Mary, the Most Powerful Woman

When you think about powerful women, who first comes to your mind?

In December 2015, National Geographic magazine called Mary, Mother of God, the most powerful woman in the world.

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox as they discuss the impact Mary has had on the world since the beginning of Christianity.

During this program we will look at Mary’s role as Mediatrix and intercessor, how often she is mentioned in the Bible, and why Catholics revere her.

Message of Hope
Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.
– 
St. Josemaria Escriva

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

Mindfulness in Living Catholicism

What are we Catholics to do when someone suggests we practice Mindfulness?

You see this word a lot lately, even Time Magazine recently had a whole issue dedicated to Mindfulness as a path to happiness.

Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness defined this way was how a practicing and very faithful Catholic explained it to me. She shared that this technique has helped her with her obsessive tendencies that can send her emotions overboard. By making note of how a text, email or comment made her feel without judging herself, she is able to keep her emotions in check.

Mindfulness is also defined as a Buddhist spirituality in which one meditates in order to empty oneself and in the practice of it, achieve self-awareness. This is incompatible with the Catholic faith which calls us instead to place ourselves in the Presence of God so as to grow in awareness of who our loving Creator and Father has created us to be.

When my Catholic friend initially brought up mindfulness, I dismissed it quickly as New Age, but that was wrong of me. Her explanation opened my understanding of not only the multiple definitions of mindfulness, but also how we should not judge a meaning based simply on a word.

This experience reminded me that as a Catholic, I am not to just accept what is being offered nor am I to dismiss without consideration. Instead, I am to listen and discern.

The Apostle, St. Paul, is a master of discernment and can teach us much in how to differentiate between New Age, other spiritualities and the Fullness of Truth; which is Jesus Christ as revealed through His Catholic Church. St. Paul teaches us to, “Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil,” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

We test everything by discerning the source; is it human, a spirit, or is it God? St. Paul teaches, “See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity, bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power,” (Colossians 2:8-11).

If, as with my Catholic friend, we are using mindfulness as a tool to remain in the present moment, this is good. Ignatian Spirituality, a time-honored practice of the Church, tells us that the present moment is where God is and where his grace exists for us to receive. If in this present moment we praise God for who He is and for who He has created us to be, this is Divine and worthy of our attention.

If, however, we discover in listening that we are being advised to consider a mindfulness spirituality that calls us to look inward, focus on self and empty ourselves, we should instead use this as an opportunity to evangelize. Often it is out of ignorance and a hope for inner peace that we fall into deceptions. We are not to judge the person, but certainly admonish in kindness so he or she does not continue to be misguided. The best way is to ask lots of questions as this draws the person into discernment as words are put to thought. With your questions, you have a wonderful opportunity to guide them from what they may think is a path to happiness on to the Way, our Lord Jesus Christ, The Path to Happiness.

God has placed each of us in this time and in this culture for a reason and we do not have any reason to be afraid. Living Catholicism means to grow in faith as we try and live it out in the people we encounter and in the circumstances we find ourselves. In these moments and in all moments, we are to remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit and as our Lord Jesus tells us, “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say” (Matthew 10:19).

Nan Balfour is Events Coordinator at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of this Catholic evangelization apostolate in Today’s Catholic newspaper. Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Healing of the Family – Part Two

Join Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI and his guest Fr. John Francis Bentley, BBD as they delve further into the topic Healing of the Family. During this episode of Living Catholicism, we will take a look at  some of the main causes of the major breakdown of the family structure in our society:

  • The consequences of Ancestral Sin
  • The work of Satan through deceit, division, diversion, and discouragement
  • Family bondages or generational curses
  • Demonic strongholds

Message of Hope
The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.
– St. Alphonsus Liguori

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

Saint Joseph with baby Jesus

St. Joseph – A Lesson In Trust

Why is placing our trust in God so crucial? How can we learn to trust as St. Joseph did?

Join Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox as they examine how the example of St. Joseph can help you trust God with all aspects of your life, especially in times of crisis or when faced with adversity.

Message of Hope
We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father. The Holy Scriptures speak of him as the father of Jesus. If the King of Kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to strive to honor him as much as we can. – St. Alphonsus Liguori

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

What Are You Looking For?

Whether we realize it or not, that is a question that stirs in the heart of every one of us. The dilemma is that many people don’t know what they are looking for or how to bring meaning to their life.

Join Mary Jane Fox for steps to direct your search, which involve growing spiritually and in relationship to Jesus.

Message of Hope
When we draw near to Jesus, we too see once more the light which enables us to look to the future with confidence. We find anew the strength and the courage to set out on the way. – Pope Francis, Liturgy at St. Peter’s, 3-5-16

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

Four Attitudes to Find God in Prayer

How may of us wonder if God knows who we are? Or does He hear my prayer?

During this episode of Living Catholicism, Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox will share 4 indispensable attitudes given to us by St. Anthony of Padua:

  • Open one’s heart confidently to God
  • Speak affectionately with him
  • Present him your needs
  • Praise him and thank him

Not only will this program answer the questions posed, but you will also discover how loved, valued, and necessary each of us is to God.

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

Spiritual Six Pack

 

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. – Pope John XXIII

Spiritually-speaking, this is the mindset we all should have as we march into 2019.

As a way to encourage you to start or add to your faith life, consider this multi-faceted “Spiritual Six-Pack” of suggestions on how to build up your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Every year, I personally use this as a checklist to take inventory of my spiritual development. First, I ask myself if I’ve been living this “spiritual six-pack,” and then I make a list of how I am going to improve in these areas in the year ahead.

RECOGNIZE YOUR VALUE IN GOD’S SIGHT

To illustrate this point, St. John of the Cross wrote an allegory that describes how God gave creation as a bride to His Son and how Christ as the Bridegroom of our Souls, paid the ultimate price in order to save us all from slavery.

I will go and find my bride; I will take upon my shoulders her sufferings and weariness; I will die, so that she may live, and so I will lead her back to my Father. – St. John of the Cross

SEEK UNION WITH EACH PERSON OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

By the grace of God, our soul becomes, first, the child of the eternal Father; second, the spouse of Jesus Christ; third, the temple of the Holy Spirit. – St. Bonaventure

LET CHRIST DWELL WITHIN YOU

St. Ignatius of Loyola once said, “Christ is the life of all those who truly live.” The more we become one with Christ, the more Christ will shine through us.

Not to live in Christ is to gradually lose the spirit of prayer, the love of virtue, the taste of devotion, and the zeal for salvation. Like a branch separated from a vine, we wither and die.

FIND UNION WITH JESUS IN YOUR WORK

The sanctification of ordinary work is a living seed, able to yield fruits of holiness in an immense number of souls. Sanctity, for the vast majority of people, implies sanctifying their work, sanctifying themselves in it, and sanctifying others through it.  – St. Josemaria Escriva

SEE JESUS IN YOUR NEIGHBOR

If Mark 12:31 isn’t clear enough, how about these words from St. John the Apostle:

In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the Devil: whosoever is not just is not of God, nor he that loveth not his brother (1 John 3:10).

Let us see in every one of our neighbors, whatever his state may be, an image of Jesus Christ, and serve each one in our Lord, and our Lord in each one.  – St. Vincent de Paul

GIVE THANKS TO GOD

When we are grateful, we love.  – St. Augustine

St. John Chrysostom says, because man so often fails in this obligation of gratitude, the Son of God puts Himself in our place and takes from His own treasures all that is necessary to do for us what we can never do ourselves.

It almost goes without saying, that daily prayer, receiving Communion frequently, going to Confession at least once a month, and keeping God’s commandments should form the foundation of our lives as Catholics.

By regularly meditating on the six aspects of your life listed above, don’t be surprised if you experience the following benefits:

  • Interior Peace
  • Spiritual Joy
  • Light
  • Consolation
  • Strength

If you are feeling compelled to regularly reflect on the “spiritual six-pack,” I want to make one final suggestion, and that is to call upon the Virgin Mary as your guide, intercessor, and protector.

…under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach your goal. – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

As a gift to you, here is the Totus Tuus prayer written by St. Pope John Paul II. This prayer is at the heart of my devotion to Our Blessed Mother:

Immaculate Conception, Mary my Mother;
Live in me, Act in me, Speak in me and through me,
Think your thoughts in my mind, Love through my heart,
Give me your dispositions and feelings, Teach, lead me and guide me to Jesus,
Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and behavior;
Possess my soul, Take-over my entire personality and life, replace it with Yourself,
Incline me to constant adoration, Pray in me and through me,
Let me live in you and keep me in this union always, Amen.

Robert V. Rodriguez is the Public Relations and Outreach Assistant at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of Pilgrim Center of Hope appearing in Today’s Catholic newspaper.

Healing of the Family – Part One

What are the serious issues facing nuclear and extended families today?

Join Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI and Fr. John Francis Bentley, BBD as they talk about the wounds facing families in today’s society. As part of their discussion, they will look at how certain kinds of sin can pass down generationally and affect not just the physical parts but also the psychological and spiritual parts of our being.

Also learn about the programs available to heal family relationships, physical and mental illnesses, and addictions.

Message of Hope
Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.  – Pope St. John XXIII

 

2019 Catholic Men’s Conference – Preview

Are you ready for San Antonio’s fourteenth annual Catholic Men’s Conference?

Join Robert Rodriguez for a preview of CMC 2019. Themed Master, I want to see (cf. Mark 10: 51), this year’s spiritual bootcamp for the soul is going to feature some of the countries most dynamic speakers. Hear all about what they have planned.

Discover the importance of coming together as a band of brothers, as men sharpening men. Find out how CMC 2019 can help every man get to know the true Christ and follow him.

Message of Hope
St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. – St. Josemaria Escriva

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.

Living Your Baptism

When is the last time you thought about your Baptism? Are you living your Baptism?

Beyond the renewal of our baptismal vows during the Easter Vigil, there are lots of ways we can live out our baptismal promises each and every day.

Join Angela Sealana and Robert Rodriguez as they discuss baptism as the gateway to a life in the Spirit. The program will present practical ways to be reminded of and inspired by our baptism. We will also share some spiritual reflections related to our being sons and daughters of God.

Message of Hope
Baptism is not the work of man but of Christ, and this sacrament is so holy that it would not be defiled, even if the minister were a murderer.
– St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org/Living for more information.