Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Worthy is the Lamb - Handel

Most people associate Handel's Messiah with Christmas yet it was first performed at Easter. I can honestly say that I could listen to this forever. I hope Handel is playing in Heaven!



Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his
blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour,
and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto
Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.
(Revelation 5:12-14)
Amen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Betrayal

To be holy can be summed up in these words "to be like Christ." Jesus covered every aspect of suffering from the torturous, physical pain - beatings, scourging, thorns stuck into His head, nails driven into his body. Pain of humiliation - the hideous trial of false accusation, the shouts of "crucify Him, crucify Him," the cruel and malicious mocking, even the thief hanging alongside ridiculed Him. The pain of watching his beloved Mother as she witnessed the entire ordeal and suffered with Him. In meditating on His pain and suffering one might forget even yet another pain He endured - the betrayal of one of His own. Leaving the theology of Judas and his role behind, lets not forget that first, Jesus selected him, and that he spent three years with him. Betrayal is the most painful sting in a human relationship. It is a shattering of a bond of trust, a proverbial punch in the stomach, it is a void when and where somebody was expected to be there. It is a spouse who ran off with someone else, a father who never came home, a partner who cheated you, its being left at the train station alone. It always happens when you least expect it and the pain reverberates for a long time. Jesus included this in His suffering, He choose to have it happen, to remind us of what a lover he is. He does not want you to ever suffer a betrayal without knowing that He too was betrayed.

We Are New Creations

"The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race"

"I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me" Paul's Letter to the Galatians 2:20
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

In Christ Jesus everything that was dead is made new again. In Christ Jesus we are re-created. He is the Resurrection and the Life. This newness can best be witnessed in the circle of life that is bountiful in the natural world. It is evident in Spring when lifeless, brown wood, sprouts forth the smallest of leafs and buds. Soon leaves and flowers are feast to our eyes, with a never ending array of colors, swirls of reds and blues and whites and yellows all in their essence of beauty. Nature reveals what happens to our souls when we are touched with the Blood of Christ. Our souls are springing forth with the Grace and Splendor that comes from the Love of God. In 2010, in this very moment we are brand new creations, you and I. How exciting and how glorious, how splendorous! What kind of love is this? That God would choose to make me new again to create me once more. What kind of love is this that He would empty Himself for you and I. To die so we can become new creations. What kind of love is this?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail

"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The pedophile priest scandals that have now rocked Europe are indeed very shameful. Please keep Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in your prayers as he shepherds us in this Holy Week. Satan has used the desires of the flesh throughout this sinful world and even has brought about shame to those servants of God. But do not dismay nor fall into the snare of the trap of the Evil One. Father Dwight Longnecker has an excellent post on the Myth of Pedophile Priests . Satan will continue to use the flesh to attempt to disgrace the Church, but the Bridegroom has promised that Satan will never prevail. Never!

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give your shepherd, Pope Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build Your Church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Orthodox Lenten Chant

Christ - The Divine Warrior

There are many different dimensions to Holy Week. That is the richness of the tapestry of our faith. God is the totality of everything in the universe and in that we can can discover new revelations. Things that make us go wow! I like to think of Holy Week as Christ planning, preparing, going to battle, and then savoring His victory. After all isn't his death and suffering about a battle we lost so many years ago in a luscious garden. Christ is the second wave, the reinforcement coming to our rescue. Without Him we are truly dead - dead to sin, lifeless in the divine. We are given the first clue when Christ is tempted in the desert. Satan is ready to demonstrate his willingness to take on Christ. Satan works through his minions, Judas, the Sanhedrin, the Chief Priest, Herod, Pilate, the Roman soldiers, and all of us collectively who on a daily basis give Jesus another lash by our sinfulness. He plans his battle by coming back to Jerusalem where he is greeted by a large crowd waving palms, next he has large planning session with the troops. He shows them that they are really the masters and that He is truly the servant. He tells them of His greatest gift before He goes off to battle. The gift of Himself an everlasting gift of the Eucharist. Finally its D-Day (death on cross) day. He is captured and tortured but he won't give in. The Romans have a way of dealing with this kind of enemy - crucifixion, a nasty, slow and torturous death determined to put away this adversary for good. And that is exactly what they thought until the stone was found... rolled away from His tomb. This week we focus our attention in the re-enactment of this great battle. We try our best to feel in our hearts what our great warrior King felt as He was suffering. He fought for us and took it like a man, no,...much more than a man... He has in Him all the courage that I lack. That is why I love Him so much, because truly I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have to give away my self and join Him right now, this very moment in his great battle. I have to be prepared to be in the midst of the battle, and for that I need prayer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The King of Glory

When I was a child I was confused about Palm Sunday. For weeks we had been reminded of the sufferings and ultimate death of Our Lord. This death would come at the hands of some cruel people, and most of Jesus' followers abandoned Him, yet the Sunday before we enter into the Passion and Death, here is Jesus triumphantly riding a donkey into Jerusalem. How can that be if He is about to suffer horribly? There are for me two significant points about Palm Sunday that are meaningful to me; first that Jesus is a King. When Pilate asks Him so, He replies that He is and that His kingdom is not of this world. We can harken back to wise men who came bearing gifts for a King. Jesus triumphant return is mindful that we are not merely witnessing a prophet, or a holy and wise man go through humiliation, suffering and a horrible death, but this is a King, the King of Glory, who will die for you and me. This is to remind us to attempt to comprehend ( for we cannot fully understand) just how far God will go to show his love for us. The second point is that Jesus re-enters Jerusalem. The holiest of holiest places, the place of the Temple where God resides with his people. Jesus is entering the Old Jerusalem yet He is about to lead us on a journey through His suffering to a New Jerusalem, a Heavenly Kingdom for all the world.
Once again go the Psalms to hear:

Psalm 24
The earth is the LORD'S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.

For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

"The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.

They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.

Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob." Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Father Robert Barron & Dr. Scott Hahn

The Good Gatherer

The shepherds heralded Jesus' arrival as they lay in their fields. It was as though they were captivated by the One Shepherd, He, who would truly shepherd His people. Isaiah had written long ago "We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way." Now the One who would leave the other 99 to find the lost sheep was among us. In my spiritual journey I have reached a place where it was easy to discern the sinfulness of the world and of my own sinfulness. Through that understanding I am attempting to make a point here: the world is divided, sinful, and in much need. If you know me personally, or have read enough of my posts, you will see that message over and over. It can be easily misconstrued to mean that I believe that I possess a piety and self righteousness that somehow places me above the fray. That could not be further from the truth. I could be dismissed as being a cynical despot who thinks all society is doomed, and that too would not be true. There is, however, a necessity for somebody, somehow, to be a voice in the wilderness, to speak in today's vernacular -"to tell it like it is" There are many dimensions to our faith. We have over the past 40 years been over emphasizing one aspect of it; that God loves us and we should feel good about that. That is the Resurrected Christ without the Passion and Death. If we leave our faith to this one sided dimension then it is easy to be swallowed into the world of secular beliefs or what is called Deism - belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it. This kind of Christianity is predominant in America. We subscribe to a life of materialism and self indulgence and a one dimensional God is the counter weight to that by which we can relieve our guilt. We add up things, like going to church, praying, doing the rosary, reading Sacred Scripture and we feel good. This is the mechanical means of our justification. In this society we are divided by sin. We are called to holiness and must conquer sin and that means doing battle with the secular world whose values come from the Evil One. I am merely pointing out that we are scattered and not implying that's how it should be or that it cannot change. Hope comes from Christ, the Good Shepherd. Christ the Gatherer. He is the Deliverer, but we must heed his voice and not the voice of the world. Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters, "for we shall love one and hate the other, we will be devoted to one and despise the other." As we journey to His Passion, Death and Resurrection, we must all ask ourselves who am I devoted to? who do I despise? Is the world our first love?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Psalm 22 - In Christ's Words the Agony on the Cross

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:33-34
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

"You relied on the LORD--let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you."

Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother's breast.

Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.

Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet

that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;

they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.

Save me from the lion's mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:

"You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"

All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.
Christ took on the suffering of the world in a perfect act of righteousness, renouncing his infinite glory so that we could join Him. His Divine Love obtains the perfect human expression of suffering so that we can traverse with Him on the Cross and onto the Glory of the Resurrection.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Honor of Spring - Vivaldi

True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin - St. Louis de Montfort

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. Mary's yes is our yes. Mary is the pinnacle of the spiritual life. St. Louis de Montfort expressed it well in his True Devotion to Mary

It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.

2. Because Mary remained hidden during her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and the Church "Alma Mater", Mother hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and to others, and to be known only to God.

3. In answer to her prayers to remain hidden, poor and lowly, God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other human creature in her conception, her birth, her life, her mysteries, her resurrection and assumption. Her own parents did not really know her; and the angels would often ask one another, "Who can she possibly be?", for God had hidden her from them, or if he did reveal anything to them, it was nothing compared with what he withheld.

4. God the Father willed that she should perform no miracle during her life, at least no public one, although he had given her the power to do so. God the Son willed that she should speak very little although he had imparted his wisdom to her.

Even though Mary was his faithful spouse, God the Holy Spirit willed that his apostles and evangelists should say very little about her and then only as much as was necessary to make Jesus known.

5. Mary is the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God and he has reserved the knowledge and possession of her for himself. She is the glorious Mother of God the Son who chose to humble and conceal her during her lifetime in order to foster her humility. He called her "Woman" as if she were a stranger, although in his heart he esteemed and loved her above all men and angels. Mary is the sealed fountain and the faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit where only he may enter. She is the sanctuary and resting-place of the Blessed Trinity where God dwells in greater and more divine splendour than anywhere else in the universe, not excluding his dwelling above the cherubim and seraphim. No creature, however pure, may enter there without being specially privileged.

6. I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders beyond our understanding. She is the vast and divine world of God where unutterable marvels and beauties are to be found. She is the magnificence of the Almighty where he hid his only Son, as in his own bosom, and with him everything that is most excellent and precious. What great and hidden things the all-powerful God has done for this wonderful creature, as she herself had to confess in spite of her great humility, "The Almighty has done great things for me." The world does not know these things because it is incapable and unworthy of knowing them.

7. The saints have said wonderful things of Mary, the holy City of God, and, as they themselves admit, they were never more eloquent and more pleased than when they spoke of her. And yet they maintain that the height of her merits rising up to the throne of the Godhead cannot be perceived; the breadth of her love which is wider than the earth cannot be measured; the greatness of the power which she wields over one who is God cannot be conceived; and the depths of her profound humility and all her virtues and graces cannot be sounded. What incomprehensible height! What indescribable breadth! What immeasurable greatness! What an impenetrable abyss!

8. Every day, from one end of the earth to the other, in the highest heaven and in the lowest abyss, all things preach, all things proclaim the wondrous Virgin Mary. The nine choirs of angels, men and women of every age, rank and religion, both good and evil, even the very devils themselves are compelled by the force of truth, willingly or unwillingly, to call her blessed.

According to St. Bonaventure, all the angels in heaven unceasingly call out to her: "Holy, holy, holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God." They greet her countless times each day with the angelic greeting, "Hail, Mary", while prostrating themselves before her, begging her as a favour to honour them with one of her requests. According to St. Augustine, even St. Michael, though prince of all the heavenly court, is the most eager of all the angels to honour her and lead others to honour her. At all times he awaits the privilege of going at her word to the aid of one of her servants.

9. The whole world is filled with her glory, and this is especially true of Christian peoples, who have chosen her as guardian and protectress of kingdoms, provinces, dioceses, and towns. Many cathedrals are consecrated to God in her name. There is no church without an altar dedicated to her, no country or region without at least one of her miraculous images where all kinds of afflictions are cured and all sorts of benefits received. Many are the confraternities and associations honouring her as patron; many are the orders under her name and protection; many are the members of sodalities and religious of all congregations who voice her praises and make known her compassion. There is not a child who does not praise her by lisping a Hail Mary. There is scarcely a sinner, however hardened, who does not possess some spark of confidence in her. The very devils in hell, while fearing her, show her respect.

10. And yet in truth we must still say with the saints: De Maria numquam satis : We have still not praised, exalted, honoured, loved and served Mary adequately. She is worthy of even more praise, respect, love and service. ( I testify to this)

11. Moreover, we should repeat after the Holy Spirit, "All the glory of the king's daughter is within", meaning that all the external glory which heaven and earth vie with each other to give her is nothing compared to what she has received interiorly from her Creator, namely, a glory unknown to insignificant creatures like us, who cannot penetrate into the secrets of the king.

12. Finally, we must say in the words of the apostle Paul, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart of man understood" the beauty, the grandeur, the excellence of Mary, who is indeed a miracle of miracles of grace, nature and glory. "If you wish to understand the Mother," says a saint, "then understand the Son. She is a worthy Mother of God." Hic taceat omnis lingua : Here let every tongue be silent.

13. My heart has dictated with special joy all that I have written to show that Mary has been unknown up till now, and that that is one of the reasons why Jesus Christ is not known as he should be.

If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She who first gave him to the world will establish his kingdom in the world.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We are Not Christians By Faith Alone

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God."

See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:14-26.
The Book of James is quite often discarded or completely forgotten. America is pretty much a Protestant Nation and subscribes to Sola Fides (Faith Alone), but that is not what the Church taught nor was it ever espoused by the disciples of Christ. Any interpretation of St. Paul that comes to that conclusion is at the expense of excluding text - using only text that supports the position. Jesus did not say "I don't care what you do to the least of my brethren as long as you declare me your personal savior." As with what occurs with any heresy it is half truth. We have to have faith in order to be "saved" and yes we can never merit heaven - not a single one of us. It is by God's grace alone that we have any chance of salvation. But because we cannot merit it on our own, does not mean that we will not be judged on our lives and what we did.
How about Matthew 12:35-38
"A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

He did not say " It really doesn't matter what you say as long as I am your personal savior"
Matthew 13:41-43
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. The Rich man is sent to the netherworld (hell) for not caring for Lazarus.

"faith without works is dead"



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Son of Man is Lifted

Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."

So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Numbers 21:4-9

Moses is a type of Jesus. He leads his people out of the captivity, Christ leads us out of sin. In Christ we can be bitten by all the evils of the world. We can fall time and time again but His Divine Mercy, provides us with a new life. Meditate on just how incredible and awesome that mercy is. Christ glorified is an image to some as a man beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross. An image that looks on surface as defeat. The glory of God can be found in people and at times we see only the image seen by the human eye and not the heart, thus mistaking it for something else.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Canticle of Ezekiel

I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.

I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.

You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:24-28

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Sin

The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners. The angel announced to Joseph: "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." The same is true of the Eucharist, the sacrament of redemption: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1846

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: "The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden."

The paradoxes of being a Christian are many. Christ died so we would have life. The first shall be last. True love is giving away of your self, self denial and detachment of the things of this world brings us to the joy and eternity of the next. Sin is perhaps the greatest paradox. Christ came to save what was lost. The gift of Jesus came precisely because we are sinners, but that same gift is lost if we do not acknowledge our sinfulness. In Luke 15:6-7 Jesus said "I tell you, in heaven there will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine souls that are justified, and have no need of repentance."

There can't be repentance without sin. Thus we have the paradox of good coming out of evil. The evil of sin is a necessary prerequisite for the joy that is occasioned by repentance. The central defect of evil is not sin but the refusal to acknowledge sin.

The world denies there is sin. This secular influence has led to a belief that God's mercy is a free ticket to do whatever you desire. The definitions of what is now considered immoral has shrunk quite extensively. When the Light of the World shines on the darkness of mankind sin is fully revealed. Saints are saints not because they were devoid of sin but because they acknowledged their sinfulness. We are closing in on Holy Week, a good self examination can bring to light our sinfulness. Even sins that are not grave offenses bring pain to Our Lord. Jesus says "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."

Father Barron Faith Seeking Understanding Pt. 2

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Daunting Task

Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? "Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
In today's Gospel reading from John 7:40-53, again we see the Pharisees doubting who Jesus is. This, as we have seen has happened before on a number of occasions, even after Jesus had performed healing and miracles right before their eyes. Today they are going back to their Scriptures and pulling out their disclaimer cards that the Christ does not come from Galilee. Obviously they did not do their homework, for Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was a descendant of David. The critics of Christianity, who are many, are just as blind as the Pharisees. Their arguments are based on false premises and notions, constructed from a narrow perspective. Their logic and defense often comes from a philosophical mindset of belief that they are not even aware they are supporting. Here are three beliefs among many, that are, as St. Paul once wrote, "stumbling blocks" for the modern man: Empiricism - the belief that only observable things are true. Utilitarianism -only things that produce are useful. Sensualism - if it doesn't bring pleasure it is not good. These three beliefs are now ingrained in the minds of people growing up in America in the 21st century. I say ingrained because they have become so much a part of our culture that for most it is laughable to think contrary. That is why Christianity looks so foolish in the eyes of many. These three beliefs which are not true and are supported by the number one precept: all truth is subjective, nothing is absolutely true are real stumbling blocks. This makes it extremely difficult to make the case for Jesus Christ. Satan has been very successful in blinding humanity. Jesus said "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it." He also said "You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." He also said "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." This is what why I believe that we must as Catholics teach our youth to think philosophically, to use reason to combat the lies of the world. Getting through to young people is a daunting task and it falls squarely on our shoulders. Yet we can ask for the strength of the Holy Spirit who can and will teach you everything.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cardinal Schonborn on Nominalism

From Karl Rahner's Encounters With Silence

Only in love can I find You, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breath a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward You, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in You, since by Your love You are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.

Only knowledge gained through experience, the fruit of living and suffering, fills the heart with the wisdom of love, instead of crushing it with the disappointment of boredom and final oblivion. It is not the results of our own speculation, but the golden harvest of what we have lived through and suffered through, that has the power to enrich the heart and nourish the spirit. And all the knowledge we have acquired through study can do no more than give us some little help in meeting the problems of life with an alert and ready mind.

St. Joseph - A Righteous Man

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, the earthly father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was not chosen in the great plan of salvation by chance. It is obvious that he was to be someone of immense humility to play a minor role compared to his wife Mary and his son Jesus. Joseph will always be for me the patron saint of both fathers and workers. How proud he must of been of his son. He did as all good fathers do, get up each and every day and provide for their family. He did both the work of providing an earthly home and the work of providing us all a heavenly home. He is in heaven quietly working for all of us here. St. Joseph, pray for us.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah. Luke 1:16

S
uch was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.Luke 1:20-24

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." Luke 1:26-28

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger Luke 2:16




Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem St. Cyril of Jerusalem was Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church. He was born about 315; died probably March 18, 386. In the East his feast is observed on the 18th of March, in the West on the 18th or 20th. Little is known of his life. We gather information concerning him from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. Cyril himself gives us the date of his "Catecheses" as fully seventy years after the Emperor Probus, that is about 347, if he is exact. Constans (d. 350) was then still alive.

St. Cyril's teaching about the Blessed Sacrament is of the first importance, for he was speaking freely, untrammelled by the "discipline of the secret". On the Real Presence he is unambiguous: "Since He Himself has declared and said of the bread: This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any more? And when He asserts and says: This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate and say it is not His Blood?" Of the Transformation, he argues, if Christ could change water into wine, can He not change wine into His own Blood? The bread and wine are symbols: "In the type of bread is given thee the Body, in the type of wine the Blood is given thee"; but they do not remain in their original condition, they have been changed, though the senses cannot tell us this: "Do not think it mere bread and wine, for it is the Body and Blood of Christ, according to the Lord's declaration". "Having learned this and being assured of it, that appears to be bread is not bread, though perceived by the taste, but the Body of Christ, and what appears to be wine is not wine, though the taste says so, but the Blood of Christ . . . strengthen thy heart, partaking of it as spiritual (food), and rejoice the face of thy soul." Here is a link to his Lenten catechetical lectures that he gave.

Jesus and Prayer

When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father. His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2746

Jesus was the model of prayer for us all to emulate. He always prayed before the" big things" that were to happen: before he selected his disciples (Luke 6:12) In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve

And of course Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."

In Mark 1:35 we read "Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed."

In Luke 5:16 The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

The two common themes - Jesus went to a private place be it the desert or the mountain and he spent his prayer time in darkness. In our busy lives that are too often engaged in the noise of the world, we must make opportune time to engage in prayer. This is as describe the Church the vital and personal relationship with the true God.
As Lent mores closer to the Passion and Death of Our Lord let us move closer to be united with Him in our prayer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

My mother was a Reilly from Boston, so we grew up knowing who St. Patrick was. His prayer is one of the most powerful and beautiful prayers. I posted it recently but in honor of his day here it is again:

St. Patrick's Breastplate is contained in the ancient Book of Armagh, from the early ninth century. along with Patrick's authentic "Confession." St. Patrick is said to have written this prayer to strengthen himself with God's protection as he prepared to confront and convert Loegaire, high king of Ireland. I see in it some similarities to Paul's exhortation to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:10-18), except that it is much more detailed. I recommend St. Patrick's prayer to you as a wonderful prayer of spiritual preparedness.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort, [i.e., at home]
Christ in the chariot seat, [i.e., travelling by land]
Christ in the poop. [i.e., travelling by water]

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Modern Skeptics Are Like the Pharisees

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled .One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,“Do you want to be well?”The sick man answered him,“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up;while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured,“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,‘Take up your mat and walk.’“They asked him,“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”

Isn't it amazing how the Pharisees remind you of those politically correct people that run around today telling us what is and what isn't the correct way to do things. They focus on the wrong thing. Jesus is offering the world a cure for its ills and forgiveness of sins and there are people who want to know everything there is that is insignificant about him. The world of the ancient time that St. Paul preached to is very similar to the modern world full of skeptics and pagans. The only difference is that the ancients attempted to worship, we today worship material goods.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quotes from Early Church Fathers with Thanks to Marcus Grodi

“Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned, and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry."
St. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians, 44:1-2, c. AD 80

"You must follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8:1-2, AD 107

"The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things 'just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same."
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1, 10, 2, c. AD 190

"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again."
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 7:1, AD 107

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.”
St. Justin Martyr, First Apology 66, A.D. 151

“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved…Accept our counsel, and you will have nothing to regret…If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger…You will afford us joy and gladness if, being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy.”
St. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians, 1: 58–59, 63, A.D. 80

“Ignatius…to the church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, 1:1, A.D. 110

"It is possible, then, for every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times…But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition."
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3, 3, 1-2, c. AD 190

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’…On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” [see endnote]
St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Unity of the Catholic Church, 1st edition, A.D. 251

“(T)hey have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.” And the vessel of divine election himself said: “If ye have forgiven anything to any one, I forgive also, for what I have forgiven I have done it for your sakes in the person of Christ.”
St. Ambrose of Milan, On Penance, Book One, Ch. VII, v. 33, c. A.D. 390.

“For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the passion of Christ.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians, 3.2, ca. A.D. 110

“There is nothing more serious than the sacrilege of schism because there is no just cause for severing the unity of the Church.”
St. Augustine, Treatise On Baptism Against the Donatists, Bk 5, Ch. 1, A.D. 400

At The Cross

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Faith Seeks Understanding Pt.1 Father Robert Barron

God Runs Towards Us In His Love and Mercy

Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. writes in his wonderful book, "Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life" in a section on the contemplative life, a meditation on Luke's parable of the Prodigal Son: "The parable of the prodigal son is Jesus' consummate revelation of the identity of God the Father. While revealing the nature of forgiveness and love, it shows the Father to be the fullest expression of that love. Some of Jesus' detractors were accusing Him of unjustifiably seeking fellowship with sinners. Jesus justifies his actions by noting that His conduct is completely commensurate with His Father's (Abba), Who is completely concerned for sinners and is capable of justifying even those who have abandoned and shamed their families, countrymen, the law, the covenant, and even God. The love of the father in this parable (who represents God the Father) is as close to an image of unconditional love as first-century Jewish images can portray." Father Spitzer then goes on to explain just how offensive the young man's actions were when he left with his father's inheritance, and it is far worse than we in the 21st century could imagine. I wish to leave you with an image that we all can and should meditate on. Here is the young man who as Luke writes "came to his senses" and upon returning home, his father runs towards him when he first sees him. God's mercy is boundless - Jesus is saying in essence that God upon hearing of our request for forgiveness and our repentance of our sinfulness runs toward us! How awesome is that! God running towards you and I, desiring to hold us and kiss us and say welcome home, for you were lost and now you are found. That is the love of God, the image we should keep close to our heart, for we will fall time and time again, sometimes hurting many and turning our back on God, but alas He lies waiting to hear from you, waiting to run to greet you. "what kind of love is this"? Meditate on it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bishop Sheen on the Blessed Mary

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense
.
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.

Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.

True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.

Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.

A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.

I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.

Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.

Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.

For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.

My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.

St. Theresa of Avila on Detachment

Few of us get close to that level of the contemplative spiritual life that the great saints and mystics reached. We have within the modern world two very large obstacles. First, there are far too many distractions, and with the advance of technology I fear even more to come. Man truly fears being alone with himself and it is in that inner sanctum that we encounter God. It is in silence, the cessation of our own chatter that we hear His voice. The second problem and it is the bi-product of the first, there is no silence, noise rings from 24 hour newscasts to videos on the internet. One complaint that I have made here repeatedly is there is even no silence in the liturgy. We don't even have an opportunity to contemplate the great and immense grace of the Eucharist before the choir breaks into another song. St. Theresa wrote to her sisters the necessity of detachment. You simply cannot engaged in the spiritual life without doing so. I would like to suggest here to go on an Ignatian Retreat. A silent retreat 3-5 days (5 is preferable, longer of course is much better) There you will in the forced silence,traverse towards encountering God. A good spiritual director will aid you in your quest. I highly recommend that one do this at the minimum once a year. We, who live the life as lay people, working and living in the community and the world need that opportunity to practice detachment, and then carry it over until we have an opportunity to renew ourselves. Here is St. Theresa:
"O
nce
we have detached ourselves from the world, and from our kinsfolk, and are cloistered here, in the conditions already described, it must look as if we have done everything and there is nothing left with which we have to contend. But, oh, my sisters, do not feel secure and fall asleep, or you will be like a man who goes to bed quite peacefully, after bolting all his doors for fear of thieves, when the thieves are already in the house. And you know there is no worse thief than one who lives in the house. We ourselves are always the same; unless we take great care and each of us looks well to it that she renounces her self-will, which is the most important business of all, there will be many things to deprive us of the holy freedom of spirit which our souls seek in order to soar to their Maker unburdened by the leaden weight of the earth.

It will be a great help towards this if we keep constantly in our thoughts the vanity of all things and the rapidity with which they pass away, so that we may withdraw our affections from things which are so trivial and fix them upon what will never come to an end. This may seem a poor kind of help but it will have the effect of greatly fortifying the soul. With regard to small things, we must be very careful, as soon as we begin to grow fond of them, to withdraw our thoughts from them and turn them to God. His Majesty will help us to do this. He has granted us the great favor of providing that, in this house, most of it is done already; but it remains for us to become detached from our own selves and it is a hard thing to withdraw from ourselves and oppose ourselves, because we are very close to ourselves and love ourselves very dearly.

The first thing, then, that we have to do, and that at once, is to rid ourselves of love for this body of ours -- and some of us pamper our natures so much that this will cause us no little labor, while others are so concerned about their health that the trouble these things give us (this is especially so of poor nuns, but it applies to others as well) is amazing. Some of us, however, seem to think that we embraced the religious life for no other reason than to keep ourselves alive and each nun does all she can to that end. In this house, as a matter of fact, there is very little chance for us to act on such a principle, but I should be sorry if we even wanted to. Resolve, sisters, that it is to die for Christ, and not to practice self-indulgence for Christ. From THE WAY OF PERFECTION BY ST. TERESA OF AVILA

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Chose to Breathe the Breath of Christ

I choose to breathe the breath of Christ that makes all life holy.

I choose to live the flesh of Christ that outlasts sin's corrosion and decry.


I choose the blood of Christ along my veins and in my hearts that dizzies me with joy.


I choose the living waters flowing from his side to wash clean my own self and the world itself.


I choose the awful agony of Christ to charge my senseless sorrows with meaning and to make my pain pregnant with power.


I choose you, good Jesus, you know.


I choose you, good Lord; count me among the victories that you have won in bitter roundedness.


Never number me among those alien to you.

Make me safe from all who seeks to destroy me.


Summon me to come to you.

Stand me solid among angels and saints chanting yes to all you have done, exulting in all you mean to do forever and ever.


The for this time, Father of all, keep me, from the core of my self, choosing Christ in the world.

Amen


Joseph Tetlow, SJ

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Finger of God

We sometimes forget the power of the Almighty. As a matter of fact one of my theories of what ills society today is a lack of understanding of just who God is. He has been diminished in size. One example that we had discussed in our Bible study is how back years ago businesses were not open on Sunday. That day was distinguished from others as a sacred day. God himself set aside the Sabbath and Jesus Resurrection brought us the "new Sabbath." in fact Jesus flat out tells us that the Sabbath was made for man not the other way around. We were created to worship. The finger of God was all it took to create the entire universe as we know it. The finger of God put into motion all the laws of physical nature. To understand the metaphysical nature and order of things is to understand God. That the finger of Jesus could make the wind stop and the seas calm is not an extraordinary event when one comprehends the order of things. In the book of Daniel, King Belshazzar during a drunken feast takes out gold and silver vessels that were confiscated from Solomon's Temple by the prior king,King Nebuchadnezzar. This profaning of sacred instruments results in the Finger of God writing on the wall that the king's empire will be destroyed. When Jesus is accused of being the devil he replies "If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. "But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." We cannot forget the power of the Almighty and diminish Him to the realm of the ordinary, this is profane and in a true sense violates the first commandment. Lest the finger of God remind us who He is.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Father Robert Barron - The Great Evangelization

Every Tongue Confess Jesus is Lord!

I must confess that in my personal conversion I read the following passage from Paul's Letter to the Philipians and wept. I still cry every time I read it or hear.

"If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy,complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing."
"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than ourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others." Regard others more important than ourselves, for myself that is going to take an enormous amount of God's grace.
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. I will never forget the first time I really read these words He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped!!!! That is not what the world tells us, no, just the opposite, we can all be gods, all rich, all powerful, all beautiful. So what does Christ do?

"Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!" No equality with God, no none of that. Instead He chooses servitude and a cross and the will of His Father.

"Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus is the name above all other names!