Unikite-Moss Agate Rosary

My parish has started a new fundraiser, a hoedown, to raise money to send our youth to the March for Life.  I provided a rosary as one of the prizes they give away.

Uniket-Moss Agate Rosary

Published in: on October 18, 2017 at 15:41  Leave a Comment  

Quotations about the Rosary

“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.”
–Pope Pius XI

“Go to the Madonna. Love her! Always say the Rosary. Say it well. Say it as often as you can! Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!”
–Saint Padre Pio

“Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.”
–Saint Padre Pio

Published in: on October 8, 2017 at 01:14  Leave a Comment  
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October 7 – Our Lady of the Rosary

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary exists because of the famous Battle of Lepanto.  In this battle, where Europe’s Catholics were outnumbered by the muslim Turks, Pope Pius V called for everyone to pray the rosary for victory, and we did, in fact, win.  The feast was first called Our Lady of Victory but changed in the 20th century to Our Lady of the Rosary, as Our Lady of Fatima referred to herself.  H. W. Crocker III penned a good story about the battle in Crisis Magazine.  Let this be a reminder of the power of the Rosary!

Battle of Lepanto.

How to Understand the Once for All Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

One perfect sacrifice for all people and for all time—past, present, and future. This sacrifice is not stuck in history, though, because Jesus created a New Covenant into which all people who wish to be His disciples must enter.

What did people in that ancient culture do to enter into a covenant? The two parties would sacrifice, say, a lamb, cook it, and share a meal, that is, eat the lamb. Once the two parties ate together, they had entered into a covenant. This was something greater than a contract. This bound the people as brothers.

To enter into this New Covenant, a person MUST eat the Lamb sacrificed for this purpose. If you do not share in the sacrificial meal, you do not enter into any covenant.

Jesus Himself is the sacrificial lamb, the spotless Lamb of God, which you MUST eat:

— “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”
— “Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.”

This is why the holy Eucharist is, indeed, the real body and blood of Jesus. You must eat the sacrificial Lamb in order to enter into the New Covenant with God. This is why Jesus established the Catholic Church. Only priests can offer sacrifice. That is their primary duty, Old Covenant and New, pagans and Christians. The priest offers sacrifice. That’s why we call mass “the holy sacrifice of the mass.” When the priest pronounces the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, it is made present to us, we are there! What on earth are you talking about, Michael?

Recall the original Passover. That was when God was sending plagues on Egypt so that Pharaoh would free His people, who were enslaved in Egypt. The last plague was the death of the first born of each person and animal. However, each family of the Hebrews was to sacrifice a spotless lamb, put its blood around the door, roast it, and eat it. (Notice, a covenant is being made here between God and His people.) The spirit of death would “pass over” the doors with blood.

God instructed Moses to have His people eat a Passover meal annually “in memory of” that first Passover. What did that mean to them? In that time, in that culture, what did it mean? When eating the annual Passover meal “in memory of” that first Passover, they did not simply recall what happened. It made that event present to them. They are there. Even today, at Passover, the words are in the present tense.

It is the same at mass because it comes from the same people and culture and time. It has the same meaning. When Jesus said to “do this in memory of me,” He was giving new instructions for the Passover (which is what the Last Supper was), which He was fulfilling or transforming at that moment.

When we attend mass, we are present at the Last Supper, we are present at Calvary, we eat the sacrificial meal, which is the spotless Lamb of God. You renew the New Covenant between you and God every time you receive communion because you are eating the real sacrificial Lamb.

This is the once for all sacrifice of Jesus: the perfect sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God, which continues for all time, in order to have a REAL sacrificial meal, without which, nobody can enter into the New Covenant with God. The holy Eucharist (communion) at mass can not be just a symbol or a sign or a recollection of what happened 2,000 years ago. If it were, it would be impossible to enter into a covenant with God because there would be no sacrificial meal to eat. And that is necessary.

Jesus said, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you” and “take, eat, this is my body.” He meant both literally. Please, believe in these words of Jesus.

Published in: on April 22, 2017 at 00:38  Leave a Comment  
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Olive Wood Crucifix-4 Bottles from Holy Land

I have added a new item to the Religious Articles section of my web store at MichaelsRosaries.com.  Made by Catholics in Bethlehem, it is an olive wood crucifix that comes with four bottles containing holy water, incense, olive oil, and earth from the Holy Land.  The items come in a box as pictured.  I have only one in stock.

CX 4 Bottle Set 1

Published in: on August 11, 2016 at 23:19  Leave a Comment  

Olive Wood Candlestick from Bethlehem

I purchased a few items from a Catholic in Bethlehem.  I am adding them to the new Religious Articles section of my web store.  This Candlestick has the most impressive spiral cut.  It is 6 inches tall and holds candles with a 1/2 inch diameter.  I only have two.  Click here to see it in the web store.

Candlestick 1

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 22:49  Leave a Comment  

Olive Wood Rosary Box from Bethlehem

I purchased a few items from a Catholic in Bethlehem.  I am adding them to the new Religious Articles section of my web store.  This Rosary Box is nice and large.  It could be used to hold other items, too.  As I mention in the description, the largest rosary I have ever made (pictured) fits in it easily.  I only have two.  Could you use an olive wood box from the Holy Land, or would it make a good gift for a loved one?  Click here to see it in the web store.

Rosary Box Interior Corner Open

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 22:28  Leave a Comment  
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Recommendation-Diary of Saint Faustina

I am currently reading the Diary of Saint Faustina.  I am about halfway through the book at this point.  It is such an incredibly moving book.  This would be a book I recommend to ALL people–Catholic, protestant, agnostic, it doesn’t matter.

Sister Faustina was a Polish nun.  She had visions of Jesus and His mother.  She was directed to keep a diary and write about her visions.  To be honest, I can’t help but realize how lacking I am in sanctity when I read about her devotion to Jesus and His mercy.  As I said, it is moving, and there are parts that make my eyes well up with tears.  I was reading it to my mother before she died (unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish it with her), and there were times when she would tell me to stop because it would be too much for her emotionally.

It is through Sister Faustina that we received the image of the Divine Mercy, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and it is by direction of Jesus, through Sister Faustina, that we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday one week after Easter.

If you don’t already own a copy of The Diary of Saint Faustina, you can get one here via my book recommendation page on Amazon.  It’s just a little over $6, and you can hardly spend such a small amount of money in any better way.  Books by saints–I love them.  And this one ranks at the top of the list.

Published in: on July 31, 2016 at 14:45  Leave a Comment  

New Pocket Rosaries

I have made three new pocket rosaries as custom orders.  A pocket rosary is a one decade rosary with a medal at one end and a crucifix at the other.  It takes up little space and can be stored in the glove compartment of your car, in your desk drawer, or, as the name suggests, carried in your pocket.  One pocket rosary is made with red coral beads, one is made with dark blue lapis lazuli, and the third is made with Tibetan agate.  Each have a sterling silver medal and crucifix.

Published in: on July 31, 2016 at 14:20  Leave a Comment  

The Joy of Confession

Confession is a joyous occasion, not one of fear and anxiety. How did Jesus describe confession? First, let me say what confession is. It is when a person realizes he has sinned against God and that his sin has separated him from God. With genuine sorrow for having offended his heavenly Father, the only One who loves him perfectly and infinitely, he desires to be reconciled with Him, and so he humbly approaches God seeking forgiveness.

Jesus describes this as a joyous occasion. In Luke 10:7 & 10, He says this:
7 “I tell you…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

10 “I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

And we can’t forget the parable of the prodigal son. (Or should it be called the parable of the merciful father? Oh, wait. Spoilers.) This is where Jesus describes our heavenly Father’s reaction to our repentance.

If you recall, the younger son of two asks his father for his share of the inheritance, which in that time and culture is tantamount to saying “I wish you were dead,” not to mention that the inheritance normally goes to the oldest son, not to any younger ones, which means he really has no right to anything. However, his father loves him and gives him a share, and the son goes off and squanders it all away living it up. Then hard times arise, the son has nothing left, and he ends up hiring himself out to slop pigs. Another cultural note:  to Jews, pigs are unclean animals. He’s defiled himself by taking this job. He has little to eat and sees that the pigs have it better than he does. So he decides he will go home, tell his father he’s sinned against him and God, and ask to be hired as a servant.

Well, what happens? When the son approaches home, his father sees him in the distance, and runs out to greet him. His father is overjoyed! His son has come home! The son starts to say what he has rehearsed: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21) That’s all he had a chance to say. He admitted his sin, and BAM! all was instantly forgiven. In fact, his father had really forgiven him beforehand, he simply waited for his son to return. (This is repentance: turning away from sin and to God.)

Then we read the father’s instructions to his servants: “‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.”

So let’s boil it down: the son goes off and leads a sinful lifestyle. He regrets his sins. He goes home. Father is waiting for him and joyously welcomes him home, nary a word is said about what the son did; he is forgiven, and all is forgotten! Then they celebrated!

This is confession. Person sins. Person is genuinely sorry (a penitent). Person goes and confesses sins. BAM! He is forgiven. Heaven celebrates! This is why confession is a joyful occasion. Sure…we hardly like to admit to ourselves that what we’ve done is wrong much less go and actually tell someone else. But that is how we are reconciled to our heavenly Father who, as represented by the father in the parable, is keenly awaiting our return. You’re already forgiven. If you just come and seek the mercy of God, you will get it in abundance!

You might ask, why do I need to confess to a priest? Well, when Jesus built His Church on Peter and the apostles, that’s how he set it up. In John 20:21-23, Jesus tells His apostles He is sending them as the Father had sent Him. He breathes on them, telling them, “receive the Holy Spirit.” And then Jesus shares with these men whom He has ordained the power to forgive sins on God’s behalf, saying: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Well, how can the apostles forgive sins unless they know what they are? Unless they see the person is actually repentant? Simple. They hear the person confess his sins. But it’s not only the apostles that can forgive sins. That would mean Jesus’ Church is very limited, to only 12 men who died off in the first century. No, when the apostles traveled and set up local churches, they ordained bishops and priests. Jesus had empowered the apostles, and, by the laying on of hands, the apostles empowered (ordained) certain men with the same abilities, e.g. the power to forgive sins on God’s behalf. In this way, Jesus’ Church (with its mission of teaching, baptizing, mercy, and forgiveness) will continue until Jesus returns.

So, if you haven’t been to confession (a.k.a. the sacrament of reconciliation) in a long time, get the celebration in heaven started! Reflect. Find an “examination of conscience” online to help you. In all humility, realizing you’ve offended the One who created you and loves you and wants you to come home, go to your local parish, and confess. Don’t know where to go? Check MassTimes.org or your telephone book for Catholic parishes in or near your address or town.

God gave His Church the mission to reconcile sinners to Him. Make Jesus happy. Seek His unending mercy. There is no sin you’ve committed greater than the mercy of God. Never think that. God is greater than you are. He’s waiting for you. Go find one of His priests and get reconciled to Him.

An excerpt from Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 5:17-20
“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:  the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Humble Yourself Before God. God Humbled Himself Before You.

I’m doing the consecration to Jesus through Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort again this year, and I had an inspiration to write the following.

Man is dust.  Though we should be humble and obedient to our superiors, how difficult we find that task.  Why is obedience so difficult?  Why do we bristle at obedience?  If we can’t humble ourselves to our human superiors and obey them–parents, bosses, or any other, how much more difficult will it be to humble ourselves completely to God and obey His commands–all of them?

Did He not humble Himself to His own creation?  Did He not subject Himself to dust, allowing His creatures to beat Him, mock Him, strip Him, and nail Him to a cross?  Did He not obey dust and allow Himself to suffer the most cruel method of execution–crucifixion–so that mankind–this dust–may be freed from sin?  Freed from hell?  Did He not subject Himself to dust in order to glorify His creation and raise mankind into heaven to become one with God and remain united with God for all eternity?

Then why–if God can subject Himself to His creation, if God can humble Himself before man, if God can be obedient to mere dust–why can’t we subject ourselves to God, humble ourselves before God, and obey the Almighty Creator of the universe?  If He loves us so much, why can’t we love Him a little?  If He’s willing to bring us into heaven to live in absolute bliss and never-ending love, why do we reject His offer in favor of momentary earthly enjoyment and eternal suffering and never-ending hatred?

Published in: on May 13, 2015 at 01:57  Leave a Comment  
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Hell Is For Real

Nobody wants to talk about hell because it’s a scary subject—eternal punishment!

Some people don’t believe hell exists. It most definitely does. Just ask Satan.

Some people don’t believe hell is eternal. It most definitely is. Just ask Satan.

Better yet, don’t contact Satan. Let’s see what our Lord and our God, Jesus Christ, had to say:

Matthew 25:41 – Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:46 – And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

There it is—eternal punishment.  You see, hell isn’t like a prison sentence where you would serve some number of years and then get out.  There is no time in hell or in heaven to serve.  Time is part of creation.  Once we enter into eternity, we just are.  No time passes because it doesn’t exist in eternity. It’s a difficult concept, because we are part of creation.  In any case, once you are in hell—to borrow a lyric from The Eagles—you can check out any “time” you like but you can never leave. Eek!

Hell is something you need to consider seriously. One day you will die, and you don’t know when that day will come. We all would like to think we’re going to heaven, but, whether or not you would like to believe it, most people won’t.

Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.  And those who find it are few.

Do your best to make sure you are one of the few.

Now, you can’t blame God if you go to hell.  He created us to spend eternity united with Him in heaven.  He loves us beyond all understanding.

1 Timothy 2:4 – [God our savior] wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

1 John 4:8b – God is love.

Our problem is that we don’t love God back as He desires. How can I say that? Well, we sin. It’s that simple. What can we do?  Repent. We hear that word, but what does it mean? Simply this:  turn away from sin and turn to God.  In other words—stop sinning!  Do you remember the story of the adulteress? You can find it in the gospel according to John 8:3-11.  A woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, and the people who brought her said she should be stoned to death according to the law, and they were preparing to do just that.  Then Jesus said:

“Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.”

Everybody realized they had all sinned, so they dropped their stones and left.  Jesus then told the adulteress:

“Go and sin no more.”

That’s what repent means.  Go and sin no more.

I said earlier that we don’t love God back as he desires.  The easiest way to start loving God better is to obey His commandments.

John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:24a – Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.

Obedience = love.  Disobedience ≠ love.

See Exodus 20:1-17 for the Ten Commandments.

Jesus’ two great commandments were to love God and love your neighbor.

Matthew 22:37 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.

To love God, love Him with all that you are.  Give yourself completely to Him.  Hold nothing back.  As you would give yourself completely to your spouse, give even more so to God.  To love your neighbor, treat Him as Jesus would.  A good example of what to do can be found in the Judgment of Nations narrative:

Matthew 25:34-36 – Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’

It makes sense.  If you love God, you won’t sin against God.  If you love your neighbor, you won’t sin against your neighbor.  Ah, if only it were so easy.  Unfortunately, because of the sin of Adam, we have what is called concupiscence, which is the tendency to sin.  You will sin.  I will sin.  We all sin.  But Jesus knew that although He would die for our sins, and by His resurrection bring us to new life, we would still sin.  For our part, we must actually make a firm amendment of our lives not to sin again.  That’s part of loving God.  You don’t want to offend the ones you love, most especially God.  For most of us, we will continue to commit grave sin from time to time.  But Jesus, because of His great love for us, gave us the sacrament of confession (a.k.a. penance or reconciliation).

John 20:22-23 – And when [Jesus] had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Forgiving sins is one of the powers of God.

Luke 5:21 – Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies?  Who but God alone can forgive sins?”

But when Jesus created His Church, He shared this power with His disciples.  This ability to forgive did not die with the last apostle.  The disciples handed on this power to forgive sins on behalf of God to the men that they ordained, and all those ordained to serve Jesus—the priests and bishops—share the power to forgive and will until the end of time.  Remember, they can’t forgive or retain your sins unless they know what they are.  That’s why you need to confess to a priest or bishop.  Once you have been absolved of your sins, your soul is healed, no longer cut off from God, and you are as spiritually pure as a newly baptized babe.  You receive sanctifying grace when you go to confession.  That’s grace that makes you holy.  Of course, for your confession to be valid, you must sincerely regret your sins, be firmly resolved not to sin again, and confess every grave sin you are aware of.  If you’re not really sorry, if you have no plans to stop sinning, or if you hold back and don’t confess all your sins, you’re wasting your time and the priest’s time.  Out of love, Jesus gave you this lifeline. Use it!

So what are some grave sins? Saint Paul tells us some:  fornication (sex outside of marriage), adultery, sexual acts between people of the same sex, covetousness (inordinate desire for something that belongs to another), idolatry, slander, drunkenness, extortion (theft).  See the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 5:11 and 6:9-10.

One thing that many Catholics don’t think is breaking a commandment is skipping mass on Sunday or a holy day of obligation.  The commandment to keep the Lord’s day holy means go to mass.  That’s how we keep it holy, and to skip mass is a mortal sin, which must be confessed.  Some people scoff and think I skip mass once, and I’m going to hell?  Well, if you knew it was a grave sin and you willfully did it anyway, then yes.  You will have willfully disobeyed one of God’s commandments.  That cuts you off from the life of God. That’s why mortal sins are called mortal—they are deadly sins.  If you do not repent and confess, you will not have life in heaven.  Those who resist this truth as well as other truths want things their way, not God’s way.  They put themselves above God.

Isaiah 55:6-9 – Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake their way, and sinners their thoughts; Let them turn to the LORD to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. >>>For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.<<<

Additionally, don’t think that if you do all kinds of wonderful things like feeding the poor and your only sin is that you’re shacking up with someone, for example, that God will tell you, “oh, alright.  Come on in.  You’re doing good things.”  It doesn’t work like that.  God doesn’t use a balancing scale, more good than bad and you can enter heaven.  Good works won’t get you past the pearly gates.  It’s about love, which means obedience.  If He says don’t do something, you don’t do it.  If He says do something, you do it. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit.  They disobeyed.  They couldn’t say, “but it was just one bite!”  Satan and the demons were once angels in heaven.  They chose not to obey.  Hell was then created for them, and humans who will not obey will share the same fate.

Matthew 25:41 – Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

1 Corinthians 6:9a – Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

Revelation 21:27 – Nothing unclean will enter heaven, nor anyone who does abominable things or tells lies.

You need to know that God is being very patient with you, but you don’t know when your time will be up, so stop sinning and start loving God now.

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Think of this:  Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….  Now, do you think the will of God is for you to sin?  No.  Repent, yes, but sin, no.

Most people don’t think about this, but God doesn’t condemn a person to hell.  That person, by his own free will, condemns himself.  If a person does not repent or convert or if he willfully rejects God altogether, God is not going to force that person into heaven against his will.  If an unrepentant sinner were brought into heaven, he would suffer more greatly than if he had gone to hell, because he would know what his life had been like, his sins would be known to him, and he would find it absolutely intolerable to stand in the presence of the glory of God.  Hell is merciful.

So it comes down to this:  don’t sin.  Love God first first by obeying Him.  People hate the word obey these days, but just as parents lay down rules for their children for their good, so God lays down rules for us for our infinite and eternal good.  Take time to learn the Catholic faith well.  The more you do, the more you will love.  The more you love, the less desire you will have to offend your heavenly Father (i.e. to sin).

Get on that narrow path and stick with it.  Eternity basking in the infinite love of God is worth it.  Eternity with an absolute lack of love, an everlasting hatred of self, of God, and of everything else (there is no love in hell) is not worth any sin.