++++++++++++++++++++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

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.