Catholic Family News Articles

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!”