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Pulling Back on the Reins

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Have you ever felt like your life was in full gallop, heading in the right direction and with no obstacles in your way, only to suddenly have things screech to a halt? An image comes to mind of that picture of a person on what they think is their life journey, with nothing but the hill they climbed behind them, and the goal in front. Then a second picture shows a zoomed-out version, “God’s Plan” so it is called, with many more obstacles ahead, but the goal no less achievable. Have you ever been indignant about that sudden stillness, or the additional obstacles?

We should be thankful for these times. These are times of reflection and assessment and can stop us from galloping over a cliff in some situations. I’ve got a real-life example for you.

Things at work have been going great, and I truly believe it’s because I have been growing in my faith-life. I have an opportunity to go to Mass pretty much any morning that I want, and I have decided on a couple days per week in particula…

I Can't Sleep; What Should I Do!?

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"Help! I can't sleep and I don't know what to do!"

I've said these words myself before, and I hear similar ones often from coworkers, friends, strangers having too-loud conversations with their friends in public, etc.
Most of us are familiar with the typical advice: "try counting sheep; go through the alphabet in your head; count numbers until you dose off; drink herbal tea; take a warm bath; use essential oils; make your room darker"...the list goes on and on. Some of these are helpful, some are not. And most of them won't work for everyone. I'd like to recommend the thing that helps me the most when I find I am having trouble falling asleep at night: I pray.

To someone who is a-religious (agnostic/atheist, for example), that may sound as meaningful as "rub lavender essential oil on your pillow". But I would encourage you to at least give it a shot. If there really is a caring God out there, then it stands to reason that …

A Reader Asks: How do I Respond to Abusive Relatives

"Dear, "A Humble Servant",
Can you help me respond to this?  I told my relative that he owes an apology, but his response was horrible.  Your testimony about that Priest who yelled at you and your family, and that you worked it out, gives me hope that you can help me. You can post this on your blog, too, in case you have readers with similar problems.

Sincerely,
[Anonymous]"

Dear [Anonymous], you can call me Dave, and I thank you for your confidence!  I may or may not be able to help, though.  My family and I really did work things out with that Priest, and my children now exchange Christmas cards and occasional letters with him.  However, that did take some time, AND he was willing to admit his fault and sincerely wanted to reconcile with us.  That matters.  The response from your relative does not sound much like he wants to reconcile (quite the opposite).

I honestly would not respond to him.  You gave him a charitable message of fraternal correction, and he respon…

Predicting the End of the World

I had a prediction for the end of the world come to me a week or two before Christmas. It was a comment by a fellow named "E", nestled as a comment in one of my other articles, automatically flagged as spam. Now that his predicted end of the world has come and gone, I thought I'd offer feedback on what went wrong with the prediction.
I visited with the person who sent the message, and it turns out that this was much more than just another "I have predicted the end of the world" preacher.  The person actually believes himself to be, not just a prophet, but THE prophet.  Because of this, and my suspicion that there are some psychological issues, I have removed his identifying information, which includes his websites.

"E's" comment began with a call to attention:

"You are part of a search and rescue for lost Catholics.
Regular updates to the countdown to the Day of the Lord by the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven at :
[website link redacted]"

Why Ask Mary?

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Why do Catholics, and other Christians who honor Christ's Mother, ask her to pray us? It's because we know she can help lead us to Christ like no other person can. In fact, everything about Mary magnifies God and points us to Christ.

Mary is the most pure Virgin, conceived without sin. From the very first instant, she was made entirely immaculate by God, her Savior. Gloriously full of grace, she is the mother of our God, the Queen of Angels and of men. We humbly venerate her as the chosen mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose Mary, from among all other women that existed, or ever will exist, for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved her from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, we have hope and bold confidence in her prayers for our holiness and salvation.

We pray that her prayers will bring us to imitate her holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

We …

Veneration vs. Worship: Are they the same thing?

Someone was sent the following, explaining how veneration and worship are supposedly the same things, and that venerating the Saints is the equivalent of giving them the worship due to God alone.

"The simplest definition of worship is to “ascribe worth.” Worship can be more completely defined as “showing respect, love, reverence, or adoration.” Based on the dictionary, no clear difference between veneration and worship exists. In fact, veneration and worship are often used as synonyms for each other.
The Catholic Church has different degrees of worship: dulia, hyperdulia, and latria. Dulia is the honor given to the saints. Hyperdulia is the honor given to Mary alone, as the greatest of the saints. Latria is the honor given to God alone. In contrast, the Bible always ascribes honor, in the context of worship, to God alone [1 Chronicles 29:11; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Revelation 4:11]. Even if there were biblical support for different levels of worship, there still would be no biblical…

To Give or Not to Give, and How to Do it Right: by Apprentice Blogger

Giving gifts thoughtlessly, or without consideration, is something we probably all have done. It seems like giving someone a gift that's "nice" or cheap, is a harmless act of charity, and the recipient will probably never know whether the giver has put much thought or effort into it. Some people don't even like giving gifts to others, yet they do it because they think they have to and therefore don't put much effort into it.
 But, as they say, it's the thought that counts; and if your thought is, ''Do I have to give someone a gift?",  then how does that show that you love or care about the receiver of the gift?  
It really doesn't.  
When the occasion calls for giving your friend a gift, do so with love, and not with the desire to get the cheapest item available, or to reluctantly just get it over with. Don't buy them a $700 watch, but also don't buy a cheap dollar store item. And don't buy them a super-expensive gift they won't …