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Sanctification in Daily Work
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Switched to the Liturgy of the Hours Large Print

Liturgy of the Hours Large PrintI have used the regular size Liturgy of the Hours books for about 20 years. But when my Dad passed away this year, Mother told me that he used the large size print books while she used his original regular size ones. She started using his newer books because she said it made her feel closer to him. I found that very moving and looked up the large print versions and they were on sale. I bought them and gifted my original set to someone else.

I love the large books. I didn’t need the larger print size but I like it. I like how the books stay open and flat. I probably won’t travel as much with them since I can use my iPad, iPhone or computer to read the prayers via an app.

So, I do think of my Dad every time I have used these new books. I would like to have been even closer to him than I was but I loved him dearly and miss him.

Praying for Russia and Ukraine to Jesus through Mary

Pope Francis - Courtesy of VaticanToday Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. You can find the consecration prayer here. It was a beautiful ceremony which was live streamed by the Vatican through various channels.

You can watch the full video on the Vatican Youtube channel.

There is a lot of blame, finger pointing, misinformation and more about this sudden war. However, real people, including children, are homeless and dying. This is a horrible situation that will have impacts for a long time to come. And it is not over yet. IMO satan is at work and what we’re seeing plenty of examples of that all over the world. It is very clear that we need prayer and to turn to faith in God more than ever. I see encouraging signs and I have hope for the future.

Preparing for Christmas

There are many options for finding excellent spiritual reading during Advent. One I recommend is Scepter Publishers. Besides the many books they offer, you can find a “Daily Quote to Contemplate.” You can subscribe to it here. Here is an example from 11/30/21:

“Healing power pours forth unceasingly from the sacred Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, but in order for this power to be received, it must meet with a certain receptivity. This receptivity consists in the theological virtues.” From The Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle by St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia.

Memento Mori. Know what that means? Remember your death. Sounds kind of morbid doesn’t it? However, it is an old spiritual practice. Here’s more information:

Memento mori or “remember your death” is a phrase that has been long associated with the practice of remembering the unpredictable and inevitable end of one’s life. The spiritual practice of memento mori and the symbols and sayings associated with it were particularly popular in the medieval church. But the tradition of remembering one’s death stretches back to the very beginning of salvation history.

I have found a treasure trove of information and aids to this practice by Sr. Theresa Altheia Noble, who is a former atheist who is now a religious sister of the Daughters of Saint Paul. You can find lots of information here.

Since we’re on our way to death even as we’re born this practice is an excellent way to prepare yourself for when that time comes.

Memento Mori during November

Memento Mori Prayer BookIt is that time in the Catholic liturgical year when we pray for the holy souls in purgatory. In fact, the whole month of November is devoted to this.

This makes it the perfect time to reflect on our death and how we should be preparing for it when that time comes (which we know not the day or hour). My daughter suggested Memento Mori. I didn’t even know what it meant which is Remember Your Death. I have used this ancient Catholic tradition to reflect on my death and it has been a big help in my spiritual life. The last almost two years had really affected me more than I at first realized. However, after reflecting on my own death regularly I am much more at peace.

An excellent aid to the understanding and contemplation of Memento Mori are resources you can purchase that are produced by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP. She is a former atheist who is now a religious sister with the Daughters of St. Paul. You can find out more and purchase a variety of aids like the Memento Mori prayer book, pictured here. I have also purchased the Memento Mori Advent Companion book.

It sounds like a very dark topic. In reality it is the opposite.

Some of My Thoughts on the COVID Debacle

This week my Knights of Columbus council held its monthly meeting. I am currently the Lecturer for the council. So, I provide information for the good of the order on a variety of topics. This week my conscience required me to say the following as my report. This is an edited version, and we had a good discussion following it. So, here it goes.

I must point out the obvious first, which is that the devil is alive and well in the world and he is causing some of the worst atrocities we’ve ever seen.

So firstly, let’s start with abortion. It is a major issue we as Knights work on. That is to save the unborn. Don’t dwell on it and how many have been murdered because it will just drive you crazy.

That leads us to the main thing I want to bring up which is the vaccines for this Covid virus. I have been traveling quite a bit lately and have had many people asking me lots of questions about this topic. Many of those conversations were uncomfortable because people are so emotional about the issue.

My wife, Cindy and I are trained journalists by college and career. We’ve done lots of research since March, 2020 on this topic. We’ve never seen such a convoluted mess of misinformation and lies. And what really rankles us as Catholics is how the vaccines have been created, tested, and produced. All of them have used fetal tissue from what was originally tissue from an aborted baby. A long time ago at this point. They basically clone it to make it simple to explain how they continue that “line” of tissue. Only one uses fetal tissue in the actual production process and that is the J&J one regardless of what you may have heard. That’s why the bishops have had a real problem with that one. However, all the vaccines we have come about because of an aborted baby’s tissue. The fact that it was ever used encourages other researchers to use that kind of tissue and that should be illegal everywhere in the world.

We know what the Pope and bishops have said. Many bishops will not endorse any of their use. But the majority have told us we can feel okay to get the shots. If you’re familiar with the term remote cooperation, then you might understand how they can allow this. Look it up if you don’t know.

Read the rest of this post…

A Holy Hour with Bishop Wack

Basilica of St. Michael the ArchangelFriday evening Most Rev. William Wack, Bishop of the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese, held a Holy Hour at the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, Pensacola, with adoration of the Eucharist, Evening Prayer, meditation on adoration and the Litany of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney.

The Knights of Columbus worked with the Diocese for this event which was open to the public. We had an honor guard of the 4th Degree Knights, the State Deputy representing the national Knights of Columbus and other members of the Knights and their families. Our council at the Basilica provided assistance in putting together and distributing the handout for the prayers as well as being ushers.

It was a beautiful service and Bishop Wack’s remarks on adoration were great. The national Knights of Columbus had a tv crew their shooting video for a project that will be appearing on their website. They also interviewed several people including Bishop Wack and several Knights like myself. I look forward to seeing how they put the production together.

Fear: Be Not Afraid

In more than a year I’ve seen people become more afraid than I can ever remember. I don’t mean being afraid of something like a lightning storm, a creepy bug or your shadow. It has been foremost a fear of COVID-19. But also included is a fear of all the violence that is happening all over our country and a fear that somehow the world is going to end due to climate change.

We literally have a society of fear going on that is being stoked by fake news, real news, non-stop opinion news. Advertising campaigns locally and nationally have essentially urged people to be afraid. Most of the fear is not rational. However, the volume of violent acts which include terrorist rallies, gun shootings, murders and governments letting criminals go without having to pay the penalty of their crimes, is something to be really concerned about.

I will confess to having irrational feelings of fear and anxiety this past year. It’s not fun. They have mostly become bothersome when I wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep. I’ve been working on letting go of my fear and anxieties and finding more and more spiritual material to help. This includes The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis. Here’s an example of many lines that address this subject, “Lord, I willingly commit all things to You, for my anxiety can profit me little.” Yes, all the anxiety in the world will not solve anything. It only keeps us from focusing on what is important and making good decisions.

There are many more excerpts from the writing of saints and theologians. Just google for it. I follow @PadrepioSaint on Twitter and the tweets often are “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” “Be not afraid,” Saint John Paul II, Pope, is something I think about often.

When these kind of feelings happen I view them as an attack from the evil one. For that reason I always have my rosary and holy water which also helps tremendously.

Prayer for Peace During Times of Civil Unrest

Daily Roman MissalOur crazy world just keeps showing more crazy. After the horrible event last week in our nation’s capitol and the aftermath which is still going on (arrests, blame, decisions which will further erode our freedoms by many companies and individuals and more) we need to pray even more.

Here’s a prayer that I like. Our Bishop William A Wack, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee said it during his FB Live video last week while he was on retreat.

O God, who arrange all things according to a wonderful design,
graciously receive the prayers
we pour out to you for our country (state),
that, through the wisdom of its leaders and the integrity of
its citizens,
harmony and justice may be assured
and lasting prosperity come with peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Roman Missal III
I found it in my Daily Roman Missal on page, 2126, For Civil Needs

Finding Peace in this Pandemic World of Fear

Preparation for Total ConsecrationI think this is my original book, “Preparation for Total Consecration” according to St. Louis de Montfort. It has been an annual companion for many years. I often sat in my deer blind in Missouri reading and saying my daily prayer because the season there was always scheduled right after I had started this incredible set of prayers. You can find the new version at Montfort Publications here.

I’m not bringing this up just to say you should try this spiritual exercise. Although I certainly recommend it. Rather I bring it up because I know so many people who are in depression and filled with anxiety and fear because of COVID-19. I see it in their social media writings and hear it in phone conversations and even Zoom meetings. I understand and I firmly believe this is a great tool to battle these negative feelings right now.

Even before the pandemic I have been struggling with frequent bouts of all the above. My wife and I have our own business that for many years has thrived on traveling to industry events throughout the year and around the world. That all ended in March and now we’re getting announcements of events going virtual only or completely cancelled all the way out to June, 2021.

With the agriculture industry already facing tough economic times before this year and then not even being able to travel, we have struggled and I have felt helpless at times. But I started re-dedicating myself to saying my morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours and I’m getting ready to add evening prayer back now. This brings me a lot of calm each morning. And then I started this annual consecration prayer and I have felt much more peaceful. Time and again this year my little business has found new types of work and new clients to work for. You might call it miraculous.

Besides these spiritual exercises I mention I have also payed more attention to the writings of various saints in them as well as daily reading a little bit of the New Testament. This has been a huge help in better understanding my faith in Jesus and acknowledging Him as my Lord and Savior. Somehow, the negative thoughts are much fewer and I’m even sleeping better. Of course there are other devotions that have played a big part in my ability to overcome fear that can paralyze you from thinking clearly and doing nothing. These include spending a weekly holy hour with the Blessed Sacrament and in my case, contributing to Sunday Mass by live streaming it on Facebook for our church and saying my rosary every day regardless of the time of day or night.

I will close by just saying that God loves you. Focus on that when you can. Maybe 5-10 minutes a day. Reach out to people you know just to chat with them. You’ll both feel better for it.

Morning Prayer Buddy

Prayer BuddyUntil March of this year I have traveled extensively for my work and business. But that all changed and other than family visits and a couple trips to my hunting club camp, I have only spent two days on the road for work. So, it has made for a much more regular home (office) schedule. One of those is my first cup of coffee with the Liturgy of the Hours and my little Maltese, Croix, by my side.

It is a very relaxing and quiet time to say my morning prayers and spend at least a few minutes in contemplation of the readings as well as examining my conscience. The changes to my business and ever changing rules about what we can and can’t do have made it difficult to concentrate at times. The uncertainty of what will happen next is very disconcerting. This time of prayer helps me collect my thoughts and make a plan for the day.

COVID-19 Stay at Home Effects

As we continue to live under stay at home orders of various kinds and locations I have been thinking more and more about the damage to people’s emotions, especially those who suffer from depression and anxiety. I’m concerned about our loss of jobs and liberties too.

But before you think I don’t care about every human life I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth. However, we live with death around us everywhere in the world. Abortion is the most extreme example. Terrorism, suicide, vehicle crashes and a variety of diseases like heart disease and cancer, are not new.

I don’t even pretend to be an “expert” on this COVID-19 virus as so many proclaim loudly on social media. But, the more and more data I see and hear make me doubt that our governments have made a good decision to essentially shut us down. Even experts who are doctors contradict each other.

I’m not afraid of the future though, because of my faith in Jesus. But besides the people who have died of this virus I am also concerned about all the people who are now un-employed, the businesses who are out of business or soon will be, the people who are shut in from their loved ones or not allowed to see them, the people sick with other diseases or injuries who are not allowed to see their family. I think we will look back on this as a very dark spot on the history of our country and culture.

I’d like to think more positive about “getting back to normal,” but I doubt that will happen. In some ways there might be some good that will come from what we’ve been through but that will only happen if people make real changes in their lives, permanent changes. You can probably think of a lot of examples for this. Will it happen? IDK. But I sure hope so.

Holy Mary, our hope and seat of wisdom, pray for us!

Pope Francis’ special Urbi et Orbi blessing

Pope Francis Urbi et OrbiIn case you missed seeing the ceremony in Rome last Friday in which Pope France read his Urbi et Orbi message and then provided a unique blessing at the end of Adoration you can still see it. You can also still receive a special plenary indulgence for doing this. Here’s some information about that.

You can watch the full ceremony on the Vatican Facebook Page here. You can read the full text of his meditation here. There is also a one minute version of the blessing on the Vatican channel here.

Public Mass Suspended – More Prayer Needed

Weekday MassBy now just about everywhere in the U.S. public Masses have been suspended during this pandemic virus situation. This photo is from the last public Mass at my church, Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, Pensacola, last Thursday. To say it was emotional would be an understatement. Bishops have granted a dispensation from attending Sunday Mass while this suspension is in effect.

During this time of change, challenge, fear for many, worry, anxiety, stress, the Mass with our Lord Jesus Christ offered a haven of quiet, prayer and meditation for many, many people. Hopefully this will be a very short situation.

It is good to keep in mind that Masses will still be said every day throughout the world. In fact, I am going to be helping our pastor set up the ability to livestream the Sunday Mass this weekend at 9am central on Facebook.

This also presents us with an opportunity for additional personal reflection and prayer. So many people are now out of work or required to stay home. We need to pray for them and their need to care for their families.

You can find the statement from Most Reverend William Wack, Bishop, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, here. Also included is a 14th century prayer to the Blessed Mother for protection from the Plague. This is in all our church missals and we started saying after each Mass just recently.

Here is that prayer, just to make it easier:

Star of Heaven,
who nourished the Lord
and rooted up the plague of death
which our first parents planted:
May that star now deign
to hold in check the constellations
whose strife causes in people
the sores of a terrible death.
O glorious star of the sea,
save us from infection.
Hear us: for your Son,
who honors you, denies you nothing.
Jesus, save us, for whom
the Virgin Mother prays to you.

V. Pray for us O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. God of mercy and forgiveness, moved to pity at the affliction of your people, you commanded the destroying Angel to stay his arm for the love of that glorious Star, at whose precious breast you sweetly drank the remedy for the poison of our sins: come to our help with your divine grace so that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary your Mother and Blessed Bartholomew your beloved Apostle, preserve us from all contagion and untimely death, and mercifully save us from the danger of perdition. Through Jesus Christ, King of glory and Savior of the World, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Getting Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like It

Ever felt like you have lots of things to do but you just can’t seem to bring yourself to make a decision and take action? Or wake up feeling overwhelmed by all kinds of things and not being able to get back to sleep? Yeah, me too.

In fact, I’ve been going through a stage of this. It has happened at other times in my life and I learned a number of ways to combat these feelings. I say feelings because there is always some level of stress when you have a job or in my case, have my own business. Stress itself isn’t the only thing that causes a lack of motivation. How you feel also plays a big role.

I’ve read lots of self help books on this subject, especially ones related to dealing with anxiety and fear. Some have been helpful. However, I believe the number one help for me has been my conversion. I was raised Catholic but it wasn’t until adulthood, after having to leave my first business, that I had a St. Paul moment of clarity and my life was changed forever.

So, back to motivation and overcoming feelings of being overwhelmed and afraid of the future. When I wake up and can’t go back to sleep I usually find myself thinking and worrying about all kinds of things. An example would be the sinus surgery I had last week or the surgery my wife, Cindy, will have tomorrow. Another might be why I have so many people I work with not returning my calls or emails. I think I could make a pretty big list of these.

Many years ago now I realized that perhaps not being able to go back to sleep was a call from my guardian angel that it was time to pray. So, I started saying my rosary. I found out that I usually don’t make it all the way through five decades before I fall asleep! It doesn’t always happen this way but more often than not by a big margin.

So, there is one of my main go-to solutions for a lack of motivation. Prayer. After a time of prayer most of the things leading me to a lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness and more just seem to go away.

All Souls Day Prayer Ceremony

This past Friday evening at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pensacola, FL our Bishop William Wack provided a homily during an annual ecumenical prayer ceremony attended by 82 people. We had a beautiful sunset and setting on “Priest’s Hill” in the cemetery.

Cindy and I assisted in the setup for the ceremony with the Women’s Sodality at the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel and my Knights of Columbus council. This is what I’d like to be able to do more of. My travel schedule for our business takes me to many interesting places in the U.S. and many other countries but it also makes it difficult to attend church activities and even write here, which is painfully obvious.

This month let’s pray for the faithfully departed and gain a plenary indulgence for them. Here’s more information:

The Church offers an Indulgence for a Cemetery Visit that is available as a partial indulgence all year round, but from November 1 through November 8, this indulgence is plenary. Like the All Souls Day indulgence, it is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. As a plenary indulgence, it remits all punishment due to sin, which means that simply by performing the requirements of the indulgence, you can obtain the entrance into Heaven of a soul who is currently suffering in Purgatory.