Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 90

Hope you had a blessed week!

Time for another Catholic Meme Monday. ✝️🙏

Saint Ignatius of Loyola pray for us!
The best form of coffee. ☕ 🙏 🙂
Jesus saves! 🙂🙏
CATholics. 😆🐈
Christ is Lord. 🙏
📖 🥱 💤 😆
Some Saint Martha (and siblings humor). 🙂
😆🙏😆 #holysiblings

That’s all I have this week. Stay tuned for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.

P.S. If you prefer receiving quality Catholic humor in daily doses follow me on Instagram @thesimplecatholic.

Thank you for sharing!

A 526 Word Interview with Father Richard Libby

Editor’s Note: Matthew Chicoine interviewed Father Richard Libby via phone call on May 31st, 2023. Some of the questions have been rearranged and edited to provide the best reader experience without losing any  integrity of the answers given.

How would you describe your personal journey of faith and what led you to become a Catholic priest?

My journey of faith started when I was born. I was born into a devout Catholic family. They raised us in the Church. My parents made the sacrifices needs to send all six of us to Catholic school from K-12.

I graduated from a Catholic campus. When I was college, I took a theology course and it really started to get me interested in theology. It started me on a journey of getting closer to Church. It started to become a vocation (who I’m meant to be).

God is persistent. He kept after me. It reached a point I knew I had to join the seminary.
I wasn’t certain about my calling to the priesthood. However, at that point, I was certain about joining the seminary.I applied and was accepted in six months. Overall, my journey through the seminary went relatively smooth.I attended Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas for philosophy, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia for theology. I was ordained on June 5th, 1999.

As a priest, what challenges have you encountered in the modern world within the Catholic Church? How do you propose addressing these challenges?

The biggest challenge we have is people having an incorrect, understanding of God and His Church.

Some people believe God will forgive them no matter what and there’s no need for religion. On the other extreme is why would God allow pain and suffering.

The concept of evangelization is central to the Catholic faith. How do you think the Church can effectively spread the Gospel and engage with people today?

One thing that the Church does well is doing the corporal works of mercy so we can believe in the spiritual works of mercy. A powerful way to evangelize. The Church being there with people in their time of need.

We need to look for people in need. Pope Francis focuses on this and that’s why people talk about him a lot. Priests who have the smell of sheep. (quote) The church was there when my father died or when I was hungry.

One of the things that caught my attention is how you embrace the Catholic faith. You didn’t qualify it with an adjective. You were simply Catholic…and bonus you were a curmudgeon about the faith.

(Laughs) Yes, I’m not a curmudgeon. We can find joy in this life.

Describe the place of humor in evangelization.

C.S. Lewis, “Joy is a serious business of Heaven.” People want to be around people who are joyful. We long for Heaven but in the meantime we can laugh. My own bishop tells stories at his own expense and makes us laugh. We as Catholics are joyful. Laughter is an expression of happiness but why can’t it also be an expression of joy.

God does have a sense of humor; he made the duck-billed platypus.🦆🦫 Humor can also lead someone who is grieving through laughter. It helps in the healing process.

Thank you for your time, Father Richard! It was great chatting with you. Let’s do this again!

Absolutely! That’s chat soon.

About Father Richard Libby:

Father Richard Libby is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, where he serves as pastor of St. Helena Parish and as the chancellor of the diocese.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing poems and short stories, and birdwatching.

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 89

Hope you had a blessed week!

Time for another Catholic Meme Monday. ✝️🙏

Happy Feast of Saint James the Greater!
And the next word for the Catholic Spelling Bee— the longest name in the Bible! 😳🙂😆
💦 ➡️ 🍷
Here I am Lord! 🙂🙏
One of the funniest memes I’ve seen in a while.
A belated Saint Lawrence meme. 😆🙂🙏
Come to Mass sooner rather than later!!
Love the various rites of the Catholic Church. ♥️♥️♥️
God sustains you. 🙏🙏🙏
Mount Caramel. 🙂🤦

That’s all I have this week. Stay tuned for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.

P.S. If you prefer receiving quality Catholic humor in daily doses follow me on Instagram @thesimplecatholic.

Thank you for sharing!

A Simple and Effective Way to Pass on the Catholic Faith to Your Children

“Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it.”               —Proverbs 22:6

How do you pass on the faith to the youth?

It’s a question frequently on the faithful’s minds. Especially, when the world seems to be getting darker and bleaker. But fear not. There’s a variety of ways to pass on the faith to the next generation. But one of the more effective methods is play-based learning.

Answer questions when your kid has them yet let them be creative in their play.

For example, my oldest daughter was excited to receive her Shining Light Doll Mary ragdoll. I told her it was the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mom.

“No, I think she’s his best friend!”

Having a theology background my initial thoughts were to correct her but I was curious of her thought process so I let it go.

Later in the day, she had a baby Jesus ragdoll (my younger daughter received the baby Jesus doll) in a sling on the Mary doll.

My daughter recognized that Mary was a mother and a friend.

This experience happened a couple days ago. Today, is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. She was the first witness of the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus. This earned her the title, Apostle to the Apostles. Reflecting on Mary’s witness along with the perspective of my oldest daughter earlier in the week prompted me to think of Mary Magdalene in a different light.

While she’s a great witness for the faith at a more human level Mary was Jesus’ friend. Perhaps his best friend (sorry Saint Peter!).

Sainthood is nothing more than finding lasting friendship with God.

I’m thankful for the testimony and faith of Saint Mary Magdalene, the creativity of my daughter, and for Shining Light Dolls in gifting me beautiful and simple Catholic-themed Ragdolls for my kids to play with and to help them learn about the faith.  

P.S. Find more Catholic-themed toys by visiting:

P.P.S. Receive a 10% discount at checkout by entering the code THESIMPLECATHOLIC

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 88

Hope you had a blessed week!

Time for another Catholic Meme Monday. ✝️🙏

God loves us so much! 🙂✝️🙏
Or as I call it: Mount Caramel. 😆🤦
Yes! 🙏 ✝️
😆😆😆 This is how I want my funeral to be like!
My Toddler picks Draw 25 every time!

That’s all I have this week. Stay tuned for next week’s Catholic Meme Monday. Receive updates straight to your email inbox by subscribing to The Simple Catholic blog.

P.S. If you prefer receiving quality Catholic humor in daily doses follow me on Instagram @thesimplecatholic.

Thank you for sharing!

Saint Bonaventure’s Good Venture to Know God

Editor’s Note: Post originally published on February 23, 2023.

God works in mysterious ways. I truly believe he puts you in specific situations at precise times to allow you to grow in trust and faith in Him. As members of the Church Militant, we are called to be in communion with the saints in Heaven—the Church triumphant. Over the course of the past several months, I believe God called me to learn more about Saint Bonaventure. Having a background in theology, my inclination towards the Seraphic Doctor of the Church makes sense.

Saint Bonaventure

Rarely, does God act in such a plain or shallow sense. Along with being elevated to the status of Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Bonaventure is also the patron saint of something quite ordinary, yet awkward at the same time—bowel movements. As a young child Bonaventure had a life-threatening sickness affecting his bowels. This sickness almost took his life. The intercession of St. Francis of Assisi cured him. Because of this, the Catholic Church recognized Bonaventure as the patron saint of individuals suffering similar illnesses.

My youngest son struggles with digestive and bowel issues. During a particularly rough evening, my wife and I prayed to St. Bonaventure, as we tried everything else medically to help our son. Our pleas for help to the 13th century saint forged the beginning of what I hope to be a lifelong friendship.

While St Bonaventure wrote on various subjects this article will solely focus on arguably his greatest work—The Journey of the Mind into God. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Bonaventure: Literary Work and Doctrine calls this work, “a manual for mystical contemplation.” Providentially, Bonaventure pondered this work at the same place whereby St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata—Mount La Verna in Italy!

Stepping up the Ladder of Learning

Ladder to Heaven

As a teacher of theology, St. Bonaventure provides a gradually and steady path, specifically six steps, to grow in awareness and knowledge of God. Bonaventure puts it this way,

For through those six wings there can be rightly understood six suspensions of illumination, by which the soul as if to certain steps or journeys is disposed, to pass over to peace through ecstatic excesses of Christian wisdom.

no 3. The Journey of the Mind Into God

A prerequisite for beginning this journey is praying through Christ crucified. Jesus acts as a bridge; or, to use the imagery of Bonaventure, a ladder connecting us to the Holy Trinity.

Creation as Reflection of God

God and Creation

In Chapter 1 of The Journey of the Mind Into God, the Seraphic Doctor tells us that the first rung of the ladder to God is the created world. When we don the glasses of faith, we see nature pointing to the glory of God. Bonaventure refers to the created world as “the university of things” as a kind of stairway to climb toward God (Chapter 1 no. 2). Later in the chapter he describes the world as “a mirror through which we pass over to God. Plants, animals, mountains, oceans, the moon and stars above point to a Creator—because of the beauty and order within nature.

Bonaventure draws us up the holy ladder in his next chapter.

It must be noted that this world (the universe), which is called the macrocosm, enters our soul, which is called the microcosm, through the gates of the five senses…Man, who is called the microcosm, has five senses like five gates, through which acquaintance with all things, which are in the sensible world, enters into his soul.

(Chapter 2, no. 2)

Catholicism values the created order as not something to be jettisoned. The sacramentals utilize various forms of matter (things) because they hold intrinsic value and point had a higher order of being.

Human Mind—Mirror of the Trinity

Bonaventure brings the reader up another rung on the ladder of mystical contemplation by focusing on the natural powers of the human soul. According to the 13th century saint, the three highest faculties of humanity are memory, intellect, and will. He saws these three powers as a natural reflection of the Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity Icon

The Seraphic Doctor plainly declares, “According to the order and origin and characteristic of these powers (the soul) leads into the Most Blessed Trinity itself!” (Chapter 3 no. 5). As a perfect spirit, Bonaventure argues, God has memory, intelligence, and will. In the remaining chapters of The Journey of the Mind Into God, Bonaventure details how grace guides the soul in knowing and growing in knowledge of God, seeing God’s unity through His being, and finally viewing God as a communion of Persons in the Holy Trinity.

I had to read this work at least three times before I could write this reflection on St. Bonaventure’s gem of a work. This is not an indictment on his ability to write clearly or my ability to discern (at least I hope not!) Instead, any and all writings on the subject of God, in particularly a Trinitarian understanding of God has to be mysterious. “When you contemplate these, see, that you do not consider yourself able to comprehend the incomprehensible (The Holy Trinity). For in these six conditions (steps) you still have to consider what leads the eye of our mind vehemently into the stupor of admiration (Chapter 6 no. 3).

Journey with Bonaventure Today

Journeying into God is not an easy task, but it will certainly end with both wonder and awe. St. Bonaventure’s closeness to the God is quite evident in this spiritual treatise. If you are a parent of young children, such as myself, perhaps you may not have time now to read this holy book. Bonaventure can still help you on your spiritual and parental journey, because at some point your kid will get severely constipated. Ask the Seraphic Doctor for help. Believe me, it arrives.

If you have more time available for spiritual reading, I strongly recommend you add The Journey of the Mind Into God to your top ten list!

Thank you for sharing!

Why Blessed Virgin Mary is the Devil’s Greatest Enemy

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 13, 2017.

Mary crushing serpents head

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

Mary Devil's enemy

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.

Mary is doorway to 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.

Related Links

Mary’s Enmity Towards Satan Was Absolute

Why Mary is the Mortal Enemy of Satan

De Montfort: Mary in the Struggle Against Satan

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