Ad Jesum per Mariam

Ad Jesum per Mariam
...if you genuinely wish to reach a high level of prayer in all honesty and without falling into the traps that the devil sets for those who pray, SAY your Rosary everyday... St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spiritual Warfare : My Spiritual Battles Against Lust and of All Temptations

When I saw these words from the diary of the Apostle of Divine Mercy St. Faustina Kowalska, it came to a point that I wrote it on the back pages of my 2012 book planner. I wrote it down so that I will always feel to review it, and besides, I feel that I am really the one who wrote it part. But the last photos deal with sins (Not from the diary. I am reviewing it and studying it as of now how to find "cure" and on how to fight and conquer these sins.) and the very last photo is an addition, of and from the virtues of Mama Mary according to the teachings of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, in his classical book, True Devotion to Mary and the pious practices that the Confraternity of Mary, Queen of All Hearts   (which is now renamed Statuary Group of Mary, Queen of All Hearts. Although I'm not a member of this and actually inquired about it because I'm interested to join but I was not able to, I am blessed to be a member of another Marian ancient confraternity, the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.) highly recommends to its members especially these prayers are conformable to the spirit of the Confraternity. I am sorry for my hand-writing. Patience, my dear reader, patience. :) Smile! :) I may say that these meditative lines from the Diary can help a person to fight all temptations. As of now, I remain my article here. 

It is by battle against hell and by resistance to temptations that we give God fruits of our love. St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests, experienced many troublesome temptations and even physical attacks from the devil.

Let us all be vigilant in fighting temptations! May these help you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To Have Good Confession (Good Confession)

It is important to confess one's own sins to the priests but some of the penitents do not know what are the important dispositions to make and to take before making a confession. Are you one of those "some"?

My comrade, kindly consider some of the dispositions that a penitent must undergo before making a confession.

First, the penitent should start with a prayer before examining his/her conscience. This is an important element that should be considered first. The penitent is seeking and pleading light from God to know how he/she is helpless in his/her state of being in darkness of sin and ignorance and, this is to show that the penitent cannot really help him/herself in admitting his/her own faults but totally depends on the help of the merciful God who felt the hurt of his/her sins committed against Him.

Here are the prayers you may consider in your preparation and before the sacramental confession(kindly take note that the prayers differ from each other. The first is a preparation prayer meaning, you are taking down (in writing as much as possible so that you will not forget the sins you will confess and to save the time of the priest, and will help you to have a clean and good confession. I personally write all my sins to a piece of paper and, after my confession, I tear the paper to bits), by the help of God, the sins that you had committed before your examination of conscience while the other one is prayed before meeting the priest or prayed before you enter the confessional or, prayed before the priest (but first, as much as possible, try to pray before meeting the priest. In my opinion, it is, I think, the priest will start exclaiming prayers for you before the confession but consider that it is the priest's introductory prayers and are different from your own which (I lovely hope) came from a penitent heart.).

Second, the interior dispositions of the penitent must be present before, during and after the sacramental confession. The penitent must be truly humble and repentant, making him/herself little before God whom he/she had injured by sins, truly blaming him/herself for one's sins he/she had committed. And this is accompanied by a child-like, unshakable trust in God, solid faith, high hope, real love, and full confidence that he/she will receive pardon from the offenses that he/she had committed against this ever merciful God.

Third, the penitent must do penance given by the priest-confessor (and/or, if you are really moved, one may consider a self-destruction in addition to the penance received such as a consumption of just a one full meal for one day, less water intake or if you love, flagellation by a leather belt, wearing an itchy or uncomfortable shirt and/or dress, etc.).

Fourth, the last but not the least, the penitent must strive not to commit those sins again (all mortal sins) and strive greatly not to commit those venial sins again. Mortal sins are serious sins committed with full knowledge or consent or awareness or knew before hand (or even not) that such sins are declared by the Church as mortal sins (like pornography, masturbation, abortion, murder, stealing, etc.) while venial sins are sins committed with not so much knowledge or not knowing its gravity or less grave and do not totally separate a person from God but affects  negatively the relationship between God and the person (like "white" lies (I do not honor a lie regardless of the given color), cheating in quizzes of 5 items (a child exam perhaps?), etc.). Amending his/her ways, not to hurt God as much as greatly as possible.
Here is the Act of Contrition. And I will show you my own copy (that I bring along while in the sacramental confession) of it because I must confess to you, as of now, that I do not yet memorized this prayer. How sad. Pity me.

Let us proceed to the guides that will help us to better examine our conscience. These is one of my "sin reference" but if many of my sins are not listed here, I will try my best to dig it in the deepest part of my conscience so that all must be confessed. Please forgive me that I do not take time typing these here and just posted it as photos and some of the lines were being doubled on the shots. Kindly take patience. Thank you.

 These photos contain the important (very,very,very) important facts we must consider. Again, we must.

 The other reference. It came from a little book of 1930's, "My Daily Missal", The other one is not posted here because I gave it away but you can buy it at all St Pauls Outlets. It is a gray folded pamphlet titled, "How To Make A Good Confession" (I do not know exactly the title) and its price is less than 25 cents. Please just ask the people of St Pauls for more infos. They will not bite you.

Here are some of the elements that is present in the confession (as I remember. But you can take pauses, especially if you are crying.)
Make the Sing of the Cross at the start of the confession ( follow the priest please.).

Begin with, "Father, my last good confession was on (state here when was your previous confession, it is not necessary if you do not remember the exact date. Just say like last month, last two months and so on) .... And since then, I have committed the following sins....

Now, confess first the most embarrassing and mortal sins (if you've committed) and go on until you went on to the lesser sins by saying the gravity of the sins and how frequent you do these sins like this that I do (I'm pertaining to the pattern on how I write it in the paper).

-I hurt my cat badly and mercilessly for sometime. ("badly and mercilessly" are the gravity factors of the sin other than hurting the cat and "for sometime" indicates the frequency of the sin committed. Question - is it okay to ignore these elements? Answer - As long as you learned these, It is up to you if you will follow your conscience who is pushing you to consider these considerable elements and so essential if you love to have a good confession. Besides, an exorcist of the Diocese of Cubao, Fr. Michell Joe "Jojo" B. Zerrudo said to me that next time, I should say how frequent are my sins. (when he heard my confession and knows that I still lack elements for a good confession).
-I lied for so many time.
-I always teased my baby sister.
-I became lazy for a time.
-I didn't respond to my household chores for sometime.... And so on....

And after the "litany of your sins", say this that I'm saying (but you can do or make your own.)

And the priest will continue to the formula of the absolution and so on....
Then, take the advices or the sermons of the priest for you (do not worry, priest won't bite you, ever!)
Then, receive the blessing He will give and join the priest in saying the "Amen".

May we all have a very good confession!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spiritual Warfare (Part 4) : Lesser Forms of "Godlessness"

Becoming a religious is the greatest direction of life of the early Catholics.
When the Kingdom of God was announced victoriously for almost 2,000 years ago, and the fresh birth of the children of God was aflame by a burning desire in their own hearts to proclaim to all nations that "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand", the baptized Christians were battled by the devil  and his minions and his instrument to destroy the growth of the Church and the proclamation of the promised salvation and eternal life. The instrument that Satan used was the Roman Empire who were living in the darkness of paganism or animism. 

The Roman Empire then was a nation or a state that had so many gods. Polytheism was the reigning belief then. And on the coming of the Christians, they stand solidly in evangelizing the pagans that there is only One living God, and those gods that the Romans worship then in particular were not really gods at all. At this, the Romans became furious, for such proclamation were ultimately against the living law of the Roman Empire - gods must be served by rightful ceremonies, rites, rituals, offerings, sacrifices in accordance with the law, there are proper ways to deal with these gods, based on their observation on how to "control" these gods and be favorable to the Romans appeals or wishes.

So the Christians were considered as criminals, deserved to be put to death, and now bloody persecutions began.

But the killing of thousands of Christians didn't help to stop the spreading of the Christian Faith. 
How so?

Because the killing of the Christians, the living, strong and solid faith of Christians facing persecution even unto death, the martyrs who endured the cruel persecutions with  indescribable patience and faith in God and His words, the love and hopes that lives in the Christians hearts and always seen in their works or deeds in the Christian community and to the Gentiles, the victory of the God of Christians over "gods" or demons, were flourished altogether. And on these main reasons, the many exorcisms done by Christians was one of the factors that, the Romans believed when they saw then how the God of the Christians subdued and rebuked those demons that the Romans worshiped as "gods", and, how the Holy Name of Christ drove out all those evil spirits who were pretending and hiding themselves in the form of "gods".

The Roman Empire were now truly convinced to the authenticity and the Power of the God of Christians over their "gods", and after seeing these marvels of Christians, Romans received the Catholic Faith and established it as the official religion of the state. Catholicism quickly spread to the neighboring lands of the Roman Empire.

By that time, becoming a religious is the greatest direction of life, so Catholicism is full of grace of women and men then, and the "fashion" of themselves was to become a monk, an hermit, a nun, a religious sister, a religious brother who prepared themselves to serve God and to win souls for Him. The "popular modes" then was going to a deserted place somewhere or being in a community (monastery or convent) enjoying and living in solitude, silence, being in the presence of God and the focus is almost God alone, fighting the temptations of the devil and fighting him head-on, destroying his holds on the people of God and so on.

I think that they must be envied by us modern people of these modern times. How greatly different they are to us! I pity myself. Let me show you why.

In these modern times we see how people live nowadays, all bodies are so abundantly enjoying the deliciousness of the inventions of man and its fruits which the purpose is to develop and give easy and comfort to man's needs (and too many wants) in its day-to-day living. Now, God is mostly, mostly forgotten by billions of people because these material things' brings so much delicious comfort and are so swift on attending people's needs (and so many wants) rather than prayers to God. We are greatly surrounded by these things that always and always catches our attentions. So in addition to this, these inventions or things, as I typed, are so great in number that we focus only to these material things. Wherever a person goes elsewhere, there is always things that gives him/her comfort and entertainment (like from televisions, radios, air-conditioner, electric fan, cellphones, computers, laptops, iphones, ipads, etc.). These worldly material things are now Satan's instruments to keep us away from God and His presence in us, little by little we end up to these and after that we plunge ourselves to be completely unrelated to God. These may serve as doorways of the devil and his demons to us, in the form of these things that brings lesser form of "Godlessness".

Of course, it is super easy to listen to always available music on the music player (like ipods) rather than spend a 30-minute silence in prayer and or, reciting the Holy Rosary of five decades and or, reading spiritual books and or, studying catechism and or, reading the Holy Bible prayerfully and or, attending to one's own pious practices and devotions, etc.
It is so easy to click on the television button or having a remote control(er) just in hand for so many fancy channels offering so many shows.
It is so easy to relax in a comfortable bed while the head of the electric fan is just 12-inch away from your head giving you fresh air (one of the roots of laziness?).
It is so easy to on your hi-tech music players while eyes closed, waiting for the crows to become swans.
It is so easy to use the Internet and open so many windows as you like, bringing so many virtual realities: games, videos, movies, etc. Of course, Internet is a doorway to another world, the virtual world, full of infinite excitements and fun!
And many more...

Now the presence of God on the person will vanish little by little because the heart and mind of the person were so much so occupied by these material things. How the holy people of old were so always recollected! They were the people who "walked their feet on earth but their hearts were always in heaven."

Let us all strive to become SAINTS!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spiritual Warfare (Part 2) : Paganism And Superstition Were So Intact To Us

May I present to you some of the reasons why paganism in the Philippines is still existing, and is still strongly alive.

There are people who make themselves "wise" to the things that especially pertains to the world of the spirits or it can also known as, in Catholic literature, the world that is invisible. Those "wise and knowledgeable" people do not even know if those things they are sharing to others were true, or they do not even know if it is not true, and much worse, if those things exist at all, or not.

It can be said that these people where always and always driven by pride that they go and share to the world
and stand up as true witnesses on what they "know" about the existence of such reality, but actually they do not know, or even if they know something  about such reality of its existence, they knew just a bit of it, and most badly, they make-up these by their own stories that were not true at all.

So now we have different versions from different places, different beliefs, different opinions that were so much so contrary to the Catholic Faith. It can be said that it is a culture that can never be forgotten or be thrown away, or they did not ever received a proper or right catechesis about such topics or realities, or, even if they received catechesis, they will be hard-headed people as ever, continues to mix these practices came from both the Catholic Faith and the paganism and superstition.

Catholic Faith has its own mysteries and explained by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and pagan culture and New Age Movement also has its own mysteries but the difference is these - while Catholic
Faith's mysteries were certainly, surely, or cannot be changed once all of these mysteries were declared as truths, paganism and New Age Movement's mysteries were living in false freedom of their own, depends on people or group of people who are in it, no problems when it comes to authority, the teachings can be changed, added, and/or subtracted.

Now these witnesses who were sharing these stories telling on what they saw, heard, and felt were saying the truth but these truths were just based on the context on the phenomena of what have just they saw, heard, and felt and these were not addressed on the only authority who knows on dealing and answering such phenomena or occurrences, the Catholic Church. That is why some phenomena and occurrences were not "cross-examined" by the authority were now receiving approval to a vast audience as truths even if it were not truths at all.

On these situations were spiritual phenomena or occurrences were sighted, heard, felt or recorded, the Catholic Church must and only the consultant of all, who will examine and give explanation or answer to such phenomena, because She, the Church, has the Fullness of the Truth of God, nothing more, nothing less.

And sadly, the worst of all, many people of our times are so ignorant because they believe quickly on a given account not telling themselves if it is true or not. This is one of the many weaknesses we inherited after the Fall of our first parents. We people were so easy to believe to the "truths" of men - not realizing if it is really true or not, but if men or women of God is speaking or telling the truths or Divine Revelations to us, we are so hard to get on believing.