++++++++++++++++++++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, October 22, 2010

I Am

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16

The question is believe what? What does Jesus say about Himself in the Gospel of John?

I am the Messiah
John 4:25-26 “The woman said to Him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything. Jesus said to her, “I am He, the one who is speaking to you.”

I am the Bread of Life
John 6:35 “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.”

John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven’ whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

I am the Light of the World
John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

I AM (God)
John 8:24 “That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believer that I AM, you will die in your sins.”

John 8:28 “So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father has taught me.:

John 8:58 “Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you , before Abraham came to be, I AM.’”

John 13:19 “From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe that I AM.”

John 18:4-8 “Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to Him, went out and said to them, ‘Whom are you looking for?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus the Nazorean.’ He said to them, ‘I AM.’ Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said them, ‘I AM,’ they tuned away and fell to the ground. So He again asked them, ‘Whom are you looking for?’ They said, ‘Jesus the Nazorean.’ Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for m, let these men go.’”

I am the Gate
John 10:7 “I am the gate for the sheep.”

John 10:9 “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

I am the Good Shepherd
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine and mine know me.”

I am the Son of God
John 10:36 “Can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’”

I am the Resurrection

John 11:25 “Jesus told her “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.’”

I am Teacher
John 13:13 “You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indead I am.’”


John 18:8
I am the Way, the Truth, the Life
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

I am the Vine
John 15:1 “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

I am a King
John 18:37 "So Pilate said to Him, ’Then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Applause during Mass

Pope Benedict XVI
"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

Pope St PiusX
“It is not fitting that the servant should be applauded in His Masters house”

Cardinal Francis Arinze stated that “…when we come to Mass we don’t come to clap. We don’t come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.” [Adoremus Bulletin; Vol. IX, no.7, Oct. 2003]

1. Applause is praise for the individual, not God.
2. An individual does not deserve praise for receiving a Sacrament: God deserves the praise for giving it.
3. Praise for other things (musical quality, secular achievements, etc.,) do not have their proper place at mass. “That’s what parish halls are for,”

IF YOU DON'T APPLAUD THE CONSECRATION, WHY APPLAUD ANYTHING ELSE?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Real Presence

How is Jesus present in the Eucharist? Some believe He isn’t. Some believe that He is there only during worship. Some believe that His presence is there only if the person receiving believes He is there. The Church believes and teaches that at the moment of consecration, when the priest (regardless of his worthiness) invokes the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, permanently. This is why we are able to have chapels where we can adore Jesus and talk to Him “face to face.” His presence is not dependent on our spirituality. If two people were in an adoration chapel, one believing in the Real Presence and one not, Jesus would be there for both, physically. The adoration chapels are only an offshoot of the true purpose of the Eucharist. Jesus did not mean the Eucharist for us to gaze on and adore Him. The reason for His Presence in the Eucharist is so we have a way to be nourished spiritually. The Eucharist is compared to the manna in the desert - our daily bread, if we so desire. The Eucharist is a physical assurance. When we receive the Eucharist in Communion, we have received Jesus into our bodies. How our souls receive Him depends on our souls, the sin we have committed that block up the doors and window of our souls. We receive Jesus into our bodies; bur our sins can block Him from nourishing our souls with His graces. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 11:27 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” Not only do we block the graces of the Eucharist, but we also are guilty of profanity against the Lord.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sacrifice of the Mass

When we go to Mass, what are we doing? By the power of the Holy Spirit, through the ordination of the priest, we are uniting ourselves to Jesus’ death on Calvary, His sacrifice for our salvation. The Israelites were rescued from Egypt through the Passover. Each year they celebrated Passover, uniting themselves with the first. The Jews had a different sense of time than us. We have difficulty thinking outside of linear time. For them, Jesus included, in celebrating Passover, they were re-presenting the original event at their table. Jesus was celebrating Passover at the Last Supper. When He offered bread and wine as His Body and Blood, though, He was looking forward to the next day when He would be offering His Body and Blood on the Cross. In the Mass, we, like the Jews, look backward uniting ourselves with Jesus’ offering on the Cross, as the Jews united themselves with the first Passover. Jesus is our high priest. He made that one offering for our sins, our salvation. We, in turn, offer His sacrifice, His offering, to the Father. When we celebrate the Mass, we unite ourselves, not only with all those who also are celebrating the Mass at that time but also those who have in the past because God is timeless. One sacrifice, one offering, re-presented across time. A working of God that our minds are unable to comprehend. A gift of God to enable us to repent our sins and receive His grace, direct from Jesus on the Cross.God

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adoration Chapel

As usual, I was hurried - arriving minutes late for my hour in the Adoration Chapel. I bustled in (quietly) and decided on a pew. As I knelt down before entering the pew, I looked up at the Host in the monstrance - and felt loved. Quiet came over me, and I couldn’t help but smile.

This is not a rare occurrence, as I am often flying in at the last minute. But, Jesus is waiting to put a smile on my face and in my soul. I give Him all my joys, my worries, my dilemmas of the day. He counsels me and consoles me. Words, thoughts, ideas come to mind that - if I don’t write them down - escape me when I leave His Presence.

I may moan and groan that I’m too tired, that I didn’t have time for lunch, or that I have too much to do at home. Never, once I have arrived, have any of those concerns mattered. I am with Jesus and that is all that matters.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Passover

The Jewish people did not always think of time as linear. When they celebrated Passover, it was more than a remembrance of an event in the past. In celebrating Passover, the Jewish people were present at Passover. In instituting the Eucharist at Passover, Jesus made Passover an archetype. He offered His Body and Blood to the Father as a sacrifice, a sacrifice which happened within twenty-four hours at Calvary. When He said to “do this in remembrance of Me” the apostles knew that He meant it to be more than just a memorial. The early Christians celebrated “the breaking of the bread.” From early writings, what the early Christians did closely resembles the Mass Today. They and we believe that in the Mass, we are offering the one sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. As the Jewish people were present at Passover, so at the Mass we are present at Calvary. WE can do this because God is timeless. In the Mass, we are uniting ourselves with Jesus on the Cross. Therefore, our sacrifice at Mass is not a new sacrifice or another offering of what Jesus had done once for all. Trying to comprehend this is trying to look at the Grand Canyon and comprehend the distances in the view. All of the people through the past 2000 years offering Jesus to the Father for our sins in the Mass are with Jesus at Calvary offering Himself to the Father for the sins of the world.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cell Phones

From my church bulletin:

What would happen if we treated our Bibles like we treat our cell phones?

What if we carried it around in our purse or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergencies?

This is something to make you go...hmmmmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid His bill. And no dropped calls!

Makes you stop and think, "Where are my priorities?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Religion

What is religion? How does religion relate to our faith? How does religion relate to our relationship with God? Religion, from the world view, has become a catch-all word, a nasty word, for a system of believing or rather a system of doing without necessarily having the believing. One rather has to look from the inside out, starting with one’s relationship with God. Our relationship with God ought to be one on one. We can do this because Jesus became a man. Our being, our soul connecting with God, with His Love, His Word, His Life, our individual connection with God has to be the starting point, the center. From there as we are being filled with God, His Love, His Word, His Spirit, we must then connect with others. God made us social beings; and in the most important part of us, our relationship with God, we must also connect with others. We cannot maintain a growing relationship with God without also being part of a greater community. This community is called the Church - Jesus created it - He is the Head - the members are the Body. From our need to grow in our relationship with God comes all the things that the outside world labels ‘religion.’ Those things all serve a greater purpose to nourish us, to give us knowledge of God, to help us in our struggles against the world’s temptations which work to separate us from God. The Mass, the Bible, the Sacraments are needed by all. Other types of disciplines, practices, devotions are good for some but not as helpful for others. To see this, look at a practice from the inside, as how it would help our relationship with God. The Church, in its God-directed wisdom has deemed some to be necessary for all - such as Holy Days or Lenten practices. Everything, though, is derived from and helpful to growth in our personal relationship with God. That is religion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Religion

What is religion? How does religion relate to our faith? How does religion relate to our relationship with God? Religion, from the world view, has become a catch-all word, a nasty word, for a system of believing or rather a system of doing without necessarily having the believing. One rather has to look from the inside out, starting with one’s relationship with God. Our relationship with God ought to be one on one. We can do this because Jesus became a man. Our being, our soul connecting with God, with His Love, His Word, His Life, our individual connection with God has to be the starting point, the center. From there as we are being filled with God, His Love, His Word, His Spirit, we must then connect with others. God made us social beings; and in the most important part of us, our relationship with God, we must also connect with others. We cannot maintain a growing relationship with God without also being part of a greater community. This community is called the Church - Jesus created it - He is the Head - the members are the Body. From our need to grow in our relationship with God comes all the things that the outside world labels ‘religion.’ Those things all serve a greater purpose to nourish us, to give us knowledge of God, to help us in our struggles against the world’s temptations which work to separate us from God. The Mass, the Bible, the Sacraments are needed by all. Other types of disciplines, practices, devotions are good for some but not as helpful for others. To see this, look at a practice from the inside, as how it would help our relationship with God. The Church, in its God-directed wisdom has deemed some to be necessary for all - such as Holy Days or Lenten practices. Everything, though, is derived from and helpful to growth in our personal relationship with God. That is religion.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baptism

Is our baptism an end or a beginning? I think that some would say that baptism is an end, that once you have accepted Christ as your Savior that being baptized show that you are a Christian, that you have arrived. The Catholic Church on the other hand teaches that our baptism is a beginning of a new life. We are washed clean of any sin, and we are started on a new journey in faith that at our deaths ends with God in heaven. The majority of Catholics are baptized as infants; and, like any infant in life, we need to nurture the soul and teach the infant Catholic (of any age) how to follow Jesus, which in turn enables us to grow in sanctity. In becoming a Christian through baptism, we do not automatically know how to be a Christian. We have to learn through prayer, scripture, teaching and the example of other Christians. And, like children learning to walk, we can stumble as we learn - sin. In Penance, we are healed so we can once again walk in our Christian journey. We are strengthened in confirmation. We can be nourished daily by the Eucharist.

Whether we chose to be baptized or our parents chose for us, it is not a given that we will continue in our journey with Christ. We are free to choose another path without Him. Sometimes we can be like puppies out for a walk; not going forward on the sidewalk, but darting off to investigate any new interesting thing. But Jesus will always be there waiting for us. Being baptized won’t save us if we leave Jesus on the sidewalk and run out into the traffic.

God's Plan

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

A famous book dealing with misfortune was written called Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? Why does God allow evil to affect His people? No one is entirely good, and because man is not a solitary being his actions affect not only himself but also others. Every sin we commit affects someone else (hence the need to reconcile not only with God but also the Church). God makes us with free will and does not interfere with our free will. God will take the most evil of actions and turn into something good. As humans we want this immediately, but it will happen in God’s time. Due to the sin of Adam and Eve, our bodies die. The tragic death of someone to a disease or the severe illness of someone may be the stimulus to another to become a doctor or researcher. The accident which left Christopher Reeves paralyzed also gave him the platform to lobby for funding into research and has developed new methods of treating spinal cord injuries. When bad things happen we need to turn to God and put our trust in Him and let Him guide us as we struggle with the situation. His answer may not be the answer we want. Our solution may be wrong because it is sinful and God will not help us continue on that path. God’s plan may have a greater scope than we can visualize. It is unlikely that the man dying in the streets that Mother Teresa first aided could even envision what her mission grew into, as she did not either. But we must trust God, let Him be in control and listen to Him as He guides us through the circumstances.