Joy is Following God’s Truth, Not Attacking it

Spinning Plates

Have you ever seen the circus or carnival act where someone attempts to spin multiple plates on sticks? It starts out easy enough but as more plates start to spin, the harder it is to prevent them from crashing down. By focusing on certain plates, others are neglected and fall. It’s only by running around frantically that you keep them going. Even a small miscalculation sends them crashing. It’s difficult to micromanage so many objects taken out of their natural state that will just follow the laws of physics without your constant intervention.

I feel like our society is spinning plates right now on multiple levels whether political, economic, or social. Many of our politicians and their supporters insist on abortion on demand. But we then have to deal with the social impact of life being seen as an inconvenience, not something worth protecting. We have to spin the plates of suicide, euthanasia, broken families, and health issues just to name a few. You can’t just demand freely available abortions and pretend they will happen in a vacuum. Devaluing human life has a chain effect of many undesired consequences.

We see this spinning plate scenario play out in many other areas. We want to legalize all sorts of drugs and behaviors citing “personal freedom.” But then we need to deal with the side effects of people needing to feed their addictions. Society doesn’t want to lock people into marriage and raising families. But then we need to address issues brought about by single-parent households. Lately, we don’t even want to acknowledge basic biology. We then wonder why young adults are so confused and retreat to their phones. After all, isn’t easier to bury your head in Tik-Tok videos than face all these societal messes?

Catholicism: A Solid Foundation

The beauty of Catholicism is that her doctrine avoids the spinning plate problem. Instead of life being a tumult of spinning plates, it’s a nicely set table. Acknowledging the truth about the sanctity and dignity of life avoids the issues and tragedies of promoting a culture of death in the name of freedom or privacy. Following the 10 Commandments leads to people treating each other with respect, peace, and harmony instead of everyone doing whatever they feel like. Knowing that there is the Truth of God sure makes life a lot less confusing than the mess woke progressivism has made.

Catholic doctrine has been pondered and refined for centuries by some of the greatest human minds. Just think of the great works and logical arguements of Saint Thomas Acquinas or Saint Augustine for example. Think about the brilliant encyclicals of the popes. These weren’t politicians looking to boost their re-election chances by catering to their base. They looked at Jesus and his disciples’ teachings and made logical, sound arguments about their validity.

Don’t get me wrong, following Catholic teaching doesn’t lead to a utopia. After all, we are sinful people who can easily be led astray by Satan. But Catholicism has answers that don’t lead to more dispair and unhappiness. It might create more work in the short term whether that be finding a loving home for an unintended pregnancy, fighting addictions, and generally nudging people towards what is good. But, work and effort are not the same as being unhappy or unfulfilled.

I think one of society’s largest problems is that we’ve stopped nudging people to do what’s morally good. Instead, we allow them to do what feels good. As a culture, we indulge peoples’ wants instead of helping them seek what they need. As a Church, we’ve stopped emphasizing the need to regularly attend Mass and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. How do we expect people to do what is right if they no longer hear the Truth and pray to follow it? How can we expect people to reform and convert if they don’t understand the saving power of Reconciliation?

God’s Truth isn’t necessarily a prescription for a specific economic, social, or political system. Although, I’m sure we can all think of political systems that deliberately attack religion and how the countries that embrace them turn out. While the details may be different, systems based on Truth certainly lay a solid foundation for a stable society. I said this in a previous article about how the Bible said God repeatedly punished the Israelites for disobeying Him. I pointed out that the Israelites were probably bringing punishment upon themselves by stealing, lying, murdering, and coveting. A society that embraces the opposite of God’s Truth will inevitably collapse into chaos.

Seeking Truth in the Rosary

I think this is a good time to reflect on the Fourth Luminous Mystery — The Transfiguration. I love the image of Jesus appearing between Moses and Elijah. You have Moses, the bringer of the Law. You have Elijah who challenged and won against the followers of Baal — a pagan God the Israelites repeatedly worshiped and led to much suffering. The Transfiguration is this image of the unification of the Old and New Testament laws and rejection of actions that are anti-Truth. We need to keep this image in our heads when we’re confronted with current issues. Are we following and promoting the laws and practices preached by the people present in the Transfiguration? Or are our “causes” running counter to the Truth?

I also like the Fourth Joyful Mystery when contemplating these topics. The fruit of the Presentation in the Temple is obedience to the law of God. Mary and Joseph faithfully followed Jewish laws and customs. Simeon and Anna, who were praying in the temple, also devoutly followed the law. We too must follow the laws of God even if they create challenges and inconveniences in our lives. Going to Mass, confession, adoration, and prayer services may not be fun compared to video games, movies, and parties. But being aware and obedient to God’s laws is what gives us that moral foundation that will lead to true happiness. It’s a happiness that can only be realized when we embrace God, not fight Him.

The Miracle of Individual Conversion

Conversion is a Process

I find inspiration and hope in the conversion of St. Paul. It makes me realize that God has a plan for all of us, even for those who we deem “lost.” And let’s face it, there are plenty of lost people in this world right now. We live in a post-truth, woke, relativistic, manipulated, fearful, easily offended, snowflake, whipped-up world. It’s easy to feel lost amongst the media noise and competing agendas. Like Saul, who thought he was protecting the Jews from these crazy Christians, people are fighting for all sorts of “causes.” This often ends in people feeling angrier and sadder. Yet, even in all this chaos, God’s plan is at work. Maybe it’s not as dramatic as St. Paul’s conversion, but individuals are converted all the time.

Conversion isn’t usually a one-time event surrounded by blinding light and a voice in the sky. It’s a process of gradual change. For many, conversion is opening their hearts and minds to God’s voice. You may find yourself more motivated to pray, read scripture, and attend Mass. That could evolve into receiving the sacraments, especially Reconciliation. You might find yourself letting go of an old grudge and forgiving those who wronged you. It’s a process of taking a few steps forward and maybe a few steps back.

Conversion in the Rosary

Conversion is a central theme of the Third Luminous Mystery, The proclamation of the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus’ call to conversion. Jesus calls all of us to come to him with our imperfections and ask for his help to convert them. But we should not only pray that we convert our own earthly ways into heavenly ones but for others’ conversion as well. The world feels torn apart right now with the war in Ukraine and various ideologies, ones that have caused so much tragedy, taking hold once again. We need to pray for those individuals who are lost that they may find Jesus Christ and convert to living for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Convert Souls, Not the World

I think we should focus on the changing of individual souls and not praying that the whole world changes. It’s not that praying for world change is a bad thing. I just think it’s a bit of a cop-out. It’s like we want to wake up tomorrow and see that God fixed everything and made our world a utopia. We lost our utopia when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The world will never be a perfect place. That’s what God wanted, but we choose differently. While the world may never be perfect, God still reaches out to each individual soul offering him a chance to start living for His kingdom.

Gains are made one soul at a time. Sometimes those converted souls can have a large impact on others. Look at Saint Paul’s conversion again. Not only did he stop persecuting Christians, but he went on to write letters that make up a good-sized portion of the New Testament. But a meaningful conversion isn’t one that has a large worldly impact. Finding God’s mercy and grace mean the world to the converted soul. Imagine the near-infinite joy of a single soul, one possibly headed for Hell, finding salvation in Heaven because he converted.

I’m not saying we give up on our world. But the world will never be perfect regardless of what leaders we elect and what laws we pass. It will always be broken until the end of time when God establishes a “New Jerusalem.” There will always be sadness, hardship, and tragedy. But the world and our lives are temporary. Our souls are eternal. Investing in our soul’s well-being is the wiser, long-term investment.

There’s a Little “Doubting Thomas” in All of Us

Poor Saint Thomas. I always felt like he got a bad wrap being forever known as Doubting Thomas. All the apostles had their faults, but Saint Thomas and Saint Peter’s are probably the best known along with Judas Iscariot. How unfortunate that his moment of weakness came to define him. He’s like the kid at school that picked up an unflattering nickname based on doing something silly on his first day.

Why did Saint John include this story about Saint Thomas? All the Gospel writers had good reasons for removing or including certain content. Saint John even went as far as providing editorial notes saying that he intentionally left out many of the acts Jesus performed (John 20:30, 21:25) But he included Saint Thomas’ doubt. That story made the cut. What’s so important about it?

We Can’t Put Our Hands in Jesus’ Side

I think Saint John included this story about doubt knowing that everyone reading it for ages to come would relate. Future generations would be like Saint Thomas — being told of Jesus’ resurrection without actually seeing him. We have the Church telling us that Jesus rose from the dead, but we can’t actually place our hands in Jesus’ nail marks. In the lack of physical evidence, will we doubt or believe?

Before we’re too hard on Saint Thomas, ask yourself if you would have acted differently. Jesus rising from the dead was an extraordinary claim. It wasn’t hardened by thousands of years of Church history. Remember, the apostles at this time were still trying to make sense of Jesus’ teachings. They didn’t have centuries of teachings and theologians to help guide them. I think Saint Thomas’ reaction was reasonable. And it was one that many of us still exhibit today.

Many of us have moments of doubt about our faith. We’re just lucky that we don’t have someone recording our doubts and putting them into the most widely distributed book of all time as Saint Thomas did. I think there are times when we want more proof from God. We want to know that the prayers, fasting, almsgiving, etc. are all necessary and ultimately beneficial. Our doubt manifests itself in various ways such as:

  • Not going to Mass or not paying attention during Mass
  • Not believing in the Real Presence of the Eucharist
  • Delay receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Not praying
  • Acting in ways that are contrary to Church teaching
  • Committing sin

Sin is Doubting God

It’s that last one, committing sin, that I would like to focus on. Sin is demonstrating a lack of faith. It’s knowing what Jesus wants out of us and then doing the opposite. If we were 100% faithful to Jesus with no doubt in him or his Church, we wouldn’t dare do anything contrary to his teachings. And yet, we all show our doubt when we sin. We implicitly say, “I’ve heard the Church’s teachings, but I don’t fully believe them.” We wouldn’t dare commit a sin if Jesus was physically standing in front of us. But he is always there with us but our doubt blinds us to his presence.

Here’s the good news and why Saint John included Saint Thomas’ story in his Gospel. He knew that future generations, billions of people, will not have the advantage of seeing proof of Jesus’ resurrection like Saint Thomas and the apostles. John’s Gospel says, “Blessed are those who have not seen but believe” (John 20:29). That’s us! This account, while at Saint Thomas’ expense, is meant for us. It is a call for us to have faith in Jesus Christ for all time after Jesus physically left this world in the Ascension.

Fighting Doubt with Rosary Prayer

When I’m looking to fight doubt and have faith, I turn to praying the First Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation. Mary, while confused and puzzled by the Angel Gabriel’s announcement, didn’t doubt God’s plan. Likewise, Saint Joseph, while having concerns of his own, also put his faith in God when he stood by Mary’s side instead of divorcing her. They didn’t demand proof or challenge God like Saint Thomas. Rather, they humbly accepted God’s Will. When we pray this mystery, let’s also ask God for humble faith in His divine Will.

I also think about the Third Luminous Mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Call to Conversion. The Kingdom of Heaven is real. But how much faith and confidence do we have living for it instead of earthly delights? Again, when we sin, it shows our doubt in the reality of God’s heavenly kingdom. And that is why Jesus calls us to conversion. Conversion means having more faith and less doubt in God’s plan for us. It means trying harder to live for something we cannot immediately see instead of demanding God to prove himself.

Unfortunately, Saint Thomas can’t escape his Doubting Thomas label. But Saint John included his account in his Gospel for our benefit. Are you striving to live in God’s grace and have faith in God’s plan? Or are you wasting valuable time demanding proof before living for God’s kingdom?

God is Unchanging Truth

What is Truth?

The teachings of the Catholic Church are universal. They are the same regardless of time, place, or cultural trend. This is one of the key aspects I’m learning as I read the Catechism this year. The source of everything, including truth, lies with God. God is not only the source of truth, He IS truth. And the mission of the Catholic Church is to reveal that truth to everyone.

This is why calls for the Catholic Church to change her teachings to conform to cultural trends frustrate me. People want to take God’s truth and change it. They probably aren’t aware that they are trying to change God Himself. The Catholic Church seems inflexible because it won’t change her teachings. But she can’t! We need to have the humility to know that we can’t change God. And we should strive to have the faith in God’s truth even when we don’t completely understand it.

Hard to Accept != Hateful

Currently, one of the more divisive areas of Church teaching is that on gender and sexual orientation. Because the Church teaches that homosexuality is sinful, people immediately jump on the Church as being “outdated” or “hateful.” They basically want God to get with the times. People act like we can tell Him that his creation took a vote and we decided to override some of His decisions.

The mistake that many of us make is that we equate unpopular or hard to accept with hateful. It doesn’t help that we hear this day and night from various politicians who desire votes and donations. Of course, they will promote what is popular, not necessarily what is true because it’s popularity, not the truth, that gets them votes.

Look at Jesus. Did he ever promote hate? On the contrary, he directed us to love everyone, even those who we don’t like. But, did he equate love with acceptance of sinful behavior? Never. He forgave sins but never endorsed them. He called people to a life of conversion. It wasn’t he that needed to change, it was the people he called to follow him. His unwillingness to alter Truth is what led him to his crucifixion. The Church, from its very start, embraced Truth over popularity.

Fear of God is a Good Thing

And this is what makes this manifesto from the German Catholic bishops so frustrating. They are demanding that the Catholic Church change its teaching on sexuality. They even have a catchy tagline — For a church without fear. Probably in addition to the term hate, fear is another one of those words that tend to be thrown around in an attempt to score political points.

Maybe a little fear is a good thing. It shows an understanding that some of our actions conflict with truth and we have some remorse. We’re afraid because we know, at some deep level, that what we are doing conflicts with God’s design for us. By not embracing truth, we don’t embrace God. We should be afraid of our actions separating us from God’s grace.

Rather than demanding that God changes, perhaps we should find the humility to change our views and actions. Even when we don’t understand the truth, God asks us to have faith in Him. And having faith in God means having faith in the truth. When you pray the Rosary, look to Mary as the ultimate example of humility and accepting God’s truth even when we can’t completely understand it. And pray that these Geman bishops also have the humility to look past their politics and remember the Truth they are called to teach.

When you pray the Rosary, meditate on the ideas of God and Truth when you pray the Third Luminous Mystery — The Proclamation of the Kingdom Heaven and the Call to Conversion. It is our duty to learn God’s truth and convert our hearts and minds to honor Him. When we fear God, we’re on our way to understanding Him. When we desire truth, we desire God.

The Miracle at Canna: Choosing the Best in Life

We are all Religious

One way or another, we’re all religious people. God infuses us the instant we’re conceived with an innate wanting to draw closer to Him. We have a need to seek Him out. Unfortunately, the noise in our lives often drowns out or confuses this longing for an authentic relationship with God.

We can’t escape our need for God. Even agnostics, atheists, and “Nones” are going to find something greater than ourselves in their lives. Unfortunately, we tend to substitute the real God with pale imitations. We put our trust in people or world institutions that are deeply flawed or self-serving. Far too many people treat their political party as their church and politicians as their high priests. They stake their happiness and well-being in these institutions. They settle for a lesser life when they could have so much more.

I listen to a podcast called the ZDogg MD Show. He’s an interesting person who takes what he calls an alt-middle stance on things. He freely admits that his positions draw ire from all sides. By not preaching a “this side good, that side bad” dogma, many people think he’s either not supporting or outright attacking their beliefs. What’s refreshing about his show is that he acknowledges how damaging this “us vs. them” mentality is and how it leads to so much unhappiness.

The Religion of Covid

In one of his recent episodes, ZDogg talked about how those who claim to be secular have actually created their own religion out of Covid. Their language cast a rather religious tone. Those who are unvaccinated are deemed “unclean.” Or those who are against vaccine mandates are “heretics” that need to be “excommunicated” from society. Or those who are vaccinated or wear masks are “tainted” or “marked.” As much as people may claim they don’t adhere to a religion, many of them sure do talk with religious zeal.

It may be easy to dismiss these people with their faux religions. If some people want to elevate Dr. Faucci as their pope, why should that matter to me? The reason why it should be our concern is that we know they are substituting a real God for fake ones. They are living shallower, less meaningful lives as a result. And that should sadden us that so many of our brothers and sisters aren’t living an authentically joyful life. We are seeing people make bad decisions and engage in a self-destructive lifestyle. Shouldn’t we want the best for everyone?

Choosing the Best

Last Sunday’s Gospel was about the Miracle at Canna which we pray in the Second Luminous Mystery. I think about how the bridegroom’s family served the lesser wine after people had their fill of the good wine. And even the lesser wine ran out until Jesus performed a miracle creating even better wine.

I feel like our world right now is embracing the “lesser wine.” We are choosing cheap substitutes for happiness. We put our faith in corrupt or weak politicians. We find shallow joys in Netflix and NFL football. We find comfort by arguing with “the others” on Twitter. Many of us readily consume this lesser life because it’s easy and immediately gratifying. But it’s not the good stuff. It will run out leaving us ultimately unhappy.

At the wedding at Canna, the best wine came from Jesus. Similarly, he will provide the best life. He provides authentic joy and happiness. We’ll find a connection with a real God, one that is all-loving and cares about each and every one of us. But in order to get the best “wine” in our lives, we need to come to Jesus first and ask for his help. And he will freely give us help, especially if we go first through Our Mother, Mary, through the Rosary.

When you pray the Rosary and meditate on the Second Luminous Mystery, look where you are consuming the lesser “wine” in your life. Where are you putting your faith? Where are you finding joy? Are they the source of true joy and happiness? Challenge yourself to replace these lesser aspects of your life with the best ones that only come through the true God, our Heavenly Father.

God: King of the Very Large and Small

Isn’t it amazing that God chose you to live at this particular time and place? Of all the billions of years the universe has existed, of all the years people have roamed the earth, of all the cultures, you happen to live now. You can read this web page, pray the Rosary, and appreciate the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist. Cosmically speaking, we are in a very small group of people who can do all that. God is the king of both the very big and very small. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He created all that there is and ever will be. But he also humbled himself to become one of us through His son, Jesus Christ.

The Vastness of Space

I once heard an astrophysicist say that when it comes to space and the universe, whatever large size and distance you think objects are, you’re probably 10,000 times off. For example, our Milky Way galaxy is slowly headed on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy. Both galaxies are made up of billions of stars. And yet, when they collide billions of years from now, the chances of two stars colliding are infinitesimally small. And to think that our galaxy is one of the billions of galaxies. It boggles the mind how large our universe is.

In this great vastness are sets of rules and laws that govern everything. God engineered a universe where there are causes and reasons on how everything fits together from massive black holes, to the movement of waves in the sea, to the interaction of subatomic particles. As we discover more about how our universe works, it makes God all that more impressive. He is a creator of such a complex universe and yet everything works in harmony. Nothing happens arbitrarily. To compare, most software developers can’t write more than a few lines of code without introducing a bug or vulnerability. And yet God designed a universe of near-infinite complexity.

The Smallness of Humanity

But God is also the king of the very small, namely us. In this interstellar stew of galaxies, stars, black holes, and nebulas, we exist. And not only do we exist, but we have the gift of knowing God through His son, Jesus Christ. The universe is billions of years old. We hit the galactic bullseye that of all the time and places, we have the honor and privilege of knowing Jesus. For billions of years, the universe was just gasses and rocks in a vast emptiness. Generations of humans went through their existence without being able to experience Jesus.

The Awe of the Transfiguration

When we pray the Fourth Luminous Mystery, The Transfiguration, let’s thank God for giving us the gift of knowing Jesus and his Church. God’s design didn’t need to include Him taking human form. Imagine the great humility that the God who created this vast universe wanted to become human so that we may know him better. And not just “us” in that universal sense, but he wants a special relationship with each one of us individually. The Transfiguration should remind us of just how much of a gift Jesus is to humanity. Put yourself on that hill with Peter and John and marvel at God’s compassion for us.

When you go to Mass, just think of everything that God made happen to put you there in His presence. Of all the billions of years of the universe’s existence, of the trillions of stars spread out millions of light-years, of all the generations of humanity, you can sit in a Catholic church with Jesus through the Eucharist. And like how the laws of physics align to make the universe, God’s design aligns to put you into a church on a specific day celebrating Mass. Take advantage of this remarkable gift.

Establish a Daily Prayer Routine

A new school year is starting. If you know school-age people, hopefully, they are heading back to classrooms. As we start a new term, the principal of my childrens’ school wrote a small article stressing the importance of routine. Students have a much smoother and better experience when they stick to routines regarding how they wake up and get ready for school, how they do their homework, and how they go to sleep. Routines are important if you want a smooth day. One routine that is vitally important is a prayer routine.

My Morning Prayer Routine

My prayer routine involves waking up early before everyone else in the house and praying the Rosary (what did you expect?). This gets my day started on the right foot by making my relationship with God my priority. It centers me and allows God to speak to me through Rosary meditation on what I should focus on during the day. That’s also why praying in a quiet environment is so important. I don’t want God to have to fight through the noise of everyday life, especially my own thoughts which tend to grow louder as the day moves forward.

At some point in the morning, typically with my coffee, I read my Bible. As I said before, I’m reading the Bible in a Year which is a 10-minute read of Old and New Testament readings. I find the Bible so much richer when I read it daily and the books in order. I start to understand the context and narratives of the various books and chapters; something that is lost if you only hear the readings during Sunday Mass.

The simple joy of coffee and Proverbs

After dropping my boys off at school, I like to drop by the church for some silent prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Again, it’s the stillness that’s important. Remember, Jesus is present in the tabernacle. Like the people in the Gospel who flocked to Jesus for teaching and healing, we should flock to Him in the Blessed Sacrament. After all, we believe that Jesus is every bit as present in the Eucharist as he was in the Gospels. I’ll then take a walk in the park listening to audiobooks and, if time allows, I’ll go to the daily Mass.

Look at that routine. Before starting my workday, I have prayed the Rosary, read the Bible, and prayed at church. It’s such a great way to ground myself in my faith and gives me the strength to face whatever challenges come my way. Some of you may read this and think, “wow, that takes up so much time!” But it is time well spent even if I have to make changes to other routines to accommodate it. Morning prayer makes the day more meaningful and joyful because you allow God into your day.

I try to live according to this saying: “Work smarter, not harder.” The smart way to approach your day is to get as much help as you can. Who better to help you throughout the day than God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary, and the saints? They will never be in a bad mood or too busy to help you. But you have to approach them. The earlier the better. That’s why starting your day with prayer is so effective. It acts as a preventative measure so that you don’t get overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

The Rosary

Mediate on the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary and consider Mary’s role as Queen of Heaven. She sits beside her son, Jesus, as our intercessor. She works on our behalf to bring us into God’s grace and find eternal joy in Heaven. She’s there, ready and willing. We just have to ask for her help. And we do that when we consistently pray for her intercession. If you’re having a hard time sticking to a prayer routine, then ask Mary to help you establish one.

Our Heavenly Queen is always a prayer away

Since I talked about the value of praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, mediate on the Fifth Luminous Mystery. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a cornerstone of the Catholic faith. It’s what makes Catholicism special and unique. It’s a gift that Jesus is with us today and not just someone who lived thousands of years ago. Since we have Jesus present with us, make a resolution to visit him by praying in a church, attending Adoration, and going to Mass more regularly.

The Importance of Spiritual Health

There are many different dimensions to every human being. The most obvious is our physical dimension. This is seen by how healthy we are and whether our organs are functioning normally. There’s our cognitive state — how well our brain accepts and processes information. We have an emotional side — the way we cope with different situations. And there is our spiritual state reflected by our relationship with God.

Dealing with illness

An illness of any one of these aspects needs to be addressed. When we’re sick we need to seek proper treatment. If we suffer from emotional issues, we need to get help. Or, if we see someone we care about sick or unhealthy, our love for them prompts us to help them get the treatment they need.

Unfortunately, while many of us take our physical, mental, and emotional health seriously, we too often let our spiritual health deteriorate. When we don’t pray, attend Mass, receive the sacraments, and commit sin, we become spiritually ill. And if we commit a mortal sin, we spiritually die. These spiritual illnesses and deaths are just as serious as any physical illness. And yet, we don’t treat them as such.

There is certainly a pandemic of spiritual illness. We see this in the declining numbers of Mass attendance or the number of people who don’t believe in the core tenents of Catholic teaching like the Real Presence in the Eucharist. I think this spiritual illness is also the cause of general unhappiness and anxiety for many people. God designed us as physical AND spiritual beings. We cannot be fully happy when we live contrary to God’s design. Unfortunately, no amount of leisure or exercise can address the damage inflicted by an unhealthy spiritual lifestyle.

Think about how quickly we jump onto physical health trends or cures to illnesses. People commit themselves to all sorts of diets, supplements, and workouts to stay healthy. Or, if we’re physically sick, we seek a cure to return to normal, often at great cost. We are willing to put in so much time and effort to take care of our physical needs. But many times we don’t prioritize our spiritual needs. How do we get started living a spiritually healthy life? Fortunately, to restore yourself to full spiritual health, all you need is a few minutes with a priest in a confessional.

Miracles all around us

When someone in a state of mortal sin receives the sacrament of reconciliation he is spiritually resurrected from the dead. It is every bit as miraculous as someone physically dead coming back to life (think Lazurus). Or someone with venial sins going to confession is every bit as healed as someone miraculously cured of a physical illness. Just because we don’t see these healings and resurrections with our physical senses doesn’t make them any less real. Day after day, the Holy Spirit is healing and bringing people back to life through the sacrament of confession.

Miracles in the Rosary

Whenever I think about miracles, the Second Luminous Mystery comes to mind. Jesus’ ministry was full of miracles, mostly around curing people of physical illness. Also, people who were lost or steeped in sin came back to life spiritually in their encounters with Jesus. The spiritual healings may not have been as flashy as the physical miracles but were actually more significant. Their eternal souls found new life. When we encounter Jesus in the sacrament of confession, let’s also remember and marvel at the miracle taking place.

The motivation for this article comes from the current discussion over people, particularly politicians, receiving communion in a state of mortal sin. While they may say how important it is for them to receive the Eucharist, they should instead be focused on first receiving the sacrament of reconciliation. As Catholics, we need the benefits of all the sacraments the Church offers, not just the ones that are convenient to us. If those in a state of mortal sin are looking for strength through God’s grace, they first have to desire a spiritual resurrection. When we pray the Fifth Luminous Mystery, let’s ask God to direct those in mortal sin to Confession before receiving Him in the Eucharist.

Sorry for the long delay in new content on RosaryMeds. I was having issues logging into my account and it took me a while to get to the root cause — an update to my computer’s security software was blocking my login attempts. Next time I need to remember to pray to Saint Isidore!

Are We Punishing Ourselves?

Seeking the “Different”

All too often we seek the “different” because it seems more exotic and impressive. Consider weddings. It’s seems no longer good enough to have a ceremony followed by an enjoyable reception. No, you have to find things to make your wedding stand out — lavish locations, over-the-top decorations, exotic animals, and confetti cannons. Or you can’t go on a regular vacation. It needs to be something you can post on Facebook to make your friends envious.

This need to do something different and exotic didn’t start with Facebook and Twitter. It goes back to the Old Testament. In the book of Kings, generations of kings of Israel followed other gods. I think part of their motivation for doing this was that they wanted to be the king that did something new and progressive. Why follow that old-fashioned God who delivered people out of Egypt with his antiquated commandments when you can worship a more modern god like Baal? Because these pagan gods didn’t actually exist, the kings could attribute anything they wanted to them — any rule and practice would be okay in the eyes of the deity of the day.

Rejecting God

Fast forward thousands of years and look at our current situation. It isn’t too different than Israel in the Book of Kings. Governments and groups try to promote everything progressive and reject anything traditional. They want to take what has worked for generations and throw it out to try something new. Like the couple getting married or an Israelite king, they want to be remembered for doing something novel and unique. They don’t want to follow their predecessor, even if what they did worked, because they aren’t making their mark on history. Furthermore, they don’t want to be bounded by the existing rules but make new ones that are more malleable.

Let’s look around at what all these new progressive ideas have brought us as a society. Are we better off having adopted more woke progressivism and rejecting traditional ideas of marriage, stable families, gender, and even logic? Has tearing down time-tested traditions and institutions made us happier? Based on news headlines, I think people are generally less happy now than in previous generations. What’s changed? Do you think the devaluation of spirituality in our lives plays a part?

In the Book of Kings, terrible things happened to the people who rejected God. In some cases, it was due to God’s punishment. But I also think much of the misery came from the people’s rejection of God’s Commandments. If the Israelites rejected God and His commandments against stealing, adultery, murder, lying, etc. do you think they were happier as a result? Does that sound like a society anyone wants to be part of? Are we happier in a world that has rejected many of those same commandments? Seems like God doesn’t need to punish us when we’re doing a great job punishing ourselves.

The Rosary Connection

Let’s look at the Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation in the Temple. When I first started praying the Rosary, I always contemplated the meaning and value of tradition with this mystery. Mary and Joseph presented the baby Jesus in the temple as was tradition. They understood the importance of staying connected to the past as a means of grounding themselves spiritually. They acknowledged the role God plays in all our lives. By presenting Jesus in the temple, Mary and Joseph acknowledged that it was God and His Truth, not human institutions, that would form Jesus.

Fast forward to the Fifth Luminous Mystery — The Institution of the Eucharist. Jesus still observed the Jewish customs such as the Passover. While many claimed that he disregarded the Mosaic law, he explained that he was fulfilling it; bringing the people back to its true meaning. He wanted people to follow God’s commandments, not to be miserable, but to find joy and happiness. He didn’t want people to be blind rule followers, but instead people who treated each other kindly and honored God. If they could do that, they would find greater peace, joy, and happiness than they had ever known. But like the kings of the Old Testament, many people still insisted on doing things their way, not God’s way.

When you think about the sources of unhappiness in your life, ask yourself if they are due to breaking away from God’s plan for you. Are you rejecting God in favor of what is new, hip, and socially acceptable? Are you rejecting teachings that have brought true happiness to millions of people over thousands of years because they seem difficult or irrelevant? Are you happier as a result?

Refusing to See God’s Signs

I continue to read my Bible in a Year every day. I just finished reading the Book of Kings, chapters 18 and 19. These chapters introduce the prophet, Elijah. In this time, the Israelites had once again lost their way and turned to worship other gods such as Baal. Elijah demonstrated the falseness of Baal in a contest of seeing whose sacrifice would be consumed by fire — his or the priests of Baal. After winning that contest in a dramatic fashion, the drought that had been plaguing the land for years ended.



You would think that after all the works of God Elijah demonstrated that the people would have been grateful. But instead, Elijah needed to flee for his life. Instead of being thankful that he called on God to end a drought, they were outraged that he exposed their beliefs in the false god, Baal. Instead of rejoicing in the truth, they hated him for exposing the lies.


I think we are often act similar to those who rejected Elijah even after witnessing the signs. Our desire to appear right often overshadows our willingness to change in light of new information. We hate admitting when we are wrong and would rather be miserable clinging to destructive practices than making an effort to change. In many cases, we choose the behaviors we’re used to instead of making the changes to follow God’s plan.

In the Third Luminous Mystery, Jesus asks us to embrace the Kingdom of Heaven and to convert. Even more than Elijah, Jesus gave us numerous signs and miracles; more than enough reason to put our trust in him and convert from our sinful ways to his ways. And yet, despite the signs, we still sin. We are like the Israelites choosing false gods. We may know that those sins we commit ultimately lead to unhappiness and yet we do them anyway. When we pray the Third Luminous Mystery, we should ask for the courage to truly convert and turn from whatever “false gods” we have in our life whether that be greed, pride, envy, lust, and any other deadly sin.

Part of conversion is having the courage to admit when we are wrong. We have an opportunity to embrace God and turn away from sin whenever we receive the Sacrament of Confession. But like the Israelites, admitting when we’ve acted sinfully is difficult. No one likes to admit they’re wrong which is probably why confessionals sit empty, at least in the United States.

If you’ve been lucky, you’ve heard a priest tell you to go to confession. But that is easier said than done. It’s like telling someone who is out of shape that they just need to eat right, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. It’s not that we don’t know about confession, but many of us don’t have the courage or make it a priority to receive it. That’s where the Rosary comes in. Pray it regularly and ask Mary for the strength to go to confession. Like regular exercise, regular Rosary prayer will build spiritual strength and courage to more fully embrace all that God offers. That includes His grace and His mercy.