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Paul, a father of five, noticed one day at the family dinner that his oldest, 14-year-old Angela, was upset.

So, at the first opportunity he asked her kindly but pointedly:

"Angela, what is upsetting you? Are you feeling okay?"

"It is nothing, Dad..."

But Paul knew better, so he pressed, "Come on my dear, what is the matter? There is something bothering you, and I want to help."

Angela trusted her dad, so she quickly gave in, saying,

“It’s school…It used to be nice, but now…it’s…it’s…horrible!”

“How so?” asked the concerned father.

“I feel pushed to do what I know is not right, I'd like to do the right thing but, at the same time… I hate displeasing people…” concluded Angela.

"Oh my dear, that’s called peer pressure. You see, God made us social beings, and that’s a good thing. We are called to live in society and bond with our fellow human beings. But there is a down side to this social instinct when we feel that to get along with a particular group, we need to agree with everything they say and do."

"That’s it! That's how I feel. Did you have that problem when you were my age, Dad?'

"Oh yes, peer pressure goes back centuries... It is as old as the Old Testament."

"And how did you deal with peer pressure, Dad?" asked Angela.

Seeing he had Angela’s full attention, Paul settled deeper into his chair.

"Well, here is a little lesson I learned from my wise mother. It is pretty simple and it works. But it takes determination and courage."

Angela was all ears.

"You take two pieces of paper and you make two lists. On list A you write the names of the friends in school that you can say NO to. On list B you write the names of the ones you can't say NO to."

Paul continued, "Once you have your A names and your B names, you make a DECISION to only associate with those on list A, and you only begin associating with the people on list B once you feel strong enough to do so–not before.”

And Paul added:

“As simple as this seems, it will still take courage and humility…courage to do it and put it into practice: and humility to admit that you are not strong enough in yourself and in your Faith to deal with those on list B. Sometime in the future this may change, but for now, stick to the plan. It works!"

Angela thanked her dad, a slow smile spreading across her face.

“I…think…I can do that!”

And skipping dessert, she went straight to her room to write her A and B lists.

 


Illustration by A.F.Phillips 

 

 

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DAILY QUOTE for January 16, 2019

If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer...

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January 16

 

If you really want to love Jesus, first
learn to suffer, because
suffering teaches you to love.

St. Gemma Galgani


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Honoratus of Arles

Although their father objected and placed obstacles before t...

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St. Honoratus of Arles

Honoratus was born into a patrician Roman family that had settled in Gaul, present-day France. As a young man, he renounced paganism and won his elder brother Venantius over to Christ.

Although their father objected and placed obstacles before them, the two brothers decided to leave the world. Under the tutelage of the hermit St. Caprasius they sailed from Marseilles with the intention of leading a secluded life in a Grecian desert.

In Greece, illness struck and Venantius died in peace. Also ill, Honoratus was obliged to return to Gaul with his instructor. At first, he lived as a hermit in the mountains near Fréjus.  Later, he settled on the island of Lérins off the southern coast of France. Followed by others, he founded a monastery on the island about the year 400. The monastic community is active to this day. St. Patrick, the great apostle of Ireland is said to have studied at Lérins.

In 426 Honoratus was pressed upon to accept the bishopric of Arles, where he reestablished Catholic orthodoxy, challenged by the Arian heresy. He died three years later exhausted from his apostolic labors.
The island of Lérins, today the island of Saint Honorat just south of Cannes, is home to Cistercian monks who live in a majestic monastery and produce fine wines and liqueurs which are well-known throughout the world.

WEEKLY STORY

Mary and the Muslim

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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