Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments. It was established by Jesus and has a strong biblical basis. The Gospels report that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Jesus modeled the reception of baptism. Jesus saw the spiritual value of baptism for himself and, in doing so, showed that those who believe in him should also be baptized.
Just recently, three women gave me a ride. One of the women asked a question that began a conversation about suffering. This later prompted an email to me from one of them who was aching both physically and spiritually. She was then about to have — and has now had — a surgery that has uncovered the need for another, more aggressive surgery. The physical pain has tapped into the spiritual pain. It nearly always does.
It was 2004, and I was volunteering. Sister Edward would assign me tasks, and I never knew what to expect. There were days of washing dishes and days of cleaning bedrooms. There was one wonderful thing; my friend, Ellie, was the best at laundry. Since we were volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity, there were no washing machines. Ellie did it all by hand, and I never begrudged her this.
A growing concern today involves the role of pornography as the next generation’s instructor in human sexuality. For Catholic parents, this raises the critical challenge of how best to approach these matters with their children, given that kids as young as 8 or 9 may already be acquiring information and viewpoints about human sexual behaviors from Internet pornography. I would like to present six practical suggestions for parents, culled from parental testimonies and insights, from other experts in the field, and from former users of pornography.
Sometimes saints can seem “dusty” and not able to relate to us today. Among them is St. Bernard of Clairvaux — a mystic, preacher, contemplative and doctor of the Church.