Monday, October 19, 2009

Disciples of Divine Mercy Prayerline

The Disciples of Divine Mercy will take your prayer request at 716-662-6025 and will pray for your request on a daily basis. It will then be placed under a relic of St. Faustina.

You may also leave requests on www.TreasuresofGraceLLC.Com

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Feast Day St. Maria Faustina!
Please intercede before the Merciful Jesus for all our intentions!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God's Mercy in Reconciliation

A Wonderful Story of God's Mercy!

This is a beautiful story of how God in His mercy, loves us so much! He will continue to call us to seek Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

by Deacon Greg Kandra as printed in the Jesuit magazine - America

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

I spoke the words clearly, firmly, just as I had been taught by Sister St. Margaret. This wasn’t my first confession, but it was close to it. And on this particular Saturday afternoon, my mother had decided to take me to confession for reasons I can’t remember; but since I was a 7-year-old with a cranky temper and a disobedient streak, I’m sure they were valid.

Now here I was alone in the dark, whispering my sins. I was kneeling on a piece of cracked vinyl padding, speaking into a frayed scrap of velvet cloth that covered a metal grate. Behind that cloth sat a stranger, a priest with his ear bent and his shadowy head nodding. I smelled mothballs and after-shave and something like cigarettes. Or was it incense?

I told him my sins, and he gave me my penance. And in just a few moments, it was over. I prayed the act of contrition—“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee...”—then crossed myself, pulled aside the heavy curtain and went to the altar rail, knelt and prayed.

I had done it. The secrets in my heart had been shared with another and God, in his mercy, had forgiven me. I was a new man! (O.K., a new 7-year-old.)

The slate was clean.

I could begin again.After finishing the prayers I had been given, I returned to my mother’s pew and we went out into the parking lot. As she started the station wagon and backed out of her space, she had a word of advice. “Gregory,” she said, “you’ve got to learn to keep your voice down. I could hear you all over the church.”

My ears turned crimson. And early on, before I had barely gotten my feet wet in the sacrament of confession, I wanted to shake them dry and have nothing to do with it again. Ever.

My early experience with confession may be one reason why for many years I avoided it, as a man with a cavity avoids the dentist. I was afraid it would hurt. Even when “confession” underwent a make-over and became “reconciliation,” and the small dark boxes were replaced with wide-open rooms, I was reluctant. I would go once or twice a year—a perfunctory, had-to-do-it practice. My heart wasn’t in it. My head, certainly, was elsewhere.

In the interim, when I did go, there may have been flashes of forgiveness, moments of grace. If so, they were accidental. I didn’t do much to help matters. Neither, for that matter, did some priests.

I remember once, in college, going to confession to talk over a family problem. It was a Saturday afternoon, just before the 5 p.m. Mass. The priest, fully vested for Mass, was standing outside the confessional, hands clasped behind his back. He looked like a barber waiting for his next customer. People were arriving for Mass, taking their pews. Nobody else was there for confession, so I approached the priest.“You open for business?” I asked. He said sure, and ushered me into the confessional—actually more like a small office, complete with a desk and two chairs. I sat down, took a deep breath and told him my troubles and why I felt I needed forgiveness. He nodded sympathetically and said he thought he might be able to help. Then he opened a desk drawer and pulled out a pamphlet, offered it to me, and smiled. It was a brochure about communication.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but thanked him. He patted my shoulder and said he would pray for me. With that, he stood up to point me back into the church. He had to begin Mass. I didn’t pray the act of contrition. I don’t think he gave me absolution. He told me to have a nice day.

I didn’t. Somehow, I left the confessional feeling worse than when I went in.

I remained skeptical of the sacrament for years after that. I drifted away from regular Mass attendance, and went for years without darkening the door of a reconciliation room or slipping behind the velvet curtain of a confessional. What was the point? In my mind, I was right with God: He knew where I was coming from (and, no doubt, where I was going) and I apologized to him, privately, when it seemed like the right thing to do. End of discussion.

But no.

Returning HomeYears later, the twisting road of my life led me back to the church and the sacraments, and it plunged me more deeply into my faith than I had ever imagined possible.

There were many reasons for my return: the deaths of my parents, the prayers of my wife and a growing sense that there had to be more to life than just getting up and going to work and planning where to go out for dinner or when to take the next cruise. I became a daily communicant. I served in my parish as an usher and, later, as an extraordinary minister of Communion.

And as part of my journey, when the time became right and my heart became ready, I found myself on yet another Saturday in yet another church, preparing to catalogue my sins yet again.

I was going to give confession another chance.

I had wandered into the basement chapel of St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan, a place whose lifeblood is the endless stream of commuters from Penn Station and the Long Island Railroad, who find their way there for confession at all hours of the day. There is always a line. As I soon discovered, it is easy to understand why.

After entering the small confessional/reconciliation room and closing the door, I found myself seated opposite a kindly old friar wearing the familiar brown robe and, oddly enough, sneakers. I cleared my throat and began: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (quick tally in my mind) 10 years since my last confession.”

He broke into a small smile. “Welcome back,” he said. “It’s good to see you again.”

He had never seen me before in my life. But I knew what he meant.And with that, I began my confession. I spoke. He listened. He nodded. He had heard it all before, umpteen times, from the quivering lips of countless sinners like me. When it was over he gave me a mild penance and some gentle advice: “Just live the Gospel,” he said softly. “Just live the Gospel.”

He sighed and smiled. “There you are. Good as new. God bless you.”

It was the first time in a long time that those words stuck. And when I left that little room I felt, in fact, “good as new.” So I went back a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that—again and again and again. It became a habit. Uplifted and Given Grace I can’t quite explain it.

Why does this sacrament exert such force?

Some of it, I’m sure, is that it just feels good to let the weight of all our wrongs roll off our shoulders. It is comforting to be told that we are going to be okay and that what was wrong can be set right.

Everybody needs a second chance. Or a third.

Of course, it isn’t easy. It requires reflection, observation, scrutiny. For a few moments we are asked to be moral anthropologists. We seek out our sins. We capture them, name them, tag them and put them under glass to study, like wildly exotic fauna. What on earth is that?

The Chinese have a saying: “The beginning of wisdom is to call something by its correct name.” Perhaps that is part of it, too: we name what we are—proud, greedy, lustful, petty, selfish, untruthful—and become aware.

With penance and practice, we strive to be better. Wisdom begins.Or so we hope. And so we pray:

“I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life, Amen.”

Those final words of the Act of Contrition put it so succinctly and clearly.

The purpose of the sacrament, really, is to amend life. To improve on what is there.

And with that improvement, I think, comes this beautiful promise at the heart of our faith: the promise that we will rise. We can be uplifted.

Resurrection is available. All of us can roll aside the stone of our personal tomb and stagger, blinking, into the sun. As more than a few preachers have proclaimed: the paschal mystery didn’t end on Good Friday but on Easter Sunday.

So it can be with each of us, too.T he profound act of being reconciled with God enables us to live Easter every time we emerge from that confessional.

We breathe again. We see light again. We hope again. We are given grace.

At bottom, what begins with seven short words—“Bless me, father, for I have sinned”—ends in transformation. It may last only an hour or a day.

But the fact that it happens at all is miraculous. And that gives me reason enough to keep going back.

Greg Kandra was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. A writer and producer for “The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric,” he also writes and edits his own blog at

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Year of the Priests

A Time to Thank Our Priests
From the editors of the National Catholic Register

As the Year of the Priest begins, we lay editors of the Register want to take a moment to thank priests.

We want to thank not only the priests who have been our friends, but also those we barely knew, who did more for us than our friends ever could.

We want to thank not only the priests who inspire us with their words, but also those who moved us more deeply with the daily work of their priesthood than they ever could with words.We want to thank not only those men who gave up their retirement, and their well-deserved rest, to enter the priesthood as late vocations, but also — especially — those who as young men saw their whole life ahead of them and handed all of it to Christ.

We want to reassure them that the attacks on the priesthood will not prevail, because Christ doesn’t take their kind of generosity lightly.

We know that there have been terrible, scandalous priests. This has been true from the beginning — from the original Twelve Apostles through the early Christian heresies, from the scandals before the Reformation to the scandals of the 20th century.But we also know that the priesthood is under attack.

Priests know it, too.

Whenever someone looks at them suspiciously, whenever a mother hurries her children away from them, whenever they read an antagonistic article about how the life of a priest makes them prone to become monsters, they know it.

Their noble, loving sacrifice is so often made to look ugly and twisted — the opposite of what it is. The whole group is too often defined by the exceptions in a way few of us ever have to deal with.But the priesthood will survive, and grow stronger. In fact, it is already growing stronger. There are more new priests than we have seen in a long time, and the new generation of priests is more committed to the Church’s mission than any in memory.

We want to tell the faithful priests who unjustly suffer from these attacks that we’re on their side and, more importantly, remind them what Christ said: Rejoice and be glad on this day, for your name is great in heaven.

Thank you, priests, for sacrificing the fulfillment of “making it in the world” in order to give us a chance to make it in the next world. You don’t take on jobs — they are appointed to you. You put your own will at the disposal of the Church, for us.

We are grateful.

Thank you for bringing our children into the Church, and sustaining their souls with the sacraments. And thank you for welcoming them into the Church informally, as well. We see them look at you like celebrities, and we’re glad the first “celebrity” they got to meet was a man of God. Thank you for patiently listening to them, for taking such joy in teasing them, and for showing them the true face of Christ: the gentle one who said “Let the children come to me.”

Thank you, priests, for presiding at our marriages, even while you yourselves live such that you can be ready to serve your people at a moment’s notice. Sometimes married people sigh and think envious thoughts about living alone. But in the end, it’s hard for us to imagine how you do it. Thank you for risking loneliness to serve us and our families.

Thank you, priests, for putting yourself in the unenviable position of dealing with us at our worst moments — when we’re anxious, upset, depressed, even a little out of our minds, focused on our own problems to the exclusion of all else.

When we see the care you have to take in listening to the problems of so many kinds of people, we can’t imagine how you do it. How do you listen to angry people, whining people, weeping people, nervous people, suspicious people and clueless people? How do you listen to us?

Thank you, priests, for sitting in empty confessionals on Saturday afternoons. You wait there, not even knowing if we’ll come, like the Prodigal Son’s father on the road. Thank you for all the times we hear “I absolve you from your sins” and feel a great burden lifted from our hearts. This gift of God’s forgiveness brings the greatest joy back into our lives. We can give you nothing in return that even comes close to that.

And thank you, priests, most of all, for bringing Christ himself into our lives. Where would we be without your astonishing ability to make the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ present on our altars and in our tabernacles?

You are there for us every Sunday, every morning, giving us this infinite gift. Thank you.

In the end, that’s what is so great about you: not you, in yourself, but who you bring us — Christ.People call from the hospital and say, “I need a priest.” They point to the confessional and ask, “Is there a priest in there?” They approach in the airport and ask, “Are you a Catholic priest?”When people need a priest, any priest will do.

Because a priest is nothing but a representative of Christ. Christ is the main actor in the consecration at Mass. It is Christ who forgives sins. It is in Christ that we are baptized.

“The story of my priestly vocation?” wrote Pope John Paul II. “It is known above all to God. At its deepest level, every vocation to the priesthood is a great mystery; it is a gift which infinitely transcends the individual. Every priest experiences this clearly throughout the course of his life.
Faced with the greatness of the gift, we sense our own inadequacy.”

Your inadequacy is your secret weapon.

You aren’t acting on your own behalf or through your own powers. You are acting for Christ. And that’s why, despite all the attacks, the priesthood will prevail. We depend too much on you to ever let you go.

Thank you, Father, for being Christ for us.

Posted by Kathy ~ TOG

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why did Jesus rise with Wounds?

The Sunday Homily
by Fr. James Farfaglia

Did you ever stop to think why Jesus rose from the dead with wounds?

Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body. The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him. The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness. He continually demonstrates his physical reality.

The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him. Thomas is told to touch his wounds. The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical.

He has truly risen.

The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ. Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt.

We are accustomed to an annual celebration of Easter. However, for the first disciples of Jesus, resurrection was totally new. Let us remember, that the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus' daughter, and Lazarus were all brought back to life by Jesus, but not one of them continued their lives with a glorified body.

Although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary, his physical reality is now different than before. The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

Each of us will have a glorified body also at the resurrection of the dead if we persevere and are faithful.

Over and over again the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred. The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed. His life is different from what it once was. His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space. For this reason he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires.

At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths point to us that Jesus is physically alive. His crucified body has been transformed.

What lesson is he teaching us by keeping his wounds intact?

We can answer this question by turning to our own wounds.

What are our wounds?

First, we all experience the large wound caused by original sin. Although we are baptized and original sin has been cleansed from our soul, our human nature has been wounded. Our sinful condition manifests itself in different ways and we struggle with those manifestations of fallen human nature.

And then there are the other wounds, the wounds that are smaller. We have wounds that are caused by sickness and the wounds that are caused by problems, adversities, challenges and the disappointments of life.

All of us are wounded.

Even Jesus is wounded. By retaining the wounds of his passion, the glorified Jesus is showing us that we can find hope and strength by taking our wounds and uniting them to his wounds.

The eleven apostles of today's gospel passage were discouraged and filled with fear. They had lost all hope. They did not understand that Jesus had to first die on the cross in order to rise on Easter Sunday. They did not understand that the risen Jesus would bear his five wounds as an eternal reminder that when our wounds are united to his wounds we will find true peace.

"Peace be with you".

These are the first words of the risen Jesus. He dispels the darkness of discouragement, despair and fear by showing the eleven his glorified and wounded body.

Thomas places his finger in the wounds of Jesus and he believes. "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe". (John 20: 27)

Many call Thomas the doubting Thomas. All of the Apostles doubted. All of the Apostles ran away and abandoned Jesus. In reality, he is not the doubting Thomas, but the courageous Thomas. He is the only apostle who knows where to find Jesus. By touching the wounds of Jesus, he begins to understand that the risen Jesus is not a ghost, but that he is truly real. By encountering Jesus in his woundedness, he is able to encounter the authentic Jesus, the real Jesus, the whole Jesus.

Because he is able to encounter the Jesus that shed his blood on the cross, he falls to the ground and pronounces a profound act of faith: "My Lord and my God".

Thomas is able to encounter Jesus in all of his humanity and all of his divinity. He comes to grasp the reality that the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary.

But, where is the risen and wounded Jesus? Where can we encounter him? As Jesus hung on the cross, all of his blood flowed from his wounds. The eternal reminder of his wounds reminds us that we are to experience him in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Confession.

By coming to Jesus every day at Mass, for visits and adoration; by encountering the God of mercy through the awesome gift of the sacrament of forgiveness, we can dispel the despair, the discouragement and the fear that may fill our lives.

It is in the Eucharist that we encounter peace because we truly encounter the Lord. We need to bring our wounds to the risen and wounded Jesus every day in the Eucharist. It is there, at the tabernacle, that his wounds will heal us.

On this feast of Divine Mercy, let us remember the words that John Paul II wrote in his second encyclical letter: “Believing in the crucified Son means ‘seeing the Father,’ means believing that love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than any kind of evil in which individuals, humanity, or the world are involved.

Believing in this love means believing in mercy.

For mercy is an indispensable dimension of love; it is as it were love's second name and, at the same time, the specific manner in which love is revealed and effected vis-a-vis the reality of the evil that is in the world, affecting and besieging man, insinuating itself even into his heart and capable of causing him to perish in Gehenna” (Dives in Misericordia).

Written by Father James Farfaglia

Posted by Kathy ~ TOG

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Living Our Lives for Others

Living Our Lives for Others
The Sunday Homily by Father James Farfaglia

A long time ago, there was a man who played piano in a bar. He was a good piano player. People came from all over just to hear him play. But one night, a patron told him he didn't want to hear him just play anymore. He wanted him to sing a song. The popular piano player said, "I don't sing."

But the customer was persistent. He told the bartender, "I'm tired of listening to the piano. I want that guy to sing!"

The bartender shouted across the room, "Hey buddy! If you want to get paid, sing a song. The patrons are asking you to sing!"

So he did. He sang a song.

A piano player who had never sung in public did so for the very first time. And nobody had ever heard the song Mona, Mona Lisa sung the way it was sung that night. The piano player was Nat King Cole.[i]

"Amen, amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life" (John 12: 24-25)

The happiest and most remarkable people that I have known throughout my life are those who are totally selfless. Great things: ideas, beliefs, cultures have lived because men and women have decided to die for causes greater then themselves.

The countless martyrs of the Catholic Church give witness to the multitude of selfless people, young and old, who have given themselves to the cause of Christ and his Church. Where would the Church be today without the blood of the martyrs? Martyrs are selfless people who believe in a cause greater than themselves.

However, there lies a deeper reality in these heroes of the Church. They are able to believe in something bigger than themselves precisely because they have first died to themselves. They have died to their comfort, to their laziness and to their personal ambitions.

Only the selfless, only those who have truly died to themselves, become useful instruments of God.

When a person is truly empty of self, God can take full possession of that person and do marvelous and powerful things. Only the authentic disciple of Jesus who has truly died to self can truly possess the fullness of divine grace. The more we die to self, the more Jesus can take over.

"Amen, amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life".

To die to self is not an easy endeavor.

Death is always painful. Sometimes we will want to hold on to an idea, a place, a particular sin, or a bad relationship. Inherent in all transformation, change, conversion, is destruction. The grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die.

As a priest, I have seen many people make radical changes in their lives. In order to bring about the desired change, something had to end. Some young people have had to terminate a relationship in order to live a life of chastity. Others have taken all of their CD's and thrown them in the garbage in order to stay away from satanic rock music. Once I told a penitent who had a terrible problem with pornography that as a penance he must go home and throw into the garbage all of his magazines. Would it have been as helpful just to say, "For your penance recite three Hail Mary's?"

To bring about new life, the grain of wheat has to fall to the ground and die.

When disciples of Jesus Christ truly die to self, they become the most happy, most hard working, most dynamic and most productive people of any enterprise. They are the moms and dads rearing happy families, the priests nurturing spiritually alive parishes, and the religious and lay leaders engaging in fruitful apostolates.

Just imagine what this world would have lost had there not been men and women determined to die to self and forget their personal safety, security and ambition. Where would we be without the great doctors, nurses, policemen, firefighters, school teachers, wise political leaders, and the heroic men and women of the military?

This Sunday’s liturgy reminds me about a story that took place many years ago regarding a woman, who was carrying her baby on her back as both were trapped by a prairie fire.

As the mother looked around, she realized there was no way to escape the fire. Quickly and without thinking about her own safety, she took the baby off her back and began digging a hole in the earth with her bare hands. She then placed her child into it and covered the child with her body. Later the woman was found dead, but the child was saved. [ii]

The world owes everything to such great people who spend themselves daily for God and for others.

If we were to take things easy and do nothing in life, we might exist longer, but we would never know how to live. A famous Christian evangelist once said, "It is better to burn out than to rust out".

Moreover, it is true that those people who give themselves to God and to others unconditionally remain young and vibrant. They go on through life filled with enthusiasm because they are in love with life. They are imbued with a cause that is greater than themselves.I am amazed at times when I see people who look much older, but in fact are much younger than I am. They seem to live purposeless lives, to vegetate, to do nothing with the talents that God has given to them. I cannot live my life in such a way. I prefer to drag my tired body through life and be of service to God and to others, rather than live an aimless and dreary existence.

"Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life".

I am reminded of a story about an elderly carpenter who was ready to retire. He told his boss of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could survive.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built so poorly.[iii]

Always strive to be more and do more. With service comes greatness.

If you are married, set your children on this path. If you are a priest or a religious, save more souls. Never think of yourself. "I" and "me" must always be replaced with "we" and "us". This is what makes us truly happy: to die to self unconditionally so that Jesus may live in us.

The grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die.

How can this essential dimension of Christianity either begin or continue to flourish in your life?

The answer is this: to center your life on the Eucharist.

Bread comes from the crushed wheat that is ground to become flour. Wine comes from the grapes that are crushed together and the seeds are removed.

The bread and the wine that becomes Jesus for us have gone through death and destruction. But, it is through death and destruction that we have the presence of eternal life in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church throughout the world.

"Amen, amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life"

Written by Fr. James (thank you Father!)
Posted by Kathy ~ TOG

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cleaning Out the Temple

Cleaning Out the Temple
The Sunday Homily by Father James Farfaglia

“Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, ‘Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace’” (John 2: 13-16).

The sacrament of baptism has made us temples of the Holy Spirit. Baptism washes away original sin, but we are left with the effects of original sin. Our intellect is darkened and our will is weakened. St. Paul famously describes the inner struggle in chapter 7 of his letter to the Romans. He describes this struggle in dramatic terms. He states that he cannot understand his own behavior, and that he finds himself doing the very things that he hates (see Romans 7:14:25).

Due to the effects of original sin and our own personal sins that are committed after baptism, our temples are filled with many things that are not of God. Lent provides us an excellent opportunity to take up a whip and chase out of our souls anything and everything that does not belong there.

The practice of mortification is the way to rid our souls of sins and attachments that keep God from fully possessing our lives.

St.Paul’s letters are so practical. Regarding mortification he tells us, again from Romans: “So then there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live” (Romans 8: 12-13).

In his letter to the Colossians the theme is repeated with these words: “That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god…” (Colossians 3: 5).

Finally, in his letter to the Galatians he writes emphatically: “You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

The practice of continual mortification is an essential part of our walk with the Lord.

Without the use of daily mortification, we will not be able to resist the onslaught of our sinful human nature, the temptations caused by Satan, and the allurements of the world. Not only are we to fight against sin, be it mortal sin or venial sin, but we must also get to the root of our sins and remove the inordinate affections that cause us to sin in a certain way. However, to avoid sin is not enough.

We must grow in holiness.

The practice of mortification must be daily and life long. The battle never ends until we are dead. The practice of mortification demands a conscious and willful renewal every day of our lives. The struggle may be more or less intense during the different stages of our life journey. Although we may have to deal with different issues, the struggle will always be present.

If we want to save our souls, an intense, dramatic struggle is necessary. We need to take up the whip and continually force out of our temple anything that keeps us from getting to heaven. Let us consider briefly some of our most common struggles and the mortification that needs to take place in order that Jesus may take full possession of our temple.

Pride is at the top of the list of the seven deadly sins. Pride is an ugly sin and it must be dealt with seriously and energetically. This sin will be uprooted by replacing it with the virtue of humility. Repeated concrete acts of humility will continue to hammer away at this sin. The Litany of Humility provides an excellent program for anyone who struggles with this vice (see

Greed is another sin that causes many problems. Two weeks ago I addressed this issue in the Sunday homily. Excellent acts of mortification include establishing a budget, practice the Biblical teaching of tithing, eliminate your debt, limit the use of credit cards, live within your means, and be content with what you already have.

Gluttony is a very addictive sin. If we can control our eating habits and our spending habits, we will then have a greater ability to live the virtue of chastity. Gluttony needs to be mortified by a strict spirit of self-control. It is said that Blessed Pope John XXIII struggled with this sin. He had a life long battle with his weight. One day he was seen crying as he was eating a huge bowl of ice-cream. Acts of mortification include not snacking between meals, eating smaller portions, eating healthy foods, saving deserts for Sundays and special feast days, and exercising moderation in the use of alcoholic beverages.

Laziness is also a very controlling sin. The lazy person is not so much concerned about the bad that he does, but the good that is left undone. The lazy person has to form and strengthen the will. Getting up on time in the morning, making your bed, cleaning your room, doing your duty with perfection, using your time well, regular physical exercise, and personal discipline are very important acts of mortification that will successfully uproot the sin of laziness and replace it with the virtue of diligence.

Lust is another big struggle, if not the biggest for most people. Of all of the sins that have been mentioned thus far, this one is the most addictive. Lust must be dealt with severely. This is something that we cannot fool around with. The best weapon against lust is to run away from the occasions of sin. When we accept our weakness, we will not put ourselves into dangerous situations. If the cable is a problem, then get rid of it. There are a number of pornography free Internet servers that can be used. Living a moral life, modesty in dress, control of our eyes, avoiding sensual movies and television programs and staying away from dangerous friends are some of the things that we can do to replace lust with the virtue of chastity.

Finally, anger is another sin that most people struggle with. Anger must be replaced with the virtue of charity. Never deal with situations such as disciplining children when you are angry. Exercise mortification by walking away from a difficult situation and deal with it latter when you are serene. Walking around the neighborhood for a few minutes can be very beneficial when you are ready to explode. Physical exercise is also a good remedy for anger. After work, it is a good habit to work out at the local gym or go for a run. You can blow off a lot of steam and stress, and then enter your house calm and refreshed.

Of course, all of these acts of mortification that I have mentioned presupposes a mature spiritual life. Self-knowledge, a serious battle plan, and the regular use of the sacrament of confession are also indispensable tools for spiritual growth and development.

Remember, the goal of our spiritual life is to become a new person in Christ. It is not enough just to be a “good person” or to be “nice”.

We are called to be saints.

The continual struggle with ourselves can be exhausting at times. We can even become discouraged when we struggle over long periods of time with the same sin.

Discouragement must be met with Christian hope. There maybe something that we will struggle with for the rest of our lives. We may chase the thing out of our temple, but it keeps on trying to get back in. It may continually pound on the door, look for an open window, or even a crack in the foundation. If a dominant fault does not go away, it must be surrounded with heroic virtue.
St. Paul was given an answer that he was not looking for when he complained to the Lord about his “thorn in the flesh”. “My grace is enough for you: my power is at is best in weakness” (II Corinthians 12: 9).

Let us then take up a whip and chase out of our soul whatever maybe an obstacle to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mortification is an act of the will. Mortification cannot be based on wishful thinking. We have to really die to ourselves in order for Jesus to live in our temple.

Dying to sin, attachments, addictions, obsessions, and selfish tendencies will be a painful and even dramatic experience. But, too many people today are looking for an easy Christianity.

We need to look upon the crucifix and understand once again that the only Jesus that there is, is the Crucified Jesus. “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified…” (1 Corinthians 1: 22).

Written by Fr. James (Thank you Father!)

Posted by Kathy ~ TOG