Catholic Family News Articles

The Catholic Safe Space - January 2018 Article 
As time goes on, more problems involving depression and anxiety are forming in the minds and hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The world claims to offer limitless peace and happiness in all its different pleasures, yet we see all these reoccurring issues coming up. As Catholics, we have a duty to care for ourselves and make sure we are living a holy life in the peace of God, separated from all worldliness. We need this peace in order to serve God properly and one day reach the heights of sanctity. God is willing at every moment to give us the graces we need, but we need to cooperate with His grace as well. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque once said, "Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even He Himself, Who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves." It is true that God gives us crosses to carry, but He never removes the ground from beneath our feet to make carrying it impossible. God always uses a balance between crosses and consolations, along with the knowledge of our weaknesses and struggles to strengthen us. St. Vincent de Paul speaks of this beautiful mystery, "If we only knew the precious treasure hidden in infirmities, we would receive them with the same joy with which we receive the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without ever complaining or showing signs of weariness." God desires that we have this perfect balance in our lives, finding joy in hardship and thankfulness in consolation, so we should also strive for this. How may we then create a place that is peaceful in a world that can be so distracting and destructive?

People and Their Influence – St. John Bosco once said, "Fly from bad companions as from the bite of a poisonous snake. If you keep good companions, I can assure you that you will one day rejoice with the blessed in Heaven; whereas if you keep with those who are bad, you will become bad yourself, and you will be in danger of losing your soul." Traditional Catholics, with all their zeal and passion can get caught up with bad friends who they want to convert and change, and then become influenced themselves. There needs to be a balance between being charitable to one's neighbour, and distancing yourself from those who harm your soul. People who we spend time with will always have a very large effect on us and how our character is formed, whether we realize it or not. There are those who lift us up, and those who drag us down. As Catholics we must sort out who has a good influence on our soul, and who leave us discouraged and depressed. No one is perfect, but if someone is constantly having this effect on us, we need to pray for them and begin distancing ourselves for our wellbeing. In doing this we will eliminate the negativity that surrounds us, and make the journey to sanctification easier. And yet I do have to mention the time when it is impossible to be physically distant from those that have a bad effect on us. If this is the case, which it is sometimes with our family situation, we should pray for the grace to mentally detach ourselves from them. God wills for us to love our neighour, but when our spiritual and mental health is being affected, it is actually an act of charity to distance ourselves.. Just as we would defend Our Blessed Lord if He was insulted by our neighbour, we have a right to defend and care for ourselves too. With every hurtful word or passive aggressive act that makes us doubt ourselves, we should turn our eyes to Our Blessed Lord and fall into His arms that always wait for us with infinite love. As time goes on and good habits are made, positive influences can be introduced in our lives to lift us up and inspire our hearts to look towards God. In this way our lives will become less dark and more filled with the light of good companions and grace.

Eliminating Distractions – Our modern world is so filled with distractions that it makes it almost impossible to get anything constructive done. They place phones in our hands, pop music in our ears, and screens forever in our faces to make us forget what is important in life. This can effect the youth very seriously. With a vocation to discern and career choices to be made, these responsibilities becomes a daunting reality. With these new realities distractions can entrap them and later on discourage their soul. Just as we should be aware of people that effect us in a poor way, so we should eliminate unnecessary distractions from our lives. The most important parts of our day revolve around our daily duty that God wills for us. Instead of spending time on the computer reading about when the world may end, we can clean the house or take care of any necessary responsibilities we have, then offer it all up for the benefit of the world. Our lives and the wellbeing of this earth will never benefit from Google searches, but from making our beds in the name of God even if we do not want to. The Devil may also fill our minds with spiritual distractions on top of the physical distractions around us. He whispers, "Why don't you say ten rosaries instead of one today to get all those graces!" This sounds like a good idea in the moment, but indifferently mumbling prayer after prayer in hope that we will sanctify ourselves is not the answer God wants to hear. God is not found in nights of prayer when you should be sleeping or hair shirts that distract us from our work, but completing the necessary duties He has given us, in all their simplicity. This then will teach our mind to not be so anxious about what God wants from us and will help us to be humble in the little jobs God gives us. The
Catholic safe space consists of peace, love of God, and serving Him in all the small ways we can. Each small act is infinitely beautiful if given to God with love, as St. Therese de Lisieux explains, "If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.” God wills us to offer up little acts in His name because in doing acts that seem somewhat insignificant, we grow in humility. St. Vincent de Paul says, "The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it." The Devil flees from humility because the greatest act of love as a human towards the Creator is getting on our knees and attributing all the good in our lives to our beloved Saviour. In humility and peace our mindset will be put at ease in the presence of our loving God.

Trust in God – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque tells us again, "But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the Divine Heart. In this way His will can carry out for us whatever contributes to His glory, and we will be happy to be His subjects and to trust entirely in Him." With true peace of heart we find the fountain of God's grace ever present in our lives. If we truly believe that God's providence is what is best for us, life will no longer be a troubling place. At the end of the day, life is not about our time on earth. Imagine life on earth to be like a dream, and our life in heaven to be reality. It may seem that all the pleasures and joys are here, but if we persevere in God's will, the joys of heaven cannot be compared to even the most beautiful consolations on earth. St. Augustine advises, "Such is our Christian life. By desiring heaven we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world. Let me return to the example I have already used, of filling an empty container. God means to fill each of you with what is good; so cast out what is bad! If he wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed even if you have to work hard and scour it. It must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be." Our minds cannot fathom the joys of heaven, so they settle for the empty pleasures of the earth that do not last. Place your confidence in God's care for you, and this life will become a place of peace as you await your journey to the land of eternal happiness.

Let us then pray for the grace to shield ourselves from the distractions and negative influences in the world, in order to focus solely on Christ and the graces He so greatly desires to give us. He understands our struggles with that friend who is not talking to us, or our bad habit of sitting on Facebook too much, but truly wants to assist us! Just because He is God does not mean He is not in touch with our lives. He created every aspect of it after all. Our hearts should then take refuge in His sacred hands, which were pierced on a cross in order for us to live peaceful and joyful lives in His presence.

The Chaplet of the Holy Wounds - A Helpful Devotion - December 2017 Article

Particularly for the young people in the Catholic Church, Catholic devotions can fall into two categories: Consumed and distracted, or nothing at all. Often devotions can be tricky, as there needs to be a balance with them. No devotions at all can often lead to indifference and dryness in the Faith, and too many devotions can leave us feeling overwhelmed and distracted. If the Devil cannot tempt us to sin, he will tempt us in any way he can so that we can’t reach the pinnacle of perfection. Thankfully for us, Our Lord does give us some devotions to help us along the way. We don’t necessarily need to pray every prayer book and meditate on every devotion, but use the ones that inspire us to help us live the Faith, and persevere in our modern world. Also as Advent approaches, it is good to stir up in our souls these devotions to prepare us for Christmas.

The Chaplet of the Holy Wounds is a fantastic devotion I would recommend. Though it is not directly related to Christmas, it never hurts to remind ourselves why Jesus was born – to save our souls in the most selfless way possible. The prayers are shorter, so we can pray it on our way to work or while we watch the children at home, and the promises attached to this devotion are incredible. The prayer goes like this,

On the crucifix and first three beads:

O JESUS, Divine Redeemer, be merciful to us and to the whole world. Amen.

STRONG God, holy God, immortal God, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

GRACE and mercy, O my Jesus, during present dangers; cover us with Thy Precious Blood. Amen.

ETERNAL Father, grant us mercy through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Thine only Son; grant us mercy, we beseech Thee. Amen, Amen, Amen.

The following prayers, composed by Our Lord, are to be said using the Rosary beads.

On the large beads:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ, to heal the wounds of our souls.

On the small beads: 
My Jesus, pardon and mercy, through the merits of Thy Holy Wounds.

The promises for this devotion are below,
1. At each word that you pronounce of the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds, I allow a drop of My Blood to fall upon the soul of a sinner.

2. Each time that you offer to My Father the merits of My Divine Wounds, you win an immense fortune.

3. Souls that will have contemplated and honoured My crown of thorns on earth, will be My crown of glory in Heaven.

4. I will grant all that is asked of Me through the invocation of My Holy Wounds. You. Will obtain everything, because it is through the merit of My Blood, which is of infinite price. With My Wounds and My Divine Heart, everything can be obtained.

5. From My Wounds proceed fruits of sanctity. As gold purified in the crucible becomes more beautiful, so you must put your soul and those of your companions into My sacred Wounds; there they will become perfected as gold in the furnace. You can always purify yourself in My Wounds.

6. My Wounds will repair yours. My Wounds will cover all your faults. Those who honour them will have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. In meditation on them, you will always find a new love. My Wounds will cover all your sins.

7. Plunge your actions into My Wounds and they will be of value. All your actions, even the least, soaked in My Blood, will acquire by this alone an infinite merit and will please My Heart.

8. In offering My Wounds for the conversion of sinners, even though the sinners are not converted, you will have the same merit before God as if they were.

9. When you have some trouble, something to suffer, quickly place it in My Wounds, and the pain will be alleviated.

10. This aspiration must often be repeated near the sick: “My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of Your Holy Wounds!” This prayer will solace soul and body.

11. A sinner who will say the following prayer will obtain conversion: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ to heal those of our souls.”

12. There will be no death for the soul that expires in My Holy Wounds; they give true life.

13. This chaplet is a counterpoise to My justice; it restrains My vengeance.

14. Those who pray with humility and who meditate on My Passion, will one day participate in the glory of My Divine Wounds.

15. The more you will have contemplated My painful Wounds on this earth, the higher will be your contemplation of them glorious in Heaven.

16. The soul who during life has honoured the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ and has offered them to the Eternal Father for the souls in Purgatory, will be accompanied at the moment of death by the Holy Virgin and the angels; and Our Lord on the Cross, all brilliant in glory, will receive her and crown her.

17. The invocations of the Holy Wounds will obtain an incessant victory for the Church.

How merciful Our Blessed Lord is to give us so many promises and favours, if we but take the time to meditate on His holy wounds. Let us not forget that when Jesus was in the Garden of Olives, He could see the future and see how much time we took to remember Him in His Passion. He seeks our consolation, and promises immense blessings on earth and in heaven if we but stop and spend some time with Him. We can see how deeply Our Lord loves us in this devotion, and the more we pray the more we will realize. The concept of God can often seem far away and distant, since we are human and understand more fully human concepts. God saw this need, so while He was offering His life in expiation for our sins, He used His time on earth to show us how to live. Even in tears and suffering, He desired to show us what we needed to do. As I mentioned previously, in the Garden of Olives when He cried drops of blood, He not only showed us His ineffable love for our salvation, but that as a human it is not a weakness to show emotion and struggle. Our Lord wanted His apostles to stay up with Him, since as a human He could feel that want of friendship.

Catholics can often get caught up in the wrong devotions, and lead them to forget their needs as human beings. I have seen many private devotions that people follow, that often result in discouragement and sadness in the soul. I will not point out any devotion in particular, but mainly devotions that are not fully approved by the Church. This could be anything from apparitions, visions, and particularly for me those who call themselves victim souls. I wanted to mention this in my article since it has had significance in my own life. I do not mean saints like St. Rose of Lima, or others who suffered tremendously for Our Blessed Lord. But rather souls who are not canonized, or even in the process, and spread messages only about doing penance and the justice of God. When I was fifteen and began getting into more devotions, and these attracted. I was more scrupulous and thought it necessary to do great penances in order to get to heaven. I know of many souls that have also fallen into these, and you can notice the fruits are not of encouragement. These devotions often spread messages of the immense wrath of God, and how this soul, because they laid in bed their whole lives, suffering immense torments (like bleeding from their eyes, sometimes being possessed at random intervals, etc.) and because of all their hard work, they were just able to squeeze into the narrow gate of heaven.

Our Lord, as He sat in the Garden, did not ask the Apostles to do great penance as He prayed. He asked for their company. And when they fell asleep, He left them and leaned against the chest of an angel. What I mean to portray is the fact that throughout Our Lord’s life, though He was harsh with the prideful Pharisees, with those who were trying to be holy He was immensely gentle and generous. He calls us in this life to do our daily duty, to love our neighbour, and to spend eternity in His company. If we find certain devotions are turning us away from these points, and leading us to hopelessness in our sins, I truly believe these are not things of God. We must amend our lives and see the justice of God, it is true, but it really is pride taking over when we say to ourselves, “I am the biggest sinner, I doubt God could save someone like me.” How dare we doubt the mercy of God, and go about telling the world how sinful, and also how humble we are!

Therefore I would like to recommend this devotion. It inspires us to see not only what our sins created, but also what Our Lord did for our salvation. It does not give us extreme examples to follow in our lives, but helps gives us actual graces to carry on the humble duties God has given us. These duties, if performed well and united to God, are miracles in themselves. We don’t need to go to such extreme measures to find miracles! What is more heroic, the soul that goes about with a tight rope around their waste, showing to all in order to get them to wear it too, or the soul that was humiliated in front of their friends and humbly says nothing? It is true, some people wear a cord around their waste for penance, but if we put these acts first before everything else, pride can seep in faster than we think. If you want to do true penance, get up when your alarm goes off and say your morning offering. God gives us opportunities to sanctify ourselves right at our doorstep, all we need to do is open our eyes and choose to see.

Let this devotion inspire all those who say it, so they may be encouraged in the spiritual life, and grow in sanctity in peace and serenity, not in fear and anxiety. We should wonder at the immensity of God, we were never created to hide from Him because of fear. His justice is great, but always remember His hand is reaching out with mercy if we but lift our eyes towards Him.

One Hundred Years of Fatima - The Miracle We Forgot to See - November 2017 Article
On October 13th, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun happened in Fatima, Portugal. The people stood awestruck as the spinning sun lit up the sky, showing the wonderment of their heavenly Father. How powerful such a miracle must have been to these humble Portuguese people! How renewed their Faith was after seeing such a phenomenon! Their hearts were so moved at such a miracle, that they fell on their knees and mended their lives. And then there is us. Souls living one hundred years after the miracle, wondering if God will show us a glimmer of His grandeur once more. In our days we can begin feeling discouraged and depressed at all the chaos around us, and we beg God to reach out His arm towards us. Why does He hide so perfectly from our eyes, expecting us to stay faithful when the world is getting darker?

God always works in mysterious ways. These ways are not our ways. They are far more perfect and sublime. Our eyes have been covered from the obvious miracles that are before us, the ever present silence from above. This kind of silence can be foreign to us, since we’ve seen in history all the massive punishments God has sent us for sin. Sodom and Gomorrah was punished with fire and brimstone, the chosen people were made slaves of the Egyptians until Moses gloriously freed them, and finally God Himself came down to earth to be tortured and crucified for the love of us. All these stories are imbedded in our souls. We are so used to hearing about these miracles from God, that we begin to falter when they are no longer present. But what if God decided to step back and what if Our Lady stood on the little tree of Fatima, veiled from our sight, offering her ineffable help silently? We beg God for a sign; we wait for a huge chastisement, and yet God refuses so far. This is the miracle I speak of, a very humbling miracle at that. The greatest punishment of all is for God not to strike us down, but rather to use the means we have on this crumbling earth to rise back up to Him. It is quite startling in fact that God has spared us so far with all the evil happening here on earth, and yet one can wonder at the wisdom of such a decision as well.

"We take for granted the slow miracle whereby water in the irrigation of a vineyard becomes wine. It is only when Christ turns water into wine, in a quick motion, as it were, that we stand amazed." St Augustine once told us. God for the time being wants us to learn His smallest and most precious miracles, rather than His terrifying ones. Perhaps a chastisement is coming, but for now we have to use the means God is giving us day by day to make the world a better place. World peace is not solved by worrying and preparing for chastisements, or spending our days soaking in all the negative news behind our computer screens. We will not stop the bombs with signing petitions on websites (as helpful as petitions can be), we will stop them by perfecting the duty we have been called to do. The Devil has been so successful in distracting us from our vocations, that all we can think of is the stars falling from the sky. If we begin to centre ourselves once more with the little things God calls us to do, like cleaning the dishes or making our beds, all united to His infinitely good works He did Himself on earth the bombs will stop. We have become so prideful that these things seem utterly useless to us. And yet this is exactly what God desired from us. He wants us to see how little we are, and how he can create our little acts into the miracles we are so desperately searching for. St. Therese once said, "Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love." Her little way was not a way of weakness, but rather a way of immense strength. Strength does not lie in magnificent and showy acts, but rather the acts that no one sees. It is in performing the daily acts that no one sees, the acts that get no praise or recognition that God is touched by. Through these humble acts we will receive the greatest rewards. When Our Lord said we would receive a hundred-fold for all that we gave Him, did we think He was not telling the truth? He does not expect tremendously heroic acts, but heroism in the little things. 

We should then take this time God is giving us before potentially punishing the world to perfect our souls and daily duty. Each day is a miracle, and an opportunity to help sanctify the world. Do not think all is lost because of how bad the world has gotten. If we look at the USA for example, Planned Parenthood is being defunded more and more, or Canada that was just consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a beautiful ceremony. There is a tendency to get soaked up in the idea that our modern world cannot improve so long as God holds His hand back from striking us down. When really it can and will if we perfect ourselves and pray for our neighbour to do the same. Wars can be stopped, lives can be saved, we just need to have enough hope to believe so. 

This is the miracle God wants us to see, He desires us to learn of His infinite mercy even in such sinful times. God is completely in control, regardless of the men who try to dethrone Him. He holds the earth in His hands, watching carefully every soul that lives and breathes. Perhaps He will send fire from the heavens, but for now His miracle is mercy and the desire to use what we have made for ourselves on earth to turn the world back to Him. In a way the chastisement can be the easier way for the world to be fixed, but God’s ways aren’t always easy for us. He desires humility, and when humility comes He rewards us generously with His love and Paradise. Pope St. Gregory the Great loved speaking of heaven, telling us, “Beside all this, a more wonderful grace is bestowed upon the Saints in heaven: for they know not only them with whom they were acquainted in this world, but also those whom before they never saw, and converse with them in such familiar sort as though in times past they had seen and known one another: and therefore when they shall see the ancient fathers in that place of perpetual bliss, they shall then know them by sight, whom always they knew in their lives and conversation. For seeing they do in that place with unspeakable brightness, common to all, behold God, what is there that they know not, that know him who knoweth all things?” How incredible God is to give us such a reward if we stay a few years on this earth. Let our focus be on all the positive consolations God has given us, and how we can transform the pain we feel into a greater good for heaven. If we change our mindset this way, it won’t matter if we see miracles in the heavens or the coming of the apocalypse. All that truly matters is the present moment. 

Therefore my dear reader, let us pray for the grace of conformity to the holy will of God, all while having the disposition of calmness and peace. Worrying is always from the devil, and peace always from our heavenly Father. There is a reason one of the titles of Our Lady is the Queen of Peace! The message of Our Lady of Fatima was not only to consecrate Russia, but to pray and do penance. We have always been called to prayer and penance, and now God has given us His mother to assist us in all our needs. If we open our hearts to her grace, nothing will strain or worry us, nothing will trouble or depress our souls. It is through her that we can become saints in peace and tranquility! God did not create us for sufferings, He created us to overcome suffering in order to be eternally happy with Him in heaven. Let us always remember the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?” In this quote Our Lady is begging us to ask her what we need so that she may give it to us. She thirsts to console our worried hearts, she stands at the little tree of Fatima waiting for us to call upon her. These wars in the world are nothing if we leave them in our hands. Our Lady of Fatima did tell us Russia will be consecrated, so let us persevere in prayer and penance, in order to bring the period of peace upon the world. 

Let our lips and hearts always be speaking to our heavenly mother, asking for her assistance: O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.

Not Just Sore Knees and Meatless Fridays - October 2017 Article

There is something about habit and repetition that can make our faith go bland. As young people, we pride ourselves on our exciting lives, and sometimes the Faith can seem to be getting in the way. Church becomes a place we have to go to every Sunday and nothing more, catechism becomes just a game of memorization, and we forget how incredible our Faith is. I remember when I was in school seeing girls in their incredibly long skirts and oversized sweaters, perhaps not the most fashionable, and to me that was one thing that represented the Faith. The youth grab on to negative concepts and ideas, and that is how they define Catholicism. They forget the wonderful gifts God has given us, and as soon as they can move out, sweep their religion under the rug. If you ask a youngster what they think of Catholicism, who is indifferent about the Church, I’m sure the first thing they will think of is kneeling for extended periods of time, and not being able to eat hamburgers with their friends on Fridays. We live in stressful times, and at times do not take the time to truly go into depth with what our faith is made of to the young. Because if we did, I am confident we would fall to our knees in awe and humility. 

Let us take one example from our faith, our guardian angel. We are told in catechism that we have an angelic protector here on earth, and that he will assist us to Paradise. This angel at the beginning of time was put to the test to see if he would be faithful to God, and he chose the path of righteousness. Such a holy angel afterwards was assigned to guide and love our souls. Did our hearts move deeply when we read that sentence? If you truly contemplate the idea of it, God Himself created a most beautiful being, filled with light and glory, looked upon our souls, and said to the angel, “You shall protect him, keep him from danger, and pour your love into the salvation of his soul.” As you hold this newspaper, an angel far more beautiful than you could ever imagine stands behind you, tenderly smiling that you are remembering him at this moment, and is loving you at every beat of your heart. Dear youth, do not take advantage of the beautiful blessings God has given you, because if you sacrifice yourself for Him, He will fill you with all the more graces and blessings! If we are so concerned and worried about our sufferings and what is to come, perhaps we should try to trust Our Blessed Lord more and realize how deeply He cares for us. He truly is standing in heaven gazing lovingly down at us, waiting for us to ask for His assistance. But do we believe this truth, or are we just reading pages from a newspaper to look like we do? 

This is just one example of how vastly incredible our Faith is. Picture yourself laying in bed, probably texting someone on your phone or going through Facebook one last time. You remember you have not said your night prayers, and sigh annoyingly at the idea. You get down on your knees, make the sign of the cross and the prayers begin. You already cannot wait to climb back into bed as you mumble through the words. To you, these are just routine night prayers that have to be said or else your parents will be annoyed with you. But let us see it in the eyes of God. Our blessed Lord, in all His glory and majesty, sits upon a royal throne by the Church triumphant, and is concerned you have not said good night to Him. He whispers to your angel to gently remind you, and though it is not a perfect act, He is still pleased that you have gotten down on your knees to address Him. After all, who says good night to our God these days? He holds His hands together in His lap, His hands which were once pierced for the love of you. Yet He dares not reach out to console you with His infinite love at this time, since He wants to see if the love between the two of you is mutual. Love is not just in feeling good and receiving benefit from the other, but in giving of yourself completely simply for the other’s benefit. If only we would stop searching for phenomenal miracles and signs from above, and just accept that God is always looking down on us, guiding us with His love and understanding. In reality every moment is a miracle, we have simply been desensitized to them. Do you not think that God wants to consume us with His consolations? He does, but saves such things for our life to come. 

In our spiritual lives, especially as young people, we need to see the Faith as it truly is, being far great and more beautiful than this world could ever be. I know the world is dazzling, and we want to soak in as many pleasures as we can. Pleasures in themselves are not a bad thing, as long as they are not sinful, but as we grow and mature, these pleasures will fade away and we will be left with nothing. Holy Communion will melt on our tongues as we think about the next movie to watch, we will say the rosary amid the realms of saints and angels above in heaven while looking at the clock waiting for this painful fifteen minutes to be up, and God will continue shaking His head wondering when we will wake up. He does not ask that we give up our fun lives, but see how awe inspiring life truly is! St. Julian Peter Eymard once said, “He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant.” Can you imagine the King of Kings, sitting alone in dark chapels all around the world, hoping that one day we might spend a few moments with Him, just to tell us how our day went and for future assistance? And yet that is exactly what He does. Let us not genuflect with indifference and tiredness, but rather awe and amazement at the great blessings God gives to our cold world. 

Remembering all these incredible graces plays a fantastic role if we have found ourselves in an uncomfortable place here on earth. Once we leave school and try to figure out our vocations, the responsibilities become heavy and seem to be impossible to accomplish. The parties we used to go to no longer satisfy us as they used to, so we begin to search for deeper meaning in life. But if we grow in holiness and Catholicism, we will see nothing is impossible with the helps we have been given. It is almost an insult to our guardian angels and the saints when we worry about how we will go in life! The saints have lived through much harder times, and are so eager to give us the graces necessary. We beg God to give us that new shiny car in the window, or that pretty girl down the road, and are dissatisfied when He does not. We can never see that God never gave us that car because we would have gotten into an accident, or that the pretty girl down the road would have been a bad influence to our purity. God can never refuse the pleas for grace, and will give us as much grace as our hearts can soak up. There was once a young girl whom Our Lord appeared to, and told her that by one Holy Communion, a soul could instantly become a saint. It all depends on how open we are to grace and how willing we are to be perfect. If we give ourselves up to Our Blessed Lord’s loving care, there will be no need to worry about the future or be anxious about the past. Rest in the arms of the God that created you because He wanted to share His infinite love with your soul.

And as for our neighbour coming to join us on this wonderful adventure called life, in our modern times we have grown too bitter towards them. To us they are just ignorant liberals, brainwashed sheep who follow the worldly crowds. But we say that we are the traditional Catholics! We are the chosen souls who are clean from worldly affairs, and for those lost souls all we can do is pray. And yet, is that all we can do? After all, we are people just like them and could fall far lower at any moment. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, "“To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them.” If we expressed to the world the beauty of the Faith rather than the just showing our anxiety to all the negativity in our so called "apocalyptic" times, maybe they would listen. Instead of being so consumed with the world falling to pieces, why try not to rebuild it just as it is? How will anyone ever know what we believe if all we tell them is the negative? Venerable Fulton J. Sheen told us, “There are not over a 100 people in the U.S. that hate the Catholic Church, there are millions however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church. Which is, of course, quite a different thing.” If the Devil cannot bring us to Hell with sin, he will by deception and misconception. Souls convert because of Truth, and the Truth does not always have to be negative. 

Therefore let us as youth learn the ways of our beautiful Faith, growing in grace as we wait to start our vocations as adults in our world. The modern world may be corrupted, but we do not have to wait for a chastisement to make it a better place. Every soul makes an infinite difference, as long as we fight for what is good.

When Going off to College - September 2017 Article 

An important topic to address in the traditional Catholic world is college and university for the youth. I am aware that some traditional Catholics think the university world can be harmful for the Faith, or that girls should not enter university. But for those who have already entered, it is important to read helpful tips to stay strong in your Faith in our modern educational system. Instead of always focusing on the negative about our modern world, finding the good parts and taking advantage of them will lift up our souls and make things seem less discouraging as Catholics. Our world is moving towards needing a degree more and more, so an article to help anyone struggling in this kind of environment never hurts. As long as one is striving for heaven, is keeping from sin as well as the occasion of sin, and doing their best to lead a virtuous life, God will be happy with our decisions and discernment. God did not create us to hide us under a rock, rather He created us to stand up, be a good example to our neighbours, and show others how to live a holy life even when life seems to be so difficult these days. “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,” St. Catherine of Siena reminds us.

Friends make a huge difference – Friends will always be an important part of life, and even more importantly is if they have a good influence on us. Staying true to our faith in a university will be a hundred times more difficult if the people we surround ourselves with are immoral and give bad example. It can be difficult to eliminate all bad influences in our lives, but when going to university, keep in mind that the company we keep will take part in forming who we are in the future. We never go to eternity alone, and our friends will either help bring us to Paradise, or to eternal suffering. St. John Bosco once said, “Fly from bad companions as from the bite of a poisonous snake. If you keep good companions, I can assure you that you will one day rejoice with the blessed in Heaven; whereas if you keep with those who are bad, you will become bad yourself, and you will be in danger of losing your soul.” The young can struggle with separating from those who are harming their souls, but keep in mind even on a natural level, eliminating poor example will help us lead a healthier and better life. How can we strive for our goals when our friends are bringing us down and discouraging us? God created so many beautiful souls, and wants us to find the kind and generous ones to help us with our salvation. Life is hard enough as it is, we need to surround ourselves with people who inspire us and remind us of the goodness of God. This will make all the difference. 

Separating good from bad – There is always a challenge of figuring out the good from the bad in our modern universities. Whether it consists of certain aspects in courses, mindsets of our teachers, or general school principles, we need to be able to stick to the good things, and try to stay away from any bad ideas. The reason some people can be so weary about our educational system is how heavy bad influence can be inside. And yet, in our times, especially for future fathers, they need to use these means to obtain an essential career to support their families, whether it be university, college, a trade, or any other form of education. We no longer live in a perfect world, so using all that we can and discerning different means to benefit our souls now
has to be what we strive for. Therefore we need to be able to learn from all the good in a curriculum that we can find, and be weary of any knowledge that goes against our Faith. Stand up for what you believe, and Our Lord will repay you one hundred fold. Pray also for humility, and perfect the concept that without the inspiration of God, we are incapable of keeping the Faith. St. Vincent de Paul tells us, “You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud.” If we resist pride, and ask God to inspire us with discerning in university, we will be protected from temptation and the battle to stay faithful will be easier.

Keeping in touch with your Catholic roots – If we find when we turn eighteen that we are walking out the door and leaving our Faith on the steps, it is natural our Faith will not be with us when we go off to college. Having a deep understanding of the Faith, as well as the answers for popular arguments, and the breakdown of important concepts (such as the principles of modesty and purity), will be our foundation for keeping the Faith. If our Faith begins with a poor understanding, and our hearts indifferent about the afterlife, worldly views will be much easier to accept. Therefore review all that you know, and never be afraid to ask questions about the Faith. The answers are out there, and instead of basing your foundation off of “The Faith is true because they told me it was,” imagine all the questions you will get from outsiders and find the answers yourself. Strengthening your Catholic roots and your confidence in the validity of the Faith is always essential, even when not going off to school. Some scrupulous souls can be anxious about asking tricky questions about Catholicism, but one day someone will ask that exact question and we will need an answer. God didn’t intend Catholicism to be based on faith and trust alone, but also common sense and facts. Ask the difficult questions and strengthen your hope in what you believe then university won’t sweep you away so easily. 

Prayer is key – St. Vincent Ferrer offers us a very practical quote, “Study fatigues and wearies the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under the cross; some moments of repose in His sacred wounds give fresh vigor and new lights.” A large time spent on studying can often leave us exhausted, and then make us more prone to put our guards down. Never forget how essential prayer is, and how helpful it can be in keeping us at the feet of Our Lord. St. Ephraem of Syria reminds us, “Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.” Prayer in the moment may not seem to be doing anything for us, but in the long run, if we could see the assistance God gives a soul who prays, compared to one who does not, I’m sure we would fall on our knees in an instant. Anything can be obtained with prayer, as long as we have the confidence. We need not be anxious therefore about losing our faith in university if we lean on God and continue to live in His presence. He will refresh us and remind us that our future life will be continuous rest and peace just as He wills for us. God is generous, and will never stop giving grace if we ask. “Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.” St. Louis de Montfort had a great confidence in the kindness of God, and so should we!

Focus on the future – Another realization is the fact that we won’t be in school our entire lives. It may seem presently that the future is far away, but time goes faster than we think, and soon enough we will be taking care of a family of our own (if that is God’s vocation for you). We won’t be in college forever, staying up late with friends and learning from our mistakes while growing up. The environment of deciding what is good and bad will turn into an environment where we are in charge. Having a healthy remembrance of the future is always good for our soul, especially when it comes to the afterlife. St. Cyprian of Carthage implores us, “What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.”

That all being said, I encourage all the young who are in secondary school to not be so awestruck at the beauty of worldliness, but see God in all things and surround ourselves with as much good as possible. Sometimes we get too caught up in depriving ourselves, and not experiencing the good in life God wants to give to us. If we stay faithful to Christ in our young lives, He will help us throughout and reward us far better than the world could ever do. Go through life with confidence in Catholicism, joy for being in the grace of the Lord, and spread the charity of Our Lord everywhere you go. In keeping a positive tone, the Faith will never feel like a burden we need to keep holding up, but rather an essential help that will protect us from the emptiness of a world without God. We are told in Matthew 5:13-14, “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Let you light shine everywhere you go, and life will become the beginning of Paradise. St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of education, pray for us!

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.”

The Modern Stigma of Marrying before 30 - August 2017 Article

When you finish school, and begin the path to your future vocation, you will begin to run into some modern stigmas. Our modern world is always preaching the religion of “doing your own thing,” that in its ideas, concepts like marriage become challenged. The average age people are getting married now is leaning faster and faster to the age of thirty and onward, then waiting even longer to have children. And before I say anything, I want the reader to know that whatever God’s vocation is for you, it is a beautiful vocation that will take you to your heavenly home, even if that means marrying later. But because I write mainly about the youth, I sympathize with those in their twenties who are planning their futures with those they are courting, because I am presently in their shoes. And as soon as you try your best to have a traditional Catholic courtship, the modern world and perhaps even those around us can begin to attack it. They tell you that you need to enjoy yourself to the fullest before committing to anything, perhaps dating quite a lot of people before ever considering settling down, that you’re too naïve or immature, even having many children that age is absolutely absurd. A proper courtship is very necessary regardless of age, with the Catholic man being able to support his future family, and the Catholic lady being prepared to run a household. But this idea that you have to wait until you’re much older in order to enjoy the relaxations in life is not the best idea. We as humans lose focus on Paradise too many times as it is, and when we clutter the path of getting to our vocation with different distractions, getting there becomes much harder. After all, distractions always seem much easier in the present, but end up getting in the way when we need to get things done. Here are a few things to remember if you are running into the greedy clutches of the world.

Pleasure before Paradise – If we really think about it, what are these pleasures everyone is telling us to experience? Travel the world perhaps, make as many friends as possible, buy all the clothes and shoes you’ve ever wanted, all these things when you’re young are really great to experience! And I would never say not to experience some of these amazing gifts from God, after all I love to write all about the beauty God has created and why we need to enjoy them more and worry less. A lot of these pleasure are very good ones, and can be enjoyed within reason, like traveling or relaxing with friends. But when the focus for the future becomes completely about experiencing as many pleasures as possible, we lose so much of ourselves and end up forgetting about the most important future, Paradise. Charity turns to self-love, sacrifice turns to self-indulgence, and the future is put off over and over until we are too old to even think of raising a family. The world wants this because it is all about preaching about self, and not giving yourself to another person. The environment of sacrifice for another person for the love of God is exactly what Devil wants to keep us from, so he tempts us with the vices that are hardest to break. If we prepare properly of course, marriage is the perfect remedy for this, since we become one with the person we love, and must give everything to them. How beautiful it is to experience many privileges that we never could when we were single, all the while sanctifying ourselves and walking the road to heaven. What is going to bars and pubs compared to raising your first child? What is parties compared to the company of your husband after a long day of work, enjoying a meal you made with love? What is spending hours on Snapchat and Instagram compared to years of happy memories with the family you helped to build? Do not be afraid that all will be darkness and suffering. A quick pause though, I can already hear the voices tell me not to romanticize marriage, and realize its immense hardships. There are many challenges that one faces, but that is just the journey of life. Life in general always has had hard times and suffering, but also incredibly beautiful times as well. We carry our cross out of love, and through that love comes all the pleasures we would never find in our self-centred worlds. It will be hard work, but what better way to find happiness, then being in an environment where our soul is sanctified?
Anxiety of Readiness –We will always have anxiety when discerning our vocation, even the vocation of marriage. After all, it will be the biggest decision of our lives. Finances, education, and many other factors come into play, and we wonder if the list will ever end. The world even urges us to worry about such things. It is very insistent on attaining success first before anything. But focusing so much on details and impossible goals is never good. With the help of your spiritual director, daily prayer, careful planning, and proper discernment of who we are courting, we will be able to discover the will of God. The world says you need to date as many people as you can in order to gain the experience, but in reality a good Catholic that compliments your personality and agrees with all the moral and spiritual principals you have will do just fine. There is also the other side of being too anxious to get into marriage. Some people are in fact too young, like those who are finishing high school and are not financially secure, or those who are older but have not found anyone yet. They become so worried that no one will ever cross their paths, and then forget to enjoy the present while they can. If it is your vocation to get married, wait patiently and be at peace, because once you are married, you will be for life.  Prepare yourself while you have time, perhaps secondary education or simply saving up money, and grow your soul in the grace of God in order to be prepared for this beautiful vocation. St. Clare of Assisi once said, Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.”
The Benefits of Youthfulness – Once you are prepared and do get married, there are many benefits to marrying when you are younger. You have much more energy when you are young to keep up with the daily duties of being a husband or wife. Caring for your children and spouse, running the household or bringing home the money, all these things become harder with age. Also, the virtues instilled in a heart when receiving the sacrament of marriage are so precious. St. Augustine once said, "What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." If you desire sanctity and giving yourself to another, marriage is definitely a path that would suit you. When we are young, we can also learn faster and pick up good habits more securely. As St. Francis de Sales tells us, "You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves." The spiritual life is bright, the future is exciting, and we can build the foundation of our family on these joyous times and consolations. Marriage is very beautiful, with its mixes of sacrifice and rewards, a perfect combination to bring us to heaven. After all, God always intends for a greater good to come from our offerings to him. Our Lord tells us in Matthew 10:28-31 “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God is ready and waiting to give us all the graces we need for our futures, all we need to do is ask, and we will receive. Our Lord knows every step you will take in your life, every breath you will breathe, and we still wonder and worry about our future. Pray, ask advice, and follow the steps of common sense, and your path will surely be revealed to you.
So my advice to those who are younger who are considering marriage, never rush into such a sacred union, but rather prepare carefully every day, building yourself up in the traits you will need for the future, and commit when the time is right. Waiting a longer time to experience more pleasures in the world will only keep you from experiencing the real, even greater pleasures that God wills for you. Though if it not the time to get married yet for you, enjoy life in God’s presence and joyfully wait for the day He will reveal your vocation. Life is all about a balance, and going on a great adventure that will lead us to Paradise. Fear not, for the Lord will guide you into the arms of your future spouse and one day, God willing, the children you will bring forth to enjoy heaven with you. Let us also pray to Our Lady, who begged Our Lord to change the water into wine at the wedding of Cana, to help us discern and make the right choices in our future. All of heaven is watching over us, there is no need to fear of the great things ahead.
Keeping Devotions Simple - July 2017 Article

When I was fifteen years old I found myself discovering the wonderful world of holy medals. You could find almost any saint on a medal and I became very excited about this. I bought as many as I could find, and my scapular was then weighted down with their company. After all, you can’t leave any devotions behind! Or so I thought back then. As I got older I realized quality in devotions is much better than quantity. There is a certain danger of pride when it comes to this, or simply the danger of devotions becoming distractions in our spiritual lives. Devotions are a fantastic way to bring us closer to God, and make our spiritual journey more than just attending Mass on Sundays and we should take  advantage of such a blessing. God does not expect us to follow and pray to every apparition, and try to collect as many devotional promises as possible. These things are meant to encourage us, and help us with our daily duties and sanctity.

God is simple, and expects simplicity – Our God is a simple God. A God who loves, who provides, who might give us sufferings, but only to give us even more good in return. If we look at the universe, all His creations are incredibly complex, yet work together totally and simply. God loves making things simple, as in making them not in chaos or with excessive complexities, but beautiful in the smallest details. So also has He fashioned our souls, beautiful in the smallest of details. That is why He tells us to be His children after all. Our Lord could have told us to be great masters on the earth, or fantastic rulers, but instead He said to be like children. We can also apply this to devotions, God always expects peace and simplicity. Perhaps He places in our hands the litany of Our Lady, or the chaplet of St. Michael, and it gladdens our souls to be inspired by such things. But do not worry about reading every book and praying every chaplet, God only desires you to gaze at His Sacred Heart and be inspired to be a saint.
Our Duty is the Centre – Before we being to choose the particular devotions we would like to dedicate ourselves to, our duty of state must always come first. Whether it be our duties as a mother, or a student, or a monk, these duties must always come first as they are the top priorities of God’s holy will. If we decide to pray in a church for a week straight while our family starves, no merit will come out of that even though we are praying in a church. Oftentimes Catholics go to great lengths for their devotions, like tying chords around their waists, or doing extra fasting and so on, which is definitely not a wrong thing to do! But think of it this way, what is a harder sacrifice, wearing a chord around your waist, or actually getting up when your alarm tells you to? There are plenty of opportunities of penance in our day to day lives, and it is far more beneficial and humbling for us if we perfect all these things first.
God is Kind – We often forget the goodness of God and how kind and generous He is. We get so caught up in our trials and tribulations, and forget all consolations God desires us to have. His sacred gaze falls upon the floor of every tabernacle as He waits for us in the Eucharist, in every church, at every moment of the day. He gives us grass to soften the ground beneath our feet and brightens our surroundings with the rays of the sun. Even in the greatest darkness of the night, He never fails to sprinkle the sky with glimmering stars. God is simple, and wishes that we enjoy in His simple gifts. Let us always pray for this grace! We worry so much about saying every saint litany, and praying every chaplet, that we forget to look upon the skies and spend time with these great saints in silence. God will provide all the graces we seek, after all He knows exactly what we need! Try one day to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and instead of saying as many prayers as possible, sit in the silence of His presence. It is always in silence that He gives us His greatest messages.
Therefore, let us always take advantage of the fantastic devotions the heavens have blessed us with, but never forget to always pray in peace and simplicity, not anxiety and haste. God is good, and wants us to live in complete peace with Him, whether we be in consolation and tribulation. He is ready and waiting to give us the strength we need, we only need to knock, seek, and ask.
The Three Realms of the Afterlife - Purgatory June 2017 Article

Purgatory: the last stop on our journey through the three realms of life after death. Purgatory for many traditional Catholics is a place of pain and fear, a place inescapable before heaven, a world where we must pay for our sins for years upon years until God allows us into His heavenly kingdom. I have heard Catholics speak of Purgatory in fear for so long, and it always has frustrated me because in reality you don’t have to go to Purgatory at all! Do you think God with all His blessings and goodness, wouldn’t give us the means to surpass such a realm in order to arrive in heaven as soon as possible? Of course He would! We worship a generous God, not a tyrant. Let us then discuss the points of why Purgatory doesn’t have to be part of our journey to God, and why we must stay away from the discouragement that can take away our love for the mercy of Our Lord.

Our Lord’s burning desire to keep us from this place – Our Blessed Lord always desires what is best for us. He created an incredibly beautiful world for us to live in, in order that one day through this life we could attain a perfect and even more beautiful life in heaven. Heaven, if you read my previous article, waits for us with unspeakable consolations and treasures which God will lavish upon us for living a holy life. As every day passes, His desire burns more and more to share His infinite love with us, so why do we worry He is going to make us stay in Purgatory for hundreds of years? Of course if we are lax and don’t care about using God’s resources, then yes we could end up in Purgatory. But if the eyes that read these words have even the smallest desire to avoid Purgatory, there is an infinity of hope for you. Between indulgences, sacraments, and offering up our daily duty, do you not think that if we ask our heavenly Father He will transform all this into a bridge straight to heaven. God can take the smallest act of love, for example even just offering up the sacrifice of not eating a chocolate bar, unite it to His own sufferings on earth, and behold an infinite act is performed. So also must we pray and unite ourselves to our blessed Lord in order to avoid Purgatory.
Our Lord cannot bear the sight of our suffering – Jesus promised His people time and time again that every evil will always bring out a greater good. Whether it be for the benefit of others, or the benefit of receiving a hundredfold in consolation, or being given eternal happiness in heaven, God never wants us to forget this. The fact is, in Purgatory we cannot merit anymore. Purgatory is simply a place of paying off our debts. Would it not be more meritorious for us then to pay off all these debts on earth while meriting even more for our eternal soul? Every moment of good on earth will always affect our eternal happiness by gaining us more merit, and in doing so helping us reach the heights of heaven. Do you not think all these desires are pleasing to God? Do you not think He will help us more than we could ever imagine if we but ask Him to? If only the rest of the world knew how easy it is in fact to get to heaven, if only we ask for the assistance.
The Devil loves filling the soul with worry – The Devil, as terrifying as he is, is more simple to understand than we think. We think the devil wants nothing more than to tempt us with the most twisted sins and horrify us with the thought of hell. But it is far easier than that. A single thought of worry can stir a soul up and take its gaze completely off of heaven. Worrying and wondering about the afterlife not only can disrupt our daily duty and spiritual life, but takes away the greatest consolation God has given us, hope for Heaven. The Devil doesn’t always fill us with twisted images, he only wants to distract our gaze so that ever so slowly he can lead us farther away from our end. Therefore dear reader, worry not and continue hoping in eternal life.
Let us not forget our Beloved Mother Mary – There was once a story of a man who jumped off a bridge to commit suicide. When his wife was informed, though she was heartbroken, she continued to pray unceasingly to Our Lady for his soul. Soon after her prayers were said, her husband appeared to her with a content look on his face and informed her that he was blissfully in heaven. He explained to her that Our Blessed Mother obtained for him the grace to make a perfect act of contrition before hitting the water, because once in his life he had placed flowers in front of her statue. If Our Lady can obtain the grace to go straight to heaven for a man who had jumped off a bridge, do we dare doubt that she cannot obtain for us the grace to avoid Purgatory as well? Our Blessed Mother is truly a miracle worker who can obtain from God any grace she wishes to give us. No soul is an exception to this. Every single person simply has to ask for her assistance, and a treasury of grace is opened. Mary definitely does not want to see her son or daughter suffer in the flames of Purgatory, rather she waits at this very moment, with her arms outstretched in heaven, waiting for our embrace and plea for assistance.
Therefore, with all these immense opportunities we have been blessed with by God, let us not worry and dwell on the thought of Purgatory, but rather trust in God, work hard for our sanctification, and plan for our immediate welcome into the heavenly gates of heaven.
A Man of Inspiration - May 2017 Article

St. Catherine of Sienna once said, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!”This quote is a perfect description of who the late Mr. John Vennari really was. Everywhere he went, whether it be through his words, his articles, or his example, he never failed to set the world on fire with the love of God. He was a strong pillar in the traditional Catholic world, and helped guide us in these troubled times. If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t be reading these words today, since he helped me on my journey with writing.
He always deeply inspired me in so many ways, one of them being him perfecting the duty of a layman and still being able to do so much good in evangelizing and spreading the word of God. What many do not know about me was that I entered a Dominican convent for six months and decided it wasn't for me. I came back thinking I couldn't do as much good as a lay person than a nun in the world of writing and spreading the Truth, and my writing came to a stop. Mr. Vennari taught me how precious the vocation to the family life really is, and how much good you can do regardless of where you are! God places us in all different vocations, each one having the ability to take us to the very heights of heaven. This was such a precious lesson for me, and I will always hold it dear to my heart. With Mr. Vennari’s example and effect on the world, I’m sure God will fill him with the greatest of consolations.

After hearing about my passion to write, Mr. Vennari, with all his inspiration and generosity gave me the chance of a lifetime to write for his paper and provided every opportunity for me to publish every idea in my head that I had gathered over the years. I had started a blog when I was 15 (which I still run to this day, and was able to expand on every idea that had helped me through life. One of the greatest feelings is being able to take a lesson you’ve learned from life, and use it to help others. I also was able to write specifically for the youth, as I knew the youth were very dear to Mr. Vennari, and he always wanted to find ways to guide and provide information to them. My story is just a small one of many. We can all attest to Mr. Vennari as truly being an inspiration to his followers.

Let us then pray for his dear soul, and do our best to follow his example in piety and sanctity. There are so many ways for us to honour his soul and keep his memory alive in the traditional Catholic world. Therefore pray to Our Blessed Mother as he always did, spread the word of God in every way you can, and prepare yourself to have a holy death just as he did.
Thank you Mr. Vennari for all the support you’ve given me. May your soul rest in peace and enjoy the company of Our Blessed Mother, and the angels and saints, for the rest of eternity.

The Three Realms of the Afterlife - Hell April 2017 Article

 In my last article I discussed the beauty and grandeur of Paradise. What a joyful thought it can be to us when we begin to grasp its consolations! And yet there is another side, the realm of those who die in the state of mortal sin and are forever placed without our Heavenly Father – the side of Hell. Yet before we discuss Hell and its characteristics, I just want to mention the fact that Hell must be thought of correctly. People either completely dismiss this idea or become so consumed with the idea that it terrifies and paralyzes their spiritual life. Hell should correctly be thought of as a place so horrible, so tragic that we would never dream to commit a mortal sin and therefore do not have to be worried about going there. The only way to get to Hell is by our own free choice. Only we have that power to damn ourselves for all eternity. Let us venture then into this fiery realm and be reminded of the justice of God, in order to perfect ourselves and never place our souls in this eternal position.

Our bodies given back after the Last Judgment – Just like the bodies of the saints will be given back at the Last Judgment, so will the bodies of the damned be given back. These bodies, which were used to offend and shut out God from their lives, will receive the just punishment due to them. In fact, Hell can be said as a place of mercy towards these people, since the act of mortal sin is infinite, the sufferings of Hell hardly compare to infinity. St. Theresa of Avila used to have visions of Hell, and here was her first mention of the state of the body, “I felt a fire in my soul. My bodily sufferings were unendurable. I have undergone most painful sufferings in this life… yet all these were as nothing in comparison with what I felt then, especially when I saw that there would be no intermission, nor any end to them. I did not see who it was that tormented me, but I felt myself on fire, and torn to pieces, as it seemed to me; and, I repeat it, this inward fire and despair are the greatest torments of all. I could neither sit nor lie down: there was no room. I was placed as it were in a hole in the wall; and those walls, terrible to look on of themselves, hemmed me in on every side. I could not breathe. There was no light, but all was thick darkness.” The saints often say that our bodies will be tormented according to our sins. For example if we have a tendency towards grave gossip, our tongues will be especially in pain for all eternity and so on. St. Maria Kowalska talks about this, “Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another.” We can then meditate on our faults and just imagine the punishments that would be given if these faults are grave. How we must strive not to commit serious sins in order to avoid this and be rewarded instead in Paradise.

The environment of eternal suffering – Just as Heaven has an environment filled with unimaginable joy and consolation, so also will Hell be a place of unimaginable suffering and fear. Not only will our surroundings be filled with fire and tortures, but demons and devils will accompany us everywhere we go. St. Ignatius of Loyola describes some of the sights he saw in a vision of Hell, “Let us fancy we see Hell, and imagine what is worst to behold - a horrible cavern full of black flames. Sulphur, devils, dragons, fire, swords, arrows, and innumerable damned who roar in despair. Imagine the worst you can, and then say, ‘All this is nothing compared to Hell’ . . . In that voracious subterranean cavern all the filth of the world is collected and inclosed, without exhalation or air, which must produce a most foetid pestilence . . . The sight is tormented by frightful devils; a holy religious saw at death two so monstrous and ugly devils, that he cried out that rather than see them again he would walk till the day of judgment on fire of sulphur and melted metal.’” There are many visions of what Hell’s walls hold, and sometimes it is beneficial for a soul to read and understand such sufferings. But let us focus more on the desire to love and please God rather than dwell on sufferings and despair. For such places aren’t fit for the saints, and I pray every reader will be such a saint.

Being reunited to those in our lives – Let us not forget those in Hell sometimes are reunited with those they live with on earth. St. Anthony Mary Claret once spoke of this, “'What is worse, is that in all the immense throng of persons damned in Hell, no one will fail to increase the torments of his companions, due to the horror each one causes the other, the anger with which they rage against one another, and due to the heat, the stench and the closeness in which they are condemned to live. . . God delivers the damned soul up to the enemy’s will.” How heartbreaking it is to think that if we fall into sin and bring others with us, even our closest friends who we dearly love, we will be stripped of such a love and be filled with hatred at the sight of them. Husbands and wives, friends, children and parents, how dreadful such a thought is! And how essential charity towards our neighbour is as well. Dear God, give us perfect charity so that we may be united with love to our neighbour, rather than dwell in hatred as the demons do.

The final and worst punishment – The worst suffering that the soul will endure, even though the body and soul are tortured so violently, is the knowledge that they will never be with their Heavenly Father. St. Alphonsus tells us, “Poor Judas! Above seventeen hundred years have elapsed since he has been in Hell, and his Hell is still only beginning.” Our beloved God, the greatest of Fathers, He who created us and every earthly gift in order to bring us into His loving arms, is now forever shut out because we chose sin over Him. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich understood this, “All in this dreary abode tends to fill the mind with horror; not a word of comfort is heard or a consoling idea admitted; the one tremendous thought, that the justice of an all-powerful God inflicts on the damned nothing but what they have fully deserved is the absorbing tremendous conviction which weighs down each heart.” When we live on this earth and love our close friends, often we can’t imagine a life without them. How dreadful then is a life without He who is life? Our soul will ache with despair, loneliness, and an everlasting depression, simply because we chose one moment of sin over God. Resolve always to never sin mortally. Is it not worth the sacrifice?

Therefore my dear reader, do not shutter in fear or be frozen with dread at the idea of Hell. Hell is but a place of choice, and if we choose not to go there, why worry? Strive always to please God, for in God will we find the peace and joy we are always seeking. Pray for the sinner, encourage those who strive for Heaven, and above all resolve to stay pure and righteous in the eyes of God. May Our Lady of Fatima and the three children, who also had a vivid vision of Hell, pray and protect us from our modern world and bring us to the wonderful home of Paradise.

As the reader may have noticed, my email is now available at the end of my articles. If you have any questions or concerns, would like to talk or wish to request writings please let me know. God bless and Our Lady protect you all!
The Three Realms of the Afterlife - Heaven February 2017 Article

The next three articles will be focusing on the three different places our souls can go to after death - Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Our busy lives can often suck us in and we forget that this life is but a dream, and eternity the true reality. So my dear reader, let us venture into the three realms of the afterlife and look forward to our everlasting destiny.

A consolation in life that we mustn't ever forget is the perfect happiness that awaits us – Paradise. All our trials and tribulations, though they of course make us stronger and merit us grace, will be rewarded a hundred fold in Heaven. Heaven should always be a solid, clear image in our head that helps us focus on the fact that God created us for the  joy and happiness that awaits us. Let us never forget such an incredible reward! Pope St. Gregory the Great once said, “Beside all this, a more wonderful grace is bestowed upon the Saints in heaven: for they know not only them with whom they were acquainted in this world, but also those whom before they never saw, and converse with them in such familiar sort as though in times past they had seen and known one another: and therefore when they shall see the ancient fathers in that place of perpetual bliss, they shall then know them by sight, whom always they knew in their lives and conversation. For seeing they do in that place with unspeakable brightness, common to all, behold God, what is there that they know not, that know him who knoweth all things?” Therefore my dear reader, let us venture into a few of the gifts God will bestow upon us in heaven. 

Our body given back after the Last Judgment – Firstly, we will receive amazing graces and consolations for our bodies in heaven. And when at the Last Judgment, when we are united to our earthly bodies, so many gifts God will grant us that even the greatest of earthly goods will seem as dust to us. There are seven of these gifts, the first two being identity and integrity. We will be restored our original bodies, and this body will be perfected and beautified, so that any blemishes or imperfections will be wiped away. Every pain and suffering our bodies gave us in this life will be healed and shine with radiance for all that we offered up. The third gift is quality. Our bodies will be at the perfect age, which will last for eternity. Our beauty will never fade, but will continuously give glory to God for all eternity. The fourth gift is agility, the ability to go wherever the soul wants, as fast as he wants. In other words, if he wanted to get from one side of heaven to the other, he could in the blink of an eye. One can wonder why we will need this talent in heaven, and what incredible surroundings we will be in. The fifth gift will be subtlety, our souls will not be constrained in any way, and will be able to pass through any material. Just as Our Lord passed through the door to reunite with the apostles, so also will we have the same talents. The sixth gift that God will bless us with is impassibility, our bodies will be perfectly comfortable. Cold, heat, pain, disease will mean nothing to us, and our bodies will be eternally at rest and at peace. The seventh gift is clarity, our bodies will shine with unearthly brilliance, and give immense glory to God. The saints tell us that the martyrs’ wounds shine especially because it was those wounds that merit them the most. How exciting all the gifts will be! We must make sure we go to this beautiful place and become who we’re meant to be!

The new, perfect surroundings of our heavenly home – Let us not forget the beautiful surroundings that our glorified bodies will be living in. In 1 Corinthians  2:9 the Bible tells us, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” God has prepared such a beautiful world on the other side for us that we can’t even imagine what is in store for us! The most beautiful places in the world are but dust compared to what awaits us. We should be willing to go through anything that God gives us in this live to attain such a beautiful home. Each of our senses will be delighted , we shall see the greatest beauty, hear the angels voices, feel no pain or suffering, smell the unimaginable scents of heaven, and even our taste will be rewarded. Nothing will be left out, for it is our infinite reward for serving our Master faithfully.

Being reunited to the people we love – In this world we are constantly having to detach ourselves from those we love, either because of moving away, or people becoming not good for our spiritual well-being, but in Paradise all this will be resolved. Everyone in heaven will know each other perfectly and eternally spend time together enjoying themselves and praising God. St. John Vianney once said, ““O my dear parishioners, let us endeavor to get to heaven! There we shall see God. How happy we shall feel! If the parish is converted we shall go there in procession with the parish priest at the head. … We must get to heaven!” He was so excited to reach heaven because there we may be reunited to those we love. Another great treasure that will be given to us is that we will be especially united to those who either helped us get to heaven or were helped by us. Married couples will even have a very special bond, even though their vows say until death. Would God separate those in heaven who were so close on earth? Definitely not! What joy we will receive then to finally be united to those we love.

The final and greatest gift – The final gift that will be given to us in heaven, the greatest of all these gifts, is the beatific vision, to come face to face with God. Often the term “beatific vision” might not mean much to us since we’ve seen it printed so many times in books and quite can’t grasp the concept. But imagine all the best things you’ve experienced in life, all the love you’ve ever received, all the goodness you could ever imagine, and multiply it by an infinite amount contained in a single vision. Staring at the face of God will open to us an amount of love and joy that we have never even dreamed up, every moment filling our mind with new incredible things and contenting us for all of eternity.

Let us then dear reader, strive to obtain these immense graces waiting for us in heaven. For if we follow God’s holy will, our life on earth will be filled with peace and goodness, and our reward will be waiting at the end. Perhaps we will have to make some sacrifices on the way, but every sacrifice leads to a greater good, greater goodness leads to a happier life, and this life on earth will guide us to heaven. How surrounded we are with joy if we but place ourselves in the hands of God! Dear God, please teach us to put ourselves in Thy hands perfectly and unreservedly. Amen.

New Year, New Hope - January 2017 Article 

Firstly I want to wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year! God be praised for giving us a brand new year, a year full of potential and future graces that Our Lord is thirsting to give us. How beautiful it is that we can put away our sufferings and trials of the previous year and begin afresh. We have such a loving God, a loving Father who is always willing to give us second chances to better ourselves. Let us then focus on starting this year with a smile on our face and do the four most important things to Our Blessed Lord:

Imploring Graces for the New Year - Saint John Vianney once said, “My little children, your hearts, are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” Prayer is so essential in the spiritual life, because it brings down the graces we need and replenishes the soul. The beginning of a new year is a perfect opportunity to do this, to ask God for all the graces we need, both spiritual and temporal, imploring Him to guide us through these coming months, and making strong resolutions to become better people. A fantastic practice is choosing one virtue at the beginning of the year (or even at the beginning of every month) and specifically focusing on it. If we focus on one virtue to work on, not only is it much easier to practice and perfect, but all the other virtues will be strengthened as well. Virtues are always connected and intertwined, so never fall into the error that you must tensely focus on every single little virtue to become a saint. Pray to God for the virtues you especially need, and getting to heaven will be far easier than you ever imagined. Don’t fear for what’s to come in 2017, don’t be afraid that God is going to drown you in tribulation or send the chastisement, rather ask for the graces you need in your own life, focus on heaven, and you will find the true peace of God.

Making Reparation for the Past – The next act of goodness we can make to the heavens is acts of reparation for our sins. Oftentimes Catholics think that confession is enough, and reparation is a huge task that can hardly be completed. But this couldn’t be farther than the truth, reparation is really a beautiful thing! Reparation strengthens our souls to do better, brings graces down to all those around us, and takes off our Purgatory time. Do you really want to spend years in Purgatory after you die? Of course not! Later on I will write about how Purgatory can be easily avoided, but for now dear reader, know that God will give us every mean to avoid it. Embrace reparation and soon you will taste the refreshing waters of Paradise! Never forget as well that reparation doesn’t have to be sleeping on the floor or wearing hair shirts. Reparation can take many forms, whether it be doing our daily duty, or praying our usual daily prayers, or even enjoying the consolations God gives us! Offer up everything to Our Blessed Lord and He will use it in the best of ways. God is amazing, never forget it!

Offering Thanks – A third way to love God is offering thanks for all that He has given you. How many times do we forget to thank Our Heavenly Father for everything He has given us? He has given us a home, food to eat, a sun millions of miles away to keep us warm, wind to blow through our hair when we are hot, the list never ends! He has given us all these little things, from every blade of grass to every grain of sand in the sea, specifically for us, as if only we existed. C.S. Lewis once said that Our Lord died for each of us singularly. Let us then thank Him singularly, as if He made the entire universe just so our eyes could gaze upon it. In thanking Him, we gain all the more grace and merit for being so thankful. Just as a father gives all the more to a son who is grateful for his generosity, so also will God reward us a hundred fold for being appreciative of His goodness. 

Praising God for being God - Finally the last way we can adore God is simply loving Him for being Him. We can love God because He gives us nice things, or because He always gives us strength and perseverance, but the real love for God always lies in loving Him simply because He is God. A wife does not love her husband simply because he puts a roof over her head, rather she loves him simply for his existence. How many more graces will God give us if we give Him such a selfless love! All God desires is to be loved by His creatures, not because He’s a sort of blessing vending machine, but rather for his loving existence. Therefore praise God and the heavens because they are so good, so full of love, and so willing to share this heavenly love.

I then wish you all a blessed 2017, I ask for your prayers as we enter another year, and I beg God to fill every single one of your lives with consolation, joy, and continuous peace. For it is in peace that God lies, in joy that He waits for us, and in suffering that He thirsts to deliver us. God bless and Our Lady protect you all! 

Keeping Suffering in It's Place - December 2016 Article

There is always one problem in our lives that we think we can never escape. A shadow forever following you, affecting us at any given time. Everything from temptations to sin, to losing a loved one, they all fall into one category – suffering. Suffering affects everyone on this earth, but is often viewed from a wrong perspective. Whether it is seeing suffering as a way of life, or suffering as an unbearable cross given by God that makes no sense, or suffering as an inescapable path, we need to always remember what suffering truly is and keep it in its proper place. Having the mindset that God is unfair because He gives us suffering is really an injustice, because suffering is always a means to an end. God allowed suffering so that we may walk its short path to attain more joy here on earth and in heaven. Just as a father disciplines his son to give him a better and more joyful life, so does God do the same. As St. Ignatius of Loyola once said, “If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.”

The true meaning and purpose of suffering is for a greater good. God didn’t create the earth and allow the evil of Adam and Eve falling for nothing. Rather He allowed it to happen in order to redeem us all the more gloriously and bring us to heaven victoriously! So it is with suffering, it is always for a greater purpose, and that we have to remember in order to not become discouraged. Often times our life situations can take away this concept, and make us feel like our particular lives are meant to be in darkness and pain. But the truth is, God wants every single soul to live in peace and happiness, and if this isn’t the case for you dear reader, God wants you to know that you must find the path that leads to that peace. As a general rule a soul shouldn’t be in a situation where trials and tribulations are the main focus, and if it is, it’s always God’s will to find a better way to live. For example a girl who struggles in a convent because she doesn’t have the right personality for it, isn’t going to force herself to be there because she thinks it’s a better way of life and just deal with the burden. In fact it’s such a great danger to our souls when we place ourselves in environments where we are suffering so much. God didn’t create us for pain, rather for joy! The saints always believed that when God gives us a trial, it aches Our Lord’s heart to see us going through diffcult times. Yet He knows that it will bring us closer to happiness and love. But if we find ourselves in situations where the trials become unbearable and begin to break our spirit, let us always consider the concept that where we are in our lives isn’t God’s will. Whether it be a bad environment or even a wholesome one, God will always send us signs and signals to guide us to do His will. So whether suffering be a means to more joy or a sign from God to tell us how to attain this joy by a certain way of life, we must always see the greater good and never dwell too much on the idea that on this earth we must suffer. 

Therefore instead of us always focusing on suffering and trails (since it’s so very easy to do,) let us transform these experiences into opportunities of growing in virtue, proving our love to God, and being filled with joy because through suffering always comes this kind of joy. At times in life we can feel like suffering is the main focus and all we can do is embrace it and decide it is our lot in life. But even the great saints, who often led lives full of pain, understood the true meaning of suffering and attained joy from it. Wouldn’t we be filled with joy if the idea that through this test we would reach more joy than we’ve ever had in our lives? As Saint Louis de Montfort once famously said, “What a cross is no cross!” He said this after he gave a mission to a very friendly town who treated him like a king. He was so used to mockery and cruelty that once he was exposed to a world without any tests, he could hardly stand it! He thought this way because he knew precisely why his life was so difficult. He grasped the concept that through suffering, there is all the more joy! And the more pain, the more goodness God will flood into our lives and the next! Our Lord didn’t tell us He would give us a hundred fold in this life and the next for no reason. All we need is hope, and our lives will fall perfectly into perspective. 

So dear reader, never forget our God is not a cruel God, but rather a loving one. He is a God who gave His life for us so that we may live in joy rather than pain. The angels, the saints, and Our Blessed Mother are always standing at the edge of heaven, gazing down upon the earth, waiting to help us and cheer us up from the long journey of a life of tribulation. Let us always ask for heaven’s help and pray for guidance to find peace. For if we seek where the peace lies, there also will be our God. 
  A Letter From Your Best Friend - November 2016 Article

My Precious Soul,
Although you often forget of me, although you cannot feel or see my presence, know that I am here. God in all His infinite goodness and generosity has willed to give to you a heavenly companion, a creature of surpassing blessedness and grace, to guide you and help you through every stage of your life. Every moment you smile, every moment you struggle with a temptation or tribulation, I reach out to you, burning with the desire to help. All you need is ask, ask for my help and I will be by your side! Remember my presence in your devotions and you will be greatly rewarded! Too many times this modern world you live in can distract you from the presence of heavenly beings, taking away from you the friendship, assistance, and peace of having such a companion in your life. Don’t let the devil, the world, and unnecessary distractions block the hand I so readily offer to you. The devil can make it seem like life is a cold, lonely place, completely detached from heaven. When in reality, pieces of heaven are already scattered upon the earth, you just need to be able to find them with the grace of God.

Remember that time you almost walked into traffic, and suddenly stopped? Or had a close call which threatened your safety, but made it through by the skin of your teeth? It is precisely in those moments you need heaven’s help that I find so much joy in assisting you. So many times in people’s life, they are convinced they’re alone and unable to discover the will of God. When in reality, the key to happiness and peace is right at their doorstep, if only they would ask for my help. I say this not just as a protector, but as a friend. There is a whole spiritual world for you to discover, and God in His goodness has given you a piece of that spiritual world to help you no matter what! Place your trust in me, and you won’t be disappointed. As your best friend I need to be given your trust in order to fully assist you. Ask Our Blessed Lord to bless you with the grace of trusting me and I will repay you a hundredfold. 

Another benefit to trusting me and allowing me to help you in this life is the amazing ability God has given me to purify your prayers and sacrifices. I will take all that you give me, purify them with my heavenly touch, offer them to Our Blessed Mother who will in turn give them to God. How much easier prayer and sacrifices become if you but place them in the hands of heaven to perfect them! We promise to perfect your soul in return for offering to God such perfection. You are not alone in your quest for sanctity, rather God has made it so that if you love and trust Him and His helpers, sanctity will be easier than ever.

Also, as a side note, I am after all still a creature desiring friendship. How excited I can get when something joyful happens in your life! And how compassionate and filled with tenderness my heart is when you are struggling. There is no better friend that God has put in your life that can listen as I can. Humans can get caught up with holding emotions and thoughts in their minds, if only they knew that God has destined me to listen and inspire them to do what will make them happy! God doesn’t desire you to ever be alone, to feel helpless or lost, or to think God has abandoned you. If this was true He wouldn’t have put me in your life.

Finally a skill that you should know that I have is the ability of fast travelling. Is there someone in need that you care about? Or do you desire that I visit a church for you? Send me there, and I will do your bidding in a moment. My heart could never deny you that which is good, so take advantage of my desire to do as much good for your soul as possible! This will also benefit all the souls around you, who desperately need heaven’s help. Not only will they feel my assistance, but merit will be showered upon your generous soul for sharing my friendship with your neighbour.

And so, my dear reader, remember me in your day to day life, share your smiles when you’re happy and your tears when you’re sad. I will assist you at every moment, no matter what! Trust me and you will be eternally rewarded.

Your Guardian Angel

Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship!  If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Remember this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help.” – St. Padre Pio
Modesty - The Forgotten Virtue of Beauty - October 2016 Article

I can bet that a lot of Catholics when seeing the title containing the word "modesty," would immediately close their eyes and lose interest. Because we live in a world where everyone expects us to be immodest, and when we try to be modest we can get mixed up with concepts that can give us the wrong impression and push us away from this misunderstood virtue. When we get immersed in measuring our skirts so they're always ten inches below the knees and gasp at everyone with necklines lower than one finger from their collar bone, we can truly get distracted and discouraged at times. Of course it is very important to have guidelines when it comes to dress, but modesty is so much deeper and more beautiful than that. There is already quite a lot of material out there for young people to read and look up if they need ideas on good guidelines to follow for modesty in dress, so this article will take a new look on the virtue. This is a different perspective to refreshen the youth about the idea of modesty, so instead of the virtue being thrown out the window like it usually is, it will be better understood and appreciated as God intended.

Modesty isn’t meant to conceal beauty – If you find modesty is taking away your style and joy, there is something wrong about how its spirit is being lived. If you are modest, you show to the world your true beauty while telling the world you’re not going to display yourself in a way that makes you into an object. It doesn’t mean you can’t follow good trendy styles, but putting on hardly any clothes when it’s fashionable is the world’s way of tricking you into making you something to only look at, not a beautiful soul that God has made for His glory. True modesty is respect and love for yourself and others, simply because if you choose to make your body and soul beautiful through modesty, people will see that love for yourself and have the good example to do it themselves. St. Augustine once said, “Chastity, or cleanness of heart, holds a glorious and distinguished place among the virtues, because she, alone, enables man to see God; hence Truth itself said, ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.’” Uplift yourself then, and never let anyone take that love of yourself from you.

Modesty is far more than inches – It cannot be stressed enough that modesty isn’t just about fabric. In fact you can easily be immodest while wearing the greatest amount of clothes. Modesty is directly linked to purity, so we must be pure in thoughts, words, and deeds. Not because God is a tyrant and wants to take away things from us that are beautiful, but He wants us to have all these things as He wills and not abuse them and take away their beauty. Therefore, think of modesty as not only dressing well, but a mindset and way of life that we must follow in order to be truly happy. Also as a side note, it is actually an act of charity to one’s neighbor to dress not only modestly, but well. So embrace modesty as a way of life, and also follow the styles and trends you like, but all with moderation and common sense, with respect for yourself. Modesty shouldn’t be given a poor name because of the example of those who don’t use common sense and show the world that modesty means covering every inch of skin. Rather it should be shown in the most beautiful way possible.

Helping others cope – A very good point to remember as well, is that modesty, especially when it comes to girls respecting their bodies and souls by dressing well, helps young men grow in purity and holiness. Just step outside and you’re surrounded by buildings, advertisements, and so on covered with immodest images especially ones depicting girls. That makes this world a difficult place for men to live in especially if they’re trying their best to get to heaven. Women embracing modesty can inspire them to keep fighting and give them the motivation to not fall. It then has the effect of helping so many people with a variety of virtues! Our outside appearance can say a lot about who we are, so let us embrace greatness and holiness, while lifting up everyone around us. Just as St. John Bosco once said, “Holy Purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh.”

Overthinking becoming the enemy – Of course with all these concepts souls can become scrupulous and not know where to begin or how to apply moderation. The Devil can easily bring us down and discourage us by making us dwell far too long on modesty and purity. But the real trick is to set your boundaries, stick to them without exception, and stop thinking about it. Thinking about it all day can ruin our focus on other virtues and our duty, as well as lead to impurity. Our intense focus on purity all day can make our mind’s so obsessed with the idea that impurity can easily leak in. Purity and modesty become so much easier and bearable if you simply stick to your principles and move on. God never meant for purity to become a burden, rather He wills for it to set us free from the burdens we place upon ourselves. Simply then live a pure life, persevere, and experience the joy from this amazing virtue that God wills us to experience.

Therefore dear reader, don’t ever let the Devil try to convince you that modesty is a virtue that is a burden that you have to put up with every day. Rather embrace its beauty and live through its spirit in a holy and joy filled way.

Lax Vs. Scrupulous - Part 2, The Scrupulous - September 2016 Article

The last article I wrote was about how souls leaning into lukewarmness could easily mend their ways and reach holiness if they but apply themselves to the Faith and realize that with God being the focal point, their entire life will become filled with grace and happiness. But the scrupulous soul cannot be forgotten either. Scrupulous souls, hiding in the darkness of anxiety, always worrying about sins that don't exist, sins they worry they've committed, sins of the past and future, sins here and there and everywhere, the list goes on. I, like so many silent people out there who have hidden their scrupulosity and tried their best to persevere, can relate in the past to scrupulosity and hope these points which I have learned on the way, can ease the anxiety.

The heart of the problem - The one concept that cured me of being scrupulous was when I learned that if I was seriously wondering if I had committed a mortal sin, I needed to dismiss the thought immediately and have a firm conviction that I have not committed such a grave sin. This may seem like a very small solution to the problem, but in reality it's all you need. The scrupulous person’s main fear is hell and the justice of God. Because you are scrupulous, it's best not to worry about venial sins because they won't send you to hell and can be easily mended with prayer and perseverance. In most cases though, venial sins aren’t the problem. The problem most of the time is the fear of mortal sin. To commit a mortal sin the sin must be serious, you must fully consent to it, and you must have perfect knowledge it's a mortal sin. Therefore it is impossible for you to be unsure and anxiously wonder if God is going to send you to hell. Everyone goes to hell out of their own free will, and it obviously isn't something to be disturbed about. If you apply yourself and persevere, making sure you never worry but leave everything to God, you will be on the path to getting over the horrid temptation of scrupulosity. After all, worrying is from the devil, and if you’re trying to be perfect, then why would you give yourself over to temptations of anxiety and get further from the perfection you are so desperately seeking? Cling to the mercy of God, pray for peace and perfection, persevere in your duty, and all shall be well. St. Louis de Montfort said, “Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray” (The Secret of the Rosary). Why be anxious then if God is so ready to overflow our hearts with grace and goodness?

God is kind - A firm devotion to help the scrupulous is having a solid devotion to our most merciful and kind God. Overthinking about negative concepts, such as hell and justice (though these should be absolutely thought about, just not to excess), isn't healthy for such souls. Rather, focusing on the goodness of God will boost the spirit and mend the soul. After all, God only allows suffering for a greater good - the greater good of becoming perfect and being truly happy. God wants what’s best for us, and is always waiting for us with open arms to raise us from our imperfections and make us holy. If we but humble ourselves and use the means that God has given us, like confession, then there is no need to be worried and scrupulous. St. Isidore of Seville once said, "Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession." In other words, have hope! The danger you’re doing to your soul doesn’t lie in picking apart every action with anxiety and fear, but rather not trusting in Our Blessed Lord who wants to give you nothing but peace and joy! Listen to St. Clare of Assisi, “Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for He who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be You, my God, for having created me.”

Cutting the Roots - Whether we like to admit it or not, the true root of scrupulosity is pride. We're so soaked with the idea of being absolutely perfect that we forget we're human and depend so much on God. If God is willing to forgive us a million times over, why do we think we have the right to not forgive ourselves? If we are so picky and caught up with being so perfect, why do we neglect the fact that pride is slowly eating up our soul and taking away the peace and joy that God wants us to have? Scrupulosity truly is a contradiction and a master plan of the enemy. He clouds our thoughts with worries of perfection while taking away that same perfection with pride. "You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud,” St. Vincent de Paul once advised us. How true it is that if we get over our pride that we will be able finally to find the perfection we so anxiously desire! Every one of us is a human being with the wounds of original sin, limited and in need of God’s help, unable to wake up one day and become a saint, yet given the means to day by day travel higher and higher to the realms of heaven. Please have patience with your own soul, after all it is patience that wins so much merit for ourselves and for others. St. Francis de Sales speaks of this, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

Therefore, let all scrupulous souls who worryingly wander the earth in search of perfection take up their daily crosses, look to heaven with hope, instill within themselves humility and patience, and one day attain everlasting happiness in heaven, where perfection and joy truly lies.

Lax Vs. Scrupulous - Part 1, Lax Souls - August 2016 Article 

The following article will be part one of a two part analogy of souls who are lax and souls who are scrupulous. These two topics are so essential to read about, because we can easily fall into either of these categories and often need some encouragement to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow.

In the modern world, there isn't anything easier than for the young soul to slip and become lax. In other words, we begin doing the bare minimum of our religion because we want to get to heaven while holding on to all the worldliness we can. We go to Mass on Sundays, go to confession indifferently here and there, maybe even mumble a few night prayers, but that's where our faith ends. After all, in this time in our lives the world is such a beautiful place and there are so many fantastic new opportunities for us that surely we don't have time to worry about the faith. Hopefully though the reader can take these points to heart and realize the Faith isn't meant to be a burden, but a way of life to assist us and fill us with light and peace.

The Faith is meant to build you up - Instead of seeing the Faith as some tedious burden that we have to put up with, let us realize that the Faith is like the framework of our lives meant to hold us up. Take a door as an example for life. We're always going through doors, always finding new things to do, and at this moment we think the Faith is just distracting us from entering into new doors, when in reality the Faith is the frame of these doors! If we live our faith properly, it will give us the strength to do all that God wants (and He absolutely wants us to live good, exciting lives), it will give us perseverance and peace if there's any suffering on the way, joy because we know that heaven is on our side, and all the other graces we need so that through this life we can get to eternal happiness! To me that doesn't sound like a burden at all, but rather a necessary help that we need. Let us then see the Faith as so much more than a burden.

God wants to give - So many times in our lives, especially as youth, we face roadblocks and get discouraged. Either school isn't going well for us, or we can't find a good job, or we can't figure out which path to take because no opportunities are presenting themselves. But did we ever think to turn to God? Sometimes when we pray we ask God for all the spiritual necessities, and neglect to mention the temporal ones. After all, who knows what God wants in that regard, so why ask at all! In fact at one point in my life I started praying simply for the graces I needed to do God's will and leaving out asking for specific temporal needs (like finding a specific job, etc.). As soon as I got down on my knees and laid out to heaven every detail of what I needed, my life fell into place. Our Lord wants to give us all the graces we ask for, but also desires that we humble ourselves and ask for the earthly things we need, because He desires so much to give them to us. And if it isn't His holy will, then He will make sure He gives us a different grace in return, for no prayer or plea is ever lost.

Don't fear God - There is finally the point of trusting God that needs to be covered, and sometimes it isn't easy for the reader to come to terms with this concept. If we place our trust in God, spiritually and temporally, everything falls into place. Of course we see souls who have this kind of faith and it truly inspires us! Yet so many souls consider themselves to be an exception. They can’t come to terms with placing their entire being into the hands of God. Perhaps they've had a difficult life and believe God wants them to simply accept the suffering and not assist in any way, or they have a cloudy conscience and deep down know they're in the wrong so they can't go to God for help, or they fear if they put their lives in God's hands that He'll take away all the fun and excitement out of it. But the reality is, no matter who you are or what you've done, God wills that you have a beautiful life. Of course, maybe He will shift a few things around if the life you're living isn't the best, but it's only because He wants your life to be even more joy filled! We can run away fearfully from God all we want in this life, but when He comes to judge us after we die, wouldn't it have been better if we would've simply trusted our Maker who knows our needs far better than we do, and then had led a peaceful life? Also if God does wills us to go through some suffering, let us not become discouraged at the idea of doing God’s will, but rather have faith that any evil allowed in our lives is only a means to a greater good, even in this life! Therefore, pray for trust and God will carry you to where you need to go the most.

And so my dear reader, if you find you can relate to this article in any way, do not be fearful . Rather look to heaven above you, see that you are infinitely loved by God, Our Lady, and all the angels and saints, and realize that they all want you to live the best life you can. So place your soul in the hands of God, I promise He will lead you to the joy you've always been looking for.

Points to Remember While Discerning - July 2016 Article 

A huge part of being a youth is discerning your vocation for the future. But this article isn't going to be your typical "signs you're definitely meant to be a nun or a priest," rather it'll be some points to keep in mind that people tend to forget. If you're interested in how to discern a vocation, there is a lot of fantastic material out there to help. But I find what I'm about to say is essential when considering the religious life.  These points are often overlooked because people young and old don’t realize their significance and end up hurting themselves while discerning instead of it being a beautiful experience. Take it from me, I spent six months in a Dominican convent and this is what I wish I knew. These points may seem irrelevant to you, but always keep them in mind because not only could they help you out in the future, but they may help someone you know who is having a rough time.               

 It's all right to not have a vocation to the religious life – During the discerning period it’s essential to remember this. Of course the religious life is beautiful and helps save souls, but always remember it’s all right to not have a vocation. So many people are torn after they try their vocation in the religious life and come back, because they tell themselves they're not "chosen." Of course it's a holy state to be a religious, but just because it's not for you doesn't make you less loved by God. No matter what you are, whether it be the Pope,  or a father, or a single person just trying to get to heaven, God meant  you to be in that state and it is there that you will glorify Him most.  It doesn't matter if the state is higher or lower, if God wants you there then you will be high in heaven for doing what He wanted. You aren’t saying no to God if being a religious isn’t your vocation. In fact, if you don’t have a vocation to the religious life but make yourself do it in order to be “chosen,” you will do less good than if you had followed God’s will. Of course it’s a great and honourable thing to have a religious vocation, but never forget that no matter where you are in life, if you’re sanctifying yourself and following what God desires, you will do the greatest amount of good in your lifetime.

 Don’t think you're not good enough if you're not “chosen” - So many souls become broken because they think since they aren't meant for the religious life, they aren't good enough in God’s eyes to be chosen. They think that maybe their past, or their sins, or even just their existence just doesn't cut it and they can't be ranked with the great "chosen" ones. But there's nothing further from the truth. Every soul is good enough for God. If God is capable of forgiving even the worst sins with the sacrament of penance, then why do we think that He doesn't think we're ever good enough? He gives us the grace to be good enough, let's accept such grace! As I said previously, it doesn't matter where you are in life. You are loved and wanted whatever your rank. After all, what was Our Lord when He was here on earth? He was a humble carpenter! He wasn’t a great earthly king. He wasn’t like the Jewish High Priest who dwelled in the Temple day and night. He was a humble and peaceful carpenter Who did what His Father wanted. Let Our Blessed Lord be a solid example to us.

Listen to your heart – It is important to distinguish between temptations and what’s deep within your heart when deciding your future. Of course feelings aren’t everything and we need to put our wills before our emotions, but if we find while we discern that our nature is pulling us towards a certain way of life, then we should follow it (of course with prayer and guidance from a priest). Always remember, Our Lord doesn’t want us to suffer through life. There will definitely be trials and tribulations on the way, but life as a whole shouldn’t be about barely being able to drag our cross to heaven because our state of life is so difficult for us. Analyze and get to know your own nature, your tendencies, your skills, and decide accordingly. Today, especially with traditional Catholic youth, we want so much to do God’s will that we end up over thinking and making poor decisions. When really, if we ask, God will always guide us with clarity and gentleness, providing the grace we need to see where our path leads.

In summary, dear reader, know that if you are discerning your vocation at this moment, that my prayers are with you. Life is beautiful, and no matter where God decides to put us, in the end He wants every single one of us to be with Him in the heights of heaven and enjoy the Beatific Vision. He doesn’t want us to suffer with scruples and worries, after all, worries are solely from the devil. He desires us to grow and decide where to go with peace and calmness, and experience life with Him by our side. 

The Spiritual Life of the Young - June 2016 Article 

How difficult it can be at times to figure out and master the spiritual life when we're so young. We pick up different theology books about it and tend to simply lose interest. The illuminative way, the dark night of the soul, ecstasies, what does this all mean? There's already so much going on in our heads, and the spiritual life can seem completely out of our reach. So what do we tend to do? Forget and give up. Therefore, here are some tips to follow that can make becoming perfect less of a mountain and more of a daily habit.

Don't Overthink – Reading the entire Summa Theologica and stressing over every single detail of the spiritual life isn't going to make us instant saints. If anything, it'll make us cold and overwhelmed. At the end of the day, God wants us to do our duty. In other words, keep doing what you do every day, and perfect it. St. John Eudes clarifies it for us, “Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make His spirit, His devotion, His affections, His desires and His disposition live and reign there. All our religious exercises should be directed to this end. It is the work which God has given us to do unceasingly.” Therefore, offer up your days to the heavens, do your best, practice virtue wherever you can. It's as simple as that! Our Lord doesn't want us to constantly be caught up in millions of devotions, in fact, a lot of times it can become a distraction. As St. Theresa of Avila once said, “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us!” If we find that our many devotions begin to overwhelm and distract us, let us simply step back, not worry about all the different complex aspects of our Faith, and live our daily lives well.

Spread Goodness - A really helpful concept to keep in mind during the day is to spread as much goodness as possible everywhere you go. Whether it be random acts of charity, doing your job particularly well, or saying little extra prayers, it makes all the difference. We don't always have to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to gain the graces we need. Our Lord sees that we're thinking about Him during the day and is infinitely happy. Always remember it's the little things we do during the day that will sanctify us and get us to heaven. Even the smallest word, or the smallest act of charity can gain us an abundance of grace. St. Anthony Mary Claret told us, “Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity - the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders.”

Don't Forget Your Devotions - A fantastic way to keep the spiritual life interesting is to have good solid devotions. Again, you don't have to walk around with thousands of saints’ medals on your neck. Pick a few saints to pray to and treat them like your best friends. And please don't forget your guardian angel as he's constantly by your side and has dedicated his existence to assisting and loving you. Therefore, use these dear friends of yours to keep you company and help you perfect your day. Another great method to help us feel the saints and angels are always with us is by meditating on them when we can. I don't mean a strict timed meditation with a book. I mean making up a sort of world in our head and imagining conversing with the heavenly beings we love. Not only does it keep us interested, but it gives us inspiration and actual grace. May I suggest my favourite saint to add to your devotions, St. Louis de Montfort. I shall be writing about him in the future. A well-renowned priest wrote that if you start a devotion to him he will soon become your favourite saint, because it's happened to every single soul that has loved him.

Surround Yourself with Good Things - Finally, surround yourself with good things in order to make your life as beautiful as you can. For example, surround yourself with good supportive friends instead of people who drag you down. God doesn't want us to have a miserable life with continuous suffering and pain. Rather He wants our lives to be filled with the beauty He Himself created and offer up sacrifice when the time comes. Life is meant to be enjoyed, especially with the youth. If God didn't want us to surround ourselves with goodness, He wouldn't have made our environment so beautiful for example. As we live our lives, let's be assured to fill our lives with happiness and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.

Therefore young readers, let’s not overthink about living a holy life in the modern world. Take one day at a time, use each moment for an opportunity for grace, and sanctify your souls as you go. Our Lord never wanted religion to become a burden. Rather He wanted it to be a structure for us to follow so that we can live life to the fullest and do so with peace and joy.
Words for the Youth - May 2016 Article

My name is Alexandra Reis, and I’m a 20 year old girl living in Ontario, Canada. For many years I’ve listened to tradition Catholic talks, read Catholic articles, heard fantastic sermons, but somehow I felt there was something that could add to all this. A voice was missing, a young voice crying out in the wilderness for their fellow young souls, calling them and helping them to eternal salvation.
So many young Catholics flood the Latin Mass chapels, try to find sanctification in the 21st century, and yet they don’t always have someone to listen and understand their lives while relating to them. It isn’t easy when those who are older seem to have a deep knowledge of theology and the crisis in the Church, while those our own age are only taking selfies, surfing Instagram, or trying to pull off man buns. We need someone to give them advice about how to get to heaven, to write and talk about what they need. This greatly inspires me, after all, I’m right here in their shoes. Perhaps then we need young writers to stand up and speak to the youth about the important aspects in their lives.
Living a good Catholic life these days is far from easy, especially for the young. With headphones on our ears, screens on our eyes, phones in our hands, the modern world infusing words into our minds, focusing on the spiritual life and the things of God can be a great struggle. Not only are our surroundings distracting, but at this very important time in life, discerning a vocation can be even more difficult. The battle to figure out what our future is going to look like can sometimes turn from what is meant to be a great adventure, to a confusing nightmare. It can even make us go astray since the fight is so fierce. Having a balance of living a good, yet fun and exciting life, all with following the will of God can weigh down on us at times, and discourage us to hold onto our beloved traditional Catholic Faith. This is why the young people need concerned writers who are walking the narrow path with them to guide and support their journey to heaven. We need to hear from our friends, from the older generations, even from our own souls the way of God in our modern world.
Therefore I hope in these series of articles to cover what we need to hear as youths. The beginning foundation to be for our souls, the virtues we need to work on especially in our age, prayers, devotions, and stories of relatable saints that we can follow. A very important spirituality that I stand by is to stress the gentleness of God, and great love He has towards us. Of course there is an importance in speaking of hell, judgment and the like, but when speaking about spirituality in our time, the virtues of kindness, humility, and joy through all every day sufferings must be greatly focused on as well. Especially with the rise of depression, anxiety, and other mental challenges Catholics tend to not talk about, these virtues if built up in the spiritual life, can definitely improve our minds and souls. After all, we’re young, we focus and are attracted to the bright side of things, so why not talk about how incredibly bright and amazing God is. 
No matter how dark our lives get, Our Blessed Lord will be up there in Paradise helping us along the way. No matter how bad the world gets, or how many souls refuse to love Him, He will never cease to be great. As C.S. Lewis once pointed out, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling ‘darkness’ on the wall of his cell.”
Another series of topics will relate to what is around us, being our friends, our activities, our modesty, the things we watch, what we listen to and so on. The young reader may suddenly want to stop reading this article, since it’s very difficult to touch on the subjects most dear to their hearts. They can fear, in a way, that when they truly and deeply apply themselves to the Faith, they will have to give up all the pleasures in life and take a dull dreary way to heaven. And though it is very true that Our Lord taught us we are not of this world, we have to be assured that following the way of Jesus won’t dull our lives, rather it will make it infinitely better. Simple guidelines of God’s rules and will can help us examine our consciences and apply the Faith to our exciting young lives. 
Finally there is nothing more important for the young people to figure out their futures and follow the path of God. How can you tell if you have a vocation? What do you do when you come back from the convent or monastery? Is it God’s will that I simply get married or stay single? All important questions we ask, since the discernment period can be a difficult, even painful journey. But from one who spent six months in a Dominican convent and decided it wasn’t for her, I assure you it isn’t as painful as it seems. In fact it’s a beautiful journey of learning who you are and what your soul is destined for. All good points I wish to cover in the near future.
Therefore, let us all take a journey with Our Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved Mother Mary, a journey filled with joy, peace, and hope for the future. For the future will one day become eternity, and our lives will be revealed to the entire human race. If we follow God’s will faithfully, we will find the happiness we’ve been searching for in our modern world, and as St. Catherine of Sienna says, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!”