Say YES to the NO—Practicing Self-Denial

The Italian mystic St. Paul of the Cross boldly said, “Be as eager to break your own will as the thirsty stag is to drink of the refreshing waters.” I emphasized the phrase break your own will as that imaginary stood out as quite audacious. To break the will seems such a violent thing to do to yourself.

After researching a bit on this saint, I learned that Paul was the founder of the Passionists a religious order dedicated to a penitential life in solitude and poverty. Since Paul of the Cross lived in isolation from the world do his words hold any meaning for a regular, ‘normal’ people who hold down jobs, have a family? Should not “super-holiness” be reserved for priests and nuns?

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You are Called to Holiness

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2013, “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”65 All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

We are coming up on the perfect season to increase our holiness— Lent! The Lenten season is modeled after Jesus’ 40-day time in the wilderness. Because Jesus is God, he was able to stave off the allures of the Devil. His witness showed that both praying and fasting disable the weaponry of the Evil One. The practice of self-denial is absolutely essential in growing in virtue! Saying YES to God through prayer allows us to say NO to those unhealthy pleasures of the world—through the practice of fasting.

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Say NO to Sin

struggle mightily with the pressures of the world, and those self-imposed. Anger, resentment, and impatience come as a result of succumbing to the things of this world. Self-reflection and renewing a practice for saying YES to pray helps begin a habit of saying NO to: impatience, pride, greed, envy, power-control, etc.

Saint Francis de Sales affirms the message of Paul of the Cross, the Catechism and Christ by stating, “The more one mortifies his natural inclinations, the more he renders himself capable of receiving divine inspirations and of progressing in virtue.” Be fast to practice fasting. If you struggle at first remember to say YES to God (pray!) in order to say NO to yourself.

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One Simple Way to Instill the Catholic Faith in Your Home (Domestic Church)

Family faith formation
Faith is fostered in the family.

Catholicism is an incarnational faith. It means we understand the body-soul relationship is supposed to be harmonious not disjointed.

One simple way this is shown on a daily basis is through holy art.

I have a Master’s degree in theology but I think some of the best witness of my faith to my kids is simply having holy art in the house and answering questions when they ask.

Below is my youngest daughter, Avila, holding a statue of Mary she took off our dresser.

Statues are signposts to the reality (saints and Jesus).

P.S. I know I have the cutest kid in the universe. 😊

P.S.S. How do you incorporate holy art into your domestic church?

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 9

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Time for another Catholic Meme Monday:

The Holy Spirit helps you pick your words wisely. 😊
A powerful image. Jesus is always with us! 🙏
Ouch!
Hurry up slow pokes! 🐢🐢
Lord of the breakdance. 🙌🤣🙂
I like an order of theologically orthodox content please and a side of fries.

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

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 5

Hope you had a blessed Pentecost! Today marks the official start (or resuming) of Ordinary time in the Liturgical year. But Monday are anything but ordinary. In case you’re having a typical Monday melancholy here’s some Catholic memes to inject humor and inspiration into your day!

God gave us ten digits for a reason.
A belated Pentecost meme.
Another Pentecost meme. 🕊️🔥😊
Adam and Eve weren’t the only Apple users in the Bible. 😂
Biblical typology for $2000
So true!

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

Thank you for sharing!

Book Review— The Pandemic of Padre Pio: Disciple of Our Lady of Sorrows

Saint Padre Pio

Throughout history humanity has experienced periods of suffering and loss. Suffering often causes people to question previously held beliefs—even belief in God. Why does God allow pain and torment? How can He be good if disease, war, and domestic violence exist? If you are asking these questions don’t think you’re alone. I’ve wondered these things before (especially in the days and months after losing babies to miscarriage).

Suffering Unites Humanity

Suffering is humanity’s common denominator. It’s inescapable. And it comes in many different forms. Financial. Mental. Emotional. Physical. Spiritual. You’ve likely suffered multiple different ways the past year. The Covid-19 pandemic caught many people off-guard and upended (and eneded) countless people’s lives. I contracted the coronavirus in late April 2020 and it was a miserable experience. Prayers helped sustain me during the lowest points.

Some of the unexpected blessings from my experience was getting to know other Catholics online and developing regular correspondence. Another fruit has been people emailing me opportunities to review books related to the suffering that occurs during pandemics.

The Saint of Suffering

The Pandemic of Padre Pio

Our hope is in the Lord. How often have you heard this? My mom has told me this over and over. And I read about this message in the writings of the saints. One of the best spiritual role models from the last century is Saint Padre Pio.

The book The Pandemic of Padre Pio: Disciple of Our Lady of Sorrows by Stefano Campanella and translated by Bret Thoman is a timely read for our current suffering.

Divided into two sections this book focuses on Padre Pio’s experience of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Campanella tells of the saint’s experience using several letters he wrote. He accepted the suffering from contracting the virus as a way to save souls and bodies by offering his pain to God.

Padre Pio’s Marian Devotion

While the first part of the book provided more historical context, the second half gave a glimpse into Padre Pio’s spiritual life. Campanella wrote, “The maternal presence of Mary was constant, visible, and concrete in the life of Padre Pio” (page 57). The Capuchin priest had mystical experiences often (he received the gift of the stigmata too!). One of my favorite parts of the book is this quote below:

I feel everything burning without fire; I feel tight and tied to the Son through this Mother without even seeing the chains that hold me so tightly; a thousand flames consume me; I feel as if I am dying continuously, and yet I still live (page 60).

The fiery imagery to describe his connection to Christ reminded me of Saint Catherine of Siena’s description of God’s love as a “furnace of Divine Love”. She too was gifted with stigmata.

I highly recommend The Pandemic of Padre Pio. At only 83 pages you could complete this book in one sitting or digest his wisdom little by little. Reading about his direct experience with a pandemic was both informative and comforting. My only regret is that I didn’t discover this book earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic. Padre Pio will gave you spiritual insights on how to deal with pain and found joy in carrying your cross. Get your own copy of The Pandemic of Padre Pio: Disciple of Our Lady of Sorrows today!

P.S. Special thanks to translator Bret Thoman for reaching out to me about writing a review on this book.

Related Links

How Padre Pio responded when asked about the Spanish Influenza Pandemic

Padre Pio’s powerful words of advice when a pandemic hit Italy

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Product Review― The Rosary Prayer Card

“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.”

– St. Padre Pio

Catholic Rosary meme

Happens all the time. 😂

Spiritual warfare has been going on since the beginning of time. The Devil tempted Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 to disobey God. This led to the Fall and humanity losing Original Justice.

God loved his creation so much He sent his only Son Jesus Christ to save us through the Paschal Mystery. The Rosary is the prayer which tells the story of Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection. It is an important and effective defense against Satan.

The world is speeding up and it’s easy to get lost in the rush of social media or the latest fad.

But reflecting on the the Life of Jesus is more necessary than ever. Enter the Rosary Prayer Card. I received this item from Everydayprayerco. 

Rosary Prayer Card

Simple and durable. It survived my kids playing with it!

Rosary Prayer card

Super sleek design. Fits perfectly in your wallet!

A rosary doesn’t always fit in your pocket (and let’s be honest it ALWAYS gets tangled). The benefit of the Rosary Prayer Card  is fits inside your wallet. Since putting the card in my wallet I have been more mindful to pray the Rosary. As a father to four young children, it’s easy to get distracted by their shenanigans. The prayer card is a simple way to keep my focus on Jesus and Mary.

Consider giving the Rosary Prayer Card as a graduation or confirmation gift. The youth is our future and they need Jesus and Mary in their life! Everydayprayerco had great customer service and my kids enjoyed praying the Rosary with this new prayer tool. Visit their website today and purchase your own Rosary Prayer Card.

Thank you for sharing!

Catholic Meme Monday— Issue 2

Saint Philip Neri wrote, “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” In today’s messed up world we need all the joy we can get. Memes are a simple way to share your thoughts and laughter with others.

Here’s another issue of Catholic Meme Monday!

A classic Catholic meme!
An enticing extinction theory. What would prediluvian PETA say about this?
The faith journey is never finished.
It’s still Easter season!
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

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

May you have a blessed week! 🙏😊

Thank you for sharing!