YOU CAN DO THIS!

I came upon this card above from one of the suppliers to our Web Store and thought it was worth sharing. While making your days "the best they can be" is not always easy by any means, these 18 points, reprinted below, can bring you closer to God, and hopefully, your families and neighbors as well! 

1. Begin each day with a good morning Lord and what Can I do for you? Talk to him.

2. Do not give up your good Christian faith. Let no one mislead you.

3. A good attitude is another gift from God.

4. Let us be remembered for the good we have done in our life, and not for what we have.

5. Great words are no match for great deeds.

6. Be kind to all, even the unkind.

7. When you give to others, do not look for rewards or praise.

8. The most important thing to save in this life is your soul.

9. A job well planned is a job half done.

10. Stay away from drugs, smoking and alcohol, they can ruin your life.

11. Do not judge others, you are not in their shoes.

12. When people hurt you, you must forgive, this will be hard to do. When you hurt people, you must ask for forgiveness, this will be harder.

13. All those who say the Rosary daily, God's Blessed Mother promises to aid in the necessities.

14. In this world, we have gives and takers, which are you?

15. What you eat, what you see and read is what you are.

16. God favors those who seek him. Ask a lot, but think carefully what you ask for, you may get it.

17. Some of the world's greatest sinners have become some of the world's greatest Saints.

18. At the end of the day, do not forget to thank the Lord.

This card can be purchased from this site.These points are all pretty straightforward, but I just want to add a few thoughts and scriptural references that come to mind. 

Regarding the first point ["Begin each day with a good morning Lord and what Can I do for you? Talk to him."], remember there's nothing wrong with speaking to our Lord in your own words. That's an important component of mental prayer as discussed here. But don't forget to start out with a Morning Offering, especially if you feel tongue-tied.

Point #2 ["Do not give up your good Christian faith. Let no one mislead you."] is especially relevant these days. In our society saturated with secularism and moral relativism, following our faith is becoming more and more difficult and challenging, and it's not going to get any easier anytime soon!

We are very much in a time frame St. Paul spoke of in his second letter to Timothy: "For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3).

With so many competing philosophies, religions, sects, and even cults out there nowadays, to say nothing of the deceptive allure of atheism, you might find yourself tempted to go an easier way than that of the Cross. Our Lord never said following him would be all sunshine and rainbows, but He does give us the graces we need from Him when the road to Heaven often seems to go through Calvary.

Some good remedies for doubts when you feel overwhelmed these days (as most of us do in one way or another) include:

  • Prayer
  • Partaking of the The Sacraments of the Eucharist (at Mass) and Penance, (In Confession) and, last but not least:
  • Reading Scripture the Catechism and good books about our faith as well. 

On Point #4 ["Let us be remembered for the good we have done in our life, and not for what we have."] I'm reminded of a great saying: "Shrouds have no pockets". Contrary to popular opinion he who dies with the most toys does not win!

There are several Gospel references that back this up, such as the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21). Other passages, point to stewardship as the key as to how God will judge those who were talented enough or privileged enough (as through inheritance) to acquire great wealth. The Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30) is one such Gospel.

Our Lord also once noted that "Of everyone to whom much has been given much will be required; and of him to whom they have entrusted much, they will demand the more" (Luke 12:48). He will likely ask each of us in our Judgment: How generous were you with your resources in helping others, particularly those less fortunate?

Point #5 ["Great words are no match for great deeds."] ties in nicely with the well-known passage from the letter of St. James (James 2:14-26) which concludes thus: "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith also without works is dead (James 2:26)."

Note also that, in the spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux "The Little Flower"'s Little Way, your "great deeds" can be even those little things done out of kindness and obedience for the glory of God!  

There's a great Gospel we read on Ash Wednesday, from the Sermon on the Mount, that fits well with Point #7 ["When you give to others, do not look for rewards or praise."]: “Pay attention, lest you perform your justice before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you shall not have a reward with your Father, who is in heaven. Therefore, when you give alms, do not choose to sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the towns, so that they may be honored by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you" (Matt 6:1-6).

Point #8 ["The most important thing to save in this life is your soul."] brings to mind a valuable consideration very easily lost these days when people are either indifferent about the prospect of their salvation or, perhaps worse, just take it for granted!

Jesus warns us many times in the Gospels that we can indeed lose our souls to the Devil and his minions in Hell for eternity! As our Lord Himself said famously "For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?" (Matt 16:26).

Never forget your soul is valuable real estate and, as Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, at the end of your life, either Christ or Satan will say "You're mine!" But the Good News is the God is ready and willing to help you avoid damnation so you may share His love and goodness for Eternity but He wants you to "ask, seek, and knock" (Matt 7:7) for His help.

You weren't meant to be saved just by your efforts alone! God wishes to steer you through the pitfalls of this life but He won't do so without your assent. As Mother Theresa used to say "Give God Permission".

On Point #9 ["A job well planned is a job half done."], I don't think this is meant to discourage you from planning properly, but rather not to be, in effect "all talk and no action" (much as in point #5).

While you might think that Point #10 ["Stay away from drugs, smoking and alcohol, they can ruin your life."] goes a little too far in terms of alcohol, I don't think the anonymous author is talking about an occasional glass of beer or wine in moderation. But today we live in a society saturated with drugs both legal and illegal. People even refer to "recreational" drug use!

While this is not the place to debate the pros and cons of, say, the legalization of marijuana or perhaps harder drugs, society pays a terrible cost when everyone's on something. Addictions, whether to drugs, booze, or cigarettes do indeed ruin lives and families. The church's spells out its position on this subject in this Catechism entry (CCC 2288-2291).

Point #11 ["Do not judge others, you are not in their shoes."] brings to mind another famous quote from the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus says "Judge not, that you may not be judged" (Matt 7:1). We tend to think of our own sins as strictly venial at best while judging others' sins as mortal for sure! Finger pointing and malicious gossip are well established plagues of humanity. Yet we really know very little about each other when you get right down to it!

However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't be discerning about others' behavior. While we're all sinners, keep in mind that some friendships or acquaintanceships can be spiritually toxic. As St. Paul once said "evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor 15:33).

If your son or daughter started hanging out with gang members, for example, you'd be right to be concerned and to steer them away from such company.  Likewise, if you discovered you were an alcoholic, your "drinking buddies" would probably have to carry on without you (in more ways than one, no doubt).

This doesn't mean that you should lose sight of your own sinful inclinations, however. Think of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (found in Luke 18:9-14) in this regard. And it's important to pray and fast for those around us we see caught up in gravely sinful behavior. They could easily be you after all. Never take your own salvation or spiritual progress for granted!

Regarding Point #12 ["When people hurt you, you must forgive, this will be hard to do. When you hurt people, you must ask for forgiveness, this will be harder."] Jesus stresses the need for us to be forgiving a number of times in the Gospels (as in Matt 6:14-15 and 18:21-22), as does St. Paul (as in Col 3:13 and Eph 4:31-32). As the anonymous author of this card points out, however asking for forgiveness is harder. That requires great humility, which seems like such a rare commodity these days!

I have always found this particular line from the Gospels most challenging: "Therefore, if you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there, before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to your brother, and then you may approach and offer your gift." This doesn't just apply to a particular religious situation. How many of us try to truly reconcile with our neighbor when we've wronged them or when they think we have? 

On Point #13, ["All those who say the Rosary daily, God's Blessed mother promises to aid in the necessities."], the Rosary is indeed powerful against sin and Satan. St. Padre Pio once referred to it as "my weapon". He said once that we "should pray the rosary frequently. It costs so little, and it's worth so much!"

This link provides more valuable information on the Rosary. This essential prayer is not just for old ladies wearing mantillas (not that there's anything wrong with their prayers)! Our Blessed Mother Mary herself made these promises to those who faithfully pray the Rosary.  

The 17th point ["Some of the world's greatest sinners have become some of the world's greatest Saints."] reminds me of a great quote from St. Jean-Marie Vianney. He once said “The saints have not all started well, but they have all finished well." Think of St. Augustine in this regard. He was quite a playboy in his early years, and yet he became Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, and is known today as one of the preeminent Doctors of the Church!

Remember, in all of this, that as our Lord once said "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Nothing much that can get us into heaven, in any case! These points can be challenging, but God can help make them easier to follow. Don't try to go it alone without Him in your Spiritual Journey, especially in these trying times! You weren't meant to! 

Christopher Castagnoli
for www.ourcatholicprayers.com


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