5 tips for practical Catholic living

Holy Ghost Fire

Let’s use marriage as an example. With marital love comes certain obligations and responsibilities—some more serious, others maybe not so serious. If we were to compile these individual acts of love into a list, we would end up with a very long list. This list contains obligations that we must follow if we want to preserve our love and want it to grow.

When marital love grows dull, this list seems suffocating.  So, too, in our relationship with Jesus. If our love is allowed to wane, then the Church’s teachings seem too hard. Thus, the problem is not rooted in obeying rules, but in not recognizing that the rules are more than arbitrary. Rather, they are the way to live and grow according to the law of love.

To avoid this apparent restrictive and joyless life for the Catholic, I would like to offer the following points for practical and personal application:

1.) Receive the Eucharist as often as you can. This is the very love of God poured forth into our hearts promised by Jesus. Even more astounding, it is Jesus, body, blood, soul, and Divinity, offered to us mysteriously under the appearance of bread and wine.

2.) Receive Him in a state of grace. That means to practice the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least monthly, or any time we are aware that we have willfully committed a grave sin. After all, one does not give sustenance to a corpse. We must be spiritually able to receive divine sustenance in order to benefit from this grace.

3.) Practice daily mediation. Pick up the Gospels and read a little and then stop when something strikes you. Put the book down, and let that point sink in. When you get overcome with distractions, pick up the Gospels and continue reading until the next thing strikes you. Repeat this process. This approach to prayer was encouraged by St. Theresa of Avila to her community. I have profited much from it myself, so I know that it works.

4.) When you are finished with your 20 minutes or more of spiritual reading,   make a daily resolution. A resolution is a promise we make to God to respond to His grace by seeking to uproot some predominant fault that our spiritual reading has just uncovered. You can keep the same resolution daily, or change it up, depending on how the Holy Spirit moves you.

One note on this: the best way to uproot a fault is to work on the opposite virtue. As we develop the virtue, doing the good becomes easier, more joyful, and we act towards it more promptly. Thus, the life of repressing the evil inclination is replaced by a life of doing the good.

5.) Lastly, examine yourself at the end of the day and see how well you tended to your resolution. Thank the Lord for your days’ blessings, challenges, and benefits. Tell Him that you are sorry for offending Him by not keeping your resolution firmly if that is the case, and promise to put more effort into keeping your resolution tomorrow.

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Southern Baptists issue document on holy matrimony and divorce that comes very close to being Catholic.

On The Scandal Of Southern Baptist Divorce
June 2010

WHEREAS, The Bible reveals that marriage is a gospel mystery, pointing to Christ’s union with His church (Ephesians 5:22-32); and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that marriage was established by God “in the beginning” to be a permanent one-flesh union (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:1-9); and

WHEREAS, Our Lord Jesus commands us that what “God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9); and

WHEREAS, The biblical story shows us that one of the lamentable aspects of sin is the destruction of marriages and families, a destruction seen from the Fall until this present darkness; and

WHEREAS, The rampant divorce rate in our culture has come with great social and economic cost, with women and children suffering disproportionately in ways that are incalculable; and

WHEREAS, We have affirmed in our confession of faith our belief in the sanctity and permanence of marriage; and

WHEREAS, Some studies have indicated that conservative Protestants in the United States of America are divorcing at the same rate, if not at higher rates, than the general population; and

WHEREAS, Some studies also indicate that areas where Southern Baptist churches predominate in number often have higher divorce rates than areas we would define as “unchurched” and in need of evangelical witness; and

WHEREAS, Even the most expansive view of the biblical exceptions allowing for divorce and remarriage would rule out many, if not most, of the divorces in our churches; and

WHEREAS, The acceleration in rates of divorce in Southern Baptist churches has not come through a shift in theological conviction about scriptural teaching on divorce but rather through cultural accommodation; and

WHEREAS, We have been prophetic in confronting assaults in the outside culture on God’s design for marriage while rarely speaking with the same alarm and force to a scandal that has become all too commonplace in our own churches; and

WHEREAS, We do not serve those who are hurting from divorce by speaking to them only in therapeutic terms rather than in terms of both repentance and forgiveness; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, acknowledge the complicity of many among us for too often failing to show the world the meaning of the gospel through marital fidelity; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our conviction that a denomination defined theologically by our belief in the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture ought to proclaim the whole counsel of God, especially when the Bible confronts our own patterns of sin; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our further conviction that a denomination defined missiologically ought to recognize how damaging Southern Baptist accommodation to the divorce culture is to our global witness for Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our further conviction that a denomination seeking God’s blessing in revival and reformation ought to address the spiritual wreckage left in our Southern Baptist churches by our own divorce rates and our silence about the same; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to proclaim the Word of God on the permanence of marriage, and to provide ongoing marriage enrichment opportunities, in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s abhorrence of divorce; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to unite in marriage only those who are biblically qualified to be married to one another and who demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of lifelong love and fidelity; and be it further

Editor’s note: (This is indirect language that would seem to prohibit homosexual unions, and other, similar types of abominations.)

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches in our wedding services to maintain the gravity of the vows being undertaken, not simply as a token of a couple’s romance but as a covenant before God, until death do them part; and be it further

Editor’s note: (Baptists do not accept holy matrimony as a sacrament. They see it only as a covenant. As a result, the Baptist view of matrimony is fundamentally weakened by a lack of sanctifying grace, and by primary reliance on human means to preserve the “mystery” of the marital union.

Good Catholics know that holy matrimony is one of the seven sacraments, instituted by Jesus Christ, to give grace … and that grace is often sorely needed in most marriages … especially when things get tough!)

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to minister to couples and families in crisis through counseling, mentorship, and, where necessary, through biblical church discipline; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to proclaim God’s mercy and grace to all people—including those who have been divorced without biblical grounds—due to the truth that the blood of Jesus can atone for any sin and can cleanse any conscience; and be it further

Editor’s note: (Baptists appear to believe that the sin of adultery can somehow be totally forgiven, even as it continues over time, simply by a one-time invocation of the “blood of Jesus”.

Catholics understand that a valid marriage may never be annulled or denied for any reason, and that remarriage after a divorce … absent a valid annulment … leaves the remarried couple in a continuing state of permanent adultery, which is a grave sin … a situation which cannot be properly remedied without fully addressing the underlying behavior.

In all cases, the application of “the blood of Jesus” requires the sinner to be truly sorry for the sin, to repent, to “go and sin no more” …  just as Jesus said to the adulterous woman.

On this point in particular, The Catholic position is certainly more severe, yet much more Biblically accurate and correct, than the exceptionally weak, watered-down, liberal and modernist, Baptist position, stated above.)

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to have special compassion for and energetic ministry to those who have been left in the wake of family brokenness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists in troubled or faltering marriages to seek godly assistance and, where possible, reconciliation; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray that the true peace of our Lord Jesus Christ will reign in us such that the next generation will see the gospel not only in the counter-cultural nature of our verbal witness but also in the counter-cultural love and fidelity of our marriages.

Link

About Catholic Marriage Annulments

A Letter to Signers of the Manhattan Declaration

A Letter to Signers of the Manhattan Declaration

Thank you for your continuing support of the Manhattan Declaration.

The timing of our movement is providential. We couldn’t have realized when we released the Manhattan Declaration what threats to life and liberty we would soon be facing with the passage of the healthcare bill. At this critical moment for our nation, we give thanks to God that nearly half a million Christians have pledged to stand strong in defense of the most fundamental moral principles of a just and good society. God bless you for making this commitment.

We are reminded by this legislation that we must redouble our efforts. We must equip ourselves to defend winsomely the truth in the public square. The timing of the upgrading of our website is providential as well. We originally released the Manhattan Declaration last fall with a website literally assembled overnight. We realized a couple of months ago that we needed a better facility that could provide more resources to help people to better connect as this movement grows and develops. On the new website you’ll find a wealth of resources that will help you to fight this battle.

Visit the site

Knights of Columbus convention delegates adopt resolutions challenging Catholic office-holders on abortion

                      
Knights of Columbus convention delegates adopt resolutions challenging Catholic office-holders on abortion, affirming marriage as union of one man and one woman.

           
Thursday, August 7, 2008
           
(Quebec City, Quebec) – Delegates to the annual international convention of the Knights of Columbus today adopted a resolution opposing “any governmental action or policy that promotes abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other offenses against life.”

The delegates also challenged “our fellow Catholics who are elected officials to be true to the faith they claim to profess by acting bravely and publicly in defense of life, affirming with Pope Benedict XVI that ‘there can be no room for purely private religion.'”

 

In Annual Report, Supreme Knight Vows Fight for Life and Marriage
Declaring that “abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the Knights of Columbus to continuing its pro-life efforts in a special way in this election year in the United States.

The resolution stated that the organization reaffirms its “commitment to building a culture of life by promoting policies that favor the family,” and reaffirmed the organization’s “long standing policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event persons, especially public officials or candidates for public office, who do not support the legal protection of unborn children.”

The resolution on life issues follows by several days the opening convention address by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, in which he called on Catholic voters to “stop accommodating pro-abortion politicians,” and encouraged them to “say ‘no’ to every candidate of every political party who supports abortion.”

Delegates also adopted a resolution calling for “legal and constitutional protection . . . for the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.”

The resolution declares that “marriage is a natural institution based on ancient human values that have evolved over time into a unique and deeply rooted social, legal and religious institution,” and that it “reflects the natural biological complementarity between man and woman which predates the state and which is woven into the social and religious fabric of every major culture and society.”

Fathers for Good Initiative
The Knights of Columbus is launching a new initiative at the 126th Supreme Convention, called Fathers for Good.  Its centerpiece is a new Web site, www.fathersforgood.org

Marriage between man and woman “provides the most favorable environment in which to protect the rights and the best interests of children,” the resolution stated.

Convention delegates adopted resolutions dealing with other public policy issues as well, including building a culture of life, religious liberty, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, decency on the Internet and in the media, Catholic education, and the Pledge of Allegiance. The texts of all the resolutions can be found at:

http://www.kofc.org/un/eb/en/convention_2008/resolutions/index.html

For complete coverage of convention events, go to the “Convention Central” web page at:

http://www.kofc.org/un/eb/en/convention_2008/index.html