Today’s question: How do you know that God is real?

saints

Question: How do you know that God is real?

Answer: Many years ago, I decided to take some time off and devote two full years to the study of all world religions, after which I chose to be Catholic.

Then, I spent another ten years studying the faith while working in Catholic parishes; teaching, doing social work and heading up various offices and initiatives, just to see how things actually worked.

Today, I answer questions on-line and operate a Catholic website: http://www.askmeaboutgod.org.

I know God is real because he reveals himself to me in many different ways; particularly through study, worship and sacraments, through fellowship with other Christians and through occasional miracles of various kinds.

Once you come to know God it’s a fairly simple matter to pray without ceasing; staying in constant touch with the Almighty, in a very intimate, complete and powerful way.

The power of that relationship extends also to my friends and family; some of whom are not yet believers. I trust that, by the grace of God, all soon will be.

To sum it all up:

God answers my prayers.

God provides for all my needs.

God speaks to me when I need to hear from him.

God blesses me beyond measure.

God gives me hope.

For my part, I do my best to know, love and serve God,

every way I can, and to give him the thanks,

praise and worship that he is due.

Precious insights into the family life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – and our families, as well

marypresenh

Saint Joachim, the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Mediatrix of All Graces, knew the contempt that would be visited upon His Divine Grandson, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, sent himself into voluntary exile after he was denounced by a priest of the Old Dispensation for not producing a child after twenty years of marriage to his wife, our good Saint Anne.

He was visited by an angel, who reminded him of the fact that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, did not conceive a child until she was ninety years old, telling him that his wife, Saint Anne, would conceive a daughter named Mary, who would be the Mother of God.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne brought their daughter to the Temple when she was three years old, giving their long-awaited child back to the good God Who had given them to her so that she could be the Mother of their own Saviour, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Read more

Counter-cultural Catholicism and a remarkable conversion story

Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to God, or the Catholic Church. I knew that my grandparents were Catholic, but no one talked about this, and I didn’t know what “Catholic” even was.

Due to terrible abuse, I was removed from my home at nine. I lived in an asylum for a weekend, an orphanage for eight months, and then once a space became available in a foster home, there until I was twelve.

The courts ordered my mother to take me, and this was how we met.

Read more

McConaughey Oscar speech blowback: Thanking God in the midst of assembled idolaters deemed insensitive, by some.

MMoscar

Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey, 44, triggered a love-hate reaction and a viral video Sunday when he thanked God profusely after winning the best actor Oscar for his role as Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.”

“There’s three things that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward and another is someone to chase,” he said in the run-up to his acknowledgment of God.

Text and video

Editor’s note: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Worth Remembering: Fathers Are The Priests Of The Home!

kevbaptismenh

The Ten Commandments For A Husband And Father

I. Develop an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, allowing Him to forgive you of your past, to talk to you, to heal you and to guide you. Then, trust the Holy Spirit in all things. Trust Him to provide everything you need, including financial help.

II. Get your priorities in order: Jesus first, your wife second, your children third, your work fourth, etc. Develop a weekly schedule, blocking out quality time for the Lord, your wife, each child and the family as a whole. A husband’s most important time during any given day is the first five minutes when he gets home from work and the love and attention he shows his wife and children at that time. Remember that your human fatherhood is rooted in the Divine Fatherhood of Almighty God (cf. Ephesians 3:14-15; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2214).

III. Realize that you are the “priest” of the home. It is your primary responsibility to oversee the TV and its influence, the internet and its influence, as well as the books and magazines that enter into your home. You must stand firmly against all evil influences, asking constantly for God’s strength and guidance to lead your family in living a pure, holy and non-violent lifestyle. Esto vir! (Be a man!). A father fosters moral virtue within his home first and foremost by example. Get into the habit of blessing your children – both alone and with your wife – before they go to sleep at night or before they leave the house in the morning.

Seven more – from Father Wade Menezes

PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILY Heavenly Father, most good and gracious God, sustain our family in Your love. Make our family home a place where holiness and love abound. In our daily actions, help each one of us to learn to be more like Jesus. Aid our family to imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Help our family to learn from the good example of those families that especially please You in their way of life. May our family members learn to give good example always by living lives in true Christian faith, hope and love. Assist our family in learning to bear pain and suffering as Jesus did. Aid our family members, too, in overcoming difficulties and carrying their crosses. Help our family life to lead to Jesus Christ, the Source of all Truth and happiness. We ask this through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. AMEN.

FAMILY PRAYER TO OUR BLESSED MOTHER, MARY Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, we seek your patronage and we invoke you under your title “Queen of Families.” O Blessed Mother, you were conceived without sin. May every family choose you this day as the model for their household, along with St. Joseph, your most loving, chaste and caring spouse. Through your Immaculate Conception, preserve all families from every disaster, from all violence and from every misfortune. O Holy Virgin, bless and protect all families, strengthen them in trial and keep them from every evil. AMEN.

Submitted by Robert K.

I love this pope. He reminds me of my (now dearly departed) maiden Aunt Genevieve.

1955_Chevrolet_Bel_Air_PAS346

1955 Chevy Bel Air – Proof of God’s Abiding Love?

by Doug Lawrence

My aunt Gene (Genevieve) never married, always held down a good job, and for most of her life, lived in a modest apartment, along with her two unmarried sisters.

By the time I was two years of age there was already no doubt in my mind that aunt Gene was also a good Catholic. She never failed to attend Sunday Mass – and as further proof of God’s abiding love, she actually won a a three-speed, red and white, 1955 Chevy – at the Saint John of God Church Raffle. In Chicago, during the 1950’s you couldn’t be much more publicly Catholic than that!

She was a charitable and helpful person, willing to do just about anything for anybody. She loved little babies, she loved her family and she loved her food. Gene was also a bit “quirky” – holding to her own opinions on certain things, in spite of obvious and abundant evidence to the contrary – stubbornly clinging to certain mysterious habits, rituals and personal preferences. It wasn’t always easy figuring out precisely what she meant, when she was speaking. But she was my aunt and I loved her, without qualification or exception. That’s what family is all about.

It wasn’t until several decades later, after aunt Gene had been diagnosed with a particularly fast-growing strain of lung cancer, that I would begin to understand the true depth and utter practicality of her Catholic faith.

Learning that all available treatments had failed and she would surely die very soon, Gene remained upbeat and generally unconcerned. She certainly didn’t like what the cancer had done and was continuing to do to her body, but as a woman of faith, she always knew the end would come – whatever the circumstances – and she had always relied on Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church to keep her fully prepared for that day.

She was a true daughter of the Catholic Church who fully accepted (to the very best of her ability) all that the Catholic Church practiced and proclaimed. She had for a long, long time now, been a very close friend of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist and of his Blessed Mother, so she had absolutely nothing to fear.

Aunt Gene also found great solace in this type of traditional Catholic stuff which many today – unfortunately – think is out of date. But unless and until death itself goes out of style, I must respectfully disagree!

She told me all this the day before she died. It was a life (and faith) lesson that I will never forget. I also have little doubt that her prayers were answered – both here – and in the next life. We should all pray for similar graces.

So … how does Pope Francis remind me of my “sainted” Aunt Genevieve?

Other than the physical resemblance (they could pass for brother and sister) they’re both a bit quirky and sometimes difficult to understand; neither ever married; both had a penchant for relatively unusual, minimalist living arrangements; both made extensive use of public transportation; both are well-traveled; both worked long and hard at their chosen professions; both are by virtue of baptism, undeniably Catholic and people of faith.

As such, they are both “family” to me, a fellow Catholic and adopted child of God – so I love them, without qualification or exception.

This would remain true even if it became necessary for me to go out of my way to charitably correct, defend and/or explain occasional incongruous, irrational, embarrassing conduct or “quirky” personal opinions.

Nobody’s perfect – so who am I to judge – right?

In the end, that’s what “family” – and authentic Catholicism – is all about!

Photo: Wikipedia

New Orleans bishop attempting to “reclaim” Sundays for more traditional Catholic purposes

After months of nudging Catholics to reclaim Sunday as a day to attend Mass and spend time with family, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond is mandating that Catholic schools clear their calendars that day each week.

Aymond began asking schools last year to tweak practice schedules and reschedule social events so harried families could dedicate their Sundays to worshipping and staying close to home. This year, the request took on new urgency, and by the 2014-15 school year, it will be an official policy of the archdiocese.

“It’s rooted in the fact that people have a number of obligations and commitments. Our society is fast-paced,” Aymond said. “In living such a hectic life, people neglect sometimes, not purposefully, the very basics of faith and family.”

Read more

Essential Marxist/Socialist concepts: Homosexual marriage, abortion, easy divorce, government control of schools, destruction of the family.

September 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A publication of the international socialist movement has explicitly stated it is promoting abortion and gay “marriage” as part of a multi-pronged campaign to “replace global capitalism” with Marxism.

The admission came on Monday in an article entitled “How Can We Change the World?” by Todd Chretien in the Socialist Worker, which is published by the International Socialist Organization. The ISO proudly “stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, and Leon Trotsky.”

The article was putatively about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. However, it hailed the socially liberal views of young people, women, and minorities – the same groups President Obama appealed to during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns.

Read more

Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt: Family as the foundation of culture.

Dear friends in Christ,

Since the beginning of man’s life on earth, the family has served as the cornerstone of society.  The integrity of the family set the standard for society from the beginning of time as the underpinning of our civilization, reflecting the beneficial differences between men and women and the complementarity of their hearts, minds, and bodies.

Aristotle argued that the natural progression of human beings flowed from the family via small communities out to the polisThe state itself, then, as a natural extension of the family, mirrors this critical institution.

Inspired by Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “man is by nature a social being since he stands in need of many vital things which he cannot come by through his own unaided effort. Hence he is naturally part of a group by which assistance is given him that he may live well.  He needs this assistance with a view to life as well as to the good life.”[1]  And Pope Leo XIII develops Aquinas’ thought further, recognizing that “man’s natural instinct moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure the means of developing his mental and moral faculties.”[2]  Indeed, just as our communities and the state itself imitate the structure of the family, our economy is also modeled after oikonomia—the Greek word for household management.

Read more

Editor’s note: This is a fairly long piece, but it is worth a read. This is what good Catholic bishops are supposed to do – teach!

Pro-life success story: Dad realizes – just in time – the true meaning of heroism.

infantenh

One for our side!

ATLANTA – A nationally-recognized pro-life organization posted video footage on Monday of a man who went inside an abortion facility in Georgia to save the life of his unborn baby at the urging of a Christian sidewalk counselor.

Text and video

Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture.

familypic

My family preferred “Aqua-Culture”

Have you ever met one of those families that just seem to have it all together? Maybe you knew such a family growing up and loved hanging out over at their house – there was such a great atmosphere there that you kind of felt like you were coming home whenever you stopped over.

The parents were happy. The kids were all well-adjusted and generally did the right thing. Everyone in the family seemed to genuinely love, respect, and care about each other. They all truly enjoyed each other’s company and had a blast doing things together.

Sure, they had problems and struggles like any other family, but they supported each other and rallied together to take care of whatever they were going through. Maybe you joked about them being so good it was creepy – perhaps they were perfect aliens from another planet — but you envied them nonetheless.

Read more

Editor’s note: The above photo is a self-portrait I took of my family while we were on a shipwreck diving trip beneath the chilly but clear waters of Lake Superior. It’s actually a composite of two different photos, shot using a wide-angle lens with good, old-fashioned “film”.

To avoid obscuring anyone with my exhaust bubbles it was necessary for me to break the cardinal rule of SCUBA diving, which is, “Never hold your breath.”

Warning: Don’t try this at home!

Here’s another wreck diving pic, shot at a different location, about 60 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan:

portholeenh

Catholic comedian explains why he has a big family – and other fun stuff

Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seemed uninspiring and superficial.

What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair?

These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life … each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart.

Read more

A nice, illustrated Catholic catechism, in English and Spanish

famcat

Visit the site

Here’s how the little known and often ignored Catholic principle of subsidiarity works – and why it’s so important in today’s world.

hsshenail

by Doug Lawrence

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

From the Catechism:

Consult section 1878 – 1896

IN BRIEF

1890 There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons and the fraternity that men ought to establish among themselves.

1891 The human person needs life in society in order to develop in accordance with his nature. Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man.

1892 “The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject, and the object of every social organization” (GS 25 § 1).

1893 Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged.

1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.

1895 Society ought to promote the exercise of virtue, not obstruct it. It should be animated by a just hierarchy of values.

1896 Where sin has perverted the social climate, it is necessary to call for the conversion of hearts and appeal to the grace of God. Charity urges just reforms. There is no solution to the social question apart from the Gospel (cf. CA 3, 5).

Editor’s note: If everybody understands their own order (mission) in life, along with their rights, responsibilities and their own particular vocation and talents under God … then … acting with charity (love) … for the common good … every part of society … beginning with the individual and the family … illuminated by the Gospel and suitably empowered by God’s grace … might reach its’ true potential … according to the dignity of the human person, who is created for good, in the image and likeness of God.

Evil doers, deniers, exploiters, usurpers and shirkers introduce deadly weaknesses and harmful anomalies into society, resulting in various forms of immorality, human suffering and social injustice.

The church and its’ members are called to help remedy these ills by means of authentic Gospel values … primarily charity and truth … embodying a genuine respect and personal concern for the fundamental rights and essential needs of every human person.

This is to be considered a direct and personal responsibility … one child of God helping another … and whenever possible … such duties should not be entrusted to third parties, government bureaucracies, or other far-flung, impersonal organizations.

In short: There’s always plenty of good, charitable work to be done, one-on-one, right in your own back yard. Relying solely on government and/or other third parties to accomplish this great and important work often deprives both the donor and the recipient of the corresponding spiritual and corporal rewards. This, along with the distinct absence of any real personal connection, results in significant losses to society, at virtually every level.

While he still walked the earth, Jesus Christ never asked anyone how much money they gave to some nameless, faceless, charity. He said this:

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.

Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?

And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.  (Matthew 25:31-40)

Occasional, impersonal actions, accomplished at substantial distance are better than nothing, but they simply do not carry the same “weight” as personal acts of charity and kindness … one child of God to another … for either the donor or the recipient. Today’s world is a far colder, darker and scarier place, as a result.

Related reading:

RERUM NOVARUM – ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON CAPITAL AND LABOR
 

CENTESIMUS ANNUS – ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
ON THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM

CARITAS IN VERITATE –  ENCYCLICAL OF POPE BENEDICT XVI
THE PROCLAMATION OF TRUTH AND LOVE IN SOCIETY

The Importance Of Sunday In The Lives Of Christians

godworld

The pastoral statement on the importance of Sunday calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to recover the theological significance of a day that for many “has become less a day of worship and family and more like an ordinary work day.” It ends with a call to clergy and laity “to work cooperatively within their communities to stress the importance of Sunday for worship and family.”

The full text of the statement is available online here.

2-minute video explains why marriage between one man and one woman is unique, critically important to society – and totally non-discriminatory.

marriagevid

Watch the video

The Value of the Most Holy Rosary for the Family

The family benefits immeasurably when it recites together the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Almighty God is praised, Our Lady is venerated, the needs of the family are presented and the members of the family prayerfully experience the bond of charity that unites them.

By praying the Most Holy Rosary the family comes to know who the Ever-Virgin is and her mission as well as why the family should recite the Most Holy Rosary.

Read more

Catholic family business sees “growth” in being unabashedly pro-life

CINCINNATI, Ohio, July 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A huge national food manufacturing company in the U.S. does more than just deliver great-tasting prepackaged meals – it delivers them with a pro-life flair.

JTM Food Group, which boasted $100 million in sales just last year, delivers their meals to schools, restaurants, the military, and government organizations using 20 semitrailers, each displaying a prodigious image of a beautiful smiling baby on the rear panel with the words “Life, what a beautiful choice.” The bottom reads: “JTM: A Right to Life Company.”

“It’s our opportunity to witness,” said Tony Maas, CEO of the business, which has been family owned and operated for three generations, to LifeSiteNews in an interview. Maas owns and runs JTM along with his three brothers who all share the same pro-life convictions.

Read more

Dangerous Flirting: Russian Wonders Why West Is Enamored With Socialism

He explains that he finds the Obama administration’s socialist leanings particularly disturbing, and draws attention to a hero of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Saul Alinsky, a neo-Marxist writer who dedicated his first book to none other than the Devil, whom he saw as the first successful revolutionary to overthrow the “oppressive regime of God.” (Alinsky’s exact words were: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”).

Komov believes that if you “dig deep enough into the ideological roots of these socialist movements, you end up finding satanic roots in them.” And although only a softer version is prevalent now, “it is still very dangerous,” he says. “I would warn all those people fascinated by socialist ideas that they have never worked in human history — never worked.”

The traditional nuclear family is a particular enemy of socialism, he says, because it is the basic institution that preserves values and passes them on to the next generation. “The state, if it wants to dominate life and the individual from birth to death, needs to destroy the family, because the family is independent of the state,” he argues. “As Marx and Engels said, the family is a repressive, bourgeois institution that needs to be destroyed; they need to get rid of its patriarchal power and that of Christianity because they are the main obstacles of the social revolution.”

Read more

Submitted by AndyP/Doria2

Common sense Catholic family education

“Religious education” can sound intimidating and far worse is “catechesis.” Neither term came to mind as I washed some dishes in the sink and my 6-year-old grandson wandered into the kitchen. He’s used to the fact I tend to whistle, hum or sing absentmindedly, unaware I’m making any noise at all.

“I know that song!” he said, interrupting me mid-whistle. “We have it at church.”

Hmmm . . .  I wasn’t aware of what I was whistling. Since I presumed his parish Mass didn’t feature anything by Creedence Clearwater Revival or show tunes, then it was . . . Of course. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

My grandson was pleased he recognized the melody. I was happy he was going someplace where it was sung – religiously.

That’s part of the ABCs, too. We leave Mass, we’re sent, but we take something with us. And we share it. That Advent song — whistled in a kitchen — led easily to a short conversation about Mass, Advent and . . . naturally . . . Christmas.

Read more