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

Posts tagged “Christian

A Family Blessing

Bless Our Family

All praise to You, Lord Jesus,

Lover of children:

Bless our family,

And help us to lead our children to You.

Give us light and strength,

And courage when our task is difficult.

Let Your Spirit fill us with love and peace,

So that we may help our children to love You.

All glory and praise are Yours, Lord Jesus,

Forever and ever.

Amen.

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Holy Matrimony: Marriage

In a marriage a man and a woman pledge themselves to one another in an unbreakable alliance of total mutual self-giving. A total union of love.

Love that is not a passing emotion or temporary infatuation, but a responsible and free decision to bind oneself completely, “in good times and in bad,” to one’s partner. It is the gift of oneself to the other.

It is a love to be proclaimed before the eyes of the whole world. It is unconditional. To be capable of such love calls for careful preparation from early childhood to wedding day. It requires the constant support of Church and society throughout its development.

The love of husband and wife in God‘s plan leads beyond itself and new life is generated, a family is born. The family is a community of love and life, a home in which children are guided to maturity.

Marriage is a holy sacrament. Those baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus are married in his name also. Their love is a sharing in the love of God. He is its source. The marriages of Christian couples, today renewed and blessed, are images on earth of the wonder of God, the loving, life-giving communion of Three Persons in one God, and of God’s covenant in Christ, with the Church. Christian marriage is a sacrament of salvation. It is the pathway to holiness for all members of a family.

With all my heart, therefore, I urge that your homes be centers of prayer; homes where families are at ease in the presence of God; homes to which others are invited to share hospitality, prayer and the praise of God: “With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3,16-17).

In your country, there are many marriages between Catholics and other baptized Christians. Sometimes these couples experience special difficulties. To these families I say: You live in your marriage the hopes and difficulties of the path to Christian unity. Express that hope in prayer together, in the unity of love. Together invite the Holy Spirit of love into your hearts and into your homes. He will help you to grow in trust and understanding.

Brothers and sisters, “May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts….Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you” (Col. 3,15-16).

Recently I wrote an Apostolic Exhortation to the whole Catholic Church regarding the role of the Christian Family in the modern world. In that Exhortation I underlined the positive aspects of family life today, which include: a more lively awareness of personal freedom and greater attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships in marriage, greater attention to promoting the dignity of women, to responsible procreation, to the education of children. But at the same time I could not fail to draw attention to the negative phenomena: a corruption of the idea and experience of freedom, with consequent self-centeredness in human relations; serious misconceptions regarding the relationship between parents and children; the growing number of divorces; the scourge of abortion; the spread of a contraceptive and anti-life mentality. Besides these destructive forces, there are social and economic conditions which affect millions of human beings, undermining the strength and stability of marriage and family life. In addition there is the cultural onslaught against the family by those who attack married life as “irrelevant” and “outdated.” All of this is a serious challenge to society and to the Church. As I wrote then: “History is not simply a fixed progression towards what is better, but rather an event of freedom, and even a struggle between freedoms that are in mutual conflict” (Familiaris Consortio, n. 6). Married couples, I speak to you of the hopes and ideals that sustain the Christian vision of marriage and family life. You will find the strength to be faithful to your marriage vows in your love for your children. Let this love be the rock that stands firm in the face of every storm and temptation. What better blessing could the Pope wish for your families than what Saint Paul wished for the Christians of Colossae: “Be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes … put on love” (Col. 3,12-14).

Being a parent today brings worries and difficulties, as well as joys and satisfactions. Your children are your treasure. They love you very much, even if they sometimes find it hard to express that love. They look for independence and are reluctant to conform. Sometimes they wish to reject past traditions and even reject their faith.

In the family bridges are meant to be built, not broken; and new expressions of wisdom and truth can be fashioned from the meeting of experience and enquiry. Yours is a true and proper ministry in the Church. Open the doors of your home and of your heart to all the generations of your family. We cannot overlook the fact that some marriages fail. But still it is our duty to proclaim the true plan of God for all married love and to insist on fidelity to that plan, as we go towards the fullness of life in the Kingdom of heaven. Let us not forget that God’s love for his people, Christ’s love for the Church, is everlasting and can never be broken. And the covenant between a man and a women joined in Christian marriage is as indissoluble and irrevocable as this love (cf. AAS 71 [1979], p. 1224). This truth is a great consolation for the world, and because some marriages fail, there is an ever greater need for the Church and all her members to proclaim it faithfully.

Christ himself, the living source of grace and mercy, is close to all those whose marriage has known trial, pain, or anguish. Throughout the ages countless married people have drawn from the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection the strength to bear Christian witness—at times very difficult—to the indissolubility of Christian marriage.

And all the efforts of the Christian people to bear faithful witness to God’s law, despite human weakness, have not been in vain. These efforts are the human response made, through grace, to a God who has first loved us and who has given himself for us.

As I explained in my Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, the Church is vitally concerned for the pastoral care of the family in all difficult cases. We must reach out with love—the love of Christ—to those who know the pain of failure in marriage; to those who know the loneliness of bringing up a family on their own; to those whose family life is dominated by tragedy or by illness of mind or body. I praise all those who help people wounded by the breakdown of their marriage, by showing them Christ’s compassion and counselling them according to Christ’s truth.

To the public authorities, and to all men and women of good will, I say: treasure your families. Protect their rights. Support the family by your laws and administration. Allow the voice of the family to be heard in the making of your policies. The future of your society, the future of humanity, passes by the way of the family.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, who are now about to renew the promises of your wedding day: may your words express once more the truth that is in your heart and may they generate faithful love within your families. Make sure that your families are real communities of love.

Allow that love to reach out to other people, near and far. Reach out especially to the lonely and burdened people of your neighborhood, to the poor and to all those on the margin of society. In this way you will build up your society in peace, for peace requires trust, and trust is the child of love, and love comes to birth in the cradle of the family.

The union of a man and a woman is natural. The natural language of the human body is such that the man gives to the woman and the woman receives the man. The love and friendship between a man and a woman grow into a desire for marriage. The sacrament of marriage gives the couple the grace to grow into a union of heart and soul, to continue life, and to provide stability for themselves and their children. Children are the fruit and bond of a marriage.

The bond of marriage between a man and a woman lasts all the days of their lives, and the form of the rite consists of the mutual exchange of vows by a couple, both of whom have been baptized. The minister serves as a witness to the couple in the West, but serves as the actual minister of the rite in the East. The matter follows later through consummation of the marriage act.

Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God, and concludes with a vision of the “wedding-feast of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7, 9). The bond of marriage is compared to God’s undying love for Israel in the Old Testament, and Christ’s love for his Church in the New Testament of the Bible.

Jesus stresses the significance of the marriage bond in his Ministry (Matthew 19:6, 8). The importance of marriage is substantiated by the presence of Christ at the wedding feast of Cana, where he began his public ministry at the request of his mother Mary by performing his first miracle (John 2). It is the Apostle Paul who calls matrimony a great sacrament or mystery, and who identifies the marriage of man and woman with the unity of Christ and his Church. The theologian Tertullian, the first Latin Father of the Church at the beginning of the third century AD, wrote on the Sacrament of Matrimony.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24

 

“(Jesus) said in reply: “Have you not read that He who made man from the beginning

made them male and female?”

Matthew 19:4

 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church.”

St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:25

 

“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,

and the wife should respect her husband.”

St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:32-33


Living the Christian Life

Welcome. This information is intended for those who are already believers. Some people believe that if they sincerely work at living a Christian life, they will be a Christian. This is fundamentally wrong. Living a Christian life does not make one a Christian.

Baptism, prayers, taking the sacraments, tithing, assisting in worship activities, being an elder, a song leader or a Youth Bible Class teacher are only activities for those who have been to 1st Base with God.

Do you have a moment of conscious conversion, when you trusted Christ personally as your Saviour? That moment of salvation is 1st Base. Jesus referred to this as the new birth. In John 3, Jesus told a very religious man he would never be in the Kingdom of God unless he was born again. (John 3:3,7)

  • A natural birth brought us into the human family.

  • A spiritual birth is required to bring us into God’s Family.

  • The Christian Living section is for those who have been born into the family of God by their conscious personal acceptance of Christ as their Saviour.

If you have experienced the New Birth you are in the Family of God. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Our desire is to please Christ.

He is not only our Saviour, He is our Lord.


What is Christianity?

Christian identity is to belong in a place that Jesus defines for us,

By living in that place, we come in some degree to share His identity, to bear His name and to be in the same relationships He has with God and with the world.

Forget “Christ/ianity” for a moment –

Christianity as a system of ideas competing with others in the market;

concentrate on the place in the world that is the place of Jesus the anointed,

and what it is that becomes possible in that place.


10 Catholic Commandments of God

1. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.

2. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day

4. Honor your father and your mother.

5. You shall not kill.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

7. You shall not steal.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

10. You shall not covet you neighbor’s goods.

 

The Two Great Commandments that contain the whole law of God are:

You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

 

The Chief Commandments or Laws, of the Church:

To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.

To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

To confess our sins at least once a year.

To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.

To contribute to the support of the Church.

To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

 

Deuteronomy 4:13

And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

 

Deuteronomy 4:40

Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

 

The Catholic Church has always taught for centuries the importance of obeying the 10 Commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 7:9

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations;

 

Ten Commandments Covenant

 

Exodus 34:28

And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.


What are your Spiritual Gifts?

In

• Romans 12:6-8

1 Corinthians 12:8-30

Ephesians 4:11-12

1 Peter 4:11

it speaks of spiritual gifts given by God to individual believers in accordance with his will.

 

The purpose of these gifts isn’t to help us build our careers and find success.

 

The gifts are given for one purpose:

“So that the body of Christ [the church] may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12).

 

Christians are most fulfilled when they’re serving using their spiritual gifts.

When we understand our spiritual gifts, we’re better able to understand ourselves and how God has uniquely empowered us.

How do we determine our spiritual gifts?

The best way to find your gifts is to serve and see what God blesses.

Before beginning this evaluation, pray that the Holy Spirit will guide and make you aware of your God-given gifts.

The Checklist Approach:

Look over the following list. Put a check next to those that seem to describe you.

____ Administration

____ Apostleship

____ Craftsmanship

____ Creative Communication

____ Discernment

____ Encouragement

____ Evangelism

____ Faith

____ Giving

____ Helps

____ Hospitality

____ Intercession

____ Knowledge

____ Leadership

____ Mercy

____ Prophecy

____ Shepherding

____ Teaching

____ Wisdom

____ Healing*

____ Interpretation*

____ Miracles*

____ Tongues*

____ Counseling**

____ Celibacy**

____ Serving**

____ Music**

 

Next go back over the items you have checked and give each a number:

 

1 if this is very strong in your life and descriptive of you;

2 if this is somewhat strong and descriptive of you;

3 if this is one of the least descriptive of the items you checked.

 

Then ask three people who know you well to do the same.

List the items that were ranked number 1 on all the lists.

Probably these are your spiritual gifts.

 

*These gifts are not included in some lists because they are more easily identified.

**These gifts are not listed in Scripture but are identified by some Christians as spiritual gifts.