St. Joseph, Patron of the Triumph, by the late Fr. Richard Foley, an anointed soul who was widely known at conferences and on Catholic TV, a book that describes St. Joseph's role, his destiny, how he was the spouse of Mary, his role in the Holy Family, what he represents as the Worker, as the Man of Faith -- and much more, granting us examples we can use in our own lives to achieve true spiritual victory in our families. Let us recommend anything on this miraculous saint! CLICK HERE



We all have gifts and they're all different. Some seem "great" to the worldly. Some are all but invisible. But they're equal. Take stock of yours. They increase the more we use them. They can be gifts that are emotional. They can be skills. They can be physical. They can be intellectual. The heightened ones are spiritual. Have we exercised our gifts -- or do we seek the gifts (if gifts from God they are) of others?

It's good to pray about what gifts we have.

Take an inventory.

Do it during the Eucharist.

Go with what you've got. Exercise the gifts that are who you really are and you will fulfill your earthly mission.

Don't concern yourself with the gifts of others -- nor with what the world defines as a blessing. Covet not. It's even a commandment.

For when we want something too "badly," it may just go that way for us: badly.

It's not what God intended.

We can often tell something is not for us when we strain and strain and strain and can't attain something. More often than not, that "something" is worldly.

We make a huge mistake and waste much time when we seek the worldliness (and idols: the often false gifts) of others.

You see, God gives gifts. But so does the devil.

The evil one tries to divert us. He does this with what others have. McMansions. Luxury cars. He does this with idols. He does this with "entertainments." One of the great deceptions of our times is that what is rich or prominent is important. Anything that achieves fame or wealth is considered a "blessing."

We see this in politics. We see it in sports. We see it most blatantly in Hollywood.

We're surrounded by people we "celebrate." 

No human should be idolized (including religious leaders). Jesus alone is worth adoration. When we lust after anything worldly, we are not being true to ourselves.

There was the crystal trophy given to the college football champs. We watched the other night (1/6/14) because our son attends the university that won the championship. We cheered as loudly -- as ardently -- as anyone.

The kids did great. The star quarterback thanked God. The coach used terms like "blessed." It was a terrific victory, perhaps with some spiritual lessons. Sanctification can come through athletics. It develops discipline.

But it is incredible how gigantic sports has become -- how highly we regard athletes -- and how many distractions there are on the way to holiness. A Sunday game is now on the front of the local newspaper.

There are the Oscars. There is the Super Bowl. There is "American Idol." If there is an idol of any kind in our hearts there is the potential entry point for evil (and less room for Jesus). When we idolize, we often forget what we have.

Be content with what God has given you.

If it draws you to the purity of humility, it's from Him (not darkness). With humility comes the purity that are the living waters bringing additional gifts.

Don't be distracted on your way to attaining the fullness of being.

Have you ever stopped to contemplate how much time we waste when we could be praying -- how little of daily TV, radio, newspaper, and internet "news" is truly important (relevant to our eternity)? There are all the commentators, commenting on worldly events (to what effect?). Who is more worthy of our time: Jesus, Who is at the right Hand of the Father, or the politician of the moment (or a billionaire whose possessions will vanish at the moment of death)?

It's worth contemplating. Do you idolize out of insecurity? Who would you have been on that boat on the stormy sea called Galilee?

When we have fear, we often seek comfort in idols.

Like Peter, would we also be afraid? Does fear rule our lives? Does it prevent us from being who we truly are and using our own gifts -- achieving what we are meant to achieve? Would we fret as Jesus slept? Would we react in a way that is worldly -- of the flesh -- or  step onto the waters?

An idol is something we seek, something we want, something the distracts, something we become devoted to, something we may soon be obsessed about, something that in the end we worship. Look around you and count the idols that so many covet!

How much time do we spend on frivolous things begrudging what others have when that precious time could be spent exercising our own gifts? How much time do we spend on meaningless conversation versus praying? How much time do we spend reading or listening to what in the scheme of our souls is diversionary or irrelevant?

"The more [the worldly] is suppressed and overcome," wrote the great Thomas a Kempis, "the more grace is given, and through new, gracious visitations the soul is daily shaped anew, and formed more and more to the image of God."

To thine own self - and Christ -- be true.

In trueness comes protection.

The Word of God tell us this.

"We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the Evil One cannot touch him," says 1 John 5:14-21. "We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One. We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Children, be on your guard against idols."

[resources: Humility of Heart and A Life of Blessings]

[see also: The difference between worldliness and grace]

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