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Prayers of deliverance

A Xt3 Member asked at 1:27pm on February 1st 2018
Hi Fr Brenden,

I have recently moved back into our old family home that has been abandoned for 3 years. The reason I left was for safety and I felt God warned me in a dream - so we packed up that morning and took off before night fall. I mentioned this in confession and the priest believed it to be a true warning. After 3 years the move proved beneficial. I had new crosses to carry but was given rest from the old ones. At the end of last year I knew in my heart that I had to return as a duty/practicality. To tidy up etc.

I grew up in this house and my siblings and I experienced many awful spiritual disturbances. We had the house blessed with little crucifixes above every doorway and apart from the occasional disturbance it was genuinely a lot more peaceful. One sibling took the advice of the priest to not talk about it anymore but the other sibling enjoyed the topic of conversation. The first one is practicing his faith, the second not so. He needs lots of prayers and a few years ago he removed the crucifixes. Moving back in here I feel the house needs to be blessed again as my children are complaining of similar experiences to those of my siblings and myself and the town talk is always revolved around the rumoured hauntings. The last time I had visited here was only for a few days and I felt an urgency to leave/fight the oppressing vibe of being trapped here. Upon actually moving in within a few days I had a sudden/acute sense of doom. I recognised it straight away and it left with prayer (very unusual emotion as I don't have anxiety/depression). It used to be an old maternity hospital and before fencing was up when we bought it, locals used the abandoned property as a short cut. Back door neighbours years ago dabbled in very serious occult stuff as well. I would like deliverance prayers for myself and my children. Sometimes I feel the love of Saint Michael here and that is a comfort. We have a beautiful Catholic church only half a block away. I have blessed sacramentals and images everywhere. Your recent response to my "Rod and Staff" question has been of great comfort.

I have approached my new diocese (royal) regarding a house blessing but the priest is very busy with 3 parishes. He said he will but he cannot do a mass here due to his responsibilites. I don't want to add to his load. I guess what I am asking for is some advice on how to go about it and also some prayers for my local priest - he is very good and very kind but understandably very busy. I just feel it is time to officially 'tidy up' properly out here. Such a beautiful old home needs a peaceful and lovely vibe. We do our bit by saying the family Rosary most nights.

Thank you again.

Camilla.

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Hi Camilla, I agree that it would great if one of your local priests could find the time to come and bless your house. And saying the family Rosary in the evening is surely also a great idea. I'm sure you've obtained plenty holy water and sprinkled it all over the house, but if not, even without a priest, that will surely be another element in the sanctifying of your house.

When I grew up, we always had a large statue of Our Lady on a kind of altar in our living room, with a certificate of the family's dedication to the Sacred Heart (including a picture of the Sacred Heart) on the wall over our family fireplace. And you could also put back a crucifix or some holy picture in each room. If your non-practicing sibling is living in the same house, you may need to persuade him about this! We know from St John's Apocalypse, chapter 12, about the 'war in heaven,' and the devil's hatred of Mary still carrying her Son in the womb (presuming that interpretation), so there's no doubt the devil hates the name of Mary. That means frequently invoking her name and asking her aid is something else to do. I'll keep you all in my prayers, and please God these terrible infestations will pass. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Are these mortal sins?

A Xt3 Member asked at 12:08am on January 9th 2018
Hi Father,

Scenario 1: Let's say there's a guy and you keep glancing at him in inappropriate areas not because you want to, it just kind of happens and you look away without feeling any arousal or anything. Or you're a straight woman but you look at women's bodies, not because you are thinking sexual thoughts, your eyes just kind of go there. It may just be a comparison thing or curiosity I honestly don't even know why it happens. Sometimes certain clothing causes attention, making it harder to not notice. Would this be sinful and to what degree? It kind of worries me because sometimes my eyes just go there without me trying to look.

Scenario 2: So the other night I was watching YouTube and I saw a video that was recommended that I had watched a while ago in which a woman talked about her sinful past and how she turned her life around. Before I clicked on it, I thought to myself "wow I would like to hear her crazy story again" almost as if to be intrigued by the sinful things that she had done, but then the second i thought that I was like wait why am I even thinking that, and then watched the video anyway, as she does have a moving story about her faith. After this all happened, I was thinking about it and still am, and I'm not even 100% sure that is the way that it happened, or if I talked myself into it. I recently started taking my faith seriously again and have found that I can be a bit scrupulous/worried and hyper sensitive to what I do. Anyway, I am concerned that this is a mortal sin and that I won't be able to receive communion. Please help! Thanks

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Hi Christina, it's not because mortal sins aren't committed that I generally don't like to answer directly whether something is a mortal sin or not. It generally seems better to work from the other direction, of virtue, of our Christian ideal to live like Mary, the one who followed Jesus most closely.

For your Scenario 1, let's remember what Jesus said on this topic: 'Anyone looking at a woman lustfully commits adultery with her in his heart' (Mt 5:28). What 'lustfully' means here is, to love another not for themselves but for what I can get from them. And 'adultery' means to betray their humanity, because by looking at them only in terms of my sexual gratification, I don't see them, but just their body. Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, has fisherman Harry satirizing the soft-porn magazines in the local supermarket:

He nudged Harry, man-to-man. 'Like that, Harry?' he asked. 'Like what?' 'The girl there.' 'That's not a girl. That's a piece of paper.' 'Looks like a girl to me,' Fred Rosewater leered. 'Then you're easily fooled,' said Harry. 'It's done with ink on a piece of paper. That girl isn't lying there on the counter. She's thousands of miles away, doesn't even know we're alive. If this was a real girl, all I'd have to do for a living would be to stay home and cut out pictures of big fish.'

While what Jesus says seems like a negative prohibition, St John Paul II brought out its positive meaning. In his Theology of the Body he asks us to focus on the word 'heart'- which refers to the person as God sees them. God loves us in our 'heart,' that is, he loves us for our own sake and not for anything he gets out of us. At the marriage ceremony, the couple say, 'for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health...' where each of the spouses are saying 'I love you for you, no matter what changes you go through.' They're promising to love each other the way God loves them: heart for heart. And training for that pure love is what we're doing whenever we try to love the other heart for heart.

What I do, if I notice something that could tempt me to lose my freedom to love, is not to take a second look, even if I'd like to keep looking in that direction. Since Jesus asks us to love one another as he has loved us, I have to try to love each one as God loves them. You might remember from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, that 'it's only with your heart that you can see clearly; what's essential is invisible to the eye.'

On your Scenario 2, it's good that you question your motivation for doing things, so in light of what I've been saying, maybe it'd be enough in this kind of situation to ask why you're doing this or that. I often get to see a film with my cousin here in Sydney about once a week, and sometimes there may be a scene in the film I'm not happy with. But I didn't choose to go to the cinema to see that scene (yes, sometimes I close my eyes if there's something obscene going on!) but for the overall story. So I think if you just keep trying to love the way Jesus wants to love, embracing the hard cross of self-restraint in order to remain free to love, you'll quickly be able to see what to do in these scenarios. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Finding a spiritual director

A Xt3 Member asked at 6:05am on December 27th 2017
Hi Father,

I really need a spiritual director. All of the priests I know and trust are unable to do it. Is there a way to arrange being linked with a priest with the Archdiocese?

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Hi Ryan, I'm sorry, I don't know which Archdiocese you're referring to, but if it's Sydney, I think the problem is that those who normally provided spiritual direction were consecrated religious men, and often there aren't enough them around to take on the task of regular spiritual direction. Here's a few suggestions: why don't you approach the various centres of religious in the city - Dominicans, Jesuits, Carmelites and so on - if you haven't already done so - to see if there's anyone who'd have the time to meet with you even once a month. Another approach would be to get involved in one of the lay ecclesial movements in the diocese, where their approach is more to form people in living the Gospel according to the charism of their movement. Sometimes the movements will provide one-on-one spiritual advice from time to time as well. Hope that's a help.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Praying

A Xt3 Member asked at 6:19pm on December 26th 2017
Hi father,

I've been praying the rosary for some time now, but ever since last week, a voice in my head popped up saying "Mary is a ___" a word I dont want to type out, but its very bad. I'm not sure how to get this voice out of my head. I've been asking God to help me but the voice still persist. I don't think its the devil but also I don't think its coming from me either. I love God and Mary a lot so it makes no sense to me why I would say a thing like that. Sometimes I get scared to pray because I don't it to happen. What do you think I should do?

Thank you.

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Hi Ryan, the first thing to remember is that our imagination isn't under our control the way our mind and our free will is. So that we can bothered by all sorts of thoughts, in your case of bad words directed at Our Lady, but as with any bad thoughts we don't what used to be called 'entertain' them. I often explain that entertaining bad thoughts is a bit like saying to them, come on in and have a cup of coffee'! As long as you don't consciously will this word, it's not a word you choose to use - in fact, the exact opposite, you don't want it. So there's no fault involved. And I think that the less you're bothered by it, the more it'll go away. So of course, keep up your praying. Jesus never prayed more deeply than when, on the Cross, his prayer was interrupted by the horrible insults and curses aimed at him by his enemies. Just like that, the very fact you keep on praying despite this nuisance, the more your prayer is reaching into the Heart of Mary, itself pierced by the sword of all the hatred directed at her.

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Do I bow or genuflect in front of a closed tabernacle that is located behind an altar?

A Xt3 Member asked at 1:12am on November 5th 2017
Hi,

I am learning to become a sacristan. One question I have - Do I bow or genuflect in front of a closed tabernacle that is located behind an altar? Does it matter if I have a candle lighter or another type of religious/sacred object in my hand(s)?

Thank you very much.

Hidalgo

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Hi Hidalgo,

The work of a sacristan typically involves many trips to and from the altar, so I would be inclined to suggest that you bow every time you pass that tabernacle (obviously only if the Blessed Sacrament is kept there). And I can't see that it matters whether you have something in your hand-what you're doing is showing Jesus that you're aware He's present there and that you deeply respect that.

Very best wishes for your progress on your way to becoming a sacristan-people watching you go about your work will have their faith deepened by seeing your own faith in action!

Very best, Fr Brendan
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Vacation

A Xt3 Member asked at 4:42am on October 31st 2017
Hello! My husband and I are living on the West Coast of the United States for just a little while longer, and we have always wanted to see Alaska. We decided that now would probably be the best time to do it (logistically and financially), before leaving the West Coast. We are looking in to a cruise, and we found one that is affordable and will work with our schedule. However, because it will leave on a Saturday afternoon, I do not know if we will be able to attend Mass that weekend. The cruise ship does not have a priest onboard. We always make sure to go to Mass when we are on vacation, but I don't think we'll have the option if we book this cruise. Would it be a mortal sin if we booked this cruise, knowing that we probably won't be able to go to Mass?



Thank you, and God bless you!

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Hi Nicole, you're never bound to do what's impossible, so there's no obligation to attending Sunday Mass when travel makes it impossible. What I often suggest to people travelling on cruises as you and your husband will be doing, is on the Sundays you're onboard, to give God the time you'd have given at Mass. So you could read the readings of the Mass for that day (easily available, for example on http://catholic-resources.org/ Lectionary/1998USL.htm), possibly pray through the principal prayers of the Mass, including the Our Father, make an act of spiritual communion by inviting Jesus to enter more deeply into your lives, make a short thanksgiving, possibly pray the Rosary together.

And remember what Jesus promised in Mt 18:20, 'where two or three are gathered in my name (that is, ready to give all for each other, as you promised on your wedding day!), there am I among you.' That promised presence of Jesus in your midst is a real presence, different from the Eucharistic presence, but still a real presence.

I've only once been a little bit up Canada's West Coast (a drive up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, then across to Bella Coola) but even that glimpse of the inland passage was beautiful, so best wishes for a great trip! Fr Brendan
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What bible says about betting?

A Xt3 Member asked at 2:32pm on October 27th 2017
Hi everyone, i am from Turkey and i am raised by muslim parents, so i do a few things about religions, but i would like to learn and know more about Christianity, here is my question:

in Islamic doctrines we have a haram, and helal which means sin and halal, so in our actions in the gods eye we are making a halal or haram, so how does Christianity judge that? i mean what is your typical judgments for that?

And my another question is, is it sin to play bettings from websites or in general, is it sin to have an actually earnings from betting games?

(sorry for my bad english)

Best regards.

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Hi Betamik, the Arabic word 'haram' means what is forbidden by Allah ('halal' is its opposite, what is permitted), and includes a range of sins that Christians also regard as seriously sinful, like pre-marital sex or murder. Like Muslims, Christians regard these activities as sinful in God's eye, but also as sinful in themselves - so that every human being is forbidden to commit them. Basically, all Christians are bound to obey the Ten Commandments listed in chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus, which lay out our duties to God (the first 3 commandments) and to our fellow human beings (the last 7 commandments).

Christians are bound not only by the Ten Commandments, but by Jesus' commandment in chapters 13 and 15 of the Gospel of St John to love one another as he has loved us - that is, to be prepared to die for one another - which is what he meant by 'as I have loved you,' since he did die for us. Almost every Surah of the Koran addresses Allah as 'the Merciful,' and you could say that Muslims should be merciful like Allah. There are beautiful echoes of this in some Muslim poets, like the thirteenth century poet Rumi, who wrote that 'God has predestined us eternally for love.' And there are similar words in the great medieval Sufi scholar, Ibn Arabi:

'My beloved, love me!

Love only me, love me with a true heart!

No one is closer to you than I.

Others love you for themselves. But I love only for you.'

Even when our beliefs are different, as Muslims and Christians, nothing can stop us trying to love one another.

As regards betting, maybe it would be better to speak with a Muslim scholar or holy man, since I think the Koran forbids gambling, while for Christians, gambling would only be sinful if we were spending money we should spend on looking after our family or ourselves. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Feast of St Margaret Mary Alaquoque

A Xt3 Member asked at 11:59pm on October 15th 2017
There seems to be some confusion over the Feastday of St Margaret Mary Alaquoqe. Some calendars put the feastday down to the 16th of October and others the 17th of October. Which is the correct date?

I noted also that today is supposed to be the feastday of St Gerard Majella, but no-one seems to make much of it. When I was growing up in the 50's/60's/70's this feastday was very popular and in the schools the nuns used to relate interesting stories about this saint - nowadays, the children don't seem to be told about this saint in the Catholic schools.



Thank you.

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Hi Ethel, I'm just as puzzled as you are! In Australia and in the Roman Missal, her feast day is celebrated on October 16th, while some sites I looked up say it's on October 17th. In fact, it's what's called an 'optional memorial,' along with St Hedwig (who I'm also very fond of as I attended Mass in St Hedwig's Cathedral in what was then Communist East Berlin many years ago). Maybe it was originally on the 17th, but St Ignatius of Antioch's feast on that day might have 'bumped' her off that flight.

If St Margaret Mary was moved back to October 16th, it looks as if St Gerard Majella wasn't even let onto the plane - his feast day is also on October 16th, but he's not included in the Roman Missal any more (I don't know if he was there before). I guess the reason is because there are many new saints, so there isn't room for them all to be commemorated by the whole Church. But I'm sure he's still in the local calendar of his home diocese in the far south of Italy, and perhaps he's in the Italian national calendar of saints too.

St Gerard is patron of mothers in childbirth. This is because, when visiting a family, not long before he died at 29 in 1755, he'd dropped a handkerchief. One of the daughters ran after him with it, and he told her to keep it as she might need it one day. Years later, now married, she was in danger of death during childbirth (at a time when only a third of children survived birth). As soon as she'd asked for that handkerchief her pains went away and her child was born healthy.

An online version of another experience explains why he's also the patron of those wrongly accused: When he was 27, Majella became the subject of a malicious rumour. An acquaintance named Neria accused him of having had relations with a young woman. St Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation, to which he belonged, confronted him with these accusations. The young lay brother remained silent. The girl later recanted and cleared his name.' He's a truly wonderful saint, what a pity we don't hear a lot more about him. Very best, Fr Brendan
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Types of business that's acceptable as a child of God

A Xt3 Member asked at 12:43pm on October 13th 2017
Please, I'd like to know what it means in the Church, for a Christian to run a betting or gamble related type of business.
Not a gangster style of business. Somewhat related to this type of online betting via sports game result. Please I need Godly and Biblical answer, inspire of the human view of it.
Thanks.

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Hi Peter, when I was studying politics many years ago, our lecturer pointed out that it was important for good people to get involved or else only bad people would enter politics. Since the Church has never taught that gambling is sinful, there is no reason why a Christian shouldn't be involved in running a betting or gambling business.

I think if you look at a similar situation, Christians also sell alcohol and run bars where alcohol is served. And in my opinion, the approach of a Christian to both kinds of enterprise would be the same. Fully aware of the harm that excessive gambling and excessive drinking can do, they'd try to run their establishments in such a way as to discourage such excessive use - which of course is a misuse - of either of these activities.

In gambling, you often hear about proprietors of gambling establishments fixing the machines or the various games so that they're dishonestly stacked against the gamblers, or that they encourage irresponsible gambling behaviour. So I think it'd be up to a Christian proprietor to do all he or she could to show a pastoral care for problem gamblers, advertise Gamblers Anonymous centres, and so on. The basic Biblical requirement holds for the person providing a gambling service that holds for us all - that we're to love Jesus in the least of our brothers and sisters, including those at risk, morally and spiritually, from excessive gambling (see Mt 25: 31 - 46). Very best, Fr Brendan
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I see sins everywhere

A Xt3 Member asked at 7:23pm on September 21st 2017
An atheist friend started to ask me out of curiousity if something particular was a sin or not. That forced me to think in Christian life as a bunch of actions to be avoided, even if I know it's much more. Because of that, I can't help but judge every single action I see in my friends life or even when I'm reading a biography or a fictional book, not because I feel better, but out of fear for their souls. That's very sad and I feel I've became a slave of sin and fear, not for me, but for everything else, specially those who are not practising Catholics or accept only part of the Church teaching. My Christian life before was full of joy and love to God, I did my best without being judgamental, but now I don't know what to do. Please, help me.

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Hi Luisa, St John of the Cross puts it very clearly for us - 'in the evening of our lives, we'll be examined on love.' And of course, Jesus has already told us what the questions will be, 'Whatever you did to the least of my brothers (and sisters), you did to me (Mt 25:40).' So being a Christian is being someone who loves, especially those who most need that love, a love expressed concretely, by visiting the sick, clothing the naked, giving food to the hungry, and so on. That's the core of Church teaching - or to remind ourselves of the commandment Jesus called 'his' commandment and the 'new' commandment: 'love one another as I have loved you.' (Jn 13: 34 - 35; 15:12).

All of this is about actions to carry out, definitely not to be avoided. And Jesus is very clear in telling us not to judge others (Mt 7:1), since we never know what grace that person has received from God. Remember Jesus' approach to the woman discovered committing adultery (Jn 8), where he first of all sees off the mob who were getting ready to stone her to death, then tells her he doesn't condemn her, and to sin no more.

So it's not up to us to judge anyone. Rather, we have to try to see Jesus in everyone, leaving judgment to God. If you try this every day, you'll find your day becomes full of joy, since each day gives us another chance to prepare for our final exam, our meeting with Jesus at the moment of our death. Having done our best to love him in each neighbour, he'll recognize us as an old friend! Very best, Fr Brendan
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