These words are from the heart of God … for the heart of God.

Archive for February 18, 2011

Lumen Christi: A Guide to a Better Life Through Prayer

with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and first commandment.

And the second is like it.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

 

Jesus of Nazareth

When you have a serious problem and need fast action, what do you do?

First pray to the Holy Spirit, to Jesus, to Mary or to an admired saint. Ask for the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.

Yes, but what else could you do?

The Epistle of St. James (5:13) states, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray.”

Verse 16 says, “Pray for one another that you may be healed.” The complete answer is, Pray and ask others, including non-church goers, to pray for your special need.

 

When Our Lord Moves Us to Pray with Another

First, ask the person for permission. “I can see that you are deeply troubled. May I pray with you — right now?” If possible, ask him what is causing him so much pain.

Invite the Holy Spirit to come and to treat this person’s particular need. You might say something like, “Holy Spirit please come and help (name) who is carrying a heavy burden (briefly mention). There is much sadness and pain in his life and he desperately needs your help.”

Ask the person whether he wants the Holy Spirit to come into his life and help them. Tell him that, “God loves you very much and His power can overcome your problems.”

Listen without judging the person and respect their right to privacy. Don’t worry about what to say, but keep your words short and simple as in normal conversation. You may decide to recite the Our Father together.

It is not our words but the action of the Holy Spirit that heals and restores lives. Holding the person’s hand or placing your hand on their shoulder can bring a sense of coming together before God. You can both either stand or kneel, or even sit down. God doesn’t mind.

The most healing thing that we can do is to bring Jesus into the center of their problem. Our primary task is not to give advice or to get rid of their pain — which usually we are unable to do. While being aware of the manipulations and games that people sometimes play, it is more important to be conscious of their burdens and sorrows. And Jesus will love you.

You may decide to end by saying something like this: “Jesus, I know that You will help (name). Lord, we will love and praise You all the days of our life.”

 

Share Lumen Christi

It is no longer possible to bring people to Jesus solely by intellectual argument.

They must see Him in our lives.

Baroness de Hueck

 

The rector of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Scotland told the story of two men who were business partners. The first man regularly attended church while the second professed no religion. They met on a Sunday morning when one was going to church and the other was going to play golf. After a brief “Good morning”, the golfer asked the man on his way to church, “When are you going to give up all this hypocrisy about religion and churchgoing?”

“I don’t understand what you mean,” said the other. “I mean just what I say. When are you going to give up this hypocrisy?” Much offended, his partner answered, “What right have you to call my religion hypocrisy?” “Well,” said the golfer, “we have been partners for twenty years. We’ve met and talked together every day. Yet if what you profess to believe is true, you have never said one word to help me be anything different.”

Don’t let fear of what others may think stop you from sharing your belief in Christ. “If you are ashamed of Me before men, then I will not recognize you before My Father.”

Sharing does not mean you have to stand on the street corner with your Bible, asking people if they are saved. Instead, you should pray to be given the right moment and the right word to tell a person what Christ has done for you. You can invite the person to attend church service with you. Often people are looking for an invitation, but are afraid to ask. Our attitude should be: “I have found something that helps me to live, something that brings joy into my life and I would like to share it with you.”

In reaching out there must always be respect and love for those who do not see as you do. Welcome discussion, be honest and don’t gloss over differences. Always recognize the validity of their search. In prayer ask the Lord to show them the road to follow. Strive to see Christ in all men, including those who have found a spiritual home different from yours.

Today countless people live in spiritual darkness. They have this unmet inner need, this innate drive for something that transcends self. Many are lukewarm Christians. Christ is a stranger to them. Their lives lack the joy and real meaning which only comes from a close personal relationship with Jesus. Although they are often financially secure, there is a deep spiritual poverty. They nourish their body but neglect their spirit. This causes a strange and persistent emptiness, which they can’t explain. The more material things they have and the older they become, the more troubling is their question, “Is this all that there is to my life?” They are left with a disturbing feeling that there must be more. They are like a person trapped in a dark room trying to find the exit.

If you believe that Christ is the Light of the World and that He is the way out of spiritual darkness, then share your faith with others. Encourage them to practice Quiet Time. Then they will experience the joy of having Jesus at the center of their life. The Light of Christ, Lumen Christi, will transform their lives in ways they never dreamed possible.

 

Poet’s Corner

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar as with eagles’ wings,

they shall run and not grow weary,

and they shall walk and not grow faint.

Isaiah 40:31

 

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd;

there is nothing I lack.

In green pastures you let me graze;

to safe waters you lead me;

you restore my strength.

 

You guide me along the right path

for the sake of your name.

 

Even when I walk through a dark valley,

I fear no harm for you are at my side;

your rod and staff give me courage.

 

You set a table before me

as my enemies watch;

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

 

Only goodness and love will pursue me

all the days of my life;

I will dwell in the house of the LORD

for years to come. (New American Bible)

 

Prayer to Avoid Evil and Do Good

O My God,

I give myself to you,

with all my liberty,

all my intellect, heart, and will.

 

O Holy Spirit of God,

take me as your disciple:

guide me, illuminate me, sanctify me.

 

Bind my hands, that I may not do evil,

cover my eyes that I may see it no more,

sanctify my heart that evil may not rest within me.

 

Be my God and my guide.

Wherever you lead me I will go;

whatever you forbid I will renounce,

and whatever you command,

in your strength I will do. (Cardinal Manning)

 

I See His Blood Upon the Rose

I see His Blood upon the rose

And in the stars the glory of His eyes,

His body gleams amid eternal snows,

His tears fall from the skies.

 

I see His face in every flower.

 

The thunder and singing of the birds

Are but His voice – and carven by His power

Rocks are His written words.

 

All pathways by His feet are worn,

His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,

His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,

His cross is every tree. (Joseph M Plunkett)

 

Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord make me an instrument of Your Peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

Where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

 

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

Canticle of Love

(author is Saint Augustine, 4th century Bishop of Hippo)

My love of You, God, is not some vague feeling;

it is positive and certain.

 

Your word struck into my heart

and from that moment I loved You.

 

Besides this, all about me,

heaven and earth and all that they contain

proclaim that I should love You.

 

But what do I love when I love You?

 

Not material beauty of a temporal order;

not the brilliance of earthly light;

not the sweet melody of harmony and song;

not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes and spices

not the manna or honey;

and not limbs the body delights to embrace.

 

It is not these that I love when I love my God.

 

And yet when I love Him

it is true that I love a light of a certain kind.

 

a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;

but they are the kind that I love in my inner self

when my soul is bathed in light

that is not bound by space;

when it listens to sound that never dies away;

when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind;

when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating;

when it clings to an embrace from which it is not severed

by fulfillment of desire.

 

This is what I love when I love my God. (Confessions 10: 6-8)

 

Magnificat

My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

For He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid.

 

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

 

For He that is mighty has done great things for me; and holy is His name.

 

And His mercy is on them that fear Him throughout all generations.

 

He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.

 

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the humble.

 

He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent empty away.

 

He remembering His mercy has helped His servant Israel;

As He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and his children forever.

(Luke 1:46-55)

 

Canticle from Revelations 15:3-4

Great and wonderful are your deeds

Lord God the Almighty:

Just and true are your ways,

O King of the nations.

 

Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord?

 

For you alone are holy.

 

All nations shall come and worship in your presence:

and the fact that I think that I am following your will

 does not mean that I am actually doing so.

 

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

 

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

 

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

 

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

 

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost

and in the shadow of death

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

(Thomas Merton)

 

Who Am I?

Who am I? This or the Other?

 

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

 

Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others.

 

The Path to a Better Life

The Lumen Christi Road Map

By your life may every person know that

you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

 

For your just dealings have been revealed.

 

To Him who sits on the throne and

to the Lamb:

Be praise and honour, glory and might

For ever and ever. Amen

 

The Road Ahead

My Lord God

I have no idea where I am going.

 

I do not see the road ahead of me.

 

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

 

Nor do I really know myself,

And before myself a contemptible woebegone Weakling?

 

Or is something within me still like a beaten army

fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

 

They mock me these lonely questions of mine.

 

Whoever I am, Thou knowest O God. I am thine.

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

 

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost and now am found

Was blind, but now I see.

—— (Middle stanzas omitted) ——–

The Lord has promised good to me,

His word my hope secures,

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come,

Tis grace has brought me safe thus far.

and grace will lead me home. (John Newton)

 

Your life is a journey that stretches from the time that you are conceived to the time that you die. It is a difficult journey. All of us know how easy it is to mess up our lives. We need a road map to follow. If you regularly follow the Lumen Christi road map, Christ will dramatically change your life. You will experience a peace and a joy that only He can give.

Step 1

Commit your life to Christ

This is not a one-time decision. Each day resolve to love Him and to follow Him. If you have never known Jesus, if your relationship with Him has grown cold or if you have seriously messed up your life, then this is the place to start. Now is the time to stop the excuses and to surrender your life to Jesus. You might write out your decision, date and sign it.

Prayer of Surrender: Jesus I am sorry for the many times I have offended You. I now turn away from my sins and turn to You. Please come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. I recognize You as my Lord and Savior. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You Jesus.

Suggestion: Now is the time to bury every fear of the future, of poverty, of suffering and of loss. Bury all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your disappointment in others and in yourself, your sense of failure and your despondency. Having confessed your sins to the Lord, leave all shame and guilt buried and go forward to a new and risen life with Christ.

 

Step 2

Remove the obstacles to a closer union with Jesus

See the list on page 10. Which of these roadblocks applies to you? After you have identified the roadblock, then take steps to get rid of it. This can be a life-long process. The forces that try to separate us from Jesus never completely go away until we die.

Suggestion: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome the roadblocks to a closer union with Jesus. Discover attitudes or situations that cause problems. Avoid them. Stop giving in to them.

 

Step 3

Read the Bible every day

The New Testament remains the richest source for our meditations. Read a page or a chapter daily and reflect on the words. The resulting thoughts will have a profound effect on the way you think and act. Focus on the New Testament, but also read Psalms, Book of Wisdom, and Ecclesiastic.

Suggestion: Memorize passages that have special meaning for you. They will help you get through difficult times in your life.

 

Step 4

Be aware of Christ’s presence — He is always with you

Be aware of God’s presence. In times of trouble remember that Jesus is very near. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (ICor. 3: 13).

Suggestion: Talk to Jesus during the day. Praise and thank Him and express your love. Knowing Christ is always present can dramatically change what you say and do.

 

Step 5

Reach out to others — your life is not solely your own

Love is a paradox. The more that you give away, the more that comes back to you. The more you hoard, the less you have. Finding Jesus in other people is not always easy, but then we ourselves are not always lovable.

“Love one another as I have loved you” (Jesus Christ).

Suggestion: Give time each week to help people in need. Share your faith with others. Help others by your prayers, financial help and words of encouragement. Let your job title be “Servant of Jesus Christ.”

 

Step 6

Be thankful that you have Christ in your life

Be thankful that God, Who created the universe, loves you. Give thanks to Jesus Christ, Who gave His life to free us from our sins. Although we cannot see the road ahead, the Lord is our Shepherd and there is nothing for us to fear. Always and everywhere give thanks to the Lord.

Suggestion: Give thanks for having Jesus in your life and for all He has done for you. Thank the Holy Spirit for the faith that is in you. A strong faith drives out worry and fear. Give thanks for the gray days as well as the sunny days. To everything there is a purpose.

 

Step 7

Acknowledge God publicly by going to church

We have a duty to honor God publicly as well as privately. We have an obligation to come together to publicly honor God, to acknowledge His Goodness and to ask for His help.

Suggestion: Join a church group. You will meet people who can help you in your spiritual journey. Receive the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood, as often as possible.

 

Step 8

Be happy — Christ is in you and you are in Christ

Following Christ is the foundation of happiness. We don’t have to wait until our resurrection to be happy. Christ wants us to be happy at this moment. How can you be unhappy if you truly believe that Jesus loves you and is always with you? Remember Christ’s promise that “whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

Suggestion: Reflect on God’s great love for you. Be happy. Don’t worry. Memorize Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Trust God in good times as well as bad times. Whatever happens, let your heart say The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Praise the Lord. In your daily practice of Quiet Time, include consecration to the Sacred Heart and prayers to the Mother of Jesus. Saying the rosary brings you closer to her Son Jesus.

 

God Has a Special Plan for You

Jesus Christ, Son of the Virgin Mary, for the rest of my life I will follow You.

God has a special plan for you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him. He wants you to grow in holiness, then people will see how Jesus has transformed your life. They will be attracted by your unselfishness and by the peace and joy evident in your life. You will preach Christ by the way you treat other people. You will make Christ real to a doubting world.

To find out what God wants you to do, listen to His voice during Quiet Time. Read the story of Christ’s life as told in the Bible and you will learn how to live your life, Receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and He will open your heart to His love,

Part of God’s plan for you is revealed in Matthew 18:3 where Jesus placed a child in the midst of His disciples and told them, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” I believe Christ is telling us that we must stop our mindless pursuit of status, fame, wealth and worldly pleasures. God’s plan for you does not include these goals. You are to become like Christ, who did not come as a king, but as one who serves.

To carry out God’s plan, ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life. The Holy Spirit will give you the knowledge and the strength to go wherever God’s plan may lead you. Ask Mary, the Mother of God, to show you how to please her Son. And then you will know the path to follow.

You don’t know how God is going to use you, so in Quiet Time ask Jesus, “Show me what you want me to do, Lord, and I will do it.” You might add, “But I will need your help.” Let His power work through you, and you will bring others to Christ.

Christ expects you to take time to minister to others. You might take part in a prayer group, or assist at church services. You might volunteer at a food bank, or coach sports. If you can’t participate directly, then you can pray for people having problems. And you will grow in holiness.

God’s plan for you might lead you down a dark and difficult path — one that you would rather not take. You might have serious health or financial problems. There could be tragedies or troubles with family members. But God will be with you and He won’t give you a cross that you can’t handle. You may be afraid and wonder what His purpose is for you. Continue to trust God and to believe that He is with you at every step of your journey. Hold fast to Christ’s promise of your resurrection and future life with Him, and there will be peace in your heart.

In everything that you do, work for Christ, with Christ and through Christ. The size of the task doesn’t matter; how you do it, does. Take no credit, but give Him all praise and honor. And your life will be a love story between God and you.

You too are with the Nazarene, Jesus

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you

and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.

Matthew 11

 

The scene is the high priest’s courtyard in Jerusalem. The disciple Peter is seated with the guards and is warming himself before an open fire. Earlier, Jesus had been seized by a crowd with swords and clubs and taken to a building connected to this same courtyard (Mark 14:53-72). Inside, the chief priests of the high court are interrogating Jesus. They are trying to obtain testimony in order to put Him to death.

While Peter is seated in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids looks intently at him and says, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But Peter denies it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” Later, the maid again sees Peter and charges him with being a follower of Jesus. Once more he denies it. Then a bystander says to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you too are a Galilean.” Mark’s gospel tells us that Peter begins to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man you are talking about” (Mark 14:71).

It is easy to harshly judge Peter for denying that he knew Jesus. But think of the times you didn’t want people to know that you were a Catholic. Think of the occasions when you avoided giving an honest answer to a moral question. You were afraid to lose a friendship. You didn’t want to be unpopular. Yet your silence signals, “I do not know this Man, Jesus.”

Our failure to acknowledge Christ is understandable. It takes courage to go against the crowd. Publicly stating your moral position is not easy. If you disagree with our secular society, you are labeled a religious fanatic or a hate monger. Do you have the courage to be pro-life and to speak out against the murder of unborn children?

Two public health nurses came to my Grade 9 class, They showed the students how to use condoms and answered their questions. It was never mentioned that this behavior was unwise and morally wrong. When they left, I talked to the class. I stressed that sex was a special gift from God, that they should not allow themselves to be pressured into having sex and that they should listen to their parents’ advice. To my surprise, the students clapped. To my sorrow, there were other occasions when I was silent.

If you are baptized, then you too are with the Nazarene, Jesus. Don’t betray Him. Be both happy and proud that you’re a Christian and that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Don’t apologize or try to downplay your principles or abandon them as some claiming to be Christians do. What you say publicly, more than what you say privately, reveals who you truly are.

Some may dislike you because your beliefs make them feel uncomfortable. To state that premarital sex, adultery, abortion and the practice of homosexuality are contrary to Christ’s teachings is guaranteed to make you unpopular. To state that only Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour is considered intolerant by many. If you are with the Nazarene, expect some conflict with the system — people who were lukewarm or fence-sitters angered Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to tell the truth, to make your voice heard and to be the person you claim to be — a follower of Jesus Christ.

You Are What You Read

The lamp of the body is the eye.

If your eye is clear then your whole body is filled with light.

Mathew 6:22

 

Avoid reading or watching material that may offend God. Suggestion: Visit a religious bookstore for books that strengthen your faith. Consider giving an interesting and inspiring book as a gift.

 

Story of a Soul (Saint Therese) – this beautiful book has brought many to Jesus

Jesus and His Message (Rev. Mahon) – a clear introduction to Jesus; will enrich all who read it

Our Grounds of Hope (Fulton Sheen) – reflections on the pain and suffering in our lives

Seven Story Mountain (Thomas Merton) – his journey and struggle to be close to God

Poustinia (Catherine de Hueck Doherty) – Christian spirituality of the east for western man

The Cost of Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) – teaches us how to face God and ourselves

Becoming Human (Jean Vanier) – his vision for changing our lives by reaching out to others

Loving Jesus (Gonzalez-Balado) – notes on Mother Teresa, a sure cure for weak faith

Simpler Living, Compassionate Life (Schut) – how voluntary simplicity can lead to wholeness

Contrary to Love (Dr. Patrick Carnes) – invaluable help in dealing with sexual addiction

The Road Less Traveled (Dr. M. Scott Peck) – helpful insights leading to wholeness

Theology for Beginners (Frank Sheed) – clear explanations from a street corner apologist

The Seekers Guide to a Christian Marriage (K. Finley) – ways to build a satisfying marriage

Surprised by Truth (Patrick Madrid) – 11 conversion accounts; biblical and theological proofs

Catholics and the New Age (Fr. Pacwa) – study of Jungian psychology, reincarnation, astrology

Beyond Personality (C.S. Lewis) – a deeper understanding of God and His plans for you

Prayers of Hope (Cardinal Van Thuan) – thoughts and prayers from 9 years in solitary confinement

 

Read Holy Scripture (try to read at least one page of the Bible each day).

A study of the New Testament Epistles gives us clear lessons on how to lead a disciplined life pleasing to God. Think of them as letters to you. Before beginning to read, ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and to strengthen your will, so that your life will reflect what you have learned. Ask yourself the following questions: “What can I learn from this passage; how do I presently act; what specific changes are needed to make my behavior more pleasing to God?”

It is hard for us to realize that the words of Christ, spoken nearly 2000 years ago, are contemporary in every age. Read the gospels and allow God to whisper in your mind and in your heart words that can have a profound effect on the way you think and act.….He will find us if we listen to his voice calling to us through the fog that often surrounds us. (Cardinal Hume)

 

A Prayer Book

The Perfect Prayer

Participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Mass, is the most perfect act of worship of the Precious Blood of Christ. The Church tells us that “the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole of the Church’s worship and of the Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in this sacrifice of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise, not only when they wholeheartedly offer the Sacred Victim, and with it themselves, to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same Victim sacramentally.”

“The Eucharist brings the power of Christ’s death on the cross into the lives of the faithful.” (Pope John Paul II, Sept. 14, 1984)

 

Our Father

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil. Amen

 

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,

now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

Gloria

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

 

Jesus Help Me

Jesus help me, your servant whom you have redeemed by your Precious Blood.

In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying Jesus help me.

In all my doubts, perplexities and temptations Jesus help me.

In hours of loneliness, weariness and trial Jesus help me.

In the failure of my plans and hopes Jesus help me.

In disappointments, troubles and sorrows Jesus help me.

When I throw myself on your tender love as a Father and a Saviour Jesus help me.

When I feel impatient and my cross is heavy Jesus help me.

When I am ill, and my head and hands cannot do their work Jesus help me.

Always, always, in joys or sorrows, in falls and short-comings Jesus help me and never forsake me. Amen.

 

Prayer of Parents

Grant us, 0 Lord Jesus, to imitate faithfully the example of your Holy Family and to make our home another Nazareth.

May peace, love and happiness prevail.

Grant us the grace to be the parents we should be for our children.

Grant that our children may find solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love within the embrace of our home.

When the time comes for each of us to go to the ever-lasting home you have prepared for us, may your glorious Mother and St. Joseph take us to you, after the final grace of a happy death. Amen.

 

Prayer to my Guardian Angel

Angel sent by God to guide me,

Be my light and walk beside me;

Be my guardian and protect me,

On the paths of life direct me.

 

A Student’s Prayer

Lord there are many things in my life that need your help.

I need help in understanding my studies and passing my exams.

Also help is needed in managing my finances and my relationships with others.

But most of all I need your help to do what is right,

when so many advise me to do whatever I want.

 

Prayer for Employment

Jesus, you gave us the Lord’s Prayer.

You told us to include the words,

“give us this day our daily bread.”

 

Lord, I desperately need to find a job,

so that I can pay my bills and put food on the table.

 

So far the people that I have contacted

and the resumes that I have sent

have not led to a full-time job.

 

Now I turn to you and ask for your help.

 

Jesus I know you will hear and answer my prayers.

 

I will continue to look for work

and to trust in your loving care.

 

Prayer of a Separated or Divorced Person

Father, I belong to you.

I place myself anew in your hands

and acknowledge you as Master and Lord of my life.

 

Grant me the gift of a forgiving heart

and cleanse me of any anger, hostility or revenge.

 

Heal my hurts and wounds

and teach me to rely on your love.

 

Grant me wisdom of heart and strengthen me

by your grace to move on in faith, in trust and in love.

 

Thank you Lord for your love in my life. Amen.

 

For Our Holy Father

God our Father, shepherd and guide,

look with love on our holy father Pope Benedict XVI,

your servant, the pastor of your Church.

 

May his word and example inspire and guide the Church,

and may he, and all those entrusted to his care,

come to the joy of everlasting life.

Grant this through Christ your Son. Amen.

 

For Priests

Heavenly Father,

we join together with Jesus in prayer for our priests.

 

You have called them from among us to offer the Holy Sacrifice

and to proclaim the Good News.

 

We praise and thank you

for showing your goodness

through the work of their hands and hearts.

 

With faith and confidence

we ask that you make our priests fervent in prayer

as they lead your people.

 

Help them to become more Christlike day by day,

in their service to the Church.

 

Give them a new heart and a new spirit,

a spirit of compassion and self-sacrifice

that they may give witness to your love for your people.

 

This we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

The Divine Praises

Blessed be God.

Blessed be his holy Name.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

Blessed be the name of Jesus.

Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.

Blessed be his most Precious Blood.

Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.

Blessed be the Holy Spirit.

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.

Blessed be her glorious Assumption.

Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.

 

Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Happy Death

O Blessed Joseph,

you gave your last breath

in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary.

 

When the seal of death shall close my life,

come with Jesus and Mary to aid me.

 

Obtain for me this solace for that hour,

to die with their holy arms around me.

 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul,

living and dying, into your sacred arms.

Amen.

 

In Time of Personal Illness

O Jesus, you suffered and died for us;

you understand our suffering.

 

Teach me to embrace my suffering: to bear it in union with you,

to offer it with you to atone for my sins and to obtain your grace for those in need.

 

Calm my fears; increase my trust.

 

May I willingly accept your holy will

and become more like you in trial.

 

According to your will, restore me to health

so that I may continue to work for your honor and glory and for the salvation of all. Amen.

 

Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for me.

Prayer of Acceptance

My Lord and my God,

I willingly accept from your hands

the type of death you plan for me.

 

All its sorrows, pain and anguish

I join to your sufferings on the Cross.

 

All that I ask is that you stand beside me and never leave me.

 

The Lumen Christi program contains no promise that following this path will make your life problem-free. But if you seek God with all your heart, He will provide for you. No matter how dark and difficult the road you travel, Christ will be there to strengthen and guide you. And at the end of your journey, you will hear Him say words to the effect, Well done good and faithful servant, now enter into My Kingdom. And your joy will have no end.

 

Commit Your Life to Jesus Christ

In the Old and New Testament, God made a covenant with His people. We in turn commit our lives to Jesus when we are baptized. By publicly renewing our commitment to Jesus Christ, we experience Him in an exciting new way.

Father Bob Bedard C.C., a former high school chaplain, recounts how he witnessed again and again to genuine religious experience. “The Lord was at work. He was doing what I had never been able to do — change people’s lives.” At their graduation, Father had his students attend Mass in the school chapel. Before communion the students would come forward, kneel and read the commitment prayer together. What a wonderful way to start a new chapter in their lives!

Other suitable occasions to make this commitment might be at the conclusion of a parish prayer meeting, at a retreat, or at the final class of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. You can use the following text or compose your own:

Dear God, I place myself in your presence.

 

I worship you as Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth.

 

Now I make the commitment that I believe your Son Jesus is calling me to make.

 

Loving Father send your Holy Spirit to help me pray this promise.

 

Jesus, you died on the Cross to take away my sins and the sins of all the world.

 

I confess my sinfulness and claim the forgiveness that you have gained for me.

 

And I forgive all those who may have hurt me in any way.

 

Jesus, out of love for each one of us you suffered your sorrowful passion.

 

And you would have done it out of love for me alone. I now accept your unfailing love.

 

Jesus I want you to have complete charge of my life.

 

I desire a personal relationship with you as my Lord and my Savior.

 

Everything that I have and all that I am, I surrender to you this day.

 

Lord, plan and guide my life in whatever way you think best.

 

Jesus, my faith is weak and I often face temptations.

 

Lord, develop in me a strong faith and the wisdom to call on the Holy Spirit when I am in trouble.

 

Jesus, with your help I will turn away from sin.

 

I will place a guard over what I watch, what I hear,

what I say and what I do in order not to offend you, my loving God.

 

Jesus, Son of Mary,

I will strive to set aside time each day to praise you, to love you,

to thank you and to seek your help.

 

Jesus I trust you completely.

 

May all glory, praise and thanksgiving be given to the Father,

and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

 

Signed by:__________________________ Date: ______________________

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Eucharistic Identity: Christ Really Present

As a sacrament, the Eucharist has a double aspect: it is both a sign and the reality signified by it, both a remembering of the past and a making-really-present:

“When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ‘s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the Cross remains ever present” (CCC 1564).

 

Here the three meanings of “present” come together: Christ in the Eucharist is:

1) present, not absent, but really here;

2) present, not past, but happening now;

3) presented as a gift (a “present”), really given; offered, not withheld.

 

Christ is “present in many ways to His Church” (CCC 1373) but “[t]he mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species [forms, appearances] is unique.

It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as ‘the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend’201 [St. Thomas Aquinas].

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’ . . . [I]t is presence in the fullest sense . . . Christ, God and man, makes Himself wholly and entirely present” (CCC 1374).


Hello God, I Need to Talk to You

“Hello God, I need to talk to you.”

Speaking to God honestly is the beginning of prayer…

(Father John Powell S.J.)

 

Tell God your thoughts, desires and feelings.

This includes being angry, having doubts, taking drugs,

having sexual feelings, trouble praying, and so on.

Have faith in God’s promise to help you when you talk to Him

Mathew 7:7-8 tells us:

 

“Ask and it will be given to you,

seek and you will find,

knock and the door will be open.”

 

“But he should ask in faith, not doubting…

for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea

that is driven and tossed about by the wind,

for that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:6-7

 

There will be times when God wants to talk to you.

 

Don’t worry about what He may say or ask you to do.

 

Remember… God always wants the best for you.


Hang Up

In Isaiah, God says, “Do not consider the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth.”

You are to walk in the newness,which means you must let go of past negatives–ideas, people, and feelings.

Setting boundaries, moving on from toxic relationships, deciding to change,and releasing old patterns and bad habits while learning new and constructive ones requires courage, work, and commitment.

 

Steps to Hang Up

• Hang up when the relationship is controlling, manipulative, intimidating, abusive, or addictive.

• Prepare yourself to hang up by praying, seeking wise counsel, facing the facts, and taking action.

• Set healthy boundaries, refusing to relate to people who tear you down instead of build you up.

• Move up to positive, prosperous healthy relationships after you hang up on the old and embrace God’s new for your life.


Cremation: Process

Cremation, as an option for the final disposition of a deceased person, has been around for thousands of years. While the beginnings of cremation involved somewhat primitive methods for achieving the end result, modern times and technology have given rise to a more standardized version of the process. Companies throughout the world manufacture human size cremators that reduce the amount of time necessary to complete the cremation to less than 2 hours. Here is how the cremation process works.

Preparation of the Body

Before a deceased person is cremated, a funeral director must first obtain authorization to cremate the decedent from the closest surviving family members(s). This is usually in the form of a document provided by the funeral home and signed by the family.

Next, the funeral director must remove any items not wished to be cremated along with the body such as jewelry. If the deceased had a pacemaker or other type of medical device, it too will need to be removed to prevent an explosion from occurring during the cremation process. It is not necessary to embalm a body before the cremation unless the family wishes to have a public viewing of the body during a memorial service.

The body is then placed in a cremation casket, usually made of wood, or more often a cremation container which is basically a large cardboard box with a plywood bottom for sturdiness. These types of containers will burn fairly well during the cremation cycle.

The funeral director or crematory operator will place an identification tag in the cremation container with the body to properly identify the cremated remains once returned to the funeral home. This is a very important step as it insures the family does not end up with the wrong set of cremated ashes.

The Cremation

The cremation container/casket containing the body is then placed in the cremation chamber from the end. The cremation chamber, sometimes referred to as the retort, is lined with fire resistant bricks on the walls and ceiling. The floor is made from a special masonry compound formulated specifically to withstand extremely high temperatures. Once the body is in, the chamber door, which is about a half a foot thick, is closed either by hand or in some cases a switch as many of the newer models have automated doors.

The crematory operator then starts the machine which normally goes through a warm up cycle before the main burning begins. After the machine is warmed up, the main burner ignites starting the process of incinerating the body. Temperatures within the chamber often reach the 1800°F – 2000°F range. The burners within a cremator are fueled by either natural gas or propane.

It generally takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours for a body to be completely reduced to just the bone fragments by cremation. Some cremation furnaces, especially the older ones, may require a little more time.

Processing the Ashes

After the entire incinerating process is complete, a cool down period of 30 minutes to an hour is required before the bone fragments can be handled for further processing. When the time finally arrives, the cremated remains or bone fragments are removed from the cremation chamber and placed on a table work area. It is here that the crematory operator removes all metal debris such as screws, nails, surgical pins or titanium limbs/joints with a magnet and by hand.

The remaining bone fragments are then placed in a special processor which consists of a cylinderical container with motorized blades at the bottom of the unit. This processor pulverizes the bone fragments to a fine powder called cremains or more commonly referred to as the ashes.

The ashes are then placed in a plastic bag within a temporary cremation container or an urn provided one is furnished to the crematory. The ashes are then returned to the family.


Cremation: Ashes to Ashes

The Church No Longer Forbids the Practice, but Does NOT Allow The Scattering of Cremated Remains

By Lou Jacquet

To judge by the box-office receipts, millions have watched the final scene in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County.” In it a son and daughter honor their mother’s last request by scattering her ashes from a scenic Iowa bridge.

It’s high drama, a powerful moment. Whatever else it might be, however, it would clearly not be a proper burial if the woman were Catholic.

But the mere fact the woman was cremated is not the issue. Today many Catholics, in speaking with their parish priest about funeral arrangements for themselves or for a loved one, are surprised to learn the Church no longer forbids cremation. What those cinematic heirs did wrong was to ignore the Church’s stipulation that cremated remains (called “cremains”) must receive a proper burial in consecrated ground.

“You can’t store Grandma on the mantel or scatter your father’s ashes across the 13th green of his favorite golf course,” advises Father Peter Polando, canon lawyer and pastor of St. Matthias Parish in Youngstown, Ohio. “The Church has strong feelings about the fact that this body has been a temple of the Holy Spirit and requires a proper burial as a result.”

By definitions supplied from funeral-industry literature, cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. The bone fragments are then pulverized, and placed within a temporary container before being returned to the family.

Catholic burial practice calls for the cremains to be buried in an urn within a consecrated grave or placed inside a mausoleum. Keeping ashes at home or scattering them on land or sea, even where legal, is inappropriate to the Church’s deep reverence for the body as a place where the soul has resided, As “Our Sunday Visitor‘s Catholic Encyclopedia” notes:

“Cremation was the normal custom in the ancient civilized world, except in Egypt, Judea and China. It was repugnant to early Christians because of the belief in the resurrection of the body. By the fifth century, cremation had been largely abandoned in the Roman Empire because of Christian influence.”

These days, cremation has become more common in the United States among persons of various denominations. The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) estimates that out of roughly 2.6 million deaths each year, there are some 471,000 cremations, or about 20 percent. By the year 2010, the association predicts, cremations will account for almost 33 percent of funeral planning. Currently, California far outstrips the nation with 93,221 cremations reported in 1994. CANA says there 1,100 crematories in the United States.

The number of cremations is increasing for three main reasons. First, there is a growing shortage of burial spaces in some sections of the nation. Second, in a mobile society where many people move often, it’s much simpler to transport ashes than a casket. Many elderly who live in the northern states, for example, winter in warmer climates. It’s not unusual for them to leave instructions that, should they die there, their bodies are to be cremated and the remains flown home to be interred in the family burial plot. And a third reason is financial: a cremation typically costs significantly less than a full-scale burial in a casket.

Just when and why did the Church change its teaching on this option?

In his book “Questions and Answers,” syndicated columnist Father John Dietzen explains “the first general legislation banning the burning of bodies as a funeral rite burning of bodies as a funeral rite came from the Vatican’s Holy Office in May 1886, noting the anti-religious and Masonic motivation behind the movement. The 1918 Code of Canon Law continued that ban because cremation was still considered a flagrant rejection of the Christian belief in immortality and the resurrection.”

But now the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, which devotes hundreds of words to some subjects, matter-of-factly devotes only 20 words to the topic: “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body” (no. 2301).

The current Code of Canon Law (revised in 1983) devotes a mere 30 words that elaborate on the same theme: “The Church earnestly recommends the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (no. 1176).

So what happened between the end of World War I and the writing of the revised code? In 1963, the Church began to relax its attitude toward cremation for reasons of national custom, lack of burial space, disease control and other considerations. Now the revised code’s canon incorporates the 1963 decree, but omits any mention of requiring a good reason for cremation.

Father Polando noted that the Canon Law Society of America‘s “Commentary on the Code of Canon Law” is more specific: “In the old code, the former law was quite forceful and restrictive in its opposition to cremation. Actually, the Church has never been against cremation as such, but discouraged it because of the reasons people used to justify it.

“The Church reacts to problems that come to its doorstep,” he continued. “The Church adopted the stance it did because people were using cremation to justify denying the resurrection of the body.”

But now the Church believes those who request cremation aren’t doing so out of any desire to deny bodily resurrection or defame Church teaching. Cremation and a Catholic funeral liturgy would, of course, be denied if that were the case.

Lou Jacquet is editor of the Catholic Exponent, newspaper for the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.

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1-800-348-2440 .This item 645 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org