Articles of the Month
Is your life truly reflecting the teachings of the Catholic Church?
Many people, especially single Catholics, say that they are Catholic but are living lives which are just the opposite of being a Catholic. When one looks at what most single Catholics are doing nowadays--premarital sex, having many children out of wedlock, co-habitation with one's boyfriend or girlfriend, disrespecting one's parents, viewing pornography, participating in contraception, etc.--one really wonders what they are talking about when they refer to themselves as being Catholic. In order to call oneself a Catholic, one must be willing to do everything that the Catholic Church teaches, now and always. The laws of the Catholic Church are not there just for senior citizens or the elderly. They are there for everyone who calls themselves Catholic.
One should ask themselves frequently, "Is my life reflecting the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Bible or am I just being a Catholic in name only?" Being a Catholic means taking everything that the Church teaches seriously. "Cafeteria Catholics", as they are called, are those that pick and choose the things that they like and tend to ignore those teachings that they do not want to adhere to. Are you a true Catholic, a "Cafeteria Catholic", one that is lukewarm, or one that just does not care what the Catholic Church or Jesus teaches? Jesus Himself warns that He will condemn those who are lukewarm, those that do not adhere fully to His teachings and therefore, to His Church's teachings.
There is no such thing as being a Catholic and following a perpetual life of sin, or going through life never going to Confession, Mass or receiving Holy Communion. If that is the case in your life, you need to change ASAP now while you are still on this earth because if one dies in unrepentant sin, there is a real chance that one will be sent to Hell, not Purgatory. Purgatory is only for those that have venial (lessor) sins, not mortal sins. Those with mortal sin at the end of their life are in real danger of eternal damnation. There is nothing on this earth that should be more important than God or than Our Lord Jesus or the life of your soul. Making sure you go to Heaven should be the #1 priority in your life, not money, not material possessions, not large houses, not grandiose vehicles because you cannot take any of that with you. The only thing that you will take with you is your soul--absolutely nothing else. Following Jesus means "Being perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect." Therefore, it means that true Catholics should live a perfect life!
So, what do you do when you decide that you will change your life? The most important thing to do is to go to Confession to get rid of all of those venial and terrible, grave, mortal sins. It's the first thing to do because in order to be reconciled with Our Almighty Father and with Jesus again, one must humble themselves, expiate all of their sins and receive absolution by a Catholic priest. It's not enough to confess your sins to Jesus by yourself. The Church teaches that Confession must be with a Catholic priest in order to receive absolution. One cannot absolve themselves from sins. The priest takes on the real presence of Jesus in the Confession and it is to Jesus, not the priest, that you are confessing your sins to. And, when you are done, the priest absolves you in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The next step is to attend Catholic Mass once a week, either on Saturday evening or Sunday. Attending Mass is an every-week obligation for all Catholics, not a choice. Many families say, "Well, I don't want to go to Mass this week" or I'll go next week, not today." They act like it's going to the mall down the street, like going to Mass is just another "option". Well, the truth is that it is not an option, it's mandatory. The only time a person is excused from going to Mass is when they are really sick or ill, like having a debilitating flu or cold, recovering from surgery, being truly disabled that you do not have someone that can transport you to Mass, etc.
The next step is to receive the Eucharist every week as well without fail. If Catholics do not receive Holy Communion every week, they are not nourishing their souls as they should. Every Catholic needs to feed and nourish their souls because one receives the Body and Blood of Jesus and therefore receive many graces through the reception of the Eucharist. Jesus Himself promises that if one receives His Body and Blood frequently, they will receive eternal salvation at the end of their lives but one must be truly following the teachings of the Catholic Church also.
So, from now on, frequently ask yourself, "Am I doing everything that I should be doing to be a true Catholic and follower of Jesus Christ? Am I making sure that my soul will go to Heaven at the end of my life? Is my life reflecting what it means to be a true Catholic in today's world?" If any of your answers to those three questions are "No", then you have a lot of work to do on yourself, starting today! May God bless you and your loved ones, and help you to know what it truly means to be a Catholic in this world and give you the courage to change your life now while you still can.
I have a job on Sundays. Am I committing a sin when I work on Sundays?
The real truth is that whenever we do not observe the Sabbath day, which is on Sunday, and decide to work instead, we are committing a mortal sin. Many times, those who do not go to Church on Sundays and instead go to work are committing a mortal sin. It's that simple. Sure, you may be saying, "Well, I have to support my family and I have to work." The answer for that is that perhaps you can speak to your employer and find out if you could work another day instead of Sundays. Many employers accept other's religious freedoms and traditions and will understand when one says that it is against one's religion to work on certain days. And yet, there are other employers who could really care less what your beliefs are. A catholic person must weigh the situation and decide which is of greater value--work or God's Commandments. Of course, God will allow one to have free will to decide whichever way they choose, but ultimately many will pay the ultimate price of having to suffer in the afterlife. So, we really do not have a choice if we want to live out our lives with Our Almighty Father on our side and if we want to go to Heaven. The choice should always be for God!
If a person finds themselves in a no win situation where their employer is demanding that they work on Sundays, the catholic person can also find another job which is more flexible on the working days. If one is continually working Sundays and cannot go to Church, it is imperative that they try to resolve the situation by finding another job or other source of income which would not offend God. It is imperative that we do not go against Our Almighty Father in any way. Our lives depend on it. If a person should want to have more advice from a priest, they should make an appointment to see a priest as soon as possible so that he can advise you on what you could do to fulfill your Mass obligation and on what you should do with your employer and to go to confession to confess one's mortal sins of going to work on Sunday.
Whenever we choose God first, He will truly bless us all of our lives. Although we do what God expects of us, that doesn't mean to say that we will forever be without trials, problems and tribulations. It just means that we can hope to see God at the end of our lives which is what our true hope should be. Our Lord Jesus reminds us that when we follow Him and Our Heavenly Father, we will be truly rewarded with Heaven. Even Our Blessed Mother tells us that She will take us to Heaven when we say the Rosary every day. We know that They will keep their promises of Heaven if we keep their Commandments.
May God keep you with Him always. Do everything you need to do to enjoy heavenly paradise in the future.