Author Archives: Robert V Rodriguez

About Robert V Rodriguez

I am a native San Antonian and life-long Catholic, passionate about my faith, with devotions to the Blessed Sacrement, Our Lady, and the Holy Trinity. As the Public Relations and Outreach specialist at Pilgrim Center of Hope, I am able to use my background in journalism, broadcast communications, and public relations to guide people to Christ. My favorite saints are Pope St. John Paul II, St. John the Evangelist, St. Therese, and St. Louis de Montfort.

Keep the Faith

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As you read this, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are in the last couple of weeks of preparing for their first game against Michigan on September 1. I am a diehard fan. I attended ND, and my older brother is a graduate. Over the years, I have always ‘kept the faith,’ through the great and not-so-great seasons. As the motto goes, God, Country, and Notre Dame!

Keeping the Faith is all about continuing to believe in someone or something especially when it is difficult to do so.

Faith is our spiritual theme for August. We begin this month by celebrating the Transfiguration of Our Lord. We will conclude the month by marking the feast days of St. Augustine (8-28) and St. Monica (8-27). Not only do the Transfiguration, St. Augustine, and St. Monica provide us with examples of what ‘keeping the faith’ is all about, but they also should encourage our belief in God.

The Transfiguration of Our Lord – August 6

While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white…This is my chosen Son; listen to him(cf. Luke 9: 28, 35).

It was in this moment that the spiritual glory of Jesus became visible to Peter, James, and John. In Latin, trans means across and figura means form or shape. His appearance changed and became glorious!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reveals to us how this inspired the three Apostles to keep the faith: Christ’s Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostle’s faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent onto the ‘high mountain’ (Mt. Tabor) prepares for the ascent to Calvary (CCC 568).

Aside from preparing the three for what was to come, the Transfiguration also connected them to God…that was God’s voice in the cloud. Sometimes God gives us similar special experiences of his grace to strengthen our faith. These moments are intended to sustain us when we face the challenges of life.

Lessons from Another Mother and Son

On the one hand St. Monica is the epitome of not only keeping the faith, but never losing it. Despite the licentious and adventuresome youth of St. Augustine, his mother St. Monica never wavered in her constant and persistent prayer for him. The example of St. Monica should offer each of us hope, encouragement, and inspiration, when it comes to maintaining our faith and trust in God, when faced with what appear to be hopeless causes.

On his road to conversion, St. Augustine asked all the big questions, like who is God, and who am I? Throughout his early life Augustine struggled with family, friends, meaning, and purpose. Sound familiar? What he discovered is that the Christian life is a journey that we walk by faith.

St. Augustine once said, our whole business therefore in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.

Because of St. Monica’s prayers, God moved in St. Augustine’s life. God is moving – always – in our own journeys as well. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but we are all on the journey to God – one in mind and heart.

Go Irish!

Since the beginning of the 20thCentury, the faith in Notre Dame – the University and the football team – has been so strong that it has created a mystique that is palpable. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped onto the campus at age 12…it was as if the air was charged with electricity.

Faith and belief in God can be quite powerful, we just need to let it flow!

 

You’re invited to Day’s and Evening’s of Hope! The relic of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church,  will be available for veneration at Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Gethsemane Chapel!

Join us on Wednesday, August 22nd,  from 12:30 – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

 

Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. 

 

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Is Your Daily Schedule Founded on Christ?

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“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Those are the words of St. Augustine, who before having a profound conversion, lived a sinful lifestyle, which included living with a mistress and fathering a child out of wedlock.

In today’s society, it’s easy to get out of touch with God and our faith. For too many, the spiritual life has gotten deferred and neglected in the midst of worldly occupations, pleasures, pursuits, and distractions.

A Gallup report, released earlier this year, indicates that between 2014 and 2017 only about 39-percent of Catholics attended church in any given week. That’s down from 45-percent between 2005 and 2008, and way down from the 75-percent of Catholics who reported going to Mass on Sunday’s in 1955.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that, Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done(Genesis 2:2),” human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives (CCC, no. 2184).

When asked why they don’t go to Mass, read the Bible or pray, many people will say they just don’t have the time.

The downward trajectory of Sunday Mass attendance by Catholics who have pushed aside keeping the Sabbath holy, speaks to the need for balance and temperance in everyday life, our theme for the month of July.

Balance Is Key

Balance is important, Pope Francis said, for protecting individuals, their families, society and the environment.

The balance Pope Francis speaks of is contingent on Christ being at the center of our daily life.

When I have spent time daily focused on God, He has multiplied my time (enough to go around) just as Jesus did with the fishes and the loaves that fed the multitude (cf. John 6: 1-15).

Clear Away the Obstacles

 Ultimately, we need to clear away all the obstacles that hinder us from drawing near to Christ. Throughout the day, there needs to be a steady flow of nourishment for our soul. How we start the day is crucial to keeping our soul from withering.

This is the perfect time to mention St. Josemaria Escriva, whose legacy is the belief that each of us can, by God’s grace, achieve holiness through the course of ordinary life and work. Here’s what he had to say about how to start the day:

Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment,you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day(The Way, no. 191).

Spiritual Routine A Must

 When I get up each day, I make the sign of the Cross and say, Good morning Lord, praise your holy name, I offer you this day with love and thanksgiving. Then I get on to the spiritual & religious practices which have become a regular part of my day:

  • Morning prayers
  • Spiritual reading – New Testament or book suggested by a priest (spiritual advisor)
  • Praying the Angelus or Regina Coeli at noon to honor Our Lady
  • Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Evening Prayers
  • Examination of Conscience

Over the years I have added the Rosary to my daily prayers. I also have a spiritual advisor (a priest or deacon) to guide and advise me. My routine took time to develop, but boy am I glad I did. Having a daily spiritual routine has enabled me to grow in faith and in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Developing a daily spiritual routine is a gradual process to always be seen as a work in progress. Ultimately, the goal should be to find ways to have God at the center of your daily life, and to contribute to that relationship through prayer, Scripture and other spiritual practices, so as to grow in faith and holiness.

 

“Answering Christ’s call, we guide people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.”