Articles of the Month
Why is it important to pray for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in Purgatory?
Catholics should pray for the conversion of sinners because we all need prayers. None of us are saints, yet. Although there may be Catholics who are living their lives so that they may become eventual saints in Heaven, there are those Catholics who could really care less about the way they live their lives and do not acknowledge that they need to take care of their souls. It is an act of mercy toward others to pray for sinners because Our Lord said to St. Faustina, in the Divine Mercy, that whenever we pray for others we are asking for mercy for others and in this way, Jesus and Our Heavenly Father will have mercy on us. Jesus also said, "Blessed are the merciful. Mercy shall be theirs". Since some sinners are ignorant of the condition of their own souls and are not concerned with their own salvation, Our Blessed Mother has asked that people pray the Rosary so that sinners may amend their lives, be converted back to the Catholic faith, begin to acknowledge their dependence on God and return to the Sacraments.
The Rosary is the best form of daily prayer because Our Blessed Mother has specifically asked all people to pray the Rosary every day. The Holy Rosary was given to us by Our Blessed Mother Herself. In a vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Blessed Mother was shown holding a Rosary in one hand and a Brown Scapular in the other hand. These are the two ways that souls can acquire salvation. Why is that so? It is because Our Blessed Mother has promised salvation Herself if we all pray the daily Rosary and faithfully wear the Brown Scapular everyday for the rest of our lives. There are 15 promises that Our Lady has promised to those who faithfully pray the Rosary every day and on the Brown Scapular, it says "Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire". These are Our Blessed Mother's promises and all Catholics, especially single Catholics, need to be aware of these saving graces that Our Blessed Mother has personally given to humanity for the sole purpose to acquire eternal salvation.
Although Our Lady has given us these heavenly tools for salvation, Catholics cannot use these as substitutes in place of fulfilling their duty of going to weekly Mass, going to confession and receiving Holy Communion and the Sacraments. The Rosary and the Brown Scapular are to be used in conjunction with going to confession, attending Mass, receiving Holy Eucharist and obtaining the Sacraments. When we pray for the conversion of sinners, we are praying not only for people we do not know, we may also be praying for our family, friends, relatives and acquaintances we do know.
It is also important to pray for the holy souls in Purgatory because they do not have the benefit of being able to pray for themselves. Once a person dies, they are at God's mercy and judgment. Souls who are in Purgatory are those that did not die with serious mortal sins on their souls. Souls who are in Purgatory may have committed repetitive venial (lessor) sins which will not condemn them to Hell but will need to be purged before they will be permitted to go to Heaven. Most Catholics do not realized that serious mortal sins are what is reponsible for sending people to Hell. As Our Lady has stated, "More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than any other sins around." It has been said that even one mortal sin is sufficient for a person to go to Hell. So, Catholics need to make sure that they are always in the state of grace because we never know when our time is up on this earth. What are mortal sins? They are sins that are committed against the Ten Commandments. If Catholics are not familiar with the Ten Commandments, it would be to their benefit that they research what they are and make the commitment not to go against them.
Praying for the souls in Purgatory is also one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy which is what Catholics were taught to practice when they received instruction for their First Holy Communion. It states that we must pray for the living and the dead. Again, when we pray for the souls in Purgatory, we may specifically ask for prayers to not only be directed for souls that we do not know, but also for the souls of family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. We should also pray for those souls who are forgotten by family and friends or who do not have anyone to pray for them.
It is our hope that all Catholics, especially single Catholics, will not forget to pray for the constant conversion of sinners and for the souls in Purgatory whenever they pray. We also ask that all Catholics, especially single Catholics, pray the Holy Rosary every day not only for their own souls but also for others and for peace in the world. May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones as you go through this life. Please make sure that you and your family and friends are living with the determination to go to Heaven every day.
The Problem of Pornography and other Addictions
Many Catholics think that people who are involved in pornography and other addictions are only those secular people who do not have a religion but the fact is that there may be some practicing Catholics and non-practicing Catholics who also may have addictions as well. While some addictions such as smoking, drinking or sexual addictions may be very visible problems, the addiction of pornography is a "secret problem" that may be easy to hide. Some people may or may not realize that they even have a problem. For example, there may be a non-practicing Catholic who has an addiction to pornography or other sexual addictions (which some men may think is a normal "male trait") but the fact is that pornography and sexual addictions are very real addictions and go against the 10 Commandments, are very serious mortal sins and are one of the 7 capital sins of lust which can lead a soul to eternal damnation.
Pornography and sexual addictions are not only "male problems" these days. There may also be women who look at male pornography too and are involved in sexual addictions as well. Pornography and other addictions, as a whole, are very insidious problems and they are a real problem for many people, even Catholics. For some people, pornography and other addictions may have been introduced to them through their "buddies" or "party friends". Others may have been exposed to them through some other figures in their life while they were still young. Whatever the initial introduction to these addiction was, it nevertheless causes a real deterioration of the sanctity of the person and may even contribute to the slow deterioration of the person's family life and relationships. It can also cause a deterioration in the life of the person's soul.
Male and female single Catholics can be particularly susceptible to the temptation of participating in addictions since many may have the misconception that "it is okay to do because perhaps other single people are probably doing these things too" and because they may feel alone. The simple fact is that the only way to rid oneself or someone you may know from this problem is to realize yourself or help the person realize that this problem is indeed an addiction that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. It is important that the person, who has the addiction, goes to see a professional, Catholic cognitive/behavioral psychotherapist (www.CatholicTherapists.com) and perhaps even regularly attend a 12-step addiction program (these addiction programs may also be good for any other addictions as well).
It is also important that the person who has the problem with these addictions realize that they should go to confession and talk with a Catholic priest to confess their sins and find out how they can also deal with this problem while making the determination to return to following their Catholic faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops website (www.USCCB.org) has articles which can be helpful for Catholics who are facing problems with any addiction and there are also some Catholic self-help books(www.ignatius.com) which can also help as well.
It is important that the person who is facing an addiction problem seek professional help and continue with their Catholic faith because it is through their faith in Our Almighty Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Mother, St. Michael, the Holy Angels and in the saints that many people can overcome this problem. With faith and professional help, anything can be overcome. Someone may be asking, "How can I change my habits daily?" One way that people can change daily is by practicing good works on a daily basis. Just like a person who wants to lose weight must eat healthy one day at a time, it is the same with overcoming sinful habits--one must practice good works and virtue every day and make it a good habit. After a while, when one practices good works and virtue every day, these good actions begin to become part of your everyday life and will eventually become part of your personality.
Everyone must know that whatever problems they may have, each one is a child of God and that Our Heavely Father, Our Lord Jesus, Our Blessed Mother, the angels and saints love us very much. After all, Jesus died for us so that shows that we are very important to Him. Therefore, Catholics must do their part to show Our Lord Jesus that we love him by seeking help for their problems and return to their Catholic faith and put Him first in their lives.