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Regaining Our Freedom In America
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   


allison nametitleI have been reflecting on the idea of freedom…and how messed up our concept of it has become.

Most of us would probably agree that if our founding fathers were to return to America today, they would be rather shocked and disgusted. Freedom has become gravely misunderstood these days as license- the right to do whatever we feel like doing. Right and wrong are now defined by majority rule, and in many cases these days, by the minority rule of vocal special interest groups. The result has not been true freedom, but rather a society in bondage - to pornography, drugs, (prescription and recreational), alcohol, money, food, fashion, status…you name it.

In order to determine the health of any nation, we must look at the emotional and spiritual health of its citizens. They’re connected. We need to really understand this notion of freedom and how essential it is to proper emotional and spiritual functioning. The essence of God’s relationship to us is His profound reverence for our freedom. He never forces us to love Him. The mark of any truly healthy relationship, corporation or nation is the same- reverence for the freedom of each individual person in matters of conscience, relationship, religion and self governance. We see that eroding under our feet today but it could not have happened if individuals were not first emotionally enslaved.

God created us with emotions and reason. Our emotions are naturally inclined to move us toward all that’s good, beautiful and true and away from what’s not. Reason, through an educated and well-formed conscience is meant to guide them. Too often in this “age of reason”, we invert that order and pursue things the world puts forth as valuable but that can never truly satisfy our hearts.


Read more: Regaining Our Freedom In America  [Regaining Our Freedom In America]



Creating a Catholic Home
Written by Sean E. Stevens, Ph.D   


door-wreath-13529 640-pixabayAs Catholics, we can better prepare our hearts to the devoutness of our faith through creating a thoroughly Catholic, Christ-centered home. It not only remind ourselves in a thousand ways who we are as Catholics and what our lives are about: but by doing so we also evangelize our children, their friends, our relatives, and our friends. That one’s family is a committed Christian family should be obvious to anyone who spends even a small amount of time with us.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses exhorts the Israelites to cling to their identity as the people of the covenant, and to teach their children to do likewise. He knew that the people of Israel would be surrounded by pagan nations, filled with idolatry and with abominable practices such as child sacrifice and ritual prostitution, and Moses knew the danger of adopting pagan ways. In order to retain their identity and their fidelity to the Lord, Israel developed a way of life that was imbued at every level with the worship of God and faithfulness to the Torah (a lifestyle we still see today among, for example, Hasidic Jews).

Catholics and other Christians live in a similar atmosphere today: the secular culture of death makes war on Christian beliefs and values at every level. It invades our homes and minds through much of the content of the Internet and popular music and movies, and most prime time TV programming. Any child educated in the public school system – as well as in many “Catholic” schools is relentlessly evangelized with the gospel of political correctness from pre-school on. Long gone are the years when one could count on a Catholic school education, weekly Mass attendance, an occasional family rosary, and parish picnics to ensure one’s children would grow up committed Catholics; I doubt if such a situation ever existed.

So Moses’ exhortation applies just as surely to us as to the Israelites to whom he spoke:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut 6:4-9)


Read more: Creating a Catholic Home  [Creating a Catholic Home]



Journey For The Living Through Grief
Written by Bernice Simmons, MS, LPC   


bridge-tunnel dsc04684-file000635030298 morgue-fileDeath is an unavoidable and painful experience for the living. When someone dies the living have their own death experience. Regardless of how our loved ones die, we find it perhaps easier to comprehend their journey than our own. We are quick to accept that the loving mercy of our Heavenly Father has taken charge of our loved one. Even when we do not fully understand the process of meeting God, we still accept what our Church teaches about the afterlife.

It is a struggle to comprehend our own journey from here going forward towards unchartered territory. Accepting that God’s mercy is upon us as well as our deceased loved one is a slower process because we feel so much pain, confusion, uncertainty. Our daily lives change. It was hard enough to know what to expect next and trust that we could handle ‘come what may’ when we had our loved one with us. Now? Now, where do we go? How do we get there? Can we go anywhere; and do we want to? We can have peace about our now deceased loved one’s path, but peace for ourselves seems to be elusive.

Yet, even though we know that our loved one is in the hands of God, our human senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, seeing; all of these hold us to the place and time of the death of our loved one. Even when we want to move beyond the pain we seem to have no control over its grasp on us. We want them so much. We do not want to lose memory of how they look, feel, sound, and smell. Like it or not our pain seems to hold us close to the circumstances of their death or it seems to impede our daily functioning.


Read more: Journey For The Living Through Grief  [Journey For The Living Through Grief]

ct angel"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope." - Jeremiah 29:11