++++++++++++++++++++God's timing is not our timing, but He is never late.++++++++++++++++++++

Layers - in the knowledge of God and the path to holiness

Learning about God is like unwrapping a head of lettuce, pealing back one leaf at a time. Always there is another leaf below. We will eventually reach the center of the head of lettuce; but we will never unwrap everthing there is to know about God.

The path to holiness is like pealing an onion. God shows us what is sinful and convicts us that we have sinned. No matter how sweet the onion, there are always tears in the peeling. No matter how sweet the grace of repentence, there are always the pain of letting go of the sin. As the peeling of the onion reveals another layer, so God shows us what we lack in holiness, drawing us ever closer to "be(ing) perfect even just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

What I Believe

Why I am and always will be a Catholic. "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Tthe living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58 The words and actions of man cannot sanctify. Only the priest, empowered by his ordination, can invoke the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into Jesus so we can receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our bodies and souls. This is the core of the Catholic Church; without this there is no purpose or meaning to the Catholic Church. There are other ways to holiness, to grow in grace; there is no better way than union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Friday, February 8, 2008

God’s Forgiveness 2

What happens when we go to Confession? We are humbled when we vocally, publicly admit our sins. Saying it does make a greater impact on us than just thinking about it in our minds. We are given absolution by the priest speaking, by virtue of the ordination, in the person of Jesus. We are given guidance and reassurance so as to keep ourselves away from repeating those sins. We are given a penance, an action to show God our sorrow for sinning. Our souls are washed by the blood of Christ to be as clean as when we were baptized, if our confession was complete. Going to confession, but holding back some sin would be like taking a shower, but not putting an arm or leg under the water; it would not become clean. Our souls are given graces by God, to strengthen us against temptations and bad habits. Our souls are refilled with the life of God’s love which we pushed out when we sinned. We new receive God’s forgiveness in confession. We are also given the assurance that we are truly forgiven, that it is not just our minds telling us that everything is now ok. Even if we have to live with the temporal consequences of our sin, i.e. health problems from overindulging, a baby from pre-marital sex, broken relationships, our eternal punishment is gone, paid for by Jesus. A final blessing of Confession is that when we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, God forgets those sins as if they never happened. Nothing can match the mercy of God.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ash Wednesday

“Remember man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return.” Ash Wednesday is a day when the Church collectively recognizes its condition as a sinful people (for those here on earth) journeying to God. It is a day to remember as a people that material things here on earth have no lasting value. It is a day for the Church as a whole to redirect itself towards God. People can do this as individuals; but we are not solely individuals in our relationship to God. Jesus pointed that out when He spoke of the vine and the branches. Paul spoke of us as members of a body with Jesus as the head. So, collectively the Church worships, the Church ministers, the Church repents. To do something as a group helps to anchor those of us who approach God unsteadily. The prayers of those gathered embrace us and uplift us. They encourage us to follow the right path. ‘Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there.” Matthew 18:20
Today in the midst of a materialistic culture, we need reminding that our focus ought to be on the spiritual rather than the physical. The body does need as much attention as the soul. It is the indulgence of the body that the Church looks at on Ash Wednesday and the succeeding days of Lent. Its message is to rather indulge the needs of the soul than the needs of the body, for the soul is what binds us to God. All that is physical is naught until our bodily resurrection at the end of time, and we do not know what that entails. How filled our soul is with grace will determine the depth of our beatific vision of God, our heavenly reward.

Separation from God

“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

These lines of Paul can be used in an argument for the assurance of salvation - once saved, always saved. None of the things that Paul mentions can have a greater power over us than God can. Nothing can snatch us from God through its own power. The one element missing from Paul’s list is our own free will. Although nothing outside of us can separate us from God, we can choose to do so. Forget the horror movies where someone is attacked by an evil and is possessed or loses his soul. God does not give Satan that power unless we co-operate. When we sin we open the door to the devil and invite him in. It is true that there is a war being waged for our souls, but we can choose sides. If we choose God, even in sin, He will not let us go. If we choose Satan, God will let us go. Satan knows every trick to convince us to let go of God; but for every trick of Satan’s and for every obstacle we encounter in life, God is there to help us endure. On our part all we need to do is trust God and allow Him to walk in us.