2cornucopias

Posts Tagged ‘Sacraments’

That They Might Have Life

In 15 Audio on 2015/10/22 at 12:00 AM

Fr. Pablo Straub, CSSR conducts this in-depth teaching series and study on the seven sacraments, the manner in which we should live our lives in response to them, and the underlying prayer that must support our participation in each of them.

That They May Have Life

Back to Series List

Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

If you knew the gift 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl01.mp3

2.

Unto the Holy Trinity 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl02.mp3

3.

As my Father sent me 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl03.mp3

4.

The Lamb that saves the sheep 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl04.mp3

5.

How can I pray? 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl05.mp3

6.

The Mass is Calvary 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl06.mp3

7.

In the person of Christ 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl07.mp3

8.

Oh, merciful God! 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl08.mp3

9.

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl09.mp3

10.

He makes her holy 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl10.mp3

11.

To live is Christ 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl11.mp3

12.

The thirst of God 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl12.mp3

13.

The Church that prays 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl13.mp3

Advertisements

The Mystical Body of Christ and the Church

In 07 Observations on 2014/05/02 at 12:00 AM

Aida Tamayo’s notes on Fr. Barron’s series

The Mystical body of Christ and the Church.  What do you think is the primary reason for the Church existence?  Is it to feed the poor? Is it to provide social programs?   To educate the masses?  To tend to the sick?  NO, none of those is the primary function of the Church.  Don’t get me wrong, the Church is the oldest functioning institution in the history of the Western World and has been a major source of social services from the beginning providing education and medical care; inspiration for Western art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion and we in the Church are called to service. But that is not the primary reason for its existence.  The Primary Reason of the Church is to make us saints so we can spend eternity with God.  Through the Church, God gathers the people to Himself. Everything else flows from it but is not its reason for existing.

The Church is not a human institution, but a sacrament of Jesus, so it shares in the very being, life and energy of Christ.  This may shock many Mass goers.  Our celebration of Mass is not just what we perceive with our senses.  Each Mass joins the liturgy which the angels and the saints continually celebrate in heaven.  In His presence, the communion of saints and the angels unceasingly praise and adore God and those destined for heaven will be expressing this love in the heavenly liturgy, a sort of joyful perpetual adoration in His presence. The Mass allows us to join in this adoration because the earthly Mass has the power to plug us into that heavenly liturgy and all of heaven (angels, the Communion of Saints, Mary the Mother of God and of course, the Holy Trinity) is present at our Mass. Think of Jesus words.  Remain in me, live in me, eat my body and drink my blood. What did He say to Paul on the road to Damascus… Saul why are you persecuting me?  He didn’t say my followers or my Church.  He meant His mystical body.

We are joined to Christ across the ages in some mystical way, the Church is meant to gather all of creation around Christ. The Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus, and when we receive Him, we become more integrated into His mystical body, giving us a heightened sense of justice. By filling ourselves with the life of Christ and doing His Will, we will become saints and an active part of the Mystical Body.  All the baptized are connected to each other like cells in a body, so if someone is persecuted that affects all of us, it is our problem.  It is a tragedy that most people don’t realize this truth.

EKKLESIA – God established the Church in response to men’s sin. The Church mission is to restore us to that friendship with God.  Sin results in disillusion and division, totally opposed to God and the ever-loving God response to sin was a gathering of the people. He starts by calling Abraham and the people of Israel and he formed them to be a people distinct, unique, peculiarly His own.  He gave them laws, rituals, covenants, liturgies, a form of life meant to be pleasing to God. Not for the glorification of Israel but so that Israel could be the magnet by which the whole world would be gathered eventually unto God.  Jesus was the culmination of Israel and the supreme and divine magnet.  This gathering of people is what we call the Church. He told Peter, you are the Rock upon which I will build my ekklesia (Greek for church).

The 4 basic Marks: One Holy Catholic Apostolic

In the Catechism paragraph 811, it says that the Church of Christ is professed in the Creed: “…… to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other, indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes His Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is He who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

THE CHURCH IS ONE – because God is one.  I believe in one God.  By this we are called to reject all other “deities”  (political leaders, cultural idols, ideologies, etc.) …there is only one God.  The Church is the vehicle by which the one God draws all people to unity with Himself.  Jesus, the Word and mind of God is all that is true and beautiful and He draws all things to Himself over time.  The Pantheon in Rome provides an example of this process.  It is the most beautiful space created by paganism and is now the Catholic Church of Mary of the Martyrs.  The Church holds on to its truth but is able to transform and assimilative that which is good, true and beautiful into its own unity, its unchangeable truth.  That was Jesus prayer to God the Father, that we may all become one [in Truth] as He and His Father are One.

THE CHURCH IS HOLY – Because God is Holy and the Church is His mystical body. The Church’s primary purpose is to make saints, to make people holy.  Everything about it is meant for that end. One hears always about the inquisition, persecution of Galileo, the crusades, corruption, too much money, and recently abuse of children by some priests.  Given this why do we call the Church Holy?  That the Church is holy doesn’t deny the sinfulness of its members.  Sadly, our fallen nature affects us.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:   844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:   Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasoning, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair. 845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church.

The Church itself is holy and a bearer of grace.  Its grace in the sacraments comes not from the moral excellence of the ministers, but from God.  The grace of God is that which makes the Church holy.

THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC – Catholic comes from the Greek word kata holos meaning according to the whole: Universal.  The Church is universal because it is the means by which God wants to gather the whole world to itself. The Church is the new Israel and a magnet to all the nations.  One of the greatest gathering places in the world is St. Peter’s square.  It can hold up to 300,000 people.  And Bernini’s columns are meant to look like arms reaching out to gather in the whole world.  The Word got out to all nations and all nations come here, which is a realization of what was said 2000 years ago.

CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC – because it is rooted on the apostles; The 12 men chosen by Jesus.  They stayed with Jesus, were formed and shaped by His Mind, the mind of God.  The main altar of the great basilica of St. John Lateran, holds the reliquaries with the head of the great apostles Peter and Paul.  The form and structure of the Church itself are depiction of the 12 Apostles.  Bishops today can legitimately claim that they are successors of the Apostles.  The leadership of the Church today is Apostolic in structure.  Hierarchy comes from two Greek words; hieros(priest)  and arche (rule or principle). It is not a power play, it is a church grounded in this Apostolic faith.  Apostles meant to send and so the Church has that great missionary purpose. The Church is not a democratic polity or a philosophical debating society but a body grounded in revelation.  Its integrity rests in its founder and the on-going guidance by the Holy Spirit.  This same Spirit protects the Church from error in matters of faith and morals through the infallibility of the Pope, the successor of the Apostle Peter.  Infallibly does not mean the Pope interferes with the life of the Church it means that he is the living voice of authority to protect the Truth of God which guides its life.  The keys given to Peter as the first Pope are meant to unlock the secret to life, the secret to the great mystery of all things.   If the keys were flexible, it would lose its whole reason for being.  The keys handed to Peter will take us to the truth of God so we can be gathered in Him.

The Catholic Guide to Depression

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2013/10/31 at 12:00 AM

THE CATHOLIC GUIDE TO DEPRESSION:
HOW THE SAINTS, THE SACRAMENTS AND PSYCHIATRY CAN
HELP YOU BREAK ITS GRIP AND FIND HAPPINESS AGAIN

It is highly unlikely that anyone reading this review has been untouched by clinical depression, either as one who has suffered from it or as one who knows others who have.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty (with Father John Cihak) has written a book to address clinical depression from a perspective that fully acknowledges both its biological and spiritual dimensions.

The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again, published by Sophia Institute Press, is, as far as I know, the only book of its kind from a Catholic point of view.

This book provides a full explanation of the illness and current treatments, along with sound advice on how spiritual methods of prayer and the sacraments can assist the standard pharmacological and cognitive treatments.

The first part provides a detailed explanation of types and causes of depression and related disorders, their relation to the spiritual life and the tragedy of suicide. The second part moves on to modes of treatment, with chapters on medication and other biological treatments, psychotherapy, spiritual help for depression, and Divine filiation and hope.

Continue reading…
http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/depression.html

What the Resurrection of Christ Means for Our Lives

In Uncategorized on 2013/04/16 at 6:30 PM

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!

 Today I would like to reflect on its meaning for salvation. What does the Resurrection mean for our lives? And why, without it, is our faith in vain? Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ, just like a house built on foundations: if they give in, the whole house collapses.

On the Cross, Jesus offered himself taking sins upon himself our and going down into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up to us the path to be reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses it briefly at the beginning of his First Letter, as we have heard: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”(1:3-4).

The Apostle tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus is something new: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become children of God, that we are born to a new life. When does this happen to us? In the Sacrament of Baptism. In ancient times, it was normally received through immersion. Those to be baptized immersed themselves in the large pool within the Baptistery, leaving their clothes, and the bishop or the priest would pour water over their head three times, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then the baptized would emerge from the pool and put on a new vestment, a white one: they were born to a new life, immersing themselves in the death and resurrection of Christ. They had become children of God. I

In the Letter to the Romans Saint Paul writes: you ” For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father! ‘”(Rom. 8:15). It is the Holy Spirit that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, “Father.” Or rather, Abba Father. This is our God, He is a father to us.

The Holy Spirit produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as His children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us, loves us even when we make mistakes . In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah said that even though a mother may forget her child, God never, ever forgets us (cf. 49:15). And this is a beautiful thing, beautiful!

However, this filial relationship with God is not like a treasure to be kept in a corner of our lives. It must grow, it must be nourished every day by hearing the Word of God, prayer, participation in the sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and charity. We can live as children! We can live as children! And this is our dignity. So let us behave as true children! This means that each day we must let Christ transform us and make us like Him; it means trying to live as Christians, trying to follow him, even if we see our limitations and our weaknesses.

The temptation to put God to one side, to put ourselves at the center is ever-present and the experience of sin wounds our Christian life, our being children of God. This is why we must have the courage of faith, we must resist being led to the mentality that tells us: “There is no need for God, He is not that important for you”. It is the exact opposite: only by behaving as children of God, without being discouraged by our falls, can we feel loved by Him, our life will be new, inspired by serenity and joy. God is our strength! God is our hope!

Dear brothers and sisters, we must first must firmly have this hope and we must be visible, clear, brilliant signs of hope in world. The Risen Lord is the hope that never fails, that does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5). God’s hope never disappoints!. How many times in our life do our hopes vanish, how many times do the expectations that we carry in our heart not come true! The hope of Christians is strong, safe and sound in this land, where God has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God, who is always faithful.

We should never forget this; God is always faithful! God is always faithful! Be risen with Christ through Baptism, with the gift of faith, to an imperishable inheritance, leads us to increasingly search for the things of God, to think of Him more, to pray more. Christianity is not simply a matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ, thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ, it is allowing Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, to free them from the darkness of evil and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us our reasons for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point to the Risen Christ. Let us point to Him with the proclamation of the Word, but especially with our resurrected life. Let us show the joy of being children of God, the freedom he gives us to live in Christ, who is true freedom, freedom from the slavery of evil, sin and death! In looking to our heavenly home, we will also have a new light and strength in our commitment and in our daily efforts. It is a precious service that we give to our world, which is often no longer able to lift its gaze upwards, it no longer seems able to lift its gaze towards God.

VIS

Signs For Our Times – Part II: Holiness of the Church

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/04/10 at 12:00 AM

The second mark of the Church or sign for our times is that of HOLINESS.  Holiness is a state of existence in which a person consciously endeavors to live in accordance with the perceived will of God because He is seen as far superior to man and to whom man owe’s obedience and worship.  This attitude may arise from the dictates of the Natural Moral Law embedded in the minds and hearts of all people by their Creator or the active participation in a religion that fosters holiness of life.

God in His goodness has given man through the Catholic Church a certain way to strive towards holiness because holiness of life is an essential of attaining salvation  which,  whether you believe it or not, is the ultimate goal of human life.  However, holiness of life can be rejected and contemporary society has done just that.  The capital sins are easily embraced and the Ten Commandments are flagrantly violated.  Holiness is not popular even among too many “Catholics”.  Holiness may be rejected, but it is still necessary and it will only be found fully in the Catholic Church.

The first aspect of the Church’s holiness is evident in its Founder.  It can be proven that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person in human form who came to save the human race (those who want to be saved) from the effects of its sins. The historical record shows without doubt that the Founder of the Catholic Church was God Himself.  He claimed to be God and proved it by doing things (miracles) that only God could do.

He even challenged His enemies to point out any moral deficiencies in His life and they could not.

Founders of other religions did not claim to be divine and in every case their lives did not suggest any notable degree of personal holiness.  For example, Mohammed, Martin Luther, the Buddha, and all the other lesser known founders.

Because He was God, Christ could endow the Church with the means to help its members acquire holiness in accordance with the individual’s free choice and acceptance of the graces given.  The means that set up by Christ are the seven Sacraments, which if used correctly, will enable the believer to make steady progress towards holiness.  No other religion, even many who call themselves Christians, have anything even remotely resembling the Catholic Sacraments, and therefore, if any of their members happen to be holy in God’s sight, it is in spite of their religion.

There are thirty thousand plus “Christian” denominations.  Some claim one, two, or three sacraments; none claim seven.  Without the Seven Sacraments, no church can claim to be the Church founded by Christ.

There will be those who say that they have the Bible and that is quite sufficient.  The problem is that the Bible as we know it came from the Catholic Church historically and did not appear as we know it until the end of the fourth century.  Only one apostle could possibly have read the New Testament (St. John).  Christ Himself did not tell the Apostles to write but to preach.  For the first centuries, Christians really did not have access to the Bible as we know it.  If the Bible had been meant to be an essential part of the true Church it would have been available from the  beginning.  The Catholic Church reveres the Bible and uses it, but does not claim it is the only means of knowing God’s will.

Holiness, by its very nature, suggests consistency and permanence.  This is  one of the reasons the Catholic Church is hated and ridiculed…it is consistent in its teachings. It does not bow to the whim of any contemporary culture. What was demanded by divine law centuries ago is still valid, and therefore, the Church refuses to join the cultural bandwagon which is clamoring for sin to be declared non-sin. Other groups that call themselves “Christian” readily and easily salute the contemporary cultural icons and are duly applauded for failure to be a consistent defender of God’s law. How many groups have embraced the homosexual demands  to be designated as  just another lifestyle with no negative moral implications? The Catholic Church does not do this, thus affirming her commitment to the idea of consistent standards of holiness. In another fifty years, the cultural elite will be demanding something else. The Church demands holiness.

There are three questions each person should ask himself:

1.  Where did I come from? (We came from God because parents only make our bodies, but it has to be God who creates our soul because human parents are incapable of creating an immortal soul.)

2.  Why am I here? (Merely to get the most out physical life and then die without any consequences?  No, to serve that God who created your soul and who will judge your performance.)

3. Where am I going?  (To a grave and nothing more?  We have a built-in sense of immortality (which means it is real) and we reach that state eventually, but how we spend it is up to us.)

(The above questions and answers are true whether you believe them or not.)

The Catholic Church alone has the complete truth regarding these questions and the best means to achieve the goals is through the holiness of the Church given through the Sacraments.  If you are a Catholic striving to lead a holy life, keep it up.  If you are a lapsed or an indifferent Catholic who picks and chooses what you will accept or do, you are telling God that you are right and He is wrong.  Rather risky!  If you are not a Catholic, pray for the grace to find God’s will.  If you find it is in the Catholic Church, embrace it and be grateful and live it to the fullest (as do most converts).

Next time we will look at another sign for our times, the Catholicity of the Church.

Divorced People Are Not “Outside” the Church

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/11/30 at 9:20 AM

Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) – Yesterday evening, almost half a million people attended the “Celebration of Witnesses” at Bresso Park in Milan, Italy, one of events of the seventh World Meeting of Families. The Holy Father arrived at 8.30 p.m. to participate in the celebration during which he answered questions put to him by various families on subjects which included the economic crisis, the position of divorced people in the Church and the indissolubility of Marriage. Benedict XVI also recalled his own infancy and family life.

An engaged couple from Madagascar who are studying at university in Italy spoke of the anxiety they felt when faced with the “forever” of Marriage. The Pope explained that falling in love, being an emotion, is not eternal. “The emotion of love must be purified”, he said, “it must undertake a journey of discernment in which the mind and the will also come into play. … In the rite of Marriage the Church does not ask whether you are in love but whether you want, whether you are resolved. In other words, falling in love must become true love; it must involve the will and the mind in a journey (which is the period of engagement) of purification, of greater profundity so that it is truly all of man, with all his capacities, with the discernment of reason and the force of will, who says: ‘Yes, this is my life'”. The Holy Father also mentioned other important factors such as communion of life with others, with friends, the Church, the faith and God Himself.

A Brazilian family raised the issue of divorced couples who have remarried and cannot avail themselves of the Sacraments. Benedict XVI affirmed that “this is one of the the great causes of suffering for the Church today, and we do not have simple solutions. … Naturally, one very important factor is prevention. This means ensuring that, from the beginning, the act of falling love is transformed in a more profound and mature decision. Another factor is that of accompanying people during marriage, to ensure that families are never alone but find authentic company on their journey. We must tell people in this situation that the Church loves them, but they must see and feel this love”. Parishes and other Catholic communities “must do everything possible so that such people feel loved and accepted, that they are not ‘outsiders’ even if they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist. They must see that they too live fully within the Church. … The Eucharist is real and shared if people truly enter into communion with the Body of Christ. Even without the ‘corporeal’ assumption of the Sacrament, we can be spiritually united to Christ”. It is important for divorced couples “to have the chance to live a life of faith, … to see that their suffering is a gift for the Church, because they also help others to defend the stability of love, of Marriage; … theirs is a suffering in the community of the Church for the great values of our faith”.

A Greek family asked the Pope what families affected by the economic crisis can do not to lose hope. “Words are insufficient”, the Holy Father replied. “We should do something tangible and we all suffer because we are unable to do so. First let us speak of politics. I believe that all parties should show an increased sense of responsibility, that they should not make promises they cannot keep, that they should not seek votes only for themselves but show responsibility for the common good of everyone, in the awareness that politics is also a human and moral responsibility before God and man”. Moreover, each of must do everything we can “with a great sense of responsibility and in the knowledge that sacrifices are necessary if we are to prevail”. The Holy Father also suggested that families help one another, and that parishes and cities do likewise, supporting one another with material assistance and never forgetting to pray.

A seven year old girl from Vietnam asked the Pope to say something about his own family and infancy. Benedict XVI recalled the essential importance Sunday had had for his family. “Sunday began on Saturday afternoon when my father would tell us the Sunday readings. … Thus we entered into the liturgy in an atmosphere of joy. The next day we would go to Mass. I lived near Salzburg so there was always music – Mozart, Schubert, Haydn – and when the ‘Kyrie’ began it was as if the sky itself had opened. … We were of one heart and soul, with many shared experiences even through difficult times because there was the war and before that the dictatorship, then poverty. But the reciprocal love that existed between us, the joy in simple things was so strong that we could bear and overcome these things. …Thus we grew up in the certainty that it is good to be human, because we could see the goodness of God reflected in parents and siblings. … In this context of trust, joy and love we were happy and I think that heaven must be similar to my youth. In this sense I hope ‘to go home’ when I go ‘to the other part of the world'”.

VIS120603

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Has a New Domain

In 07 Observations on 2012/03/16 at 10:20 AM

Vatican City, 16 March 2012 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has opened a new domain (www.doctrinafidei.va) within the official website of the Holy See. In this way, the congregation hopes to facilitate the consultation of its documents which, having the express approbation of the Holy Father, participate in his ordinary Magisterium as the Peter’s Successor. Attentive reception of these texts is important for all members of the faithful and in particular for those who are engaged in theological and pastoral work.

The major documents are available in eight languages: Latin, French, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Polish. Certain documents are also available in Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, and Dutch. There is a general list of all the texts organised chronologically, and three subgroups of these texts, divided into doctrinal, disciplinary and sacramental documents.

The new domain also presents information on the Congregation’s series “Documenti e Studi”, which are individual printed volumes presenting a major document of the Congregation together with commentaries by noted theologians. There is also a description of the volumes containing the proceedings of various symposia organised by the Congregation in recent years, as well as speeches and other contributions by cardinal prefects.

A communique by the congregation published this morning explains how “wider distribution of the teaching of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is necessary in today’s world. The documents of the congregation which have been published since the time of Vatican Council II … deal with significant questions for the life and mission of the Church and give important doctrinal responses to the challenges of our times. … The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is convinced that the enhanced availability of these documents will be of significant value in communicating the teaching of the Church to people throughout the world”.

The old domain address of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith remains active within the official website of the Holy See.

THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL SEE WHEN YOU CLICK ON THE SITE:  WWW.DOCTRINAFIDEI.VA

The Holy See

Menu

Search
The Roman Curia Congregations


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Temptations by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2012/02/25 at 9:11 AM

• Temptation is the focus of our Gospel today. Today we hear the familiar story of how Jesus retreated into the desert for 40 days after His baptism in the Jordan River.

• While He’s in the desert fasting, our Lord encounters the devil, who tries to seduce Him with various temptations.

• In our Catholic moral tradition, we understand that amongst all of the sins that are possible to commit, there are 7 capital sins that are the most objectionable of vices. And all of us, generally speaking, suffer with one or two of these vices.

• These capital or deadly sins are: lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, gluttony, and sloth. While it isn’t easy, facing the temptations these vices pose with courage and determination is part of the road we must all walk on the way to salvation.

• As with all parts of the Christian moral life, we must first turn to Christ and His example if we wish to overcome the temptations that afflict us.

• In our Gospel story today the devil misinterprets or misuses a portion of Scripture to arouse a temptation in Jesus. And Jesus very resolutely counters with another Scriptural passage that He interprets correctly.

• The point here is that Jesus’ response in the face of temptation is strong and forceful, and His response is completely rooted in a sound interpretation of Scriptural morality.

• Thus, if we hope to stave off sinful temptations, it is imperative for each of us to be well-grounded in authentic Catholic moral teaching, and to have a resolute will not to sin.

• It is also good for us to turn to the examples of the saints, like St. Francis, for help. But it’s especially important for us to have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the titles by which the Church has long venerated Mary is “Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners.”

• Being the Mother of our Redeemer, Mary receives us sinners with great compassion and prays for us so that we may escape damnation. For those who are devoted to her, Mary provides invaluable protection from sin and evil through her maternal prayers.

• From her throne in Heaven, she prays and intercedes for us, she does all she can for us, so that we might be triumphant in the face of temptations. Countless saints have recommended that, when faced with temptation, we should simply pray a Hail Mary for help.

• Moreover, when we pray to Mary for help, she turns us toward her merciful Son, increasing our trust and our hope in Him.

• As Catholics, we must also turn to the Sacraments for aid in fighting temptation, especially the Eucharist and Confession. Because they are two sacraments that we can receive as often as we wish, they are God’s primary vehicles for communicating the grace we need to grow in holiness.

• When we receive Holy Communion in a state of grace, it increases our union with the Lord, forgives our venial sins, and preserves us from grave sins. And confession, too, not only forgives our sins, but it also strengthens us in the face of future temptations.

• Therefore, if we’re serious about fighting sin and overcoming temptations, then it’s veryimportant that we make it a point to go to confession regularly and to receive Holy Communion regularly because they give us strength to fight our temptations.

• Keep in mind that going to confession only once a year is not going to confession “regularly.” That’s going to confession “annually,” and there’s a difference!

• The Lenten practices of fasting and almsgiving are also very useful in helping us overcome temptations. These are spiritual practices that are meant to help purify us, but they also strengthen our wills so that we will be stronger in the face of temptations.

• By saying no to things we enjoy, by forcing ourselves to give more to others, we gain greater mastery over our wills so that we have greater self-control in the face of temptations.

• But lastly we must also be people of prayer. Having a steadfast prayer life is absolutely essential to overcoming temptation and growing in holiness. And whatever prayer life we have must have some element of recollection and meditation.

• As important as they are, we cannot exist solely on simple verbal prayers. We must also have prayer that is rooted in complete silence. We must learn to shut out the noise and distractions of this world so that we might be fully recollected.

• To this end, my friends, we need to turn off our televisions and computers! TV and internet cause so many needless distractions. And quite honestly, if you spend more time watching television or surfing the internet than you do praying, you’ll never grow in holiness.

• Holiness requires silence for it is only in silence that we can truly hear God. While it is important for us to speak to God in our prayer, it is even more important that we learn to listen to Him. This is part of the genius of the Traditional Latin Mass.

• One of the criticisms that is leveled against the old Latin Mass is that people can’t understand what’s going on because most of it is in Latin. And yet that’s part of the point of it all!

• The Latin Mass fosters this sense of recollection and meditation by allowing people to get lost in the mystery of the Mass. The periods of silence, the Latin, and the intricate movements of the priest are all meant to foster a sense of awe and wonder that better enables us to meditate on the beautiful mysteries of our faith and thereby draw closer to God.

• And if you want to know what’s going on at the Latin Mass, you can always follow a missal that has Latin on one side and English on the other.

• But other means of praying, such as the Holy Rosary, Lectio Divina, and going to Adoration,are also wonderful forms of prayer that help us to meditate on the mysteries of our faith.

• The point is that meditation and recollection are necessary components of prayer if we wish to grow stronger in the face of temptations, for this type of prayer strengthens our  int4rior union with God and renders us more capable of cooperating with God’s graces.

• My friends, we all have temptations to face, and we will do so throughout our lives. But wedon’t always have to be a victim of our sinful inclinations. We can overcome sin and be victorious in the face of temptation.

• We can be victorious over our temptations by turning to Our Lady and the saints for their example and intercession, by faithfully and regularly partaking of Holy Communion  and Confession, by fasting and giving alms, and through our recollected prayer.

• Without real struggle against our temptations, none of us will win the crown of heaven. So as we move forward in our Lenten journey, let us turn to the Lord, trusting that “everyonewho calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Copyright 2010 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC