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April 11th, 2013

How To Remain Sexually Pure?

How To Remain Sexually Pure

Why sexual temptations are so addictive?

One cause for the extreme difficulty in erasing pornographic images from the mind and breaking illegal relationships is that when a man views pornography or talk, meet with a person in immoral relationship, a chemical called epinephrine is released in the brain. This release of epinephrine causes deep imprint of the visual image, sound of words or persons to be stored within the brain. Such images can plague a man for decades.

Rest assured, there is a way out of pornography addiction and illegal relationships – but don’t fall for the promise of an easy way out. Moreover this chemical presses a person into addiction. If that person is morally good, then the mind will tell, but the body will not obey.

The beginning of a spiritual attack

Sexual addictions and pornography open a person up to the influence of evil spirits. Before a spiritual attack begins you may be struggling with your own lustful thoughts. A spiritual attack begins when a spirit silently intrudes into your mind, adding intensity to your lustful thoughts, or implanting additional ones. You can detect this happening when an ordinary human lust arises and then suddenly erupts into a life of its own, one that seems nearly impossible to get rid of.

We should remember that our succumbing to temptations reveal our weakness. The devil makes use of our weakness and sinful dispositions, not that we have nothing to do with our failure. We fail where we are weak and supposed to be strong. Realize and correct ourselves each time when we fall.

How to fight a spiritual attack

If an episode of overwhelming lustful thoughts involves a spiritual attack, you will not be able to shake it with just mental effort alone. This is the case also with illegal relationships. Many know that it is unfit and not allowed. Many more know that such relationships never ends up in a married life. But they are never able to get out.

We should know here that the Devil has taken his chance. It is very easy to get discouraged and feel completely overwhelmed by both lust and the accompanying spiritual assault. Yet you can quickly break the power of the attack by first realizing what is happening, and then by saying a prayer for spiritual protection to your guardian angel and St. Michael the Archangel.

One of the hardest parts in fending off a spiritual attack is learning to recognize when one is happening. Spiritual attacks are covert operations that need to disguise themselves to be successful. Ask God to give you continual discernment. After a spiritual attack is stopped, your mental disciplines will still be needed to control your thoughts.

Lead a sacramental life

Also, use sacramentals such as holy water, crucifixes, St. Benedict medals etc. These can be very effective in overcoming or preventing spiritual attacks.

The sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are like rivers of living water that bring fresh strength to your soul. Take advantage of every opportunity to receive grace by frequenting the sacraments. The sacrament of penance is the one thing that can break the power of pornography in your life and turn the tide in your battle against pornography.

Never allow shame or setbacks to keep you from this sacrament. If you are guilty of serious sin, a good confession is the necessary first step to prepare you for receiving further graces in the Eucharist.

Take care of your physical condition too

Your spiritual defenses are weakened when you allow yourself to become run down from too little sleep, or too much work and stress. If you are fatigued, then take extra precautions against temptations until you restore your physical condition. Alcohol or the use of drugs will dull your conscience and diminish your ability to make good judgments.

Condemnation and Conviction

Don’t give up after a setback. An overwhelming wave of guilt and discouragement can follow in the wake of a setback. If you do fall into a sinful setback, you need to be prepared for an onslaught of condemnation. The Bible calls Satan ‘the accuser’. After a setback Satan will be ready to bombard you with doubts of God’s love for you.

You need to carefully discern between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation from ‘the accuser’ has the effect of driving you away from God. Conviction from the Holy Spirit drives you towards God to find forgiveness and restoration. If you fall, you should certainly not give up the fight. Get to the Sacrament of penance and ask God for forgiveness. It will always be there for you.

– – – written by Stephen

April 7th, 2013

Easter Morning Good News Of Eternal Life

Easter Morning Good News

What exactly was the good news that the women carried in their hearts as they ran back to Jerusalem that morning? They didn’t understand it fully at the time. But over the centuries the Church has come to realize more fully what that Easter morning good news really means.

Jesus has risen! He has overcome suffering and death! He has won salvation for mankind through the cross! And this salvation is more than eternal life. It is also life in the full, life without fear, here and now.

Many people in our world today live in fear. Some fear sickness or death. Some fear losing their money or the personal comforts they’ve surrounded themselves with. Other people live in fear of personal relationships – they’re so shy that they’re locked in prisons of fear. That’s only a partial list of some of the fears of us moderns, but my point is clear; many of us live in fear. But we don’t have to.

No need to live in fear

One of the realities of the resurrection and its culminations – the sending of the Holy Spirit – is that we don’t need to live in fear. Jesus has conquered everything that can harm us: He has conquered sin and death; the world, the flesh and the devil lie at his feet, vanquished from all time.

Yet we struggle with fear of these things because we are weak human beings. Jesus’ first followers also struggled with fear. When we look at some of the things they learned, we can learn how to overcome fear, too.

God urges us not to be afraid

In Mathew’s gospel God’s message to us is clearly stated: “Do not be frightened.” We need not fear because Jesus has “overcome the world.” We as his followers have the same assurance of victory given to us by John: “Who, then, is conqueror of the world? The one who believes Jesus is the Son of God” (1 Jn 5:5). We need not fear because the Christ whom you and I are called to follow is alive.

The crucifixion of Jesus left the apostles terrified. They hid themselves, convinced that they too would be hunted down and killed. That fear perished after they discovered that Jesus was alive. Their fear seems to have vanished completely when Jesus sent them his Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

Compare the men who secluded themselves in the upper room after the crucifixion (see John 20:19) with the men who boldly proclaimed God’s message and experienced his wonders (see Acts 2:1-4, 4:5-13, 12:1-11). What happened to their fear? It was driven out when the Holy Spirit entered. There was no room left in them for fear. They had experienced the love of Christ, the victory of Christ, and the power of His Spirit. They were busy building God’s kingdom. They had no time for fear!

We too can experience deliverance from fear. He promised us freedom from this crippling emotional response to life’s circumstances. All we have to do is use the authority he gave us: Cast out fear – call it by name and command it to leave you; then, ask for a fresh measure of the Holy Sprit’s power in your life. Repeat this simple procedure whenever you feel that old fear returning.

The resurrection of Jesus means that we don’t have to live in fear. It also means that we can have confidence in God in the face of death.

Is death the end?

Recently I had a conversation with a young man who wouldn’t accept the good news of redemption. As we spoke he told me bluntly, “I don’t believe in God.” “Is there anything inside you,” I asked, “which is searching for a deeper life?” “I think I am self-sufficient,” he replied, looking away. “What do you think about death?” “Dust to Dust”, he said, “ashes to ashes. When I die it’s all over. It’s all just going to be black.”

I saw the discouragement on this face as he heard what he was saying – that death is the end, that there is nothing after that, that all there is to life is what we are experiencing now. That pitiful young man, living a life without the hope of resurrection! He is not alone.  Other people have tried to explain the resurrection by calling it a myth. It is simply too much for them to believe that Christ’s human body really came back to life.

The Truth of Resurrection

Pope Paul VI addressed these people when he declared the definitive Roman Catholic teaching on the resurrection. He stated that Jesus truly rose from the dead and that he walked out of the tomb. It was not a ghost or phantom of the hopes of the early disciples. What emerged from the tomb was the whole person of Jesus Christ – body, soul, and divinity. Jesus the human being and Jesus the Son of God, empowered by the Spirit of the living God, walked out of the tomb.

And we, like the women at the tomb, can also receive the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. It is precisely because of our belief in Jesus’ resurrection that we can have a bond of love with him. It is precisely because of this belief that we can know deep inside that we have the guarantee of everlasting life.

What a gift from God it is to wake up every morning and know that we have the hope of eternal life. We know that physical death is but a passing over from this life to the glorious, everlasting life that Jesus Christ has designed for his disciples.

How to respond to this Good News?

But it isn’t always so easy to accept this as good news. Mathew tells us that when the two Marys left the empty tomb they were half overjoyed and half fearful. This statement describes well how you and I can sometimes respond to our personal discovery of the risen Jesus. We can at the same time rejoice in God and be fearful of living in true faith with all our heart, mind, and strength. We can hesitate to reach out to the risen Christ because we are afraid of the cost of following him as Lord.

We need not be afraid though. When we accept the risen Jesus Christ, we also accept this strength, power, and grace.

See what he did for the women at the tomb: “Suddenly, without warning, Jesus stood before the women and said, “Peace” (Mt. 28:9). Amidst the fear and confusion, the incredible circumstances of the earthquake, and the chaos of the preceding days, Jesus brings this message, “peace”. Mathew continues: “The women came up and embraced his feet and did him homage. At this Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid” (Mt. 28:9, 10).

In our fear we, too, need to grab a hold of Jesus Christ. If you are experiencing doubt or anxiety, confusion or guilt, embarrassment or weakness, then hold on to Jesus Christ, embrace him and worship him. Cry out to him, “Lord, have mercy on me!”

It is at such moments that the Lord Jesus Christ desires us to intimately experience the power of his simple message to these women: “Peace… Do not be afraid.” Reach out to Jesus embrace him and say, “Lord, I need you. I love you. I worship you. I give my life to you. I surrender to you.” It is at that time that Jesus says most profoundly, “Peace. Do not be afraid. I forgive you and I love you.”

– – – written by Fr. John Bertolucci

April 7th, 2013

Poem : 100 Years Old

100 Years Old

You are 100 years old
Means 100 years of blessings
From Our Lord Jesus Christ.
You live life to the fullest.

You have lost your youth
But your heart is gold
Nothing is more important than
All the wonderful things that you did.

People will never forget you
They’ll respect and love you
Though death comes to everyone,
Your human dignity will never be gone.

Someday you’ll meet Our Greatest Father,
He’ll embrace you in His loving arms
And will thank you for being a good follower
Of His commandments.

– – – written by Alon Calinao Dy

I dedicate this poem for those people who have reached their 100 years of age. You are blessed because you have given a long and prosperous life by Our Lord Jesus Christ. 100 years old means 100 years of blessings. – Alon Calinao Dy

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