Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflection on O Antiphons, O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Our Lord comes to us as an infant. He draws us to Himself just as all are drawn to a newborn baby. They are cute. They are full of joy, innocence, they exuberate happiness and purity. Now that the day of the birth of Our Lord is less than a week away and it is of the utmost importance for us to re-recognize why it is that he is coming to us.

Jesus while on Earth preaches and teaches to us how we should live out our life. We are given the Sermon on the Mount, where we receive the Beatitudes; different Parables and situations of great charity and mercy. He teaches us how to live our lives centered on love of neighbor and love of self without being selfish in our actions. He brings hope to humanity with his love, His unconditional love.

The Root of Jesse, what is the Root of Jesse? Who is Jesse? Jesse is the Father of the King of Israel, David. The Root of Jesse is the lineage of this family, which we heard in the Gospel Reading from Matthew on Monday. In Isaiah, the prophet talks a sprout that shall spring forth from the stump of Jesse and from his roots a bud shall blossom. That blossom from the bud of the root of Jesse is the crucified Christ. He is nailed to the cross for all to see. The image of Christ crucified upon the hill of Calvary is like that of a Standard that a soldier carries in war time so that the soldiers know where to go. Christ, as a standard bearer shows us where we should be running to. He is the Sign that stands among the people.

Before you kings will shut their mouths: in the mystery of the Cross, all are silent. In Isaiah 52 the prophet tells us that the Servant shall be raised high and will be greatly exalted. From this exaltation he will startle many nations and kings shall stand speechless. The glory of the Cross has brought for us the possibility of Salvation. This should strike us all dumb, like that of Zachariah in the temple. The glory of the Lord shines before us and we cannot believe it, and are thusly stricken dumb without words.

To you the nations will make their prayer: In recognizing the beauty and love that happened upon in the crib in Bethlehem, the love of God to humanity; in recognizing that same beauty in the glory of the Cross. The Love of God should be mirrored in us; through the love of our neighbor. Our prayer is out of love. We make our prayer through the Christ child because he is Love. He is our prayer. He is all that we try to emulate in life.

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer: In the Book of Revelation Ch 22: 16, 20 “I am the Root and offspring of David.” “Yes, I am coming soon!”

​ God becomes Flesh so that he might be sacrificed, to die for us. This supreme act of love opens up the possibility for us of Salvation. The whole reason for Advent is to prepare for the coming of the Lord; the whole purpose of the coming of our Lord is to prepare us for his eventual sacrifice, ultimately the sacrifice of His death. It is all out of Love that God does this for us.




The Lord our King is drawing near, O come let us Adore Him.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Man plans, God has a different idea

There are times in our lives where we come up with this grandiose plan, only to have it suddenly blow up in our face. When this blow up happens, we are initially taken by surprise and we are crushed because our plan is no more. I was looking in the Holy Scriptures to help me wrap my head around this and I came upon Ecclisastes 3:11 "God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless* into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done."

When we have these plans, how often do we take them to prayer and ask God about it? How often are willing to dialogue with God for His input? These are important questions because God is the Master of our lives. He is our Creator.our entire life should be directed towards ourselves gaining admittance to heaven.

The above Scripture passage reminds us that God has a time for everything and while we may not quite understand why His plan seems to be interfering in our lives we must've be consoled to the fact that God knows better than us as to what it is that we need.

As I go on with my day, I am going to dialogue with God and ask Him, "My friend, what is it that you need from me this day? How can I be the best of service to you and your kingdom?" I will also share with Him, as if he didn't already know, my thought and plans and hopes.

May God bless (have mercy) all of those who happen to have their eyes falla upon this little blog posting!

~Br. Adam


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Witness

In much of today's culture and society there are images of what it means to be cool and part of an "in crowd" we base these images off of what we see on TV or in movies. We can often fail to see the ranges that can come from what we watch because we don't think that it affects us in some way. At least this is how I fell and how I dupe myself and make excuses as to why I watch some things.

During one of the talks this morning our preacher spoke to us about witness. If we religious are to be witnesses of Christ we have to model ourselves as such. We must love the scriptures and study them and assimilate them into our life. Often times I get caught up in the doing of every day life and I forget about being. I must recognize that I need the opportunity for personal prayer to deepen my relationship with Christ. If I tell myself that I do not have time, I am lying. I have to make the time because my first priority in life is my relationship with God.

If my life is not centered on my relationship with God everything else in life has the potential and probably will fail. I need the sustenance and Grace from God to keep going and being everyday of my life. The only way to be the best witness of Christ and His Kingdom to the world is to be a faithful disciple of the Lord and have a living relationship with Him.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Retreat


Last night began the annual retreat for the Salesians of Don Bosco in Stony Point, NY. The are roughly 60 SDBs on this retreat. Our preacher this year is Bishop Luc Van Looy, SDB of Gent, Belgium.

Am particularly excited for this retreat for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I am ever so aware that I need to refocus my priorities in life. That is one of the major objectives of retreat. The second reason that I need this retreat is because I need a conversion of heart. I have found when making an examine of conscience that I have been an am currently harboring I'll feelings towards people. This has to change because first and foremost, I am called to love.

I am also renewing my profession while on this retreat. This is exciting for me but also forces me to reexamine my plan of life. Why is it that I am professing these vows to life as a Salesian of Don Bosco? I will be reading a lot this week. I will be reexamining my life. I still feel that this is where God is calling me to holiness. This is my path. This is the path that I must follow.

Please pray for me.
- Br. Adam
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Dying unto Ourself

This morning's Gospel was a great consolation and reminder for me on how to live my life. First, I must die unto myself in order to help gain heaven. Second, I must serve. These components are very important and their magnitude is measureless. If I am to enter into heaven I must embrace the cross.

That being said, this morning's homily was also great. The priest spoke about one of our past Rector Majors. He quoted him, loosely, as saying that our dying unto ourselves everyday is a form of martyrdom. To continually sacrificing and living for God's glory is a form of martyrdom. What it lacks in its intensity it makes up for in duration.

Everyday in everything that we do we are making an offering to God. That offering could be something that is a joyous moment, or a moment of suffering. As long as it is done for God are we making that conscious effort to give God that glory.

As I gaze out at the congregation gathered in chapel this morning my eyes fall upon a group in the Salesian family, the Salesian Lay Missionaries. These 18 young people are truly embracing today's Gospel; they are dying unto themselves and are going out to serve others, all for the Glory of God.



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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Collaboration in the Journey

Collaboration is truly essential. What do I mean by this? Simple, in order for us to excel in some endeavor we are going to need help a long the way. Whether it be in the form of physical help, or prayer, or emotional help, someone will help us a long the journey or path that we find ourselves on. The path that I am explicitly talking about in this entry is the path to holiness, to get to heaven. That is our ultimate goal.

How often is it that we ask others for prayer, or to talk to so we can vent our frustrations or share our joys and difficulties in life? For me, it is pretty often. I do share with others because God has put them into my life for some reason. After all, God did not intend for us to be solitary creatures. We are to our very core social beings and it is important for us to share our struggles and triumphs with those that are close to us, who are on that journey with us.

Recently, I was struggling internally because I felt lonely. It may sound trivial but it has a deep effect on a religious, or any family member especially when their calling is to communal life. My struggle had solidified for me my discernment for religious life for communal life. To be able to know that there is someone who cares for you, who is willing to listen to you, when you feel that need to talk, it is a great consolation to find that person. But when you look around and can find no one around you feel like you are drowning, or as if you are the only one trapped in a desert. It hurts.

But, this is why we are a Christian people. A people who are called to live in community, whether it is our family, our parish, our religious community; there is a support structure the for us so that we do not falter in our journey for Heaven.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lord, if you command it...

Today I was awoken out of some type of dream at 6:05am. Thank God I was because I would have been late for Mass at 6:30 if I had not woken up. I remember talking to a priest in my dream and he had a piece of paper in his hand, looked like a fax, and he was smiling and talking with an excited jubilation. I woke up before he could finish whatever thought that I had of him talking. So I don't know exactly what it is all supposed to mean.

But as I sit here before the Blessed Sacrament I can't help but wonder, What do you ask of me, Lord? After a short, and I stress short, discernment on this dream I think that God is calling me to listen to Him more carefully. This is important always, but if God is using to communicate with a person, it would be in the person's best interest to try to listen to God's message.

As an obedient religious, my plan today is to go to confession, spend some quiet time in prayer and listen in the silence to my Lord and God. I want to know what it is that he is trying to communicate to me. I need to open up my heart and listen attentively to His Word, and to those to whom God has put in my life. After all, he did put them in my life for a reason.

God bless you all!

-Br. Adam


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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh, you of little faith!

Matthew 14: 25-33
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


This was the first thought that came to me today when I woke up. I was still getting dressed and for some reason this passage struck me. So I feel that I have to write about it. It may happen to some out there that we ask Jesus for some type of sign and when we have that request answered we become afraid and immediately become frightened over what it is that Jesus reveals to us. Then there are times where we ask for a sign of some sort and we see and hear nothing.

The part that frightens me the most is when we do receive some type of sign or revelation from Christ. When he speaks to us after we ask Him to we become obliged to do a coupe of things. 1) we must listen with full attention and respect. 2) we must be ready to do what it is that Christ is asking us to do, mainly because we asked for it. 3) We have to be willing to sacrifice.

Just like when Peter asked Christ to command him to come out to Him on the water we must be ready to abandon ourselves and be ready to obey Christ. Once we are able to do that we are ready to be Christians. Now, we all become afraid at some point in our life and on our own journeys, but like Peter, we are all human and are bound to make mistakes. This is when the beauty of God comes in. The person being tasked with something from Christ is not necessarily the one who is best qualified for that particular job or task, but rather they are the ones who have been chosen specifically for that task. you may have heard it aid in this way," God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the call."

That is all nice and peachy that Christ answers our prayers like that, but what about when we don't hear or see anything in response to a prayer or request that we made to Jesus. T that I say keep praying. If it is of great importance and something that truly need then Christ will provide it for you. But remember, Christ speaks to us in the silence. Be ready to hear His call whenever and wherever you are.

God bless you all!
-Br. Adam


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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Be Not Afraid

In today's society, vocation to religious life or priesthood is something that is not often thought about. And if it is, the thought quickly disappears or is repressed. Our late beloved Holy Father, Bl. John Paul II said “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” he was always one that encouraged and promoted not only vocations to holiness, that we at all called to, but to religious life and priesthood; to married life and the single life. Each has a deep and rich mission in the Church.

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
― Pope John Paul II

Whatever your vocation is in life, do not be afraid to say yes to God. He has a plan for you and if you work with Him and love and accept your vocation, he will not let you fail.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prayer helps

This might seem like a "Duh!" moment when you read the title, but I need to be reminded of this from time to time, prayer helps. It seems so obvious that when we find ourselves in some type of hardship that we should or would turn to prayer for help and guidance. Obvious right? Not so much, for me anyway.

I am a very hard headed stubborn and prideful person. This is something that I am working on to try to let go of, but it is difficult. When I find myself in times of trial or hardship or in any type of difficulty, my hard headed prideful self tries to figure out and fix the problem internally. as if I knew I had the answer and the tools to fix what ever was plaguing me.

Something dawned on me yesterday. If I had these tools, wouldn't I have already fixed these issues? looks like my blinded pridefulness struck again. I cannot fix me. I need to turn to someone else. Much like a doctor who severely injures himself he cannot fix himself and be healed. He needs help. My doctor in this regard is God. And He has sure given some great tools to help me. I'm just blind and haven't seen them.

Some of the tools that God has given to us are the Sacraments. Other tools are the saints, who have the responsibility and love to intercede for us on our behalf. We just have to ask. We have to pray! Prayer is such a wonderful tool! I honestly don't think I utilize it enough. Sure, I sit down everyday in chapel for 2 hours and pray the Divine Office and sit before the Blessed Sacrament, but that's not enough.

When I find myself in a difficult or stressful situation, I must stop what I am doing. I must turn myself over and surrender my pride and ask for help. My go to patrons are St. John Bosco (Don Bosco) and Mary, Help of Christians (MHC). They are there not just for me, But for you too! we have to only ask for their help.

The song based off of Psalm 91 comes to mind, "Be With Me Lord"

Have a blessed day!
-Br. Adam

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Location:Nicola Pl,Port Chester,United States

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mary said yes

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of the Blessed Mary. Without these two wonderful people our hope for salvation would be a bit more difficult. Joachim and Anne brought Mary into this world in a similar way in which Mary brought Jesus into this world.

We refer to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. She, like Jesus, is the only other person in the history of humanity to have been conceived without original sin. This is a very important point which could be written into its own doctoral thesis or its own book (as I am sure it probably already has). But today I am focusing on vocation.

What is it that God has planned for our life, for our own personal mission from God? It has an almost Mission Impossible feel to it, "You're mission, if you choose to accept it. . . " we all have the primary vocation to holiness. The secondary vocation is how do we reach this primary goal set out for us? Through a lot of prayer and discernment we can reach some decisions. But Mary at the age of 13 or 14 said yes to God and became the theotokos, the God Bearer.

Today at the camp's religious education periods I am breaking up the children into two groups, one of the girls, and the other the guys. The girls will speak to a nun friend of mine who is a Franciscan postulant. She is going to become a novice I believe this coming August. The girls will have a question and answer session with her so that they an ask questions of curiosity. The boys will later meet with myself and Br. Rob, a Salesian preparing for his perpetual profession next month.

Please pray for all of us that we may be able to do God's will for us today.

God bless!
Br. Adam


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seeking higher office

Matthew 20: 21-23:

"Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom."

Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking.Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"

They said to him, "We can."

He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
How often we think that getting that higher place in office or in the business place is filled with prestige and power and money. It usually is to some degree but what is not often talked about is the amount of sacrifice and hardships that go along with the power and prestige.

In today's Gospel from Matthew we read of the mother of the sons of Zebedee asking for her children to have the seats at the right and at the left of Jesus. Jesus, fully knowing exactly what it was that she was asking says to her that those places are not for him to give away but that those places had already been chosen by his Heavenly Father, God.

One lesson that we can learn from in this Gospel is that we don't have any idea what a burden places of responsibility an be. For instance, when I first joined the Salesians I thought it would be a grat job to one day be the Provincial or even a Director. After being around now for over 5 years I can say with great certainty that I do not want those jobs. I would not choose them for myself. But, if asked I would most certainly serve.

Those places of importance, bishop, pastor, director, provincial, pope, are all appointments that come with a great amount of sacrifice of a person to whom that post is appointed. The person must be humble of heart and approach that role with love and sincerity. S as to not lord their position over those to whom they have been charged by God to serve.

God bless you! ~Br. Adam

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Companionship...

Another important key to the Kingdom of Heaven would be the people you surround yourself with. If one chooses good friends then goodness will surround them. But if one is to choose bad friends then goodness will not surround them. We are sort of obliged, if we care anything about our soul, to choose good friends. St. John Bosco once said that "One who associates with the good will go to heaven with them."

They key to choosing god friends should not be based on popularity or cool factor. Friendship should rather be based on the particular chosen person's relationship with God. A person who is firmly rooted in Godly values and virtues will surely be a good companion in life here on Earth and in Heaven.

I understand that this may be difficult. However, Christ requires some sacrifice of us. When I was in high school I thought that I had many friends. I later found out that I was very mistaken. I had people who would hang out with me because I had a big car (not because my daily was rich but because at one point I was driving 5-6 brother and sisters to school with me in the mornings). When I came to the realization that God was calling me to become a priest a lot of people that I thought were my friends gradually stopped talking to me. And thank God they did.

When I entered into formation with the Salesians my summer vacation was only two weeks long. The people who were sit ll my friends were okay with the fact that I was not going to be home much. They knew that I was following God's will and they did not want to interrupt that in any way. They gave me the space I needed to grow in holiness and I am Vu thankful for that. So, choose good friends. The reward for it he on Earth could carry you on into Heaven.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Keys to the Kingdom

There is such a thing as a key to the Kingdom of Heaven. I know that this sounds like a very bold statement, and it is. But let's think about it for a second. Heaven is not some automatic place that we go to when our time on Earth expires. Haven is a reward. As St. Paul wrote in his Second a letter to Timothy in chapter 4 verse 7. "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." we must compete, finish the race and keep the faith.

How do we do these things? By making the choice to. Just like Mary's yes to God to bear Christ in her womb we must answer yes to God everyday by living our lives for him. When we wake up in the morning, we need to offer our day to God, we need to thank Him for giving us another day. When we begin to realize that the life we have is not our own we will be successful in coming to the conclusion that heaven is attainable. Humility is one of the components to this key.

The key to entering the Kingdom of Heaven is making the conscious decision to say yes to God everyday. To say "Yes, Lord! I am here to do your will." is the key to heaven. For when we die to ourself we are able to rise and live in Christ.


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Friday, July 20, 2012

Charity above all

"Whatever you did for the least of my brethren, you did for me." -Matthew 25:40

Throughout history there have been accounts of great charity, Mother Theresa helping the impoverished in India, people buying meals for the homeless, people adopting orphans and many others. How often do we reach out to a brother or sister in Christ to aid them simply because it is the right thing to do?

Recently, I have been faced with a situation in which to help a down cast member of society. It is not always the easiest of tasks to offer assistance to a person who has lied, cheated and stolen. But they are still a person who deserves to be love and respects and cherished. People know of the faults and misdeeds of the individual, but aren't we a people who are open to reconciliation?

I often feel that there is a moral obligation to aide the person who is the underdog in some situations. I think people deserve second and third chances. I especially advocate for those who are being persecuted unjustly. I hope and pray that for all of you who read this little blog, that you would offer. Up a quick prayer for a personal intention. Also, please help out a person today who needs it. Whether it be a quick smile smile, or assisting an elderly woman with her groceries. Help somebody.

God bless you!
~Br. Adam


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

When the routine is broken...

Sometimes it is not always easy to be charitable. That is when grace kicks in and assists us. This morning I woke up late and missed the early 6:30am Mass. When I had awoken I immediately realized that there was way too much light in my room. My room faces to the East and the sunlight just poured into my room. I knew instantly that I was late. I got up and looked at my watch for the time and it read 6:54. Not a minute later and I hear my cell phone alert me to the presence of a text message. This was from one of the priests that I live with asking me if I was awake yet. I told him I would be down for prayers.

I must have needed that rest , and I thank God for it. But when I tried going on with my day I felt empty. Almost no energy. I felt aloof and empty. This morning I had two classes scheduled for religious education. One at 8:30 and the other right after. Well, after the first class ended at 9:25 I expected the other class to walk in soon after the first had left. I sat there patiently waiting and waiting. I waited some more. Finally at 9:45am I went down to look for them. I heard some noise coming from the cafeteria and I walked in and immediately was encountered by some 3rd graders. "Br. Adam, Br. Adam! Why weren't you here to do the prayer for us this morning?"

Dang! I forgot all about the morning prayer and spiritual thought for the day for the young people!!


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daily Mass

Every morning I have been blessed to attend daily Mass. This is a great consolation for me because I believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. I believe that He is there and I want Him to be a part of my life. He gives me strength for my journey. My journey to Heaven.

This journey is certainly no easy road. Everywhere I turn there is temptation to go against God's will for me in m life. Everyday Since an have entered the Salesians I have been learning, albeit slowly, to ask for God's help by using the saints and praying through their intercession. Lets face it, the saints have been down this road before and Harv overcome the evil temptations. They know just the remedy that we need. What better way than to ask them to help us to connect to God for the grace to overcome this temptation.

The benefit of going to daily Mass is the Eucharist. It is the " source and summit of the Christian life." (CCC 1324) the Eucharist is our strength. It gives us the graces needed to overcome temptations to turn away from God and His Holy Will for us.

As we all know we must be properly disposed in order to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. We must be free from Mortal Sin and must have the proper intention of celebrating in that Eucharistic feast of the Mass! St. John Bosco told his boys in the Oratory that if they wanted to go to heaven and to be saints they should go to Confession and Communion regularly.

A bonus for me this summe is having an Adoration Chapel attached to the house I am assigned to for summer camp. Everyday after the Mass at 6:30 am the Eucharist is exposed and I have the great opportunity for Adoration.



God bless you! Be saints!

Br. Adam

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Be Saints!

Time to face reality, people! (myself included!) we are all called to holiness. But what does this mean? Sometimes I am not sure myself. So, I look to the scriptures, to my spiritual doctor, to my confessor...and to God for guidance on this whopper of a question.
Often times, I struggle. I am human, I am weak, and I'm very gullible. Satan is a tricky bastard whom I loathe for what he does. But, we must be stronger than he is and we can be. But we cannot be stronger than he if we try to be a lone ranger. God had given us so many tools to triumph over Satan. But they often go unutilized. For example; we are part of a community of believers (A COMMUNITY, we aren't alone.) We are also given role models they'll base our lives on (the Saints) we can also implore them for their help, because lets face it, they are kind of in a place to help out. Sacraments!
I love the sacraments! Christ has given us 7 sacraments to help us on our road to holiness and ultimately to assist us in getting to Heaven. We will not be able to do this alone. Christ established for us these tools of grace to help our struggle with temptation and to strengthen our relationship with Christ! Now we have only to be open to them, to Christ.
For us to become Saints we have to recognize our own humanity and all that comes with being human. We can be very strong beings, but we are broken thanks to Original Sin. God has put us on this Earth with others. I think it would be wise for us to surround ourselves with the type of people who can help and affirm us in our quest for sanctity.
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Location:Port Chester,United States