belleo's blog listings. From darkness to light Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo The Assumption of Mary...

 

This discussion of the Catholic Doctrine of Mary's Assumption, defined by Pope Pius XII as a dogma of faith, originally appeared as an article on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary in Our Sunday Visitor.

 

I once asked a college theology class if anyone could explain the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.  A student replied, “yeah, that’s the teaching whereby the Catholic Church ‘assumes’ that Mary is in heaven.”

 

There’s a bit more to the dogma of the Assumption than that.  The Church does not just “assume” that any canonized saint in is in heaven.  Rather, it authoritatively declares that a person is in glory and should therefore be honored in liturgy and imitated in life.   Our church calendar is filled with saints' days.

 

But why a particular day for each saint?  The first evidence for this goes back to 155AD, to a bishop named Polycarp.  The account of his martyrdom notes that after his execution, the faithful collected his bones, more precious than gold, and put them in a place of honor where every year they gathered to celebrate the anniversary of his death as a sort of “birthday” into eternal life.   Celebrating Mass in the catacombs over the relics of the martyrs' led to the practice of putting relics in the main altar of every church.  Eventually saints who did not die a martyrs death were also commemorated on their heavenly “birthday” and their relics were accorded great honor.

 

From very early times, August 15 has been observed as the “birthday” of our Blessed Lady.  On this greatest of all Marian feasts we celebrate the greatest moment of her life – being permanently re-united with her son and sharing his glory.

 

All the saints experience the “beatific vision” upon their entry into heaven, and we celebrate this on every saint’s day.  But there is something unique about Mary’s day.  The Catholic Church teaches authoritatively that it is not just Mary’s soul that was admitted to God’s glory, but that at the end of her earthly life, Mary’s body as well as her soul was assumed into heaven by the loving power of God.

 

There is no eyewitness account of this actual event recorded in the Bible.  Come to think of it, though, no one witnessed the actual resurrection of Jesus either.   The evidence was an empty tomb and eyewitness reports that the Risen Lord had appeared to them.

 

Interesting parallel here.  There is a tomb at the foot of the Mt. of Olives where ancient tradition says that Mary was laid.  But there is nothing inside.  There are no relics, as with other saints.  And credible apparitions of Mary, though not recorded in the New Testament, have been recorded from the 3rd century till today.

 

Mary is not equal to Christ, of course.  Jesus, though possessing a complete human nature, is the Eternal Word made flesh.  Mary is only a creature.

 

But she is a unique creature, the highest of all creatures.  This is not just because she was born without the handicap of original sin.  Eve and Adam were born free of sin as well, but it did not stop them from sinning as soon as they had the chance.  Mary instead chose, with the help of God’s grace,  to preserve her God-given purity throughout the whole of her life. 

 

The bodily corruption of death was not God’s original plan.  It came into the world through sin, as St. Paul says “the sting of death is sin” (I Cor 15:56).  So it is fitting that she who knew no sin should know no decay and no delay in enjoying the full fruits of her son’s work.  It is fitting that she who stood by Christ under the cross should stand by him bodily at the right hand of the Father.  “The Queen stands at your right hand, in gold of Ophir” (Ps 45).  Enoch and Elijah, who the Old Testament says were assumed into heaven, were surely great in God’s eyes.  But they do not begin to compare with the immaculate mother of His Son.

 

We too, one day, insofar as we accept God’s grace, will stand at His right hand.  But Paul says that “all will come to life again, but each one in proper order” (I Cor 15:23).  The Redeemer, of course, blazes the resurrection trail.  But who is to be first among his disciples?  The one who is last is first, the Lord’s humble handmaid who did no more than say yes, and keep saying yes, and whose soul magnified not herself, but the Lord.

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Sat, 16 Aug 2014 19:51:32 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/16/the_assumption_of_mary... http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/16/the_assumption_of_mary...

 

This discussion of the Catholic Doctrine of Mary's Assumption, defined by Pope Pius XII as a dogma of faith, originally appeared as an article on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary in Our Sunday Visitor.

 

I once asked a college theology class if anyone could explain the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.  A student replied, “yeah, that’s the teaching whereby the Catholic Church ‘assumes’ that Mary is in heaven.”

 

There’s a bit more to the dogma of the Assumption than that.  The Church does not just “assume” that any canonized saint in is in heaven.  Rather, it authoritatively declares that a person is in glory and should therefore be honored in liturgy and imitated in life.   Our church calendar is filled with saints' days.

 

But why a particular day for each saint?  The first evidence for this goes back to 155AD, to a bishop named Polycarp.  The account of his martyrdom notes that after his execution, the faithful collected his bones, more precious than gold, and put them in a place of honor where every year they gathered to celebrate the anniversary of his death as a sort of “birthday” into eternal life.   Celebrating Mass in the catacombs over the relics of the martyrs' led to the practice of putting relics in the main altar of every church.  Eventually saints who did not die a martyrs death were also commemorated on their heavenly “birthday” and their relics were accorded great honor.

 

From very early times, August 15 has been observed as the “birthday” of our Blessed Lady.  On this greatest of all Marian feasts we celebrate the greatest moment of her life – being permanently re-united with her son and sharing his glory.

 

All the saints experience the “beatific vision” upon their entry into heaven, and we celebrate this on every saint’s day.  But there is something unique about Mary’s day.  The Catholic Church teaches authoritatively that it is not just Mary’s soul that was admitted to God’s glory, but that at the end of her earthly life, Mary’s body as well as her soul was assumed into heaven by the loving power of God.

 

There is no eyewitness account of this actual event recorded in the Bible.  Come to think of it, though, no one witnessed the actual resurrection of Jesus either.   The evidence was an empty tomb and eyewitness reports that the Risen Lord had appeared to them.

 

Interesting parallel here.  There is a tomb at the foot of the Mt. of Olives where ancient tradition says that Mary was laid.  But there is nothing inside.  There are no relics, as with other saints.  And credible apparitions of Mary, though not recorded in the New Testament, have been recorded from the 3rd century till today.

 

Mary is not equal to Christ, of course.  Jesus, though possessing a complete human nature, is the Eternal Word made flesh.  Mary is only a creature.

 

But she is a unique creature, the highest of all creatures.  This is not just because she was born without the handicap of original sin.  Eve and Adam were born free of sin as well, but it did not stop them from sinning as soon as they had the chance.  Mary instead chose, with the help of God’s grace,  to preserve her God-given purity throughout the whole of her life. 

 

The bodily corruption of death was not God’s original plan.  It came into the world through sin, as St. Paul says “the sting of death is sin” (I Cor 15:56).  So it is fitting that she who knew no sin should know no decay and no delay in enjoying the full fruits of her son’s work.  It is fitting that she who stood by Christ under the cross should stand by him bodily at the right hand of the Father.  “The Queen stands at your right hand, in gold of Ophir” (Ps 45).  Enoch and Elijah, who the Old Testament says were assumed into heaven, were surely great in God’s eyes.  But they do not begin to compare with the immaculate mother of His Son.

 

We too, one day, insofar as we accept God’s grace, will stand at His right hand.  But Paul says that “all will come to life again, but each one in proper order” (I Cor 15:23).  The Redeemer, of course, blazes the resurrection trail.  But who is to be first among his disciples?  The one who is last is first, the Lord’s humble handmaid who did no more than say yes, and keep saying yes, and whose soul magnified not herself, but the Lord.

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Weakness of men ... “Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does he set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman’s act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does he reject the male on account of the man’s transgression. But he seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man” (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist)

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Wed, 13 Aug 2014 08:54:47 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/13/weakness_of_men_... http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/13/weakness_of_men_... “Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does he set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman’s act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does he reject the male on account of the man’s transgression. But he seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man” (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist)

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The Miracle y that claimed what really happened is that bystanders took out food they were hiding under their cloaks and shared it.  Jesus’ preaching inspired the melting of selfishness, and this was the true miracle according to this preacher.

 

My teens would call such preaching hopelessly lame!

 

This was a needy crowd.  They could not feed themselves or each other.  They could not heal themselves or each other.  Jesus was moved with pity and was ready to provide them all that they needed.  The apostles wanted to send them away to fend for themselves.

 

And this hits upon the grain of truth contained in the lame interpretation we’ve just mentioned.  Though this story is about truly supernatural, miraculous action, it is not about God creating something out of nothing.  He says to the apostles “you give them something to eat yourselves.”  He had to be joking, they must have thought to themselves.  They had nothing, or almost nothing.  Just five loaves and two fish–scarcely enough to serve as an appetizer for themselves, never mind the crowd.  But the apostles sheepishly complied when Jesus ordered that they surrender their scanty food supply.  He blessed this meager offering and the miracle happened.  It was not only enough, but after thousands had eaten their fill, there was more left over than what they’d started with in the first place.

 

Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Miracle of the Loaves and FishIt never ceases to amaze me at how much energy we put into making excuses.  “I don’t even earn enough to feed my own family, how can I be expected to give?”  “I haven’t studied the faith enough to be a religious education teacher.”  “I trip over my words when I try to explain my faith–I’ll just evangelize through good example.”

 

Our financial resources, talents, and holiness are clearly inadequate to meet the needs of a hungry and confused world.  But what else is new?  This gospel commands us to offer these resources anyway, trusting that He will multiply them.  Who could have guessed how God would multiply the loaves and fishes offered by an Albanian nun named Teresa when she walked into the slums of Calcutta to minister to those dying in the streets?  Imagine if she had said “No, Lord, this is beyond me.”  Imagine if Peter had not reconsidered after saying “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8).  Imagine if the apostles had saved the five loaves and fish for themselves instead of offering them to the crowd that wouldn’t have been satisfied with them anyway.

 

“But,” you may protest, “Isn’t this miracle story about the Eucharist?”  Absolutely.  In the Eucharist we bring the very ordinary work of our hands, bread and wine, and join to this the offering of our very ordinary lives.  Through the invocation of the Spirit and the Word of God, this offering is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life and the Cup of eternal salvation.  We offer him the work of our hands and our broken humanity, and he transforms these things into perfect humanity and life-giving divinity.  And with this he not only feeds us but empowers us to feed the whole world.

 

Pope John Paul II, The Year of the Eucharist, Loaves of the Loaves and FishThis transformation, this multiplication is a supernatural marvel that is the source of other marvels.  In fact, if we were to unpack just a fraction more of the miraculous power contained in the Eucharist, we, the Church and the world would be forever different.

       

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Sun, 03 Aug 2014 17:42:02 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/03/the_miracle http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/08/03/the_miracle y that claimed what really happened is that bystanders took out food they were hiding under their cloaks and shared it.  Jesus’ preaching inspired the melting of selfishness, and this was the true miracle according to this preacher.

 

My teens would call such preaching hopelessly lame!

 

This was a needy crowd.  They could not feed themselves or each other.  They could not heal themselves or each other.  Jesus was moved with pity and was ready to provide them all that they needed.  The apostles wanted to send them away to fend for themselves.

 

And this hits upon the grain of truth contained in the lame interpretation we’ve just mentioned.  Though this story is about truly supernatural, miraculous action, it is not about God creating something out of nothing.  He says to the apostles “you give them something to eat yourselves.”  He had to be joking, they must have thought to themselves.  They had nothing, or almost nothing.  Just five loaves and two fish–scarcely enough to serve as an appetizer for themselves, never mind the crowd.  But the apostles sheepishly complied when Jesus ordered that they surrender their scanty food supply.  He blessed this meager offering and the miracle happened.  It was not only enough, but after thousands had eaten their fill, there was more left over than what they’d started with in the first place.

 

Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Miracle of the Loaves and FishIt never ceases to amaze me at how much energy we put into making excuses.  “I don’t even earn enough to feed my own family, how can I be expected to give?”  “I haven’t studied the faith enough to be a religious education teacher.”  “I trip over my words when I try to explain my faith–I’ll just evangelize through good example.”

 

Our financial resources, talents, and holiness are clearly inadequate to meet the needs of a hungry and confused world.  But what else is new?  This gospel commands us to offer these resources anyway, trusting that He will multiply them.  Who could have guessed how God would multiply the loaves and fishes offered by an Albanian nun named Teresa when she walked into the slums of Calcutta to minister to those dying in the streets?  Imagine if she had said “No, Lord, this is beyond me.”  Imagine if Peter had not reconsidered after saying “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8).  Imagine if the apostles had saved the five loaves and fish for themselves instead of offering them to the crowd that wouldn’t have been satisfied with them anyway.

 

“But,” you may protest, “Isn’t this miracle story about the Eucharist?”  Absolutely.  In the Eucharist we bring the very ordinary work of our hands, bread and wine, and join to this the offering of our very ordinary lives.  Through the invocation of the Spirit and the Word of God, this offering is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life and the Cup of eternal salvation.  We offer him the work of our hands and our broken humanity, and he transforms these things into perfect humanity and life-giving divinity.  And with this he not only feeds us but empowers us to feed the whole world.

 

Pope John Paul II, The Year of the Eucharist, Loaves of the Loaves and FishThis transformation, this multiplication is a supernatural marvel that is the source of other marvels.  In fact, if we were to unpack just a fraction more of the miraculous power contained in the Eucharist, we, the Church and the world would be forever different.

       

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Prayer helps... Even though our emotional and spiritual lives are distinct, they do influence one another profoundly.  Our feelings often give us a window on our spiritual journeys.  When we cannot let go of jealousy, we may wonder if we are in touch with the Spirit in us that cries out "Abba."  When we feel very peaceful and "centered," we may come to realise that this is a sign of our deep awareness of our belovedness.

Likewise our prayer lives, lived as faithful response to the presence of the Spirit within us, may open a window on our emotions, feelings, and passions and give us some indication of how to put them into the service of our long journey into the heart of God.

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Sun, 27 Jul 2014 07:25:01 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/07/27/prayer_helps... http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/07/27/prayer_helps... Even though our emotional and spiritual lives are distinct, they do influence one another profoundly.  Our feelings often give us a window on our spiritual journeys.  When we cannot let go of jealousy, we may wonder if we are in touch with the Spirit in us that cries out "Abba."  When we feel very peaceful and "centered," we may come to realise that this is a sign of our deep awareness of our belovedness.

Likewise our prayer lives, lived as faithful response to the presence of the Spirit within us, may open a window on our emotions, feelings, and passions and give us some indication of how to put them into the service of our long journey into the heart of God.

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Decisions ... Inspirational Snippet: Fear is a feeling, but trust is a decision. God eagerly helps us to make that decision

It takes time for me to make a decision that will impact the lives of many .I think I am older and wiser today and i know there is a need for a life change . I want it to start with  retreat of a week or two .That has proved beneficial in the past .

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:33:12 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/07/15/decisions_... http://community.beliefnet.com/belleo/blog/2014/07/15/decisions_... Inspirational Snippet: Fear is a feeling, but trust is a decision. God eagerly helps us to make that decision

It takes time for me to make a decision that will impact the lives of many .I think I am older and wiser today and i know there is a need for a life change . I want it to start with  retreat of a week or two .That has proved beneficial in the past .

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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