Lent and the Sacrifice of Love

This year’s Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the liturgical celebration of Lent, is on St. Valentine’s Day.  Initially, I found this to be odd, but upon contemplation, I found it to be the perfect day for both days.  St. Valentine was a Christian priest who performed Christian marriages against the decrees of the pagan Roman Emperor in the 3rd century CE/AD.  He was martyred for it and later declared to be a saint by the Church.

Lent marks the mourning of the death of Christ by crucifixion of the Romans believed to have happened around 30-33 AD as Jesus was 33 when he was crucified (Good Friday).  Of course, he arose from the dead on the Sunday morning, which we celebrate as Easter, which is when Lent stops and we can stop mourning and start celebrating with great amounts of light in the church for Mass that Easter Vigil night and Easter morning.

To mark this mourning period (40 days excluding Sundays), we take an ashen cross upon our heads as a sign that we are faithful Christians and remember the sacrifice of love that Jesus made for us.  You see, love is the key.  Love is why Jesus Christ chose to die for humanity’s sins so that when we are baptized (first cleansing of our sins) in the Trinitarian formula; we are born into eternal life.  Since we are human, we are likely to sin again; hence, the need for confession to the priest for what we must do for absolution.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on that Easter morning gives us hope for a hopeful place in Heaven with him, the Blessed Mother, and all the saints.  Jesus loved us so much that he suffered humiliation, mockery, torture, and cruel pain by being nailed to a cross.

For Lent, we aren’t asked to sacrifice much: simply no meat on Fridays (in honor of Good Friday) and we go through the 14 Stations of the Cross.  These are the key 14 moments in the horrible events of Jesus Christ’s passion (in Latin, passion means suffering) and death.  Normally, we fast by eating either one big meal and two smaller meals or 2 small meals during Lent.  Fish is usually consumed on Friday’s as an act of this mourning period since meat is forbidden (except on Sunday’s).  Typically, one is also asked to sacrifice something else too, such as not eating something we enjoy and substitute it for something else.  One may, as Pope Francis recently suggested, we give up bad attitudes and start living with good attitudes, such as having compassion and forgiveness.

I hope this article helped you understand Lent.  I will become Roman Catholic on March 31st during the Easter Vigil this year, but before that I must go through the period of Lent.

God bless!




Divine Mercy

In 1935, St. Faustina of Poland received visions from God, which is published in her diary and her own work about Divine Mercy.  These visions state that mercy exists for everyone, if they ask and pray for it.  A special rosary prayer is recited from the words of her vision that God to her known as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Roman Catholic and some Anglican churches celebrate this mystery the first Sunday after Easter.

This is from the following link:  http://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php

1. Make the Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

3. Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

4. Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

5. The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

6. The Eternal Father

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.

7. On the Ten Small Beads of Each Decade

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

8. Repeat for the remaining decades

Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.

9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

10. Optional Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.


Protecting Life

“If you need something to worship, then worship life – all life, every last crawling bit of it! We’re all in this beauty together!”
― Frank HerbertDune Messiah

“Thou shall not kill” – Exodus 20:13.

One of the mortal sins, which can prevent you from getting into Heaven if it is not absolved by a priest, and the person makes the proper repentance as God is merciful.  The mortal sins are those that violate the 10 commandments.  “Thou shall not kill (specifically, murder)” is one of those.  I have not murdered anyone or encouraged anyone to abort a baby, but both are murder.

No one should murder anyone, regardless of reason, and that includes embryos, which are unborn babies.  If a woman has an abortion, I am sure she has her reasons, but it is still murder.  She should consult the male boyfriend, husband, or perhaps it was from an affair; regardless it is not the innocent baby’s fault that the mother did not feel ready to have a baby.  Other options are available that protect life, such as adoption and putting the baby in an orphanage.  Protect life!

I am not just pro-life in this way.  I believe it is wrong to kill in an unjust war or if it violate a person’s conscience to be in a conflict that involves murder. Personally, for me, I could not murder a person under any reason.  It is a commandment that is very serious and one should not violate it.  Obviously, the Catholic person needs to contact his or her priest if he or she is involved in a war or conflict, and seek absolution or if the war is considered just, then no absolution may be necessary.

I believe all life is sacred and no one should murder another person, be in an embryo or an adult person.  The death penalty, personally, for me, I feel is wrong.  Taking a life for a wronged murder(s) does not equate justice.  It is better for that person to have life in prison rather than being killed.   Two wrongs (murder) do not equal a right or justice.

Mary, Mother of God

Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is venerated in the holy Roman Catholic Church.  She is not worshiped, but she is revered and above the saints.  We pray to her for intercession to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Protestants do not understand our reverence of Mary and confuse it with worship.  In the Early Church, at the beginning of its formation, she was given the title “Mother of God” and she is the Mother of God for she gave birth to God Incarnate in the form of Jesus Christ or God the Son (the second person in the Trinity).

When Jesus was dying on the cross, he told his beloved disciple, John, “Behold your mother.”  In this instance, Mary became all of our Mothers (for John was human, but became a saint upon his death after a long life of service to Jesus Christ) and Mother of the Roman Catholic Church, which is one of many reasons she is revered so highly in the Church.  Church Tradition (note the capital T) teaches us that Mary was assumed into Heaven, which is to say as she lay on her death bed, her dormition took place: God glorified her body, which is without sin as she was born sinless from her mother, St. Anne (known as the Immaculate Conception), and she was assumed into Heaven as Queen Mother of Heaven.

This is not the end of her story.  Whereas Jesus is the “Second Adam,” allowing for Redeemed humanity to be glorified and go to Heaven after taking in all the Sacraments and being free of mortal sin.  Mary is the “Second Eve,” the holy mother of Redeemed, glorified humanity.  She is glorified in Heaven and in the book of Revelation (also known as the Apocalypse of St. John), we see the description of her coronation in Heaven.  Twelve stars are her crown symbolizing the 12 disciples and 12 tribes of Israel with the “moon under her feet.”

Roman Catholics, as I soon will be, refer to Mary as Our Lady.  She has appeared to people over time in apparitions and miracles have taken place at these locations.  She visited children and people in Lourdes, France; Fatima, Portugal; and other locations around the world, such as Guadalupe, Mexico, in which she is known as Our Lady of the Americas and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Devotions to Our Lady are common, especially the rosary, which she instituted by instruction to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan de la Roche.  Refer to my previous article about praying the rosary if you want to know more about it.

Praying the Rosary

The rosary is a simple prayer for Christians to pray, which is common practice among Roman Catholics (as I soon will be), and some Protestants pray it as well.  Actually, anyone can pray it, but if you want absolution from your sins, you have to go through a priest.  Anyway, the rosary is a devotional prayer presented to St. Dominic (founder of the Dominican Order) through a vision from Our Lady (the Blessed Virgin Mary) in the early 13th century.

It consists of 4 divine Mysteries that cover the life of Christ (with 5 events in each Mystery) and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The first is the Joyful Mysteries, which cover five events of the birth and infancy in the early life of Christ.  It begins with the Annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary (who was immaculately conceived from St. Anne and born without sin; also an eternal virgin) she is to be with child that Jesus is to be born from her womb due to the Holy Spirit coming over her to make her pregnant with God the Son.

The next Mystery is the Luminous, covering the events of Christ’s ministry, and then the Sorrowful (the suffering and death of Jesus), and finally the Glorious, which include the ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, and concluding with her coronation in Heaven as the Holy Queen of Heaven (Queen Mother; not God’s ‘bride’; described in the Book of Revelation).

Now, to the important part; how to pray the rosary?  Well, first you make the sign of the cross and say the Apostles’ Creed.  Second, you say an Our Father; third, three Hail Mary’s, fourth, say a Glory Be; fifth, announce the First Mystery (the first event in whatever Mystery you are praying as described above); sixth, say an Our Father; seventh, say 10 Hail Mary’s; eighth, a Glory Be and the Fatima prayer; ninth, repeat 6-8; tenth, say a Hail Holy Queen prayer, and end with the Concluding Prayer.

If you unaware of any of these terms or prayers, the Our Father is the Lord’s Prayer; the Hail Mary is from Scripture in which the angel Gabriel visits Mary; the Glory Be is “Glory be the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit”; the Fatima prayer was given to the children and later declared saints from the children who had a vision of Our Lady (the Blessed Virgin Mary) and she told the children to tell the people to add this to the rosary prayer – “Lord, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and leads all souls to Heaven especially those in need of Thy mercy.  Amen.”  I could list the Hail Holy Queen and the Concluding Prayer, but if you want to learn to pray the rosary, it is easy to find via a Google search or by visiting any Catholic parish.

Those that pray the rosary are also given special protection, graces, build virtue, allow good works to flourish, and obtain divine mercy.  Those that pray it devoutly and focus on the Mysteries will not meet misfortune; sinners shall be converted, and receive all the Sacraments; at death, will discover the light of God and find great glory in Heaven.  Whatever you ask for while praying the rosary will be obtained; those who propogate the rosary will aided in all in the necessities; those who recite it will have the entire Celestial Court at their disposal; those who recite it will be the beloved children of Our Lady; it is a sign of predestination.  These are all the promises of those who pray the rosary from Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

The 4 Mysteries of the Rosary:
1. Joyful
– The Annunciation (Luke 1:28)
– The Visitation (Luke 1:41-42)
– The Nativity (Luke 2:7)
– The Presentation (Luke 2:22-23)
– Finding Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46).
2. Luminous
– Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17).
– Wedding at Cana (John 2:5-7).
– Proclaiming the Kingdom (Matthew 10:7-8).
– The Transfiguration (Luke 9:29, 35).
– Institution of the Eucharist (Luke 22:19-20).
3. Sorrowful
– The Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44-45)
– The Scourging at the Pillar (John 19:1).
– Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:28-29).
– Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17).
– The Crucifixion (Luke 23:46).
4. Glorious
– The Resurrection (Mark 16:6).
– The Ascension (Mark 16:19).
– Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
– The Assumption (Judith 15:9-10).
– The Coronation (Revelation 12:1).

Conversion Experience

I have mentioned in past articles for my love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the rosary, and the beauty of Roman Catholic churches.  My life has taken a new turn.  In the past, I was lost in lust and in the temporal world.  Turning my life over to chastity (celibacy) seems to be my destiny as I no longer have sexual desire.  I can’t explain it – it just went away one day, and I believe God did it.  The Roman Catholic Church places special emphasis on those who live celibate lives, for that is what Jesus originally taught – that people should only have sex and marry (and not divorce) if they couldn’t live a celibate life.  Feel free to look it up; it is in chapter 19 of the Book of Matthew.

For this reason and my feeling a particular desire to become Catholic is the reason I am becoming Roman Catholic.  I pray the rosary every day (I am quite fond of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ), watch Daily Mass (about 6 months now), and been attending a regular Catholic Church for about 3 months now and presently enrolled in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), which will conclude a few weeks after Easter, when I will be officially a member of the Church after being baptized correctly, confirmed, and taking the Eucharist (formal wording for communion).

I know the Roman Catholic Church has its own issues, but it is the original Church of Christ established by St. Peter, the disciple of Christ and founder of the first Christian church, in Rome where he was martyred by means of upside down crucifixion.  I have three icons now (one of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Archangel Michael defeating Satan statue).  Anyway, while I am taking classes already, I must take steps of initiation to be fully accepted into the body of the Roman Catholic Church.  My first one is the Rite of Acceptance on Jan. 21, 2018.  There will be many more to follow before I am officially initiated and I have a sponsor as required by Church rules.

I plan to resign my membership at North United Church of Christ.  It is a good church and a good denomination, but the Roman Catholic Church is beckoning me to its call, and so I must listen to the Lord and follow that call.  Please understand and accept my decision.  You will find this blog to become more Catholic centered, but I still believe in the inclusion of other faiths and belief systems as following God.  The Roman Catholic Church accepts this teaching too:  they believe anyone who has repented of his or her sins will go to Heaven.

One day, after much discerning and introspection, I hope to become a Catholic priest or monk of a holy order within the Church.  I believe, especially due to my celibacy and deep devotion, I am a good candidate for becoming a priest or monk within the Church.  Time will tell.

God bless you all and I wish everyone well onto their journey.

Advent of Light

*This was posted on beliefnet.com & shares some similarities w/ my Child of God Online article, but much shorter as it is a prayer for the season. Since it is uplifting, I am displaying it here (note: my Advent article is available here & on CoG Online).

Link: http://blog.beliefnet.com/prayerplainandsimple/2009/12/advent-prayer-day-13-coming-out-of-darkness.html
By: Claudia Mair Burney

“Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” John 3:1-2 NRSV

Why do you think Nicodemus came to Jesus at night? He already believed in him. Maybe the quiet nights, free from unruly crowds were the best time for Nicodemus to ask his most penetrating questions. Or maybe, he didn’t want the spiritual leaders he served with to know of his interest in Jesus. Jesus must have startled Nicodemus when he used the cloak of darkness surrounding them as a metaphor. He said, “For all who love evil hate the light, and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.” Be it fear, depression, ignorance, or the darkness of sin in our lives, many, many people come to Jesus in their night.

Light of the world,

I’m not wise or self-aware enough to truly know your motivations. God’s Word says, “the heart is devious above all else; it’s perverse–who can understand it.” I’m asking for you to illuminate me. Nicodemus, in coming to you, came to the light. Help me, beloved Jesus, to come out of any form of darkness that may be surrounding me. You are good to make yourself available to me in the night, but I want to know you in the warmth of your blazing sun.

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

The holiday season is upon us. It is the season of light. Light comes from the darkness. For Jews, the celebration of Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the candle that stayed lit for eight days. This miracle is recorded in the Roman Catholic Bible books of Maccabees and Jewish tradition.
For Christians, like myself, it celebrates the light of life that has come to Earth to save us from our sin. This would be the Nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ. For with his birth, the saving light to take away the darkness is here and now. There was a TV series called Miracles that was briefly on the air. In the series, the same message came across: “God is Now Here.”
Thus, with Christmas, the Advent, the coming of the Light, the Living Word, is here upon this Earth. May you all be blessed this season with love, life, and light. Amen.