My Doubts are Destroying My Faith!

How can we overcome daily doubts to our faith? Please also review our Christian Counseling Training
How can we overcome daily doubts to our faith? Please also review our Christian Counseling Training

I’m finding that believing in the validity of Christianity is becoming more difficult. How should I handle my doubts?

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.crosswalk.com

A good response piece to a person in distress regarding faith and the general feel of the country today.

This is a good article to fall back and realize we all will sense doubt and fear regarding our faith at times and to be strong in Christ.

I recommend a retreat or a spiritual reawakening that takes you away from the noise of the world.

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training then please review

#christiancounselingtraining

11 Important Thoughts for Those Considering Divorce

Divorce is taken to lightly today.  Serious thought is needed. Please review our Christian Counseling Training
Divorce is taken to lightly today. Serious thought is needed. Please review our Christian Counseling Training

This is NOT an attack piece on the divorced. It is written for the many believers who may be considering a divorce too soon because it is a cultural norm.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.crosswalk.com

This is a huge issue in our country–the high rate of divorce.  Christians and other religious people see marriage as sacred and more than a contract.  Consider the wisdom of this article if your marriage is going through a rough patch

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training then please review

#christiancounselingtraining

Christian Counseling Training : 6 Important Facts About Forgiveness

What are some benefits of forgiveness?  If you would like Christian Counseling Training, then review
What are some benefits of forgiveness? If you would like Christian Counseling Training, then review

Why to consider forgiving, even if you’ll never forget.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.psychologytoday.com

We all know forgiveness has spiritual benefits.  But what of psychological benefits?

This article looks at six benefits of forgiveness within that context and how it can be healthy for us.

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

#christiancounselingtraining

Forgiveness can bring not just spiritual but also physical healing

Spiritual healing is critical, as well is physical.  Faith plays a big role
Spiritual healing is critical, as well is physical. Faith plays a big role. Please review our Christian Counseling Training

Doctors recently found out that forgiveness may help relieve the body from physical difficulties and treat diseases.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.christiantoday.com

Letting go has a power to heal not only spiritual issues but also physical ones.  Letting go of negative energy can free us from its negative physical effects on our body.

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs

#christiancounselingtraining

5 ways to grow closer to Jesus Christ

Becoming closer to Jesus Christ should be a goal for all of us  Please review for Christian Counseling Training
Becoming closer to Jesus Christ should be a goal for all of us Please review for Christian Counseling Training

Reading, studying and applying the scriptures to your life will bring you closer to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.familyshare.com

A short article about developing a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is imperative that to become more Christlike we shed our old ways and put on Christ

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional needs

#christiancounselingtraining

How Facebook is Saving the Unborn

Social Media is becoming a way to proclaim the rights of the unborn child.  Please review our Christian Counseling Training
Social Media is becoming a way to proclaim the rights of the unborn child. Please review our Christian Counseling Training

Log onto Facebook at any given time and the odds are you’ll see at least one baby picture. What might surprise Christians however, is how these pictures are helping to fight abortion.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.crosswalk.com

Education is the key in this fight against genocide.  When mothers or fathers discover the fetus is a baby but in the womb, it becomes harder to kill.  Dehumanizing people is the best way to ease a conscience to kill–this is what the abortionist movement has done.  This article shows how FB gives us the ability to share life and show images of these unborn babies.

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

How fighting the urge to judge others can make you more Christlike | Deseret News National

Who are we to judge another person?  Christ is the lone judge. If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then review
Who are we to judge another person? Christ is the lone judge. If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then review

The Deseret News National Edition fills a void in the American media landscape through rigorous journalism for family- and faith-oriented audiences.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: national.deseretnews.com

In this day in age its hard not to judge people with so many immoral actions taking place.  We need to stay focused, condemn the sin not the sinner and keep pace with our own moral failures

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

#christiancounselingtraining

Pope Francis Underscores Distinctiveness of Christian Marriage – Breitbart

The Pope speaks about the values of sacramental Christian marriage.  Please review for Christian Counseling Training
The Pope speaks about the values of sacramental Christian marriage. Please review for Christian Counseling Training

Pope Francis devoted his weekly “general audience” to the topic of Christian matrimony.

Source: www.breitbart.com

An interesting article about what really marriage is to the Christian.  The pope points out that is a huge difference between the invalid state marriage and the sacramental marriage between Christians.  So what is the fight about?   Should we as Christians care if the states permits same couple marriage when in reality is it really is not marriage anyways?

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

#christiancounselingtraining

1 Cross, 1 Savior, 7 POWERFUL Sayings—THIS is How Much He Loves Us!

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review. Watch this short video on the last words of Christ
If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review. Watch this short video on the last words of Christ

Jesus cried out from the cross 7 times, and each quote shows the MIND-BLOWING depth of His love for all of us. These sayings are powerful!

Source: www.crosswalk.com

A video presenting the 7 last sayings of Christ before he died on the cross according to the Gospels.  It is good to reflect on these as we mediate on Christ’s suffering

If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

#christiancounselingtraining

Christian Counseling Training: The Virtue of Purity and the Teenage Years

Christian Counseling Training: The Virtue of Purity and the Teenage Years

The occasions of sin are numerous for teens but this does not mean attraction is evil in itself, but it must be controlled with pure and chaste relationships until marriage
The occasions of sin are numerous for teens but this does not mean attraction is evil in itself, but it must be controlled with pure and chaste relationships until marriage

“Blessed are the Pure of Heart for they shall see God” proclaims Christ.   This statement speaks volumes about the importance of the virtue of purity and its role in our spiritual salvation.   It is not a footnote or minor point for Christians to disregard as insignificant to our spiritual salvation but an essential part of our spiritual life.   Society would like to diminish the importance of this virtue as outdated to the times or unnecessary as long as one is kind to others, but the necessity of this virtue is unquestioned.   At Fatima, Our Lady told the children that many souls go to Hell due to the sins of the flesh.

This is not to scare you, or drive fear into your heart for the sins of the flesh are many and diverse.   We need to approach them carefully and understand their particular role in a teen’s life.  In some cases, a priest may not even classify a particular objectively sinful action as deadly to the soul due to subjective issue within the agent.   Hormones, confusion, ignorance and curiosity can occur during the initial teen or High school years of both girls and boys.   What would be considered as objectively sinful can have greatly reduced culpability in many teens.   This is why it is critical for loving and caring parental guidance during the puberty years; a hand that approaches delicate matters with instruction but also leniency.

I understand with the current issues within the Church, the awkward nature of confession regarding sins of the flesh for both the priest and the minor. These issues should be approached with delicacy.   This is why it is pertinent for young teens to find a trusted spiritual adviser who will not lead them astray, but give them concrete guidance regarding the sins of the flesh and the protection of purity.

With these things said, I would like to illuminate the beauty of purity through the story of St. Philomena but also approach a few delicate issues that teens may be facing regarding their own virginity or purity and how St Philomena can be a protectress to their purity.

Who Was St Philomena?

St Philomena during her captivity.  If you are interested in Christian Counseling Training, please review the program
St Philomena during her captivity. If you are interested in Christian Counseling Training, please review the program

St Philomena was a teen herself!   She was a young girl who at an early age decided to offer her virginity and purity to Christ.  This was a difficult decision in the days of the early Christians.  Like our society today, purity was seen as something unnecessary.  Roman and Greek culture was saturated with sexual vices.   The threat to purity was everywhere.    From the theatre to the bathhouse, Rome and Greece was filled with not just natural sins of the flesh but an abundance of unnatural and heinous sinful actions.

Surrounded by this storm, the delicate flower of Philomena flourished.  She was an example of purity to her community and family.   She was a rare specimen for her age, must like many of us today who stand against the secular media and its glorification of lustful actions.

Do you feel it is difficult to remain pure in our society of today?   Does the constant barrage of sexual images online, on television, and in your community break down your spiritual immune system?   With raging hormones and a natural attraction to the opposite sex, these images can be confusing.   Attraction is not the sin here.  It is natural to find an image of a woman to be attractive for a boy, or an image of a man to be attractive to a girl.   This is not a sin.  However, to indulge oneself into this image or engage in like behavior as seen on television is a sin.   This is far from easy and to think it was easy for Philomena simply because she was a saint is a huge oversight.

Philomena was a young woman.  She was changing and experiencing the same desires and feelings all young people eventually experience.  She had to learn to curb these new feelings and control her emotions.  She was not free from sin or temptation and had to rely on the graces of God to protect her virtue of purity.   Undoubtedly, many nights she prayed for grace to overcome temptation.

The sins of the flesh are powerful because they correlate with our body’s natural instincts; instincts that God gave us!   These instincts are not evil in themselves but are part of who we are.   It is the devil, the great deceiver, who wishes to confuse and mislead us regarding these instincts.   He attempted to confuse Philomena, as he has attempted to confuse me or you.

Since the sins of the flesh are so powerful because they connect to our human nature, we have to learn to control them.  This of course is easier said than done!   The sin of Adam has severed our control of our passions.  Our intellect many times struggles to maintain a healthy control over our sexual urges.   This is why it is essential, we pray for purity from the Holy Spirit and beg for guidance from Mary, or St Philomena.

These urges and desires are good and healthy but if misused can be used to the delight of the evil one who wishes to mar and destroy anything good created by God.   Hence control of these emotions and desires is a critical part of the virtue of purity.   Discipline, sacrifice and control are essential atoms within the virtue of purity.

While Philomena’s virtue of purity was an initial gift to her, we cannot assume its growth and enhancement came without her consent and discipline.   Purity must be safeguarded because of its correlation with our sexual appetites.   Once we give in to an illicit thought or action, we potentially open the flood gates and weaken our spiritual immune system.

Those who find themselves captive to the sins of impurity have a difficult time escaping its grasp.  Good Christians who seek to escape it must go through intense temptations beyond anything initially experienced.  The taste of sex is strong and addictive and the devil knows how to play us against our own senses and instincts.

Many souls who pursue purity but have tasted the sexual sins fall victim not to isolated failures but repetitive falls.  Since the sins of impurity are so tied to our senses, they quickly translate from an isolated incident to a habit.   These habits are extremely hard to break and the person enslaved to these vices requires much spiritual guidance and patience.   There is no doubt, our loving Lord is patient with those who yearn to escape the sins of the flesh, but how many do not even seek to escape these sins?  How many exist in indifference or acceptance to these disordered actions?

As one erodes one’s good and certain conscience, the sins of the flesh become stronger and the voice of one’s conscience weakens to a quiet whisper.   The battle to resist becomes less and the desire becomes more.   Soon, to silence the conscience once and for all, some souls may even adopt heretical ideals that applaud sensual deviations and find no error in them.

St. Philomena never allowed the initial floodgates to open.   She hopes you do not either.   She will intercede to Christ for the perseverance of your purity.  She will also aid you if you have fallen and are in need of regaining control of your sexual appetite.

Are you willing to ask for help to preserve this wonderful gift of purity?   St Philomena went to an early death to preserve her purity and God asks much less from you.  God simply asks to try and pray for assistance when temptation arises.    Some temptations may be stronger, sometimes you may feel alone, but God is strengthening you with the individual abilities to cope and overcome impure adversity.

Philomena’s struggles led to a horrible martyr’s death at the hands of the Roman Emperor himself.  Philomena’s beauty was unparalleled and many men desired her.  Upon a trip from Greece to Rome, the Emperor had spoken to her father, a statesman, regarding the beauty of his daughter.  He requested that her father hand her over to him.  The father, not a Christian, was over joyed to have such imperial favor and immediately agreed, but Philomena who had given herself to Christ would not partake in the impure and sensuous desires of the Emperor.

She refused any of the Emperor’s impure advances.  The Emperor was enraged that his sexual desires were not fulfilled and had her beaten and imprisoned.   Yet Philomena remained in her cell.  Through the grace of God, the virtue of purity was strong within her delicate soul, that not even the sexual advances of an Emperor could sway her conviction.   Not even the numerous promises of wealth and luxury promised by the Emperor could persuade her to abandon her God.

It is easy to think these temptations did not stir in her soul, but what would you think if a powerful individual with wealth and riches wished to give you the world?  Not only wealth, but every pleasure affordable?  Yet, due to some characteristic which separates the saints from the mundane, heroic virtue manifested itself; a virtue so extreme and heroic that it reflected the goodness of God and his grace that filled Philomena.

The Emperor’s impure obsession with Philomena grew and with his obsession also grew his hate.  Lucifer through the Emperor sought to destroy the virtue of purity within Philomena and continued his assault on her.   The Emperor pushed to extremes continued to have Philomena beaten, only to discover the next day that her bruises had vanished.   Our Lord, according to tradition, had sent the angels to administer to his daughter.

Pushed by insanity, the Emperor had Philomena ordered to be executed, yet on two separate occasions, Philomena’s martyrdom was delayed by miraculous events.   God chose to use the purity of Philomena as an example to many and He sought to show the world the goodness of Philomena.   On the first occasion, arrows were shot at Philomena, but to the disbelief and astonishment of many, they reversed flow and struck the very archers who fired them.   The second occasion, Philomena was cast into the Tiber river with an anchor tied around her waist, but yet again to the astonishment of the guards, she was lifted from the river by angels.  Many souls converted to Christianity that day.

Incensed more than ever, the Emperor demanded that Philomena be beheaded.   It was on that day, that Philomena was finally given reprieve from her torments and as a pure heart, allowed to see the splendor of her Spiritual Groom.

What are you willing to do to preserve your purity and virginity?  God may not ask us to die a martyr’s death but He does ask us to live a pure life.  St Philomena lived a pure life and is an excellent example to follow.   We can emulate St Philomena by chasing away impure thoughts, remaining close to our Lady and always focusing on Christ.  We can also wear the red chord of Philomena.  This red chord ties around one’s waist and reminds one of the necessity of purity.

St Philomena, pray for us

If you are interested in learning more about Christian Counseling Training, then please review the program

 

Mark Moran, MA