Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~6 Chastity

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, 
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor might,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, 
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39
Douay Rheims, Roman Catholic Bible
     The month of June, brilliant with flowering color, is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The virtue of chastity is exemplified by Jesus and those closest to Him ~ Mary His Mother, Joseph His foster father and John the Baptist. Without any distraction or limits, Jesus gave us His Sacred Heart. He continues to do so. Safe within His heart, we are never without the hope of being with Him forever in Heaven. 
     Saint Alphonsus Liguori reminds us, in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation, of the diligence required in preserving the virtue of chastity. Without this virtue, families and children are destroyed. Despair reigns and hope dies. Conversely through the very words of our Savior Jesus, we have the glorious assurance that "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible.
     Vocations~ Priesthood, Religious, Single and Marriage~ are made beautiful by this virtue, which  makes our hearts and souls totally available to receive the bountiful graces of our Heavenly Father. To assist us, our Creator has blessed us with the protection of the Holy Angels, and the powerful prayers of the saints and faithful departed. Nothing can separate us from His love!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~5 Poverty and Detachment

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, 
and suffer the loss of his soul? 
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mark 8:36-37
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     God permits us to enjoy the wealth of His beauty in the splendor of His creation during the month of May. The most lovely of His creations is the Blessed Virgin Mother! The month of may is dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. What a beautiful example of holy poverty was she. Her life with Jesus and Joseph was one of simplicity and detachment from everything the world defines as prosperity or success. Holy Scripture and the example of Jesus and the saints teach us to relinquish our hold on what we possess in favor of surrender to the will of God. Hearts filled with affection for high status, power, influence and self will, has no room for love of God.
     As repeated in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation, "In order to become holy, we must banish from our heart all that is not for God." Saint Theresa of the child Jesus said "The less we have here, the greater will be our joy in Heaven."

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~4 Love of Our Neighbor

"The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. 
Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law."
Romans 13:10
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     Though blasts of winder chill our inner beings, occasional April blossoms hint at the arrival of long awaited spring. May we grow in love, by offering for our neighbor frequent prayer and contemplation in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament of Jesus, to whom the month of April is dedicated.
     Outward appearances may mask the underlying trials of a person who we find difficult to love. How fitting it is that Jesus and the saints admonish us to refrain from judging our neighbor. Instead, we are taught that to truly love God, we must love all of the persons He created. Further, we are reminded that God is the recipient of our treatment of others! The eternal danger of slander and discord are contrasted to the infinite merit of alms giving and love of our enemies. The conclusion of this chapter of The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation presents us with a great consolation, Our Lord's beautiful gift of praying for the dying and faithful departed: "When the soul is departing, say prayers for the dying and recommend the departed soul when it appears before the judgment seat of God. An evergreen wreath of prayers should be laid on the grave and frequent mementoes made during the Holy Mass for a speedy entrance of the departed soul into the everlasting joys of our heavenly home." 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~3 Love of God

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; 
he it is that loveth me. 
And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: 
and I will love him, 
and will manifest myself to him.
Dark, cold winter days of March persist, yet our hearts are filled with the warmth of Christ's love for us.
John 14:21
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     Cold winter days of March may persist, yet our hearts are filled with the warmth of Christ's love for us. Saint Joseph's love of God fueled his passion for the care and protection of Jesus and Mary. May we be inspired, during this month dedicated to Saint Joseph, to keep the flames of God's love burning within our hearts.
     In this chapter, we learn from the saints about experiencing God's love as we appreciate His creation in nature and beauty. The saints spoke clearly about the essence of self-sacrifice and suffering in the love relationship between Jesus and His followers. Desire for God's love, denouncement of attachment to things of the world, self denial and frequent meditation on the passion of Christ are essential in enhancing our love of God.  
     Among the many beautiful quotes from The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation are: "All Perfection consists in the love of God; for love is the virtue which unites us most intimately with God. All other virtues are of no account unless they are accompanied by love." "The Lord is generous in the bestowal of His gifts; but He is especially bountiful in giving His love to those who seek it."

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~2 Hope

       Ambient darkness, wind and cold remind us of the despair which the deception of hopelessness can ignite within our souls. It seems so fitting to select the virtue of hope as a point of contemplation during the dark, cold seemingly endless winter month of February. Through this virtue we are abundantly blessed with a supernatural confidence in the happiness of eternity with God. The Baltimore catechism question reverberates within many of our memories~ Why did god make you~God made me to know Him and love Him and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next."
     Hope is inseparable from our love for God. The month of February is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Family, who resonded to every tribulation with confident hope in God. This chapter of The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation most beautifully explains the relationship between the virtue of hope and a loving yearning for God, which the souls in purgatory exprience. As stated in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation "the first and foremost object of our hope is the possession of God in heaven". As we contemplate this virtue during the month of February, we are inspired by Jesus, Mary and Joseph and their life of hope.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~1 Faith

     The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation is a lovely, encouraging compilation of excerpts from writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori.          Twelve topics lend themselves to a monthly focus of meditation upon Heavenward leading virtues. Advent sets the stage for a new beginning in the Camino to holiness and union with Jesus. The first chapter,"Faith", explores the necessity of a holy faith in the life of the soul who follows Jesus.  Old and New Testament examples enlighten the reader. Words of our Savior assure. The words of St. James admonish us to put faith into practice. Validity of faith is determined by how it is acted upon. "Faith transcends both intellect and worldly gains. Mundane wealth vanishes in the light of faith filled devotion." As new years resolutions are embarked upon, how fitting it is to contemplate the virtue of faith during the month of January, the month we commemorate the Holy Childhood and Holy Name of Jesus.
"What shall it profit my brethren
If a man say
that he hath faith but not works?
Shall faith be able to save him?
And if a brother or sister
be naked and want daily food
And one say to them~
Go in peace, be ye warm and filled
Yet give them not 
those things that are necessary for the body, 
what shall it profit?
So faith also, if it have not works
is dead in itself."
James 2:14-16
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Every Day is a Gift~Giant Type Print

     The brief, focused meditations presented in Every Day is a Gift~Giant Type Print are rich in scripture and the wisdom of the Holy Saints. 
     Simply presented daily inspirations serve to ignite uplifting prayer and discussion.