Monday, March 19, 2018

An Essay to be Shared

So often, I have heard many parishioners, friends, and family members talk about feeling that they themselves or someone they know or are related to feel  like there is something off about their life but just can’t pin point what it is.  The world is filled with all types of unrest.  The other day, this paper was emailed to me with an apology that the name of the author and where it appeared was lost over the years. I felt it was worth sharing with all of you. I am sorry that I am unable to provide the author and the source of this essay. I feel that it is definitely worth sharing with all of you. It is about changing your way of life and what needs to be done to “be the change.”

“First and foremost, you MUST want to make changes and be willing to do the work. You do not need to justify your behavior to anyone, past, present or future to any person not even yourself. You need to develop a new respect for your fragility. A ROUGH START is better than NO START. You need balance. You need to learn when to work at something or walk away. You can only change yourself, no one else. You need to learn to swim upstream, against the current, not downstream. You need to learn how to think inside the solution in order to bear the fruits of the solution as well as not stagnate in the solution but find more and more possibilities. You will go way beyond success which is fleeting.  The goal should be “self-fulfillment.” Just a slight change in attitude, actions, etc. can make or break you.  You need to build your life on rock not on sand. You can’t let things, words; people, etc. get to you.  You need to be aware of what changes your mood positively or negatively. Try not to let your life be an echo of disturbing thoughts. Do not sway away from your goals. Be confident in your decisions. Use common sense.  Don’t waste your time or money on get rich schemes. Those people make money on losers, poor people, easily impressionable, and dreamers, all trying to get rich quick.  You know that if you put your hand in a fire, you’ll get burnt and hurt. So, why do you allow negative thoughts and actions to fill your holy days? It takes the possibility of joy away, your appreciation of who you are and what you have.

When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, they were happy and at peace. It just took a few negative thoughts to convince them that things could be better and look what happened. The lesson isn’t whether Adam and Eve existed. It is never look at what others have. If God created all of us and gave us unconditional love which we rejected and continue to reject, how do you think God feels or does He?  We don’t throw God off balance. He loves us unconditionally. He is the source of a peace that is not of this world.

Become a voice of the present with eyes on the future, not an echo of the past which repeats itself over and over in the vast emptiness of a life not being fully lived. Don’t reminisce and lament with past life stories/events.   Look to new stories filled with potential and renewal, a new self-image.

Jesus continually asked the question, “What do you want of me?”  He asked the Roman Soldier, the rich man, the woman with the hemorrhage, etc.  God is continually asking you the same questions, “What do you want of me? What do you want me to do for you?” Is Jesus saying, "Know what I can give you, like a million dollars?” No, God is not speaking of things. God is asking more specifically to focus on the now.  It is up to you to decide on what you want to be as a person and what you want to be about in this world and the next.

We are settled in our way of thinking. Oh, we talk about wanting to change … maybe. We don’t really want to change.  What we do want is everyone else around us to change. We are stuck in our attitudes, our cultures, in our mindsets and our ways of thinking and doing things.  We think that we are always right and everyone else is wrong. We want to believe that we know more than other people but we are lying to ourselves. We are stubborn, a second cousin so to speak to arrogance.  PRIDE always proceeds a fall and/or failure. We are too proud to say we were wrong, we were at fault or we made the wrong choice. We are too proud to admit that the things we believe happened or recalled happening are wrong or even perhaps not exactly correct, that someone else actually may be right. That we made a mistake. We are too afraid to say we gave into our human frailties.

Failure results because we think we know it all. We refuse to try another way of doing things, and we are determined to remain inflexible and ignorant. We are dooming ourselves to failure with this attitude. When we cannot forget the past, when we refuse to stop reliving the past, we cannot move forward.

How often do we repeat our parents’ negative patterns? How we swore we would be better parents, more successful, and then, one day we wake up and say, “I’ve become my dad or mom?”  Then, we do nothing to change the pattern.  Having children is not the answer to being loved unconditionally.  Babies seem to love unconditionally. But, are they really or do we teach them to be self-centered?  We cater to their every cry, every smile, and every laugh. Soon you hear, the word “No” from them, then later, “I didn’t ask to be born.”  They go out into the world to meet their own needs. Parents wind up alone and wonder why.

Many children feel obligated to care for their parents.  Many parents feel that their children should be obligated to care for them.  What causes this? To let it not happen, you have to love yourself unconditionally before you can be loved by another unconditionally.  If you have no conditions or expectations of others, you will not be disappointed.  If you do something for someone and expect something in return, it is not unconditional love. It is an obligatory response.”

My prayer for each of us is that we accept the grace from God to be willing to take up the challenge to be the change that can not only help ourselves but many others in our lives.

Fr. Marek Chmurski

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Open Our Graves And Rise

A year 2000 Oscar-winner was Gladiator.  Early in the movie Maximus, a Roman General and later the Gladiator,  rushed from the battlefield to defend his wife and young son from Roman soldiers who turned against him at the command of the new emperor.  He arrived too late and found them burned and crucified at the entrance of their home.  Kneeling beneath them and reaching up to touch their feet, he wept uncontrollably. A courageous man wept for the ones he loved. 

So does Jesus in this Gospel passage – one of the few times we hear that Jesus cried.   But in this case it’s the one who will be crucified, Jesus, weeping for the one he loved – Lazarus, a name that means: “one who has been raised from the dead.”  The author of the Gospel of John and this story written decades after Jesus’ death appears to have picked the name “Lazarus” because of what it meant.

What’s happening in the Gospel, and why is it relevant to our catechumen-elect, Evan, who will come into full communion with the Church on Holy Saturday evening?  What does it mean to “bring someone back to life – to be raised from the dead?”

Friday, March 9, 2018

Are We, as Catholics, Missing the Mark When it Comes to Confession?

On February 16, 2014, there was an article that appeared in the Boston Globe that was entitled “Catholic Confession’s Steep Price.” The article was quick to point out and I quote “Fifty years ago, the great majority of Catholics in this country confessed their sins regularly to a priest. Confession, after all, is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. But now only 2 percent of Catholics go regularly to confession, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Georgetown University—and three-quarters of them never go, or go less than once a year. In many parishes, the sacrament is currently available only by appointment.”

Perhaps, the reason for the decline is that we either have forgotten the purpose of the Sacrament of Confession or never truly understood it.  In Matthew, Chapter 4, we read that from the time Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been imprisoned, He began to preach. Christ’s first word, like that of John the Baptist, is “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Verse 17.  Because it is the general consensus of Theological scholars that the Gospels were written in Greek, the following translation may be of help to you. The Greek word for repentance is, metanoia which means “to have a change of heart or mind.”  The Greek word for sin is “hamartia” meaning “to miss the mark.”  So, if in sinning we are missing the mark (meaning eternity in the Kingdom of heaven) then we need to make a change in our heart or mind.  In other words, we need to change what we are doing if we want to go to heaven.  There is no other way to salvation without changing our ways. So, take a few moments to think about the sins you confess.  Are you confessing the same sins confession after confession?  Are you bored with confession because nothing changes in your life? Do you go because it is the thing to do or you always go once a month?  Realizing that your behavior is not in line with the teachings of Christ and having a sincere desire to change is what should lead you to confession. God knows when we are contrite and repentant. God does not need to hear what we have done. He already knows.  He sees and hears everything we think, do, and say.  Confession is for our benefit, not God’s. We, as humans, need to say aloud and hear ourselves saying what we have done wrong. When you hurt someone, it doesn’t help to feel sorry unless you express that sorrow to the person you hurt and he/she forgives you.  There is one other person whose forgiveness you must receive.  That person is yourself.   God forgives us because of his unconditional love for us. So often, people are unable to forgive themselves for the wrongs they have done. Perhaps, that is part of the reason why they stop going to confession. They don’t feel truly forgiven.  The other part of repentance is the commitment to change, to stop sinning, to break the cycle which can be very difficult. Do we not realize that God, Himself has forgiven us? Are we not humbled and grateful for this act of love? Does this not make us want to be better Christians and change the way we choose to live our lives?  There is a wonderful passage that reads “…repentance is not only penitence and contrition, but a movement toward goodness, wholeness, forgiveness, and joy. It is not negative, but positive. It looks not down into hell, but up into heaven. Its fruits are hope, diligence, peace, joy, and self-control. It is a renewal of baptism, a baptism of tears that washes away our sins and purifies the soul, giving us a clean slate and a fresh start.” 

Our lives on earth will always be filled with temptations, troubles, and adversities. The Christian approach should be with humility, unconditional love, patience and in the peace of Christ whether it is with family, friends, coworkers, enemies, or strangers.  The question each of us needs to ask ourselves at the end of the day or better yet throughout the day and night is “Is the way I am living and behaving an Imitation of Christ?”  If the answer is “No, not really or kind of.”  This is your chance to hear and respond to the words of Jesus Christ, Himself, “Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018


When next  we begin a new month we will be celebrating Easter so the time that remains to us in this season of Lent will certainly pass quickly.  Thus now is a good time to reassess our faithfulness to  the disciplines of prayer,  fasting, and almsgiving that are prescribed to us as penance and meant to  foster our ongoing conversion during the 40 days  of  Lent.     Have we increased the time we spend in personal and communal prayer?   Have we succeeded in saying no to our appetites  more frequently by fasting and self denial ?   Has our self denial allowed us to  save money  that can be given to the agencies  designated to benefit from our almsgiving  this Lent; St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Relief Services, and Food for the Poor - El Tablon Project.   Let the fruitfulness of  this  Lent be assured as we redouble our efforts now before its days run out!  STATIONS AND A SIMPLE SUPPER on  Friday, March 23rd beginning at 5PM  is a perfect way for us to celebrate our solidarity in the disciplines of Lent as we Pray- The Stations of the Cross,  Fast at a Simple Supper of soup, salad, bread and jello and permit the  free will offering  which we make for the supper to b generous enough to cover not only the  cost of our meal but to also be a means also  to Give Alms  to the  three charities  that we have designated as beneficiaries of our alksgiving  this Lent. 

WOMEN AND MEN'S  CONFERENCE:  On this coming Saturday, March 10th at Stonehill College:  Those who have signed up for the bus should be prepared to leave at  7:30 AM   from our parking lot  and expect to return  here at approximately  6:30 PM.   As of now there are 20 spaces still  left on the bus. Those registring through the parish office pay only $25 which includes the cost of the conference and the bus transportation;  all registrations should be completed no later than Wednesday.

PLAN AHEAD:  In order to accommodate the celebration of 3 Masses in the Church on
Easter Sunday  before noon  the Mass Schedule for Easter Sunday will be: 8:00 AM -9:30 AM -11:00 AM . Please note that this change is  for Easter only and make your plans  for the celebration of Easter with family and friends accordingly.   

ITALY  ON SALE, March 11th- 22nd, 2019:  Fr. Healey has just  completed arrangements for an  "off season" pilgrimage to Italy which will include Venice-Padua- Florence- Assisi- Orviedo- and Rome including attendance at a Papal Audience  for  the reasonable price of $3279.00. Mark your calendars now and soon flyers will be available

Thursday, March 1, 2018


In 1969, a singer by the name of Peggy Lee had a hit song entitled “Is that all there is?”  It was inspired by the 1896 story, Disillusionment by Thomas Mann.  It is a song and a story that seems to be very reflective of the attitude of the world today.  It is about a person who is disillusioned with events in his life that are supposedly, at least in his mind, unique experiences which bring nothing but disappointment. So, his solution is to “instead of worrying about life, just break out the booze and have a ball if that is all there is to life.” That is his escape plan.  Suicide is not an option because he is sure that death will be a disappointment as well.” This seems to be the growing and worsening mentality of the world today.  Booze is being replaced or supplemented with drugs, burglary, road rage, mass shootings by young and old, rich and poor shooters. Every kind of assault is being perpetrated to what end?  None of these bring end to misery. And, it seems that the world is less and less shocked or dismayed with this behavior. Yes, we are outraged and mourn for a few days when tragedy strikes. Then, we seem to say, “There’s no point in worrying about it, if it is going to happen it is going to happen, so let’s just get on with our lives.” So, my questions to each and every Christian are: “Why are we becoming so jaded? Do we believe as Mann’s story goes that even death will be a disappointment? That we are doomed to disappointment and gloom so we might as well go through life in a stupor of some kind?

It is a sad statement of our times that the Christian God-centered life is pretty much becoming a way of life of the past. Most people, including Christians, are too busy to even think about how stress filled their lives are, let alone do something about it.  What do think it would take for you to change the way you and your family live?  Do you believe it is possible to have a life that is less stressful, more meaningful and purpose-filled? How much effort would it take for you to change?  The true purpose of a Christian life is communion with God for all eternity.  The way to advance in spiritual growth, whether one is the pope, in the armed services, an engineer, a blue-collar worker, a student, a stay at home parent and so on, is the same no matter who you are or what you do in life.

How often do you think about what the meaning of life on earth truly is? In the depth of grief, when someone we love dies a tragic or sudden death, we may ask that same question Thomas Mann asked, “Is that all there is?” If we are fortunate, we might actually think about our soul’s future rather than our physical body along with its emotions and our own passing. Death is the rite of passage to eternity, not an end but to a beginning without end.

In a book, appropriately titled, Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus Liguori explains why and how we should spend our lives preparing for death. In reality, we know this but most of us avoid thinking about it seriously. We are not born visibly stamped with expiration dates. Even if we were, I wonder how many of us would actually start earlier preparing for death. How many of us are perpetual procrastinators that always are putting off doing things till the last moment, habitually saying, “Maybe, tomorrow?”

Jesus spent His time on earth teaching us how to seek union with God. Jesus opened the gates of heaven for us. He taught us and showed us how to live our lives. He was the living proof that we have nothing to fear in death.  The only way to draw nearer to God is to follow Jesus’s commands. We must have faith in God and accept His unconditional love. We must love one another unconditionally as God loves us. It is the only way that will bring us closer to God. Do you want to change? Would you like to be calmer and more able to handle all that life throws at you? Do you feel the need to lead a more virtuous life? Most important of all, do you desire to live eternity in the peace of Christ? How does change happen? All Christian churches and writers basically offer the same plan as follows.

1. Have a prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayers.

2. Participate in the Sacraments and the Mass. Don’t just sit in church daydreaming, planning what to do when you leave, reading the Church bulletin or interrupting the people near you with idle talk.  Go to Confession often and receive the Eucharist regularly.

3. Participate in the fast and feasts of the Church. Make spiritual memories.

4. Call upon Jesus unceasingly whenever possible throughout the day and night with the words, “Lord have mercy on me.” Let Jesus be your first thought upon awakening and the last thought before you fall asleep.

5. Stop rushing. Take time to smell the proverbial roses. Get your life and priorities in order. Reduce the stress and unrest caused by a hurried life. Make what really matters in life your top priority that means God and family. Stop making excuses and truly kidding yourself. The world will survive without you but you cannot survive eternity without God.

6. Be on guard but not paranoid. Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment. Stop multi-tasking. Network in moderation. Choose your friends and business associates wisely. 

7. Recognize the difference between virtues, vices and passions and how to control them. Overcome your bad habits.  Understand your attachments as well as your likes and dislikes. Most important of all, commit to the practicing the virtues of faith, hope, love and the peace of Christ.

8. Consider not only yourself but others. You don’t always have to be your first priority. Free yourself from your selfish mindset and find the true joy in your life. Learn to walk in another person’s shoes. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Learn to be aware that God is watching your every action, hearing your every word and knowing your every thought and motive. Think before you speak or do anything, then, think again.  You don’t always have to be right or have the right of way.  It is okay to agree to disagree. Be mindful.

9. Choose to be with people that have the same spiritual values that you have. Will they lead you unto heaven or hell?

10. Read the Bible slowly. Taking time to meditate on what is being offered. Choose to have a spiritual counselor who will partner with you on your spiritual journey.

Change will not happen overnight.Growth is a continuous process. Rest assured, God does hear and answer all your prayers. Yes, sometimes God says “no.”  There will be times when He says “no”a lot.  God’s ways are higher than our ways. God, alone, knows what is best for each of us.  There is no time as we know it for God. God answers our prayers immediately. Because we live in the concept of time, it may take years for us to realize our prayer was answered.   If you commit to doing all of the above consistently and earnestly, you will change and your life will change. You will find that you are no longer asking, “Is that all there is?” You will learn not to fear death for it is not the end, it is the beginning of an eternity with God. What more could anyone want?

Fr Marek Chmurski

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Called to Serve

The last line of today's Gospel (Wednesday) from Matthew, "Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many," can be a lesson for us all.  We are all called to serve the Lord in some way.

In serving the Lord, we often think of vocations - to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, marriage, single life, etc.  As a seminarian, I cannot stress the importance of promoting and supporting vocations to the priesthood.  The encouragement and prayers of others is what helps us in hearing God's call.

Perhaps on a smaller level today, we can look at how we can serve the Lord more this Lent (and beyond!).  We have a number of fantastic ministries for all ages in our parish.  Perhaps you might pray and consider joining one!  Like to read?  Become a lector!  Like to sing?  Join the choir!  How about feeding the hungry or clothing the naked?  Our St. Vincent de Paul Society always needs more volunteers!  Perhaps you'd like to grow in faith within the company of others - join Walking With Purpose, the Catholic Women's Club, 50+ Club, the Knights of Columbus, What's Missing…the list goes on!  Click here for a number of ways to get involved!

If becoming active in the parish isn't possible for you because of distance, work, etc., then let us find a way today to serve the Lord AND our brothers and sisters…by praying for someone that we are struggling with or who needs our prayers, donating time and talent to help others…whatever it may be!  Let us heed God's call to serve the Lord and others through the gift of our very own lives.

Chris Hughes

Friday, February 23, 2018


The Paschal Season which includes the Forty days of Lent, the Three Days of the Sacred Triduum, and the Fifty days of Easter has one central focus which is the Paschal Mystery revealed  to us through  Christ's  death and resurrection.    The  mystery is not a mystery as  that  concept is more commonly understood, but rather a truth that while  comprehensible is not completely so.   The  truth revealed by  the passion, death and resurrection  of Christ is that life proceeds from death, indeed,  death is  the necessary prerequisite to life.  While we may be able to grasp this truth  to some extent  ultimately  it is a paradox  that has the potential to confound us.    Yet  we look to Christ and are asked to accept that the cross and tomb had to precede his  resurrection and ascension.    It is then that the  passage from St. John concerning the need for the grain of wheat to fall and die in order to produce a rich harvest  becomes clearer as an analogy to saving work of Christ's death and resurrection; but the key is to see it as applicable to our lives as well.  The paschal mystery is not only something to be contemplated, it is rather to be celebrated and to be lived.    We celebrate this mystery in  the  sacraments and in particular the sacrament of all sacraments which is the Eucharist , which is  the memorial of Christ's  own death and resurrection.  Yet we must  see our celebration and  reception of the Eucharist as a means to give us the grace to put the Paschal Mystery into practice  in our own lives.    Our "dying" consists in being able to say  no to our own needs and desires so that we may more wholeheartedly say yes to God's will , and more frequently  say yes to serving the needs of our neighbor.   The Paschal Mystery is then at the core of  marriage and family life, and  in ordained and consecrated  life,  as well as in the single life that is deliberately chosen or intentionally lived in order to be free to devote oneself to the Glory of God and the greater  good of others.     The "dying" in all of these instances consists in laying down one's life in a  manner which has  the potential to  bring  life to others and to do so in imitation of Christ and so to bring greater glory to God.     Yet  the truth of our human nature is that we are weak and so we tend to  backslide in  that we lose some of  the zeal with which we first devoted ourselves  to  the ideals  of the Christian life in which ever path we have  chosen to live it out.   Thus,  periodically we need to refocus ourselves  on our ideals so as  to improve our efforts and so we are graced with the annual Season of Lent which is meant to be used for that very purpose.      Knowing that we must "die" if we are to "rise", then we will make a good  start at doing do so  by acknowledging our failings in sacramental confession and then by  performing  penance through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  We die to ourselves when we spend less of our precious time on ourselves and more  of it on God through prayer both communal and individual.   We  say no to ourselves quite viscerally in the disciplines of fasting and self denial but these  frees us even more to spend time with God and to spend  some greater portion of  our resources on our neighbors in need.     So prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to assist our "dying" and  to enable us  to do our "rising" to the life to which we are called - one in which love of God and neighbor are  in balance with love of self rather than shortchanged by it!   Triduum solidarity  with Christ in his passover from death to life and 50 days of Easter joy  are largely  dependent on Lenten penance  for we will not be able to feel that we are truly moving from death to new  life with Christ unless we have truly  died with him by dying to ourselves through  prayer, fasting and almsgiving for 40 days of Lent.   So let us make the best use of this annual  Paschal Season  the purpose of which is to deepen our  appreciation of that  central mystery of our faith, an appreciation that is best honed  not only by contemplating the mystery but by  living it! 

PRAYERFULLY REMEMBER ALL WHO WILL BE BLESSED BY YOUR  FASTNG AND SELF -DENIAL  THIS LENT:  Those locally who depend on the help of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; those internationally who are helped by Catholic Relief Services, and the poor of  El Tablon, Guatemala who will receive  sturdier homes  through Food for the Poor.   


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lent is a Gift!

At times, we might view Lent as "burdensome." We all have heard (or maybe muttered ourselves!) the "Well, I guess I have to give something up for Lent…"

But, in reality, Lent is a gift!  I have found that to be my theme this Lent, and I invite you to do the same.  The Church gives us 40 days to repent or to clean up some areas we'd like to change.  Maybe our New Year's Resolutions have failed, or maybe we have found ourselves in a "slump" of putting off prayer, not exercising, eating junk food, or working/behaving to our fullest potential.  Lent is the time to begin again and start over - to make our resolutions to do better!  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a great start if you want to really start anew!

Perhaps daily mass is possible, or getting up earlier than usual for some quiet time in prayer (I have found this to be very helpful and fruitful myself this Lent).  On Fridays at 4pm we pray the Stations of the Cross at Christ the King.  Why not join?  A great way to end the week and begin the weekend!

In reality, after doing (or not doing) something for 40 days, it is quite possible that it will become habitual and part of our lives.  Thus, the fruit of our efforts this Lent can carry on further than Holy Thursday!

A professor here at the seminary recently concluded his prayer at the beginning of class with, "Do not let us leave Lent unchanged!"  Let's make that our goal this Lent…to change our hearts and to change our lives, so that together, we can continue to build up the Kingdom of God right here on Cape Cod.  God has great things in store for you and for me this Lent, and I pray that we are able to discover them!

Chris Hughes

Monday, February 19, 2018

Maintaining Spiritual Homeostasis

Most of us, I would say, are in the habit of having routine checkups on not only our physical bodies but our cars, furnaces, air conditioners and so on.  We tend to take for granted that they will start and run properly if we take good care of them.  We all know the value of checking our blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, keeping our vaccinations up to date as well as checking gauges, fluid levels, filters, etc. on all the equipment that makes our lives more comfortable and safe. How many of us, though, are checking up on the state our souls? Do we ever consciously realize we have a soul? How often do we make an examination of conscience or go to confession? Lent, in a sense, is an opportunity to assess the condition of our soul and spiritual life. Fasting, in a sense, is part of the vital maintenance routine needed for the soul as it helps cleanse and heal us from evil thoughts, actions and deeds. It is the changing of every part of our life as needed. The sacrifice of the fast is so much more than the mere abstinence from sweets, cigarettes, television, Facebook, etc. It is the purposeful separating ourselves from sin and the near occasion of it. It has been suggested many times and I agree fully that not only the stomach should fast but our entire being should be involved and affected. Are you thinking, who ever heard of fasting with your feet, your mouth and so on?  Let me expand on what I have read about a different more inclusive way of fasting. Let your hands let go off those video game controls, the gambling devices at the casinos, the items you steal from work or shoplift at stores, embezzle or take more than you need out of greed. What about your legs and feet? Keep them off the roads that lead to sinful places, people and things. Set your eyes on what is good and pleasing to the Lord to escape being drawn to sinful sites on the internet or watching shows and movies that via our eyes enter into the portals of our mind to conjure up evil thoughts which progress into fantasized scenarios that lead us to act out on what our eyes have been allowed to perceive. Turn a deaf ear and mute the volume of your voice so as to not allow yourself to hear or speak gossip, slander, unkind, and judgmental words about others. Choose not to defame, bully or abuse others. Stop listening to the words of current hit songs that encourage and promote violence, retaliation, unrealistic promises of love. What is more beneficial to our salvation? Giving up our favorite foods and treats or letting our mouths devour up a fellow human’s reputation with malice?  In Galatians Chapter 5, verse 15, St. Paul warns us that “If you chew up and consume one another, be careful that you do not annihilate yourselves.” What right do you have to thrust uncharitable words into another’s soul? Why have the need to inoculate others as well as yourself with infecting contempt and anger that causes further unwarranted damage to yourself, the other person, and possibly countless others?

We so easily give in to creature comforts and false senses of security. We demand instant gratification. We believe strongly in our fantasized entitlement rights. Jesus Christ came into this world as a loving and caring teacher. He showed us the way of checks and balances to maintain our soul’s spiritual homeostasis. Before He began His mission of salvation, He went in to the desert and fasted. He taught us by words and deeds. He always visibly practiced what he preached. We need to follow His example, His lifestyle, and His teachings. We need to work at ridding ourselves of our destructive habits and behaviors. Let us therefore commit this Lent in every way to cast off our destructive habits so that we may receive as well as help others to receive eternal salvation which has been offered to us in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Marek Chmurski