Saturday, December 26, 2009

Marriage, Depression & New Year's Resolutions

It is that time of year, the time of year that depression sets in for many. Shorter days, colder weather, large credit card balances from Christmas spending and maybe failed expectations from your loved one this holiday season. Time to reflect on the year and maybe your relationship/marriage has soured or isn't what you had hoped it would be and you just been trying to get through the holidays.

Well, just so you know, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. It is always greener where it gets watered.

Contrary to what many people believe, there is no such thing as a Mr. or Mrs. Right for us. Want in on a divine secret?

God puts people in your life for a reason, it is up to you to make the relationship Holy or allow Satan to tear it apart.

In in his book "Laugh your way to a Better Marriage," author Mark Gungor says:

“The truth is, a successful marriage is not the result of marrying the “right” person, feeling the “right” emotions, thinking the “right” thoughts, or even praying the “right” prayers. It’s about doing the “right” things -- period."


Nothing in the bible tells us that God has a chosen one for us. Why? As Gungor says, "Because He knows that His principles of love, acceptance, patience, and forgiveness work, and they work all the time, every time — no matter to whom you are married.”

I wrote a blog in October titled "Important Questions Jesus Asked Himself" that goes into depth of these same principles.

Ever want to become a priest or nun and devote yourself to the Lord? Well, marriage is even a higher calling. Marriage is a Holy union between man and woman instituted by God, it provides the framework to add more children to God's Kingdom.

Marriage will test your faith and be a testament of your faith to make it work. Why? Because marriage forces you to become more selfless and Christlike on a daily basis--being single doesn't. Marriage forces you to grow up and to think less about self. To make a relationship work, you have to be less self-centered and more Christ-centered.

But today's world seems to cut-and-run in relationships when the going gets tough as Gungor says: “Then the unwise voices of modern convention scream in their minds: ‘If things are bad, you married the wrong person.’ ‘It’s not supposed to be this hard.’ ‘You’ve made a mistake.’ ‘God doesn’t want you to feel unloved.’"

But any relationship is hard work and God has to be the center of it. Perhaps this scripture tells it best:

  • Proverbs 14:4: Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.
And where there are oxen, there will be ox poo.

As with anything in life, whether it be your job or marriage...

  • Colossians 3:23-24: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

And marriage requires two people serving eachother for the Lord. I know that I want to be treated like a King. Not that type of King, like Christ who is the King. Wives, treat your husbands like Christ the King. Husbands treat your wives like Christ did the church.

Divorce - What did Jesus Say?

Mark 10:2-8: Some Pharisees came and tested him (Jesus) by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" "What did Moses command you?" Jesus replied. They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."

"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one."

Mark 10:9: "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

"Let man not separate." This means: divisive friends or family, marriage counselors that don't view marriage as a sacrament, greedy attorneys and the hard-hearted prideful spouse.

Advice From Christ

Luke 21:34-36: "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

Can't think of a New Year's Resolution for 2010?

How about living a more Holy life and being more Christlike to those around you.

And judging from divorce statistics, make a resolution to work harder in your relationship and be a better parent and spouse.

  • John 13:34: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

Its all Faith Plus Love. And when you have these, you have Hope.

A video I recommend, click HERE

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is there going to be a Christmas this year?

Is there really going to be a Christmas this year? Will the real spirit of Christ be present this December 25th or will many celebrate a commercialized holiday "of the world"?

Will you celebrate the birth of our savior or will many continue to celebrate a false god of worldy things--materialistic goods that bring short-term happiness?

Remember what Christ said in John 6:48:

"I am the bread of life."

We are all hungry. We all hunger for love, peace and happiness in our lives. Christ feeds this hunger and he truly is the bread of life.

Christ was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem in Hebrew means "House of Bread."

In John 6:51 Christ says: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Is there any coincidence that the Christ child was first laid in a manger, a feeding trough?

In John 6:53-58, Christ goes on to say:

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

But many did not believe Christ then or today...

John 6:60: On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

John 6:61: Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them: "Does this offend you?

Knowing that he was still alive and in the flesh, Jesus sets the table for Holy Communion later and "Do This In Remembrance of Me" on the night of the Last Supper when he says:

John 6:62:

"What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!"

In John 6:643-65, Christ goes on to say: "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."


John 6:66: From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

John 6:67:

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

Have you turned your back on Christ or strayed away from him?

The Humble King

Christ was born in the humble setting of a stable, not a royal, lush palace of your typical king. He said came to serve--not to be served.

  • Mark 10:45: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

He taught us to put others first and ourselves last.

  • Mark 9:35 Christ said: "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and a servant of all"

He taught us not to value material possessions.

  • Luke 12:15: Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Will the real spirit of Christ be in you this Christmas?

Will your heart be filled with Christ's love, humility and forgiveness?

That is how you can truly celebrate Christmas. For Christ to be alive in your heart so that he was not born and did not die in vain.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Lets remember the greatest gift of all.

A recommended video to watch, click HERE

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


There is a new movie out called 2012, in which the world as we know it comes to an end on December 21st 2012. As dissatisfied as I am with most of the movies being churned out of Hollywood for its promotion of moral relativism and violence, at least this movie has some religious symbolism and overtones.

And this movie may make many people think...

In the past, I remember a few Christian evangelists stirring up fear that there were all these signs that the end of the world was near on a specific date. Well, if have read your bible well, you will remember what Christ said about this, that even Christ himself doesn't know the day or hour:

  • Mark 13:31-32: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

The premise of the movie 2012 is not bad if it causes one to look at their own mortality. December 21st 2012 is only 25 months away. If we all had 25 months left to live, how would you live it? What is most important to you now? Would they be as important to you if you knew you had 25 months to live?

Since the world as we know it comes to an end in the plot of 2012, I can see how this coming Sunday's gospel from John Chapter 18 relates. When Jesus Christ's life is on the line and he comes before Roman Governor Pontius Pilate to face charges against him, Jesus Christ says to Pilate (John 18:36):

"My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

There are two key points I want to make in this scripture. The first, Christ says his kingdom is "not of this world." Have you made things "of this world" too important?

We all like money but have you made money your God?

  • Luke 16:13: "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Is working long hours in order to afford a nicer home and nicer car more important than your relationship with God, your spouse and children?

  • Matthew 16:26: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Is your career and perceived success more important than God and your family? Are you trying to climb the corporate ladder instead of climbing the long stairway to heaven and eternal life? And are you living by the standards of this world?

  • Colossians 2:20: Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules

The second point I want to raise in the John 18:36 scripture, why did Christ say his Kingdom was not of this world?

"If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews."

This quote gives rise to some important questions:

Are you fighting to build and be apart of Christ's Kingdom today to those around you and those who serve you politically?

Or are you silent and ashamed of your faith?

  • Luke 9:26: "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

Have you left Christ handcuffed, preventing his open arms of love?

  • John 14:13-14: "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

Have you held Christ captive and at a distance in your life when the reality is that you are being held captive by this world?

  • Galatians 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

What the Movie 2012 Should Teach Us

It should teach us the real value of material possessions, that will someday end up being recycled or buried in a junkyard.

  • Matthew 6:19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It may show you where your heart has been.

It should teach us the most important things in life are relationships, our relationship with God, Christ and those closest to us.

It should also teach us the most important thing we leave behind on this earth are memories, both good and bad. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and with Christ's great example of love he left behind on this earth, may you always leave behind good memories and a legacy of love.

What the Movie 2012 Didn't Teach Us

The movie 2012 didn't teach us a few things but these three verses sum it up best:

  • 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Peace be with you,
© Michael J. Cox

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Halloween To Be Remembered

On October 31st 1517, four hundred and 92 years ago yesterday, Catholic monk Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses on the front door of a Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This officially started the Reformation Period which centered mainly around Luther's dissatisfaction with the abuse of indulgences within the Catholic Church.

Luther must have had some valid points, because in Pope Leo X's Papal Bull, he only asked Luther to recant 41 sentences in all of his writings within 60 days or risk excommunication. Luther also received a summons from Rome to answer for his 95 Theses. For whatever reason, Luther never went to Rome. He publicly burned Pope Leo's Papal Bull thus resulting in his excommunication.

What was the end result of this today? There are now over 25,000 different Christian denominations, many sending conflicting messages of salvation. With so many denominations, subsets of denominations, different practices and beliefs within Christianity, it is no wonder that there are so many agnostics. Confusion is the work of Satan, not of God:

  • 1 Corinthians 14:33: For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Why did all of this happen? It was the work of Satan. Let me explain:

In Luke 12:51 Jesus Christ said:

"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."

Unfortunately, Satan, the Master Deceiver, has the same objective. The division Christ sought to bring in the above scripture was the division the New Covenant would bring. The "Turn-the-Other-Cheek" New Covenant was radically different than the "Eye-For-An-Eye" Old Covenant. Christ wanted to Divide and Conquer the World with Love.

Satan is a Master Tactician who wants to Divide, Conquer and Destroy:

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18: But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:10-11: If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

The division Satan seeks is unsurping God and taking great pleasure in destroying lives, our Kingdom on earth and dividing Christians. Anything Holy and good, you can bet that Satan will seek to destroy it.

Satan understands this scripture quite well:

  • Matthew 12:25: Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."

When researching the history of Christianity, this knowledge, is one of the reasons that led me to the Catholic Church, which origins can be traced directly to Jesus Christ and the Apostles and not to a man (Luther, Calvin, Wesley, etc).

Since Martin Luther broke off the the Catholic Church in the 16th Century, so many different Christian churches have formed and most have seen their own divisions.

Apostle Paul warned about church division

1 Corinthians 1:10-12: I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."

If Apostle Paul wrote this epistle during the 16th Century, the last line in this scripture might read like this:

One of you says, "I follow Luther"; another, "I follow King Henry the Eighth"; another, "I follow Calvin"; still another, "I follow Christ."

As Paul brilliantly points out in the next verse:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:13: Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

If greater humility and love was displayed on both sides, the Protestant Reformation may have never happened--at least not with the magnitude that is has today that has fragmented and divided the Christian faith.

Luther was once a humble monk but he did not so much want to reform the Catholic Church as he wanted to establish his own church and teach his own theology. Luther developed and promoted his own beliefs of Sola Fide (by Faith Alone), Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone), Sola Gratia (by Grace Alone), Solus Christos (by Christ Alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God Alone).

Discussing the validity to the Five Solas Luther promoted is a topic for another blog. But I will say that I place greater faith in theological interpretations of a group of Holy men, the Magisterium of Catholic Church, than any one man's theological interpretation and theories. Many beliefs have been debated and discussed for centuries within the Catholic Church. Some beliefs, for example, whether every soul having a Guardian Angel, is accepted by many but has yet to become Catholic dogma.

With any theological teaching or interpretation, it is always important to consider the following scriptures:

The danger of private interpretation:

  • Acts 8:30-31: "So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him."
  • 2 Peter 1:20-21: "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

The necessity of testing the spirits:

  • 2 Peter 3:15-16: "as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures."
  • 1 John 4:1: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

When you review the life of Luther and his writings, you can see a lot of anger, that he had a problem with his temper, you can see his animosity towards the Pope and a lack of humility.

Luther's Anti-Semitism

The most upsetting of Luther's writings was his treatise "On the Jews and Their Lies" written in 1543 where Luther's wrote about the Jews:

"First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them... Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed..."

For anyone who is Christian, they will recognize that this doesn't jive with Christ's Turn-the-Other-Cheek teachings. And no, this is not Catholic propaganda, the Lutheran Church acknowledges and denounces Luther's anti-Semitic remarks but cling to his final and more Christian viewpoint towards Jews. See source below.


Overall, Luther deserves credit for bringing some necessary changes to the Catholic Church. However, "The Father of Protestantism" was no saintly man and Pope Leo X was never canonized a saint either. However, despite the wrongdoings within the Catholic Church at the time, Luther seemed to be filled too much with anger, hatred and lacked necessary humility for me to be a spirit to follow.

And does wrongdoings in the Church justify many new theological teachings? It is not like Luther recreated the Catholic Church. He took seven books out of the Old Testament, placed them in the back of his bible and said they were useful reading but not inspired by God (apocrypha). Today, these seven books have slowly disappeared from most versions of Protestant bibles.

In some of Luther's statements and actions towards the Pope and the Catholic Church, and how Pope Leo X handled Luther, it brings to mind a couple of scriptures:

  • Hebrews 13:17: Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you
  • 1 Peter 2:17: Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
  • Philippians 2:1-3: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

And always remember that no church is free from those tempted and succumbing to Satan, not even when Christ walked the earth:

  • John 6:70-71: Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Perhaps, someday we Christians will be united again.

Until then, we have to work together and be united front on many issues adversely affecting the world today.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved?

There is a belief among some Christian denominations, that once you are saved, you are always saved--that it is impossible to lose your salvation. This misguided, dangerous line of thinking was never part of the early church and seems to have originated in the 1500s with John Calvin, a French theologian and pastor during the Protestant reformation. The Father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, didn't subscribe to this theory.

So who do you believe? A theologian 1500 hundred years after the fact? Or Jesus Christ and the apostles?

Those who believe in Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) use the following scriptures to support their belief:

1) John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

"Believes" is not past-tense word. It is ongoing and we have to believe EVERYTHING Christ taught and demonstrate it through our actions and words. When we slip up, stumble and sin, as we often do on a daily basis, we have to confess our sins, repent and ask for forgiveness. And forgive those who sin against us as well.

If our salvation was a guaranteed event, how close would it make us in our relationship with Christ?

2) John 5:24:"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

This is the danger of choosing a few scriptures to build a theory while ignoring other scriptures. You want the WHOLE Truth so read ALL of the Holy Bible. Christ also said:

  • John 15:5-6: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

3) John 10:28: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."

God gave us free will. Satan and the fallen world can tempt us but we choose to jump from the hand of Christ or abide in Him.

4) Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

But Jesus Christ himself said:

  • Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. "
  • Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Why was Paul unsure of his own salvation?

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27: No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

This verse above, the last in Chapter 9, provides a very good transition to First Corinthians Chapter 10.

Who Judges, Man or The Lord?

This "Once Saved, Always Saved" concept is the equivalent of man prejudging himself and others who enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

Apostle Paul wouldn't judge himself, he knew such power belongs to our Lord:

  • 1 Corinthians 4:3-5: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

If we are saved and always saved, why does Christ tell us that we have to stand firm to the end to be saved?

  • Mark 13:13: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
  • Matthew 10:22: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

In the Second book of Timothy Chapter 2, the following passage below tells us that if we disown Christ, He will disown us. However, Christ will be faithful when we are faithless because He cannot disown himself:

2 Timothy 2:8-13: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

if we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

Another scripture to ponder:

  • Romans 13:11: And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
If our salvation was already earned as a believer in Christ, how could we be nearer to it?

If Salvation was as simple as accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and only a past-tense guaranteed event, they why this scripture?

  • Philippians 2:12: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

If our Salvation was a guaranteed event, there would be no need to work out anything.

We Do Have Hope...

  • Romans 8:24: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

So be strong in Faith and Love...

  • Jude 1:21: Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Also be sure to check out the videos I uploaded from Father Corapi's Dinner Speech. Click Here

Friday, October 2, 2009

Important Questions Jesus Asked About Himself

In a discussion on marriage, my parish priest, Father Jim Taranto, brought up three important questions we should think about regarding our spouse or spouse-to-be. Jesus was asked many questions, He answered many questions and raised many questions in order to teach his followers. But Jesus asked very few questions about himself. Here are three:

1) Who do you say I am?

In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks Peter: "Who do you say I am?"

We all have perceptions of who we really are. But how does the people closest to us perceive us?

Peter answered Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

We are not. We are all made in God's image. We may be Christian but we all sinners, we are all mortal and make mistakes. Have you forgotten your spouse's good qualities? Have you forgotten the many things they are to you? Who do you say they are to friends and family?

Also remember, with the people we love and are closest to, we tend to focus on the 20% not-so-good qualities in them instead of the 80% good.

2) Do you truly love me?

  • John 21:15: When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
  • John 21:16: Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
  • John 21:17: The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
Although it hurt Peter's feelings, Jesus asked him three times if he loved him. This parallels the three times Peter would deny Jesus the night he was arrested (Matthew 26:69-75).

Even Jesus needed reassurance how much he was loved. So why we would be any different?

3) Will you leave me too?

In John Chapter 6, Jesus said:

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."" John 6:53-58

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" John 6:60


From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. John 6:67

When your spouse loses a job, loses popularity or says something that is difficult for you to accept, are you going to leave them physically and/or emotionally?

Two More Important Questions

In addition to the three above, I came up with two more important questions

4) Why have you forsaken me?

When Jesus was dieing on the cross

  • Mark 15:34: And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When we are in pain, when we are sick or if we are ever stricken with a terminal illness. Or when the world comes toppling down on your spouse's head: Will you be there for them? In sickness and in health and until death do us part?

5) Who touched me?

  • Luke 8:45: "Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."

In this instance, a woman with a bleeding disorder sought out Jesus in a crowd. She had been to many doctors and suffered with this bleeding disorder for 12 years. She touches Jesus's cloak and was healed instantly.

In times of peril and troubles in your marriage, remember who came into your life in this crowded world we live in. Remember who touched you.

And what Jesus did say to the woman with the bleeding disorder?

  • Luke 8:48: Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Remember who can heal all wounds and stop the bleeding.

And remember who had faith in YOU.

I guess the most important question to ask yourself about your spouse or spouse-to-be:

Do you see Jesus in them?

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take Thou: Faith

Life can be difficult at times. We all experience anxieties and stress periodically. We all desire a stress-free, easy life filled with happiness. Guess what? Life is never going to be this way. It wasn't supposed to:

"We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." -- Acts 14:22

And Thank God for it.

If you didn't have some bad days, how would you be able to appreciate the really great days of your life? If we weren't tested, how well would we ever know our Lord? How would we be able to prove our love for Him?

When we experience tough times in life, don't let it push you away from Christ.

  • Romans 8:35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
The purpose of going through tough times is prove our faith and to build spiritual maturity:

  • James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So be careful not to fall into Satan's pit:

  • Luke 21:34:"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.

As a pharmacist, I dispense plenty of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. I believe that they are good for short-term use and for acute phases of depression and anxiety. But reliance and dependence upon them are unnecessary for most people and they can potentially be addictive. All drugs have side-effects. So don't let earthly things replace God and what He can do for you.

When you are stressed and full of anxiety or depression, you need to strengthen your Faith.

  • Matthew 13:22: "The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."

We have something better than any prescription sleeping pill, his name is Jesus Christ.

  • Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

We have something more powerful than any Valium tablet:

  • 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  • Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Feel down and out, depressed, or unable to function?

  • Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

When we have strong faith, we will have great Hope. Hope stands for: Helping Other People Endure

Christ gives us hope. Heaven and eternal life gives us hope. Show this hope to others.

When we have strong faith and hope, we can love others more.

What does Love stand for? Loss Of Valuable Energy

Losing Valuable Energy is necessary because LOVE is what makes the world go around as they say. We need to give this "valuable energy" to others in order to make room to receive valuable energy. Otherwise, we become spiritually constipated and eventually will become unhappy.

Getting through life is all: Faith, Hope and Love:

Faith is what gets you started.

Hope is what keeps you going.

Love is what brings you to the end.

~ Mother Angelica

In the Pharmacy industry, you'll often see the Rx symbol on signs and preprinted on prescription blanks. Rx is an abbreviation for the Latin word "Recipere" which literally means: Take Thou

So in life's trying times,

Rx: Faith

And Faith stands for, Forsaking All I Trust Him

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Be Holy! For I Am Holy"

The other day, my 6 year old son found an old Talking GI Joe doll in the closet that was mine when I was his age. Talking GI Joe had life-like hair and a beard. In the technology Stone Age of the late 60s, this was an awesome toy for a young boy. GI Joe had a draw string on his back and when you pulled it, there were four different phrases he would say. With age and normal wear-and-tear, GI Joe began to say one phrase over and over. No matter how many times I pulled it, he just kept saying the same thing:

"I have a tough assignment for you!"

What does that have to do with religion? Well, it reminded me of Father Corapi's Immortal Combat series (about our spiritual battle against Satan) and the tough assignment we Christians have on a day-to-day basis. Especially, when I read this command from God in Leviticus 11:44:

"Be holy, for I am holy."

  • 1 Peter 1:13-16: Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

This reminded of another phrase Talking GI Joe used to say: "This is going to be rough. Can you handle it?"

Yes, being Holy and like God is a real challenge. Judging from a poll I found on the Internet, many Christians aren't even sure what it means to be Holy.

So what does being Holy mean?

HOLY: Spiritually whole or sound, of unimpaired innocence and virtue, separate from sin, set apart for God, pure in heart, pious, saintly, acceptable to God, dedicated or devoted to the service of God

How does one become more Holy?

Ask this question and you'll get a variety of answers. I wrote a previous blog in June "How to do I become a Better Christian" that can help but remember the importance of being humble. As Father Corapi says, "No Humility, No Holiness. No Holiness, No Heaven."

  • Matthew 23:12: For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
  • Hebrews 12:14: Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Talking GI Joe's third phrase: "We must get there before dark. Follow me!"

Yes, as Christians, we should reach out to those in the world before darkness sets in and be like stars that illuminate the night sky. We accepted this challenge when we chose to follow Christ.

  • Job 30:26: Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.
  • Matthew 4:19:"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

Finally, the fourth phrase Talking GI Joe used to say was: "Mission accomplished. Good work, men!"

This comment reminds me of the scripture below if we fight the good fight in this spiritual battle on earth until the end:

Matthew 25:23:

His master replied,

'Well done, good and faithful servant!

You have been faithful with a few things;

I will put you in charge of many things.

Come and share your master's happiness!'

Talking GI Joe, Spiritual Action Figure. Weapons (Bible, Crucifix, Rosary, Holy Water bottle) sold separately.

And if you can't tell, yes, I played Army men with my son. That helps too.

  • Matthew 18:3-4: And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Humbly Yours,

© Michael J. Cox

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Sacrament of Marriage

Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is one of the many reasons why I chose to become Catholic. But what is the scriptural proof that marriage is a sacrament? First, we have to know the definition of what a sacrament is.

What is a Sacrament?

A sacrament is "outward signs of inward grace instituted by Christ for our sanctification."

Another definition of a sacrament is: "a rite, instituted by Christ, that mediates grace, constituting a sacred mystery."

Since the New Testament was originally written in Greek, not Latin, the word for sacrament we find in the Bible is the Greek word mysterion, "mystery." Sacraments are something of a mystery, something we cannot fully understand.

Marriage as a Sacrament

Most Protestants don't view marriage as a sacrament. John Calvin was very influential in this line of thinking. Calvin wrote:

"Lastly, there is matrimony, which all admit was instituted by God, though no one before the time of (Pope) Gregory regarded it as a sacrament. What man in his sober senses could so regard it? God's ordinance is good and holy; so also are agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, hair-cutting legitimate ordinances of God, but they are not sacraments."

This is not true.

More than a eleven hundred years before Pope Gregory and the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Saint Augustine (Augustine of Hippo) stated:

"Among all people and all men the good that is secured by marriage consists in the offspring and in the chastity of married fidelity; but, in the case of God’s people, it consists moreover in the holiness of the sacrament, by reason of which it is forbidden, even after a separation has taken place, to marry another as long as the first partner lives . . ." (Source: St. Augustine, De bono conjugii - chap. xxiv in P.L., XL, 394)

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) was the first to list marriage in the official list of church's seven sacraments.

As Catholic Encyclopedia explains: "The reason why marriage was not expressly and formally included among the sacraments earlier and the denial of it branded as heresy, is to be found in the historical development of the doctrine regarding the sacraments; but the fact itself may be traced to Apostolic times."

Calvin's Viewpoint

Backing up to Calvin's viewpoint, the difference between marriage versus agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, etc, is that these vocations lack a mysterious bond that unites man and woman.

When a man and a women are married, they are united as One:

  • Genesis 2:24: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
  • Mark 10:7-9: 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

  • Ephesians 5:31-32: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall I be one flesh. This mystery is great; but I speak in regard to Christ and the church.

Earlier in Ephesians, what is marriage compared to? Christ’s church.

  • Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
  • Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

And what makes marriage higher than any vocation? What is often the result of this union? God willing--Children--more potential members in Christ's Kingdom.

  • Malachi 2:15; Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.

And God won't hate it if you divorce your career as a farmer, architect, shoemaker, etc. God does, however, hate divorcing your spouse.

  • Malachi 2:16: "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel

Christ's First Miracle

Is it any surprise where Christ's first miracle was performed and what his first miracle turned out to be? At a wedding at Cana when he turned water into wine. See: John 2:1-11 The covenant of marriage parallels the New Covenant Jesus brought to the world. See: Luke 22:20

Building Your Marriage Around God

The following scripture shows the benefit of marriage and hints at the importance of making God the center of it.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The three strands in the cord above are husband, wife and God. Simple math: 1 + 1 = 2. Whereas God's math: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 (Husband + Wife + God = One). God is the steel strand in the cord. If you center your marriage around God, Satan will not be able to unravel it, divide it or break it.

Given the fact the U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world, it is important to understand the real purpose of marriage. It isn't necessarily to make us happy, it is to make us more Holy. Ultimately, our happiness comes from our Lord.

Just like religious vocations in the priesthood, we are called to devote ourselves to our spouses as priests devote themselves to their flock. More importantly, as Christ gave himself up for us. That is why marriage is compared to Christ's church in Ephesians. Loving and forgiving the one closest to us, is a great day-to-day test of our Faith.

So please remember:

  • Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  • Ephesians 5:25-28: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
  • Ephesians 5:22-24: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

And also remember, in troubled times in your marriage and everyday life:

  • Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Don't let Satan ruin your marriage with selfishness, pride and anger.

Pray for humility and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Friday, September 11, 2009

Alcohol, Drugs and Happiness

I am sure that quite a few people have been impacted by alcohol or drug use in their own life or with someone close to them. Nineteen percent of alcoholics are married. One out of thirteen deaths in the U.S. are alcohol related. Since many alcoholics and drug users resort to drinking or doing drugs to escape from the real world or to elevate their mood, this blog will look at the summit and source of real happiness.

Alcohol/Drug Use

Simply stated: drugs and alcohol, if abused, ruin lives and can destroy marriages. Most people who use drugs or abuse alcohol have had trauma in their past and are wounded spirits. They are depressed and are seeking something else to fill void.

As Father John Corapi brilliantly described in his talk on Humility, if we are wounded physically, lets say we get shot with a bullet in our arm, we bleed. But eventually the wound heals up. Yes, sometimes an infection can set in. We have antibiotics for that.

But when our spirit is wounded, Satan is an opportunist and loves to enter these wounds and inflict more damage.

What is our antibiotic spiritually? Jesus Christ.

Instead of using alcohol to fill the void, fill yourself with the third person of the Blessed Trinity--The Holy Spirit.

  • Ephesians 5:18: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Since most people who use or abuse alcohol or marijuana suffer from depression, how much sense does it make to put something into your body that is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant? That is the equivalent of throwing gasoline onto a fire.

Alcohol doesn't make you a rational thinker, more peaceful or wise.

  • Proverbs 20:1: Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

And being around those who have had problems with alcohol, do not do anything that could cause them to stumble.

  • Romans 14:21: It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.


  • "Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible." -- Saint Augustine

Happiness in today's fallen world can be traced to human psychology and the desire to have everything we want in life now--I called it our Drive-Thru Happiness mentality. There have been studies on humans (and lab mice too) that show we tend to opt for immediate gratification without regard to future consequences. That is, we place more emphasis on current happiness than what is really best for us in the long run.

Blend this with all the wounds that our society receives in early life and what are the outcomes? Drug and alcohol problems, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, materialism, high divorce rates, spending problems, etc.

This desire for instant happiness is an example of emotional immaturity of lost souls and relates to what Dr. Jerome Murray calls stimulation hunger:

Stimulation Hunger- This includes demanding immediate attention or gratification and being unable to wait for anything. Stimulation hungry people are incapable of deferred gratification, which means to put off present desires in order to gain a future reward. Stimulation hungry people are superficial and live thoughtlessly and impulsively. Their personal loyalty lasts only as long as the usefulness of the relationship. They have superficial values and are too concerned with trivia (their appearance, etc.). Their social and financial lives are chaotic.

It is important to remember that patience and self-control are fruits of the spirit that identifies us as Christians without wearing a crucifix around our neck.

  • Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Ultimate Happy Meal

If you feel empty inside, how about the ultimate Happy Meal? His name is Jesus Christ.

  • John 6:35: Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

  • John 6:53: Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

And don't overrate happiness of earthly things or think the purpose of marriage is to bring happiness. Happiness comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--through His Love, His Forgiveness and the promise of heaven and eternal life. The purpose of marriage is to make us more Holy. The purpose of hardships in our life is to test us and draw us closer to Christ and to make us stronger Christians.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:10: That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

French philosopher Joseph Joubert once said: "Happy is the man who can do one thing: in doing it, he fulfills his destiny."

True, but let me expand on that:

Happiest is the man who lives a life for Christ. His destiny is the greatest reward: heaven and eternal life.

  • Matthew 13:44: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

Get high on the Holy Spirit and eternal life, not on drugs or alcohol.

And always remember:

"The only real failure in life is the failure to get to heaven at the end of it." -- Father John Corapi

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What are Angels?

Angels --they are frequently mentioned in scripture, in Pop songs and are often depicted with wings and robes in movies, cartoons, artwork, etc. But do you really know what they are?

What prompted me to write this was my recent visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory in Lackwanna, New York--arguably the most beautiful church in the United States. It is estimated that 1,500 to 2,500 angels can be found in the basilica in the sculptures and artwork as they were a fondness of the church's founder--Father Nelson Baker.

After leaving the Basilica, seems as if everywhere I turned after this visit, I was constantly reminded of Angels and how much more I felt I needed to know about them.

One can write a whole lengthy book on Angels and their role, I will try to keep this blog short.

What is an Angel?

First, it is best to look at what the word angel means. Angel comes from the Hebrew word malak, Latin word angelus, Greek word aggelos; meaning messenger "one going" or "one sent."

So what is an Angel?

This is complicated as the more you delve into the scriptural research of angels at Greek Septuagint level, the more you learn and then you realize that how little we really know about them. And many theologians are confused. Catholic Encyclopedia gives us insight as to why there might be confusion:

The word (angel) is used in Hebrew to denote indifferently either a divine or human messenger. The (Greek) Septuagint renders it by aggelos which also has both significations. The Latin version, however, distinguishes the divine or spirit-messenger from the human, rendering the original in the one case by angelus and in the other by legatus or more generally by nuntius.

Too often I have found in various articles about angels, the tendency for human reasoning to turn angels into a square peg and then fit them into a square hole. I became frustrated trying to do the same thing. It came as a relief to me that I came to the same conclusion as St. Augustine did that it was easier to describe what angels DO than what angels are.

As St. Augustine said:

"'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"

Overall, here is what I think is the best definition of an angel:

Angel - Spirits that are messengers and servants of God

This scripture gives us the most insight:

Hebrews 1:14: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

With all the various scriptures that mention angels, you will find that angels come in many different forms and apparently have different roles. There is a belief of an Angelic Heirarchy that consists of nine choirs organized into three spheres:

1) The first sphere of Angels (Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones) are believed to work as heavenly guardians of God's throne.

2) The second sphere of Angels (Dominions, Virtues and Powers) are believed to work as heavenly governors.

3) The third sphere of Angels (Principalities, Archangels and Angels) are believed to function as heavenly messengers and soldiers.

Although this is a general belief of many Early Church Fathers, as Catholic Encyclopedia states: "Though the doctrine it contains regarding the choirs of angels has been received in the Church with extraordinary unanimity, no proposition touching the angelic hierarchies is binding on our faith."

Guardian Angels

Belief in angels is an article of faith but this is not the case with Guardian Angels. We all like to believe that we have a Guardian Angel (I believe I have one). It is a general belief within the Catholic Church that we do. However, as Catholic Encyclopedia states:

"That every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and is, consequently, not an article of faith, but it is the "mind of the Church", as St. Jerome expressed it: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it."

The scripture that leads many to believe that we have Guardian Angels is this statement Jesus made:

  • Matthew 18:10: "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."

If you read the context in which Christ was quoted in the above scripture, Jesus was talking about children being the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps, since we are all God's children, if we humble ourselves like a little child as Christ recommended, we all will have Guardian Angels into adulthood.

Can Humans be Angels?

You probably remember the television show, Highway to Heaven, starring Michael Landon who plays Jonathan Smith--a probationary angel sent back to Earth to help people. There is confusion about what angels are, pure spirtual beings or if humans can be angels like the Michael Landon character in Highway to Heaven.

We know from scripture that man was made lower than angels:

  • Psalm 8:5: You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

There are some who believe that angels can reveal themselves as humans. When Peter was freed from prison by an angel in Acts Chapter 12, many people were amazed and thought at first it was Peter's angel.

  • Acts 12:15: You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel."

I have a strong belief that if a human experiences sudden death and is revived, it is possible that they can come back as an angel--a messenger, not the winged creatures we most associate the word with.

The Mangy Donkey Story

Father Josemaría Escrivá, a Spanish priest who later became canonized a Saint, had an interesting encounter. From Francis Fernandez's book, In Conversation With God:

Once during a time of intense anticlerical persecution in Madrid a would-be aggressor stood menacingly in Josemaria's path with the obvious intention of doing him harm. Someone suddenly stood between them and drove off the assailant. It all happened in an instant. The protector came up after the incident and whispered to him: "Mangy donkey, Mangy donkey," the expression Blessed Josemaria used to refer to himself in the intimacy of his soul. Only his confessor knew about this. Peace and joy filled his heart as he recognized the intervention of his Angel.

I have a similar story, it confirmed my faith. Someday I will be brave enough to write about it.

Anyway, probably the best scripture to conclude with here is:

  1. Hebrews 13:2: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox