Quick Lessons from the Catechism: I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God

From the time of the Apostles, the Catholic Church has professed the scripture verse – “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). Through the labors of St. Bernardine of Siena, the Holy Name of Jesus devotion through the inscription of its monogram – “IHS” and the name of Jesus to the Hail Mary has been spread. Pope Sixtus V granted an indulgence when anyone recites in a pious manner the phrase – “Praised be Jesus Christ!”

Today in the Latin Church, we celebrate the optional memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. It is in the name of Jesus that all things are possible. Just as we celebrate the many names and titles given to His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, so too should be celebrate the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is He that we give all praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.

With today being the optional memorial that it is, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to quickly examine the name of Jesus as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism focuses on four specific names and titles – Jesus, Christ, The Only Son of God, and Lord –

The name of Jesus means “God saves.” The child born of the Virgin Mary is called Jesus, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21): “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved! (Acts 4:12). [#452]


The title “Christ” means “Anointed One” (Messiah). Jesus is the Christ, for “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38). He was the one “who is to come” (Lk 7:19), the object of “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20). [#453]

The title “Son of God” signifies the unique and eternal relationship of Jesus Christ to God his Father; he is the only Son of the Father (cf. Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18); he is God himself (cf. Jn 1:1). To be a Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (cf. Acts 8:37; 1 Jn 2:23). [#454]

The title “Lord” indicates divine sovereignty. To confess or invoke Jesus as Lord it to believe in his divinity. “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3). [#455]

For a more complete understanding of this topic, I would encourage you to read paragraphs 422-451 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, check it out here on the EWTN website.

Praise Be Jesus Christ…Now and Forever! Amen.

Do You Feel Happy, Punk?

That’s an interesting way to start a blog post about happiness, but it’s a good question. Yes, it’s in the Dirty Harry motif, and yes, it got your attention to read this blog. Admit it…you are reading this post because you are imagining Dirty Harry (or Dirty Happy) saying, “Do you feel happy, punk? Well, do ya?”

Do you feel happy, punk

So do you feel happy? Are you full of joy? Is today happier than yesterday? Has the whole week been happy? Are you happy where you life is right now at this very moment? Are you seeking out happiness? How can you find happiness?

All valid questions and all very similar to what the Rich Young Man in the Gospel of Saint Matthew was asking Jesus (Mt 19:16-30).  Here is the actual question asked – “what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” Although the Rich Young Man was asking about eternal life, he was really asking Jesus, how do I seek out happiness on earth so I can have eternal life?

Without getting into the exegesis of this scripture verse, let’s understand that to attain eternal life one needs to have a moral life. We all want to be happy! If you don’t want to be happy, I would suggest going to your physician and asking for some pills, because something is not right with you (← sarcasm).

There is a Christological Incarnation that is happening in this scripture passage. When we live a good life on this side of Heaven, there is a good chance, no, a great chance of eternal life. Following all the teachings of Jesus and His Church (not just the ones that fit your life) can help you get to Heaven.

The Rich Young Man walks away melancholic for he has many possessions and can’t give them up, even when Jesus, the good teacher, tells him what to do for eternal life, and a happy life. Possessions in this case aren’t just material objects, but it’s the inability to give up his life. He can’t give himself up! Self-Possession exists when you give yourself away. Making a gift of your self to others is what all things depend on. We must learn to give ourselves away to others.

So for us, where is happiness found definitively? As Catholics, happiness is rooted in living a good moral life, focusing on the moral teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. It also exists in the New Law, the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are the characteristics of the Kingdom of God citizens. Above all the other virtues, Love is the greatest and the center of the moral life. But in the end, and the above encompass this; our happiness lies in God and the person of Jesus Christ.

By developing a personal friendship with Jesus Christ through Prayer, the Holy Scriptures, and the Sacraments, we will find true joy and happiness in this life and the life to come.

During his Papal Visit of England in September 2010, Pope Benedict XVI gave the young students at St. Mary’s University the secret to happiness, when he said,

“When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.”

So in the end, the question remains, as Clint would ask it, “Do you feel happy, punk?” If the answer is no, then you need to find God, because that’s the simple secret of it all in the end…Jesus Christ.

Suggested YouTube Video of the Day…it will make you get up and dance too.

350th Blog Post

Tom’s Goals for 2014

As we enter the Year of Our Lord 2014, it came to me that I should write down my own goals (of course Taylor Marshall’s post helped a bit too). On December 29, I had this idea in my head, but never articulated it to now. Thanks Taylor!

My mind works systematically. For me, writing things down helps me to accomplish projects and goals much better than if I just kept them in my head. I am a visual learner. Ask my office partner at the parish, I have a list of things to accomplish each day written down on a legal pad (Yes, I like to kick it old school).

As I approach my 40th year this side of Heaven, so many things I once believed to be important and primary have seemed to drop from my life. Our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me abundantly with a very supportive family; an amazing new job that is truly is becoming my “dream job”, a cross that was always in the shadows, but is now in the light, and most of all, he has given me back a blessing I once believed to be lost.

The Scripture passage that is often on my mind and I go to when I am struggling the most is Psalm 139: 1-5 –

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You beset me behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”

Since I am not married nor have children (yet!), here are my goals for 2014.


1. God

1. Begin each day with a prayer as my “feet hit the floor”

2. Attend Daily Mass 3-4 times a week

3. Spend at least 15 minutes a day in prayer (preferably in front of Our Lord in Adoration)

4. Renew my 33 Day Consecration on October 7

5. Pray the Jesus Prayer daily – “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

6. Pray every morning – Lord, help me to be a little bit holier today than I was yesterday.

2. Mind

1. Focus on being more joyful in my daily life and not being a man who complains. The virtue that I will focus for 2014 is Charity.

2. Being less judgmental and more charitable in my words and deeds.

3. Set time aside each day to read more books.

3. Body

1. Exercise with weights and do cardiovascular at least 3-4 times a week.

2. Work on my sleeping habits and get to bed by 11:00 p.m.

3. For penance, abstain from meat every Friday, not just the Fridays of Lent (see Canons 1250-1251).

4. Work and Charity

1. Develop a great Adult Evangelization and Catechesis program at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona that will lead souls to Heaven.

2. Continue to write and publish blog posts 2-3 times a week

3. Expand my views and visitors to TomPerna.org

4. Publish my first book on the Blessed Virgin Mary

5. Give more talks around the Diocese of Phoenix and the country as long as they don’t interfere with the people important in my life and my job at the parish.

There you go! Those are goals, not resolutions. Resolutions fade within weeks; goals “with the heart of Christ in mind” keep you moving forward toward Him.

God has blessed me with certain abilities and gifts, it is my duty to take those gifts and abilities, received at Baptism, and be a missionary to my family, friends, and the world I live in.

Please Pray for me as I will Pray for You.

Merry Christmas from Tom Perna


O God, who have made this most sacred night radiant with the splendor of the true light, grant, we pray, that we, who have known the mysteries of his light on earth, may also delight in his gladness in heaven. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – Collect, At the Mass during the Night 

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, that we, who are gladdened by participation in the feast of our Redeemer’s Nativity, may through an honorable way of life become worthy of union with him. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. – Prayer After Communion, At the Mass during the Night

This year has been interesting to say the least. I have experienced more joy than I ever have before, but also endured much suffering and pain as well. I am very blessed to be working now at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church with great priests and a very joy-filled staff. As we celebrate the Nativity this year, let us remember the many blessings we have in our lives because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Thank you to all my followers on here, on Twitter, and my Facebook. Thank you for finding my writings a little interesting and helping me spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church.


“Mondays with Mary” – The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Even though yesterday was the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, September 8th is also the day we celebrate the Feast of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s exactly nine months after we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the day we celebrate the birth of the Mother of God, who in time would carry in her womb for nine months – Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. The Blessed Mother has a special place in Salvation History for she is the Theotokos – The God-Bearer, which was declared dogmatic at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.

As the great Mother of God, Mary was given the highest mission that any human creature would receive by the Lord himself. On this great day, we commemorate the Blessed Mother’s birth to her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne.

For today’s feast day, we turn our direction to one of the great Saints and Doctors of the Catholic Church, Saint Francis de Sales, who gives us a fantastic homily on this important feast in the Church. The italicized excerpts below are from his homily on September 10, 1620.

Saint Francis de Sales enlightens us to the obedience of Mary as a young child and into her marriage with Saint Joseph.  Please share this excerpt with a young Catholic woman you know today.

“In the beginning of her life she was subject to her mother. She remained with her family to show girls and children the honor and subjection they owe their parents and in what spirit they should live in their own homes. She was presented in the Temple in her youth, when only three years old, to teach fathers and mothers the care they should take in rearing their children and with what affection they ought to instruct them in the fear of God and lead them to His service. In this she was also an example for young girls who consecrate themselves to the Divine Majesty. Then she was married, to be a mirror for the married, and finally a widow. Thus Divine Providence let her pass through all the states of life in order that all creatures might find in her, as in a sea of grace, what they need in order to form and adapt themselves to their state in life.”

Nativity of BVM P Cavallini

Here Saint Francis explains how Mary is an example of religious life. With the release of the film, Light of LoveI would encourage you to share this with someone who is discerning religious life or an active member of a religious order.

“…It is true nevertheless, as I have said, that she was the mirror of the religious life particularly; for from her birth she practiced most excellently that perfect renunciation of the world, the flesh and herself, in which Christian perfection consists. As to the world, at her birth the sacred Virgin made the most perfect and entire renunciation that could be made…”

Here Saint Francis gives us a beautiful understanding of Mary as a young child in her crib. The Blessed Mother is even considered greater than the angels as a child. She would become the Queen of Angels.

“…O God, it is admirable how absolutely and perfectly the sacred Virgin, Our Lady and Mistress, made his renunciation at her nativity! Come close to her cradle, think of the virtues of this holy infant and you will find that she practiced them all to an eminent degree. Question the angels, the cherubim and seraphim, ask them if they are equal in perfection to this little girl, and they will tell you that she infinitely surpasses them…”

St. Francis de Sales explains to us that even in her infancy, Mary begins to the practice the cardinal virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, and Justice and the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Although she had a full understanding of her reason, she chose with her freedom to be a just an infant.

“There she was, that sacred and blessed Virgin, practicing all the virtues, but in an admirable manner that of renunciation of the world. For amid these practices and this exaltation she how she abases herself, not wishing to appear other than as a simple and ordinary infant, even though she had the use of reason from the very moment of her Conception…”

“…The most holy Virgin made this last renunciation in her nativity in such a way that she never used her liberty. Consider well the whole course of her life and you will see nothing but continual subjection.”

When I read these words from St. Francis de Sales, I come to love the Blessed Virgin Mary more and more each day. Recollecting on my own sins, which she never had to do, helps me try to renounce the temptations of my passions and desires. When faced with such great sin, we must remember to go to Our Lady and ask her to intercede for us, so that we will overcome all that is placed before us in our fallen human condition.

I pray that we all can look towards Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother in times of sin. They will never turn away from us.  Mary is our Queen Mother, who always seeks to bring us closer Jesus. Mary is never about herself. She always points us to our Lord and her Son, Jesus Christ.

“The Historical and Transcendent Event”

“Christ is risen from the dead! Dying, he conquered death; To the dead, he has given life.”                                                        – Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Eater

What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church state about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

CCC 639 – The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56, St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…” Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.” 

CCC 646 – Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ’s Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus’ Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is “the man of heaven.”

CCC 647 – O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead! But no one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history. This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, “to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.”

CCC 652 –  Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures”  indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

For more on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, please see paragraphs 638-658. Remember that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the tool of the New Evangelization (Scott Hahn). It must be read, studied, and passed on to others. If you don’t have a copy of it in  your home, you need to order one as soon as possible. Pope Francis is going to bring the New Evangelization to the Church like no other has before him.

On Good Friday, Fr. John Lankeit, Rector at Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona said that Blessed John Paul II opened up the doors to the New Evangelization, Pope Emeritus Benedict explained the New Evangelization to our minds, and now Pope Francis is going to bring the New Evangelization to our hearts. Heart and Mind or philosophically, Faith and Reason. As Catholics, we know our Faith through both of these avenues. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these two avenues (or wings – Bl. John Paul II), intersect and synthesize with each other. Let us all come to know our faith with both heart and mind. The saints before us have done the same. It is now our time to do this and proclaim it to the world.




The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The second greatest saint, next to the Blessed Virgin Mary, is Saint Joseph. His great humility and closeness to Jesus Christ, allows him to be such a saint. Saint Joseph is the foster father of Our Lord and took great care of him. Divine Revelation tells us that Saint Joseph was pure, just, gentle, prudent, and completely obedient to the will of God. We should all strive to be as faithful as Saint Joseph. He was named the Patron of the Universal Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX. Blessed Pope John XXIII added his name to the Roman Canon of the Eucharistic Prayer. Please read my blog post from last year – Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church for further information on this great protector of the Holy Family.

St. Joseph icon