A Letter to the Laity on what Actually Happens at Mass in 2019 (and well always!)

To the Curious, Doubting, Lukewarm, or Unbelieving Catholic Laity,

When we attend Mass, we are entering a holy place in which a miracle takes place.  Not only are we present when the basic elements of bread and wine are transubstantiated to the body and blood of Christ, but those at Mass are transported in a mystical way to a heavenly banquet.  Though the reception of communion happens a few prayers after the Canon is complete, it is vital from a theological and catechetical perspective.  With Christ present with his church, the Bridegroom has come for His bride.

After commingling of the body and blood the Priest tells those present to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  This is the praise of the angels and those in Heaven as seen in Revelation 19.  In Revelation 19:9 and Angel told St. John. “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (NRSV).

At this point in Mass the priest is passing on this wedding announcement from Heaven.  Like a groom at a wedding, our Lord calls to us and wants to have an intimate relationship with his bride.  He does this by giving himself, his own body and blood, as a way to show his eternal commitment to us.  Like a bride we process down towards our groom to be united with him.

In the Eucharist we are united with Christ not only spiritually, but physically.  Being united with the flesh of Christ is the most personal thing we will be able to experience (Augustine 469).

The Old Testament book of Song of Songs has very vivid imagery between a man and wife symbolizes the love that Christ has for His church.  One passage that is particularly relevant to the Wedding Supper of the lamb is Song of Songs 1:2 which states, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (NRSV)!  This is exactly what St. Ambrose says happens during the reception of the Eucharist (Ambrose 354).

The second person of the blessed Trinity has forgiven us of our sin and unites himself with us with his very body.  The Wedding Supper of the Lamb is a taste of the heavenly worship that we will experience in eternity and unites us with the church suffering and church triumphant in heavenly praise.

Next time you are at Mass take that extra moment to thank Christ for the very gift of himself.  Take the time to realize that we are worshiping the King of the universe alongside those who have gone before us in the faith.

There is much more happening at Mass than meets the eye.  It is a place where a true miracle happens, ordinary bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.  Let us not merely go through the notions, but truly understand what is happening.

Do you want to transform the church?  It begins with understanding what is happening at Mass and who we are receiving in the Holy Eucharist.  I leave you with the following quote from St. Ambrose for further meditation:

Perhaps you will say “I see something else, how is it that you assert that I receive the body of Christ?”

And this is the point that remains for us to prove. What evidence shall we make use of?  Let us prove that this is not what nature made, but what the blessing consecrated, and the power of blessing is greater than that of nature, because by blessing nature itself is changed.

God bless you all!

Your brother in Christ,

William


About our guest blogger:

William is a convert to the Catholic faith.  Before entering the church he was ordained as a Baptist and Lutheran and earned a Master of Divinity from Liberty Theological Seminary.  William lives with his wife and four children in Tucson, AZ and teaches religious education for children and adults.  Check out his website/blog at williamhemsworth.com for more great and informative Catholic content!

Notes:

Augustine of Hippo. “Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John.” St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies. Ed. Philip Schaff. Trans. H. Browne and Joseph H. Myers. Vol. 7. New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888. Print. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series.

Ambrose of Milan. “Two Books Concerning Repentance.” St. Ambrose: Select Works and Letters. Ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Trans. H. de Romestin, E. de Romestin, and H. T. F. Duckworth. Vol. 10. New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896. Print. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series.

 

 

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10 Simple Tips to Create Engaging Content Right Away

Does it feel like your best days of content creation are behind you? You best  ideas 💡 gone never to return? I have experienced that struggle recently. 🤔

How did I get my writing magic back? I stopped forcing ideas! I focused on being consistent with my writing. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there.

Having four kids, a wife who is an elementary school teacher, and working two part-time jobs during the evening and overnight shifts make my schedule a bit less than ideal. Okay. I admit it. My schedule is hectic. I feel like an acrobat swinging from trapeze to trapeze of events. Feels like I am juggling a cheetah, koala, car, and a monkey (those are what my kids pretend to be and act like it daily!).

My goal in this post is to give you ten simple and actionable tips to START creating content for your website, blog, or social media accounts. Entrepreneur Seth Godin quipped, “Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.” It’s never too late to learn a new skill or polish up on an old skill. These tips will help you do that.

For more reasons why content marketing is not a want, but a necessity in 2019 (and beyond) check out the following link: https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/inspirational-content-marketing-quotes/

Now here are the ten tips to help you make engaging and amazing content immediately:

💡 Tip #1— Add Value to the Content Your Create

🤦‍♂️ This is probably the most generic statement ever.

Here is what I consider to be the specific ingredients for making content with value.

👇 👇 👇 Value MUST include the following (tier 1):

1️⃣ Truth—Authenticity for me is the absolutely essential for adding value. People can see through BS through fog and miles away.

2️⃣ Relevance—content needs to be geared towards a specific (niche) audience to be considered valuable. Generic content will not cut it.

The following I consider to be tier 2 level importance for adding value.

🔷 Informative—this type of content educates you about a specific process, product, service, history, best practices, or thought leaders in specific niche industry.

🔷 Inspiration— provides perspective, positivity, and hope in the face of adversity. 

🔷 Entertaining— provides fun through wit, humor, and storytelling. 

💡Tip #2— Try a Different Approach

⚙️Creating content is like riding a roller coaster. Highs. Lows. Comments veer off in different directions at times.

⚙️Coming off a week where I had personal record views, likes, and comments on my posts, I came into this week confident.

⚙️In tip one I talked about turning weaknesses into strengths. It did not get the engagement I predicted. 🤦‍♂️It was among my worst performing posts. 🤦‍♂️

⚙️The key is to shrug off the content flops and try again.

⚙️I am trying different hashtags and having a bit shorter text.

💡Tip #3— Experiment with Your Content

⚙️Whether you are a newbie or seasoned content creator it is important to be open to trying different approaches and styles.

⚙️For example, i tend to write content that is straightforward and informative. I am naturally a more serious and logical person who loves learning daily. Humor is definitely not my normal style.

⚙️But I felt whimsical a few times last month and created content that included humor. I was quite surprised to find that it actually resonated with more people than I anticipated.

⚙️Now does this mean you have to switch styles all the time. Definitely not! But being open to testing out a variety of content will provide you the following benefits:

1️⃣ Stretches your ability to create—this will only help you in the long term. It will make you generate content with more ease and dexterity.

2️⃣ Tells you if a certain style of content will work or not. If your content flops, then at least you become aware what content not to focus on.

💡Tip #4— Collect Data on Your Content

⚙️Everyone likes to collect something. Stamps. Baseball cards. Video games. Coins. Art. Owl 🦉 statues (like my grandma did). Or something else!

⚙️Something about collection invokes a sense of journey and accomplishment.

⚙️The same is true for content creation. See I myself am a collector of information. Best practices. Knowledge.

⚙️I also love to collect experiences to share my best practices. Find out how your content performs. Track likes, views, comments, and other engagement indicators to determine whether patterns emerge.

⚙️I started doing this today—I hope to share my findings later this month. 🙂

⚙️Collecting data on your content will provide you the following benefits:

1️⃣ Provide an opportunity to build and stretch your skills of research and data collection.

2️⃣ Allows for you to discern whether or not a pattern in results is present or not.

💡Tip #5— Giving Gets Results

⚙️This other day I noticed a post on the topic of how individuals with a larger following sometimes get little to zero content engagement.

⚙️Whenever I come across accounts like this I always check out whether they give value to others. More times than not what I learn is these individuals only post and never comment on others’ work.

⚙️You cannot keep asking people to look at your content without giving something back. 💭Maya Angelou wrote, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

⚙️Giving freely without expectation of things in return actually frees you of selfish tendencies.

⚙️Giving elevates others around you and yourself as well. It leads to a win-win-win-win-win (etc) scenario!

⚙️Giving will also provide YOU the following benefits:

1️⃣ Gratitude

2️⃣ Knowledge of best practices in your niche

3️⃣ Boosted brand visibility

4️⃣ Collaborative partnerships

5️⃣ Freelance work

6️⃣ Job opportunities

💡Tip #6— Make Time to Grow Professional Relationships

⚙️ Creativity cannot happen in a vacuum. Creating something involves a community. ❤️ Children are born from the union of mother and father. 🏠 Houses are built with many individuals. 📖 Book projects involve the collaboration of the author, proofreaders, editors, publicists, and marketing teams.

Relationship take time to develop. Follow someone in your respective niche field. First follow their content: podcast, blog, social media, or website. Get to the point of familiarity with the craft and their personality and next reach out to see how you could HELP them.

Don’t ask first. As previously, mentioned giving is the essential mindset to have in the 21st century. Give. Give. Give. And give some more. Your willingness to help and the content you generate in doing so will eventually lead to people noticing your skills.

💡Tip #7—Genuine and Add Value When You Comment on Posts

⚙️ LinkedIn experts tell us that commenting on posts is one of the best ways to grow visibility and add followers to your count.

⚙️While that is definitely true, It should not be the primary reason for commenting on a post. Here should be the primary reasons for commenting:

1️⃣ Add value—give best practices, tips, information, jokes (if the situation is appropriate), or tag connections who you know would benefit from reading the original post and/or would further the discussion.

2️⃣ Genuinely want to learn—adding a comment can help you receive notifications better. How do you write authentic comments?

  • Use the voice-to-text option on your phone—this has two benefits: saves time and ensures your comments are in the same style as you talk in real life.
  • Be specific—include a relevant detail from your life or the OP’s life that you learned from their profile or past posts.

💡Tip #8—Genuine and Act Like an Actual Human When You Message People

⚙️ Treat DMs like a conversation you would have at the grocery store or with your mail carrier. How do you write authentic messages?

1️⃣ Use the preferred name—in initial DMs I greet connections by the name they have on their LinkedIn profile. After getting to know them I may start using nicknames (Ex: Matthew vs. Matt)

2️⃣ Include the specific day as opposed to time in the greeting—I.e. “Happy Saturday Matt!” —This has three benefits:

🔷 Tailors message which establishes trust.

🔷 Shows you are engaged in reality as opposed to being ‘robotic’ and spammy in your messages.

🔷 Prevents the mistake of telling someone across the globe “Good Morning” when it is actually nighttime for them.

3️⃣  Use the voice-to-text option on your phone.

4️⃣ Be specific—include a relevant detail from your life or the OP’s life that you learned from their profile or past posts.

💡Tip #9—Professional Development Opportunities to Strengthen Your Skills

⚙️Whether you are working at your dream job, working towards that goal, or ensure of your next career step it is essential to pursue professional development opportunities.

⚙️ Examples of professional development can include the following:

  • Seminars
  • Trainings
  • Conferences
  • Side-by-side training
  • Listening to podcasts pertaining to your niche area of expertise
  •  Reading books by leaders in your industry
  • Collaboration with different people in your network

⚙️ Currently, I am reading John Caples’ Tested Advertising Methods. He was a titan of the copywriting industry with over 40 years of experience in the field.

⚙️I have been also watched Dan Lok’s YouTube videos to learn best practices in copywriting.

💡Tip #10— Be Concise and Direct to Simplify Your Personal Brand or Company’s Message

⚙️ Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

⚙️ I have learned that to be true from my experience as both a parent and writer.

⚙️ Breaking down an idea to its basic and most necessary elements requires you get rid of technical jargon, acronyms, and define any unclear terms.

⚙️ Have you ever called into a customer service number about a bill charge or service needing corrected only to get the representative rattling off an explanation that includes a laundry list of acronyms?

⚙️ In those situations, I am more confused ending the call, then when began. 🙁

⚙️Acclaimed copywriter John Caples wrote, “When a young writer first enters the advertising business he often rebels at the advice: “Write simply. Use short words and short sentences.’”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

Tip #1 Questions:

  • How do you define value?
  • What are the qualities that make up valuable content?

Tip #2 Questions:

  • When did you have to make an adjustment at work and had to try a different approach?
  • Do your new approach work? Why or why not?

Tip #3 Questions:

  • How you ever experimented with content creation?

Tip #4 Questions:

  • How you ever collected data on your content?
  • What metrics do you track?

Tip #5 Questions:

  • How do you give back to your network?
  • Why do you think a giving mindset is important in business interactions?

Tip #6 Question:

  • How have you fostered professional relationships this week?

Tip #7 Question:

  • How do you develop genuine comments on social media posts? 

Tip # 8 Questions:

  • What other benefits of messaging connections are there?
  • Do you prefer to DM or comment? Why?

Tip #9 Questions:

  • What books in your field are you currently reading to hone your craft?
  • How are you continuing your learning at work?
  • Does your employer offer any special professional development opportunities? If so, how have you benefited from them?

Tip #10 Questions:

  • Do you think simpler is better? Why or why not?
  • How have you simplified your personal or business content’s message?
  • What challenges did you face in simplifying your branding?
Thank you for sharing!

Jesus and Mary Talk about the Role of Peter Before Dinner

Jesus and Mary

Here is an imaged conversation between Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary shortly after Peter’s Confession in Matthew 16:13-20.

This is purely from my imagination and is no way meant to be an addition to Scripture nor an official interpretation of the aforementioned passage.


Mary: Good Evening Son. How did your preaching go today? Did those Pharisees change their attitude about you yet?

Who do you say that I am

Jesus: No. This still cling to their rigid judgment. Today, I asked them [the Apostles] who they thought I was. Elijah? John the Baptist? A new prophet?

Those were common answers given by the public. I told them I did not what others thought, but what they thought.

Can you guess who answered my question Mother?”

Mary: Was it that bold and ambitious fisherman? Simon is his name right?

Jesus: You say so and it is true. Simon recognized me as the “Messiah, Son of the living God.” His name is now changed to Peter meaning “rock”.

I also entrusted to him authority to lead my disciples.

Mary: Do they know?

Jesus: That I must suffer, die, and be raised on the third day? Yes. Peter’s rashness surfaced again. His great passion and love for his teacher made him overprotective of me.

I directly called out his actions as that of the Adversary.

Mary: Though I know your suffering will be a great pain for me, I trust in the will of God.

Jesus: I know. Mother you are most holy.

The Advocate will guide Peter, John, James and the rest once I go back to The Father.

Help Peter in his mission. Be a consolation for him with he experiences distress.

Mary: Yes, my Son. Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be done according to your word.

Jesus: You are indeed most blessed among all women!

I am hungry from the day’s walk. I brought home fish for dinner. Do you want to start the grill fire or should I cook?

Mary: Let’s cook together. You work is mine and mine is yours.

Jesus: Amen!

Grilling fish

[Mary and Jesus end their day with a tasty meal followed by praying the Scriptures before they go to sleep to prepare for another day telling the Good News.]

Thank you for sharing!

A Saint to Lead the Laity on Against Church Corruption

🔥Catherine of Siena lived a profoundly holy life of faith. Her ability to correct clerical abuses with charity was second to none.

🔥According to St. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Three Co-patronesses of Europe,  “Catherine addressed churchmen of every rank, demanding of them the most exacting integrity in their personal lives and their pastoral ministry. The uninhibited, powerful and incisive tone in which she admonished priests, Bishops and Cardinals is quite striking.”

🔥Learning from this great Doctor of the Church not only deepened my knowledge about God, but strengthened my personal relationship with God.

https://www.catholicstand.com/catherine-of-siena-pious-paladin-for-todays-current-clergy-corruption/

Thank you for sharing!

Fortress Mentality—How You Can Keep Negativity Away in Your Life

Fortress

Growing up, I enjoyed constructing blanket forts in the living room or playing under the deck with my siblings in our dirt-laden bunker. Something about forts invokes nostalgia. Security and strength also are words that immediately come to my mind when I think of fort [and fortresses].

Over the past few years, I have noticed an increased anxiety, not only from myself, but from society as a whole. Americans enjoy the pleasure of living in a wealthy and free society—privileges not afforded in other places and times.

My aim here in this post is not to analyze the causes for the increased angst. That I will leave to professionals in psychology, medicine, and psychiatry. Instead, I am going to share a couple reasons why retreating to my cerebral citadel as opposed to actively engaging the stress inducers has worked for me for the past month.

Note: Please be aware, that while this approach may work for me I am in no way endorsing a fortress mentality being a miracle-cure method to fending off fretfulness for everyone.

Offense vs. Defense

Defense beats offense

Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote,“Negativity can only feed on negativity.” From personal experience, I know that negativity only grows when you give attention to it, too much attention will lead to negativity consuming your life. Fighting negativity with an offensive attack does not work. I came across this anonymous quote that stuck a cord on this subject, “When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department generally uses water.

Different approaches are necessary when battling stress and negativity in your life. An image of a faucet comes to mind when complaining controls my life. Last month, I allowed my emotions to get the better of me: both at home and work. Frustrations about unmet expectations caused grievances which poured out like water running from an open faucet.

To combat my weaknesses, I simply went to source—my words and shut off the valve of verbal complaints. This month instead of vocally sharing my grumbles aloud, I created a laconic lock for my tongue. According to James 3, the mouth and tongue act as a gateway for various despicable behaviors. Keeping our words bridled is key to stopping negativity.  The Apostle writes in James 3:2-5,

If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also.a 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. 4It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes. 5In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions.

 

Albert Einstein Quote

Fortifying not fleeing

The brilliant Albert Einstein once declared, “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” Sometimes turning away from the stresses and negativity going on in life gets equated with running from your problems. Withstanding the temptations to give into the negativity that surrounds you displays strength.

Known as fortitude, courage is the foundation upon which virtue and the ability to withstand the assault of pessimism is built on. Author Maya Angelou succinctly states, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Shifting my mindset toward stoicism and fortress-like greatly helped me weather the storms of stress.

Becoming more self-aware of my vocal complaints, grumbles, and murmurings prevented me from stumbling into the sea of stress. Distancing myself emotionally from the “bad” or “negative” experiences I faced in the workplace or at home helped me to move more quickly onto the next task or event of the day. The image of a fortress best represents for me the virtue of fortitude and ability to block negativity.

Questions for reflection

  • Are you currently in a negative environment?
  • What steps have you done to change your situation?
  • Think of three things you can do to take action in the next week to decrease negativity in your life.

Quotes for further reflection

“But you, O man of God, must flee from these things; and strive for uprightness, godliness, good faith, love, fortitude, and a forgiving temper.” –1 Timothy 6:11

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7

Thank you for sharing!

3 Things I Learned about the Sacrament of Confession

According to the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, “Raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry.” Written over 2,000 years ago, that advice remains ever relevant and new. Parenting feels like a daily battle. Frustrations brew, chaos ensues, and bedtime routine feels like WWIII.

More often than not, my anger gets the best of me. Fatherhood takes a lot of work. Some days I make excuses to not put in the work. Failure and faux pas have became habit. I desire a reset. A new beginning. I want to do better. Become something better. Become someone better for me kids.

Thankfully, I don’t have to look [or travel] that far for the remedy.

The Sacrament of Confession provides Catholics an opportunity to be forgiven and restore one’s relationship with God and their neighbor. St. Isidore of Seville wrote, “Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.”

This school year my oldest child receives his First Confession and Eucharist. Next week he will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. My wife and I have been going through the religious education lessons to prepare him for an understanding and proper disposition to receive the sacrament of healing. In teaching him the basics about this sacrament, I too, actually learned something about Confession.

The Simpler Is Better

Albert Einstein famously quipped, “If you can’t explain it to a sixyearoldyou don’t understand it yourself.” It definitely takes a talent to be able to articulate the complexities of the Catholic faith to young minds. This is something I struggle with a bit, but I am getting better. I am used to writing about theology or discussing the faith with adults are the audience.

Simple is better

Less is more. I never actually understand that phrase until after going through these lessons with my son. Sometimes discussion about the sacraments can get bogged down with technical jargon or bias. Essentially the main questions kids and new converts to the faith wonder include:

  • What are sacraments?
  • Why are sacraments important?
  • How do I receive the sacraments

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1131, “The sacraments are efficacious [effective] signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” To put it is more basic terms, a sacrament is a visible sign of God’s invisible grace. By receiving the sacraments we grow closer to God.

A Brief History of Sin and Salvation

Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This disobedience caused sin to enter into the world. Sin separates us from God. God sent His only Son Jesus to restore that relationship through his death on the Cross. Before Jesus’ Ascension he promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit met the Apostles and gave them the ability to preach the Gospel.

Sacrament of Confession

The Apostles, the first bishops, ordained their successors. This Apostolic succession continued throughout history. Jesus gave Peter and the rest of the Apostles the authority to forgive sins (see John 20:1-23) and consecrate the Eucharist. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the successors of the Apostles (bishops) ordain men as priests. Jesus Christ works through those men in the Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist.

We explained to our son that Jesus is working through the priest.  When he will confess his sins to our priest it will actually be Jesus that he will be talking to and it will be Jesus who forgives sins. The priest is an instrument by which God works through.

Mercy

Another lesson I [re]learned in preparing my son for the Sacrament of Confession, is that everyone is in need of God’s mercy. “Even the pope goes to confession!” I told my eight-year-old. I went on to tell him about Saint Pope John XXII who received that sacrament daily.

Although the sacrament of Baptism cleanses us from original sin, humans still have the ability to freely choose to love or to not love God. Choosing to not love God or others results in sin or separation. As a father, I am definitely reminded of my need for forgiveness. Patience does not come naturally. It is a virtue tested daily, hourly, and sometimes every minute in the Chicoine household.

Being able to tell Jesus through the priest of my failures as a parent, husband, friend, worker, and neighbor is an incredible gift. Even more incredible is God’s mercy of absolving me from my past sins.

Reaping the Fruit of Our Sacramental Marriage

The third thing I learned about the Catholic faith while teaching my son about Confession is that the Holy Spirit delays certain gifts and gives them at key times in our life. My wife and I received the Sacrament of Matrimony in 2010. We took [and still take] our faith seriously. The primary purpose of marriage is to help the spouses grow in holiness.

Fruit

According  to the Catechism paragraph 1661,

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).

In my post Toddlers: An Adorable Trace of the Trinity I wrote, “A fruit of the sacrament of marriage is children…I think of my children as the best gift that God has given me personally to grow in virtue daily.” Kids test your love. They give you opportunities to grow in understanding, patience, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, and gratitude to name just a few virtues. Educating our children about the faith provides my wife and I chances to rekindle our love for the Church and Christ.

before and after confession meme

If you are experiencing doubt, impatience, anger, resentment, worry, or other vices I strongly encourage you to examine your conscience and ask God for forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession.  Build up the Body of Christ and seek God’s mercy!

 

 

Thank you for sharing!

A Personal Litany of Saints for 2019

November 1st—the Celebration of the Feast of All Saints—among my favorite feasts in the Church’s liturgical calendar. Only the Feast of the Holy Trinity and the Most Precious Body and Blood eclipses All Saints Day in significance for me personally.

Who are the Saints?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped” (CCC 956).

In other words, the reason we honor the holy men and women in union in Heaven with God is because they draw of closer to unity with God. November 1st is not meant to be a Holy Oscars or a rolling out of a theological red carpet.

The Saints Point Us to God

Saints are witnesses to the faith and reflect the light Holy Trinity. I am reminded St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney when he said, “We are all like little mirrors, in which God contemplates Himself. How can you expect that God should recognize His likeness in an impure soul?” This likening of the human soul as a reflection, a mirror of God’s love can be found even earlier in Church tradition. St. Theophilus of Antioch [circa 2nd century A.D.] declared,

A person’s soul should be clean, like a mirror reflecting light. If there is rust on the mirror his face cannot be seen in it. In the same way, no one who has sin within him can see God.

reflection of gods love.jpg

Below I formed a list, a sort of personal litany of saints, and applicable holy writings that have helped me grow in holiness and polish my soul to better reflect the love of the Holy Trinity.

Along with the names of canonized saints who personally influenced me, I outlined several Christian writers who lived fairly recently or are currently alive and are not officially canonized. Nevertheless, the books from the suggested reading still helped me grow in my Catholic faith.

***Note: I added the book(s) that I have actually read that have impacted me and deepened my relationship with God through the saint. This is in no way an exhaustive list –it is merely a list of saints whose writings and/or witness influenced me positively***

minions excited gif.gif

November Nourishment for the Soul

  • Mary- The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God by Venerable Fulton Sheen
  • Joseph
  • Athanansius: On the Incarnation; Life of St. Antony
  • Pope John Paul II: Fides Et Ratio; Redemptoris Misso; Veritatis Splendor
  • Maria Faustina: Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul
  • Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Augustine: Confessions
  • Louis de Montfort: True Devotion to Mary
  • Terersa of Avila: Interior Castle
  • John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul
  • Therese of Lisieux: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul
  • Luke: Acts of the Apostle; Gospel According to Luke
  • Josemaria Escriva: The Way
  • Pope Pius XII: Humani Generis
  • James: The Letter of St. James
  • Maximilian Koble
  • Bernadette
  • Pope Pius IX
  • Pope Leo XIII
  • Thorlak
  • Francis of Assisi
  • Ignatius of Loyala
  • Ambrose: De Incarnationis Dominicæ Sacramento [on the Incarnation and Sacraments]
  • Jerome: Homilies
  • John Chrysostom
  • Thomas Aquinas: The Summa Theologica

Suggested Reading

  • G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy
  • S. Lewis: Mere Christianity; Screwtape Letters; Space Trilogy
  • Bishop Robert Barron: Catholicism
  • Peter Kreeft, P.H.D.: Socrates Meets Jesus: History’s Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ; Prayer for Beginners; Between Heaven and Hell
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit; The Lord of the Ringsmass not boring.jpg

 Now these readings aren’t replacement for the Mass. Hopefully you find this list helpful in your spiritual journey!

Thank you for sharing!