Author: Benedict

12 Deathbed Regrets You Still Have Time And Should Avoid

12 Deathbed Regrets You Still Have Time And Should Avoid

Use these as inspiration to make changes in your life while you can.

No one says on his or her deathbed, “Oh, if only I had spent more time at work!” Regret comes in relation to “what I did and what I did not do” throughout one’s life.

A Dominican friar from Colombia, Fr. Nelson Medina, OP, has assembled a list of the most common regrets he’s heard expressed by people he has accompanied at the end of their lives.

Why not use this list as an opportunity to do some soul-searching and commit to living a little differently? Then, all you have to do is pray and ask for the grace to live in this way so you can avoid having any of these regrets at the hour of your own death.

In this gallery of images, you will find the most common regrets heard on people’s deathbeds.

1. For the times I gave a bad example and people followed it.

2. For my indifference to the suffering of my neighbour.

3. For not offering words of praise, recognition, and encouragement to those who deserved and needed them.

4. For quickly taking credit for my successes, but blaming the circumstances for my failures.

5. For not respecting the innocence of a person, or for hindering the dreams of another.

6. For having spent money on things I did not need and never used.

7. For the times I took too long to forgive others and didn’t make a big enough effort to do it faster.

8. For taking advantage of those who loved me, simply for selfish motives.

9. For not guiding well those whom I should have educated better before it was too late

10. For not visiting or spending more time with my neighbour, because I didn’t find him sufficiently interesting, educated, or useful.

11. For wasting so much time on useless things — time which is lost forever

12. For enjoying flattery, even when I knew it was false.

13. For complaining more often than I gave thanks.

14. For the coarse, vulgar, or rude words that came out of my mouth.

15. For participating in conversations that mocked God, the Faith, or the Church.

16. For the many times I ran from the cross.

17. For the promises, I didn’t fulfil.

18. For the moments I could’ve and should’ve prayed more and, above all, loved more.

19. For ignoring Jesus.

20. For hurting my neighbour in one way or another.

21. For not loving enough – because I should’ve loved God and my neighbour much more

Do You Know These 4 Saints of Impossible Causes?

Do You Know These 4 Saints of Impossible Causes?

There are instances in every person’s life when it seems that a problem is insurmountable or a cross is unbearable. In these cases, pray to the patron saints of impossible causes: St. Rita of Cascia, St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Philomena and St. Gregory of Neocaesarea.

Read their life stories below.

These 4 saints are known especially for their prowess in interceding for impossible, hopeless, and lost causes.

1. ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in Roccaporena, Italy. She lived a very difficult life on earth, but she never let it destroy her faith.

Although she had a deep wish to enter religious life, her parents arranged her marriage at a young age to a cruel and unfaithful man. Because of Rita’s prayers, he finally experienced a conversion after almost 20 years of unhappy marriage, only to be murdered by an enemy soon after his conversion. Her two sons became ill and died following their father’s death, leaving Rita without family.

She hoped again to enter the religious life, but was denied entrance to the Augustinian convent many times before finally being accepted. Upon entry, Rita was asked to tend to a dead piece of vine as an act of obedience. She watered the stick obediently, and it inexplicably yielded grapes. The plant still grows at the convent, and its leaves are distributed to those seeking miraculous healing.St. Rita statue

For the rest of her life until her death in 1457, Rita experienced illness and an ugly, open wound on her forehead that repulsed those around her. Like the other calamities in her life, she accepted this situation with grace, viewing her wound as a physical participation in Jesus’ suffering from His crown of thorns.

Although her life was filled with seemingly impossible circumstances and causes for despair, St. Rita never lost her faith weakened in her resolve to love God.

Her feast day is May 22. Countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession.

2. ST. JUDE THADDEUS

Not much is known of St. Jude‘s life, although he is perhaps the most popular patron of impossible causes.

St. Jude was one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles and preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. He is believed to have been martyred for his faith while preaching to pagans in Persia.

He is often depicted with a flame above his head, representing his presence at Pentecost, a medallion with an image of Christ’St. Jude statues face around his neck, symbolizing his relationship with the Lord, and a staff, indicative of his role in leading people to the Truth.

He is the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, urges Christians to persevere in difficult times. Also, St. Bridget of Sweden was directed by Our Lord to turn to St. Jude with great faith and confidence. In a vision, Christ told St. Bridget, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” He is the patron of the impossible because Our Lord identified him as a saint ready and willing to assist us in our trials.

His feast day is October 28, and novenas are often prayed for his intercession.

3. ST. PHILOMENA

St. Philomena, whose name means “Daughter of Light,” is one of the earliest known Christian martyrs. Her tomb was discovered in ancient Roman catacombs in 1802.

Very little is known of her life on earth, except that she died a martyr for her faith at the young age of 13 or 14. Of noble birth with Christian convert parents, Philomena dedicated her virginity to Christ. When she refused to marry the Emperor Diocletian, she was cruelly tortured in many ways for over a month. She was scourged, thrown into a river with an anchor around her neck, and shot through with arrows. Miraculously surviving all these attempts on her life, she was finally beheaded. Despite the tortures, she did not waver in her love for Christ and her vow to Him. The miracles attributed to her intercession St. Philomena statuewere so numerous that she was canonized based solely on these miracles and her death as a martyr. She became known as “The Wonder Worker.”

She is represented by a lily for purity, a crown and arrows for martyrdom, and an anchor. The anchor, found inscribed on her tomb, one of her instruments of torture, was a popular early Christian symbol of hope.

Her feast day is celebrated on August 11th. Besides impossible causes, she is also the patroness of babies, orphans, and youth.

4. ST. GREGORY OF THAUMATURGUS

St. Gregory Neocaesarea, also known as St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (the Wonderworker) was born in Asia Minor around the year 213. Although raised as a pagan, at age 14 he was deeply influenced by a good teacher, and thus converted to Christianity with his brother. At the age of 40 he became a bishop in Caesarea, and served the Church in this role until his death 30 years later. According to ancient records, there were only 17 Christians in Caesarea when he first became a bishop. Many people were converted by his words and by his miracles which showed that the power of God was with him. When he died, there were only 17 pagans left in all of Caesarea.

According to St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (the Wonderworker) is comparable to Moses, the prophets, and the Twelve Apostles. St. Gregory of Nyssa says Gregory Thaumaturgus experienced a vision of Our Lady, one of the first such recorded visions.

St. Gregory of Neocaesarea’s feast day is November 17th.

These 4 saints are known especially for their prowess in interceding for impossible, hopeless, and lost causes.

God often permits trials in our lives so that we can learn to rely only on Him. To encourage our love for His saints and to give us holy models of heroic virtue who persevered through suffering, He also permits prayers to be answered through their intercession.

If any of these 4 saints of impossible causes have been powerful intercessors for difficult circumstances in your own life, please comment below with your story.

 

Source: catholiccompany.com

St. John Paul II Said This Was The Happiest Day of His Life. Here’s why

St. John Paul II Said This Was The Happiest Day of His Life. Here’s why

The happiest day of St. John Paul II’s life according to him was the day he canonized St. Faustina, a nun from his homeland; Poland.

St. Faustina was born Helena Kowalska to a poor but devout Polish family in 1905. At the age of 20, with very little education, and having been rejected from several other convents because of her poverty and lack of education, Helen entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. There, she took the name Sr. Faustina and spent time in convents in both Poland and Lithuania.

Throughout her life, Faustina reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, of which she wrote in her diary, later published as The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Jesus also asked Sr. Faustina to have an image painted of his Divine Mercy, with red and white rays issuing from his heart, and to spread devotion to the Divine Mercy novena.

The devotion to Divine Mercy began to spread throughout Poland, even before her death on October 5, 1938.

Although Sr. Faustina’s life overlapped with John Paul II (then Karol Wojtyla) for several years in Poland, the knowledge of St. Faustina and the revelations bestowed on her coming from Jesus became known to Pope John Paul II early in 1940. It was at the time when he was studying for the priesthood secretly, in a seminary in Krakow during World War II.

The Vatican placed a ban on spreading the devotion in the 1950s, due to an inaccurate Italian translation of the Diary of Divine Mercy and other unresolved issues, which was lifted just six months before Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II.

On the first Sunday of Advent, November 30, 1980, Pope John Paul published his second encyclical “Rich in Mercy” (Dives in Misericordia) in dedication to Divine Mercy.

Throughout his papacy, John Paul II often write or speak about the necessity of pleading for God’s Divine Mercy for the whole world. On April 19, 1993, he beatified Sr. Faustina, and in his homily he praised the way she drew many people to the merciful heart of Christ.

He said:

“It is truly marvelous how her devotion to the merciful Jesus is spreading in our contemporary world and gaining so many human hearts! This is doubtlessly a sign of the times — a sign of our twentieth century. The balance of this century, which is now ending, in addition to the advances which have often surpassed those of preceding eras, presents a deep restlessness and fear of the future. Where, if not in the Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope? Believers understand that perfectly”

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina in what he was widely reported as saying was “the happiest day of my life.”

In his homily on the day of canonization, Pope John II said: “Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.”

It was also on this day, the Sunday after Easter, that Pope John Paul II instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, which Jesus had asked for in his messages to Sr. Faustina.

Special graces (similar to indulgence) are granted to souls on this day who receive sacramental confession and communion. Jesus promised that souls who fulfilled these requirements on this day would be returned to their pure, baptismal state, among other graces.

Jesus said to Sr. Faustina of this feast:

“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” (Diary 699)

8 Questions Non-Catholics Almost Always Ask When They Attend Mass

8 Questions Non-Catholics Almost Always Ask When They Attend Mass


Whether it’s non-Catholics who attend Mass with their Catholic significant others or folks who are inquiring about the faith; if you weren’t brought up with Mass, your first (and second and third…) time can be very confusing—making people feel like they’re, “in on a secret that I’m not in on.” Here are some answers to some of the really excellent, frequently asked questions that newbies bring with them.

1. What’s with all of the sitting, standing and kneeling?

We call it “Catholic Aerobics.” It’s how we stay fit. Just kidding! Each posture during Mass has function and meaning. When we sit, we are engaged in active listening, giving our attention to the readings, the homily and some of the prayers. We stand for a couple of reasons—to listen to the Gospel (we sit for the other Bible readings) to acknowledge that we are in the presence of Christ. The Gospel is the Word of God speaking to us in the present. We hear stories about Jesus and the words that He spoke and so we stand in honor of this. Sometimes our standing together shows our unity in prayer (like when we pray the Creed or the General Intercessions) as the Body of Christ, and we stand together as a community preparing to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist (see #4). Kneeling is a penitential/reverential posture. We acknowledge our sinfulness and need for God’s healing, so we kneel in God’s Presence (mostly while the prayers regarding the Eucharist are being prayed) asking for that healing.

2. What’s that squiggly motion everybody does in front of their faces before the Gospel is read?

his is one of my favorites—particularly because when I tell those who are seeking to convert what this one is all about, I tell them to go home and quiz their Catholics and they almost never know the answer. Before the Gospel is read, when the community stands together to listen, we make the sign of the cross (usually with a thumb) on our foreheads, our lips and our hearts signifying that we are asking God to always keep the Gospel on our minds, on our lips and in our hearts. If we keep the Gospel in these three places, all our thoughts, words and desires will be in line with Jesus. It’s a physical reminder to us that we need to not just hear the Gospel, but to live the Gospel every day of our lives. Many, many Catholics don’t know this, and they just make a crazy squiggle in their general head and torso area. They have a good laugh and are happy to learn why they’ve been doing that their whole lives when it’s explained to them by the Catechumens that they love (and now know more about Catholic practice than they do).

3. How does everyone seem to know what’s going on and what to expect?

This is one of the best things about Catholic Mass. They way we do it in America is the same way they do it everywhere in the world. And the way we do it today is pretty much the way it’s been done since the 1st Century. That’s a long time to get to know how to do something. From the prayers that we say to the Scripture readings that are read, to the postures and responses that we participate in—it’s all mapped out; and it’s all uniform in every language. This is awesome because, if you’re familiar with it, you can just sink in, let go of whatever was weighing you down on your way in, and let the ritual happen. There is a flow, a beauty and a comfort to the routine. Built in to the routine is a cycle of Scripture readings that change weekly (but we know what’s coming), songs that change weekly, a homily that should change according to the Gospel and some of the prayers (I’m thinking General Intercessions, here) that change weekly. So, it’s never exactly the same, but always the same format. It gets easier as you go along. Also, most parishes have a missallette in the pews that have the whole order of the Mass in it that you can follow along with. Many parishes use Breaking Bread missalettes—if that’s the one in your parish, look for the pages with the gray tips and follow along there.

4. What is the wafer you all are receiving, and can I get one, too?

The Source and Summit of everything we do as Catholics is the Eucharist, aka: Holy Communion. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” We take this very literally. At the Last Supper Jesus took bread and wine, blessed them and said, “This is my body” “This is my blood” and “Do this in memory of me.” ( Luke 22) We take this, with the Gospel of John very literally, too. Jesus’ Sacrifice for us on the Cross is what we celebrate at Mass. He made that Sacrifice once and for all, but told us to participate in it, too. Our celebration of this Sacrifice isn’t a new one; it brings the one and only Sacrifice into the present. The hosts and wine change from those elements to His True Presence—to the Body and Blood of Christ. It’s not a symbol for us. It’s a reality. And so, we ask that only those who are united with us in that belief through the Catholic Church participate in receiving Communion.

5. Why do Catholics start their prayers with the sign of the Cross?

This practice tends to be particularly uncomfortable and challenging for Protestants who are joining Catholics for worship (or joining the Catholic Church). As Catholics, there are a couple of reasons that we begin all our prayer “In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” while making the sign of the Cross on our body. First of all, we are calling on the whole Being of God—the Trinity. We are reminded that when we pray, even if we single out one of the members of the Trinity (like praying specifically to Jesus or the Father), we are always engaging a whole God. All Three are always present, all three make up the One God. The other part of this is the act of making the sign of the cross on ourselves. We do this as a reminder that while we are addressing the Trinity in our prayer, we come to God in humility; understanding that we are only saved by the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the Cross. Our whole relationship with God begins and ends with this selfless act of Jesus, and we are called to imitate the love He has for us, by making sacrifices for others. We communicate with God in the hope of becoming more like God; which means that we have to be as selfless as we can be—like Jesus.

6. Why does everyone dip their fingers in the water when they come into Church?

The water in either the Baptismal font or the little fonts fastened to the walls of the entry of the Church is holy water. When we enter the Church, we dip our fingers in the water and make the sign of the cross on our ourselves to recall our Baptism. It is through Baptism that we enter the Church (as Christians) and it is through Baptism that we receive our identity as adopted children of God, and we receive our initial call by God to live differently. We enter our celebration of Mass with this ritual to remind ourselves that we are children of God, in God’s house, sharing the most special meal that God offers us with God’s other children. We say that the Church is the “body of Christ,” and this water reminds us that our parish family and our worldwide family of believers all make up that body. We belong to each other, are responsible to one another and are called to share our faith and our lives with one another. And we are all united and have our sin forgiven through this one Baptism.

7. Why does everyone go down on one knee before sitting down when they first come in?

This is another one of those things that a lot of Catholics don’t know, so I love sharing it. When we enter the Church, after remembering who we are in Baptism, we remember what brings us there—the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. There is a receptacle in the Church that should be in a very prominent place and is probably made of at least a semi-precious metal. It’s called the Tabernacle. It’s where we keep Eucharist that was consecrated (changed from bread into the True Presence of Christ) at a previous Mass. We keep it there for emergencies and to bring to the homebound, nursing homebound and hospitals. Since we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, we go down on one knee in the direction of the Tabernacle—a gesture called “genuflecting.” Harkening back to the very olden days, we genuflect as an acknowledgment that our King—Jesus—is there. Our response to His presence is what it would always be in the presence of a king—to go down on one knee out of respect, honor and homage.

8. Why do Catholic Churches always have a cross with Jesus’ body on it?

We call the Cross with Jesus’ body (a corpus) on it a Crucifix. For Catholics, our appreciation of the Cross is not just the Cross itself, but what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Yes, Jesus is resurrected—he’s not still dead on the cross—but it’s important for us to enter into the experience of the crucifixion. It wasn’t sterile—and it can’t be sterile in our memory. Jesus; 100% God, 100% human, really suffered and really died on the Cross. We believe that it is this action (paired with the resurrection) that offers us salvation. We also believe that because of Jesus’ suffering, our suffering has meaning, too. When we look at the crucifix, we are reminded that God knows our suffering. We are also reminded that, just as Jesus wasn’t alone in His suffering, we aren’t either. And, finally, just as Jesus’ suffering wasn’t the end of the story; neither is ours. God never lets suffering go unchallenged; and the crucifix is our banner for God’s ultimate conquering of sin and death through His own suffering.

Jen Schlameuss-Perry is the Coordinator of Children’s Catechesis at a Catholic parish. She writes a weekly blog for The Rogue on Patheos, and guest blogs on other nerdy Christian sites, and does presentations for local parishes and diocesan offices for catechists and pastoral ministers. Jen is a blogger for a Catholic Church and her own site: Catholicinklings.com. Check her out on FB at: Jen Schlameuss Perry. This article was first published at Catholic365.com.