kings 19: 11-13). We must slow down the tempo of our lives and tone down the volume of our days if we are to hear the voice of God. We must minimize the activity and noise and maximize the quiet and solitude. We must create a “desert” for ourselves – a quiet spot at home or in the back yard, a neighborhood park, or before the Blessed Sacrament or the tabernacle in our parish. All of these may provide precisely the perfect place of retreat.
Lent provides us with opportunities to develop certain attitudes toward our lives. Our “desert” should include a time of reflection that looks back over the day in light of God’s word to see what He may be revealing. Attention to the liturgical readings of the Lenten season provides an ideal framework in which to contemplate the movement of God in the midst of our life’s events.