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

Posts tagged “Christianity

Prayer Before Reading the Bible

Father, anoint me with your Holy Spirit,

so that as I read Your eternal word,

Your word may penetrate my whole being

and transform me.

Grant me the blessing to be a faithful disciple

in believing the Word of God

and that I may be a light shining

upon all who are in darkness.

Amen


Prayer for Healing

Lord Jesus Christ, by Your patience in suffering

you hallowed earthly pain

and gave us the example of obedience to your Father’s will:

Be near me in my time of weakness and pain;

sustain me by Your grace,

that my strength and courage may not fail;

heal me according to Your will;

and help me always to believe

that what happens to me here

is of little account if You hold me in eternal life,

my Lord and my God. Amen.


Prayer for a Good Husband

 

O Jesus, lover of the young, the dearest Friend I have,

in all confidence I open my heart to You

to beg Your light and assistance in the important task of planning my future.

Give me the light of Your grace,

that I may decide wisely concerning the person

who is to be my partner through life.

Dearest Jesus, send me such a one

whom in Your divine wisdom

You judge best suited

to be united with me in marriage.

May his character reflect some of the traits of Your own Sacred Heart.

May he be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble,

so that with united efforts and with pure and unselfish love

we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body,

as well as the family it may please You to entrust to our care.

Bless our friendship before marriage,

that sin may have no part in it.

May our mutual love bind us so closely,

that our future home may ever be most like Your own at Nazareth.

O Mary Immaculate, sweet Mother of the young,

to your special care I entrust the decision I am to make

as to my future husband.

You are my guiding Star!

direct me to the person

with whom I can best cooperate

in doing God‘s Holy Will,

with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life,

and attain eternal joys in the next.

Amen.


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.


A Cleansing Blessing

The LORD is cleansing me

of all selfishness,

resentment and critical feelings

for my fellow beings

…as well as self-condemnation

and the misinterpretation of my life experiences…

…and more HE is bathing me

in generosity, appreciation, praise and gratitude

for my fellow beings

…and blessed me with self-acceptance

and an enlightened understanding of my experiences…


Popes: from St Peter to current

This list is compiled from articles in the Original Catholic Encyclopedia and is provided for your benefit.

The list is sortable by name (alpha) and by chronology.

Order Name Years Notes

1 Peter, Apostle, Saint Reigned 33-67

2 Linus, Saint Reigned c.67-76

3 Anacletus, Saint Reigned 76-88 aka Cletus

4 Clement I, Saint Reigned 88-97

5 Evaristus, Saint Reigned c.98- c.106 Aristus in the Liberian Catalogue

6 Alexander I, Saint Reigned c.106-115

7 Sixtus I, Saint Reigned 115-125 XYSTUS in the oldest documents

8 Telesphorus, Saint Reigned 125-136

9 Hyginus, Saint Reigned c.136-140

10 Pius I, Saint Reigned c.140-c.154

11 Anicetus, Saint Reigned c.157-168

12 Soter, Saint Reigned c.166-c.174

13 Eleutherius, Saint Reigned c.175-189

14 Victor I, Saint Reigned 189-c.198

15 Zephyrinus, Saint Reigned 198-217

16 Callistus I Reigned 218-c.222

17 Urban I Reigned 222-230

18 Pontian, Saint Reigned 230-235

19 Anterus, Saint Reigned 235-236 aka Anteros

20 Fabian, Saint Reigned 236-250

21 Cornelius Reigned 251-253

22 Lucius I, Saint Reigned 253-254

23 Stephen I, Saint Reigned 254-257

24 Sixtus II, Saint Reigned 257-258 XYSTUS in the oldest documents

25 Dionysius, Saint Reigned 260-268

26 Felix I, Saint Reigned 269-274

27 Eutychianus, Saint Reigned 275-283

28 Caius, Saint Reigned 283-296

29 Marcellinus, Saint Reigned 296-304

30 Marcellus I, Saint Reigned 308-309

31 Eusebius, Saint Reigned 309 or 310

32 Miltiades, Saint Reigned 311-314

33 Sylvester I, Saint Reigned 314-335

34 Mark, Saint Reigned 336 aka Marcus

35 Julius I, Saint Reigned 337-352

36 Liberius Reigned 352-366

37 Damasus I, Saint Reigned 366-383

38 Siricius, Saint Reigned 384-399

39 Anastasius I, Saint Reigned 399-401

40 Innocent I Reigned 401-417

41 Zosimus, Saint Reigned 417-418

42 Boniface I, Saint Reigned 418-422

43 Celestine I, Saint Reigned 422-432

44 Sixtus III, Saint Reigned 432-440 XYSTUS in the oldest documents

45 Leo I, Saint Reigned 440-461

46 Hilarus, Saint Reigned 461-468

47 Simplicius, Saint Reigned 468-483

48 Felix III (II), Saint Reigned 483-492

49 Gelasius I, Saint Reigned 492-496

50 Anastasius II Reigned 496-498

51 Symmachus, Saint Reigned 498-514

52 Hormisdas, Saint Reigned 514-523

53 John I, Saint Reigned 523-c.526

54 Felix IV (III) Reigned 526-530

55 Boniface II Reigned 530-532

56 John II Reigned 533-535

57 Agapetus I, Saint Reigned 535-536

58 Silverius, Saint Reigned 536-537

59 Vigilius Reigned 537-555

60 Pelagius I Reigned 556-561

61 John III Reigned 561-574

62 Benedict I Reigned 575-579

63 Pelagius II Reigned 579-590

64 Gregory I Saint Reigned 590-604

(the Great),

65 Sabinianus Reigned 604-606

66 Boniface III Reigned 607

67 Boniface IV Reigned 608-615

68 Deusdedit, Saint Reigned 615-618

69 Boniface V Reigned 619-625

70 Honorius I Reigned 625-638

71 Severinus Reigned 640

72 John IV Reigned 640-642

73 Theodore I Reigned 642-649

74 Martin I, Saint Reigned 649-655

75 Eugene I Reigned 655-657

76 Vitalian, Saint Reigned 657-672

77 Adeodatus, Saint Reigned 672-676

78 Donus Reigned 676-678

79 Agatho, Saint Reigned 678-681

80 Leo II, Saint Reigned 682-683

81 Benedict II Reigned 684-685

82 John V Reigned 685-686

83 Conon Reigned 686-687

84 Sergius I, Saint Reigned 687-701

85 John VI Reigned 701-705

86 John VII Reigned 705-707

87 Sisinnius Reigned 708

88 Constantine Reigned 708-715

89 Gregory II, Saint Reigned 715-731

90 Gregory III, Saint Reigned 731-741

91 Zachary, Saint Reigned 741-752

92 Stephen II Elected 752 died before his consecration; excluded from some lists

93 Stephen III (II) Reigned 752-757

94 Paul I Reigned 757-767

95 Stephen IV (III) Reigned 768-772

96 Adrian I Reigned 772-795

97 Leo III, Saint Reigned 795-816

98 Stephen V (IV) Reigned 816-817

99 Paschal I Reigned 817-824

100 Eugene II Reigned 824-827

101 Valentine Reigned 827

102 Gregory IV Reigned 827-844

103 Sergius II Reigned 844-847

104 Leo IV, Saint Reigned 847-855

105 Benedict III Reigned 855-858

106 Nicholas I, Saint Reigned 858-867

107 Adrian II Reigned 867-872

108 John VIII Reigned 872-882

109 Marinus I Reigned 882-884

110 Adrian III, Saint Reigned 884-885

111 Stephen VI (V) Reigned 885-891

112 Formosus Reigned 891-896

113 Boniface VI Reigned 896

114 Stephen VII (VI) Reigned 896-897

115 Romanus Reigned 897

116 Theodore II Reigned 897

117 John IX Reigned 898-900

118 Benedict IV Reigned 900-903

119 Leo V Reigned 903

120 Sergius III Reigned 904-911

121 Anastasius III Reigned 911-913

122 Lando Reigned 913-14

123 John X Reigned 914-928

124 Leo VI Reigned 928

125 Stephen VIII (VII) Reigned 929-931

126 John XI Reigned 931-936

127 Leo VII Reigned 936-939

128 Stephen IX (VIII) Reigned 939-942

129 Marinus II Reigned 942-946

130 Agapetus II Reigned 946-955

131 John XII Reigned 955-964

132 Leo VIII Reigned 964-965

133 Benedict V Reigned 964

134 John XIII Reigned 965-972

135 Benedict VI Reigned 973-974

136 Benedict VII Reigned 974-983

137 John XIV Reigned 983-984

138 John XV (XVI) Reigned 985-996

139 Gregory V Reigned 996-999

140 Sylvester II Reigned 999-1003

141 John XVII (XVIII) Reigned 1003

142 John XVIII (XIX) Reigned 1003-1009

143 Sergius IV Reigned 1009-1012

144 Benedict VIII Reigned 1012-1024

145 John XIX (XX) Reigned 1024-1032

146 Benedict IX Reigned 1032-1044

147 Sylvester III Reigned 1045

148 Benedict IX Reigned 1045

149 Gregory VI Reigned 1045-1046

150 Clement II Reigned 1046-1047

151 Benedict IX Reigned 1047-1048

152 Damasus II Reigned 1048

153 Leo IX, Saint Reigned 1049-1054

154 Victor II Reigned 1055-1057

155 Stephen X (IX) Reigned 1057-1058

156 Nicholas II Reigned 1058-1061

157 Alexander II Reigned 1061-1073

158 Gregory VII, Saint Reigned 1073-1085

159 Victor III, Blessed Reigned 1086-1087

160 Urban II, Blessed Reigned 1088-1099

161 Paschal II Reigned 1099-1118

162 Gelasius II Reigned 1118-1119

163 Callistus II Reigned 1119-1124

164 Honorius II Reigned 1124-1130

165 Innocent II Reigned 1130-1143

166 Celestine II Reigned 1143-1144

167 Lucius II Reigned 1144-1145

168 Eugene III Reigned 1145-1153

169 Anastasius IV Reigned 1153-1154

170 Adrian IV Reigned 1154-1159

171 Alexander III Reigned 1159-1181

172 Lucius III Reigned 1181-1185

173 Urban III Reigned 1185-1187

174 Gregory VIII Reigned 1187

175 Clement III Reigned 1187-1191

176 Celestine III Reigned 1191-1198

177 Innocent III Reigned 1198-1216

178 Honorius III Reigned 1216-1227

179 Gregory IX Reigned 1227-1241

180 Celestine IV Reigned 1241

181 Innocent IV Reigned 1243-1254

182 Alexander IV Reigned 1254-1261

183 Urban IV Reigned 1261-1264

184 Clement IV Reigned 1265-1268

185 Gregory X Reigned 1271-1276

186 Innocent V Reigned 1276

187 Adrian V Reigned July-August 1276

188 John XXI (XX) Reigned 1276-1277

189 Nicholas III Reigned 1277-1280

190 Martin IV Reigned 1281-1285

191 Honorius IV Reigned 1285-1287

192 Nicholas IV Reigned 1288-1292

193 Celestine V, Saint Reigned 1294

194 Boniface VIII Reigned 1294-1303

195 Benedict XI, Blessed Reigned 1303-1304

196 Clement V Reigned 1305-1314

197 John XXII Reigned 1316-1334

198 Benedict XII Reigned 1334-1342

199 Clement VI Reigned 1342-1352

200 Innocent VI Reigned 1352-1362

201 Urban V, Blessed Reigned 1362-1370

202 Gregory XI Reigned 1370-1378

203 Urban VI Reigned 1378-1389

204 Boniface IX Reigned 1389-1404

205 Innocent VII Reigned 1404-1406

206 Gregory XII Reigned 1406-1415

207 Martin V Reigned 1417-1431

208 Eugene IV Reigned 1431-1447

209 Nicholas V Reigned 1447-1455

210 Callistus III Reigned 1455-1458

211 Pius II Reigned 1458-1464

212 Paul II Reigned 1464-1471

213 Sixtus IV Reigned 1471-1484

214 Innocent VIII Reigned 1484-1492

215 Alexander VI Reigned 1492-1503

216 Pius III Reigned 1503

217 Julius II Reigned 1503-1513

218 Leo X Reigned 1513-1521

219 Adrian VI Reigned 1522-1523

220 Clement VII Reigned 1523-1534

221 Paul III Reigned 1534-1549

222 Julius III Reigned 1550-1555

223 Marcellus II Reigned 1555 (22 days)

224 Paul IV Reigned 1555-1559

225 Pius IV Reigned 1559-1565

226 Pius V, Saint Reigned 1566-1572

227 Gregory XIII Reigned 1572-1585

228 Sixtus V Reigned 1585-1590

229 Urban VII Reigned 1590

230 Gregory XIV Reigned 1590-1591

231 Innocent IX Reigned 1591

232 Clement VIII Reigned 1592-1605

233 Leo XI Reigned 1605

234 Paul V Reigned 1605-1621

235 Gregory XV Reigned 1621-1623

236 Urban VIII Reigned 1623-1644

237 Innocent X Reigned 1644-1655

238 Alexander VII Reigned 1655-1667

239 Clement IX Reigned 1667-1669

240 Clement X Reigned 1670-1676

241 Innocent XI Reigned 1676-1689

242 Alexander VIII Reigned 1689-1691

243 Innocent XII Reigned 1691-1700

244 Clement XI Reigned 1700-1721

245 Innocent XIII Reigned 1721-1724

246 Benedict XIII Reigned 1724-1730

247 Clement XII Reigned 1730-1740

248 Benedict XIV Reigned 1740-1758

249 Clement XIII Reigned 1758-1769

250 Clement XIV Reigned 1769-1774

251 Pius VI Reigned 1775-1799

252 Pius VII Reigned 1800-1823

253 Leo XII Reigned 1823-1829

254 Pius VIII Reigned 1829-1830

255 Gregory XVI Reigned 1831-1846

256 Pius IX Reigned 1846-1878

257 Leo XIII Reigned 1878-1903

258 Pius X Reigned 1903-1914

259 Benedict XV Reigned 1914-1922 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

260 Pius XI Reigned 1922-1939 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

261 Pius XII Reigned 1939-1958 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

262 John XXIII, Blessed Reigned 1958-1963 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

263 Paul VI Reigned 1963-1978 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

264 John Paul I Reigned 1978 (33 days) Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

265 John Paul II Reigned 1978-2005 Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia

266 Benedict XVI Reigned 2005-present Elected after the release of The 1914 Catholic Encylopedia


Holy Orders: Priesthood

My dear brothers, candidates for the priesthood: for you Christ today renews his prayer to the Father: Consecrate them in truth, your word is truth” (Jn. 17,17). This consecration makes you even more a “new creation.” It sets you apart from the world, so that you may be completely dedicated to God. It gives you a mission to act as Christ’s ambassadors in reconciling the world to God. It was for this purpose that Jesus came from the Father and was born of the Virgin Mary. And it is this same mission which Christ entrusted to his disciples: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth” (Jn. 17,18).

At this important moment of your lives I say to you young men: Realize how deeply Jesus desires you to be consecrated as he himself is consecrated. Realize how closely the bond of priesthood joins you to Christ. Be worthy of the privilege you are going to receive of bringing God’s gifts of love to his people and offering to God the people’s prayerful response.

You must be men of God, his close friends. You must develop daily patterns of prayer, and penance must be a regular part of your life.

Prayer and penance will help you to appreciate more deeply that the strength of your ministry is found in the Lord and not in human resources.

You must try to deepen every day your friendship with Christ. You must also learn to share the hopes and joys, the sorrows and frustrations of the people entrusted to your care. Bring to them Christ’s saving message of reconciliation. Visit your parishioners in their homes. This has been a strength of the Church in England. It is a pastoral practice that should not be neglected. Teach your people boldly about the faithful love of God. And do not forget all those with special needs, particularly those who are in prison, and their families. In the gospel Christ identifies himself with prisoners when he says, “I was in prison, and you visited me.” And remember that he did not specify whether they were innocent or guilty. Because you represent Christ, no one can be excluded from your pastoral love. I ask you, together with your brother priests, to take my greetings to all the prisons in Britain, especially the large one in Manchester. Christ Jesus went to offer peace of conscience and the forgiveness of all sins. Through Jesus Christ offer hope. Through you, in your heart, Jesus Christ wants to love those for whom he died. You must show that you believe in that faithful love by the fidelity with which you live your own life. You must proclaim the Gospel with your life.

When you celebrate the sacraments at the decisive moments of their lives, help them to trust in Christ’s promised mercy and compassion. When you offer the redeeming Sacrifice of the Eucharist, help them to understand the need for transforming this great love into works of charity.

My brothers be aware of the effect on others of the witness of your lives.

Your ordination is a source of consolation for those who have already given many years of priestly service, large numbers of whom are present today. The Lord is grateful for their labor and today he blesses them with the assurance that he will continue to provide for the future of the Church.

May all these priests be renewed in the joyful enthusiasm of their early call, and may they continue to give generously of themselves in Christ’s priestly work of reconciling the world to the Father.

I know of the many priests who could not be here because of old age or infirmity. To them also I send the expression of my love in Christ Jesus.

Their prayers, their wisdom, their suffering are rich treasures for the Church, from which will come forth abundant blessings.

And what of your contemporaries? Undoubtedly your acceptance of Christ’s mission is a clear witness for those who are not yet sure what the Lord wants of them. You show them that being ordained for God’s service is a noble vocation that demands faith, courage and self-sacrifice. I am sure that such qualities are to be found among the young people of Great Britain. To them I say: Be certain that Christ’s call to the priesthood or religious life is addressed to some of you. Be certain that if you listen to his call and follow him in the priesthood or religious life, you will find great joy and happiness. Be generous, take courage and remember his promise: “My yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt. 11,30).

Finally, I wish to greet the parents and families of those about to be ordained. I say in the name of the Church, in the company of my fellow Bishops, thank you for your generosity. It was you who brought these men into the world. It was you who first gave them the faith and the values that have helped to lead them to God’s altar today. The Church, too, must be a family, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity, supporting each other and sharing with each other the individual gifts given by God. Every priest relies on the faith and talents of his parish community. If he is wise he will not only know the joy of dispensing God’s grace, but also of receiving it abundantly through his parishioners as well. The partnership between priests and people is built upon prayer, collaboration and mutual respect and love. That has always been the tradition of these islands. May it never be lost.

Through this ordination the Lord really and truly continues the work of his “new creation.” And he continues to send forth his message over all the earth and to speak personally to those who will be ordained:

“‘Go now to those to whom I send you

and say whatever I command you.

Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to protect you’

—it is the Lord who speaks!” Amen.

(Jer. 1,7-8).

 The Sacrament of Holy Orders began with the Last Supper, when Christ Jesus commissioned his Apostles to continue the Eucharistic celebration. He also commissioned his Apostles following the Resurrection to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). Thomas Aquinas makes the point that only Christ is the true priest, the others serving as his ministers (Hebrews 8:4). St. Ignatius, Bishop of Syria around 100 AD, in his Letter to the Magnesians (6), established the hierarchy of bishop, priest, and deacon for the early Churches, the pattern which still exists today. Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, and priests and deacons are his assistants in rendering service. Men are ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as the sacrament confers upon – in persona Christi.

Holy Orders is the sacrament of Apostolic ministry. As in the Pastoral Epistles, the rite consists of the Bishop’s laying on of hands on the head of the priest-candidate with the consecrating prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the gifts of the ministry. There are three dimensions to ministry, that of Bishop, Priesthood, and the Diaconate. See Matthew 16:18-19, John 21:15-17, Romans 10:14-15, 2 Timothy 1:6, and Titus 1:5 as well as the following:

“Do this in memory of me.”

Gospel of Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:25

 

“Now be solicitous for yourselves and for the whole flock in which

the Holy Spirit has appointed you as bishops to pasture the Church of God,

which He purchased with his own blood.”

Acts of the Apostles 20:28

 

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

First Letter of Paul to Timothy 4:14

 

“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 2:4-5


Baptism

In Baptism we are drawn into the community of faith. We become part of the pilgrim People of God, which, in all times and in all places, goes forward in hope towards the fulfillment of the “promise.” It is our task to take our place responsibly and lovingly beside those who, from the beginning, “remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2,42).

Baptism creates a sacramental bond of unity linking all who have been reborn by means of it. But Baptism, of itself is only a beginning, a point of departure, for it is wholly directed towards the fullness of life in Christ (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 22). Baptism is the foundation of the unity that all Christians have in Christ: a unity we must seek to perfect. When we set out clearly the privilege and the duty of the Christian, we feel ashamed that we have not been capable of maintaining the full unity of faith and charity that Christ willed for his Church.

We the baptized have work to do together as brothers and sisters in Christ. The world is in need of Jesus Christ and his Gospel—the Good News that God loves us, that God the Son was born, was crucified and died to save us, that he rose again and that we rose with him, and that in Baptism he has sealed us with the spirit for the first time, gathered us into a community of love and of witness to his truth.

Another aspect of Baptism, perhaps the most universally familiar, is that we are given a name—we call it our Christian name. In the tradition of the Church it is a saint’s name, a name of one of the heroes among Christ’s followers—an apostle, a martyr, a religious founder, like Saint Benedict, whose monks founded Westminster Abbey nearby, where your sovereigns are crowned. Taking such names reminds us again that we are being drawn into the Communion of Saints, and at the same time that great models of Christian living are set before us. London is particularly proud of two outstanding saints, great men also by the world’s standards, contributors to your national heritage, John Fisher and Thomas More.

As the prophet Ezekiel reminds us, it is the Lord himself who is the true shepherd of this New People. He himself pastures his sheep. He shows them where to rest: “As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view … so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and the darkness…. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong” (Ez. 34,12 and 16).

Together we shall renew our baptismal promises. We shall reject sin, and the glamour of evil, and satan, the father of sin and prince of darkness. We shall profess our faith in one God, in his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, in the coming of the Holy Spirit, in the Church, in life everlasting. And we shall be responsible for the words we say, and be bound by an alliance with our God.

Brothers and sisters! In order to be faithful to this alliance we must be a people of prayer and deep spirituality. Our society needs to recover a sense of God’s loving presence, and a renewed sense of respect for his will.

Let us learn this from Mary our Mother. In England, “the Dowry of Mary,” the faithful, for centuries, have made pilgrimage, to her shrine at Walsingham. Today Walsingham comes to Wembley, and the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, present here, lifts our minds to meditate on our Mother. [Note: There was no time in his busy schedule for the Holy Father to visit the main Marian shrine in England, so the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was transported to Wembley.] She obeyed the will of God fearlessly and gave birth to the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faithful at the foot of the Cross, she then waited in prayer for the Holy Spirit to descend on the infant Church. It is Mary who will teach us how to be silent, how to listen for the voice of God in the midst of a busy and noisy world. It is Mary who will help us to find time for prayer. Through the Rosary, that great Gospel prayer, she will help us to know Christ. We need to live as she did, in the presence of God, raising our minds and hearts to him in our daily activities and worries.

May your homes become schools of prayer for both parents and children.

God should be the living heart of your family life. Keep Sunday holy. Go to Mass every Sunday. At Mass the people of God gather together in unity around the altar to worship and to intercede. At Mass you exercise the great privilege of your Baptism: to praise God in union with Christ his Son; to praise God in union with his Church.

Brothers and sisters, to be faithful to our alliance with God we must be, not only a people that prays, but also a people that does the will of the heavenly Father. Again it is Mary who teaches us how. Through her obedience she accepted the whole of God’s plan for her life. And in doing so she achieved greatness. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1,45).

We express our real acceptance of Christ’s word by respecting the moral demands of our Christian vocation. And the fulfillment of these demands is an act of loving obedience to the person of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word of God. If our faith is strong, the moral demands of the Christian life—although at times they are difficult to fulfill and although they always require an effort and grace—will seem neither unreasonable nor impossible. Certainly, our fidelity to the Gospel will put us at odds with the spirit of the “present age.” Yes, we are in the world, indeed as disciples of Christ we are sent into the world, but we do not belong to the world (cf. Jn 17, 16-18). The conflict between certain values of the world and the values of the Gospel is an inescapable part of the Church’s life, just as it is an inescapable part of the life of each one of us. And it is here that we must draw on the “patience” which Saint Paul spoke to us about in the second reading. We groan inwardly as we await our salvation, in hope and with patience (cf. Rom. 8,23-25).

I have often spoken of the decline of respect for the fundamental moral values that are essential to the Christian life. Indeed, moral values are essential to the life of all human beings as free agents created in the image and likeness of God, and destined to a higher creation.

The world has largely lost respect for human life from the moment of conception. It is weak in upholding the indissoluble unity of marriage. It fails to support the stability and holiness of family life. There is a crisis of truth and responsibility in human relationships. Selfishness abounds. Sexual permissiveness and drug addiction ruin the lives of millions of human beings. International relations are fraught with tensions, often because of excessive inequalities and unjust economic, social, cultural and political structures, and because of slowness in applying the needed remedies. Underlying all of this there is often a false concept of man and his unique dignity, and a thirst for power rather than a desire to serve.

Are we Christians to agree with such a state of affairs? Are we to call this progress? Are we to shrug our shoulders and say that nothing can be done to change all this?

My brothers and sisters, the essence of our Christian vocation consists in being “light” and “salt” for the world we live in. Let us not be afraid: “The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness” (Rom. 8,26).

Keep in mind that picture of Mary and the Apostles gathered together at Pentecost in Jerusalem. Remember that the same Holy Spirit who filled their minds and hearts also fills the whole Church today. And he brings us the loveliest and the most powerful gifts: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5,22).

Let us really accept the words of Jesus: “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink” (Jn. 7,37). Then we shall receive his gift: “Out of our hearts shall flow rivers of living water…. Now he said this about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive.” Then, in the power of the Spirit we shall become a people that prays: indeed, the Spirit himself will pray in us and for us (cf. Rom. 8,26). And we shall become a holy people.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, realize the greatness of your Christian vocation. Christ has called you out of darkness into his own wonderful light. Consider what God has done for you in Baptism, and lift up your eyes and see the final glory that awaits you.

 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great.

O Lord how manifold are all your works.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,

and you renew the face of the earth”  Amen

(Ps. 104,1, 24 and 30). Amen

 

Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, as we are born of the water and the Spirit. Baptism is necessary for salvation (John 3:5), and conveys a permanent sign that the new Christian is a child of God. Jesus himself was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9-11). The martyr St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the Ephesians written about 100 AD, stated that Jesus “Christ was baptized, that by himself submitting he might purify the water.” Baptism is prefigured in the Old Testament through the saving of Noah and his family during the Flood (Genesis 7:12-23, 1 Peter 3:20-21), and Moses crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus, leaving captivity for the Promised Land (Exodus 14:1-22).

The Greek word baptizein means to “immerse, plunge, or dip.” The infant or candidate is anointed with the oil of catechumens, followed by the parents, godparents, or candidate making the profession of faith. The essential rite of Baptism consists of the minister immersing the baby or person in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The infant or candidate is then anointed with sacred chrism.

What has taken place in Baptism is indicated by the rites that follow it, the clothing in the white garment and giving of the lighted candle: the baptized person has “put on Christ” and has now become light.

Here are three Scriptural sources in the New Testament (See also Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22; Acts 1:21-22; Romans 6:3-4; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:11-13, I Peter 3:21):

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Gospel of Matthew 28:19-20

 

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee

and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened

and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;

and a voice came from heaven,

“Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”

Gospel of Mark 1:9-11

 

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,

he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Gospel of John 3:5


the Seven Sacraments

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all”

First Letter of Paul to Timothy 2:5

A sacrament is an outward efficacious sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Jesus Christ himself is the sacrament, as he gave his life to save mankind. His humanity is the outward sign or the instrument of his Divinity. It is through his humanity that the life of the Trinity comes to us as grace through the sacraments. It is Jesus Christ alone who mediates the sacraments to allow grace to flow to mankind.

Christ sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to inspire his Apostles and his Church to shepherd his flock after his Ascension into heaven. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 17:18, 20:21). Jesus is the Head of his Body the Church (Colossians 1:18). The Church itself is a sacrament instituted by Christ to give grace. Jesus gave us his Body the Church to continue the works he performed during his earthly life. Grace given to us through the sacraments will help us lead a good life in this world and help save us for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The sacraments were instituted by Christ and were part of the Liturgical Tradition of the early Christian Church. The Church celebrates in her liturgy the Paschal mystery of Christ, his Sacrifice on the Cross, Death and Resurrection. The Greek word μυστήριον or mystery in the Greek New Testament is translated into sacramentum in the Latin Vulgate Bible, from which we derive our English word sacrament (examples: Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:27). The saving effects of Christ’s Redemption on the Cross are communicated through the sacraments, especially in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist. The sacraments to this day are called mysteries in the Eastern Churches.

Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, as well as Eastern Orthodox Churches all recognize the seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The three sacraments of Christian Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The two sacraments of Healing are Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, and the two sacraments of Vocation are Holy Orders and Marriage. Three sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, are given once, as they render a permanent seal or character upon one’s soul (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 4:30, Revelations 7:3).

The Gospel of Mark 5:25-34 describes a woman afflicted with hemorrhage who touched the cloak of Jesus and was immediately healed. There is a fourth century fresco painting in the catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter depicting this event, which serves as an apt symbol of Sacrament – the power that flows out from the body of Jesus, in order to effect both remission of sin and new life in Christ. The fresco image frames Part II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery. St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, has written the standard exposition on the Seven Sacraments.

Each sacrament consists of a visible external rite, which is composed of matter and form, the matter being the action, such as the pouring of water, and the form being the words spoken by the minister. Each sacramental rite confers a special ecclesial effect and sacramental grace appropriate for each sacrament. The sacraments occur at pivotal events and give meaning to a person’s life.

The sacraments act ex opere operato, by the very fact of the action being performed, independent of the minister. The effect on the person receiving the sacrament is called ex opere operantis, and depends on the interior disposition of the receiver.

Grace is a favor, the free and undeserved gift from God through Christ Jesus, to help us respond to his call to become children of God, to become partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is a participation in the life of God and is necessary for salvation

“And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory as of the Father’s only Son,

full of grace and truth.

Gospel of John 1:14

 

They are justified freely by his grace

through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood,

to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,

through the forbearance of God –

to prove his righteousness in the present time,

that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 3:24-26

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,

as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,

to be holy and without blemish before him.

In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,

in accord with the favor of his will,

for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions,

in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.

In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery

of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him

as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 1:3-10

 

These lessons will include a brief introduction and some Scriptural sources for each Sacrament.


Introduction

Children are not born with a knowledge of God‘s Holy Word. They must be taught God’s Word, His Will and His Way. By viewing our site on a daily basis they will learn early in life the faithfulness of God in meeting all of their needs, “The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).

The only way to true contentment and happiness in the life of any child is when they willingly listen to and obey the Word of God. “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Isaiah 54:13).

Our Lord Jesus Christ took time for little children, won’t you please take the time to help them learn from these beautiful teachings, printable puzzles etc?

Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14).


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: ______________________


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.


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.

© “Catholic Heritage”, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750-9957 or call

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


How Should Catholics Read the Bible?

There are a number of ways to read the Bible. One of the first things Catholics should look for is good footnotes at the bottom of the page that are indexed to other similar texts in the Bible. This helps the reader to understand the particular verse in context, rather than in isolation. The Bible is meant to be read in its entirety, and never to be taken out of context. That is what satan tried to do to Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4 – Taking individual verses out of context, trying to use them to mean something they really don’t.

That method is still used today, by well meaning, but misguided, non-Catholics. By using the footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can turn to a similar verse and see how it is used. Another rule to follow is that you must read the bible with a sense of Tradition, what the original author meant to say, not what you think it means. If you were the author of “Gone with the Wind”, you surely wouldn’t want someone 2000 years from now to come up with an interpretation that Scarlett was a Yankee! Likewise, neither should we come up with interpretations based on what we “think”, or what we “feel” today. The third rule to follow is that no interpretation of the bible can contradict Church teaching, since the Bible is a product of the Church. That would be like saying that a government document contradicts the government agency that issued the document.

In a lot of cases, the New Testament reading is prefigured in the Old Testament. For instance, when one reads that Jesus’ face shone like the sun in Matthew 17, you can flip way back in the Old Testament and see that Moses’ face also shone (Exodus 34). The deeper meaning here is that Moses was a biblical “type”, or foreshadowing of Jesus – Moses was the lawgiver in the Old Testament; Jesus is the lawgiver of the New Testament. Moses went up the mountain and brought down the Word of God to the people for the Old Covenant in Exodus 34; Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, which is the Word of God for the New Covenant.

There are numerous examples of Old Testament types of Jesus. For instance, Jesus is called the Son of David in Matthew 1. David was a Jewish King, Jesus is a Jewish King. The Bible says that David was a shepherd (1 Samuel 16) and was 30 years old (2 Samuel 5) when he became the King of the Jews. David was also from Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17). This foreshadows Jesus exactly, who was also the Good Shepherd of us all (John 10), was 30 years old when he began His public ministry (Luke 3), and who was also born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2). The Old Testament, in Genesis 37, tells the story of Joseph, who was stripped of his garments by his own brothers, and sold to the pagan authorities. Later on, Joseph forgave the very people who had sold him into slavery. Jesus was also sold to the pagan authorities by his own people (Matthew 26), and stripped of his garments (Matthew 27). Jesus also forgave the people who killed him. The innocent Joseph was thrown in jail; the innocent Jesus was thrown in jail. Joseph became Pharaoh’s right hand man; Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. Joseph gave bread to Israel to save his brothers; Jesus gives us the Eucharist to save us, his brothers. In other words, the people and events of the Old Testament all point to Jesus as Messiah. There are numerous other examples of typology in the Bible. A Bible with lots of good footnotes will point all of these out.

Numerology is also used in the Bible. The number seven (the day God rested from His Creation in Genesis) is the number of perfection. The number 6 is the number of imperfection. We see that Jesus changed the water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana on the seventh day of the story, in John 2. John, who starts his Gospel out with the same 3 words that Genesis started out with “In the beginning” is trying to tell us here that Jesus is God, and that there is now a new Covenant, a new creation. The number 6 is used to imply the name of the beast in Revelation 13 (Caesar Nero). Goliath was 6 cubits high (1 Samuel 17).

 

There are 4 basic levels of scripture to understand:

The literal sense, the allegorical sense, the moral sense, and the anagogical sense. The literal sense is what most people stop at when they read the bible. The literal sense when one reads about a temple in the bible is a big building where everyone went to worship. This is what the Pharisee thought that Jesus was talking about in John 2 when Jesus said “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in 3 days.”

However, Jesus was talking about the allegorical sense (how the text refers to Jesus) and the fact that His Body is the new Temple.

The moral sense of scripture is how the verse applies to us and our personal morality. Since the bible says that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6, then we should not spend one second desecrating our temple by getting drunk, watching impure movies, having an abortion, cursing, etc. The desecration of the temple is what started the whole Maccabean revolt in 1 Maccabees.

The last method, the anagogical sense, refers to the heavenly sense. We know that after the second coming there will be a new heavenly temple (Revelation 21), and the old earth and all of its churches and temples will pass away.

The average bible reader will be very enriched if they concentrate on the moral sense – How the bible verse applies to you personally. For example, when Mary presents the Baby Jesus to God the Father in the Temple (Luke 2), are you personally ready for Mary to present you to God the Father? When Mary and Joseph lose Jesus and find Him in the Temple (Luke 2), do you seek out Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at Church when you feel lost and forsaken? When Jesus is blinded by his own blood and sweat following the crowning with thorns, do we realize how sinful thoughts in our own head blind us to the saving power of Jesus’ blood and the water from His side at the cross? The list is endless.

And last, we should never put our own personal interpretation on scripture, unless it agrees with the Tradition of the Catholic Church. St. Peter himself warns against this practice in 2 Peter 1 and 2 Peter 3. After over 1600 years of Catholic Biblical history (Pope Damasus I and the Catholic Church approved the canon of the bible in the late fourth Century), the great scholars of the bible like St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas have already got everything figured out for you. Believing that our small 21rst century minds can figure out 4000 year old verses that were written in a very different language and culture, in a very different time, and with very different idiomatic expressions and meanings is the height of pride. You might as well say that you can understand physics on your own without first reading the writings of Einstein and Newton. That is why the Magesterium is needed to interpret scripture.

A good example of why an interpreter of scripture is needed would be the following sentence: “I never said you didn’t have to give me lots of money”. The intent of the writer could mean that I never said it, but I thought it. It could also mean that I expected you to pay me back with a favor instead of money. It could also mean that I never said it, but he did. It could also mean that I expected a loan of money, rather than a gift. It could also mean that I expected a little money, but not a lot. Without the Magesterium interpreting scripture for us through the lens of Sacred Tradition, there are all kinds of ways to misinterpret what the original authors had in mind. For instance, what would the proper meaning of this sentence be: “You never said not to take the bat down”. It would all depend on where the accent is in the sentence – “You never said not to take the bat down” (but your mom did). Or, “You never said not to take the bat down” (but you did write it down for me). Or “You never said not to take the bat down” (but you did say to leave it alone). And what kind of bat is it exactly? A flying rodent, or a baseball bat? Without a proper interpreter of that one sentence, it is impossible to know what the author had in mind. Now multiply that one sentence by the entire Bible!

So get a good Catholic Bible with great indexed footnotes. Read the Bible like Jesus is talking to you personally. Look for Biblical types of Jesus in the Old Testament like Adam, Moses, and Joseph. Don’t take scripture verses out of context. And if studying the Bible doesn’t make you a more loving, kind, and gentle person, then you are doing something wrong. The end result of your scripture study should not make you into a know-it-all arrogant person. It should make you more like Jesus.


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.


Preparing for Death; repentence

The one thing you must do before you die is:

… prepare to meet your God.

 

That is a Bible verse found in Amos 4:12.You only have one chance to die.

 

You either die right or you die wrong.

 

There are no re-runs, reversals, or 2nd attempts to get it right.

 

When you cross over the boundary between life and death,

… it is final and forever.

 

The Bible says that it is appointed unto all once to die

and after this … (death) the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

 

Today, forget about the other 99 things you want to do before you die,

or the more realistic number of 49 other things.

 

Make sure the #1 thing is done.

 

Make sure you are ready to meet God.

 

How do you prepare?

You turn to your Bible and face the reality of your own sin

– understanding that it is a barrier between you and your God.

– (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)

 

Unless that barrier of sin is removed you will be separated from God forever in a place where the Bible teaches there is conscious eternal suffering.

 

And then what? You understand from the Bible there is nothing you can personally do or contribute towards the removal of your sins.

(Ephesians 2:8, 9) In Romans 5:6

 

the Bible says sinners are without any strength to save themselves.

 

It is not a pleasant discovery to face the reality of your own lostness and your total inability to save yourself.

 

But in your desire to be fully prepared for death, there is good news.

 

Christ died for your sins. (1Corinthians 15:3)

 

Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)

 

Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE sinners. (1Timothy 1:15)

 

“Christ, the Just One” suffered for sins upon the Cross on behalf of the unjust ones (sinners) that HE might bring us to God. (1Peter 3:18)


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.


A Life Committed to Jesus

When your life is committed to Jesus, you see the world in a different light.

You willingly accept those things in your life that cannot be changed.

And you believe that Jesus has some purpose for the cross you carry.

 

When you have a heavy cross to carry:

• Pray with open hands and open heart

• Hold a crucifix and see how Jesus suffered for you

• Know that your suffering brings you closer to the suffering Christ

 

To carry your cross means:

• to turn to Jesus despite your pain

• to trust Jesus no matter what happens

• to love Jesus when it’s not easy to love

 

When you are committed to Jesus you join your suffering to the sufferings of Our Lord.

 

Your prayer might be:

Jesus I was not present at your agony in the garden, or your scourging,

or your carrying of the cross, or your crucifixion.

Although my sufferings cannot begin to compare,

I offer you my sufferings for those who have lost their way.

All honour, praise and thanksgiving to you my Crucified Lord.

 

Sometime in our life, each of us will experience our own personal cross. We will journey through darkness and a valley of tears. We may stumble many times. Each time, we need to get up again and return to our Father.

 

Ask Jesus to help you carry your cross

If we put Jesus first in our lives, then we are able to bear the pain of our own cross for His sake.

Jesus accepted His Cross out of love for us.

The greatest test of our love for Jesus is our acceptance of what can’t be helped in our life.

We should try to accept our cross out of love for Jesus.

Then we no longer ask, “Why did this have to happen to me?” Instead, you trust Jesus completely.

 

Suffering can bring us closer to Jesus or separate us from Him

A young boy in our church died of cancer. Around the same time an older boy in our church also died of cancer. Both mothers had prayed very hard for a miracle, which never happened.

The mother of the younger boy thanked God for the years she had with her son. The mother of the older boy decided that there was no God and she stopped going to church.

“Jesus, I offer You my sufferings for those who have lost their way.” You may want to offer your suffering for a particular person(s) or for the souls in purgatory.

Life goes very quickly. Your future is eternal life with Jesus. And then there will be no more sadness or pain.

 

Into your hands I commend my spirit, O Lord

Into your hands I commend my heart,

For I must die to myself in loving you

Into your hands I commend my love.

(Taken from an old hymn)