O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally” (Saint Francis, Letter to the Entire Order).
How do we know that we are infinitely loved by God when our immediate surroundings keep telling us that we'd better prove our right to exist?
The knowledge of being loved in an unconditional way, before the world presents us with its conditions, cannot come from books, lectures, television programs, or workshops. This spiritual knowledge comes from people who witness to God's love for us through their words and deeds. These people can be close to us but they can also live far away or may even have lived long ago. Their witness announces the truth of God's love and calls us to act in accordance with it
The Source of All Love
Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.
In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God's unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God's Spirit dwelling within us
Henri Nouwen the author of the above is quite right It really hit me this morning . Why we did not realize that the Spirit of God was with us through tumultuous years maybe we had our heads under the sand like some birds do . Abuse takes it's toll .Action is required . Please pray for me
YES, God is present even in hell. There is no place (or being) in which God is not present. God, the Creator of all things, maintains everything in existence and knows everything from all eternity. So demons are not freed from the presence of God even in hell. No matter how far a demon wants to draw away from God, he will always be condemned to be in the presence of God. Even though God is in hell, the demons do not directly perceive His presence. On the contrary, they feel totally distanced from Him. God permits them to have this sensation so as not to torment them. Nevertheless, there is no place or being that can be outside the reach, sight, or power (i.e., the presence) of God.
How can someone ever trust in the existence of an unconditional divine love when most, if not all, of what he or she has experienced is the opposite of love - fear, hatred, violence, and abuse?
They are not condemned to be victims! There remains within them, hidden as it may seem, the possibility to choose love. Many people who have suffered the most horrendous rejections and been subject to the most cruel torture are able to choose love. By choosing love they become witnesses not only to enormous human resiliency but also to the divine love that transcends all human loves. Those who choose, even on a small scale, to love in the midst of hatred and fear are the people who offer true hope to our world.
As I begin to realize God's tremendous love, I feel a need to return that love—a desire to be washed clean of everything within me that is not like God. I look at the perfect image of the Father, Christ, and realize I am not like Him. The resemblance is faint and I want it to be more perfect.
What do I do—what stands in the way of my becoming another Christ? Christ is within me, waiting for me to let Him shine forth. What dark clouds stand between Christ and me, preventing my neighbor from seeing God's Son?
For a few moments let us compare ourselves with Christ I am proud; I attribute everything I do to myself, my talents, my success, my works, but Jesus gave credit to the Father for all His work. He said, "The Son can do nothing by Himself" John 5:19 so I will radiate Christ by acknowledging all the good in me as coming from Jesus. (Pause)
I am critical; I find fault with my neighbor, misjudging his motives, but Jesus said, "If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone." John 8:7
I am fearful: I fear death, loneliness, sickness, failure and the future. but Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled, I am going now to prepare a place for you" (Jn. 14:1) "Come to Me...and I will give you rest" (Matt.11:28) so I will radiate Christ by acting upon His Word and having assurance He will take care of me. (Pause)
I find it hard to forgive and forget, but Jesus said, "If you forgive others their failings, your Heavenly Father will forgive you yours, but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your failings either" (Matt.6:14-16) so I will radiate Christ by being the first to forgive and show by some gesture of reconciliation I have forgotten.
1. God loves me as if no one else existed.
2. His love for me is beyond description.
3. He knew me and loved me before He created anything.
4. I am important to God; therefore, He sent His Son to live and die for me.
5. He made me His dwelling place on earth at Baptism.
6. He nourishes my soul with His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
7.God dwells in me and longingly waits for my expressions of love.
Scripture Readings (Read prayerfully)
"Come now, let us talk this over, says God. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
"I myself taught them to walk; I took them in my arms; yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them. I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love. I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek; stooping down to him I gave him his food. How could I part with you? How could I give you up? My heart recoils from it—My whole being trembles at the thought." Osee 1:18
"They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. Their soul will be like a watered garden, they will sorrow no more. I will change their mourning into gladness, comfort them, give them joy after their troubles, refresh my priests with rich food and see my people have their fill of my good things. Jer. 31:9
"I did forget you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back. In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says God, your Redeemer." Isaiah 54:8
The celebration of the Ascension used to leave me a bit flat. It was clear what Good Friday did for me. And Easter Sunday’s benefits were indisputable. But as for the Ascension, what’s in it for me?
Christianity is about a kind of love we call agape or charity. It is love that looks away from itself to another and gives itself away for another. The Divine Word did not become man or endure the cross because something was in it for Him.
Charity shares in the beloved’s joys and sorrows (John 14:28). The first thing to remember about the Ascension is that it is about sharing in Jesus’ joy. It is about celebrating his return to the heavenly glory to which he refused to cling (Phil 2:6-11). It is about rejoicing that his crown of thorns has been replaced with the kingly crown, that the mocking crowd at Calvary has been replaced with myriads of adoring angels. The Ascension is about Jesus’ triumph and glorification. If we get our attention off ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit’s love of the Son to animate our souls, we’ll experience greater joy than when we see our child hit a home run or graduate from college.
But the Ascension is not just about charity. It is also a feast of hope. Yes, there is something in it for us. He goes to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). We will also one day wear crowns made of gold instead of thorns.
For us to endure until that blessed moment, we need divine power. That’s another reason we ought to rejoice in his Ascension. He takes his place at God’s right hand so that he can pour out the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, upon his disciples (Ephesians 4:10).
As he ascends, he tells the disciples to wait for this power. But notice that he does not tell them to wait passively for the rapture. He does not instruct them to pour over Bible prophecies, debating about how and when he will return. In fact in Acts 1:11, after the Lord ascends out of their sight, the angels ask why the disciples just stand there, staring into space.
The waiting is not to be a squandering of precious time. It is waiting for a purpose, nine days of prayer (the first novena!) leading to empowerment. Why empowerment? Because they have challenging work to do. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28: 16-20).
We used to think that evangelization was something that happened in mission countries far away, carried out by priests and religious. But the Second Vatican Council told us that our own neighborhoods are mission territory, and that every single Catholic is called to be an evangelist. Pope John Paul II proclaimed this as the “New Evangelization” because the place is new–right next door–and the missionaries are new since they include all us all.
I’m really not sure that St. Francis of Assisi ever said “Preach the Gospel always; when necessary, use words.” But if he did, note this–Francis often thought it very necessary to use words. His words could be heard in marketplaces, on street-corners, in Churches, wherever there were people. Of course, preaching without an authentic witness of life is certainly counterproductive. But forget about the idea that just the witness of our lives is enough. It is not. You may not called to preach on street corners, but Vatican II and subsequent popes, echoing 1 Peter 3:15, say that we all must be ready to articulate what Jesus has done for us, what he means to us, and why he is the answer to the world’s problems.
Feel inadequate to the task? You’re in good company. Pope Benedict’s first public statement was an admission of his inadequacy. Do as he does–pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to move in and through you, and take the time to keep learning more about your faith so that you can share
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