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A Path to Interior Freedom

What do you think of when you hear the word commandment? Does that bring forth a negative thought? Is it an imposition on your freedom? I’ll bet many of you have had the experience of telling a young child “no”. You probably didn’t get the response you wanted without a little extra persuasion. Of course, your “no” was a gesture of love, wanting to protect the child from some danger.

God’s commandments are like that for us. God created us out of love and wants to protect us from things that threaten our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. We are inclined to desire things that we believe will provide us with pleasure or selfish comforts that can be harmful to ourselves and others. In addition to this, we have an enemy called Satan who tries to convince us that what we know to be wrong is actually okay. In the beginning, he is not so successful because our conscience is still able to help us avoid doing that which we know is wrong. However, the enemy doesn’t give up. He knows our weaknesses and will tempt us in little things where we think the comprise of our conscience is not so serious. He has set the trap. This compromise will lead to more serious sin. Left unchecked, this pattern can cause us to feel distant from God and lead to a feeling of hopelessness.

He Created Us Out of Love

Of course, God is the solution to this dilemma. He created us out of love, and it is his love that sustains us. He knows our weaknesses and the enemy who wants to destroy us. God commands us to love him because it is only in our love for him and his love for us that we are able to experience true and lasting happiness. God is the source of all love and everything that is good; and the only way we can reach our potential for loving others and ourselves is by loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all mind.

Jesus says, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me, and, whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” John 14:21. It’s not complicated. If we want to know and experience the love and mercy of God, and the happiness, peace, and hope that are part of a relationship with Him; we must keep the commandments.

A Perfect Love

Because God loves us with a perfect love, he has made it possible for us to remain in his love through the Church and her sacraments and by remaining connected to him in our daily prayer. The more we pray and frequent the sacraments, the more aware we are of the nearness of God and his plan for our happiness. This does not mean we will not experience challenges and trials. It does mean that when trials come our way, we will turn to God for strength and direction because of the relationship with him.

One proof of God’s love for us is the Holy Eucharist. Jesus loves us so much that he gives himself to us under the appearance of bread. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive God. This is no casual experience. We should be properly prepared and disposed to receive our Lord. The sacrament of reconciliation is a personal encounter with Jesus who extends his forgiveness and mercy to us through his priest. This sacrament helps us to break free from habitual sin and make progress in our spiritual life.

Live a Life Close to God

As with all the saints through the ages, we have available to us everything we need to live a life close to God that will guarantee our happiness now and forever. We also must expect that we will experience the cross during our journey on earth. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. It is especially when we undergo trials that we realize we need the help that only God can give us. It doesn’t mean that, just because we pray, things will always be fixed as we hope. It does mean that, when we preserve in prayer, we will come to trust that God is giving us what we need for the benefit of our soul and the souls of the people we are praying for.

When we have total trust in God we will be freed. It’s a process that depends upon our prayer and God’s grace.


Deacon Tom FoxK.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.

Freedom from Demonic Influence In Our Lives

During the autumn season, we hear more about – and even see celebrated – witchcraft, the occult, and other dark practices.

Join host Father Ed Hauf, OMI, and his guest, Sandra Rodriguez, a prayer group member who together with Father Ed, have experience praying for persons to be healed from demonic influence. Hear their discussion of these issues, and the importance of freedom in Christ.

 

Prayers from Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI

Spiritual Warfare Prayer 

Heavenly Father, I bow in worship and prayer before You. I worship You, and I give You praise. I recognize that You are worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise. I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as our protection during this time of prayer. I surrender myself completely and unreservedly in every area of my life to You. I take my stand against all the workings of Satan that would hinder me in this time of prayer.

Father, because of the victory won for us on the cross, I declare that all principalities and powers and all evil spirits are subject to me in the powerful name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command all demonic forces to leave my presence. I am thankful for the armor You have provided, and I choose to put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, and the helmet of salvation. I lift up the shield of faith against all the fiery darts of the Enemy and take in my hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and use Your Word against all the forces of evil in my life. I reject out of my life all the insinuations, the accusations, and the temptations of Satan. I put on this armor and live in complete dependence upon You. Heavenly Father, I choose to live in obedience to You and in fellowship with You. Open my eyes and show me the areas of my life that don’t please You. Give me the courage to deal with those areas. Work in my life that there be no ground to give Satan a foothold against me. Show me any area of weakness. By faith and in dependence upon You, I choose to resist my old nature and to submit to my new nature. I stand today in all the victory of the resurrection and the provision You have made for me to live above sin. I resist the old nature with its selfishness, and I submit to the new nature with its love. I resist the old nature with its fear, and I submit to the new nature with its courage. I resist the old nature with its weakness, and I submit to the new nature with its strength. I resist the old nature with its deceitful lusts, and submit to the new nature with its righteousness and purity.

I affirm that You have not given me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I give my emotions to You. I give my will to You, and I choose to make the right decisions of faith. I give my body to You, and I rejoice in Your mercy and goodness.

Father, I pray that You would show me the way Satan is hindering and tempting and lying and counterfeiting and distorting the truth in my life. Enable me to be the kind of person that would please You and to give You Your rightful place in my life. I yield my life to You and I refuse to be discouraged. You are the God of all hope. I claim in every way Your victory over all satanic forces active in my life, and I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

“Soul-Ties”

Here are some examples of situations that could create bad soul-ties:
* Sexual sin: Sex unites people physically, emotionally and spiritually. If we have sex with people other than our spouse in a sacramental marriage, we create soul ties that cause all kinds of problems (spiritual confusion, emotional confusion, sex addiction, compulsive behaviors, habitual masturbation, pornographic addiction/obsession, etc.). This connects us with the demon of lust. Since sexual activity was created by God as the liturgy of the Sacrament of Matrimony, anyone indulging in it with someone other than his or her spouse is living a lie, and therefore is connected with the demon of deceit.
* Looking at sex images, memories, objects and fetishes: These activities can establish a soul tie with an evil spirit. An example of this is found in Hosea 4:17 when Ephraim became joined with his idols. A tie may not be established in every instance, but it is certainly possible. Example objects from sinful sexual relationships: a favorite porn depiction, a garment worn by a former lover, pictures of former lovers, a cherished sinful sexual memory.
* Sexual abuse/molestation: This can result in soul ties between the perpetrator and the victim. If you have been involved in sexual abuse, please seek healing prayer and
Christian counsel as you proceed in your journey to freedom.
* “Unhealthy” relationships: Examples include relationships characterized by manipulation, guilt, emotional abuse, co-dependency, unnatural affection, envy and/or lust, sexual relationships with someone not my spouse.

You may not have had all of these things happen to you but if you have at least had one of these items happen in your life you may need to pray this prayer.

“Father God, I thank you for saving me from destruction. I praise you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. Please forgive me for my sins against you. Specifically, I confess that I have sinned recently or in the past by (details of the sin & names of partners). I repent of that sin and renounce it now. Lord, please purify my heart from this sin, the memory of it, and any associated fantasy I have entertained in my mind regarding it. In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of his blood shed on the cross, I cut myself free from any soul ties that may have been established with _________(name(s) of partners or specific objects). I now commit him/her/them to the care of Jesus Christ for him to do with as he wills.
Satan, I rebuke you in all your works and ways. I rebuke any evil spirits that have a foothold in me. In the name of Jesus, I command you evil spirits to leave me and go directly to Jesus Christ. Father, please heal my soul of any wounds resulting from these soul ties. Please reintegrate any part of me that may have been fragmented through this/these soul ties and restore me to wholeness. I also ask that you reintegrate all the parts of any person(s) I sinned with that have been fragmented by sinning with me, and restore them to wholeness.
I command every portion of my soul (my thoughts, my will, my emotions, my personality and mind) and heart, all of me: spirit, soul and body, that has been fragmented, torn or broken or cursed, to come back into its proper place…to be healed; every piece of my heart to be returned; my soul to be restored and every bondage and related soul-tie to be completely broken, destroyed and totally de-tached from me, in the name of Jesus! Father God, in the name of Jesus, I ask now, that You heal my heart and guard it by Your Power and Your Love, and keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.Make me every which way whole…in every area of my life. I desire to live in a manner that pleases You, and brings glory to Your name. Thank you, Lord, for your healing power and your perfect love for me. May I glorify you with my life from this point forward. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jericho – West Bank, Palestine

Join Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox as they lead you on a journey to visit what is the oldest ancient city on earth, dating back to 9,000 BC. Jericho was the first city the Israelites conquered. It is located not far from Our Lord was baptized in the Jordan River, and as a result of several natural springs is an oasis in a very arid region of the Jordan Valley.

During this program you will discover more about:

  • Christian pilgrimage sites located here
  • the time Jesus spent in Jericho as mentioned in Scripture
  • what we can learn from the Gospel accounts of Zacchaeus and Bartimaeus – both encountered Jesus in Jericho

Image credit (CC-BY-SA 3.0) Dmitrij Rodionov, DR

 

The Gaze of Jesus Can Heal | Journey with Jesus

 

Divine Mercy image

Confession and God’s Mercy

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.

 

When We Ask God, “Why?”

Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)

The death of Jesus on the cross was fresh in the minds of his disciples. They thought all was lost. They knew he was dead and buried, but forgot that he had prophesied that he would rise from the dead. The reality of what they saw and knew to be true prevented them from seeing that what had taken place was the fulfillment of the Scriptures and the very words of Jesus himself.

The Stumbling Block

Our human logic is necessary to make rational decisions, but sometimes logic must give way to faith. It is not logical that God would become human so that he could be tortured and killed by humans to save us from our sins, and indeed this is still a stumbling block for millions of people who refuse to believe.

For millions, even some Christians, it isn’t logical that Jesus loves us so much that he established the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist so that we can receive him body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion during the Holy Mass. Even some of his disciples refused to follow him when he told them they must eat his flesh and drink his blood if they were to have eternal life. So that there could be no confusion, he repeated this message four times. The disciples that remained with him did not understand the teaching either, but their faith in Jesus was stronger than their need to understand. As Peter said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Finding An Answer

Life is a mystery, and we all will be confronted by situations and circumstances we do not understand. We all have asked and will ask, “why.” The answer can be found in our purpose for being on this earth. We are here to know, love, and serve God so that we can be happy for all eternity.

If we don’t like that answer, we should read the lives of the saints who found their purpose and their happiness in their faithful relationship with God. Many of them died young, lived in poverty with poor health, and suffered many trials. Some of the saints were kings, doctors, lawyers, farmers, husbands, wives, children, and from every walk of life. And yet their hearts burned with love for God because they entered into a personal relationship with him that was more important than anything else in their lives and they experienced great peace and happiness.

Jesus longs for everyone of us to experience that same peace and happiness. No matter who we are or what we have done, Jesus reveals his Sacred Heart to us and desires that we come to him to experience his mercy right now, without hesitation. When we surrender our hearts to the heart of Jesus, we can be confident he will give us the grace we need for every situation, even if we have to suffer for a time.

Jesus, set my heart on fire for love of you! Jesus, I trust in you!


Deacon Tom FoxK.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.

Divine Mercy: Unfathomable Gift

Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, talks with Jordan and Blerina Psota about how devotion to the Divine Mercy transformed their lives!

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Jesus, Help Me to Forgive | Journey with Jesus

Jesus, I Ask for Healing | Journey with Jesus

Becoming People of Hope

Today, we can be easily discouraged amid bleak headlines, divisive words, and life’s many challenges. How can we make a difference in a world that seems to have lost hope? With joy and humor, Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy visited San Antonio to celebrate Pilgrim Center of Hope’s 25 year anniversary and re-awaken us to the hope that God gives.