Archive for the ‘Conversion’ Category

When was your last confession?

March 26, 2009

Found an article today that led to another one; both are about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here are some excerpts from those two. Maybe they will help you prepare to receive the sacrament soon!

iConfess: New Tools for
Embracing the Sacrament of Reconciliation

by Lisa Hendey

As we anticipate the joy of Easter, many of our parishes around the country are holding special Lenten Penance services to provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As Catholics, we are called to receive Penance at least once per year:

According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1457

If you’re not already done so, I want to invite you to read Pat Gohn’s wonderful column from last week entitled “Embracing the Catechism: Getting Back to Confession”. In doing our very best to prepare our hearts to receive the full benefits of making a good confession, you may be surprised to learn that they are some wonderful “tech tools” to help you in this process.

Indeed, the sacrament truly is a “process”, with work to be done both before and after we enter the reconciliation room or confessional. Part of our duty is to make a thorough examination of conscience, exploring our hearts and souls for any sinful activities or attitudes. Over the past few years, many helpful resources have been developed to assist you with making a thorough examination of conscience. Most of these tools take a detailed look at each of the Ten Commandments and ask prompting questions to invite personal reflection.

. . .

My favorite aspect of the “iConfess” tool is the very thorough Examination of Conscience section. The application lists each of the Ten Commandments and asks prompting questions to assist you in your examination. You can then “tag” particular items to prompt your memory during confession. Beyond the Ten Commandments, the iConfess Examination of Conscience also looks at the Seven Deadly Sins, Sins against the Holy Spirit, Sins with Respect to the Sacrament of Confession, and other areas that may need reflection or consideration.

. . .

… the following websites offer wonderful tools for Examination of Conscience:

http://www.bereconciledtogod.com/pdfs/examinationofconscience.pdf

http://catholicparents.org/oxcart/examinationchild.html – for children

http://www.scborromeo.org/confess.htm

http://frpat.com/examen.htm

You can read more from that article at
http://woman.catholicexchange.com/2009/03/26/804/

Embracing the Catechism:
Getting Back to Confession

by Pat Gohn

Don’t you love simple directions? The shampoo bottle instructs me to “lather, rinse, and repeat.” It simple, direct, and gets the job done.

Spiritual 9-1-1
When my children were old enough to understand what an emergency was, I taught them how to call for the police, fire department, or ambulance, by memorizing “9-1-1.” It’s simple. It’s direct. It brings help.

This is Lent. So, I’ll make this simple and direct. Memorize this:

There is no offense, however serious,
that the Church cannot forgive.

Got that? There. Is. NO. Offense. That. The. Church. Cannot. Forgive. That’s from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 982. Ultimately this means there are no excuses for us to avoid receiving the graces God has in store for us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The only problem is, we actually have to ‘fess up, and that’s the tricky part for many of us.

(Now, if you’ve already been to confession recently, or you are planning to go soon-wonderful! What follows is for the reader who may feel hesitant about going.)

For many of us, for many reasons, entering the confessional is a hard spiritual practice. Instead we practice active avoidance. The Church “knows” this about us. That’s why the Precepts of the Church urge Catholics to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation “at least once a year.” (The 5 Precepts of the Church are simple directions that help us grow in our love of God and neighbor. See CCC 2042-2043.)

So, the minimum requirement for Catholics is an annual confession.

But we make good excuses for not going. We rationalize. We talk ourselves out of the need to confess. Often the lies we tell ourselves to deny our conscience, compounds the problem. Especially when it comes to those, you know, big sins. The mortal ones that break one the Ten Commandments.

The painful truth is that if we’ve broken a commandment or two, we’ve broken our relationship with Christ and the Church. But, there is hope in restoring it.

It requires faith that forgiveness is bigger than our sin. That means trusting that we can be forgiven, even if our sin is as bad as fill-in-the-blank.

We need to “call 9-1-1″, spiritually speaking: The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

See the remainder of the article at
http://woman.catholicexchange.com/2009/03/20/729/.

Advertisements

Leaving the industry

March 6, 2009

In conjunction with the March 10 event, here are links to testimonies by former abortion providers:

http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimonies/default.aspx

http://www.prolifeaction.org/providers/index.htm

There are probably other sites, but those will give you plenty to read for now.

A day to be “silent no more”

March 6, 2009

If you live in a location that is currently hosting a “40 Days for Life” prayer campaign, you might want to make a special effort to stop by on Tuesday, March 10. And if you don’t live in one of those locations, or your schedule won’t permit you to go there that day, please pray wherever you are. (Check for locations at
http://www.40daysforlife.com/location.cfm.)

Why that particular day? Because abortion advocates are calling it “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” and life advocates can counter that with the power of our prayers. The organizers of the 40Days effort have coordinated with the leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to have a special presence at abortion facilities on that day.

The 40 Days blog http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/ entry for Day 9 says this:

We just sent out a news release early this morning about an important activity that will be taking place at 40 Days for Life vigils all across North America next Tuesday:
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/227769643.html.

. . .

A wonderful group called Silent No More Awareness Campaign has been heavily involved with 40 Days for Life and is now calling upon those who have found healing after an abortion to stand in unified prayer at as many of the 40 Days for Life vigil sites as possible next Tuesday, March 10 – the day the abortion industry promotes its callous “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day.”

At your vigil, you may be joined by women holding signs that read, “I regret my abortion,” and men holding signs that read, “I regret lost fatherhood.”

While the abortion industry is throwing parties and patting abortionists on the back for their deadly work, thank these faithful prayer warriors for their courage to bear witness to the terrible harm caused by abortion. They know from personal experience.

Learn much more at: http://tinyurl.com/d9mcjn.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign site
http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/news/09-02-27-silent-no-more-40-days.htm says this:

Why March 10th? As some of you might be aware, March 10th is designated by the abortion industry as a “Thank Your Abortion Provider Day”. They encourage women to actually send thank you notes to their abortion provider. But we know by your testimonies, you do NOT share these sentiments about the doctor that performed your abortion.

So what we want to do is on March 10 encourage men and women like you, who have registered with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to come out to the abortion clinics, with our Silent No More “I Regret My Abortion” and “I Regret Lost Fatherhood” signs and pray with the 40 Days for Life people to say, no we do not thank our abortion providers and challenge them to listen to our voices that share the negative consequences that abortion had on us. (We’ll be praying also that the abortion provider will have a conversion of heart to stop performing abortion.)

. . .

We decided to do this because Andrea Hines and Katherine Hearn as Silent No More Regional Coordinators and 40 Days for Life Leaders put the two efforts together in their community. They said, “During the last 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Charlotte, NC, one of the days was designated as “Silent No More Day.” It was a day that we asked those from our community that were post-abortive to bring their sign and join us for prayer at the local abortion clinic. The message of “I Regret My Abortion” during the vigil helps remind us of those that have been devastated by abortion in the past, those that are being devastated by abortion right in front of us at the abortion clinic, and the generations that will hopefully, be spared this devastation in the future. It is the post-abortive, many which have not received healing, among us in our churches, our vigils, and our families, that is one of the most important mission fields today. We believe that by SNM uniting together with the 40 Days for Life vigils on March 10, our specific prayer for a great outbreak of healing and recovery in the lives of the post-abortive will provide a great vision for what the Lord can and will do!”

The news release at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/227769643.html says this:

“We are highly encouraged that the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is urging women and men who have found healing in the wake of abortion to stand witness in front of abortion facilities on March 10 in connection with 40 Days for Life,” said Shawn Carney, spring campaign director for 40 Days for Life. “The message of post-abortion healing plays an important role in the dismantling of the abortion culture and the construction of a new culture of life.”

. . .

The date March 10 was chosen because this is the date that the abortion industry has marked as Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. “That concept flies in the face of the destruction we know abortion causes,” said Carney, “not just for the baby whose life is taken, but for the mother, the father — and many others including extended family and friends. It is our fervent hope that women with abortion appointments on March 10 will see the silent, prayerful witness of others who have walked in their shoes, and avoid making a tragic decision that could haunt them physically, psychologically and spiritually for years and years to come.

. . .

“We have already seen evidence that the 40 Days for Life concept of prayerful vigil leads people with abortion experiences to seek healing,” said Carney. “This partnership will strengthen that message and hopefully bring others to reconciliation.”

More information is available at each of the Web sites quoted above.

Please pray all through these 40 days, combining your Lenten sacrifices with the intentions of all the pro-life movement.

Know More, so there can one day be No More

February 17, 2009

Fr. Frank Pavone sends out newsletters that also have text available online, at least for awhile. The past columns seem to be available only in podcast format, so I’ll paste the full text of the current one here in case its print format is eventually not available at the link:

http://www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2009/09-02-09-extreme-compromise.htm

Extreme Compromise

by Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Newly-elected abortion advocates often try to paint their support for Roe vs. Wade [*1] and its companion case Doe vs. Bolton [*2] as mainstream. Some even think that the decisions constitute a “compromise” position on the divisive issue of abortion. After all, they say, our current national policy on abortion allows a woman to have a child if she wants, and to abort the child if she wants.

But Roe and Doe are about as far away from a “compromise” as you can find. The decisions allow for abortion throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, and do not recognize any right of the unborn child to be spared death by abortion. With a nation divided about abortion, one might think that under a “compromise” solution one could find some reason to protect at least some unborn children. But in Roe and Doe, one searches in vain for any situation in which an unborn child is protected. As the University of Detroit Law Review pointed out, “The Supreme Court’s decisions…allowed abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy” (Paul B. Linton, Enforcement of State Abortion Statutes after Roe: A State-by-State Analysis, Vol. 67, Issue 2, Winter 1990).

In this framework, every unborn baby is disposable. Every. That’s hardly a “compromise” position.

“Leave it up to the woman to decide” sounds to many like a fair compromise. But this position completely destroys equality before the law, because it constitutes a complete removal of protection from the child. The lives of unborn children who are wanted and carried to term do not have any more protection from the law than the lives of unborn children who are unwanted and carried to the abortionist. The lives of the wanted are protected only by their “wantedness,” which, of course, can be subject to change at any time. As far as the law is concerned, they are all non-persons, regardless of circumstance. That’s hardly a “compromise.”

A “compromise” usually, and by definition, allows some accommodation to both sides in the dispute. But current abortion policy allows no accommodation to the claims that innocent human life makes upon us.

The more you know about the Roe and Doe decisions, the clearer this becomes. In fact, the Gallup polling company, in an extensive analysis of the opinions of Americans on abortion, admits that the level of support in surveys for Roe vs. Wade is lower if more information about the decision itself is offered in the question, and higher if less information is offered.

These are important points to bring up in communicating with pro-abortion elected officials.

In Judgment at Nuremberg, one of those responsible for the Holocaust says that he “never thought it would go that far,” and was told that it “went that far” as soon as a single innocent life was taken. There is no room for “compromising” about human life. Permitting one life to be destroyed is already extreme. Unless we’re all protected, we’re all in danger.

* links in the online version of the article:

[1] =
 http://www.priestsforlife.org/government/supremecourt/7301roevwade.htm

[2] =
http://www.priestsforlife.org/government/supremecourt/7301doevbolton.htm

The comments by Fr. Pavone regarding the polling results when people are properly informed about the Roe and Doe decisions reminds me of a site that has a “quiz” to identify what people really know about those court cases. Please go to the quiz site and see for yourself how well informed you already are, and what you need to learn better. Then encourage others to learn more, too, since the more people who KNOW more, the better the likelihood that more people will say NO more abortion!

http://www.roeiqtest.com/ui/index.php

You might also want to add the link to your own Web sites, to encourage more people to participate.

Another bishop from St. Louis speaks out

January 28, 2009

It seems that the (arch)bishops from St. Louis, Missouri tend to be strong voices for the Church’s teachings in the face of cultural declines. There was Archbishop Justin Rigali (now Cardinal and stationed in Philadelphia), then Archbishop Raymond Burke (most likely to become a Cardinal and already stationed in Rome), and now Bishop Robert J. Hermann who is archdiocesan administrator while awaiting appontment of a new archbishop.

Here are links to what Bishop Hermann has recently said about the direction of the new admininistration of the U.S.:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09012708.html

MUST READ: Bishop Hermann of St. Louis – Strongest Ever Pro-Life Column

By Bishop Robert J. Hermann, Archdiocesan Administrator

January 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from the column of Bishop Hermann published in the St. Louis Review and republished by LifeSiteNews.com with permission. (To read the whole column, see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09012707.html)

In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of-death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land.

Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!

After almost 50 years of having 50 percent of Catholics abandoning their Catholic identity, we cannot expect to turn this culture around by short-term political efforts.

In order to bring about a transformation from a culture of death to a culture of life, we have to restore our Catholic identity.

This means that all of us, as Catholics, have to undergo a profound transformation. It means that we have to take a good look at every facet of our Catholic life, including the serious study of life issues, the regular and devout use of our Sacramental system, especially the devout and weekly attendance at Mass, the regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the devout praying of the daily Rosary, and then the faithful, loving and firm witness to lax Catholics about our Catholic beliefs and practices.

We have to live our lives in such a way that we will be unafraid to witness to what we believe and live.

I may courageously say that I am willing to die to end abortion, but am I equally willing to say that I am ready to let my ego get ruffled daily for the same cause? Yet … that is where I need to arrive if I am to be a credible witness.

What a glorious opportunity we all have to make a difference in the pro-life cause. Until we are willing to be politically incorrect in order to be biblically correct, we will never convince anyone that our religion is worth living.

It does not take 100 percent of our Catholics to transform this country. If 75 percent of our Catholics were steeped in Catholic identity, the abortion issue would be over for our entire country.

For the whole column by Bishop Hermann see:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09012707.html

This link goes to biographical information about Bishop Hermann:
http://www.archstl.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=85&Itemid=63

————————————————————-

Here is a collection of links about Archbishop Burke (who as far as I can tell has not yet been named a Cardinal):

http://www.archstl.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87&Itemid=87

http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2008/06/chief-justice-st-louis-cardinal.html

http://www.americanpapist.com/2008/06/flash-archbishop-raymond-burke-of-st.html

http://www.americanpapist.com/labels/archbishop%20burke.html

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09012805.html

 ————————————————————-

You can read biographical and other information about Cardinal Rigali at
http://www.archphila.org/rigali/indexrigali.htm.

————————————————————-

And yes, as often happens with my blog posts, I haven’t read through everything that I’m referencing. So if now or at any time you find something that you think is incompatible with the intent of this blog, please let me know so that I can check into it!

Our Help is in the Name of the Lord …

January 20, 2009

… who made Heaven and Earth! ( Psalm 124:8 )

Remembering that is what will get us through this day of mourning. Mourning not for the loss of an election, but mourning for the lives of the babies who are now at much greater risk than ever before. Mourning for the women (and girls) who will be misled by the rhetoric of “choice” rather than be properly advised about the truths of what abortion is and will do in their lives. Mourning for the families and friends of those women and girls, who won’t always know how to help. Mourning for the country of my birth, that is now being led by people who don’t value the sanctity of human life and who won’t uphold marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman. May God have mercy on us all!

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  ( Philippians 2:9-11 )

The following article ( “Alien Nation” by Doreen Truesdell ) has some good points, as do some of the comments made at the source site: http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/20/115155/

The universal struggle between good and evil, between Christ and His enemies has now taken center stage in this nation. For decades most American Catholics have lived relatively comfortably by accepting shades of gray. Little by little the grays became darker as more of the Church’s moral teachings were questioned, ignored and rejected. Now, the gray areas have turned to blackness. It is no longer possible for lukewarm Catholics to remain faithful. The gray areas are gone. American Catholics will either embrace the white light of Truth or accept the darkness.

So where does this leave aliens like me? Totally reliant upon God, and for many of us it will be the first time in our lives. I used to define myself as an American Catholic, but now I realize I am a Catholic in America. The nation I used to depend upon to accept my spiritual composition is gone. No longer does our citizenship agree that our laws are, and should be, based on Judeo-Christian concepts. No longer can a Christian assume his moral beliefs will be given fair representation or even toleration in the public forum.

As aliens, we have an important role to play as keepers of the faith on hostile soil. Here’s our opportunity to get off the fence on every controversial issue that offends God and start pulling our weight as Catholics in America. Many Catholics already are very publicly defending Christ and His Gospel truths. Most aren’t. Are you defending Christ in America? Am I?

This era, just beginning, represents our time in the long history of the Catholic Church to accept suffering, offer prayers and penance, and do battle in the public forum so that the voice of Christ can be heard. It is our turn to live as Catholics who look only to the magisterium of the Church for instruction on true human dignity and authentic social justice.

We will join Catholics from around the world who “lost” their countries long ago — Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Chinese, Russians and others who have already inured themselves to the agonies of living in an atheistic nation, one that they used to love with patriotic fervor but now are estranged from. We will lean on the rich Catholic tradition of the Church Militant and go on living in an alien nation while fortifying ourselves with the Word Made Flesh, He who makes His dwelling among aliens the world over.

Are you up to this challenge? As Americans, we’ve grown undisciplined, flabby and unused to suffering. We can’t bear the pain of unpopularity; how will we bear persecution? And it is coming. With this new administration we have the makings of unprecedented Christian persecutions in our nation that will make martyrs and saints of many who stand up for Truth. You won’t have to be a political activist to have it thrust upon you: parents, clergy, health care providers, teachers, workers of all kinds will find themselves facing moral issues that assault the foundations of the Catholic faith. Which issue will be the one that forces Catholics like you and me to confront how shallow our relationship with Christ has been? Which issue will finally inspire us to make the commitment to “put out into the deep,” whatever the cost?

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, after visiting our great nation years ago, said she pitied us our “poverty.” She understood the seriousness of the spiritual poverty that the U.S. suffered. We may be on the brink of changing that poverty, one Catholic, one Christian at a time.

The history of the Church is one of suffering and triumph. From that perspective, the Obama presidency could be the beginning of a great renewal of Christianity in America, if each of us lives the faith the way Christ calls us to. So in an important way, this article is not about losing a nation, so much as gaining a deeper relationship with Jesus, the King of all nations. We, who have always assumed that our nation would validate our faith, now find it must be validated only by God.

“[T]he new age has begun; and…much must now pass away,” Gandalf says in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Let it pass. With prayerful renewal and faithful responses, we can find that God alone will suffice. Then maybe, in small ways that have great power, we can work to bring our beloved nation back to God.

It seems fitting to insert here the prayer often referred to as St. Teresa of Avila’s “Bookmark” prayer:

This thought was found after St. Teresa’s death on a prayer card in her breviary.

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.

(I didn’t find a definitive version of that prayer. Nearly every site I checked has different wording. The one I’m including is found at
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=874.)

Commitments to consider

January 6, 2009

This article describes commitments you may want to consider making for this newly begun year:

http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/05/115066

In prayer, you can search yourself and ask God’s help in growing better and advancing through the next stage of your ongoing conversion, a process that we all experieence but each of us does that uniquely.

St. Michael – Defend us!

December 7, 2008

There is another prayer campaign that I was not aware of until today, although it started back in September.

“St. Michael Prayer Campaign for the Conversion of Abortionists”

Please read the article at Catholic Exchange then follow its links to the Human Life International site for more details.

http://catholicexchange.com/2008/12/06/114640/

http://www.hli.org/st_michael_prayer.html/index.html

Here are some excerpts.

Pope Leo XIII composed the powerful St. Michael Prayer to counter the greatest threats to the Church. Today the culture of death is looming over our world. The total number of victims of surgical abortion is now counted in the billions. This is an almost unimaginable evil.

Join with us, the staff, and worldwide collaborators of HLI as we offer up the St. Michael Prayer daily for the conversion of abortionists. Many parishes and communities have continued or re-established the venerable practice of reciting the St. Michael Prayer after Mass.

….

We have distributed over one million St. Michael prayer cards already.  … The cards are free — we only charge for shipping.

The article at CE and the additional information at HLI are all worth reading! Please learn more and prayerfully discern obtaining the prayer cards for your parish.

And please don’t forget to pray the St. Michael prayer yourself, at the end of every Mass!

Conversion miracles do happen!

November 26, 2008

Many across the country are praying that our soon-to-be President and other officials with views like his will convert to the pro-life viewpoint. Yes, sometimes it is hard to believe that such a conversion could happen, yet our faith teaches that “…nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Here’s a link to (and the opening paragraph of) an article about Dr. Stojan Adasevic and his real-life example of such a dramatic conversion (courtesy of St. Thomas Aquinas!):

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14322 
(has text and video)

“Another ‘champion of abortion’ becomes defender of life:
the story of Stojan Adasevic”

The Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.

Taking actions such as those mentioned in previous posts, along with sharing stories such as this conversion of Dr. Adasevic, all combined with dedicated prayer will lead to conversions of many other people. We must persevere, as St. Monica did for her son who became the great St. Augustine. While it may yet be hard for us to imagine, our future President may be among those who eventually will be united with Dr. Adasevic as powerful pro-life voices! Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!!!