"What are 5 major reasons we pray?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Brothers and Sisters,This question is meant to plunge you into a mood of "snuggling up to God." The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" devotes 60 plus pages to this topic, so I know that we will not exhaust it here. I also know that your answers will not contain erroneous statements or opinions. The reason why I am challenging you with this question is that I want to provoke you to realize in a special way what it means to have a relationship with God.

Here is the question:

What is prayer in general? What are the five major reasons why we pray? These five elements are all contained in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the way.

This is not a pop quiz - there are no pass or fail marks. Nor is this an intellectual exercise. It is a mere opportunity to look into your hearts and let your spirituality speak out.

If you are too shy, you can always post anonymously.

Should Christians perform the sign of the cross?

By Paul Dion, STL

No matter where you go, in front of your mirror, your friend's house, your favorite restaurant or church on Sunday you will see someone tracing the sign of the cross over their body. It is the most prominent prayer of the Catholic church and is even believed to be somekind of secret membership signal of Catholics.

When I first head that, I was shocked. Secret Signlal? Whoa! I was never told that even in Massachusetts, home of the Congregationalists.

So, what do you think of the Sign of the Cross? Do you fearlessly start your prayer before meals with the sign of the cross in the restaurant with your children? Do you make the sign of the cross at your company picnic before digging in to the chili pot? Why do you make the sign of the cross in the first place?

Let us know what you think. Post your comments below.

Can non-Catholic people go to heaven?

By Paul Dion, STL

I was born and brought up in New England. Western Massachusetts, to be exact. We were a mixed neighborhood. We had Polish people, French people, Irish people, Italian people and we even had a Spanish family that we didn't know was Spanish.

Everyone in the neighborhood was Catholic. Well, not really everyone. We happened to live next door to the only true, blue Anglo-Saxons. They had no religion at all. I knew this because my father told me.

Upstairs from Blake was McClane. I never knew what they were as far as heritage goes, but I did know that they were Presbyterian. They were rather nice folks.

One Sunday on the way back from the 5:00 AM Mass (No, that's not a clerical error) with my father, I asked, "Will Mr. Blake and Mr. McClane go to heaven?"

My father, sure of himself as always, shot back, "Of course."
Ours is the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The question to you then is , "Do you agree with my father that non-Catholics can indeed go to heaven?"
Share your thoughts with us. Post your comments in this blog.

"Are you a Christian?"

By Paul Dion, STL

Acts 7:55-60: As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them;"and when he said this, he fell asleep.

We invite you all to read Chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles, the story of St. Stephen. the first disciple who was martyred for the sake of the Way. The introductory quote above is the "punch line" of these chapters and you are going to hear them read as you participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, May 20.

Over the last 6 weeks we have been reading the story of the early history of the Church all of which takes place after the Resurrection. This means that Jesus has hit the ball into our court. It is up to us to hit it back, true and hard.

Stephen was not afraid to proclaim his faith before the officials who dragged him into court. He spoke to them truthfully and forcefully, from the bottom of his heart. Notice that he took a page out of the Lord's playbook. He recited the story of the formation of the Chosen People and their mistreatment of the prophets as recorded in the Bible that they knew. Jesus had done the same thing when He was tempted in the desert. Remember the story?

These days you have perhaps noticed that more and more public figures are publicly declaring their Catholic Faith. Many of them even have pithy comments ready for every occasion. As you know, Jesus told us that we would have to answer for our faith sooner or later. He also told us not to worry about what to say because the Spirit would supply the strength and the words. (Luke's Gospel, Chapter 12, verses 10 to 12)

The Burning Question is:
Do you easily and willingly testify to your faith? Do you shy away from admitting that you are Catholic? When you are asked, "Are you a Christian," what do you answer?

Tell us what you think. Post a comment today and to read what others are saying.

What does the Holy Spirit do in your life?

By Paul Dion, STL

The Holy Spirit means a lot of things to a lot of people. His name is used in many ways and has influenced the spiritual lives of many. A careful reading of the Major Prophets will bring His existence into our conscience. A reading of the New Testament will introduce us to Him and His works. From St. John the Baptist to Jesus, He is promised to us as we live our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Here are some "givens" to get you started: The Holy Spirit is the third person of God. He is equal in every way with the Father and the Son. We generally give the Father the name Creator and to the Son we generally and traditionally give the name, Savior.

The Burning Question for this week has more than one part because we want to make you think about the Holy Spirit in more ways than one.

1. What name do we traditionally give to the Holy Spirit?
2. When is the first time that we receive the Holy Spirit?
3. What is the sacrament that accentuates the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
4. What is the name of the special Sunday that is dedicated to the celebration of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
5. Does this Sunday have a fixed date or is it determined by the same method as the date of Easter Sunday?
6. There are two miraculous events that are related to this Sunday, what are they and where can you find their story in the Bible?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share them with nus and with the rest of the world.

Peace and joy.