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Friday, 2 November 2012

Gods Revelation

I am currently working on my first essay for the Divinity degree and reading into how God reveals himself and Why.

God Reveals himself in the following ways:

  • Natural Religion (In the Human person and Creation)
  • Salvation History - Old testament, New Testament in the Divine revelation

The transmission of God's revelation falls to the Catholic Church. (ok maybe my essay has to be a little longer than that but I will pad a little!!)


Studying God's revelation is slowly opening my eyes to how absolutely perfect God's plan for us is.

I seem to have no time for anything but study and family, what better to spend my time. It's a huge challenge as I am not academically minded but for the glory of God I am willing to take it on. An essay is due every month now, 8 per year and I will be doing this (God willing) for 5 years. Even after 5 years I will still know just a snippet about our faith. I could study it for a long lifetime and I would still be left with answers.

God is a wonderful mystery. I was in a pit of darkness with my soul on the brink and Jesus is always there with his hands stretched out just waiting for me to open my eyes and hold on tight so he can pull me up to light of his truth.

All glory and honour and power and victory to you almighty Father, forever and ever!!!!


In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Maryvale course

Good News!!!!

I have been accepted by Maryvale to undertake the degree in divinity. I am very excited about this as well as nervous as it's by far the largest academic challenge I have ever taken on. I hope it will lead to a future that can be based on glorifying God. My idea at the moment is to move into Catholic teaching which is a long way off but hopefully I can get there. I hope also later in life to become a deacon in my local parish and will find this course invaluable in the ministry I hope to undertake. I start the course on Friday at Maryvale and will definitely be making the most of my visit there by spending some much needed quiet time in front of the blessed sacrament. I ask for prayers from everybody that I may be able to complete this degree in order to work for God.

On a side note, I have just been to spend a little time in front of the blessed sacrament on my lunch hour and learnt that we have a confessional at church which is used as a storage cupboard. A very sad sight to see and I really hope that it can be dusted down and used once again. Confession is available but only in the sacristy and how wonderful it would be to have this confessional back in use.

In God's Love

SSG

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Last Month

It may seem a little strange but before now I have lacked the spiritual energy needed to blog.

After comitting a sin that I have had issues with for a while now, I just needed to retreat. So I did, I retreated not from God but from the world and it has benfited me alot. In sin there should be no retreating from God as he is the only remedy but it always, as previously mentioned, produces a humility that makes me quiet and pulls me away from general affairs.

A couple of things have come to light over the last month in my life:

Work - I am a little fed up at work so I have taken the decision, after consulting the Lord and my family, to look into undertaking a degree in Divinity through Maryvale institute with the long term idea of being a Catholic RE teacher (again as previously mentioned) Work is not giving me anything I need (satisfaction) but more importantly I don't believe it's giving God anything that he needs from me anymore.

Prayer - I have got into a better routine with prayer and have been able to find quiet times throughout the day that I never knew existed (that devil of a TV tricking me) So I feel God is near to me at the moment.

Drinking - I have decided to take 3 months off a very bad habit of mine in order to offer this sacrifice for the soul of my friend who died a while ago 'Sean Aitkens'. May he be welcomed into your eternal Kingdom Lord.

These are a couple of very positive things that are happening and I feel a great sense of peace. I have to remember though that this is all for God and not for my own happiness (note to self : must have obedience and humility).

All Glory to God

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Testing Month

It has been just over a month since I last blogged.

My wife and I are expecting our second child and my wife has been very unwell and even had to stay in hospital for a few days with dehydration. The time that she was away and the last few weeks have really been a testing time for the family. I have had to have a small taste of what it's like to be a single parent and it was very difficult for me. This test sent by God is one that has brought fruit to our lives in a few ways. I appreciate now what my wife does and think she is the most amazing hero and mother in my eyes. Amy (my wife) is such a selfless person and so are all mothers who undertake this vocation with the sense of responsibility it deserves.

During this time I watched a film called courageous that has an emotional story line to it about being a good father and this film has had a big impact on me. To be a 'good father' is such a challenge in today's society and we need more good fathers who will teach their children about God, look after their wives and ...... well I could go on but I would just be repeating the film. Have a watch of it if you can.

I am so blessed to have a second child on the way and will give my two children and my wife, every ounce of strength that I have (sometimes with a few moans, unfortunately) in order to bring them closer to God and glorify his name through our family.

Lets hope that my wife improves but I continue to appreciate the things she does for this family when she is well.

In God's Love

SSG

Thursday, 21 June 2012

My Friend The Athiest

I have a friend who is an atheist and it's a great pain to me that he continues to see this way of life as superior to that of following Jesus and glorifying God.

Although I don't see him as often as I like, when I do actually see him, religion is often the topic of conversation. I have always tried to find the best method of trying to convert him and put the good news into his heart but some people are just so stubborn. I would definitely go so far as to describe him as a militant atheist. Being a fairly new militant atheist, I find it simple to answer his verbal punches about my religion. There are, however, some answers that he will just not understand. Is there any point in going in to the supernatural when he won't even entertain the idea? God is all around us and when you recognise this fact, its really obvious that God is the orchestrator of everything.

Richard Dawkins is a really big guy in his life as well as the late Christopher Hitchins. Richard Hawkins, in particular has allot to answer for in my mind. I am not the supreme judge, thankfully, but he has led so many people down the wrong road and stirred up a hatred for Christianity and in particular, Catholicism. His flawed arguments are built on this hatred and sometimes it seems like he will say anything to win an argument. This has rubbed off on my friend who has this arrogant and extremely rude way of talking about religion. He is highly disrespectful to the truth that I know and lacks an enormous amount of trust in my judgement which really does hurt.

Recently my friend said to me 'Sam, you are one of the best people I know, why must you put this down to your God, why can't you just admit that it is all your own doing and that you are good because you make yourself good'. Now, the sneaky compliment didn't do allot to sooth the blow of my friend saying there is no God. I explained to him that without God I am nothing, without God I would be in a really bad place. God is constantly dragging me out of the depths of Hell and only with his mercy and intervention can I hope to stay out of this dark place.

My friend the Atheist is simply missing out and I will continue to be a good example whenever I have the opportunity. Whether he realises or not, the goodness that comes from Jesus shines through his heart on many occasions and he just needs to recognise this. My answer to him always is 'My friend, don't fret, Jesus loves you'.

Please pray for my friend and all atheist's conversions, wouldn't it be great if Dawkin's converted, what a witness to God he would be with truth and reason on his side.

In God's Love

SSG

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How to profit from your faults




The latest book I have been reading is a really positive book regarding sin and God's mercy.

Jospeh Tissot goes into depth on the teachings of St Francis de Sales who is a truly inspiring character. Sin doesn't have to and indeed shouldn't weigh us down so much. The sinful man is the one being called by God to holiness and Tissot explains this using some great quotes which not only comfort but motivate me highly to be who God wants me to be even after offending him very much.

I have committed many faults in my short life and it's easy to feel that 'surley God can not forgive me for these'. This thought comes from the devil and really doesn't respect God's infinite mercy for us (which in turn offends God more) We must remember how merciful he is and how wide his arms are ready to embrace us after each fall. His arms open wider to us than before and he is ready to embrace us more tightly when we repent and run back to him.

The temptation to wallow in self pity is always there after committing sin. We can retreat into ourselves and hide in a corner away from our creator. This is wrong. If we commit a sin we are to confess sincerely and move on, God will not hold it against us if we repent and running back into his light, burns off the stain caused by this sin.

If there is one thing I have taken from this book it is not to be discouraged. Yes, sin halt's our call to holiness but we can still continue on the same path and glorify his name if we trust in him and remember his mercy which knows no bounds.

In God's Love

SSG



Monday, 28 May 2012

The Catholic Church's inquisition of American nuns (and rightly so)

These nuns, although doing allot of good by helping the poor and undertaking important ground level work (charity) are doing a great amount of harm by spreading false doctrine and question the 'Authorities'.

The ' Authorities' in the Catholic church have been given the power to 'bind and loose' which makes the successor of Peter correct and truthful in everything he says/proclaims on behalf of Jesus Christ. It's not a bunch of policies to control and grow the Catholic church as obviously, judging by the opposition against some church teaching, it doesn't work because its received as being outdated and old fashioned.

The truth is that the Catholic church is not here to 'keep up with the times' or to please everyone. They are here to guide morally and help us to do God's will which is (bound and loosed) there will, one and the same. The church is one and allowing the nun's to spread their own opinions doesn't help us to be one.

Let's just be clear that in today's society, being a Catholic is not easy. To be a good witness of Christ you need to be courageous and defiant against the popular misguided opinion. We need to avoid attractions of a sexulised world and just generally die to ourselves and not always do what we want just because we feel like it. It's not easy but it's truth and it will bring great rewards of unimaginable measures.

Just like any other institution, we have our problems and are under constant renewal. We all, as Catholics, acknowledge that there have been unspeakable cruleties against chilldren and poor mistakes made by church officials. I would just like to point out to every body who criticises us that in the Catholic church when we make a mistake we repent and suffer and then we move on to be better people and a better institution. With Christ we are better placed then any other institution to renew ourselves effectivley and become what Christ wants us to be.

To the laity and Priest's and Nun's who want to speak out and challenge church teaching please remember what church you are actually in and where the book stops (at the successor of Peter on behalf of the son of God) you have absolutley no right to challenge this as you are challenging Jesus. Let us be one in the face of every opposition and let us radiate God's light in this darkened world.

May the Lord convert all our hearts in the Catholic church to make us one in him.

In God's Love

SSG

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Meditations on Death and Penance

I wanted to repost this as it is amazing in occasions of temptation, suffering and disouragement.

Text is from 'The Spiritual Combat'

---------------Thoughts on Death---------------
Every moment of our lives we stand on the brink of eternity

TWELVE ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH
1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches? No one is to accompany us out of this world; why then are we so fond of creatures?
The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin show us the folly of carnal pleasures.
In our narrow cell beneath the earth among the meanest things of creation, when our very blanket of soil may be trampled upon by the meanest beggar, then we shall be freed of the vanity of seeking distinction and preference over others.
2. It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity: it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.
3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.
4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.
5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.
6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.
7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. "In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin."
[Eccl. 7: 40]

8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.
9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world. Thus the prince who once placed a jester in a crazy chair over a large fire told him very justly, seeing the jester's uneasiness, that life should be considered like a defective chair, which at any hour, at any moment, might fall to pieces; and the fire beneath the prince represented as the fires of Hell which everyone should hold in dread.
10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.
11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.
12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.
---------------Thoughts on Penance---------------
Penance is the only pathway to God, once we have been separated from Him in sin. By penance I mean either penance of heart or an active penance. The one is effective, the other affective, and both must be united as the several circumstances of our condition require.
An active or effective penitence is to be utilized when sickness or any voluntary affliction befalls us, or when through a penitential spirit, we discipline ourselves.
In afflictions we practice active penitence in the following situations:
1. As often as we receive crosses with the intention of receiving them as just punishments from a tender parent solicitous for our reform; or as the sentence of a merciful judge who inflicts a penalty in this life in order to spare us in the next.
2. As often as we confess our sins with true repentance, and receive the punishment with due submission.
That these two interior acts may make a deep impression on our hearts they may be accompanied by the following reflections:
a. If the crimes for which we are punished were to be weighed against our sufferings, how light would the atonement be in comparison with our guilt!
b. All that we endure has been decreed in the providence of God.
c. All our sufferings are to our ultimate advantage, as they satisfy for our offenses.
d. We suffer too that we may come to a realization of our own wickedness, for we seldom advert to this subject before we feel the hand of God.
e. If by the Sacrament of Penance we are already in the state of grace, affliction is sent as a means of satisfying the Divine justice for the temporal punishment due to our sins.
f. The punishment due to mortal sin is eternal damnation, and irrevocable banishment from the sight of God if one is not repentant.
g. Millions have perished who perhaps were guilty of but one mortal sin after Baptism, and many of them were surprised by death the moment it was committed.

In order to apply these truths to our own case when any affliction befalls us, we ought to retire into the depths of our hearts, and reason thus with ourselves:
"Is it not an article of faith that when I first sinned mortally after Baptism, I made myself unworthy of all but the reprobates in Hell? O my God, if such were actually my fate, how many years should I have already passed in that place of horror! If I consider my first mortal sin, what must I not have suffered in that fiery furnace to this time, and what might I not expect to suffer for all eternity!
"It is through Thy mercy alone, O my God, that I was not in Hell from that first moment I deserved it, that I am not there at this moment, that I may still hope never to go there; and it is through Thy mercy that Thou has not dealt with me as Thou hast with those miserable wretches who now burn there for all eternity.
"Instead of those horrible unending torments, from which You have graciously exempted me, Thou art pleased to send this affliction; and yet I murmur, am impatient and rebellious. What I now suffer cannot possibly last long; what I deserved is eternal!"
An active penitence is exercised by depriving ourselves of any satisfaction of body or mind, with the intention of making some atonement to the divine justice by bearing patiently any contempt or injury, and offering it to the Almighty in expiation of our offenses.
AFFECTIVE PENITENCE OF HEART
This is acquired by grace, and our cooperation-----"the grace of God with me." [1 Cor. 15: 10]

The means appointed by providence for obtaining grace is to ask for it-----" Ask and you shall receive." Let us pray and strive to obtain it.

HOW WE ARE TO ASK FOR IT
We should ask for affective penitence by forming acts repeatedly throughout the day, by words suitable to the affection God is pleased to instill within our hearts. Let us say: "My God, why did I ever offend Thee; and why, since I have been so miserable, do I not conceive a sorrow for it equal to that of the greatest penitents? How lamentable it is to forfeit my Baptismal grace, purchased with Thy Sacred Blood! What ingratitude on my part! What gracious mercy on Thine to pardon such a
wretch!

"I now discern, O my God and Father, the excess of Thy love by the incredible patience You have shown me. Thou didst spare me in existence when I brazenly rebelled against Thee."
The words of the devout penitents expressed in the Holy Scriptures will best suit the occasion.
"O God, be merciful to me a sinner."
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee. I am no longer worthy to be called Thy son."
"Against Thee alone have I sinned, and done evil in Thy sight."
"A contrite and humble heart Thou wilt not despise." [Ps. 50]

Similar quotations may be utilized.
HOW WE ARE TO LABOR TO ATTAIN IT
Let us consider attentively those motives which are most likely to affect our hearts.
The infinite goodness of God, as evidenced by our very existence.
The greatness of His Divine majesty, which has no need of us. The severity of His just vengeance, which might at once destroy us forever.
It would be wise to consult books on the above subject.
Let us sigh and lament in the presence of God for having offended Him, if these reflections move our hearts; but if we remain cold and indifferent, let us lament our insensibility.
Let us beg of the Divine goodness with the Samaritan woman, the water of life. "Lord, give me this water!" One penitential tear can disarm the anger of Heaven.
When you ask your celestial Father to give you your daily bread, remember to pray for the bread of tears; that ought to be the daily bread of sinners.
When moved to perform some good action, such as an alms, fasting, or some penitential work or personal deprivation, offer it to God, beseeching Him to bestow on you what you yourself are unable to obtain, i.e., a spirit of penance and sincere contrition for offenses.
Once a week read over these reflections-----for example on Saturday or Sunday.
Make it a rule, if you desire to succeed, every day to set apart half an hour to be spent in reading some pious book under these two regulations.
1. Choose such books as will most efficaciously stir up a penitential spirit in your heart.
2. Consider with great attention such passages as seem to affect you in particular, and lead you to an interior and affective spirit of penance.

Assist daily at the Sacrifice of the Mass [where and when one is available that is not sacrilegious], the principal object of devotion for the penitent heart, since Jesus Christ is there offered for our sins; and assist also to merit grace for the necessities of life. Join with the priest in offering the sublime sacrifice to God for this dual purpose.

In God's Love, wishing everybody spiritual enhancment and an eternity with God.

SSG

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Evils of Addiction

I heard Paul Merson do an after dinner speech recently. The contents of his speech made me think about addictions which I have suffered from in the past. They are obviously a powerful tool that the devil has in his locker but one that can be overcome.

Drugs, drink, gambling and sexual addiction are all really destroying addictions which can pull the soul right down to really dark depths and I have experienced these in some way or another. Once in the addiction it was really hard to get out and after trying many methods the only one that worked involved turning to God. God can burn away these addictions, but it does take patience which unfortunately I don't have a lot of. After slipping back into addiction time and time again I always felt the comforting hand of Jesus when I turned back to him. God always waits for us to look back at him and he always opens his arms to us when we sincerely repent and confess.

Thank fully I can see the light at the end of this really long tunnel which sometimes feels like its a well that I couldn't get out of. I can never rest and always have to look out for attacks from enemy but rest assured, anybody who suffers from an addiction can overcome it but only with the help of Jesus Christ our Lord who has already beaten sin into the ground so that we don't have to be slaves to it.

Praise be to our glorious God!!!!!!!

In God's Love

SSG




Friday, 20 April 2012

Family Unit

We are defending the family on so many levels at the moment and we have to be resilient against all the attacks. The Holy family is our inspiration and we should always be trying to create this strong unit for the glory of God.

From same sex marriage to an overall re-definition in society, the traditional family values seem to be disappearing, or are they??????

I am aware of many large Catholic families that lead the way and are a shining example in society. These families, just as my own, have a front line battle to take part in for God.

Bigger families seem to be heckled these day's with people laughing and joking about not being able to afford protection. The fact is that they are doing God's will perfectly and this is sometimes not easy but the rewards are very very great.

Let's always remember the following and grow, grow, grow in every sense ,as a family.

'Happy the man who fills his quiver with these arrows, they will have no reason to dispute with their foes in the gateways'

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Concern at Vatican's Silencing of Irish Priest - Don't be Concerned

Have a look at this piece from the BBC website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17665153

I wouldn't be concerned about this, as this priest's opinions are not in line with the Catholic church's teaching who speak as Jesus reps on earth through direction of the Holy Spirit. This priest has no right whatsoever to voice opinions that differ from this. I wonder why this priest became a Catholic in the first place and his understanding of Church doctrine is the part which seriously concerns me.

We are One Church, Holy and Apostolic. If the same rules are not adhered to then the Vatican has every right and indeed, duty to investigate and silence the critics from within.

I pray that Fr Flannery will take a responsibility for his own actions and try to promote our faith and the truth instead of pushing against it.

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Meditation on the Crucifixion of Our Lord






 I am not claiming this passage as my own. This is a brilliant chapter from the book I am reading 'The Spiritual Combat'. I hope you can enjoy reading this as it is most helpful at this time.



GREAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES to be derived from meditating on the Cross, the first of which is, not only a detestation of past sins, but also the firm resolution to fight against our ever present disorderly appetites, which crucified our Savior. The second advantage is the forgiveness of sins, obtained from Jesus crucified, and a wholesome self-contempt which inspires us forever to forsake offending Him, and continually to love and serve Him with all our hearts in acknowledgement of what He suffered for our sakes. The third is the unceasing labor with which we root out all depraved habits, however trivial they may appear. The fourth consists in our ardent efforts to imitate our Divine Master, Who died, not only to expiate our sins, but to bequeath to us the sublime example of a life of sanctity and perfection.

The following method of meditation will be highly serviceable, assuming as I do, that you particularly wish to imitate the patience of your Savior in carrying your crosses. Consider well these several points:
1. What the soul of Christ suffered for God.
2. What God did for the soul of Jesus.
3. What the soul of Jesus did for itself and its body.
4. What Jesus did for us.
5. What we ought to do for Jesus.


1. Consider in the first place, that the soul of Jesus engulfed in the ocean of Divinity, contemplated that infinite and incomprehensible Being, before Whom even the most exalted of creatures is utterly insignificant; contemplated, I say, in a state so debased as to suffer the vilest indignities of ungrateful man, without the least diminution of its essential glory and splendour. And from the depths of its suffering, the soul of Christ adored its sovereign Majesty, giving it myriad thanks and accepting all for its sake.

2. Behold on the other hand what God bestowed on the soul of Jesus; consider that the Divine will decreed the scourgings, spittle, blasphemies, buffetings, crown of thorns for love of us, and the crucifixion, which were meted out to Jesus, the only and beloved Son of God. See with what delight God, knowing the admirable end to which it was all directed, beheld His Divine Son, loaded with infamy and overwhelmed with affliction.

3. Contemplate next the soul of Jesus, and observe with what alacrity it submitted itself to the will of God, either because of the immensity of its Divine perfection, or the infinity of divine favor bestowed upon it. Who can describe the ardent affection of this soul for crosses? This was a soul that sought even new ways of suffering, and failing in this, abandoned itself and the innocent body to the mercy of miscreants and the powers of Hell.

4. Turn, then, your eyes to Jesus, Who from the midst of His agony, addresses you in this affectionate manner: "See to what depths of misery I am reduced by thy ungovernable will, which refuses the least constraint in compliance with mine. Behold the horrible pains I endure, with no other purpose than to teach thee a lesson of patience. And let me persuade thee, by all these sufferings, to accept with resignation this cross I here present, and those which I shall send in the future. Surrender thy reputation to calumny, and thy body to the fury of the persecutors whom I shall choose for thy trial, however vile and inhuman they may be. Oh, that thou didst know what delight thy patience and resignation afford me! But then, how canst thou be ignorant of it, when thou beholdest these wounds received to purchase for thee those virtues with which I would adorn thy soul, more dear to me than life itself? If I have suffered this debasement for thee, canst thou not bear a light affliction, in order to lessen My agony to some degree? Canst thou refuse to heal those wounds I have received through thy impatience, wounds more cruel to me than physical anguish?"

5. Consider who it is that speaks thus to you; consider that it is Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, true God and true Man. Consider too the magnitude of His torments and humiliations, greater than that deserved by the most vicious of criminals. Be astonished to behold Him in the midst of these agonies, not only firm and resolute, but even replenished with joy, as if the day of His passion was a day of triumph. Just as a few drops of water sprinkled upon a flame only adds a fresh intensity to its glow, so did His torments, embraced in a charity which made the burden seem light, serve to augment his joy and desire of suffering still greater affliction.

Moreover, reflect that throughout His entire life, He was motivated, not by compulsion or self-interest, but rather by pure love alone, that you may learn from Him the manner of practicing patience. Endeavor, therefore, to attain a perfect knowledge of what He demands of you, and consider His delight at your practice of patience. Then form an ardent desire of carrying this cross and heavier ones, not only with patience, but with joy, that you may more exactly imitate Christ crucified and render yourself more acceptable to Him.

Picture to ourself all the torments and indignities of His passion, and amazed at His constancy, blush at your own weakness. Look upon your sufferings as merely imaginative when compared to His, and regard your patience as not even the faintest adumbration of His. Dread nothing so much as an unwillingness to suffer for your Savior, rejecting such unwillingness as a suggestion from Hell.

practice of the most heroic virtues. This is the book which may be truly called the "Book of Life" [Apocalypse, III, 5], which at once enlightens the mind by its doctrines and inflames the will by its examples. The world is full of books, but were it possible for man to read them all, he would never be so well instructed to hate vice and embrace virtue as by contemplating a crucified God. But remember that there are those who spend hours lamenting the passion of our Lord and admiring His patience, and yet on the first occasion betray as great an impatience in suffering as if they had never thought of the cross. Such men are like untried soldiers, who in their barracks breathe nothing but conquest, but on the first appearance of the enemy, beat a hasty and inglorious retreat. What is more despicable after considering, admiring and extolling the virtues of our Redeemer, than to forget them all in an instant when an opportunity of practicing them presents itself?


In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Approaching Holy Week

We are fast approaching holy week and, as mentioned before, I have been reading a book called ' The Spiritual Combat' which is crammed full of practical tips and advice to help deepen the spiritual life. Has it worked? I don't know and I am happy not to know. I don't want to fall into the trap of feeling that I have progressed well and I am on the way to becoming a Saint. I pray that I will be a Saint but there is always so much more we can do to improve ourselves in the eyes of God. This book will require many more perusals.

I have also halved my alcohol intake which has been a little bit of a challenge at times and I think I may have gone a tiny bit over on two occasions but on the whole I have had to say 'no' to my own wants, on many occasions. Over the past few days of fine weather this has been particularly difficult, especially with a few bottles of Kronenbourg staring at me every time I open the fridge.

I look forward now to holy week and a week of abstaining from alcohol and many other of life's pleasures in order to deepen my relationship with Jesus. At this time of year more than any other I am so grateful that I have my faith and the Catholic church to guide me. I pray at this time that other Catholics have strengthened their relationship with the Lord.

Without Jesus and his church I would be nothing, my life would be nothing.

In God's Love

SSG

Friday, 23 March 2012

Manuel Barcia's Catholic Bashing

I have recently written a short piece about a gentleman called Milo Yiannopoulos who has inspired me recently into being more outspoken. He tweeted back to me that he was grateful for my comments. He is very welcome.

I want to talk a little about the gentleman mentioned in my blog title, after reading his article 'Catholic Church Must Change Stance on Same-Sex Marriage'. If you, as myself, would like to have a chuckle and let your blood boil a bit then please have a read http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/manuel-barcia/catholic-church-same-sex-marriage_b_1369280.html

Manuel seems to use the same sex marriage debate as a platform to launch into an attack on the wrongdoings of the Catholic church over the course of history (I am glad he hasn't got an in depth report of my wrongdoing's or I would never be able to forget them).

I am so glad I am from an institution that brainwashes you into being forgiving. Manuel digs up as much dirt about the Catholic church's history as he can fit into his misguided column. He has quite a few pops at our most amazing outspoken gem of a Cardinal, Keith O'Brien. Cardinal O'Brien apparently likened same sex marriage to slavery which, if you actually read, you can see he is using the slave trade to make a good point about the repercussions of such a law change. He in no way likens the slave trade to same sex marriage but some how Manuel twists this to form a story in which he can then go on to drag up events in the Catholic church's history. He is after all an historian and this is what he does best.... pah!!!!

I would just like you Manuel, if you can, to see that the Catholic church has an obligation to speak out about such issues. The government are obliged to listen as there are many good people in society that come from this 'vile institution'.


In God's Love, praying for Manuel


SSG

Monday, 19 March 2012

Milo Yiannopoulos




I must just say how glad I am that there are people like Milo Yiannopoulos in this world.

I have only recently seen him debating the topic of same-sex marriage. His arguments are so well structured and from what I have seen, he clearly has a good understanding of the Catholic church and it's teachings and is well placed to formulate our response.

I saw him on 'Question Time' and 'The big Question' where I must admit that we, as Catholics, are represented in a poor way. Milo was a breath of fresh air and such a great witness in these difficult times. The issue of same-sex marriage is an issue that faces some really militant opposition from people who have a poor understanding of the subject. He answers anything that is thrown at him with confidant and concise answers.

Thank you Milo for your witness. To me you are a legend.

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Same Sex Marriage - Are these People Real??????

I have just read the article below on the guardian's website. I am extremely disturbed by the complete lack of understanding, on church teaching/sacraments, presented from Catholics. These people have a huge responsibility to defend the institution of marriage and just fail very miserably to do so.

Just to be clear:

  • WE DO NOT HATE HOMOSEXUALS
  • WE DO NOT HAVE TO ' KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES' as 'the times' are leading us into a world of perversion/hate/impatience and everything counter productive to every virtue.
  • THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS NOT ONLY EVER PIPED UP ABOUT SAME SEX MARRIAGE. We, as Catholics, have a responsibility in this world to speak up about every concerning issue whether it be same sex marriage, poverty, disease etc and we always do. This subject has just excited the media.
I will speak a little more on same sex marriage in future blogs. For now please read the 'quoted quotes' below and try not to squirm or despair to much:


'I find it sad that, of all the ills in the world, the Church of England and Catholic church choose to unite and speak out against gay marriage (As brimstone rains down from the pulpit, 12 March). Not only are their arguments incoherent – marriage should be for the procreation of children, they claim, but happily marry the infertile or those who choose not to have children – they are simply naked prejudice robed in transcendental or scriptural authority. We would not stand for churches refusing mixed-race marriages because of their faith, nor should we accept their stance on gay marriages.
Gay marriage – even if you consider it to be undesirable – pales into insignificance when you compare it to the misery and suffering inflicted by poverty, homelessness, disease, drugs and alcohol or any other number of ills. Yet the churches reserve their most vociferous objections, devote their time, money and power to preventing something that causes only anguish among those who believe it is wrong themselves: the only harm done by gay marriage will be in the heads of those who oppose it.
Dr Andrew Burns

Wellington, New Zealand

• Once again, secular society leads the way and leaves the churches floundering. In my 60 years, I've watched organised religion scream in protest against almost every measure that has made our world more humane, compassionate and civilised. Thankfully, decent people in modern Britain are increasingly less inclined to listen to blinkered bigotry dressed up as debate. They are no longer willing to form their moral codes from ancient texts and wild-eyed zealots, but from their observation of the wonderful diversity of humanity, from their rational intelligence and from their instinctively loving hearts. And if religion is no longer able to provide us with guidelines which resonate with that, what in God's name is the point of it?
Alan Clark
Bourne End, Buckinghamshire


• The reaction of Cardinal Keith O'Brien to proposals to make same-sex marriages legal in order to promote equality (Cardinal attacked for gay marriage stance, 5 March) prompts me to suggest an alterative means of obtaining this end which, hopefully, would result in less long-term enmity. It involves two changes. The first would be to remove all legal significance from the word marriage and the second would be to make civil partnerships the only union recognised by the state. Those in such partnerships (a man and a woman, two men, or two women) would gain the present advantages given to those now married under the present system.
The word marriage could then be defined and used by any of the groups without any conflict with a legal definition. Christian marriage and gay marriage are two possible usages that spring to mind, but the only relationship with legal significance that could be had would be a civil partnership. Each side would feel that they had lost something, but it could not be denied that there would be equality.
Ralph Stevens
Epping, Essex


• Reading Martin Pendergast's thoughtful Face to Faith (10 March) alongside the report on same-sex marriages, it's clear that lesbian and gay couples, just like their straight counterparts, don't all want the same thing, when it comes to knot-tying – or not. Why can't living together (without sin), civil partnerships, and marriage, be gladly affirmed and made available to every citizen, without distinction and regardless of gender or sexual orientation? Indeed, why not, some theologians might argue, for that's rather how God the Holy Trinity may be conceived.
Fr Alec Mitchell
Manchester


• Your "quacking duck" analogy (Editorial, 9 March), while amusing, is not quite convincing. This is an issue simply of semantics, rather than of justice, morality, social convention or biblical theology: by definition (see various dictionaries) marriage is between a man and a woman. The discussion is confused by the disingenuous opposition of conservative church leaders whose real objections are to homosexual relationships.
Rev Dr Norman Shanks
Glasgow


• As a gay man in his late twenties who grew up as a Catholic, I am absolutely disgusted by the letter read out at all masses in England and Wales on Sunday. The UK's Catholic church has historically been more moderate than on the continent – party due to its minority status – so it is shocking to see the church embark on a hate campaign against homosexuals in their quest for equality.
The question of gay marriage is one of semantics. Civil partnerships are by de facto marriage, thus in the current context, preserving the "distinctiveness" of marriage can only be understood as discrimination. The church fails to understand that opening the institution of marriage to same sex couples is the best way to honour this historical institution and preserve its essential meaning – commitment between two individuals. The Catholic church that has throughout its history caused so much harm to homosexuals should be ashamed of itself, especially after the lives it has destroyed through its systematic abuse of young children and its questionable schooling system.
I'm sure, like many other Catholic homosexuals, the archbishop's letter feels like an invitation to apostasy. I hope that reformist elements of the Catholic church use this debate as an opportunity to demand reform and halt this unnecessary verbal violence against homosexuals.
Manuel Ramos
London


• As Catholics who have been married for 40 years, we must insist that we do not feel that the government's proposals for same-sex marriage constitute a threat to the institution. We welcome the opportunity to allow gay couples the same civil rights as ourselves. Cardinal Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, has recently said that the social changes of recent decades in Europe call for a different kind of church, and that the church we are used to was "a thing of the past", so there was no question of "business as usual". The English bishops' letter says, eloquently: "We know that at the heart of a good marriage is a relationship of astonishing power and richness, for the couple, their children, their wider circle of friends and relations and society." We know of gay relationships which can be so described: our consciences would be troubled if we did not validate and defend them.
John & Cathy Duffy
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire


• I suppose it is welcome that our church leaders are now talking up the virtues of civil partnerships in their campaign against gay marriage, but I don't recall them being very supportive when they were introduced. I remember vociferous opposition based on wild and hysterical arguments about threats to married and family life. Then, as now, these were based at root on nothing more than prejudice as more and more people, including many who define themselves as people of faith, are coming to recognise.
Nicholas Billingham'



In God's Love (and the love of every human on earth)

SSG

Monday, 12 March 2012

'Right to Die' Tony Nicklinson

It's very rare that I write about controversial subjects but here goes.

Being an extreme pro-lifer and a Catholic I am firm in my convictions that nobody has the right to die. I have just seen a news article about Tony Nicklinson who is going to try and get the law changed so he can have a doctor help him to die. Tony has 'locked-in' syndrome which I have an amazing amount of sympathy and compassion for. He is suffering greatly because of this syndrome and he wants out.

I really hope that the law is not changed as we need to defend life in all aspects with a most extreme passion. This man wants to die but if he was allowed to, this would set such a dangerous precedent for others and the scope for other such assisted suicides would broaden. There seems to be less and less value for Human life/dignity and allowing Tony to legally have someone kill him is not a solution to his condition whatsoever. I really hope that Tony can get some good counselling and find a way to get some enjoyment/reassurance from life.

Anybody who sympathises with Tony would surley not want to see him killed as this is not and can not be the answer.

I will be praying for Tony in the hope that he will turn to God and seek the magnificent consolation's that could come from dealing with his condition.

May God bless you Tony and give you a new mind to receive the graces from the Holy Spirit.

In God's Love

SSG

Thursday, 8 March 2012

SPUC Youth Conference 2012

      
The SPUC Youth conference took place last weekend and I was privileged enough to be right in the thick of the action.

The speakers were absolutely amazing. Fr Andrew Pinsent gave a brilliant talk on Human dignity which captivated the 160 delegates that travelled to Rotherham from places as far as Spain, Faroe Islands and Malta. The Charismatic Australian character who is Fr John Fleming gave a 'flaming' good talk on marriage and its connection with being pro-life. We also had great talks from Fiorella Nash of SPUC and Dr Anne Carus of Life fertility care. The list goes on of prestigious speakers who inspired all those present.

The conference was an aboslute joy to be part of and the youth that attended inspired me and moved me. We had a little time, between the excellent business session's, to relax. SPUC's got talent took place on the saturday evening and many people took part by showcasing their various talents. A 12 strong Spanish contingency took to the stage to make us feel like we were in the centre of Barcelona.

John Smeaton, SPUC National Director, seemed very enthused by the conference plus the amount of attendees and it was really overwhelming to see his joy at such a wonderful occasion.

Hopefully the conference has inspired a young generation of pro-lifers to go out and take action to try and win this battle..............and win it we will!!!!!! I hope that next years conference can be another step forward as this event just gets bigger better each year.

In God's Love

SSG

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lent Reading

My Spiritual director has given a book to read during lent which is aimed at progressing me spiritually.

As we are at the beginning of lent, I have only just started the book and really find structure and content useful. It has real challenges within its pages to create a closer union with God. The book is called 'The Spiritual Combat' and has practical explanations and tips at achieving something spiritually deeper that God wants from us.

It's really easy to drift along and go to church every Sunday being a 'minimal effort' Catholic. I have experienced this in my life but have decided that it is not something that can be taken lightly. I have to improve my relationship with the holy trinity and I will show God my wants and needs and the rest is up to him. I hope he offers me his graces and that, if he does, I can see them clearly.

I am also reading my walk with me book which I always find a useful and accessible tool every lent/advent.

I would be really interested to hear what other people are doing for lent to prepare for Easter and hope that we are all going to deepen our relationship with Jesus.

Just a week to go to the SPUC youth conference and I am getting a little worried about last minute preps but please pray for us that it runs smoothly and invigorates the attendees into action.

In God's Love

SSG

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Preperation For Lent

Wow, time is going so fast. Lent is not far away and I find myself in need of this time of prayer and fasting to direct my eyes towards heaven.

What should I do to come closer to the holy trinity?

I find myself struggling over the last couple of months to hear the messages from Jesus and feel very spiritually dry. Now in my own mind I say 'either I have offended Jesus too much and he has turned his back on me' which I know he would never do, or, 'I am going through a time that will ultimately bring me closer too him'. I don't feel him answering me and I don't feel compelled to pray, but I continue to do so. At this time I can only throw myself to the ground in front of the blessed sacrament and pray that I am on the right path.

Throughout lent I can hopefully receive some comfort from the holy spirit and feel God's loving arms around me. I need to think of a strict routine of prayer, fasting and charity and stick to it with a strong fervour. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear from them.

Hopefully everyone else is thinking of lent and I ask you to pray for me that I come closer to God through this season.

Praise be to Jesus, both now and forever!!!!


In God's Love


SSG

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Open and Honest

I have never been shy to tell people when I have a problem with them. However, sometimes I just forget to bring an issue up or sometimes I can be too lazy too. This always makes a problem worse and lengthens the time it takes to get over the issue or problem.

I can see that it may be daunting to tell somebody that you may have a problem with them but I can never rest when I know that something has to be said. This can be a positive and negative quality as it can get me into deeper water but I feel it promotes honesty and I never find it easy to lie (thankfully)

I have recently had some issues with work and family life which have had to be resolved through a brunt 'let me tell you whats on my mind' scenario and they have been difficult. The reward is the understanding and peace that follows and this for me will always be the way forward.

Honesty brings peace......excellent.

In God's Love

SSG

Friday, 20 January 2012

Church Calendar

I have always looked forward to the annual celebrations and preparations in the Church's calendar. They provide me with a good structure and focus at various times of the year. I am already looking forward to lent and it seems that it will be coming round very fast this year. As a Catholic, I always feel under continuous renewal, assessing and re-assessing my spiritual life which is a very special thing.

After Christmas I have had a fairly quiet time in terms of spirituality, which has been disappointing due to Christmas and advent being excellent prayerful times of spiritual renewal. I need to focus more on my prayer rather than just waiting for the next time of celebration or preparation to come along.

Lent is an amazing time of spiritual preparation and penance and to live like this constantly will be an aim of mine. The year is already going so fast and the church's calendar is something positive that helps us to structure our prayer and deepen our faith but we have to be careful that we don't forget the Lord between the important events such as lent and Christmas.

I hope that everyone has had a really blessed Christmas and that God gives people the grace to keep that Christmas joy going in prayer and charity throughout the whole year, because Jesus is not just for Christmas, he is for eternity.

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

SPUC Youth Conference 2012



My wife and I are helping to organise the SPUC youth Conference this year which is to be held in Rotherham. We hope to have a good attendance and can't wait to welcome delegates to our part of the country.

We hoped that moving the Conference to the North of England would give a few other young delegates the opportunity to attend as well as some of the regulars. The Conference will be held on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March and we hope to enlighten and invigorate all attendees with the wealth of knowledge and experience that the conference's speakers will provide. We will also be providing a chance for some fun social time and networking.

Although all of the speakers are amazing people, I am particularly pleased that Fr Andrew Pinsent will be attending as I am a great admirer of his wonderful work through evangelium.

I look forward to seeing everybody there and will update you on how the planning is going as we get nearer to the event.

Please pray for SPUC's work and that this conference may be successful.

In God's Love

SSG

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Year - New Me

I am not a huge fan of the 'New Year - New Me' craze that hits the world on January the 1st every year.

As much as I use this as an opportunity to improve myself spiritually, I can see too many people who use this time and, only this time, as a time for renewal. Losing weight, drinking less, going to the gym or spending less money are all common resolutions that take place and because they are not undertaken for the Glory of God, they tend to fail and last only for a short while.

In the Church's calendar there are many opportunities for spiritual renewal. This is something we should be doing all the time. Every day before I go to sleep I look through my day and see the area's of weakness in my life (spiritually) and make an act of contrition. This daily renewal and resolution is the way forward and, with God's help, we can make resolutions that last forever, not just for a couple of weeks.

Yes, my weaknesses return often, but that's why I have to undertake a resolution every day and not just once a year. With God's help and doing God's will, we can progress spiritually and become all that God wants us to be.

So less of the 'New year, New me' and more of the 'New day in Christ, New me in Christ'.

I hope everyone is having an excellent Christmas and we look forward to celebrating the Epiphany!!!!!

In God's Love

SSG