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IF THERE ARE SO MANY HOUSES WHICH HARBOUR UNHAPPINESS, YOU WILL FIND THE EXPLANATION IN THE BLASPHEMIES AND CURSES WHICH HAVE DESCENDED IN THESE FAMILIES

“Below are some words written by St John Vianney. I share them for your prayerful reflection:

• This is a good rule of conduct – to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. We cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity. We must reflect that we have a soul to save, an eternity awaits us. This world, its riches, pleasures and its honours will pass away.

• The crosses we meet on the road to heaven are like a fine stone bridge on which you can cross a river. Christians who don’t suffer, cross this river on a shaky bridge that’s always in danger of giving way under their feet.

• Never forget, my good friends, that the tongue has been given to you to praise God; that it had been consecrated to Him in holy Baptism and Holy Communion. What makes the sin of cursing and swearing all the worse is this: if parents are in the habit of committing this sin, the children will acquire the same habit and the vice will become hereditary in the family. If there are so many houses which harbour unhappiness and are the lurking place of the evil spirit, you will find the explanation in the blasphemies and curses which have descended in these families from generation to generation.

THE PERSON WHO DOESN’T PRAY IS LIKE A CHICKEN OR A TURKEY, WHICH CAN’T RISE INTO THE AIR

• The person who doesn’t pray is like a chicken or a turkey, which can’t rise into the air. They may fly a little, but as soon as they come down, they scratch the earth and get deeper and deeper in it, they cover their heads with it and they don’t seem to take pleasure in anything else. The person who prays, on the other hand, is like a fearless eagle, and seems always to want to get closer to the Sun.

• O how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our misery, in weeping over our sins. Then we shall see that we have done nothing for heaven.

– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”

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IS THE FAMILY ON MY MOTHER’S SIDE CURSED OR ARE WE JUST MEANT TO ENDURE A LOT OF SUFFERING IN OUR LIVES?

INJUSTICE, SEVERE ILLNESSES, FAILURES OVER THREE OR MORE GENERATIONS – DO WE SUFFER FROM A FAMILY CURSE LIKE IT IS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS – CONSEQUENCES OF BAD ACTIONS, EITHER OURS OR OF OUR ANCESTORS – OR IS IT JUST A CASE OF GOOD PEOPLE IN A DECENT FAMILY HAVING TO FACE PARTICULARLY MANY CHALLENGES?

ARE WE CURSED?

“QUESTION: Dear Friar Rick: My mother comes from a very old, noble family. All her relatives were very good, hard working and highly moral, religious people. Throughout the family history there were many cases of tragic deaths, suicides, mental and physiological diseases (congenital cancer, depression), injustice, various failures and poverty. I have read that the family curse could cover even three generations, and that it can also be caused by a member of the family not blood related. How is it possible to get rid of the family curse and turn it into a blessing?

ANSWER FROM FRIAR RICK: As I read your note and the description of your mother’s family, I thought to myself, here is an eloquent summary of the reality of life, good people who so often have to face tremendous challenges. I felt that your mother’s family history was the story of every family. And then you surprised me! The family curse! What? I can only imagine the degree of suffering that your family has endured that you would consider yourselves cursed. I’m sorry to hear that.

REMEMBER THAT GOOD IS STRONGER THAN EVIL

I must admit that I’m not too sure what to make of the idea of a curse. In most cases when people think of a ‘curse’ they think of some mad witch or warlock ‘cursing’ us. In truth though, that would reveal a view of the world where Good and Evil are matched powers competing for domination over us. In fact there is only one power, and that is God. Evil, even when personified in the devil, is only a creature. The presence of evil is real and can mislead us. However we also need to be careful of not buying into baseless superstitions.

THE DEVIL CANNOT PREVENT THE BUILDING UP OF GOD’S REIGN

THE BLESSINGS OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AND OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST

Besides, what power can ultimately compete with the grace of Baptism and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in you or the wonderfully freeing blessing of Sacramental Reconciliation? What curse can possibly rival the blessing of regularly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist? As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states about the devil: ‘He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign’ (# 395).

CONSEQUENCES OF BAD ACTIONS?

Others see curses in the broader sense as the consequences of bad actions, either ours or of our ancestors. The Sacred Scriptures seem to point to this understanding, especially in the Book of Genesis, which gives explanations as to why there are hardships in life. And yes, the remnants of Original Sin do affect us, but so does God’s original Grace. Even in the Bible, the understanding of being cursed changes. Just look to Job and his plight. He does not believe that God has cursed him and refuses to reject God.

“CURSED” VERSUS “SUFFERING”

Really, what you seem to describe in your letter is not so much a curse, but rather the big question of suffering. Why do we suffer? Why do the innocent suffer? I’ll give you ‘The Readers’ Digest’ answer: we don’t know. But we can begin to understand the meaning of suffering through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Here is the Lord of the Universe made flesh who suffers by our side. He takes upon Himself all of our suffering. If there ever was a curse on humanity, surely the Cross has annulled it! Jesus taught us to be faithful in love even when it seems all is going wrong. It couldn’t have looked any more hopeless for Jesus on the Cross. And yet, that sign of horror and punishment has become for us the sign of God’s victory over death!

A GREAT DEAL OF HOPE

I would like to suggest a very simple, thin book that might be helpful to you in your reflection. ‘I Cry To You, O Lord: Scriptural Reflections on the Mystery and Meaning of Suffering’ by Jude Winkler, our own friar. This guide offers a great deal of wisdom and hope as we struggle with the reality of suffering in our lives.”
– This article by Richard Riccioli, OFM Conv. entitled “Negative Effects” [capital headings added] was published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, issue May 2013. For subscriptions, please contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy

 

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TO BE PRAYED AGAINST ANCESTRAL AND GENERATIONAL CURSES: THE SEVEN PENITENTIAL PSALMS

PLEASE PRAY ALL THESE 7 PSALMS EVERY DAY; BUT AS A MINIMUM EVERY FRIDAY, WITH A STRICKEN HEART, FEELING SORROW FOR OUR AND OUR ANCESTORS’ SINS. RESOLVE BEFORE GOD THAT YOU YOURSELF, WITH THE HELP OF HIS GRACE, WILL HENCEFORTH LEAD AN EXEMPLARY LIFE AND BE A GOOD INFLUENCE OF CHARITY FOR THOSE AROUND YOU.

Begin by making the Sign of the Cross, saying, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen”, in order to honour and invoke the all-powerful Holy Trinity and also to recall our Saviour Jesus Christ’s loving sacrifice on the Cross which He did for us all to be saved.

Before each psalm you pray this antiphon: “Remember not, O Lord, our or our parents’ offences: neither take vengeance of our sins.” After the last of the seven psalms, pray: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.” Finish your prayer with the Sign of the Cross as in the beginning, to thank the Holy Trinity and to thank our Lord Jesus for His suffering on the Cross for love of us, our ancestors and all mankind.

When the problems you are weighted down with become less and less (which they definitely will if you pray sincerely and with sorrow for the sins), and you feel that God has answered your pleading through these psalms, when you thereupon cease to pray these psalms, PLEASE do not cease to pray daily, for instance a MINIMUM of a heartfelt “Our Father” each morning and each evening.

PSALM 6:

O Lord, in your anger do not reprove; nor punish me in your fury. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have no strength left. O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in torment. My soul also is greatly troubled. How long, O Lord, how long? How long will you be? Come back to me, O Lord, save my life; rescue me for the sake of your love. For no one remembers you in the grave; who will praise you in the world of the dead?

I am weary with moaning; I weep every night, drenching my bed with tears. My eyes have grown dim from troubles; I have weakened because of my foes. Away from me, you evildoers, for the Lord has heard my plaintive voice. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will grant all that I pray for. Let my enemies fall back in shame, all of a sudden – the whole bunch of them!

PSALM 32:

Blessed is the one whose sin is forgiven, whose iniquity is wiped away. Blessed are those in whom the Lord sees no guilt and in whose spirit is found no deceit. When I kept my sin secret, my body wasted away, I was moaning all day long. Your hand day and night lay heavy upon me; draining my strength, parching my heart as in the heat of a summer drought. Then I made known to you my sin and uncovered before you my fault, saying to myself, “To the Lord I will now confess my wrong.” And you, you forgave my sin, you removed my guilt.

So let the faithful ones pray to you in time of distress; the overflowing waters will not reach them. You are my refuge; you protect me from distress and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will teach you, I will show you the way to follow. I will watch over you and give you counsel. Do not be like the horse or the mule – senseless and led by bit and bridle. Many woes befall the wicked, but the Lord’s mercy enfolds those who trust in him. Rejoice in the Lord, and be glad, you who are upright; sing and shout for joy, you who are clean of heart.

PSALM 38:

O Lord, rebuke me not in your rage, punish me not in your fury. Your arrows have struck me; your hand has come down heavily upon me. Your anger has spared no part of my body, my sin gives no peace to my bones. For my transgressions overwhelm me; they weigh me down like an unbearable load. My wounds stink and fester within me, the outcome of my sinful folly. Stooped and bowed down, I go about mourning all day. My loins burn, my flesh is diseased, my body, worn out and utterly crushed; I groan in pain and anguish of heart. All my longing, O Lord, is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds as my strength ebbs; even the light has deserted my eyes. My friends avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbours stay far off. Those who seek my life lay snares for me; those who wish to hurt me speak of my ruin and plot against me all day long.

But like a deaf-mute, I neither hear nor open my mouth. I am like one whose ears hear not and whose mouth has no answer. For I put my trust in you, O Lord; you will answer for me, Lord God. I will pray, “Don’t let them gloat over me, nor take advantage of my helplessness when my foot slips. For I am about to fall, my pain is ever with me. I confess my transgression, I repent of my sin. Many are my foes; many are those who hate me for no reason, those who pay me evil for good and harass me because I seek good. Forsake me not, O Lord, stay not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord, my saviour!

PSALM 51:

Have mercy on me, O God, in your love. In your gret compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil. For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind. Against you alone have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. You are right when you pass sentence and blameless in your judgment. For I have been guilt-ridden from birth, a sinner from my mother’s womb. I know you desire truth in my heart, teach me wisdom in my inmost being. Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my offences. Create in me, O God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit.

Do not cast me out of your presence nor take your holy spirit from me. Give me again the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers your ways and sinners will return to you. Deliver me, O God, from the guilt of blood, and of your justice I shall sing aloud. O Lord, open my lips, and I will declare your praise. You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, you would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart you will not despise. Shower Zion with your favour: rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in fitting sacrifices, in burnt offerings and bulls offered on your altar.

PSALM 102:

O Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in trouble. Turn your ear to me; make haste to answer me when I call. For my days are passing away like smoke, my bones burning like a furnace. Like withered grass, my heart is blighted, and I forget to eat my bread. Because of my great grief I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the wilderness, like a vulture among the ruins. I awake moaning like a lonely bird on the housetop. All day long I am taunted by my enemies; they use my name as a curse. The bread I eat is ashes, my drink is mingled with tears, for your wrath, your fury; for you have thrown me aside. My days are vanishing like shadows at night; I wither away like grass. But you, O Lord, you sit forever; your name endures through all generations.

Arise, have mercy on Zion; this is the time to show her your mercy. For your servants cherish her stones, and are moved to pity by her dust. O Lord, the nations will revere your name, and the kings of the earth your glory, when the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in all his splendour. For he will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea. Let this be written for future ages, “the Lord will be praised by a people he will form.” From his holy height in heaven, the Lord has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death. Then the name of the Lord will be cleared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship him. My walk has exhausted me, he has cut short my days. I cry to him, “My God, do not take my life in mid-course, you whose days are from age to age.” In the beginning you laid the earth’s foundation, the heavens are the work of your hands. Although they perish, you will remain; they will wear out like a garment, you change them like clothes: they pass away, but you remain the same, your years unending. Your servants’ children will dwell secure; their posterity will endure without fail.

PSALM 130:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears pay attention to the voice of my supplication. If you should mark our evil, O Lord, who could stand? But with you is forgiveness, and for that you are revered. I waited for the Lord, my soul waits, and I put my hope in his word. My soul expects the Lord more than watchmen the dawn. O Israel, hope in the Lord, for with him is unfailing love and with him full deliverance. He will deliver Israel from all its sins.

PSALM 143:

O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; answer me, you who are righteous and faithful. Do not bring your servant to judgment, for no mortal is just in your sight. The enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground, sending me to darkness with those long dead. And so my spirit fails me, my heart is full of fear. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on what you have done and consider the work of your hand. I stretch out my hands to you, and thirst for you like a parched land.

O Lord, answer me quickly: my spirit is faint with yearning. Do not hide your face from me; save me from going down to the pit. Let the dawn bring me word of your love, for in you alone I put my trust. Show me the way I should walk, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for to you I flee for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your Spirit lead me on a safe path. Preserve me, O Lord, for your name’s sake; free me from distress, in your justice. You who are merciful, crush my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

 

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