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EPISODE #240
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: BIBLICAL BACKGROUND OF DIVINE MERCY

How often have you heard the phrase “I’m Catholic, but I think the Church needs to change its teaching on . . .” (you fill in the blank).  Maybe it’s aboriton, homosexuality, salvation, or hell?

Rick Howick joins Deacon Steve Greco to share his conversion story to Catholicism from Presbyterianism.

They’ll also discuss the biblical background of divine mercy. This is absolutely fascinating stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 4/19/2020

PERSONAL CONVERSION NEEDED TO CONFRONT SATAN’S LIES, POPE SAYS IN LENT MESSAGE

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2020 / 03:34 am (CNA) – There is an urgent need for personal conversion, without which the temptations of Satan, and the presence of evil, create a “hell here on earth,” Pope Francis said Monday in his 2020 Lenten message.

“Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus,” he said. “Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will.”

Rather, the pope said, life is born of the love of God our Father.

“If we listen instead to the tempting voice of the ‘father of lies,’ we risk sinking into the abyss of absurdity, and experiencing hell here on earth, as all too many tragic events in the personal and collective human experience sadly bear witness,” he stated.

Pope Francis’ Lenten message was published Feb. 24. It was signed Oct. 7, 2019, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

With the season of Lent, the Lord gives Catholics again a time of preparation for Jesus’ death and resurrection, “the cornerstone of our personal and communal Christian life,” he said, urging Catholics to not take this time of conversion for granted.

“This new opportunity ought to awaken in us a sense of gratitude and stir us from our sloth,” he argued. “Despite the sometimes tragic presence of evil in our lives, and in the life of the Church and the world, this opportunity to change our course expresses God’s unwavering will not to interrupt his dialogue of salvation with us.”

In his message for Lent 2020, which will begin Feb. 26, Francis spoke about the “urgency of conversion,” and quoted his 2019 apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit.

“Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt.  Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew.”

During Lent, a penitential period preceding the Church’s celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, Catholics are called to a renewed practice of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.

Pope Francis recalled that prayer is “more than a duty,” but that it is “an expression of our need to respond to God’s love which always precedes and sustains us.”

Christians pray with the knowledge they are unworthy, but still loved by God, he said.

Francis also spoke about the paschal mystery and putting it at the center of one’s life, which he said means to have compassion for Christ crucified as represented in “the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence.”

Christ’s wounds are also represented in “environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry,” he stated.

About almsgiving, the pope said sharing one’s worldly goods helps to make the world a better place.

“Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness,” he said.

Francis said apart from giving alms, Christians must also consider the structure of economic life, which is why he has convened in March a meeting with young men and women from around the world to bring about “a more just and inclusive economy.”

“The Economy of Francesco,” which will be attended by around 2,000 economists and entrepreneurs under the age of 35, will be held in Assisi March 26-28.

Pope Francis pointed to the crucified Jesus, who was sinless yet took on “the weight of our sins.”

“May we not let this time of grace pass in vain, in the foolish illusion that we can control the times and means of our conversion to him,” he urged.

“I ask Mary Most Holy to pray that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with him.”

EPISODE #150
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: THE ROAD TO CONVERSION

On today’s very unique broadcast, Deacon Steve welcomes two gentlemen to the program for the first time. Jack Stewart and Jim McVay are both converts to the Catholic faith, and each of them shares their personal, unique story with us.

Tune in and be inspired by their amazing witness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 6/10/18

EPISODE #148
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: MIRACLE – STORY OF MY CONVERSION FROM JUDAISM TO CATHOLICISM

Deacon Steve Greco always has wonderful guests on the program, and today is certainly no different. The title of today’s podcast says gives you a strong hint on what you’re about to hear.

Bette Harrison’s story is rather remarkable, having grown up in a Jewish household, to where she finds herself today. You will be pulled in as you listen to her describe her remarkable journey and testimony. Be sure to share this podcast with a friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 5/27/18

COMMENTARY: RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CONVERSION

“When it’s right, you know it’s right.” That’s how one person described her reason for returning to her Catholic faith. She and her husband had been members of a nondenominational church, but her father, a staunch Catholic, had been talking to her about her faith while she had been gone, encouraging her to listen to her heart, to continue to be open.

At this year’s Easter Vigil, her husband will join the Catholic Church, and she will be by his side, returning to the church of her birth. Her father can hardly describe his joy, not only because this daughter and her husband will be coming home, but also because his other three daughters’ husbands will be joining the Catholic Church, too.

Describing this group’s call to conversion of heart a “family affair” is truly an understatement. Conversion, in fact, for all of us, can be a process of awakening to a new way of looking at our lives, not only our “church” life but our entire existence, all of our waking hours.

This awakening or conversion can help us to see the people we know or those we meet in a different way, a clearer way, as God’s children who must be treated with respect and dignity.

Conversion gives us the opportunity not only to be a teacher of others, our children for instance, but also students of life who learn from others.

For example, recently I talked to a deacon who ministers to the sick and aged. When he stood at the bedside of a dying friend, he discovered his friend, in her dying, could teach him more about pastoral ministry than he could ever dream was possible. Not an easy lesson; the deacon said the woman’s struggles to accept death and look forward to her next step when she would be with God gave him an example he will never forget.

We must constantly be on the lookout for those teachable moments, when we can open our minds and our hearts to accept the “lesson” God has prepared for us.

This, then, is part of our conversion, our journey to becoming more of what God wants us to be. We must always be ready to recognize that lesson or opportunity for conversion because it sometimes comes disguised as a person or event we might not associate with a move closer to God.

When my mother was in the last months of her life, my sister and I adjusted our schedules so that we could care for her. It was not easy, but we decided this is what we wanted to do.

I am so grateful for that time with her, a gentle, loving woman who always put her children and her family ahead of everything else. In those last months, she taught me patience, perseverance and the value of presence.

I don’t sit still for long periods of time, but I learned that being still, being quiet, being present was all that was required of me. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than that time with her.

In a very personal way, I experienced a kind of conversion, a chance to be a child to her once more, if only briefly. Again, she taught me by her example, her acceptance of whatever was asked of her. Whenever we asked something of her, she always said, “I’ll try.” Even when she no longer spoke, she responded to us with that same willingness to try, to be open, to be our teacher once again. It was her last gift to us.

The only way we can truly accept her gift is to pass it on, to be open to the experiences of conversion that continue to present themselves to us, to live as examples to the people we meet, knowing that God works in our lives to bring us closer, to convert us each and every day.

 

Liz Quirin is editor of The Messenger, newspaper of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill.

LENT: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

The Lent 2015 helps users make this litergical season one of penance and conversion, all while they’re on the go. It allows us to follow the Gospel for each day during Lent and Easter. An English version can be found at XT3.com.

 

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