More than Ever, The World Needs the Luminous Mysteries

Using pebbles or beads as tangible prayer minders was nothing new by the 9th century, when Monks had begun making a daily or weekly recitation of all 150 Psalms.  It made perfect sense, then, when the lay faithful, who wanted a way to participate in this pious practice, yet had difficulty learning the Psalms due to various reasons (e.g., widespread illiteracy), instead recited 150 prayers daily or weekly and kept track of them by means of pebbles or beads.  Eventually this practice evolved into beads being strung together on a cord.  The daily prayers would typically be the "Pater Noster" (the Lord's Prayer, found in Lk 11:2-4 or Mt 6:9-13) or the "Ave [Gratia Plena]" (the "Hail, Full of Grace" found in Lk 1:28, 41-42).  Gradually, the second half of what we know today as the "Hail Mary" was added, reflecting Lk 1:43 and passages regarding praying for one another (e.g., James 5:16).  This recitation of prayers on beads would eventually evolve

Just Do it the Way He Says

Too many times, man receives a nudge from the Spirit to do something, only to decide to "do it my own way" and completely mess it up for himself, and usually for everyone else around him.  What would happen if we would just do what God says, and follow exactly the way He says to do it? I felt a nudge from the Lord to tell my wife something...something I KNEW would become an argument, because it did the last 3 times I brought up the topic. It's a topic regarding a particular family devotion that has been a point of contention which, in the past, had left us both with hurt feelings.  The nudge was to reintroduce the topic, and to state it in a very specific way:  " I want us to start doing [this particular devotion]". I prayed about it and reminded the Lord ( because hey, who doesn't think that the Lord needs us to remind Him of things?? ) that this was a very contentious topic, and I was not up for having the argument, because it's not something obliga

Did God Give us a Religion, or a Relationship?

I continue to see comments lately that pit “relationship” against “religion”, as though there’s a new trend with Christians trying to distance themselves from “rules” that they might be expected to follow. The latest I heard was " Religion gets you to church, but relationship helps you grow in your faith ".  Other examples are, “ Having a religion is against my relationship ”, or “ God gave me a relationship, not a religion to follow ”, or “ I have a personal relationship with Christ, I don’t need a religion’s rules to tell me what to do ”. There are various ways of saying it, but the main message is that “ Christ gave us a relationship with Him, not a religion to follow”, and it's an incredibly short-sighted and incorrect view of what Christ has given us.  The religion that Christ gave us to follow is a reflection of our relationship with Him .  "Religion", from the Latin "religio" means to  bind oneself  [to something]. In this case, our Christian

A Hospital for Sinners

- " If I touch the holy water font, it'll melt. " - " I better not go to confession because, if I enter the church, it may burn down! "   - " I'm just too 'dirty' to go before God right now...I need to clean up first. "   Whether they are an excuse to not go to church, or a genuine notion that someone actually has to 'get right with God' BEFORE they receive the Sacraments, these comments (paraphrased, but you are likely familiar with many variations of them) are wrong minded, backwards, and completely miss the purpose of the Sacraments.   You may have read in any number places, in any number of ways, that " the church is not a museum for saints; rather it is a hospital for sinners ".  And this is the truth of the matter.   We need not be "clean" in order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (i.e., going to confession).  Reconciliation is given to us by Christ for exactly that reconcile us to Hi

Coronavirus and an Opportunity for Greatness

Before this pandemic hit our nation, I considered myself a good Christian. I give to the Church; I help others when I can; I give an honest day's work to provide for my family; I raise my children in the faith handed down to us by our Lord. But this pandemic has opened my eyes in the past couple weeks. My wife and I quickly realized that the burden that would hit us, as our state went on "lock-down", would impact other people as well...and probably hit them harder. After all, I have a job that allows me to work from home, so I won't lose a paycheck (yet). And despite the initial mob that emptied our local grocery store, we have a place nearby to buy the essentials and we are both capable of going shopping. ("Both capable of going shopping" is something I didn't realize I was taking for granted until recently.) And while it meant having six children at home, like wild rabbits being chased by a cage, we are more adjusted to that than most becaus

Drive-Thru Christianity

I noticed it this past Ash Wednesday, as the local news channel was covering "drive-thru ashes" for Christians who wanted to get their Wednesday ashes but didn't have time to stop into a formal service or Mass. Various denominations had set up stops in various places for people to stop by for a quick dusting upon their foreheads, grab a donut and coffee, and then go about their busy day. I'm sure the intention was genuine: meet people where they are in their lives and attempt to bring bits of the faith to them. It's a good sentiment. But that's about all it is, and I believe it delivers a message that completely contradicts the whole point of "Ash Wednesday" from the very start. Here's the message: "We know you are busy and don't have time to 'make time' for things of the faith, so we'll make it more convenient for you so that your faith life doesn't get in the way of your 'other' life". But isn&#

Right to Life Being Preached by a Sinner?

My brother shared a video of the first sitting President to attend a March for Life event giving a speech at said event.  The speech was wonderfully supportive of babies' right to life and I think it's historic and precedent-setting that a President has made this pro-life move, regardless of his motives.  Yet, there was one gentleman who kept trying to dismiss the pro-life message and draw focus away from it by trying to refocus on the person of the President.  It led to some interesting dialog but gave me an opportunity to dive back into a question to which I have yet, after years of asking, to receive an actual answer or any focused discussion.  You can decide whether this ended differently. Ray's words will appear in plain text, mine in blue. Ray: It's called pandering and it doesn't mean he is a good and moral man. Trump once declared in a 1999 interview that “I am pro-choice in every respect.” ( Nevermind that people can change. As another person in t