What’s Wrong With Yoga and Other New Age Practices?

Some New Age practices are clearly against Christian beliefs. However, it’s a little harder to discern the problem with other, more common, practices.

I had that problem with yoga – even though I had been told that yoga positions are actually designed to “worship one of more than three million Hindu gods and/or facilitate the flow of prana (life force energy) through the body.”

While I have never been a yoga practitioner myself, I didn’t really understand why this would be a problem if you were just doing it to get exercise and not with the intention of worshiping false gods.

Susan Brinkmann, "Women of Grace" journalist and author of a new book on the New Age entitled "Learn to Discern," shown here in EWTN's lobby just after filming a new episode for WOG.

Susan Brinkmann, “Women of Grace” journalist and author of a new book on the New Age entitled “Learn to Discern Compendium,” shown here in EWTN’s lobby just after filming a new episode for WOG.

Enter Susan “Sue” Brinkmann, a journalist for Johnnette’s Benkovic’s “Women of Grace” and an expert on New Age practices (who I am quoting above). Sue, who also happens to be a great friend, just wrote a book that you can purchase through EWTN Religious Catalogue, called “Learn to Discern Compendium.” (Find the link below.)

While the story I am about to share here is not in her new book, trust me, you can learn a LOT about New Age practices, including yoga, by purchasing this must-read book.

Sue recently told me that “Women of Grace” frequently gets questions about yoga. It was during one of Johnnette’s retreats that this question came up once again. That day, Sue was especially tired and the last thing she wanted to do was speak in front of a room full of people. But a yoga question came up and Johnnette called her forward.

As Sue stood up, she said a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit and was suddenly inspired to do the following.

“Alright everybody,” she said. “On your feet. “We are now going to exercise the muscle underneath our upper arms. Are you ready?”

Sue then raised her arm and performed a very exaggerated and very deliberate Sign of the Cross!

WOW! Wow! The group burst into spontaneous applause.

Of course! Could the Sign of the Cross EVER be “just an exercise”! Of course not! So how could a yoga pose to a Hindu god be“just an exercise.”

This is so brilliant, I had to share it! Susan Brinkmann’s book is equally inspired. Get it; read it; learn from it; share it! You can find it at http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/shop.axd/ProductDetails?edp_no=30517.

Also, for more information about yoga and other New Age practices, check out Sue’s blog posts for “Women of Grace” at http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=17011.

Posted in Catholic, Christian, New Age | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

What’s Wrong With Physician-Assisted Suicide? The Most Important Show You Will Watch All Year

It’s the next great battle and make no mistake family, our future as people, as a nation, and as citizens of this world and the next depends on it.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D, President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and the Spitzer Center, has has extensive national media experience including Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra on God and modern physics), the Today Show (debating euthanasia), The History Channel in “God and The Universe,” a multi-part PBS series “Closer to the Truth,” and the Hugh Hewitt Show. He has also appeared on dozens of nationally syndicated radio programs.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D, President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and the Spitzer Center, has has extensive national media experience including Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra on God and modern physics), the Today Show (debating euthanasia), The History Channel in “God and The Universe,” a multi-part PBS series “Closer to the Truth,” and the Hugh Hewitt Show. He has also appeared on dozens of nationally syndicated radio programs.

“The culture of suicide is the culture of despair – it’s the culture of un-love. If there were enough love out there, nobody would want to commit suicide. Something’s going wrong when we morally sanction suicide within the culture.”

So says Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and the Spitzer Center, in a must-see presentation filmed live at the NAPA Institute 2015 Conference in California. “The Case Against Physician-Assisted Suicide” will air at approximately 9:45 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 17, immediately following George Weigel’s 9 a.m. ET address on “The Evangelical Future of Catholicism in the Next America.” (Other talks by top Catholic theologians will follow throughout the day.)

If you are having a tough time explaining to others why this is wrong – if part of you buys into the “mercy” killing language used by “right to die” proponents – then you cannot afford to miss this presentation. Tape it, study it, learn from it.

Right-to-die proponents like to invoke the specter of patients being kept alive by machines at the end of their lives or screaming in pain. But Father Spitzer clears the deck of these fears right from the outset invoking the church’s longstanding doctrine of extraordinary means and the legitimacy of pain management that may nonetheless carry some risk.

However, right-to-die proponents are now bombarding society with the message that, at the end of life, you and I might as well commit suicide because we will no longer have “quality of life.” Let’s think about this.

Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., says there are four levels of happiness in life, which correspond to the four levels of quality of life. Level 3 involves the contribution we make to family, friends, organizations, society, the Church, the Kingdom of God, and the salvation of souls. We can make such contributions no matter what our age our physical condition.

Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., says there are four levels of happiness in life, which correspond to the four levels of quality of life. Level 3 involves the contribution we make to family, friends, organizations, society, the Church, the Kingdom of God, and the salvation of souls. We can make such contributions no matter what our age our physical condition.

As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, Fr. Spitzer says happiness in life more often depends on the contribution we make to family, friends, organizations, society, the Church, the Kingdom of God, and the salvation of a soul who needs help (level three happiness) or on our faith (level 4 happiness), which calls us to literally link up with God who is our eternal destiny. Our happiness is no longer completely dependent on the material things we own (level 1 happiness) or being better than others at sports or our jobs (level two happiness). It’s not that we would no longer find pleasure in those lower level things, but we realize that there are more important things in life.

Unfortunately, when right-to-die proponents talk about quality of life, they are stuck at these lower levels of happiness. (I can’t beat John at tennis anymore, what good am I?) When you have a terminal illness, says Fr. Spitzer, level 1 and 2 happiness decrease, but level 3 and 4 increase.

“[At the end of life], if you’ve got any forgiving you’ve got to do, you’re going to be motivated. If you have somebody who has to forgive you, now’s the time to call them in because now you are vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, the Holy Spirit can drive right into our hearts with a truck full of grace. All our defenses are down. We don’t care anymore about level 2 abilities.

“Vulnerability is such a blessed gift. It allows us to forgive and to be forgiven; it allows us to transmit the wisdom of our lives and to have wisdom transmitted to us and for us to accept it; it allows us to give compassion and to accept compassion; it allows us to grow in faith. When we see our lives coming to an end, we are so open to grace, it is simply unbelievable.”

Right-to-die proponents like to say that they are not hurting anyone, that they are just giving people options, but Father Spitzer says that, to many people, this legislation says something quite different. That is why advocates for the mentally or physically challenged are universally against this legislation.

The top level of happiness and quality of life, says Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. , is faith, which calls us to literally link up with God who is our eternal destiny. Anyone can talk to God, no matter their age or physical condition.

The top level of happiness and quality of life, says Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. , is faith, which calls us to literally link up with God, Who is our Eternal Destiny. Anyone can talk to God, no matter their age or physical condition.

“It is being proclaimed from the rooftops, that your life isn’t worth anything. It’s pure indignity. You have to have help in your life? How dare you? You should be ashamed of yourself. You need someone? You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s the rule of autonomy gone crazy. It is totally the opposite direction from Christianity. … Instead of being the occasion for compassion, we call compassion giving you a suicide pill so you can take your own life and end the indignity of it all.”

Father says such legislation won’t just affect the physically and mentally challenged.

“Every single person who needs help, every person who has a disability or challenge of some kind or another, every single person who needs help in their life for whatever reason, will now have to feel inferior. … It is completely converse to Christianity and to any humane effort whatsoever. This is not good legislation. It really will impact people who are most in need of our help. People who deserve our help, not our disdain.”

Already, some insurance companies in right-to-die states are telling cancer patients with lesser insurance that they won’t pay for their treatment, but will pay for the pills needed to commit suicide. “We are creating two classes,” says Fr. Spitzer, “those who can afford NOT to commit suicide, and those who are compelled to commit suicide to get basic coverage.”

At the end of their lives, Father Spitzer says people are vulnerable to relatives who are concerned about costs or who simply don’t want the burden of caring for their family member; those without family are vulnerable to doctors who believe they should commit suicide; those with depression or self-esteem issues may interpret a discussion of a right-to-die option as indifference to their death, while the “stoically responsible” often think it’s their “duty” to die so they don’t inconvenience others.

“What becomes legal becomes socially acceptable; what becomes socially acceptable becomes moral because everybody else is doing it,” says Fr. Spitzer. “People look at what other people are doing – it’s called social norming – and they adjust their behaviors according to the social norms.”

That’s why Father says you and I must do everything we can to fight this legislation.

“This legislation is a disaster. It’s a disaster for love; it’s a disaster for Christ; it’s a disaster for culture; it’s a disaster for the weak; it’s a disaster for the poor; it just simply has to be stopped.

“With every single scintilla of energy in our fibers and sinews and bones, it has to be stopped.”

Posted in Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, EWTN, Magis Center, mercy killing, NAPA Institute, Physician-assisted suicide, right-to-die | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Learn How To Answer Pro-Abortion Advocates in EWTN’s New Mini-Series ‘When They Say, You Say’

Wish you could respond to pro-abortion advocates in a manner that stands a chance of converting them?

Wish no longer! Instead, tune in to “When They Say, You Say” at 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, Oct. 5-9 on EWTN, www.ewtn.com/channelfinder. This EWTN original mini-series – with Olivia Turner, director of American Victims of Abortion, part of the Outreach Department of the National Right to Life Committee – is destined to become an EWTN classic – and readers of “Inside EWTN” are the first to learn about it!

Learn how to answer pro-abortion falacious arguments in  EWTN's  new mini-series, "When THey Say, You Say" with Olivia Gans Turner, part of the National Right To Life Committee's Outreach Department.

Learn how to answer fallacious pro-abortion arguments in EWTN’s new mini-series, “When They Say, You Say.” Host Olivia Gans Turner is a member of the National Right To Life Committee’s Outreach Department.

This special program is based on an idea developed by Turner and Mary Balch, NRLC state legislation director. The two women believe that everyone can become a good speaker and advocate for life; that all of us can learn to do this well, regardless of previous experience.

EWTN President Doug Keck first heard Turner speak at the National Right to Life Conference a couple years ago and was blown away by how good she is. Turner is much in demand having spoken in all 50 states and 17 countries as well as at Oxford, Cambridge, the United Nations, the European Union, and more than 52 universities and colleges, including all of the Ivy League. She has also testified at Congressional hearings, filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court, and appeared on Nightline, Fox News, National Public Radio, NBC, ABC, and CBS, among others news outlets.

However, as you will learn from this behind-the-scenes interview, her outspokenness was birthed as a result of the pain of her own abortion. She stresses that she was only able to speak effectively about this after experiencing God’s healing grace and mercy.

“I am one of the original women who came up through the movement in the early ‘80s when the first comments about post-abortive syndrome were made,” Turner said. “I was one of a small group of women who created an outreach called ‘Women Exploited By Abortion.’ That did well, but couldn’t be sustained because we all still had so much to learn about the damage done by abortion to our lives.”

In 1985, the National Right to Life Committee gave Turner an opportunity to work out of their offices to develop an official program. Initially, Turner had a hard time finding women who could go on television and radio shows and speak intelligently about their abortion without crying.

It's  important that women considering an abortion see the ultrasound of their baby so they understand it's not just a mass of cells but  a real baby!

It’s important that women considering an abortion see the ultrasound of their baby so they understand it’s not just a mass of cells but a real baby!

“Pro-life people are sometimes very moved by someone who is still emotionally wrung out,” she said. “But that woman has not completed her healing journey. God’s design is not to lock us into this place of pain and sadness. Finding people who were in a place to speak with passion and real sincerity, who could bring people to understand what we know now, but do it in a way that didn’t make you worry about their tears, but hear the actual message [was key.]”

Turner says the pro-abortion movement was not prepared to deal with all the post-abortive women who regretted their abortion.

“[Back then], when an abortion was performed, they believed they silenced two people. Now, they try to discredit our experience [saying], ‘I’m so sorry you had a bad experience, but your experience is not necessarily representative of all women.’ However, I know that my experience is the experience of abortion for the vast majority of women. I can speak on behalf of every women that ever had an abortion because our experiences are so universal.”

Turner says the media has spent decades successfully ignoring these horrific stories. Decades of legalized abortion “means our society is so injured, so wounded, that actually allowing ourselves to hear the truth behind the sad stories means coming to terms with our own social grief. Everybody’s family is somehow grieving a loss. This has absolutely been a culture wreck! The presence of individuals who are able to speak compassionately about this experience will help begin this cultural healing.”

However, Turner also knows that the pro-life movement needs to do more than tell the stories of all the women who have been hurt by abortion – especially the women who are often victimized again when the media ignores their politically incorrect pain.

What is the pro-life movement to do? Turner has an answer. She is currently coordinating her program with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Cleveland and Baltimore. A lay community has evolved out of the initial program.

“They work on the concept that this isn’t about healing from abortion. It’s about teaching the woman to have a spiritual life. We wouldn’t have been in this situation if our spiritual life had been good. We involve spouses. The women work, share and heal as a community. They are not just supporting each other in their grief, but in their walk closer and closer to the Crucified and Risen Jesus. It’s the third day! The cross is behind you! Move on!”

Turner also recommends Project Rachel – and she says she had a great conversation with a priest about the healing power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and reconciliation to the Communion of Saints.

“Nothing is more valuable than getting back to the Eucharist,” she said. “I knew enough to know that that was where my child was – at the Communion of Saints. But I couldn’t go there unless I could be cleaned [through the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. That’s the journey!”

Turned is especially gratified that EWTN’s mini-series, “When They Say, You Say”, is coming out at this time.

“I know we were some of the first in this country to experience the desire of many in the Church and society to extend a true, compassionate hand of loving mercy, despite the awful things we had done,” said Turner, who has both given and received such mercy. “It has been amazing to live in that grace.”

In the upcoming Year of Mercy, Turner hopes viewers of her series – especially those still suffering from their abortions – will have their lives changed, as she did, by that saving grace and mercy, which are, as always, an undeserved gift from our loving God and from His Church.

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When You’re About to Lose It: A Practical Idea for Parents

Lisa Popcak and her husband Greg shared practical ideas of how to transform family life Sept. 23 at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Lisa Popcak and her husband, Dr. Greg Popcak, shared practical ideas of how to transform family life Sept. 23 at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Lisa Popcak was having one of those days. She was fearful she was just going to lose it with her children. As a desperate measure, she winged up a prayer to the Blessed Mother. Help me!

As she told this story, Popcak, who was delivering a speech with her husband Dr. Greg Popcak at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, had everyone’s attention.

This harried mom was suddenly given an inspiration. She immediately stopped what she was trying to do and asked her children to join her on the sofa.

I heard this speech as I was passing through a conference room so I am paraphrasing the following, but it is the gist of what Lisa Popcak said, and it is too good not to share!

“Kids, Mom is about to lose it and you don’t deserve that. I don’t want to lose it so I am asking you to please, please pray for Mommy right now.”

The children solemnly placed their little hands on their mother’s arm, knee, and shoulder and began to pray.

“Jesus, please help Mommy not to lose it — and please help us to be good children so she doesn’t get mad at us.” And on it went.

Lisa’s eyes filled with tears as she told this story. Her anger, she said, had been turned into a moment of grace.

Good Catholics know that “to them that love God ALL things work together unto good.” Romans 8:28. But here we have a practical example of how to apply that knowledge.

May Jesus and Our Lady help us, their children, to always remember to turn to them whenever we are about to lose it with our own children or with one another!

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May Your Light Shine Before All: What Families Can Learn From the Heroic Witness of a 9/11 Family

Cardinal  Robert Sarah  gives a talk about "heroic witness" Sept. 23 at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Cardinal Robert Sarah gives a keynote address about “heroic witness” Sept. 23 at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Imagine being the mother of 10 children – ages 1 to 15 – and losing your firefighter husband during the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. What good, you might ask, could possibly come from that?

During his September 23 keynote address at the World Meeting of Families, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, answered that question with a touching and memorable story about the “heroic witness” of one “very Catholic” family who brought “light to the greatest darkness.”

Here we share that story and what the Cardinal said we might learn from this in an address titled “The Light of the Family in a Dark World.”

The morning of 9/11, Jean Palombo, the mother of this large family, woke up worried that she might be pregnant yet again. “It can’t be happening so soon,” she thought. “I’ll go crazy.”

When she confided her worry to her husband Frank, he said, “Don’t worry about that – but what will we call him?”

“I started to laugh,” Jean said. “He always knew how to make me laugh.”

Jean’s laughter was temporarily quelled that day when her brave firefighter husband lost his life along with almost 3,000 other victims of the worst terror attack ever perpetrated on U.S. soil.

In an interview about two months after the tragedy, the Cardinal said this woman talked about her life’s journey to date. As a young woman, Jean said she had left the Church and decided she did not want any children.

However, after experiencing a missionary outreach, something changed. Jean witnessed Christ in a couple expecting their fourth child. After experiencing God’s love through this couple, Jean changed in a radical way, going on to have 10 children.

Of her husband’s death, the woman said, “I miss him terribly and I cry a lot, but I know he will continue to bless us in heaven. I think God works for the good of those who love Him. The children often console me with a word.” (Thank God for those children!)

When asked what she thought of the terrorists, she said, “I can only say, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they have done.’”

During the interview, the Cardinal said that Jean acknowledged her fear, but said she was clinging to the Church and trying to do God’s Will.

Said the Cardinal: “Five years ago, Jean, already a young widow with 10 children, was diagnosed with cancer. She died two years ago. Her eight sons carried her coffin into the Basilica of the Sacred Heart where there were 200 people and 30 priests.”

At the funeral, a neighbor was struck by the demeanor of the woman’s youngest daughter, Maggie, who was now 15. Why, she asked her, are you so peaceful?

The daughter said, “Because my Mom is in heaven. I know she has complete joy. What more could I want for her?”

The daughter, who was only a teenager, was not thinking about herself, but about her mother. God, however, was also thinking of Maggie.

“Maggie’s many brothers and sisters are taking care of her today,” said the Cardinal. “Thank God for large families!”

This family’s eldest son is now 29. In the coming year the Cardinal revealed, to the delight of the crowd at the World Meeting of Families, that this young man will become a priest.

Said Cardinal Sarah: “Evil does not have the last word! God brings good from evil. This is how God has worked from the beginning of creation. God is not overcoming evil with evil; he overcomes evil with good.

“A young married husband and wife in the U.S. were granted the grace to love selflessly to the end; first, by repenting, then by receiving and believing in the Good News. The Faith with which they lived instills hope in us that we too can bring the light of the Gospel to the world.”

May all of us learn to repent, to believe, and to follow God’s will for us so that we too may follow the Cardinal’s call to be “heroic witnesses” who bring light and hope to a darkened world.

God bless you Family!

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Watch ‘You’re Amazing’ on EWTN – And Join the Amazing Nation Today!

“Inside EWTN” has invited Justin Fatica, star of “You’re Amazing”, to join us as a guest blogger. Below is Justin’s first blog, which will follow the theme of each week’s show!

Episode 1 Reflection – Prayer!

Catholic Evangelist Justin Fatica wows a crowd!

Catholic Evangelist Justin Fatica wows a crowd!

It’s show time!  You’re Amazing – the new TV show featuring Hard as Nails – is here.  (Check out www.youtube.com/ewtn for an advanced look at episode 1 or tune into EWTN television at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 3!) Over the course of the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging about one of the themes covered in each week’s episode.

In episode 1, the theme I want to highlight is prayer! And prayer is all about building a relationship.  A relationship with the God of the universe and our Father in heaven. I still am in awe of the fact that He cares so much about me — and you — and that He wants to spend time with us.

He wants to hear about our dreams, complaints, worries, fears, and successes.  He also wants us to ask Him for help when we — or people we care about, or don’t care about — need it.

Through prayer, the strength and grace we need to make it through each day are available to us!

Justin Fatica gets a blessing before addressing teens in a packed auditorium.

Justin Fatica gets a blessing before addressing teens in a packed auditorium.

I can’t go a day without spending quality, quiet time with God.  Just listening and talking to Him.

At Hard as Nails, our relationship with God is the most important thing to us.  Jesus is our Lord and model.  Jesus needed to pray!  Jesus constantly went off to quiet places to spend time with His Father in prayer. (See Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12.)

We also pray together as a team.  Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20).

The Hard as Nails team prayer is this: “Lord Jesus, I give you my life, through pain, through suffering and through joy.”  We have a sign with this prayer at the entrance to our office, and each Hard as Nails team member touches this sign and prays this prayer when they come in for work.

Justin Fatica helps teens find answers to their toughest challenges.

Justin Fatica helps teens find answers to their toughest challenges.

There are so many different ways to pray.  In the back of my book, “Win it All”, that you can get at amazingnation.org, there is a prayer that was inspired by a lesson that Fr. Larry Richards gave to me. Do you have 5 minutes to spend with God?  Try this. Spend one minute on each of the following five things.  1) Tell God what you’re sorry for.  2) Tell God what you’re thankful for.  3) Ask God for help – for you or others.  4)  Tell God all of your troubles and worries and then leave them in His hands. 5) Listen to God in silence.

My prayer is that each of you would spend time in prayer with God each day.  You will become alive by building a relationship with your Father in heaven whose love for you is endless!  He will give you the power you need to make a difference!

Posted in Hard As Nails, Justin Fatica, Prayer, Religious, Uncategorized, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘You’re Amazing With Justin Fatica’ – EWTN’s Newest Series for Youth and Families – To Premiere On YouTube

 

Catholic Evangelist Justin Fatica wows a crowd!

Catholic Evangelist Justin Fatica wows a crowd!

He was the consummate bad boy, always doing his best to get into as much trouble as he possibly could. Junior year was the worst. While he had always made life miserable for his poor teachers, he especially loved disrupting the morality classes taught by Fr. Larry Richards, now host of EWTN’s “Be a Man.” Unfortunately, his disruptions in class weren’t the half of it. He also caused trouble outside of the classroom. At age 17, he had a life-changing moment, when he thought he got a girl pregnant.

“On the outside, I looked like a jerk,” he said. “Inside, I felt bad. I wanted to change.”

How does the worst kid in school end up giving his heart to Christ and starting an apostolate  devoted to helping young people like himself discover how to deal with the hard issues that often are the root cause of such behavior? Discover how Justin now uses his deep understanding of youth to bring them to Christ in EWTN’s new series, “You’re Amazing With Justin Fatica.” Go on the road as Fatica journeys to venues across the country touching lives.

Justin Fatica prays with a teen.

Justin Fatica prays with a teen.

EWTN will air a 90-minute live show with Fatica and Producer Jeremy Rivera at 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Aug. 27 that can only be seen online at www.youtube.com/ewtn and www.ewtn.com/amazing. Viewers are invited to send questions to Fatica at amazing@ewtn.com. The preview will be followed by Episode 1 of the new series at 8:30 p.m. ET on these same online sites.

The show will then settle into its regular time slot at 10 p.m. ET, Thursdays, beginning Sept. 3, on EWTN television.

What finally changed this former bad boy’s heart? As Justin was grappling with his shame over having premarital sex and the fear of getting a girl pregnant (it turned out the girl did not become pregnant), Fr. Larry Richards was having his own battle with the Lord.

Says Justin: “When he tells his side of the story, Father always says he was doing his holy hour when God told him to ask me to attend a Eucharistic retreat he was leading. He says he took a newspaper into adoration. Every time God told him to ask me to attend the retreat, he’d start reading the newspaper. Finally, he said to God, ‘I can’t spend 40 minutes with him, let alone a whole weekend!’”

Justin Fatica helps teens find answers to their toughest challenges.

Justin Fatica helps teens find answers to their toughest challenges.

Fortunately, Fr. Richards eventually gave in and did as the Lord commanded. That changed the course of Fatica’s life and led to lifelong friendship with his former nemesis. It was during that retreat that Fatica confessed all of his sins for the first time. (“In the past, priests would say, ‘Is that everything?’ But there were always a few sins I wasn’t ready to confess.”) In addition to making his first good confession, this retreat marked the first time that the young boy really prayed.

“I was at adoration one night. A few people were sleeping, but others were really engaged in worshiping. For the first time ever, I prayed from my heart. I looked at Jesus and said, ‘I’ll give you everything.’ My dad always said, don’t say it if you’re not going to do it..’ So I knew what this commitment meant.”

Fatica went back to high school a changed teen. Instead of working against Fr. Larry, he began to help him. He started attending daily Mass and bringing as many of his peers with him as possible. Some days, he packed the chapel. He and Father Larry also started a Wednesday night prayer group. Fatica would ask attendees: “What do you thank God for? What do you want to pray for?” The group would then go out for pizza afterwards.

Justin Fatica gets a blessing before addressing teens in a packed auditorium.

Justin Fatica gets a blessing before addressing teens in a packed auditorium.

After graduation, Fatica went on to get both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from New Jersey’s Seton Hall University. He also started a ministry with a few friends called the 12 Apostles Program, which not only helped young people understand how to have a relationship with Jesus, but how to explain their faith to others.

At age 22, Fatica launched the apostolate he leads today: “’Hard as Nails’ is all about living for Christ,” he says.

Fatica’s messages, which you will hear in his new EWTN series, are empowering:

Fatica wants his audience to know that “being broken isn’t some type of disease. We all need healing daily from Christ. I know I need it every day, not just once when I was a 17-year-old kid and first experienced the healing power of Jesus.” He wants people to know that bringing the Gospel to others isn’t complicated; that there is an urgency to this mission of saving souls; and that all of us have the authority we need to evangelize. “The authority is not in MY message, but in Christ’s message and the Church’s message. I hope they’ll see that there is power in being a witness.”

"You're Amazing With Justin Fatica" premieres 8:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Aug. 27 online at www.youtube.com/ewtn. It will be preceded by a 90 minute pre-show, also online.

“You’re Amazing With Justin Fatica” premieres 8:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Aug. 27 online at http://www.youtube.com/ewtn. It will be preceded by a 90 minute pre-show, also online.

Fatica especially likes to tell people whose lives are a mess: “Make your mess your message! A lot of people think their mess is the worst thing that ever happened to them, but it can be transformed into a powerful message to change the world. Jesus’ death was a tragedy but that led to the resurrection.”

Because of Jesus Christ, this man is now amazing – and Fatica’s hope and prayer is that we will all come to know how amazing we are in Christ. Don’t miss his powerful series, “You’re Amazing With Justin Fatica” both online and in its regular spot on EWTN television at 10 p.m. ET, Thursdays beginning Sept. 3 on EWTN, www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.)

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