The Seasons of Advent and Christmas
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
(CCC) describes in paragraph 490 that Our Blessed Mother Mary was able to match her will to God’s will because she was full of grace (Gratia Plena). Luke 1:38 describes for us her consent “let it be done to me according to Your will.” While this is no doubt a status difficult for most of us to achieve, it is a worthy goal to progress toward. It requires great humility, and gradually decreasing fear of feeling humiliated by others who may look at us from a worldly, secular perspective. We can choose to be on the path to holiness making steady progress, and then grace builds upon grace to continue our growth. We sometimes start by taking “baby steps” as Bill Murray’s “What about Bob” character might do. But let’s rather think of our baby steps as being gradual movement toward welcoming the Christ Child into our most inner self. The adult Jesus suggested that we must become like a child in order to enter heaven. This means letting go of the false faces that we wear in adulthood. These seasons are reminders to celebrate the fact that God is with us.
New Year Resolutions
We’ve all made New Year resolutions in the past. Most are history by January 31st
. What does it take to make a longer-lasting change? A good plan with some reasonable short-term goals can be very helpful. Then on top of this we might do better if we think of the long-term results that we want to see, and to attach some meaning to the change we seek. Take action toward the goal on a regular basis. If we still have motivation and resolve by February 28th
, then we are doing well in our pursuit of long-term change.
Did Your Kids Get New Technology for Christmas?
Kids of all ages may have received for Christmas smart phones, iPads, laptops, and video game consoles. Here’s a call to parents: get the parental controls and purity software protection put on these devices immediately! You can find these and other good information on the Morality in Media website
. Keep computers and game consoles out of the bedrooms and other places where they can’t be monitored. Talk with your kids about pornography and how it harms our brains. Pornography is wrecking relationships, marriages, and families.
3 Psych Related Apps for Your New Smart Phone
I’ve been testing three apps from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology
. These are being promoted by the US Department of Defense's Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) for active service military and for veterans, but are also helpful for the general public.
T2 Mood Tracker
is available both for Apple and Android devices, and allows you to rate and save your scores on dimensions of Anxiety, Depression, General Well-Being, Head Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, and General Stress. You can then look back at your scores and graph results for patterns. You can also create and save reports, which could then be shared with your therapist, spiritual director, or health care provider. This app can be very helpful for veterans or anyone with PTSD, and also for veterans or anyone with head injury or other certain types of neurological issues.
is available both for Apple and Android devices, and lets you view demonstrations and guides you through breathing exercises for relaxation. You can also rate your stress before and after the exercises to track your progress.
is available both for Apple and Android devices, and also focuses on breathing for relaxation and stress reduction.
The Pope is Tweeting
This month Pope Benedict XVI joined Twitter (@Pontifex) and picked up over a million follows within just a few days, rivaling the popularity of some of the biggest celebrities! His first message was on 12/12/12. In the past he has called for the New Evangelization
to make use of modern technology
to reach out and bring the richness of the Good News to those who hunger for the fullness of life.
Last newsletter I mentioned a need for others to help join the mission of Gratia Plena. Through prayers and the work of the Holy Spirit, two individuals have come forward. I am and will be excited to introduce these two wonderful people to you soon after New Year’s Day. Thank you for your prayers and support!
Dr. Ken's Movie of the Month Recommendation:
My wife and I recently enjoyed the movie “October Baby
.” The 2011 movie stars Rachel Hendrix, with small parts by Jasmine Guy and Chris Sligh (American Idol). It is the story of a young woman who is struggling to understand herself, and she searches into her past with the support of friends and family, to find some clues. This movie is a testament to God’s grace and healing power. Have the box of tissues ready. In next month’s newsletter, watch for Dr. Ken’s “Book of the Month” recommendation.
Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and Dr. Ken do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending books, movies, music, websites, blogs, apps, et cetera…