New Year’s Re(soul)utions

JMJ

Friends, like millions of other people, I like to tackle certain initiatives at the beginning of each year. I make secular vows like losing weight and exercising more and pious vows like praying a daily Rosary or getting to Adoration once a week. Unfortunately, all too often, I fail at most, if not all, of my endeavors. Sometimes it takes a long time, but, in the end, I succumb to my worst nature. Does my human nature doom me to life overweight, lazy, and unable to maintain good norms of piety?

Matthew Kelly says no. He says, “There is a genius in Catholicism!” In his book Rediscover Catholicism, he highlights so many of the glorious things Our Lord gave us in the Church He founded. One of those things is Reconciliation. Matthew Kelly explains that Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, knew that even after hearing the truth of the Gospels, we would fail to walk in His ways. Understanding our human need for hearing the comforting words of forgiveness, we received a concrete avenue for offering our contrition while simultaneously receiving the grace to continue on our journey. Reconciliation truly sets us free.

Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist from Duke University, was looking for ways to reduce the desire for people to cheat in a myriad of situations. When he stumbled upon Catholic Confession, he didn’t know what to make of it. “From an economic perspective, we don’t understand confession. If you can confess and be absolved, shouldn’t you cheat more?” he asked. As it turned out, he discovered the opposite in his research. Confession led to better behavior instead of worse. In a series of secular experiments simulating confession, he discovered something he called the “what the hell” effect. He said that once people do something that they deem as bad enough times, they basically give up and convince themselves that they already have screwed things up this

As Catholics, we understand both the human and the supernatural effect of Reconciliaticonfessionon on our souls. Like the cleansing waters of Baptism, we are new creations formed by the words of Absolution. Emboldened by this comforting truth, I have decided to tie my efforts at improvement this year to sins I want to avoid. Sloth and gluttony are my biggest foes. Instead of simply starting a diet or workout program, I intend to offer sacrifices in my food choices to the Lord and make exercise a chance to clean the temple of the Holy Spirit my body is supposed to be. I know I will fail. It will happen more than once, but this time I know I can start over. Any day I can make it to the confessional can be New Year’s Day. Maybe if we had fireworks and confetti to celebrate as people came out people would understand the gift that Jesus continues to give us.   

You will be in my prayers. Good luck with those Re(soul)utions.

Copyright 2018 Mark Andrews

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | 2 Comments

CWG Prayer Chain Post: January 14, 2018

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.” Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep. Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.” At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


JANUARY INTENTION PRAYER 

Prayer to the Holy Family

Lord Jesus Christ, who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

CWG Book Blast! Dr. Roger and Karen Salstrom’s “95 Questions for Protestants”

This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Dr. Roger and Karen Salstrom’s book, 95 Questions for Protestants: Points to Ponder During the 500 Year Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation…and Beyond. It is a CWG Seal of Approval winner! What if it is possible to sift through all religious claims and ultimately find the Truth, and what if that Truth is held within the doctrines of the Catholic Church?

95 Questions for Protestants

Summary:

As the title implies, 95 Questions for Protestants was written in response to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, which set the wheels in motion for the runaway train called the Protestant Reformation. It offers questions along with answers that sum up the Church’s teachings from Holy Scripture, the early Church, the Church Fathers, Sacred Tradition, and Catholic catechisms. 95 Questions for Protestants gives a solid foundation for anyone who seeks truth in its fullness.

Excerpt:

CHAPTER: Scripture vs. Scripture Plus Tradition

Martin Luther’s proclamation, in his speech at the Diet of Worms in AD 1521, that the Bible alone (sola scriptura) provides complete understanding of faith is the basis for a major division between Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic Church has consisted of a three-legged stool since the beginning in AD 33: Sacred Scripture (Bible), Sacred Tradition (holy oral Tradition), and the Magisterium (teaching body). If one leg is removed, the stool collapses. This section will show that the sola scriptura, one-legged stool foundation was and is counter-biblical.

Is Luther’s concept of Bible alone (sola scriptura) supported by or found in Scripture?

Such a Scripture does not exist. Some Protestants point to certain Scripture verses as proof for sola Scriptura. For instance, in 2 Timothy 3:16 we learn that all Scripture is not only inspired by God, but is useful for teaching and training. However, it does not state that Scripture only should be used. Conversely, we see in Acts 2:42 that the early Church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings (oral tradition). And in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is a directive to hold to the traditions the apostles taught. In effect, holy Tradition is given credence as a means of knowing the faith. Those traditions (not human traditions) have been passed down from the apostles, preserved in the writings of the Church Fathers, and remain as the full deposit of truth of the Catholic Church.

Bio:

Roger Salstrom, Ph.D., was raised as a Methodist and spent most of his adult years as a Protestant. In 2010, after many conversations with his son-in-law Nick and after reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s Rome, Sweet Home, Roger began to consider Catholicism in a new light. He was struck by Scott Hahn’s statement that his friend and pastor, Gerry Matatics, said there was not one Catholic teaching that was contradicted in Holy Scripture (Hahn, 1993, p. 65). This set Roger on a journey of discovery, culminating after four years with his entering the Catholic Church in 2015. Roger is currently a Retired Dean of the School of Business at a local university in Northern California.

Karen Salstrom grew up in the years surrounding Vatican II. She left the Church for nearly 40 years, spending her time in a variety of Protestant denominations where she picked up false information about the Church’s teachings. After reading Rome, Sweet Home, Karen was convinced by the truth about Catholicism. Consequently, she sought to be reconciled to the Church. Since her return, she devotes much of her time to learning about the faith she never truly knew in her earlier years. Karen is a singer-songwriter, pro-life advocate, and owner of Holy Veils by Karen, making chapel and First Holy Eucharist veils for women and girls.

Buy Links:

Amazon –  http://a.co/8KWJNFE
Aquinas and More –
http://www.aquinasandmore.com/catholic-books/95-questions-for-protestants/sku/98559
Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/95-questions-for-protestants-dr-roger-salstrom/1126577596?ean=9781942190349

Tweet:

What is truth, and does it matter? 95 Questions for Protestants will help in your search for the truth. www.95-questions.com

Special Considerations:

After publishing our book and due to conflicts at work surrounding his Catholicism, Roger felt called to retire from his position as Dean of the School of Business at a Protestant Evangelical University. We are in transition phase with a 50% income loss. His story will be on the Coming Home Network on January 29, 2018.

Our Book will be available for use on Formed sometime in 2018.


 

Posted in Catholic book blast, Catholic Writing and Publishing, Defending the Faith, Faith, History, non-fiction, Spiritual Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Catholics Should Know about Science

 

‘It looks full of hard words and signs and numbers, not very entertaining or understandable looking, and I wonder whether it will make people wiser or better.’ So wrote a cousin of Josiah Willard Gibbs when she happened onto a copy of his most famous paper on thermodynamics lying on his desk.

As quoted from Order and Chaos, by Stanley Angrist and Loren Hepler.

INTRODUCTION

Young people are leaving the Church, according to a recent article in Our Sunday Visitor. Why?—“their belief that there is a disconnect between science and religion.” But if they knew what science is all about, they would recognize that there is no disconnect—indeed, as in Psalm 19A, they would see that “The Heavens declare the glory of God.”  and know that science and faith reinforce each other, as Pope St. John Paul II, has written:

Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourishPope St. John Paul II, Letter to Rev. George Coyne, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory.

This, then, is my goal: to open the doorway labeled, “Truth cannot contradict truth” (Pope St. John Paul II), so that young people can realize that nothing that science truly tells us about the world opposes Catholic doctrine.   In order to do this I will need to teach what basic science is all about, and  by basic, I don’t mean how to balance chemical equations, calculate trajectories of cannon balls, or analyze electrical circuit diagrams. I mean to know:

  • how science works, what constitutes “proof” in science;
  • that the Catholic Church was the midwife of science;
  • that theories that once were thought fundamental have been replaced by better ones—science is not fixed or static;
  • why science is not just theory, but critically depends on empirical tests;
  • that at a fundamental level, science depends on faith, faith in a universe ordered by mathematics;
  • that the “laws” of science are descriptive, not prescriptive; they are our best attempt to understand God’s Creation.  .

ISSUES: SCIENCE AND CATHOLIC TEACHING

These are some of the issues where science and Catholic teaching intersect:

  • cosmology—the creation of the universe;
  • evolution—the first humans;
  • biology and genetics—right to life, designer babies;
  • neuroscience—soul and conscience;
  • philosophy–explaining purpose, morals and the good: faith, not science

METHOD: IMAGES, ANIMATION AND HISTORY

Clearly, using conventional textbooks have not served to give non-scientists (and many scientists) a notion of what science is all about. Part of the problem is that for many (like my wife) an encounter with equations and numbers causes their stomach to roil and gurgle. So, one has to convey information qualitatively, by words, by images and by animation. Fortunately there are a lot of such explanations on the web, so I won’t have to do them myself, but just provide links and explanatory notes. Accordingly this will be an ebook, rather than paper, in order to provide access via links to graphic material.

Why history? As Pierre Duhem, the French physicist and philosopher, put it:

“The history of science alone can keep the physicist from the mad ambitions of dogmatism as well as the despair of pyrrhonian scepticism.”
Pierre Duhem, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory

Or, more simply, as my wife (whose graduate work was in Medieval History) would have it:

“History tells you most of what you need to know about a subject”.

Here are some specifics: the history of science tells how we learned what heat is all about; that an early theory, the caloric, was disproved by a cannon-boring experiment; that gradually experiments, theories, arguments and counter-arguments about heat, work, energy and molecules developed into that fundamental principle of science: the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the first version of Murphy’s Law, disorder from order, that there will be only unmatched socks in the dryer.

In other words, the history of science shows how we have come to frame observable happenings in mathematical language, how theories are fallible, that the only true theory is that which can be, but is not contradicted by empirical evidence, and, most importantly, that at the deepest, most fundamental level there remains a mystery–a mystery which is the mystery of the Godhead, the Trinity.

QUESTION FOR THE READER

Finally, I ask you, the reader, “Do you think such a book would be useful? Would you read it and recommend it if it was free?”

I look forward to both positive and negative replies.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing, Defending the Faith, science | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The Mercy We Are Called to Live

Eucharistic AdorationWhen introducing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in her book, Blessed Are You, author Melanie Rigney writes, “Both types can come free and easy … or hard and challenging” (Franciscan Media, 2016, p. 66).  This immediately made me think of the healthy benefits of exercise. I can stroll around the park with the kids, or I can strap on the boxing gloves and go a round with the punching bag.

As I read in Melanie’s chapter on mercy, which included Sts. Teresa of Calcutta, Maria Karlowska, and Frances Xavier Cabrini, she brought an important question to mind. How do I approach the responsibility of showing mercy to others in my own life? She did not mean just the common decency we’re called to extend to each other in day to day living with others. But the “words into action, called to be a saint” kind of mercy.

The Works of Mercy remind us that mercy is much more than forgiveness.  In totality, these works encourage us to live beyond ourselves. Though we may not all be called to the streets of India, as Saint Teresa of Calcutta was, we are responsible to care for the poorest of the poor—spiritually and physically.

Take for instance praying for the living and the dead. There is a straightforward way to accomplish this work of mercy such as offering the intentions for others during prayer. One of my favorite “free and easy” praying for others actions involves Facebook and Adoration.  Before my Eucharistic Holy Hours, I will post on Facebook an image of the Eucharist in a Monstrance and the words “Can I pray for you?” The response this post garners humbles and amazes me. I typically receive 100 or more likes and/or comments indicating a request for prayer. Then, when I am sitting in the chapel before Jesus in the Eucharist, praying for each person and their intention by name, I am overcome with a profound sense of hope and peace. Though the requests often break my heart, I would still place this act in the easy act of mercy category.

A few years ago, after completing a novena to St. Ann for help with a serious financial matter, I felt a spiritual nudge to give back in charity for great blessings received in an answer to this prayer.  After a time of prayer, I was inspired to rejoin the ministry of bringing Holy Communion to the homebound. My pastor was happy to have my help—but it would require me to attend the 8 a.m. Mass and rearrange my work schedule.  Sacrifice?  I didn’t see that coming; I thought it would be at my leisure and on my time. These were inconvenient sacrifices but the “hard and challenging” was yet to come in a most unexpected way.

First, you have to know I am extremely germophobic. Just weeks into this new ministry, I arrived at my assigned assisted-living location and was greeted by a giant note taped to the door, “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. STOMACH BUG EPIDEMIC.”

What?!

The situation was made more difficult because in my hand wasn’t regular Communion but Christmas Communion. How could I not bring them Jesus for Christmas?  Christmas was just days away when I was expected to host our family Christmas celebration.   It felt selfish to walk into the building and risk getting sick, or worse, exposing my entire family to the bug.  Yet, I was holding “Christmas Jesus” and I knew my new friends were looking forward to receiving Communion, which made it seem selfish to walk away.

As my spiritual director always says, “If you are going to trust God, then you need to trust God!” The hard and challenging aspect of this valuable work was trusting God regarding my health for the sake of serving others. When we step out in faith to serve God’s people, we, in essence, become Christ in the world.  Even the simplest of tasks can come with obstacles and difficulties; our spiritual muscles are strengthened when we forge through despite them. As in my exercise analogy, the workout that is harder takes more determination and effort. And let’s be honest, the harder workout will produce the greater benefit, too.

In case you are wondering, I did go into the building that morning, and I did not get sick. The smell of Lysol wafting heavily in the air gave me a bit of confidence, but the joy on the face of the first woman quickly told me I made the right choice.  I next visited a sweet couple, who had been married for over seventy years.  When I was preparing to leave, the wife said, “Jesus will bless you for your kindness.”

Reflecting on that special Christmas, regardless of whether I had become ill or not, the Lord had indeed abundantly blessed me.  Abandoning my fears and mustering up my courage to walk through those electronic doors that Christmas elevated my trust in God to a whole new level.  The reinforced trust generated in that experience would become the greatest gift I received that year.

Posted in Faith, Holidays, Mercy, Spiritual Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Committees start strong in 2018!

volunteerProject: Social Media
Purpose: Promote the Guild and its activities in social media.

The social media group continued reasonably well. We still had times when volunteers didn’t fill the buffer of posts, and there were days with no social media, but we have three volunteers now (Jane Lebak, Lisa Mayer and Stuart Sexton) who are carrying the torch. Michael Fraley continues to do a grand job with the CWG Book Blast.

Status: We need a volunteer to rewrite the regular posts. Jane Lebak is redoing some, but we need them all refreshed. The links to the books have been checked, and we are removing them or finding valid links for those that no longer work.

Note on CWG Volunteer FB group: Karina set this up for the committee chairs to use, but it does not get much activity.

Project: CWG Facebook Group
Purpose: Provide an online venue for talking and sharing over Facebook.

Status: Carmela Martino has done a fantastic job moderating. The number of conversation posts seems pretty good, and we have a very active group. We have had a few instances where we need to remind folks about the no-politic and no-spam rules, but mostly, it has gone well. We need a new volunteer to take this on this new year.

Note: The CWG and CWCO fan pages differ from the FB group page. They are outward facing and promote the Guild and member books. Members are encouraged to post about their blogs, books, etc. there, and every day we post a promo about one member’s book. This new year we promote speakers on the CWCO page. Those who signed up in the speaker’s bureau will soon be able to post a promotional post on a regular basis.

Project: Catholic Writers Conference Online (CWCO)
Purpose: To provide a low-cost, high-information online writing conference.

Status: The 2017 online conference was a great success in attendance and profit. We’ve also heard from several people who have been published as a result of the pitch sessions.

It has been hard for Karina and Laura to organize the conference in the spring, so for 2018, we are moving it to October 12-14 so that we can plan during the summer.

Project: Monthly writing seminars
Purpose: To provide intermittent writing classes on requested topics outside the conferences; also to raise money for the Guild and share profits with the instructors. This is a moneymaking opportunity for Guild members. Also to promote the Guild to other Catholic writers.

Status: Laura Lowder is spearheading this, and it is still in the planning process. She that these will be more open-ended, time-wise, and allow a greater variety of topics and greater depth of coverage.

Lori Watson is working with Laura to contact potential presenters, and they are hunkering down as we transition to the new year. The next webinar is set for January 20, Writing out of Life’s Experiences, featuring Jeannie Ewing and Virginia Pillars, with Laura Lowder as moderator.

We plan to use the conference software (AnyMeeting) to host the seminars, which will be a single class taught by one person. Fees are being determined and most likely will be $10/class, and split with the instructor.

Project: Using project management freeware for better organizing committees.
Purpose: Better coordinate Guild projects.

One of the biggest issues we seem to have with committees is communication and making sure the guidelines, procedures, etc are all in one place that’s accessible. People who volunteer often don’t get contacted or follow-ups as needed, and as a result, don’t participate. To this end, Karina Fabian researched project management software that’s free in order to incorporate one for the Guild.

Status: This project died. Karina found two programs that worked, but only two people volunteered to test them, and each liked a different one. Interest in this project wasn’t strong enough right now. Perhaps later this year we will try this again.

The above report is a compilation of information submitted by Karina Fabian and Laura Lowder. Here’s the major committees and their email addresses. Please contact them directly to volunteer, or for more information about their committee functions. They can answer your questions and will welcome your input.

CWG COMMITTEES

Blog: Kathryn Cunningham and Dennis McGeehan 

CALA (Catholic Arts and Letters Award): Carol Ann Chybowski

CBN (Catholic Book News): Dawn Witzke

CWC: Ann Lewis and Ellen Hrkach

CWCO: Ann Lewis, Karina Fabian and Laura Lowder 

Communications/Social Media: Karina Fabian 

Facebook- Karina Fabian 

Membership: Maureen Smith

Newsletter: Cesar Chacon

Retreat: Ann Lewis and Margaret Rose Realy 

SOA: Ellen Gable Hrkach

Zenit: Dennis McGeehan 

CWG Fiction Critique Group† Don Mulcare

CWG Non-Fiction Critique Group† Nancy Ward

For other concerns and suggestions about our fabulous committees, contact Nancy Ward, Coordinator of Committees.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing, Committees, CWG Needs Volunteers | Leave a comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: January 7, 2018

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


JANUARY INTENTION PRAYER 

Prayer to the Holy Family

Lord Jesus Christ, who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | 1 Comment

Greeting the New Year—the Catholic Way

According to Georgetown University , as of October 2017, there are 1.28 billion Catholics in the world. 70.4 million of them are in the United States. The USA has a population of approximately 330,000,000 people. That works out to about 22% of the American population being Catholic.

From the Pope down to the vagrant, each of us is an individual creation made by God. We are all unique. Incredibly, we will all be judged individually. And, as Catholics, we will be held to a higher standard. After all, we proclaim to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ which is filled with the deposit of faith. No matter how we lived our lives, the common denominator for all of us will be: How much we loved each other and our neighbor.

Based on that, here are some points to consider if we focus on, before all else, pleasing God in the New Year, the Catholic Way:

  • Never forget that you are God’s individual creation and therefore a gift He has bestowed on the world. Be humbled by the fact that He does have you in the palm of His hand. Without Him you are nothing.
  • Be happy with who and what you are. God made you and loves If you feel you need to change to please Him, you can do it. Just ask for His help.
  • The choices you make are your responsibility. Sometimes our choices hurt us. Embrace them and learn from them and move on. Thank God for the experience.
  • Sometimes NOT getting what you want or what you think you need is a gift. If you trust God, you will thank Him. When “one door closes another opens.”
  • Always count your blessings — not your troubles.
  • Always do your best. The “best” is all God expects from each of us.
  • You can make it through whatever comes along.
  • Prayer is the most powerful of weapons and can be your greatest ally in all diversity.
  • Don’t take things too seriously — especially yourself.
  • The key to happiness is to give of yourself, not to “get” for yourself.
  • Miracles happen; you are one — I am one — we all are one.
  • Temptation is everywhere. It is okay to say “NO.”
  • Finally, never fail to help a neighbor, whoever it may be — even a stranger.

We all will experience “highs and lows” during the coming year. As Catholics, we have the armor of the Church to shield us and the angels and saints to help us fight our battles with the evil one.

St. Michael the Archangel will always ‘defend us in battle.” St. Anthony will help us find lost items. St. Jude will help us through seemingly impossible barricades. Good St. Joseph is ready to help all men be good fathers and husbands. St. Monica will help moms and St. Dymphna will help those with experiencing emotional difficulties or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. And, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary is always there for all of us.

Virtually every day of the calendar year honors a particular saint, and that saint has been assigned a special task, such as St. Padre Pio, who is the patron of adolescents and volunteers, or St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyred in the Holocaust, who is the patron of drug addicts. Help is always available when you are Catholic.

Lastly, we have in place for our salvation the most beautiful thing this side of heaven; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We can actually be at the foot of the Cross and then witness the resurrection. It is there for all of us every day if we so CHOOSE. Then there are the sacraments, always available to build us up and restore us to where we should be.

Yes—being Catholic is very cool. We even have the Rosary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018 –“No Fear”

Copyright 2018 Larry Peterson

Posted in Catholic Theme, Faith, Inspirational | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CWG Prayer Chain Post: December 31, 2017

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

st-_peter_und_paul_bonndorf_jm50586_cropped_5

Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?” Abram continued, “See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir.” The Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.” Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. The LORD took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated. Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him.

 


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


DECEMBER INTENTION PRAYER 

O Come All Ye Faithful

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

Christmas–A Bad Time for Alcoholics and Addicts? Faith is the answer.

For some, the sights, signs and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of guilt.
—Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, Dec. 24.

If I could speak to other parents facing the same situation, I’d say, “You need to hand your children over to someone greater than yourself, because you can’t control your children or the addiction. You are not helping them if you try to—hold on! It gets better.
—Anonymous, “Stories of Faith and Addiction”, St. Joseph Catholic Church Drug and Alcohol Ministry website

“Tis the season to be jolly!” …Or is it? For many addicts, alcoholics, their family and friends, there are triggers—Christmas tree ornaments that once were scattered in a drunken rage, the Christmas Eve phone call from the ER about an overdosed child—that are a reminder of bad times in the past.

Now, I don’t intend to dampen the spirit of this sacred holiday. Rather, this article is a plea to support efforts to bring faith into the lives of addicts, alcoholics and their families. As an example, our parish has formed a “Drug and Alcohol Ministry”. We meet monthly, with a prayer/rosary session beforehand. Our mission is not to give advice—that’s left to the professionals and 12 Step groups—but to give support and to help people, those afflicted, their families and friends, know that faith in Jesus Christ will give them hope.

The web site for the ministry contains the following resources: a prayer for the month, a list of local 12 Step meetings, a list of counseling services and stories of recovery through faith in God. In our area, the Higher Power of the Twelve Step meetings is explicitly God. But this may not be the case elsewhere.

The statistics for recovery are a mixed lot. Some reports give 10% (or lower) recovery rates from just 12 Step programs. Others give higher figures for 12 Step programs plus extensive counseling. But the most significant statistic is 60 to 75% recovery—abstinence two years after release from rehab—if there is a significant faith component to rehab efforts. And it must be realized that recovery is not only for addicts or alcoholics, but for their families.

So, let us pray to God and for the intercession of St. Jude, worker of Miracles, for all those afflicted by addiction and alcoholism, including friends and families:

God of life, You made us in Your perfect image to live in Your love and to give You glory, honor and praise. Open our hearts to Your healing power. Come, Lord Jesus, calm our souls just as You whispered “Peace” to the stormy sea.  St. Jude, holy Apostle, in our need we reach out to you. We beg you to intercede for us that we may find strength to overcome our illnesses. Bless all those who struggle with addiction. Touch them, heal them, reassure them of the Father’s constant love. Remain at our side, St. Jude, to chase away all evil temptations, fears and doubts. May the quiet assurance of your loving presence illuminate the darkness in our hearts and bring lasting peace. “—Prayer of the Month, St. Joseph Church Drug and Alcohol Ministry website.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing, Faith, Spiritual Life, Volunteering | Tagged , , | Leave a comment