6 Most Misunderstood Beliefs and Practices in the Catholic Church

confused GIFjesus church GIF

1. Venerating the Saints is Idolatry.

catholic GIF

Venerating the saints is not idolatry. Catholics are not actually praying to the saints but only honoring them as heroes of the Catholic faith and asking them to intercede for them to Christ. Catholics only worship God and not the saints according to official Church teachings. It’s true that worshiping material things is idolatry and a serious sin against God. But the statues inside the Church are mere symbols and representations of their personhood of the saints as true disciples of Christ, worthy of emulation. They help Catholics to recall their heroic deeds for God. A symbol, such as the statue, only points to the reality. The piece of wood or cement of the statue is not being worshiped by Catholics but only served as a visual aid to remind Catholics to imitate their extraordinary faith in Christ..

2. The Sacred Host in the Mass is only a Symbol.

amor GIF

For some Protestant Churches which use the sacred host in their public rituals, the consecrated host is only a symbol but not the reality itself. This is not the Catholic Church’s official teaching. For the Church, the consecrated host during the Mass is not just a symbol but the reality itself. Under the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, the ordinary unleavened bread is transformed into the real Body of Christ after the consecration in the Eucharist.

catholic the exorcist GIF

“Transubstantiation is the process by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that through transubstantiation, the risen Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharist. The word transubstantiation is made up of two parts: ‘trans’ and ‘substantiation.’ The first part is a prefix that means ‘across’, ‘beyond’, or ‘through’. It suggests that some kind of change has taken place. The second part of the word, ‘substantiation,’ refers to the philosophical term substance. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, substance is a thing’s deepest being, what it is, in and of itself. The substance of a thing is what it really and truly is beyond all appearances” (Troolin). After the consecration of the priest, the substance of the bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

3. The Personal and Moral Life of the Priest can Affect the Sacredness of the Mass He is Celebrating!

filipino GIF

It is true that persons who are ordained by Catholic bishops as priests remain human beings and sinners. But the sacrament of ordination has transformed them into ministers of Christ and the Church. What they are administering in the Church, such as the Eucharist and the sacraments, are not affected by their personal and immoral life as sinners. These public rituals are done by priests in the name of the Church of Christ and not in their own name and power. As ministers, they are only instruments, the real dispensers of divine grace in the sacraments is Christ Himself. Of course, it is ideal that the priest who administers the sacraments is also a holy person and a worthy human instrument of grace.

4. Direct Confession to God is Better than Confessing to the Priest.

confess hands up GIF by Andrew and Pete

Direct confession to God is usually done by Protestant and Christian churches. But the Catholic Church only allows direct confession for venial or minor sins. Grave or serious sins must be confessed to the priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. In the Gospels, following his resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples. After breathing upon them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23; see also Mt 18:18). The sacrament of reconciliation encourages us to go and to try to sin no more. This teaching is found also in Ephesians 4:25-32 and 1 John 1:5-10. By virtue of his ordination, the priest is authorized by the Church to forgive sins in the name of Christ.

5. Unbaptized Babies will go to Limbo!

hip hop happy dance GIF

“It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium….” (ITC).

“However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261) (Ibid).”.

6. Praying is Asking God’s Favor!

pray praying hands GIF by LL Cool J

Prayer is God’s gift. It has different forms. It is not always asking God’s favor. Not all prayers are petition or intercessory prayers. The Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2259) describes the Church’s teaching on prayer as follows:

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”2 But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart?3 He who humbles himself will be exalted;4 humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,”5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”6

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Troolin, A. (n.d.). Catholic Doctrine of Transubstantiation: Definition & Overview. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/catholic-doctrine-of-transubstantiation-definition-lesson-quiz.html.

International Theological Commission (ITC) (n.d.). “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized”. Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html.

Thank you for reading this post. Subscribe or follow this blog for more updates. God bless!

6 Most Misunderstood Beliefs and Practices in the Catholic Church

confused GIFjesus church GIF

1. Venerating the Saints is Idolatry.

catholic GIF

Venerating the saints is not idolatry. Catholics are not actually praying to the saints but only honoring them as heroes of the Catholic faith and asking them to intercede for them to Christ. Catholics only worship God and not the saints according to official Church teachings. It’s true that worshiping material things is idolatry and a serious sin against God. But the statues inside the Church are mere symbols and representations of their personhood of the saints as true disciples of Christ, worthy of emulation. They help Catholics to recall their heroic deeds for God. A symbol, such as the statue, only points to the reality. The piece of wood or cement of the statue is not being worshiped by Catholics but only served as a visual aid to remind Catholics to imitate their extraordinary faith in Christ..

2. The Sacred Host in the Mass is only a Symbol.

amor GIF

For some Protestant Churches which use the sacred host in their public rituals, the consecrated host is only a symbol but not the reality itself. This is not the Catholic Church’s official teaching. For the Church, the consecrated host during the Mass is not just a symbol but the reality itself. Under the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, the ordinary unleavened bread is transformed into the real Body of Christ after the consecration in the Eucharist.

catholic the exorcist GIF

“Transubstantiation is the process by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that through transubstantiation, the risen Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharist. The word transubstantiation is made up of two parts: ‘trans’ and ‘substantiation.’ The first part is a prefix that means ‘across’, ‘beyond’, or ‘through’. It suggests that some kind of change has taken place. The second part of the word, ‘substantiation,’ refers to the philosophical term substance. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, substance is a thing’s deepest being, what it is, in and of itself. The substance of a thing is what it really and truly is beyond all appearances” (Troolin). After the consecration of the priest, the substance of the bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

3. The Personal and Moral Life of the Priest can Affect the Sacredness of the Mass He is Celebrating!

filipino GIF

It is true that persons who are ordained by Catholic bishops as priests remain human beings and sinners. But the sacrament of ordination has transformed them into ministers of Christ and the Church. What they are administering in the Church, such as the Eucharist and the sacraments, are not affected by their personal and immoral life as sinners. These public rituals are done by priests in the name of the Church of Christ and not in their own name and power. As ministers, they are only instruments, the real dispensers of divine grace in the sacraments is Christ Himself. Of course, it is ideal that the priest who administers the sacraments is also a holy person and a worthy human instrument of grace.

4. Direct Confession to God is Better than Confessing to the Priest.

confess hands up GIF by Andrew and Pete

Direct confession to God is usually done by Protestant and Christian churches. But the Catholic Church only allows direct confession for venial or minor sins. Grave or serious sins must be confessed to the priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. In the Gospels, following his resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples. After breathing upon them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23; see also Mt 18:18). The sacrament of reconciliation encourages us to go and to try to sin no more. This teaching is found also in Ephesians 4:25-32 and 1 John 1:5-10. By virtue of his ordination, the priest is authorized by the Church to forgive sins in the name of Christ.

5. Unbaptized Babies will go to Limbo!

hip hop happy dance GIF

“It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium….” (ITC).

“However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261) (Ibid).”.

6. Praying is Asking God’s Favor!

pray praying hands GIF by LL Cool J

Prayer is God’s gift. It has different forms. It is not always asking God’s favor. Not all prayers are petition or intercessory prayers. The Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2259) describes the Church’s teaching on prayer as follows:

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”2 But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart?3 He who humbles himself will be exalted;4 humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,”5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”6

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Troolin, A. (n.d.). Catholic Doctrine of Transubstantiation: Definition & Overview. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/catholic-doctrine-of-transubstantiation-definition-lesson-quiz.html.

International Theological Commission (ITC) (n.d.). “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized”. Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html.

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What is the Spirituality of Social Transformation?

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Understanding the Spirituality of Structural Transformation

The word “spirituality” can mean different things to many people. In essence, a spirituality in the Christian tradition is basically a way of life that imitates Christ’s life. Spirituality is a radical living of what one preaches, witnessing to the radical demands of the Gospel (PCP II, n. 282). The Second the Plenary Council of the Philippines speaks a particular type of spirituality for committed Christian to combat social and structural sins and transform society according to God’s plan–the spirituality of social transformation.

The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) seems too broad in describing of what precisely this spirituality of social transformation in actual social practice and how can this be practiced by ordinary Christians in daily life. It just described it as a way of life marked by an enduring and intimate commitment to Jesus, a love for him that does not count the cost (PCP II 278), a way of life that is constantly called to a profound transformation of one’s life and living the spirit of the Beatitudes in a world of poverty, oppression, exploitation, and conflict (PCP II#272).

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It is said to be a spirituality that is inspired by the preferential option for the poor, seeking the Kingdom as its primary rule, a spirituality that shares the Good News in the midst of deprivation, hope in situations of cynicism and pessimism (PCP II #280), and a spirituality that listens to and heeds God’s word, discerns and follows the Spirit in the Scriptures, in the Church and in history (PCP II 281).

Social Transformation as an Integral Part of the Christian Faith

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As mentioned above, the Christian faith is not pietistic and individualistic. It has a social or public dimension as this is witnessed in the context of a community. Evangelization is not only about saving the soul but saving the entire person with body and soul. Moreover, a person is not an isolated individual. S/he is a social being who lives in society. S/he influences society, but society also influences him/her. The Church preaches total salvation as the individual is intrinsically linked with the liberation of society from structural sins. Thus, to save the individual implies saving society. Now one cannot liberate society without having a spirituality of social transformation. If the orientation of the individual believer is purely pietistic and individualist, then it is less likely that s/he engages in social actions inspired by the Christian faith and by the teaching on the preferential option for the poor.

The Major Problem in Achieving the Spirituality of Social Transformation

The major problem with the concept of the spirituality of social transformation of PCP II is its lack of indicators of what exactly this spirituality is and how it can be lived out in a structured way by Christians in practical life. The priests and religious seem to have a structural privilege with regard to practicing their spiritual and prayer life. Their spirituality and mission are guided by the charism of their founders and religious orders and by the institutional teachings and rules of the Church. The institutional Church as well as the structures of religious orders have laid out some sort of structure that provide the fundamental principles and methodologies which support and sustain the kind of spirituality they want to live. Since the Church has already been bureaucratized, a fairly fixed structure has already been established by the institutional Church on how priests and religious can generally nurture and live out their spiritual life. In short, the kind of spirituality priests and religious want to pursue is aided by some formation or socialization structure to fully actualize it.

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But this structured spirituality enjoy the religious and the clergy seems to be not the case for lay people. Structuring their own spirituality is not that easy, given the secularization of the world they live in and the diverse nature of their job, family, culture, and social class. There is no clear socialization structure on the kind of spirituality they want to pursue. It is still largely individualist in approach compared to priests and religious. Of course, they can always join some religious organizations or lay institutes to nurture the spirituality they aspire to achieve. But most of the time, the great multitudes of lay people are thrown in the world without being attached to some kind of a religious structure that continually nurture their spirituality. Given secular character and preoccupation of their vocation, lay people are often left alone to pattern their own spirituality with much the aid of a structure to regularize their formation process. With regard to the social teachings of the Church, they are often in their own personal discretion on how to actualize in the world what they learned from the Church’s teaching authority. Given the low level of awareness among Christians on the Catholic Social Teaching, it is uncertain whether the lay people do care at all to pattern their spirituality according to the Church’s social doctrine.

Some Practical Problems of a Spirituality of Social Transformation

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First of all, the spirituality of social transformation proposed by PCP II sounds foreign to the religious and cultural awareness of many Filipinos who are more personalistic and kin-based in their cultural understanding of a community. This is one reason that they have a difficulty of understanding the Church as a “community of believers” who come from different ethnic, kinship, and cultural background. For most Filipino lay Catholics, the Church is the “sambahan” or “place of worship” and not the baptized community. A sociological research by Ricardo G. Abad on social capital reveals that Filipinos has difficulty of relating with the social world beyond the family, relatives and friends. This narrow and personalistic view of the community prevents Filipinos to be involved in something impersonal and abstract such as the state, the Church, government, or the society at large. That is why many Filipino Catholic do not find it necessary to do social or transformational action beyond the social circles of relatives and friends. If people are not well catechized on the CST, particularly on why and how the spirituality of social transformation be achieved and sustained, then this injunction of PCP II of seeing God in social liberation would only remain theoretical.

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Another obstacle in the development of this spirituality, as pointed above, is ignorance of the laity on the social teachings of the Church. Correct theory or understanding is necessary in order to achieve correct or appropriate social action. How can people create and live out this spirituality of social transformation if they are ignorant of the social doctrines of the Church and their proper applications in society? And how can they learn these doctrines if they are not enough priests, religious, or lay teachers in the Church who can teach them? Sufficient and updated knowledge of the Church’s social teachings, a sound sociological knowledge and analysis of the social situation, a strong commitment to prayer life, and a social structure that guides social action as well as an ongoing Christian formation to believers and advocates are necessary to create a sound spirituality of social transformation. These are some of the important requirements in achieving the spirituality of social transformation.

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos

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6 Most Misunderstood Beliefs and Practices in the Catholic Church

confused GIFjesus church GIF

1. Venerating the Saints is Idolatry.

catholic GIF

Venerating the saints is not idolatry. Catholics are not actually praying to the saints but only honoring them as heroes of the Catholic faith and asking them to intercede for them to Christ. Catholics only worship God and not the saints according to official Church teachings. It’s true that worshiping material things is idolatry and a serious sin against God. But the statues inside the Church are mere symbols and representations of their personhood of the saints as true disciples of Christ, worthy of emulation. They help Catholics to recall their heroic deeds for God. A symbol, such as the statue, only points to the reality. The piece of wood or cement of the statue is not being worshiped by Catholics but only served as a visual aid to remind Catholics to imitate their extraordinary faith in Christ..

2. The Sacred Host in the Mass is only a Symbol.

amor GIF

For some Protestant Churches which use the sacred host in their public rituals, the consecrated host is only a symbol but not the reality itself. This is not the Catholic Church’s official teaching. For the Church, the consecrated host during the Mass is not just a symbol but the reality itself. Under the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, the ordinary unleavened bread is transformed into the real Body of Christ after the consecration in the Eucharist.

catholic the exorcist GIF

“Transubstantiation is the process by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that through transubstantiation, the risen Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharist. The word transubstantiation is made up of two parts: ‘trans’ and ‘substantiation.’ The first part is a prefix that means ‘across’, ‘beyond’, or ‘through’. It suggests that some kind of change has taken place. The second part of the word, ‘substantiation,’ refers to the philosophical term substance. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, substance is a thing’s deepest being, what it is, in and of itself. The substance of a thing is what it really and truly is beyond all appearances” (Troolin). After the consecration of the priest, the substance of the bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

3. The Personal and Moral Life of the Priest can Affect the Sacredness of the Mass He is Celebrating!

filipino GIF

It is true that persons who are ordained by Catholic bishops as priests remain human beings and sinners. But the sacrament of ordination has transformed them into ministers of Christ and the Church. What they are administering in the Church, such as the Eucharist and the sacraments, are not affected by their personal and immoral life as sinners. These public rituals are done by priests in the name of the Church of Christ and not in their own name and power. As ministers, they are only instruments, the real dispensers of divine grace in the sacraments is Christ Himself. Of course, it is ideal that the priest who administers the sacraments is also a holy person and a worthy human instrument of grace.

4. Direct Confession to God is Better than Confessing to the Priest.

confess hands up GIF by Andrew and Pete

Direct confession to God is usually done by Protestant and Christian churches. But the Catholic Church only allows direct confession for venial or minor sins. Grave or serious sins must be confessed to the priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. In the Gospels, following his resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples. After breathing upon them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23; see also Mt 18:18). The sacrament of reconciliation encourages us to go and to try to sin no more. This teaching is found also in Ephesians 4:25-32 and 1 John 1:5-10. By virtue of his ordination, the priest is authorized by the Church to forgive sins in the name of Christ.

5. Unbaptized Babies will go to Limbo!

hip hop happy dance GIF

“It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants who die subject to original sin and without baptism, and who, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium….” (ITC).

“However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants who die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261) (Ibid).”.

6. Praying is Asking God’s Favor!

pray praying hands GIF by LL Cool J

Prayer is God’s gift. It has different forms. It is not always asking God’s favor. Not all prayers are petition or intercessory prayers. The Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2259) describes the Church’s teaching on prayer as follows:

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”2 But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart?3 He who humbles himself will be exalted;4 humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,”5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.”6

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Troolin, A. (n.d.). Catholic Doctrine of Transubstantiation: Definition & Overview. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/catholic-doctrine-of-transubstantiation-definition-lesson-quiz.html.

International Theological Commission (ITC) (n.d.). “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized”. Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html.

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Life Requires Grounding in the Supernatural

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We only live once in this world. As rational beings, we are creators of meaning. What makes our life meaningful would depend on our ultimate goal we set for our self. This ultimate goal we envision for our life is what basically guides us in our daily living. Its achievement can ultimately make us happy. The quality of our happiness would depend on our ultimate goal in life.

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If our ultimate purpose is to seek wealth, then our happiness would consist of gaining profit in our investments, increasing savings, achieving dominance in the market, creating new breakthroughs in business innovation, etc.

jerry maguire money GIF

If our ultimate purpose is to chase pleasure in food, sex, alcohol, or other forms of addition, then our happiness will be enjoying and prolonging pleasure in our bodily senses.

alejandro jodorowsky party GIF by Endless Poetry

If our basic aim is to love for God by serving others, then happiness would be spiritual consolation and the joy of serving God’s poor and underprivileged. If our aim is to change society for the better by fighting oppressive social structures and regimes, then our ultimate happiness can consist of personal joy upon seeing that some of our reform efforts are realized in society. In short, the ultimate purpose we set for our life can determine the quality of our happiness in daily living.

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Almost all philosophers agree that to live a meaningful life requires grounding on something supernatural that transcends the self. It requires a deeper reflection and question on where we came from and where we’re going to in our life. Finding the ultimate meaning and purpose of our life is crucial in order to provide focus and happiness in our daily living. Drifting in life without a philosophy or sense of purpose that guides us in daily living is tragic. Without an ultimate goal and a sense of meaning of what we do everyday in life could not provide us with a true and lasting joy and happiness.

fast and furious car GIF

We know that material happiness is fleeting and temporary. A person who love cars, for instance, would be happy to acquire a new one. But after a few days the feeling of excitement and pleasure of having a new car would surely evaporate that lead to another craving or desire for another fantastic car that he or she can boast of to friends and society.

hot tub party GIF

Or if one’s happiness is based on pleasure such as food, sex, drugs, or pornography, the material joy is indeed fleeting and endless. He or she may end up spending his/her entire life chasing the insatiable want of the human senses. This is hedonism and materialism: “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will die!” Surely life is more than what we eat and consume! Thus, we need to search for higher spiritual values in life than mere pleasure seeking and material satisfaction.

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The need for grounding one’s life in something supernatural is supported by some research studies of social sciences and sociology on resilience. People who are religious with strong spirituality are more resilient or able to “bounce back” during disasters and tragedies in life than non-religious.

strong we can do it GIF by buzzfeedladylike

They are also more able to withstand the vicissitudes of life and able to face serious problems with peace and humility since they have strong faith in a Supreme being and know that their ultimate destination is beyond the earthly life.

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Enjoy the little things in your life and be contented. Christ loves you!

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