Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 13, 2017.
God is Not Satan’s Biggest Rival
According to St. Louis de Montfort, “[Mary] is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus and will surrender themselves to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong entirely to Jesus (True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary ). Even though I am a life-long Catholic this quote caught me off guard. It seemed too intrepid and I thought it was statements like this that bred the Catholic caricature in the mind of Protestants.
I have since been graced with the understanding that the above quote by the French saint is true and a vital truth in our Catholic faith. Earlier this week I start a Marian consecration with my parish disciple group [communal level] and with my wife [private level]. This will culminate on the centennial anniversary of Mary’s Apparition at Fatima.
Like with most of my daily blog topics, my original topic I wanted did not match what I actually wrote. Today is no different. To be honest, I had an urging of the Holy Spirit to write about Mary during my drive back to work during the noon hour. Let me explain why I believe Mary is the prime foe to Satan. I will incorporate Scripture, writing from St. Louis de Montfort, and my own personal experience as evidence to back this claim.
Enmity Predicted in Genesis 3:15
Listen to the words of the inspired writer in Genesis, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” The word enmity actually means malice, hostility, or antagonism. No simple division occurred between the woman [Mary] and the serpent [Satan]. There is an antagonistic battle between the two. Interestingly enough, this theme is found in the other bookend of the Bible in the Book of Revelation.
Opposites Don’t Attract
Unlike the adage, “opposites attract” or the truth revealed when playing with magnets, in the case of Mary versus Satan—OPPOSITES DO NOT ATTRACT! St. Louis de Montfort sums it ups both concisely and beautifully, “What Lucifer lost by pride Mary won by humility” (True Devotion 53). Mary’s powerful intercessory power comes from her intimate union with God through her silent prayer and pondering heart. The devil as his weapon of choice is noise and chaos. He wants to increase the “decibels” so our spiritual life never takes root in the silent pondering before God.
Bullies Are Scared of Their Victim’s Mothers
A friend of mine told our discipleship group earlier this week, “Satan will hate you for starting this Marian consecration”. I curiosity asked, “How so?” He went on to tell about his temptations and struggles when he began a similar journey a few years ago. His foreshadowing came true today.
My family’s morning started off hectic and the stress only increased and even doubled down as the day went on. But viewing Mary as the greatest enemy of Satan makes perfect sense of today’s turmoil.
Bullies like Satan tend to get really self-defensive when their victims’ mother intervenes. If anyone bullied my son, I would warn the bully ahead of time to be more afraid of my wife than me. In a similar way, the silent salvo our Salve Regina unleashes on the Devil may intensify during the ensuing days of my Marian consecration.
Before I conclude, I do want to provide a qualifying statement to any non-Catholic reader. I do not intend to place Mary at the equal level of God. She is not God. However, Catholics honor Mary as the most perfect creation of God. We also honor her as the Mother of God.
I will leave you with words of wisdom from St. Louis, “The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary” (True Devotion 16). Let us thank God for allowing Mary to be a doorway upon which we may experience God’s graces.
The half way point of Lent is a time period when many people begin to cave into their Lenten promises. I know for me it is a struggle. I gave up negativity and fast food. Though in giving it up I find myself with a lot of extra time. I have spent more time in prayer with God during these forty days.
The Latin word for Lent, quadragesima, literally means forty days! However, this number does not mean much to the average person unless they understand the significance of the number forty in Scripture.
God and Geography
The number forty is also attached to particular geography: mountains and deserts. When one thinks of these places words such as desolate, barren, alone, and harsh might come to mind.
God seems to have a close presence to individuals in the Bible in these settings. Take Moses for instance, in Exodus 24:18 when he stays on the peak of Mount Sinai for forty days and nights. It was here that Moses met God and received the Ten Commandments.
Elijah also met God upon a mountain, after traveling for forty days and nights. On the mountain, Elijah faced strong winds and an intense earthquake. But he continued to hold steadfast in faith and met God in a quite whisper.
How often do we let the “noises” of daily life distract us from God?
In this modern world, people hate the quiet and constantly surround themselves with “things” (cellphones, internet, television, etc.) to keep from silence.
Importance of Fasting
During Lent we are called to a life of fasting. While Christians should always be fasting in some degree throughout the year, the Church urges us to reflect upon it more deeply.
The first thing Jesus does after His Baptism is to fast in the desert for forty days and nights. Probably weak from hunger, He is tempted by the devil. But Jesus fails to give into worldly pleasures. It is this example that all Christians are called to in Lent. By giving up things from this world, we can center our life back onto Christ.
Though it may feel like you are on a mountaintop or in a desert thirsting, know that Lent is not a time for punishing yourself with guilt. In fasting one learns to give up unnecessary and sometimes harmful objects or habits and grow into a closer relationship with Jesus.
Hopefully at the end of Lent, we can all say that we truly experienced God in a deeper way, like Moses and Elijah did on the mountaintop!
Saint Patrick lived in the 5th century and was a Christian missionary. He was instrumental in converting Ireland to Christianity. Known most for his usage of the shamrock to help explain the Trinity, Patrick’s successfully converted the pagans.
Several posts on this feast day focus on “little known facts” or about whether Saint Patrick was actually Irish. I’m going to do something a bit different. Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayeralways provided me with great comfort. This article will examine the various aspects of his prayer.
Here’s the short version of the prayer (for the long version check out the link in the related resources at the end of this article):
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Put on the Armor of God
Immediately, I think of Saint Paul’s description in Ephesians 6:10-18. The Bible acts as a defense against the temptations of the devil and the world. Reading and listening to the Word of God shields one with truth. The Devil enjoys sowing discord and twisting truth to fit his desire― draw people away from God.
Christ is always with us but sometimes it can be easy to forget. Sometimes we push God away or turn our back on Him. Saint Patrick’s breastplate prayer uses directional words to help remind one of the closeness of Jesus. Jesus is beside you. He is with you. On the right and left. Christ’s presence envelops you as a protection like how armor surrounds a soldier in battle.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
In Matthew 22:39 Jesus tells the Pharisees, “The second (greatest commandment) is like it (the first): You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Saint Patrick loved God first, but he followed the second great commandment too. He served the Irish peoples by leading them out of the errors of paganism and towards the truth of the Gospel.
In praying Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer, one is reminded to see God in others. It’s easy to get frustrated at strangers who commit a wrong: cutting you off in traffic, providing less than helpful advice at a call center, or even those who annoy you at church. Patrick was a foreigner in Ireland (contrary to popular views he wasn’t Irish!). But he accepted God’s call to spread the message of Jesus Christ as Savior.
Drive Out the Serpent(s)
The above image is a p(f)unny way to describe how Saint Patrick drove out the snakes from Ireland. Joking aside, it was because of his cooperation with God’s will Patrick had the ability to perform such a miracle (herpetologists might disagree). Christ with me. Those opening words to the Breastplate prayer can give us hope. The battle and journey through life doesn’t have to be done alone. God is with us. He was (and still is in Heaven) with Saint Patrick during his early years when he was captured as a slave. And God was with Patrick as he drove the snakes (and the pagan ideologies) out of Ireland.
Saint Patrick prays for us to put on the armor of God, to love God and fellow men, and to rely on Jesus to help us drive out the spiritual serpents in our lives. Amen.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Detective Daddy: Me
Muffin Miscreant [mentioned]: Avila
Three years after the events of Detective Daddy Episode 3: Shenanigans Infect Us All.
“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
—Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight (2008)
Time is a crazy thing. You can’t wait to grow up and a day feels like a year. But when you get older time seems to speed up. Years turn into weeks. Weeks into days. Hours fly by in a minute. Yet memories don’t always fade. In some “cases” thoughts blaze in the mind while darkening the heart.
Three Long Years
“It’s been a long three years,” he thought. So much potential and promise existed in the Time Before the Events. New work. A training partner. Finally, a decrease in shenanigans. Things were at an all-time high for the former sleuth. After years of study and case-work, Detective Daddy solved the greatest case of his career: MuffinGate.
It pushed him to the limit, or what he thought was his limit, and nearly crumbled his confidence in his caper-skills. Persistence and hyper-focus were his superpowers. Following the muffin-crumbs led the detective to make an amazing discovery. The Muffin Miscreant and the Coffee Culprit were the same individual. Turns out the Detective was too focused on solving cases for the public he couldn’t keep his own home in order as the Muffin Miscreant was his own offspring!
This revelation pushed Detective Daddy to a crossroads in his career. He decided to hang-up his gumshoes and deerstalker in place of library trips and piggyback rides. Fatherhood allowed the detective to enjoy family life while also keeping his creativity and problem solving skills sharp. He gained a promotion at a local grocery center and worked the night shift. This allowed his wife and him the ability to have a parent present at all times in the house.
Then the Events began to happen. These began with a global pandemic that upset much existing systems. Panic set in. Hope seemed to dissolve faster than baking soda in vinegar.
Detective Daddy fell back on his old mindset as a way to approach this “After the Events” worldview: logic, deduction, and investigation. “There must be a reasonable way to solve these problems (ours and the world’s)”, the former sleuth told his wife. This sentence came up time and time again. It turned from a single thought into a mantra. And from a mantra into a madness…
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by CatholicGigs.com.
Saint Josemaria Escriva wrote, “Professional work is also an apostolate, an opportunity to give ourselves to others, to reveal Christ to them and lead them to God the Father.” These words are true yet not always easy to live by during the job search process— it’s a full-time job looking for a full-time job.
Finding employment can be one of the more stressful activities in life. Over the years, I have struggled to find work that both paid the bills and gave me satisfaction. Starting The Simple Catholic blog was something I did out of a need to cope with loss and grief but also as a means to stay connected to the professional Catholic world.
The founder of Catholic Gigs reached out to me a few months ago about helping him create content for their website. I have found my writing can act as a bridge to lead others to Christ. Catholic Gigs also acts as a bridge connecting Catholic jobseekers and Catholic employers. I see this as an apostolate in fostering faith DURING the job process. Below is an interview I had with Paul Massell and Jacob Spence on the origin and journey of Catholic Gigs.
How did you come up with the idea for Catholic Gigs?
After graduating from Catholic universities, we each spent several years struggling to find employment that both aligned with our faith and provided a living wage. We ultimately decided to start our own company which offers marketing content and support primarily for Catholic organizations. One of our early ideas was to build an authentically Catholic job board to help our clients (and ourselves) find and collaborate on meaningful work.
While this project sat on the back burner for a few years, we continued developing professional relationships with a variety of Catholic organizations throughout the U.S. through the marketing work we did for them. Through these experiences, we learned a lot about the needs of Catholic organizations. We eventually met a Catholic investor who provided the seed funding that allowed us to build the Catholic Gigs site and begin sharing it with the Catholic organizations in our network, and beyond.
What makes Catholic Gigs different from other job search sites?
What makes Catholic Gigs unique boils down to our desire to build a Catholic community. Built into the site itself, as well as in all our communications with both job-seekers and employers, are a variety of features that facilitate and encourage more meaningful connections between Catholic organizations and their future employees. Our content-rich employer profiles offer insights about organizations that aren’t otherwise present in a single job description. This content includes photos and videos, background and history about organizations, and information about benefits offered to employees.
We regularly share authentically Catholic content with the goal of inspiring and motivating young Catholics to explore meaningful careers at Catholic organizations. We are also partnering with career centers at Catholic universities across the country to help match recent graduates with entry-level job openings at Catholic organizations. Beyond this, we are always attentive to
the needs of both job seekers and employers to better incorporate their suggestions into the site and the features we offer.
How do you plan to scale your business and what are your growth plans?
Our long-term vision is for every Catholic diocese, nonprofit, and Catholic-owned business to post their job openings on Catholic Gigs, but our first goal is to connect Catholic schools with recent graduates from Catholic universities to fill much-needed teaching roles.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far and how have you overcome them?
For years we had the idea for Catholic Gigs on the back burner while we worked on other marketing projects for a wide variety of Catholic businesses and non-profit clients. While we had built an early version of Catholic Gigs, most of our attention was focused on completing work for our clients.
Providentially, one of these projects introduced us to a Catholic investor who provided us with the seed funding and mentorship necessary to fully realize our idea for Catholic Gigs. Between his insights and our track record with this market, we feel primed to develop the best solution for Catholic employers and job seekers.
A lot of our past relationships with clients already laid a great foundation for Catholic Gigs. As soon as we launched the site, we reached out to many of our past customers and invited them to this new service.
What are your future plans for Catholic Gigs and what impact do you hope to have in the long-term?
Ultimately, we hope to bridge the gap between Catholic employers and individuals who seek to do meaningful work for the Church and the world, especially those just starting out on their career. For us, that entails sharing all the wisdom and goodness we’ve experienced through our work with Catholic organizations and passing that along to those who are in the midst of discerning their life’s work.
Describe the importance of Catholic education and its impact on society.
Catholic education plays an important role in shaping individuals and contributing to society. It instills values such as faith, compassion, empathy, and respect for human dignity, which can inspire people to be active and responsible citizens. Additionally, Catholic education provides a strong academic foundation and encourages critical thinking. This can contribute to individual
success and societal progress. Furthermore, Catholic education can provide a sense of community and belonging, which can foster social cohesion and support the common good.
Explore Catholic job opportunities by visiting Catholic Gigs today!