Dealing with grief in schools is a big issue as more and more shootings and tragedies occur in our nation. Schools do not always have the resources or grief counselors on hand to help students overcome grief.
The article, “Schools fall short when it comes to helping grieving students” by David Schonfeld states,
“An adolescent experiences the death of his mother after a lengthy illness. When I ask what services he would like to receive from the school, he initially says he didn’t expect special treatment, would be embarrassed by counseling from the school mental health staff and wouldn’t feel comfortable if many of his teachers asked to talk to him about his grief.”
Great article on the Epiphany. Christians celebrate this solemn feast because it celebrates the worship and divinity of the Christ child by the magi.
The article, “What do Christians really celebrate at Epiphany?” by Mark Woods takes a closer look at this feast. The article states,
“This Sunday churches in the Western tradition will be marking Epiphany, traditionally the end of the Christmas season. It commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant (or toddler) Jesus in Bethlehem, a story usually folded into the Christmas carol service but actually separated in time by as much as a couple of years.”
An intriguing article on the split between Moscow and Kiev. This inter Orthodox battle between Patriarchs and cities is more than just spirituality but also politically the freedom of Ukraine. The complexities of Ukraine and Russian history support this independence. The origin of the Church of Rus also supports Kiev being its own church as well. Unfortunately because of this, the Russian Church has cut ties with Constantinople as well as Ukraine, fracturing the Orthodox Church yet more.
The article, “Ukrainian church splits from Moscow” by Roman Olearchyk states,
“Ukrainian Christian Orthodox leaders have chosen a 39-year-old bishop from the Odessa region as head of a new church that will be independent from Russia’s patriarchy, severing another of the country’s ties with Moscow.”
This is a great victory for Ukraine as well as its Church. It now joins, the Ukrainian Catholic Church as another spiritual entity independent of the Moscow Church. Please also review our Christian Counseling Program
One of the most frightful aspects of Christianity is exorcisms. Exorcisms though have a deep rooted history in Christianity dating back to Christ. Christ himself cast demons out and taught the apostles how to. Today, the practice continues in the Church, but most especially within the Catholic Church.
The article, “Exorcisms have been part of Christianity for centuries” takes a closer look at exorcisms and their history in the church. The article states,
“The Exorcist,” a horror film released 45 years ago, is a terrifying depiction of supernatural evil. The film tells the story of a young American girl who is possessed by a demon and eventually exorcised by a Catholic priest.”
The title of this blog, the “Joy of Receiving” may surprise a few at first but the role a Christian plays in accepting something is as important in the role they play in giving. We have heard the phrase, “it is truly better to give than to receive” but like all reciprocal relationships, there needs to a proper balance.
If one only takes, then obviously one can detect a clear selfish individual who preys upon the generosity of others. If one only takes, then they are unable to share, or help others in life. These individuals tend to be more materialistic and greed filled. They feel no need to share their talents, or share their gifts to others. They care very little for the poor or others in need. The thought of making someone’s else day a better day through a simple generous gesture is beyond their comprehension. Ultimately, they are unable to experience the reciprocity of love because they only take. I feel many of the Biblical warnings of greed and selfishness address their spiritual deficiencies.
And yet upon the opposite spectrum, while the Christian who only gives truly sees the more spiritual path, they must also learn to occasionally take with joy as well. If they do not learn to accept or take, then first, how can they ever accept the greatest gift of all, redemption? Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate gift through his death and we must accept this gift without hesitation if we are to have salvation.
In this reality, love is a reciprocal act. It is not poached through greed or selfishness but mutual self-giving. Love is a reciprocal action of mutual giving and receiving. In this reality, a Christian must not only give, but also be able to receive. This is critical to understand if one is to understand love and its relational status.
Those who tend to the extreme of only giving, fail to experience the love of being accepted, being loved and given something special, but they also fail to allow others to experience the same joy of giving they experience. Sometimes even the saintly fail in this category. They are very dismissive to receive from another out of an over religious zeal of unworthiness. At the other extreme, some may feel the obligation to give and give out of a sense of duty and when that duty is challenged, their pride is hurt.
Jesus taught us the opposite. He gave completely but when the times came, he permitted others the joy of giving. We see this clearly when the women at the house cleaned his feet with the most previous oils. We also see it at his birth, when the Magi brought the three precious gifts.
As Christians, we must have a balanced spiritual life. We must give as Christ gave, but we must also allow others to experience the joy of giving as well. This means letting go of possible pride, or false unworthiness and accept gifts with Christian joy. In doing so, we balance the reciprocity of love and allow others to experience the gift of giving itself. We must learn to accept gifts, the way we accept Christ’s ultimate gift on the cross with love. In doing so, we will better be able to share in the reciprocity of love that is both giving and accepting.
As Christians, we are always looking for ways to develop a closer relationship with Christ. Many turn to many devotions, such as the Sacred Heart, others find recourse to the Eucharist. Some delve deeply into scripture and meditate upon the life of Christ and his message. In order to grow, we must all have a closer and more personal relationship with Christ.
The article, “21 Ways to Revive Your Relationship With Christ” lists a variety of ways we can remember Christ and become closer. The article states,
“Even the most dedicated Christian may sometimes struggle with their relationship with God. They love Christ and want to be close to Him, but for whatever reason, they have begun to drift away from Jesus. It may have been the result of a tragedy or simply from allowing spiritual growth to take the backseat while they focus on more immediate seeming concerns. Once your spiritual growth stagnates, however, it can be difficult to find your way back to Christ.”
By becoming closer to Christ, we can become better Christians and bring Christ to the world. Christ is our Redeemer and as our Redeemer, we need to find faith in Him, and what better way to strengthen faith than to become closer. Please also review our Christian Counseling Training.
Hexes and curses are a reality that many Christians overlook. The ability to have a hex put on oneself can happen. Christians can protect themselves with prayer, sacramentals and a close devotion to Christ, Mary and the saints.
The article, “Hexes and Curses Reveal Need for Spiritual Vigilance” by Patti Armstrong states,
“Of late, the war between good and evil has made news as the veil is pulled back, revealing who the players are and their intent. This, we just witnessed with a call to curse and cause harm to the newest Supreme Court Justice. The three-hour, event to “Ritual to Hex Brett Kavanaugh” took place Oct. 20 at Catland Books in Brooklyn, New York. They scheduled another one for Nov. 3.”
Hence, it is important to remember that Christians must always remain vigilant in their spiritual hygiene in protecting oneself from the evils of the occult and witchcraft. Please also review our Christian Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.
The dramatic shift from a day of paganism and occult to a day of holiness and Christianity is not a coincidence on the liturgical calendar, but was planned by the Church. In fact, All Saints Day was purposely switched from May to November 1st to show the victory of Christ and Christianity over Satan and paganism.
Samhein, the ancient Druid feast. Celebrated the changing of the seasons from Fall to Winter. In it, a celebration was given to the ancient gods for a good harvest and a safe winter. During this period, it was thought that the portals between the temporal plane and supernatural plane overlapped, allowing the communication with the dead.
This led to many occultic rituals and the celebration of many pagan traditions. Many of these traditions dealt with warding off evil spirits, communicating with the dead, and offering sacrifice to the old gods. To combat this, the Church looked to show the people the victory of Christ over Satan and Christianized the day to All Hallows Eve to be followed by All Saints Day
To this day though, the neo pagan movement and occult celebrates Halloween with all of its rituals and sacred pagan beliefs. While secular society may trick or treat and dress up, the day has a sinister history and deep meaning to those in the occult. Many innocent traditions, such as bobbing for apples, or carving a pumpkin all have ancient meanings that predate Christianity and the faith.
Christians can still partake in Halloween from a secular view, but they need to avoid any of the divinizations, or practices of spiritualism that can dominate the feast, even if in jest or fun. It is important to avoid Ouija boards, as well as tarot cards and to remain vigilant to one’s faith.
In fact, the remembrance of the saints can still be portrayed on Halloween during trick or treat with various Christian themed costumes that remember, God, Mary, and the saints.
The following day, or All Saints Day, portrays the ultimate victory of God and his saints over Satan and paganism. It celebrates the holiness of the saints and how we are all called to that holiness to emulate them and imitate them in their lives.
In doing, so the Western Church has made November 1st a holy day of obligation for Western Catholics to jointly affirm the victory of Christ over Satan and the celebration of holiness found in his saints.
If you would like to learn more about All Saints Day, please take the time to study the deep and rich history of the day. Also, please review the Christian Spiritual Counseling Program offered at AIHCP and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.
The teenage years and later adolescent years can be filled with turmoil for the teen. Physical changes, social dealings, and trying to find identity can create havoc in study, home life and moral values. In adhering to these moral values, teens can struggle if not properly supervised or cared for by a loving parent. It is essential to encourage values and practices to keep the teen on track.
The four moral virtues, which when applied to teenage life can be very beneficial. If they do not always manifest, as long as the seed exists, their advancement no matter how dormant they may seem may reemerge in early adulthood. The reason being is that many of the norms of teenage behavior due to hormones and development prevent their manifestation.
For instance, the virtue of prudence is associated with wisdom. Wisdom is not for the young, but we hope at least, our teens are able to form logical and good moral decisions against the most blatant of wrongs. We hope they will utilize prudence in not drinking and driving, or not taking drugs, or not being involved in various serious illegal activities. It is difficult to expect a teen to show prudence in all decision making, but as chemicals in the brain stabilize and the mind develops, clear thinking with prudence can develop later if it is already there.
In the case of justice, teens can sometimes have a distorted view of right and wrong. They may not have the ability to understand all the angles of what one should or should not do in their relations with others, but if parents can at least instill the basics of the Ten Commandments as a paradigm, then a good foundation can prevent disaster.
Fortitude is an important moral virtue as well, but many teens fall to depression, or give up so very easily. Teens need praise and self esteem boosting. They need to be told they are can succeed and when things go wrong, to properly adjust and persevere. The virtue of fortitude helps someone deal with spiritual, mental and physical problems.
Finally, the virtue of temperance is definitely a struggle for teens who are experiencing urges and pressures to experiment and push the limits in many ways. Drinking and sex are all temptations that overwhelm a teen. Temperance is put to the ultimate challenge with these urges both internal and external. Unfortunately, through consistent bad habit, the virtue of temperance can be extinguished in a young soul if not protected. Satan understands how he can influence the youth during this difficult phase and corrupt their innocence.
So the moral virtues are extremely important at any phase in our life, but especially important in the teen years. While hampered due to the phase of life, teens with parental guidance can overcome many of the temptations associated with this age.
Parents need to though understand that mistakes can occur. It is up to parents to properly manage their teens during this period and understand the conflict. Culpability for the moral offenses can even be less before the eyes of God, but although teens are experiencing these new feelings, it is important to still hold accountability. As parents, we stand before God for what our children become and it is important to help our children weather the storm of the teen years with proper guidance, restrictions and consequences.
A good moral life can be developed despite the storm of adolescence, but parents need to be willing to take the time and effort to water the seeds of virtue that were planted at Baptism and childhood. The world and Satan will take your child if you let it, but it is ultimately up to you to say “NO”
If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.