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

John Paul II

Pope John Paul II - In My Own Words complied and edited by Anthony F. Chiffolo


GOD THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT

"The goal and target of our life is he, the Christ, who awaits us-each one singly and all together-to lead us across the boundaries of time to the eternal embrace of the God who loves us." Message to Young People, world Youth Day, 1996

"What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ, and that we love him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And without the love of Jesus, everything else is useless." Prayer at St. Peter's Philadelphia, 1979

"We must go to this Child, this Man, the Son of God, at whatever inconvenience, at whatever risk to ourselves, because to know and love him will truly change our lives." Homily at Central Park, 1995

"Christ himself carried a burden, and his burden-the cross-was made heavier by the sins of us all. But Christ did not avoid the cross; he accepted it and carried it willingly. Moreover, he now stands beside those weighed down by trials and persecutions, remaining beside them to the end. It is for all people and with all people that he carries the cross to Calvary, and it is there that for all of us he is nailed to his cross. He dies the death of a criminal, the most humiliating death known to the world at that time. That is why to those in our own century who carry terrible burdens he is able to say: "Come to me! I am your Brother in suffering. There is no humiliation or bitterness which I do not know.!" Homily at Aqueduct Racetrack, 1995

"The Incarnation of the Son of God attests that God goes in search of man. Jesus speaks of this search as the finding of a lost sheep. It is a search which begins in the heart of God...If God goes in search of man, created in his own image and likeness, he does so because he loves him eternally in the Word, and wishes to raise him eternally in Christ to the dignity of an adoptive son. God therefore goes in search of man who is his special possession in a way unlike any other creature." Tertio Millennio Adveniente

PRAYER

What is prayer? It is commonly held to be a conversation. In a conversation there are always an 'I' and a 'thou' or 'you.' In this case the 'Thou' is with a capital T. If at first the 'I' seems to be the most important element in prayer, prayer teaches that the situation is actually different. The 'Thou' is more important, because our prayer begins with God." Crossing the Threshold of Hope

"Prayer...brings the saving power of Jesus Christ into the decisions and actions of everyday life." Greeting in St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1995

"We begin to pray, believing that it is our own initiative that compels us to do so. Instead, we learn that it is always God's initiative within us..." Crossing the Threshold of Hope

"Christ remains primary in your life only when he enjoys the first place in your mind and heart. Thus you must continuously unite yourself to him in prayer...Without prayer there can be no joy, no hope, no peace. For prayer is what keeps us in touch with Christ." Message to Religious Women, Washington, D.C., 1979

"Prayer can truly change your life. For it turns your attention away from yourself and directs your mind and your heart toward the Lord. If we look only at ourselves, with our own limitations and sins, we quickly give way to sadness and discouragement. But if we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, then our heart are filled with hope, our minds are washed in the light of truth, and we come to know the fullness of the Gospel with all its promise and life." Meeting with Youth, New Orleans, 1987

FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE

"Inner peace comes from knowing that one is loved by God and from the desire to respond to his love." "Women: Teachers of Peace." 1995

SALVATION

"No human sin can erase the mercy of God, or prevent him from unleasing all his triumphant power, if we only call upon him." Veritas Splendor

"The power of Christ's Cross and Resurrection is greater than any evil which man could or should fear." Crossing the Threshold of Hope

"When it comes to salvation in the kingdom of God, it is not a question of just wages, but of the undeserved generosity of God, who gives himself as the supreme gift to each and every person who shares in divine life through sanctifying grace." Homily at Detroit, 1987

TRUTH AND FREEDOM

"Each of us is an individual, a person, a creature of God, one of his children, someone very special whom God loves and for whom Christ died. This identity of ours determines the way we must live, the way we must act, the way we must view our mission in the world. We come from God, we depend on God, God has a plan for us-a plan for our lives, for our bodies, for our souls, for our future. This plan for us is extremely important-so important that God became man to explain it to us." Meeting with Youth, New Orleans, 1987

"You cannot insist on the right to choose, without also insisting on the duty to choose well, the duty to choose the truth." Homily at Columbia, South Carolina, 1987

"Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known." Veritatis Splendor

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

"The search and discovery of God's will for you is a deep and fascinating endeavor. It requires of you the attitude of trust expressed in the words of the Psalm...'you will show me the path to life, fullness of joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever" (16:11). Every vocation, every path to which Christ calls us, ultimately leads to fulfillment and happiness, because it leads to God, to sharing in God's own life."   Message to Youth

"True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement." To Catholic Charismatics, 1996

"Do not be afraid! Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. He alone can give full meaning to life, he alone is the center of history. Live by him!" Mass with Youth, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, 1997

"The whole of the Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love for every human creature, and in particular for the 'prodigal son,' we discover anew each day. This pilgrimage takes place in the heart of each person, extends to the believing community and then reaches to the whole of humanity." Tertio Millennio Adveniente

"Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind as only the Creator and Father can be...Conversion to God is always the fruit of the 'rediscovery' of this Father, who is rich in mercy. Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state of mind. Those who come to know God in this way, who 'see' him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to him." Dives in Misericordia

"Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law." Evangelium Vitae

"Never forget that blindly following the impulse of our emotions often means becoming a slave to our passions." Message to Young People, Camaguey, Cuba, 1998

THE SANCTITY OF LIFE

"The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law." Evangelium Vitae

"The life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man.is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory...Man has been given a sublime dignity, based on the intimate bond which unites him to his Creator: in man there shines forth a reflection of God himself...The life which God offers to man is a gift by which God shares something of himself with his creature." MAEvangelium Vitae

MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY

"Marriage, with its character as an exclusive and permanent union, is sacred because its origin is in God. Christians, in receiving the sacrament of marriage, share in God's creative plan and receive the graces they need to carry out their mission of raising and educating their children, and to respond to the call to holiness. It is a union different from any other sort of human society, for it is based on the mutual giving and receiving of husband and wife in order to become 'one flesh' (Gn 2:24), living in a community of life and love, the vocation of which is to be a 'sanctuary of life.' By their faithful and persevering union, the couple contributes to the good of the institution of the family and shows that a man and a woman are capable of fgiving themselves to one another forever...." Homily at Santa Clara, Cuba, 1998

SOLIDARITY AND HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS

"Keep Jesus Christ in your hearts, and you will recognize his face in every human being. You will want to help him out in all his needs: the needs of your brothers and sisters. This is the way we prepare ourselves to meet Jesus, when he will come again, on the last day, as the judge of the living and the dead..." Address, Shea Stadium, New York, 1979

THE CHURCH

"The Church's fundamental function in every age and particularly in ours is to direct man's gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ, to help all men to be familiar with the profundity of the Redemption taking place in Christ Jesus." Redemptor Hominis

"If there is one challenge facing the Church and her priests today, it is the challenge of transmitting the Christian message whole and entire, without letting it be emptied of its substance. The Gospel cannot be reduced to mere human wisdom. Salvation lies not in clever human words or schemes, but in the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ." Address at Vespers, St. Jospeh's Seminary, 1995

THE SACRAMENTS

"On the day of our Baptism, we received the greatest gift God can bestow on any man or woman. No other honor, no other distinction will equal its value. For we were freed from sin and incorporated into Christ Jesus and his Body, the Church." Message to Religious Women, Washington, D.C., 1979

"Baptism is not simply a seal of conversion, a kind of external sign...Rather, it is the sacrament which signifies and effects rebirth from the Spirit, establishes real and unbreakable bonds with the Blessed Trinity, and makes us members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church." Redemptoris Missio

"Confession is an act of honesty and courage; an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. It is an act of the prodigal son who returns to his Father and is welcomed by him with the kiss of peace." Homily at San Antonio, 1987

"It is a mark of greatness to be able to say: 'I have made a mistake; I have sinned, Father; I have offended you, my God; I am sorry; I ask for pardon; I will try again because I rely on your strength and I believe in your love. And I know that the power of your Son's paschal mystery-the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ-is greater than my weakness andall the sins of the world. I will come and confess my sins and be healed, and I ewill live in your love!' Homily at San Antonio, 1987

"In faithfully observing the centuries-old practice of the Sacrament of Penance-the practice of individual confession with a personal act of sorrow and the intention to amend and make satisfaction-the Church is therefore defending the human soul's individual right: man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ, with Christ saying, through the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: 'Your sins are forgiven' (Mk 2;5); 'Go, and do not sin again' (Jn 8:11). As is evident, this is also a right on Christ's part with regard to every human being redeemed by him: his right to meet each one of us in that key moment in the soul's life constituted by the moment of conversion and forgiveness." Redemptor Hominis

"In the Eucharist, the Son, who is of one being with the Father, the one whom only the Father knows, offers himself in sacrifice to the Father for humanity and for all creation. In the Eucharist Christ gives back to the Father everything that has come from him. Thus there is brought about a profound 'mystery of justice on the part of the creature towards the Creator.' Man needs to honor his Creator by offering to him, in an act of thanksgiving and praise, all that he has received. 'Man must never lose sight of this debt,,' which he alone, among all other earthly realities, is capable of acknowledging and paying back as the one creature made in God's own image and likeness. At the same time, given his creaturely limitations and sinful condition, man would be incapable of making this act of justice towards the Creator, had not Christ himself, the Son who is of one being with the Father and also true man, first given us the Eucharist." Gift and Mystery

"Eucharistic worship is not so much worship of the inaccessible transcendence as worship of the divine condescension, and it is also the merciful and redeeming transformation of the world in the human heart." Dominicae Cenae

THE PRIESTHOOD

"If we take a close look at what contemporary men and women expect from priest, we will see that, in the end, they have but one great expectation: they are thirsting for Christ. Everything else-their economic, social, and political needs-can be met by any number of other people. From the priest they ask for Christ! And from him they have the right to receive Christ, above all through the proclamation of the word." Gift and Ministry

MARY

"This woman of faith, Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, has been given to us as a model in our pilgrimage of faith. From Mary we learn to surrender to God's will in all things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God. For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well." Message to Priests, Washington, D.C., 1979

"I LEAVE YOU now with this prayer: that the Lord Jesus will reveal himself to each one of you, that he will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that he will show you that he alone can fill your hearts. Accept his freedom and embrace his truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world. God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!" Message to Students, the Catholic University, 1979