Author: Benedict

That Time I Robbed Paul to Pay Peter

That Time I Robbed Paul to Pay Peter

Sometimes the Holy Spirit surprises you.

I walked through the white door of Redeemer Pacific College the first time, going on 15 years ago now, with the slightest tinge of guilt.

At the time, I was a student at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, majoring in biblical studies. A Protestant going to a Protestant school. The course offerings for the coming semester at Trinity were awful. All efforts to get the department to address the problem came to nothing.

And so, finally, I walked the long driveway of Trinity onto the property of Catholic adjunct school Redeemer. The building had recently been a home and still looked like one from the exterior. I entered and went hunting for somebody to talk with about courses for the next semester.

I found teacher Scott McKellar, who later confessed he worried I’d be an absolute terror in class. He nevertheless gamely passed me off to admissions. Either that day or shortly after, I met Redeemer director and founder Tom Hamel.

Redeemer was something unique at the time, and perhaps since. It was a Catholic college attached to an Evangelical Free university. Redeemer was started by Catholic alumni of Trinity with the help and blessing of the Vancouver archdiocese.

Students of Redeemer were students of Trinity. Per the agreement between the two institutions, Trinity allowed any students, Catholic or otherwise, to take their religious classes at Redeemer. Thus my presence there that day to see if I could scratch up a course or two.

I knew enough about Catholicism at the time to make the joke that I was robbing Paul to pay Peter. And I knew enough about history and theology to know the Catholic take on Scripture was defensible — though, I would have added then, wrongheaded.

Yet there’s knowing and then there’s knowing. Growing up a Baptist pastor’s kid in Tacoma, Washington, I just didn’t know many Catholics. I’d read some Catholic literature but didn’t have a Catechism, had never been to Mass though I’d seen one on TV.

Redeemer changed that. Surrounded by actual Catholic students and professors who took the faith seriously, all of my objections melted away.

To McKellar’s great relief, argument turned out to be a very small part of that process.

Mostly, it was experience that did it: Observing my new Martian Catholic friends at play and at prayer, going with them to Mass, and sleeping on a half dozen Catholic couches when 9/11 made commuting from the other side of the border a nightmare all had an effect.

All of that, with a little thunderbolt from above added in, set my life on a different course. A few years after I graduated from Trinity, I became a Catholic.

I mention Redeemer now because school alumni threw an unofficial reunion at the residence of now-retired Tom Hamel the other weekend. Several people inquired: Would I be attending?

This should have been a tough call. After watching the movie Gross Pointe Blank, I adopted a strict policy against ever going to school reunions to avoid drama and hit men.

But this was different. This was family.


7 Days Miracle Prayer for Souls in Purgatory! Have You Lost a Loved One? Then Pray Now

7 Days Miracle Prayer for Souls in Purgatory! Have You Lost a Loved One? Then Pray Now

Seven Days of Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Prayer for Each Day

Preparatory Prayer

My Jesus, by the sorrow You suffered in Your agony in the Garden, in Your scourging and crowing with thorns, in Your journey to Calvary, in Your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken; deliver them from the torments they endure; call them and admit them to Your most sweet embrace in paradise, where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Eternal Rest

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Concluding Prayer

Merciful Father, hear our prayers and console us. As we renew our faith in Your Son, whom You raised from the dead, strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in His resurrection, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in the Garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which is the most forsaken of all, and bring it into Your glory, where it may praise and bless You for ever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Your glory, that it may soon begin to praise You and bless You for ever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers, in order that it may not long be delayed in praising You and Your glory and blessing You for ever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem while He carried on His sacred shoulders the heavy burden of the Cross, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that one which is the richest in merits in Your sight, so that, having soon attained the high price in glory to which it is destined, it may praise You triumphantly and bless You forever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Body and Blood, Your divine Son Jesus, which He Himself on the night before His Passion gave as meat and drink to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed to His Holy Church to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life-giving nourishment of His faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, but most of all, that soul which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, in order that it may praise You therefore, together with Your divine Son and the Holy Spirit in Your glory for ever. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Jesus Your divine Son did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross, especially from His sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound to pray, in order that I may not be the cause which hinders You from admitting it quickly to the possession of Your glory where it may praise You and bless You for evermore. Amen.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which gushed forth from the sacred Side of Your divine Son Jesus in the presence and to the great sorrow of His most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory and among them all especially that soul which has been most devout to this noble Lady, that it may come quickly into Your glory, there to praise You in her, and her in You through all ages. Amen.


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Pope Francis “Worksheet” for Lent: You Have To Check it out!

Pope Francis “Worksheet” for Lent: You Have To Check it out!

Using the key words “pause, see, and return,” pontiff recommends some concrete resolutions
Need some direction for your Lenten resolutions? Pope Francis is offering it in three words: Pause, See and Return.

Here is his homily from today’s Mass with the imposition of ashes:


The season of Lent is a favourable time to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life and to receive the ever new, joyful and hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover. The Church in her maternal wisdom invites us to pay special attention to anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart.

We are subject to numerous temptations. Each of us knows the difficulties we have to face. And it is sad to note that, when faced with the ever-varying circumstances of our daily lives, there are voices raised that take advantage of pain and uncertainty; the only thing they aim to do is sow distrust. If the fruit of faith is charity – as Mother Teresa often used to say – then the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation. Distrust, apathy and resignation: these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people.

Lent is the ideal time to unmask these and other temptations, to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus. The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pause, see and return.

Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere. Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the “noticeboard” that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection.

Pause for a little while, refrain from haughty looks, from fleeting and pejorative comments that arise from forgetting tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the urge to want to control everything, know everything, destroy everything; this comes from overlooking gratitude for the gift of life and all the good we receive.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the deafening noise that weakens and confuses our hearing, that makes us forget the fruitful and creative power of silence.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the attitude which promotes sterile and unproductive thoughts that arise from isolation and self-pity, and that cause us to forget going out to encounter others to share their burdens and suffering.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the emptiness of everything that is instantaneous, momentary and fleeting, that deprives us of our roots, our ties, of the value of continuity and the awareness of our ongoing journey.

Pause in order to look and contemplate!

See the gestures that prevent the extinguishing of charity, that keep the flame of faith and hope alive. Look at faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst.

See the face of our families who continue striving, day by day, with great effort, in order to move forward in life, and who, despite many concerns and much hardship, are committed to making their homes a school of love.

See the faces of our children and young people filled with yearning for the future and hope, filled with “tomorrows” and opportunities that demand dedication and protection. Living shoots of love and life that always open up a path in the midst of our selfish and meagre calculations.

See our elderly whose faces are marked by the passage of time, faces that reveal the living memory of our people. Faces that reflect God’s wisdom at work.

See the faces of our sick people and the many who take care of them; faces which in their vulnerability and service remind us that the value of each person can never be reduced to a question of calculation or utility.

See the remorseful faces of so many who try to repair their errors and mistakes, and who from their misfortune and suffering fight to transform their situations and move forward.

See and contemplate the face of Crucified Love, who today from the cross continues to bring us hope, his hand held out to those who feel crucified, who experience in their lives the burden of failure, disappointment and heartbreak.

See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception. For everyone? Yes, for everyone. To see his face is an invitation filled with hope for this Lenten time, in order to defeat the demons of distrust, apathy and resignation. The face that invites us to cry out: “The Kingdom of God is possible!”

Pause, see and return. Return to the house of your Father. Return without fear to those outstretched, eager arms of your Father, who is rich in mercy (cf. Eph 2:4), who awaits you.

Return without fear, for this is the favourable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father (cf. Jn 20:17). It is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched… Persisting on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness. True life is something quite distinct and our heart indeed knows this. God does not tire, nor will he tire, of holding out his hand (cf. Misericordiae Vultus, 19).

Return without fear, to join in the celebration of those who are forgiven.

Return without fear, to experience the healing and reconciling tenderness of God. Let the Lord heal the wounds of sin and fulfil the prophecy made to our fathers: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek 36: 26).

Pause, see and return!

3 Powerful Devotions For Fridays During Lent – Every Catholic Should Know These

3 Powerful Devotions For Fridays During Lent – Every Catholic Should Know These

Lent is a time when Christians meditate upon the Passion and death of Jesus Christ who died on the Cross at Calvary for the Salvation of mankind.

Jesus died at 3:00pm on Good Friday so every Friday of Lent should remind us of the death of Jesus Christ especially at 3:00pm.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church spells out plainly, “the Church has never forgotten that ‘sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured’ … the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus.” This reality is not meant to drive us into depression, but to help us acknowledge the pain our sins cause the One whom our hearts desire.

Over the centuries various devotions were developed to highlight this fact and to arouse within the faithful a deep sense of sorrow for sin. Lent is a time to “repent and believe in the Gospel” and meditating on Jesus’ passion is one way to awaken us from our spiritual slumber and turn us toward God.

Here are three powerful devotions from the Raccolata that can help in that regard and are most appropriate during the Fridays of Lent.

Kneel down at 3:00 to pray 5 Our Fathers and 5 Hail Marys

In a local Church council held by St. Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan, it was decreed that the church bell should ring every Friday at 3:00, to remind the faithful of the Passion of Jesus Christ at that hour. This devotion was very popular and Pope Benedict XIV extended the practice to the universal Church. He declared in 1740 that all churches should ring the bells of their churches every Friday at 3:00. He also invited the faithful to kneel down and say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys in memory of the Passion and agony of Jesus Christ, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father and the conversion of sinners.

Meditate for 3 hours on the Passion of Christ

In recognition of Jesus’ love for humanity and his intense suffering for three hours on the cross, a priest from Lima, Peru, Father Alphonsus Messia, developed a particular devotion in the 18th century. It consists of devotional exercise on Good Friday or any other Friday, where a person meditates according to their abilities on the sufferings of Jesus Christ during the three hours he hung on the cross. The exercise begins at 12:00 noon and ends at 3:00. A person may meditate on any aspect of the Passion, such as the last seven phrases of Christ or his sacred wounds, using a spiritual book or biblical commentary or led by a priest.

Pray this prayer of St. Pius V

O my Lord Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, open Thy ears, and listen to me as Thou didst listen to Thy eternal Father upon Mount Tabor.

O my Lord Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, open Thine eyes, and look upon me as Thou didst look from the tree of the Cross upon Thy dear Mother sorrowing and afflicted.

O my Lord Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, open Thy blessed mouth, and speak as Thou didst speak to St. John when Thou gavest him for son to Thine own most beloved Mother.

O my Lord Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, open Thine arms, and embrace me as Thou didst open them upon the Cross to embrace the whole human race.

O my Lord Jesus Christ crucified, Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, open Thy Heart, and receive therein my heart, and hear me in all that I ask of Thee, if so be it be agreeable to Thy most holy will.


I will add a fourth and very important devotion which every Catholic should practice at 3:00pm every Friday of Lent and it is simply “The 3:00 0’clock prayer at the hour of Mercy”.

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You

The above prayer should be prayed daily at 3:00pm but especially on Fridays during can also add the Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer.