Prayer & Spiritual Life

A while ago I gave a talk in Ann Arbor Michigan. It was about the New Evangelization. As part of my talk I explained how Janet and I have our “evangelism antennas” up first thing in the morning – alertly watching for open doors and ways to share our Catholic Faith throughout the day. And the Christmas season is such a great time to do it!!

I explained that God sets up “divine appointments” for all of us and then holds his breath to see if we will do his bidding. If we don’t, it disappoints God, someone fails to hear the good news, and our days are more boring. Sharing the gospel is a great joy of life once we get over that hurdle of fear and self-consciousness.

After my talk I received this e-mail from Marnie. It was too good not to share. Learn from this! Take her ideas and use them yourself throughout the day. Enjoy!

Dear Steve,

Sue passed along your email.  I was telling her about the day after your Evangelization talk at Christ the King that I prayed in the morning about my antennae being up and had three occasions to share my faith on Wednesday.

Here is how it went.  I am M and the other person is J for Jennifer.  Jennifer works in the laundry room at Schoolcraft College where David and I go to work out.

M- (walking past big window of laundry/custodial room)  Oh, I love your purple decorations.  Purple is the color of Advent.  Are you Catholic?

J-  smiling says, yes, and added that purple is for royalty

M – Jesus is royalty!   I’m a convert to the Catholic Church because Jesus did not want disunity; He did not create divisions or denominations.  Merry Christmas!

J – Thank you for sharing that.

(The man in line, waiting to be handed a towel by Jennifer looked bewildered!)


After working out, the young girl at the gym desk told me that I knew her boyfriend from my teaching days.  I said I remembered what a good student her boyfriend was and how he had a nice, church going family.  I told her I knew all about Ward Presbyterian and Oakpoint where the boyfriend now attends.

 I told her how David and I were Kids Kamp directors at Ward for 14 years (she was a camper), but now we are Catholic and love the faith.  Went on to explain how Ward friends don’t understand why we are converts but that we still love Jesus, perhaps more.  Then we talked about whether or not she had a favorite Bible verse, which she didn’t.  I challenged her to find one and report back to me!

Later in day was checking out at Lord and Taylor, purchasing a gift.  I told the clerk that her accent reminded me of my friend, Ula, who is from Poland.  When she declared that she is Polish, I told her about Ula from Krakow, Poland who had met John Paul II. 

She smiled and I told her how much I loved the Catholic Church and that I was a convert.  I asked her if she had been to the gift shop at The Shrine of the Little Flower that sells hand painted Polish ornaments?  That led to talking about the Eucharist and praying the Rosary.  Meanwhile another customer was waiting and I felt like I should not hurry :-)  

 So….thanks for all the encouragement at the Tuesday talk!  Your talk was excellent, exciting and made me think.  I was taking notes as that is my ADD way of listening better!  In about 2001 or was it 2002, your Defending the Faith talk (@Steubenville) about the Pope, had a huge impact on me.  That is the moment when I finally “got it” – about having a Pope.

On Thursday, at CSS Joshua study, I shared all this with my small group, and at our next fellowship lunch in January, the women decided we would all bring an antennae story to share.

Thanks for using your God given gifts to reach and teach so many of us!  May God bless you and your family this Christmas time.

~Marnie

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Are you Choosing the Narrow Gate?

by Steve Ray on July 15, 2019

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14)

What kind of choices are you making today?

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Since Friday, June 28 is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am reposting this. A non-Christian friend found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do with Jesus and Mary?”

Here is my explanation. If you readers have anything to add, please post it in the Comments below. Thanks.

Thanks my friend. Beautiful images. Full of biblical representation — NOT pagan influences. They are devotional images to remind Catholics of the sorrows of Jesus and Mary and the resultant purification, joy and new life that come from them.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Hearts represent love and life as the center of our being. Jesus’ heart beats with the fire of love (at the top of the heart) which was demonstrated at the cross. The fire also represents the purifying fire of God by which he purifies men. It exudes the transformative power of divine love.

The crown of thorns brought suffering which was endured for the love of man to redeem him — to bear man’s pain in his own heart. The cut in the heart is that made by the lance that was thrust through his heart when he was on the cross.

The blood dripping represents the new life secured through his death (life came through dead). The Blood of Jesus also cleanses us, washes us from sin. The result is the heart of man (below surrounded by flowers) is given new life. The flowers represent a garden of delights, new life, freshness. The Garden of Eden which brought about death by sin is now replaced by the Garden of Heaven which brings new life because of holiness and the work of Christ.

Adam and Eve experienced death at the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden; The New Adam (Jesus) brings about life at the Tree of Death (the cross) in another garden (John 19:41). This cross is at the top of the heart. Heaven and the glory of God is represented by the clouds and the blazing sun or heavenly light from God behind the hearts.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary:
This one is similar to the Sacred Heart. The roses surrounding Mary’s heart represent her sinlessness and purity, sweetness and new life. The seven swords piercing the top of the heart represents the “Seven Sorrows of Mary,” (“Mater Dolorosa”).

The first of her sorrows was the Prophecy of Simeon that a sword would pierce her soul because of her son’s death (Luke 2:35), 2) their flight into Egypt, 3) the loss of Jesus in the Temple; 4) the fourth sorrow is Mary watching Jesus carry the cross, 5) the crucifixion imagining a mother watching her son die this way; 6) receiving his limp, cold body after the crucifixion, 7) the body of her son buried in the tomb.

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple as a baby the prophet Simeon said that the life and death of Jesus would be like a sword that would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35). The lower heart, the one of Mary surrounded by roses, shows a cut in it which is symbolic of her sorrows. But her sorrows have brought us new life and pure hearts represented by the garden of roses below.

The Mystic Rose:
The mystic rose, symbolizes Mary’s mystical participation in the Holy Trinity as Heaven’s Rose or Mystical Rose. In medieval times the mystic rose symbol was drawn with four petals on a stain glass background or on a multi-colored background like a popular quilt pattern which is still stitched today.

Conclusion:
It is a very popular and insightful devotion to Jesus and his mother — the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Every aspect is taken from the Bible and nicely illustrated in the pictures you sent. You have a nice few items there :-)

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Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

June 12, 2019

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator). So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible? […]

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Does one have to experience strong emotion to be a real Christian?

June 5, 2019

I received a few e-mails from a gentleman and his wife, obviously both good and excited Catholics who had recently had a real encounter with Jesus that had revived their faith and filled them with joy and emotion. Brian and his wife were disturbed that I talked so much about the Catholic Church when the […]

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Marvelous Scriptural Rosary! In English and Spanish – free to print, share and use

June 3, 2019

One of our pilgrimages to Israel, Tom Rizzo, shared this remarkable Scriptural Rosary. I’ve not seen one quite like it. He has freely shared it with me to share with you. Feel free to print it, share it and use it. This will not only make the Rosary more meaningful, but it will also deepen […]

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The Literacy and Spirituality of a Day Gone By; A Tattered Yellowed Page; A Poem I Found from my Great-Grandmother

June 1, 2019

I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.) […]

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Real Stations of the Cross discussed on Relevant Radio

April 2, 2019

Steve Ray joined John Harper on Morning Air (Relevant Radio) to discuss the origin and the meaning of the Stations. Also insightful comments on each individual Station. Join the 20-minute discussion with the link provided. Steve’s discussion starts at the 26:00 minute mark.

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The Skull is Talking to Me; Lent is Upon Us!

March 31, 2019

THE SKULL TALKS TO ME EVERY MORNING! It says, “As you are now, I once was; as I am now, you soon shall be — remember your mortality!” No better way to approach Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent. Artists have painted St. Jerome with a skull on his desk. Popes were known to keep […]

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Walk the Road to Calvary with Steve Ray this Lent – New Talk

March 27, 2019

Wisdom from Steve Ray’s Stations of the Cross “If you want to know about Jesus and the Crucifixion, you not only read the four Gospels, but you go back in history, and you study the land, and you study the culture at the time. And it fleshes it all out, and black and white becomes a […]

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How Do You Enter a Church on a Pilgrimage – or any day?

March 14, 2019

On tours and pilgrimages, people often enter a church like it’s a museum or site-seeing destination. “Scratch that off the Bucket List!” Europe has basically lost it’s faith and churches are no longer viewed as sacred places to encounter the presence of God. So, it was refreshing to see this sign outside of a beautiful, historic and […]

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How to Pray a Holy Hour

March 8, 2019

You step into the chapel and kneel in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. You cross yourself, say a quick prayer and sit down. OK, now what? I found this one-page instruction very helpful. I thought you would too. It is a product of The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College, Kansas. Click on […]

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Sherlock Holmes an Idolater – Praying to People?

January 7, 2019

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful […]

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Should This Baby Be Aborted? You Decide

January 1, 2019

In the United States, there are many situations in which abortions are recommended, even encouraged by family, counselors, medical personnel and even religious advisors. Sometimes an abortion is recommended because of difficult circumstances and other times simply for convenience. Here are four cases for you to consider. Should these babies be aborted? You decide! Four […]

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Why Did God Allow Man to Sin? “O Happy Fault of Adam”

December 18, 2018

This is a question that has puzzled people from the beginning. If God is good and all powerful why didn’t he stop Adam and Eve from sinning? Fair question. Of course we all know that he took the risk of giving us free will so that we could choose to love him. I don’t want […]

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2 Minute Audios: Steve’s 6 Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends

November 30, 2018

People always ask, “What do I say to my husband…?”  or “How do I get my kids back in the Church?  or  “I am getting no where trying to tell my friend about my Faith.” Well Steve came up with Six Rules to help you deal with non-Catholics – especially family and friends. They are […]

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