Articles by Al Mansfield

BOY, NEVER FORGET ST. JOSEPH!

How often did I hear those words from my Dad when I was growing up! My Dad was a tough shipyard worker, a welder. He practiced his Catholic faith devoutly, but not in a showy or pushy way. He didn’t go around preaching, but neither was he afraid to stand up for his faith when he felt he needed to. And he definitely had a great love and admiration for St. Joseph. He turned to St. Joseph for one need after another and claimed that St. Joseph always “came through” for him. He told me that he felt close to St. Joseph because he also was a “workingman.” And every so often – to me it seemed quite often – my Dad would give me a serious look and say those words: “Boy, never forget St. Joseph!”

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TONGUES – WHAT GOOD IS IT, ANYWAY?

Go ahead, admit it…you’ve either said that, or perhaps thought it, or at least you’ve heard it before. I have heard that myself more times than I care to count over the last 50 years of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. So I thought I would actually make note of  some advantages, in my opinion, to praying in tongues. At least ten reasons occur to me right off the bat, and I want to go through them here. So what is the gift of tongues good for, anyway?

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DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?

Someone once asked St. Teresa of Calcutta, “Mother, what is your secret?” And Mother Teresa answered, “My secret is simple – I pray.” I heard my wife Patti share this quote in a talk and she followed up by saying, “Do you want to know my secret? It is living in the union of the Holy Spirit and Mary.” This all got me to thinking…how would I describe my “secret,” (or my spirituality)? I think I would say it this way – I want to always… Desire God’s Will; Seek God’s Wisdom; Remain in God’s Word.

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NEWS ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD! 

Did that title get your attention? It usually does. We all want to know when it will happen, don’t we? “Enquiring minds want to know!” This, despite what Jesus told us – that no one knows, not even the Son, but only the Father (cf. Mt 24:36). But Jesus did tell us quite a few things about the end times. They are found in what is called the “Synoptic Apocalypse” – Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21. I have picked out three key words or topics that, for me at least, make a reasonably good summary of the Lord’s teaching here. The key words are: Deception, Persecution, and Watchfulness/Preparation.

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THE BATTLE IS AROUND THE KING

Of the 193 countries in the world that are members of the UN, some 26 of them are monarchies. In the US we are not very familiar with kings, queens, and royalty except for, like, Carnival krewes! In 1925, however, Pope Pius XI established the feast that is now known as the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This was his attempt to address and combat the rampant secularism of his times. How much worse that is today and therefore how much more do we need Christ the King today!

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TIMES AND SEASONS

Perhaps you have heard that the seasons in and around New Orleans run something like this: King Cake Season, Carnival Season, Friday Fish Fry Season, Festival Season, Hurricane Season, Football Season and Holiday Season! We humans live by seasons, but the Lord has his “times and seasons” as well. The Church prays at the Paschal Vigil during the blessing of the Paschal Candle: “All time belongs to him and all the ages.” God’s timing is indeed interesting, especially when we can somehow detect a confluence or pattern in God’s plan. It is interesting to look at the 20th century to see the unfolding of God’s plan.

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DID THE LORD JESUS COMPLAIN?

It is difficult to picture the Lord Jesus complaining. However, as I read the gospels, I keep coming across a rather consistent complaint of his. Hint: it has to do with faith, or more specifically, the lack of faith. I did a rough count and found about ten passages in which Jesus scolded the disciples for having “little faith,” “no faith,” or “their unbelief.” One time he asked them pointedly, “Where is your faith?” In his own home town, Jesus was amazed (and not in a good way!) at their lack of faith and “did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matt. 13:58). Even after he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to the eleven apostles and rebuked them for their “unbelief and hardness of heart” (Mark 16:14). Jesus spoke of many things, but it certainly seems that the topic of faith was of tremendous importance.

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THE WORD OF GOD: IGNORE AT YOUR OWN PERIL!

I remember Christmas Eve 1976. Why? Because there are photos of me trying to put together a toy motorcycle for our first child. I guess I didn’t pay (sufficient) attention to the assembly instructions because the front wheel somehow ended up on top of the handlebars! I also remember taking trips when I didn’t pay (sufficient) attention to the driving directions. I either got hopelessly lost or ended up at a completely different destination. Some of us have to learn the hard way that instructions, directions, rules and laws are there for a reason. This is all the more the case when it comes to God’s word in Sacred Scripture. It is a gift to teach us the truths of what to believe and how to live. We ignore it at our own peril.

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“HEY, FRIEND, DO YOU STILL LOVE JESUS?”

The voice was uncomfortably loud and came from someone behind him in line at the airport. “Hey, Pepe, do you still love Jesus?” Evangelist and Bible teacher Jose (Pepe) Prado Flores turned to face a rather imposing woman who asked him yet again, more loudly than before, “Pepe, do you still love Jesus?” Pepe answered, perhaps in self-defense, “Yes!”  The woman, who was actually an old friend and fellow evangelist, just nodded and said, “Good, good!”, and proceeded on her way. Pepe says he has encountered her several times since then, and always heard the same question: “Hey, Pepe, do you still love Jesus?”

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“CCRNO…I LOVE THAT!”

My wife Patti went to the UPS Store to ship a package with a CCRNO return address label on it. The clerk, a young woman in her twenties, pointed to the CCRNO red dove and exclaimed: “CCRNO…I know what that is. I love that!” Apparently, she used to attend events with the CCRNO youth group and really enjoyed it. This kind of incident has occurred many times over the 50-year history of CCRNO, since its beginning in 1969.  As we celebrate this “Golden Anniversary,” let’s look back, remember, and give thanks.

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Articles by Patti Mansfield

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Wisdom of  the Saints

 

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