Tag Archives: consumerism


St Michael, Archangel, Helper and Defender of Christians

“Besides the protection which the glorious Archangel Michael extends to the Church at large, he is also the protector of every individual Christian and of all Christian nations . How fortunate we are in having so powerful an advocate! Surely, never so urgently as in the present time have Catholics needed St Michael’s help to remain steadfast in their Faith. Unbelief has carried its insolence to the very limit and boldly proclaims that there is no God . Blasphemy against Jesus Christ, against His mysteries and His doctrines has increased in the most frightful manner. It is our duty to be faithful Catholics, to confess our Faith openly and energetically and to preserve a glowing, invincible love for Jesus Christ.

When Satan rises to seduce us…

St Michael is the conqueror of Satan . Under his leadership, let us unfurl everywhere the banner of the Catholic Faith and have no fear of godlessness . In a thousand secret ways, Satan plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. Let us keep the kingdom of our heart firmly closed against him, that he may never reign therein by sin. When the spirit of darkness incites us to thoughts of pride or rebellion, let us answer him with St Michael: “Who is like unto God? ” Who am I – a creature of dust and ashes, the fleeting phantom of an hour – in comparison to God?

When Satan tries to seduce us to commit this or that sin; when in alluring pictures he presents to us the pleasures and attractions of this world; when he promises us honours, riches, happiness , on condition that we break a Commandment , omit a good work, or commit an evil deed; when he tempts us to give way to murmuring and impatience and to find fault with the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence; when the siren song of sinful pleasures sounds in our ears, filling our hearts with unholy longings and crowding our imagination with forbidden sights and scenes; then let us ever oppose the tempter with the same energetic words: ‘Who is like unto God?’

Our whole life is a continuous temptation

‘Our whole life,’ says St Bernard, ‘is a continuous temptation.’ He drew this truth from Holy Scripture. We have to battle against foes who are mighty in power, cruel in their vengefulness, fearsome in their craftiness, countless in their number, tireless in their persecutions. There are spirits who deal blows without being seen , who intrude everywhere, who see everything that we do, while remaining invisible to us. And they battle with weak persons who wander in darkness, on slippery paths, surrounded by frightful abysses . With furious rage these many enemies have sworn to avenge themselves upon us, because God has called us to occupy the thrones left vacant by them. They are bent upon the eternal ruin of our souls.

The number of the demons is incredible. St Anthony of the Desert (251-356) said repeatedly that millions of evil spirits were roaming about the world. And the influence which these evil spirits exercise over world events is tremendous. Yet we need not despair, because St Michael is a defender more powerful by far than the spirits of darkness. In the prayer of the Church we daily ask him to ‘cast into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.’

Prayer of exorcism to St Michael

Viewing the world situation in the spirit of faith, we cannot deny that the great evils which now afflict the world will never be amended without prayer and penance. Yet even Catholics have lost sight of this truth. They pray for the cure of the sick, for success in their undertakings and for many other personal intentions – but not enough, or not at all, for the cessation of the prevailing moral evils which mean triumph for Satan and attack on the Church and ruin for souls. The Prayer to St Michael deserves to be taken to the hearts of all Catholics and recited by them frequently, and even daily. It is a prayer particularly applicable to our times and to all Christendom.”

– From “Neath St. Michael’s Shield” (links added afterwards)


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Following and imitating Jesus Christ in today’s surroundings

Whose fear is it, anyway?

“True discipleship is a scary venture; it was so in the time of the Apostles, and it remains so today. Discipleship, which is another way of saying that one embraces the baptismal call to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ, requires resisting the mongering that our culture so often encourages.

The messages so frequently displayed in advertisements and on television promote a culture of fear that seeks to convince women and men today that they are inadequate, unlovable, and imperfect without buying this or that product, without paying for this or that service. The advertising agencies around the globe realise that human beings make too many of their choices out of fear and capitalise on that dynamic.

When individuals wish to take control and seize authority, it is to the weapon of fear that they turn, planting the seeds of insecurity and doubt into the hearts and minds of the population.

Working to overcome fear 

Jesus, as truly human, understood the experience of fear. Weeping in the garden on the night he was betrayed, the Lord expresses solidarity with those who face physical harm and emotional stress.

But Jesus, as truly divine, also understood that following the Father’s Will means working to overcome the inhibitive fear that too often prevents us from doing what is right and speaking the truth when necessary. Hence, Jesus’s first words to his followers – then and now – are always ‘Do not be afraid,’ because when we surrender to fear we are unable to live the Gospel.”

– This is an excerpt from “Do Not Be Afraid!” by Daniel P. Horan, published in Messenger of Saint Anthony, issue June 2015. For subscriptions please contact: Messenger of St Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 1-35123 Padua, Italy


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“We are more than just consumers

In an inspired remark at the Mass for All Souls Day, our parish priest Fr Paul Redmond at Christ the King, Bramley, invited us to reflect on the fact that when we die and meet God ‘face to face, the full purpose and meaning of our own mysterious lives will be revealed to us’.

When we die and meet God face-to-face, the full purpose and meaning of our lives will be revealed to us

Meanwhile, we struggle on, trying to relate to others and manage our human desires for basic material goods, for other human beings and for God.

The difficulty seems to be that we are now living in times of such ferocious reductionism that our abilities to manage our desires are constantly being diminished. No need to worry about God in our secular world, only our abuse of others is a serious problem (especially in war and sexual abuse), though we can scarcely agree on what are the basic human needs of shelter, food and clothing for each and every person.

And yet, as St Augustine spelled out, our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly.

Our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly

An editorial in the recent Concilium theology magazine asked: ‘How can we humans order our desires rightly when we are bombarded with advertising that constantly tells us that we need more of everything all the time?’

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded

We are all increasingly reduced to being regarded as consumers today. All values are reduced to monetary measures as the ‘economy now rules all’. Parents are even being urged by government to ask first and foremost ‘can they afford to have another child’? Students, patients and passengers are all called ‘consumers’. Personal contribitions, even of charitable volunteers, are now measured in quantitative cash values. As Pope Francis spells out in Evangelii Gaudium : ‘human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a throwaway culture which is now spreading’.

Everything human is being given a price tag

Not only are humans being regarded as literally ‘disposable’, increased consumerism is being driven by economic globalism, which is leading to a widening divide between those getting richer and those becoming poorer. Trade and commerce are driven by a continuing commodification of human life where nearly everything that human beings can be or do is increasingly a marketable product. Everything human is being given a price tag. This is far from the mysterious meaning and purpose of the human vocation, that personal ‘calling by God’ of each and every person whose human dignity is sacred from the outset.

Resisting the tyranny of market domination

Resisting this ‘tyranny’ of market domination, as Pope Francis labels it, is a huge challenge. Notably, the new supermarkets of Aldi and Lidl are overtaking the ‘big four’. In Leeds, Morrisons in Kirkstall offers 28,000 choices of goods on the shelves; the new Aldi store in Bramley only 8,000. St Augustine warned that entrapment in too many ‘choices’ is actually a form of slavery which diminishes our capacity to make really important choices.

I find myself hard to grasp (St Augustine)

When he wrote ‘I find myself hard to grasp’ he was challenging that  reduction of our lives to the economy of ever-expanding choices and inviting us to open up to God’s mysterious purposes.

– This article by John Battle was published in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 7th November, 2014. (Bold and headings added afterwards.) For subscriptions to the Catholic Universe newspaper please contact (external link)


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Pope Francis wants us to step off the escalator

“Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that people should not regard the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ as ‘puritanical’ in its message. Asked about the encyclical’s appeal for ‘sobriety and sself-denial’, Cardinal Nichols said people needed to go beyond reading the encyclical in a ‘puritanical way’. He continued by saying that Pope Francis wanted the faithful to recognise that when it comes to consumerism ‘less is better’ and that being trapped on an escalator where you ‘always want more’ is not a ‘happy escalator’.

Do I need this?

Cardinal Nichols also said that the encyclical made clear that when we purchase an object we make an ethical choice and that individuals should ask themselves: ‘Do I need this?’ In Laudato Si’ the Pope says: ‘A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment.’

The Cardinal was speaking at a press conference at Our Lady and St Joseph’s Catholic primary school in Poplar, East London. He said the location had been chosen as a reminder that we have an obligation gation to care for the earth for the sake of future generations, and also because the school was specifically designed in an environmentally friendly way.

A thoroughly Catholic document

Cardinal Nichols described the Pope’s encyclical as a ‘thoroughly Catholic document’ that was consistent with the teachings of former popes, and because it is focused on the ‘dignity and the calling of the human person’. The cardinal also described this text as a teaching document that is ‘essentially ethical in its challenge’ and encourages dialogue, and is ‘centred on the work of God and how it comes to fulfilment in the Person of Jesus.'”

– This article was copied off the one published in the “Catholic Herald” newspaper, issue June 26 2015. For the online-version and subscriptions, please visit (external link).

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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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R. Sons of Israel, trust in the Lord.

1. Our God, he is in the heavens;
he does whatever he wills.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands. (R.)

2. They have mouths but they cannot speak;
they have eyes but they cannot see;
they have ears but they cannot hear;
they have nostrils but they cannot smell. (R.)

3. With their hands they cannot feel;
with their feet they cannot walk.
Their makers will become like them:
so will all who trust in them. (R.)

4. Sons of Israel, trust in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield.
Sons of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
he is their help and their shield. (R.)


Alleluia, alleluia!
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.


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“Yes, God desires the salvation of all. He does not wish anyone to be lost. But, as a matter of fact, He saves only those who, wishing to be saved, labour seriously for that end. Hence Saint Paul [Apostle] addresses this prayer to all Christians: ‘My brethren, I conjure you, apply yourselves to your business, to the great business of salvation!’

‘How foolish,’ says Saint Philip Neri, ‘is he who does not strive to save his soul!’ If there were two classes of men in the world, one destined to immortality, the other created solely for the fleeting existence of the present life; and if the first, always occupied with earthly things, thought only of gaining honours, riches and pleasures, – in what terms, thinks you, would the second address them? ‘Insensate creatures!’ they would cry. ‘What! you can win for yourselves infinite and eternal treasures, and you prefer to enjoy for a short time the miserable goods of earth! Ah! leave these poor enjoyments to us, who have no prospect of eternal salvations!’ And certainly they would be right. Have they then less reason, seeing that God excepts no one, creating us all for heaven and eternal salvation?”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905


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(This advice is of great importance, not just for nuns.)

“Dear mothers and sisters, fly from the world as one would fly from a serpent, because when the serpent bites, it is difficult to be cured: the same happens regarding the world.

Therefore, if you want to become true daughters of God, fly from the world and from the men of the world, guarding your souls in hesychia. Tell me, dear mothers and sisters, from where did the holy fathers gain the virtues, in the midst of the people and their world, or in the silence of the deserts?

If you will not abandon the foulness of the world, if you will not renounce the things of the flesh, if you will not practise hesychia, how will your soul be able to live in the divine future? Do you intend to enter into the Kingdom of God in which, until now, no other person has been able to enter?

My daughters, abandon your vain hopes and direct your gaze towards our Lord Jesus Christ, our Sun of truth, in Whom, in reality, is all our hope!

A soldier upon the earth, if he will not fight, if he will not pour out his blood nor bear wounds, will never receive glory, even that which is temporal! Do you want to save your souls and inherit eternal life without a struggle, eating well, drinking well, amusing yourselves with those of the world and going around amongst the people?

O foolish hope! My sisters, do not continue to make this mistake! Rid yourself of every care and worry, and do not even do needlework for the purpose of receiving alms. Leave that to the world! God does not want that we, who have chosen the monastic life, after having renounced the world, have also gold and superfluous things. The Lord has left us a clear commandment:

‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”


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The living God saves, sets free, and works signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth (cf Dn 6:28).

Through the intercession of all the saints who have sought refuge in God in time of trouble, let us pray:

R. Listen to our cry!

You delivered your people from slavery in Egypt:
– deliver all those in bondage to sin and oppression. (R.)

You delivered your people from exile in Babylon:
– deliver all those who endure or fear the loss of homes and livelihood. (R.)

You delivered the world from sin and death:
– deliver all those whose minds and hearts are wrapped in the darkness of fear and anxiety over the burdens they must bear. (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

Lord our God, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, you brought life from death through the mystery of the cross. Deliver your people in time of suffering and need, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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• “‘Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished’ (Luke 1:45)

• ‘Christ did not live for himself but for us, from his Incarnation ‘for us men and for our salvation’ to his death ‘for our sins’ and Resurrection ‘for our justification” (CCC 519)

• There is a superficial glitter to Christmas. There is a thirst for trade and commerce which threatens to hide its true meaning. Despite this, for everybody, the season is one of giving, of generosity and celebration. These qualities are echoes, resonances if you will, of the true meaning of the season. The clamour and rush to purchase cannot dim the heartbeat of the baby born in the manger. In the baby in the stable, the goodness, kindness, vulnerability and humility of God is revealed. The Holy Spirit makes this truth burn in our hearts and bow down in worship.

• Lord, help me to see through the superficial glitter of this season and to discover behind it the child born in a manger.

• Our Father…, Ten Hail Marys…, Glory be…

• Today my prayer is for…”
– The above was published in the Resource for the Year of Faith 2012 by Alive Publications. To order their booklets please visit (external link).


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“Glance often at the Crucifix. The lessons it teaches you must guide your step in life.” (St John Bosco)

“Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example how to act.


It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ.


Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what He desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.


If you seek the example of love: ‘Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn 15:13). Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if He gave His life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for His sake.


If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because ‘when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth (cf. Acts 8:32). Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great. ‘In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame’.


If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified One, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.


If you seek an example of obedience, imitate in your own life Him Who became obedient to the Father even unto death. ‘For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous (Rm 5:19).


If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow Him Who is the ‘King of kings and the Lord of lords, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). Upon the cross He was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.


Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because ‘they divided my garments among themselves’ (Jn 19:24). Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings.

Nor to greatness of rank, ‘for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head’ (cf. Mk 15:17).

Nor anything succulent and delightful, ‘for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps 68:22).”
– St Thomas Aquinas


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