Fr. Martin Leopold answered your questions on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), penance, forgiveness and God’s mercy in this episode of Catholicism Live!
Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.
Jesus said to his apostles, “Whoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.” To receive this message literally may seem quite harsh, but actually it is another way of stating the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
With the help of our parents, God created us out of love, and it is his love that keeps us in existence. God, in his wisdom, commands us to love him above all else – because he knows this is the only way to perfect happiness. Since God is Love and is the source of love, we can only reach our potential for loving ourselves and others when we love God first.
In God’s plan, everything is connected to his love, even the crosses he asks us to carry.
- He has already proven his love for us by sending his Son to become one of us. Born of the Virgin Mary, he took the name Jesus, and fulfilled all that the Scriptures prophesied about him.
- He spoke with authority and performed miracles while teaching about the love of the Heavenly Father.
- Out of love for us he established his Church upon Peter, the first pope, and the apostles so that his authority will be with us until the end of time, showing us how to live our lives close to God.
- On the night before he died, at the Last Supper, he instituted the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist so that those who believe in him might be one with him in a supernatural way when we receive him sacramentally. Such is his love for us.
- In obedience to the Father, he suffered his terrible passion and death on the cross for our salvation; he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven so that the Father would send the Holy Spirit on the Church he founded.
Love for God
This Jesus who has done all of this for us is telling us what we must do if we are to share eternal life with him. When God is our priority, we will recognize the specific plan he has for each of us. Then when we undergo trials, we know he will help us carry our crosses, because he promised he would.
God has always loved me, but I did not always give much thought about my love for God. How could I? Prayer was only an occasional activity. For love to be real, it must be a relationship with mutual and frequent communication. God is constantly communicating with us through his creation, through the events of the day, and through the people around us. When we spend time in prayer every day, when we read the Scriptures, and when we participate in the Mass and the sacraments of the Church; we become more aware of how close God is to us, and we begin to love God because we are able to experience his love.
What I Didn’t Know
Like most Catholics, I received my First Communion when I was in second grade. Through the years, I knew this was a special gift that I should not receive if I committed a mortal sin, but I did not have a deep understanding that this was the greatest gift of my life. Our Lord loves us so much that he gives us himself totally under the appearance of bread and wine. He does this so that we can become one with him in a supernatural way, and this is as close as we can get to heaven on earth.
Before the three children from Fatima received Holy Communion from the angel, they were taught this prayer. “I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love thee. And I ask pardon of those who do not believe, adore hope and love thee.” If we ask God, he will help us believe, adore, hope, and love him.
Lord, you have proven your love for me, help me to prove my love for you.
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.
Join Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox as they journey to the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Find out why this basilica is known as the seat of the bishop of Rome – the Pope. Learn about the magnificent sacred art and relics contained within this holy place. And discover several ways to be like the apostles and the saints in your everyday lives.
Jewel for the Journey:
No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. — St. Maximillian Kolbe
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Have you ever wondered why the Catholic faithful have built so many elaborate churches over history?
Discover the meaning and significance of the various parts of a Catholic church building, as Angela Sealana and Robert Rodriguez walk you through the history, architecture and symbolism of what is called the House of God and Gateway to Heaven.
Discover how knowing more about your church building can help you to fully enter into worship each time you are there.
Jewel for the Journey
Jesus said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know, that I must be in my Father’s house?” – Luke 2: 49
Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org for more information.
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On October 14, Pope Paul VI was declared a saint by Pope Francis. Many remember Pope Paul VI for shepherding the Church through the Second Vatican Council and for his enlightening encyclicals, Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World) and Humanae Vitae (On Human Life).
This episode of Living Catholicism will delve deeper into the accomplishments of Paul VI, and will also introduce you to the man born Giovanni Montini. Plus, discover what you can learn from this newly canonized Saint.
Links to St. Pope Paul VI’s Official Documents
What is a pilgrimage? And what makes that pilgrimage an authentic spiritual journey?
Join Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox – co-founders and directors of Pilgrim Center of Hope – as they share their 30-years of experience leading customized journeys of faith to the Holy Land, Italy, and to the sites in Portugal, France and Mexico where our Blessed Mother appeared.
Whether you are considering going on an international pilgrimage – or simply want to hear their description of what it means to be on pilgrimage or to be a pilgrim people, you will want to listen.
The Foxes have been prayerfully conducting pilgrimages since 1984. They have visited the Holy Land over 50-times and offered their spiritual direction to thousands of pilgrims seeking a journey of hope. For many of the pilgrims, these journeys have led them into authentic discipleship and transformation both individually and collectively.
Hear about all the moments of grace along the way, including the testimony of one pilgrim, whose life has been forever-changed by the experience. They will describe how going on an authentic spiritual journey is like walking into the Scriptures, engaging all the senses…truly connecting heaven and earth!
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