Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jewish Roots of the Ten Marian Virtues

Many of the traditions practiced within the Catholic faith—from the priesthood to the burning of incense—can be found by tracing their roots back to the Jewish faith.

Marian virtues are also deeply rooted in the lives of the women of the Old Testament.

Just as God planted the seeds of preparation for Christ, so, too, did he plant the seeds for the preparation of Mary. 

In the Old Testament we witness the commitment and deep faith of women who pre-figure Mary in profound ways. Women whose lives also provide role models for the way we are all called to live as Catholics.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inner Child Healing

What is “inner child healing?”

Does everyone have an “inner child” that needs to be healed?

Isn’t the idea of an “inner child” the by-product of new-age thinking or 60s hippie mumbo-jumbo—or just an entertaining Hallmark movie of the week?

The fact is, the concept of “inner child healing” is sound—even Scripturally based—and, in many instances, a necessary step to the wholeness that everyone desires.

Very few adults reach adulthood without trauma, tragedy, or some sort of emotional damage that makes a very real difference in how they function in the world. These experiences affect how they interact, express and interpret things, and make decisions. For some the “baggage” of childhood is light and has few ill effects; but, mostly it is a burden that many carry and need to learn how to let go.

Enter “inner child healing.”

Inner child healing is the release of the past’s hold on your present life—it is the reconciliation of the little, wounded child and the adult that the child has become—in a way that the adult is able to more fully function as he or she should: as a thriving, joyful, engaged-in-the-world grown-up.

The Synoptic Gospels all share the story of Christ’s disciples trying keep a distance between the Savior and various children. They (the Synoptic Gospels) then show that Jesus rebukes the efforts of the disciples to keep the kids away as he directs them to “Let the children come to me, do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Christ finishes by placing his hands upon the children where he blesses and embraces them.

Most readers of Scripture tend to see this in a literal sense—which is certainly the case on one level—but we also ought to delve deeper, into the analogous sense of children coming to Christ and his ultimate laying on of hands and blessing.

In other words, adults should see this as an invitation to take their inner child to Christ for his loving embrace, blessing, and healing.

Most inner child healing occurs within the context of spiritual direction or counseling but it can be achieved through any number of alternate ways. The key to inner child healing is to understand what it is and what it is not.

For instance, inner child healing is not a panacea for all that ails the mind, body, soul or spirit. Other issues—whether physical or emotional—may very well be in need of professional diagnosis and treatment.

On the other hand, inner child healing is a tool that, when used knowledgably, effectively provides an adult with a fuller sense of self—an ability to not react to life from the standpoint of a wounded child but, rather, to respond to life in an appropriate, mature way.

At its core, inner child healing is the purposeful journey into your own childhood or young adulthood and uncovering hurts and pains that, once uncovered, are brought to Christ. Inner child healing is taking the experiences that have caused woundedness in your life to the foot of the Cross where Christ will embrace, bless and heal.

While inner child healing doesn’t happen overnight, it also shouldn’t become the new place for a  person to live, either psychologically or emotionally.

The balm of Christ’s love is applied to the hurts and pains of the inner child in a way that they are healed and the adult is consequently made more whole—more able to enjoy the abundant life promised in Christ. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

In-Law Problems? There is a Patron Saint for That!

Very few people know about St. Jane Valois. She was a deformed and sickly young daughter of King Louis XI of France. The Catholic Church has given her February 4th as a feast day and many turn to her intercession when in a difficult, loveless marriage for she was in an arranged marriage that was without love and still she prayed for her husband for decades.

She is just one of the many interesting saints in the Catholic Church.

The following excerpts are taken, with permission, from the daily devotional Tending the Temple by Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes, and Shane Kapler. Kevin, Peggy and Shane are regular guests on such popular shows as Sonrise Morning Show on EWTN among others where they talk about health and fitness, Catholic style.

January 26 is the feast day of St. Paula (347-404), the Patroness of Widows.

Paula was a devout Christian widow who had five children. After her husband’s death, St. Paula embraced a life of devotion to the poor, to learning, and to ascetic self-denial under St. Jerome’s spiritual direction. She founded a hospice with her daughter, Eustochium; and she herself headed a convent. She assisted St. Jerome in his great Scriptural and theological works. The death of her children would grieve St. Paula in the last years of her life, though she persevered in her sanctity until she embarked on eternal life.

April 8 is the feast day of St. Julie Billiart (1751-1816), the Patron of the Sick and Impoverished

As a little girl of seven, Julie had already memorized her catechism and was eagerly teaching and explaining it to other children in her hometown of Cuvilly, France. Her parents lost their fortune during her teenage years, and she labored in the fields to help support her familyIn her early 20’s, she was paralyzed but refused to change her habits of daily prayer and of teaching the local children, gathering them around her bed each day to continue their education in the catechism. When the French Revolution broke out, she used her home as a hiding place for priests. Julie was miraculously cured of her paralysis and spent the rest of her life in service to God and the poor.

May 28 is the feast day of St. Bernard of Menthon (923-1008), the Patron of Skiing, Snowboarding, Hiking, Backpacking and Mountaineering!

Did you ever see those old cartoons where a traveler stuck on a snowy mountain is rescued by a huge, courageous St. Bernard dog, complete with mini-keg of medicinal brandy attached underneath his collar? Those cartoons bear witness to one of the many acts of corporal mercy brought forth by St. Bernard! A Benedictine priest, St. Bernard and his monks offered hospitality to the pilgrims who travelled the dangerous Alps and also ventured out, accompanied by their herding dogs (now known to all as St. Bernard’s) to find and save victims trapped in the snows of the mountains.
August 18 is the feast day of St. Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641), the Patron Saint of In-Law Problems

September 18 is the feast day of St. Joseph Cupertino (1603-1633), the Patron Saint of Pilots

Although he was not a pilot, Joseph frequently levitated during prayer and was known as “The Flying Saint.” Unfortunately, many people viewed his levitation as a circus stunt and would gather to watch the saint fly around while deeply absorbed in prayer, making him uncomfortable. Joseph wanted to be a monk and eventually found a spot in the Franciscan order where he went on to become ordained a priest. During the investigation for his cause for canonization, over 70 people were found to levitate through his intercession. His life is the topic of a DVD called The Reluctant Saint.

These are but a few amazing men and women who have come to be known as Saints and whose lives are able to still touch us today!

Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Tips for Happiness from Pope Francis

Pope Francis offers 10 easy-to-follow tips for happiness. 

True to his style, some of the tips will seem spot-on while others will ruffle a few feathers; regardless, the 10 tips for happiness that Pope Francis suggests are a breath of fresh air for many Catholics who are weary and, in fact, unhappy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Root Canals and Other Mundane Miracles

I so did not want a root canal and although I couldn't chew on the right side of my mouth for more than 6 months, I still patiently prayed for my miracle healing.

After all, I kept telling myself, “I am healed by the stripes of Christ.”

Am I right?

I’ve prayed for healing a lot over the past decade as I’ve suffered from chronic conditions that have often left me lying in bed for extended periods of time.

So it seemed like a miracle healing to avoid a root canal was a no-brainer. It wouldn’t take too much of God’s time and so would be a win-win for him and I. But no miracle healing arrived. In fact, quite to the contrary, my tooth got worse (go figure!).

I prayed for the intercession of St. Alena (toothaches are her specialty) and took homeopathic remedies.

Still nothing.

Finally I couldn’t put it off any longer and scheduled the dreaded root canal appointment.

That’s when my pleading changed; my definition of a miracle evolved.

I began to see that the fact that I could go get a root canal that would be—essentially—pain free was a miracle! Sure the roof-of-the-mouth shot hurt and the 2 ½ hour procedure was a bit exhausting and the throbbing after-root-canal procedure pain was there…but the fact remained that the root canal was a success and the pain wasn’t anything like, let’s say, having a tooth extracted a century ago.

Miracles abound.

I began to thank God for the miracle of being able to have a root canal. Crazy, right? Yes and no.

It occurred to me that we live our lives knee-deep in miracles—things we definitely take for granted can be moved in our minds from “expectations” to the “miraculous” and thus make us more grateful throughout our day.

And what I see as a miracle is probably way different than what you see as a miracle and that’s why we don’t really need to share them with each other (except of course I had to share this one to make a point!); rather, the miracles we choose to see (because it really is a choice) can be kept between ourselves and God and simply raise our spirits to him as they are filled with gratitude.

Who would have thought that a root canal was a miracle and an answer to prayer! Not me, that’s for sure.

Picture: ID 13250246 ©  |

Friday, August 1, 2014

Man Up! Fans

Fans of Jared Zimmerer's popular Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man will be delighted to know that Jared's book Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights is now $2.99 on Kindle. 

Catholic blogger and speaker Brandon Vogt endorsed Man Up! and recently connected with Jared in a fun interview about Jared's "Strength for the Kingdom" ministry.