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    "Prince of this world will always stand condemned."

    Monday, May 26, 2014, 6:35 PM [General]

    "Gospel: Jn 16:5–11
    But now I am going to the One who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief, because of what I have said.

    Believe me, it is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, I will send him to you, and when he comes, he will vindicate the truth before a sinful world; and he will vindicate the paths of righteousness and justice.

    What is the world’s sin, in regard to me? Disbelief. What is the path of righteousness? It is the path I walk, by which I go to the Father; and you shall see me no more. What is the path of justice? It is the path on which the prince of this world will always stand condemned."


    The time for mentoring is slowly coming to an end. It is not the glory of the Teacher if His pupils remain so. They too must become teachers themselves so that what they have learned from their Master will reach a wider audience. And so Jesus consoles His own with the assurance that the Spirit, the Helper will be sent to them to help them spread the truth of Jesus. They will lose the physical presence of the Lord, but the Spirit will abide forever in their hearts to make them feel that they are never abandoned by the Master who taught and prepared them to continue the mission once He is gone.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    A Prayer For Rulers

    Monday, May 26, 2014, 6:57 AM [General]

    Wisdom from John XXIII

    quote

    A Prayer for Rulers: Therefore We pray God that [national] rulers may carefully weigh and consider the causes of dissension and endeavor in good faith to remove them. They must, above all, realize that war (God keep it from us!) can have only one result, vast ruins everywhere, and thus cannot be the object of anyone's reliance. They must adapt to the needs of men of today the laws which regulate the state and society and which bind together nations and classes of society. They must be mindful of the eternal laws which come from God and are the bases and pivots of all government. Finally, they must be ever aware that the individual souls of men are created by God and destined to possess and enjoy Him."

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Intimate union, God's gift to mystics

    Saturday, May 24, 2014, 10:37 PM [General]

    Intimate union, God's gift to mystics, is a reminder to all of us of the eternal happiness of union he wishes to give us. The cause of mystical ecstasy in this life is the Holy Spirit, working through spiritual gifts. The ecstasy occurs because of the weakness of the body and its powers to withstand the divine illumination, but as the body is purified and strengthened, ecstasy no longer occurs. On various aspects of ecstasy, see Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Chapter 5, and John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 2:1-2.


    There are many people today who see no purpose in suffering. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi discovered saving grace in suffering. When she entered religious life she was filled with a desire to suffer for Christ during the rest of her life. The more she suffered, the greater grew her desire for it. Her dying words to her fellow sisters were: "The last thing I ask of you—and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—is that you love him alone, that you trust implicitly in him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of him."
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    The Holy Spirit

    Friday, May 23, 2014, 11:51 AM [General]

    He wore steel rimmed glasses and had hair to the middle of his back.  The fringe on his buck-skinned jacket bounced as he walked.

     

    At least that was the way I was accustomed to seeing Mike as he bopped around town.  It was just a few years after Woodstock, and we were all taken with hippie culture.  It seemed so free, so new, so exciting.

     

    But that day at the entrance of the mall, I scarcely recognized him.  His hair was cut and his clothing conventional.  He was passing out tracts and spoke to me of the Holy Spirit.  I scratched my head and vaguely remembered some talk about the Holy Spirit in confirmation class.   But I had to admit that I really did not know much about this third person of the Blessed Trinity.

     

    Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Confirmation, Gifts of the Holy SpiritThis is quite common among Christians.  God the Father–we can get a glimpse of his tenderness and strength, thanks to Michelangelo’s magnificent Sistine ceiling.  And baby Jesus in the manger, the savior hanging on the Cross–these are images we can easily visualize.  But Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost?  Somehow, we can’t feel quite the same way about a dove as we do about a child on its mother’s lap.  And then what does this “Spirit” do?  The Father creates, the Son saves, but the Spirit?

     

    Jesus calls him the “Paraclete” as he prepares the disciples for his departure (Jn 14:15-21).  Frankly, this does not help us much–unless, of course, we get a bit of explanation.  This word means “Advocate.”  It is the word for lawyer or attorney in Spanish and other languages.  There may be lots of jokes about lawyers, but when you are in trouble with the law, having a good lawyer is no laughing matter.  That’s the role of the Holy Spirit– He is our defense attorney.

     

    Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Confirmation, John Paul IINow part of the role of the defense attorney is to tell his client how to plead.  Sometimes, when the evidence against you is overwhelming, the sentence will be a whole lot lighter if you just plead guilty.  The Spirit counsels us to be honest, convicting us gently of sin--not to accuse us, not to condemn us, but to help us win our case.  He is the Spirit of Truth.  Pope John Paul II’s theme was “Be not afraid.”   Be not afraid of the truth about your sin, your weakness, and your failings, says the Spirit.  For the judge happens to be the one who loves you so much that he died for you. Your judge is the same one who saved the woman caught in adultery from the rage of the hypocrites.

     

    But he is also the one who told the adulteress to “go and sin no more.”  This is the real problem.  How is she to do that?  Sin was where she looked for life.  It drew her like a magnet.

     

    Drugs, booze and “free-sex” drew my hippie friends like a magnet in the 1970's.  If we were acquitted by the Judge through the counsel of the Advocate, how were we to resist the allure of sin?

     

    Holy Spirit Paraclete, ConfrimationArchbishop Fulton Sheen once said that the only way to dislodge sin from one’s life is through the expulsive force of a new love.  This is the role of the Advocate.  He is the Love of God who is poured into our hearts (Ro 5:5) who drives out unlovely loves.  He is the Lord and Giver of true life who makes utterly clear that so many other things that we regarded as “life” are really death warmed over.

     

    Once you have a taste of the real thing, you are never again satisfied with imitations.  That’s why Mike abandoned the drug scene.  That’s why the Magdalene and the Samaritan woman abandoned all other lovers.  That’s why the rejoicing in Samaria rose to fever pitch (Acts 8:8).

     

    The Holy Spirit is the real thing.  And he does not just come and go.  He is with us always.

     


    (In my inbox this AM

     

    DISOrintation






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    Important questions

    Thursday, May 22, 2014, 10:04 PM [General]

    For the Baptism of adults and for all the baptized at the Easter Vigil, three questions are asked: “Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God's children? Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?”

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    John 14:1-12?

    Sunday, May 18, 2014, 4:40 AM [General]

    the Way, the Truth, and the Life -- What does Jesus Christ mean when he says this John 14:1-12? 

     

    “As long as you believe in God and try to be a good person, your religion doesn’t matter.”  “There are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak.”

     

    How many times have you heard people speak this way?  This is the prevailing wisdom.  It’s politically correct.  Tolerant.  Reasonable.

     

    But it’s wrong.  Jesus has the nerve to say “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”

     

    The highway to heaven had been closed for centuries.  God did not set up the road block.  We did.  But the barriers that we erected were immovable.  At least by us.  God was the only one who could open the way.

     

    There was a problem with truth and life as well.  Sure, people had some ideas about God.  But the ideas were shadowy, fragmentary and mingled with distortions.  Everyone in the ancient world knew there was a Creator we were obliged to worship.  But some thought homage required human sacrifice.  And most thought that there were many gods.  A few, like Aristotle, realized that there could only be one God.  But he imagined this God to be remote and aloof, unconcerned with human affairs.

     

    David, Catholic Church, The Way, The Truth and Life

    Finally there was the issue of life, divine life.  Even the Jews, who had the most truth about God, had a problem here. They knew what God required.  But even the best among them lacked the power to do it.  Take David for instance.  When the chips were down, he proved defenseless against the power of lust, deceit, and even murder.

     

    Jesus is the way.  Indeed he is a two way street.  In him, God comes to meet us, holding nothing back, offering everything of who he is and what he has.  Through Him and Him alone, we have access to God to such a point that we can now call him Abba, Father. 

     

    Jesus is the truth.  Not just some truth but the entire truth.  He is God’s definitive and perfect Word expressing who God is, what He’s like, who we are, and what we need to do to be saved from misery and futility. 

     

    And Jesus is the life.  He gives us not only commandments and noble ideals, but also the power to live them out, the power to become new people.  That Power is the Lord and Giver of Life Himself, the Holy Spirit, who Jesus pours out on those who accept Him.

     

    So there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life, and one Priest who offers a perfect sacrifice for sins. So how can it be that we are called a royal priesthood (I Peter 2)?  How can it be that we who believe in Him are to do greater works than he? (John 14:11-12)

     

    Pope Benedict XVI, Ratzinger

    Simple.  Once we’ve been baptized, there is no longer a separation between us, on the one hand, and Him on the other.  We are baptized into him, become members of his body, so he begins to live his life and exercise his priesthood through us. 

     

    If we let him, he will use our lips to spread his truth, our lives to show the way, and our love to give others life.  And the works He will accomplish through us will far surpass what he did in his three short years of public ministry.  More hungry will be fed, more sick healed, more books written.  Tyrannical, atheistic empires will even be brought down.  The Good News will be preached not just in Galilee, but all over the world, not just in person, but touching millions at a time . . .  through radio, TV, and internet.

     

    But the greatest work that He will accomplish through us is to teach us to be priests, to offer the spiritual sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:2) to the Father through Him, with Him, and in Him.  For the meaning of human life is to love, and the greatest gift we’ve received from Him is the power to give ourselves away.

     

    a reflection on Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33;  I

     

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    For the sake of the Nietzsche’s of the world...

    Sunday, May 11, 2014, 1:26 PM [General]

    Abundant Life

    The Good Shepherd prepares a Table for Us

     


     

    Desperate PrayersThe atheist philosopher of the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said: “if Christians want me to believe in their redeemer, they need to look more redeemed.” 

     

    He was drawing the wrong conclusion from a perceptive observation.  To Nietzsche most Christians looked just as burdened, clueless and lost as everybody else.  When he looked into their eyes, he did not see hope, excitement, joy, and a sense of purpose.  They seemed to be still wandering around the Sinai desert, emaciated and anemic; their faces full more of impossibilities than possibilities.

     

    When the early Church of Rome celebrated the Easter vigil and the newly baptized came forward to receive their first holy communion, there was another cup on the altar besides the one containing the Lord’s precious blood.  It was filled with milk and honey.  For having passed through the waters of baptism, they had crossed the Jordan and entered into the Promised Land.  Never mind that they could not worship openly for fear of being dragged off to be thrown to the lions.  After years in the desert, they were bound and determined to enjoy the fruits of the Land every chance they could.  The nourishment did them good.  Evidently they looked redeemed, because, despite the danger of persecution, so many of their neighbors came to believe in their redeemer that finally even the Emperor confessed faith in Christ.

     

    Blood of Christ Poured OutJesus did not pour out the last drop of his blood so that we could drag ourselves through life with the hopes that, after a lengthy stay in purgatory, we could squeeze through the pearly gates by the skin of our teeth.  Rather he says: “I came that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).  He said this while speaking of us as if we were sheep and he our shepherd.

     

    In my last visit to the Holy Land, I learned something about sheep and why the patriarchs of Israel herded them through the wilderness.  Unlike cows and horses, sheep can survive on just about anything, even scraggly clumps of weeds, scorched brown by the Middle Eastern sun.

     

    But Jesus is a good shepherd.  He is not content to see us barely survive.  He wants us to thrive.  He takes pleasure in plumb, robust sheep, not scrawny, anemic ones.  So the pastures to which he leads us are verdant, lush, and green (Ps. 23), not scorched and brown.  He spreads out a table, a true feast before us, not lunch in a brown bag.  He does not ration our nourishment.  Instead, our cup overflows.

     

    Imagine his surprise when most of his sheep walk right by the oasis with its succulent grass and instead insist on munching the dried weeds at the edge of the desert.

     

    But that’s what most Catholics appear to do.  Have you ever noticed that more people show up to acknowledge their sins on Ash Wednesday than come to celebrate the gift of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday?  Has it ever appeared odd to you that of the many who faithfully give up chocolate and other things during Lent, very few enjoy daily Mass, adoration or extra time reading Scripture during Eastertide?

     

    Abundant Life, Christ the Good ShepherdYou can lead sheep to pasture but you can’t make them drink.  The verdant pasture of the Catholic heritage is full of delectable treats that will make our spirits strong and our hearts sing.  The whole new world of the Bible, the healing balm of the sacrament of penance, the writings of the Fathers, Doctors, and spiritual masters, the teaching of the Councils and the Popes, and most especially the Feast of Faith which is the Eucharist, these provide an abundance of savory nourishment that most of us have scarcely sampled.

     

    The greatest insult to the host of an Italian home is to visit and not eat.  It cost the Lord his very life to prepare this table for us.  Out of courtesy to Him, for the sake of your health, and for the sake of the Nietzsche’s of the world that need to see before they believe, eat!

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Language of love

    Sunday, May 11, 2014, 5:49 AM [General]

    Language Of Love,' Bishop Conley Teaches



    LINCOLN, NEB., March 24 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Bishop James Conley of Lincoln hopes his new pastoral letter on the sacrificial "language of love" and the disruptive immorality of contraception will be received "with open hearts and open minds."

    "My hope is that people, Catholic couples especially, and also Catholic physicians and pharmacists, will be willing to look at this issue again," he told CNA March 20.

    "The Language of Love" is Bishop Conley's pastoral letter on the sacrificial nature of love and on contraception, officially promulgated March 25 -- the feast of the Annunciation, when the Church celebrates Mary's assent to becoming the Mother of God. The letter can be read in full, and listened to, here.

    Bishop Conley said Paul VI's 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae," which rejected contraception as contrary to Christian ethics, had a "prophetic message" that was "good news for all Catholics, since we know that the contraceptive mentality has been so pervasive and so devastating."

    He said he hopes that couples using contraception, and physicians prescribing it, will "think again" about their actions, and turn to "God's tender mercy by making a good heartfelt confession."

    "Sacrifice is the language of love," Bishop Conley wrote in his pastoral letter. "Love is spoken in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who poured out his life for us on the cross. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of the Christian life, sharing in Christ's life, death, and resurrection. And love is spoken in the sacrifice of parents, and pastors, and friends."

    "We live in a world short on love," he lamented.

    The pastoral letter warns that "when it rejects the gift of new life, through the use of contraception," American culture is rejecting love.

    "Husbands and wives are made to freely offer themselves as gifts to one another in friendship, and to share in the life-giving love of God."

    He said God created marriage to be unifying and procreative, joining husband and wife "inseparably in the mission of love, and to bring forth from that love something new."

    "Contraception robs the freedom for those possibilities," he continued, warning that the use of contraception "gravely and seriously disrupts the sacrificial, holy and loving meaning of marriage itself."

    He said marriage is a call to "loving as God loves... freely, creatively and generously."

    The letter will be delivered to every registered family in the diocese, and will be made available as a podcast and as a broadcast on Nebraska Catholic radio.

    Bishop Conley voiced gratitude for the example of the "hundreds of families" who have "opened themselves freely and generously to children."

    While this requires sacrifice, he said, "sacrifice is the harbinger of true joy."

    "The Language of Love" was inspired by a 1991 pastoral letter, "In Obedience to Christ," issued by Bishop Glennon Flavin, who shepherded the Lincoln diocese from 1967 to 1992.

    Bishop Flavin's letter had discussed contraception's incompatibility with Catholic married life and medical ethics, and is regarded as a landmark in the history of the Diocese of Lincoln.

    Bishop Conley said that his predecessor's letter had "a profound effect" on him as a young priest in the Diocese of Wichita.

    When he became Bishop of Lincoln in November 2012, he began to think how he could re-present Bishop Flavin's "wonderful, beautiful teaching," which led to his preparation of "The Language of Love" as an update to his predecessor's teaching.

    Bishop Conley told CNA that Catholics who reject or ignore the immorality of contraception should look to the Church and to the teachings of Christ as "a message of love and mercy," a message proclaimed by Pope Francis.

    The bishop's letter specially addressed Catholic physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals. He praised their efforts to help their patients, but at the same time he said no Catholic health care providers should engage in medicine "by undermining the gift of fertility."

    Health care, he noted, is "the art of healing," while and contraception and sterilization "denigrate and degrade the body's very purpose."

    John Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association, told CNA March 20 that he welcomed the pastoral letter as "a clear, compelling call to fidelity on an issue that is central to human happiness and health," saying the letter has an "inspiring and constructive explanation" of Catholic teaching on contraception and sterilization.

    Brehany said the letter can benefit faithful Catholic health care professionals through its "high-quality reaffirmation of Church teaching."

    "Even the choir needs to hear good sermons from time to time."

    The letter can bring clarity to health care professionals who are confused or ignorant of their moral obligations related to contraception and sterilization; Brehany said he knows many Catholic physicians who did not know about the immorality of these practices for many years.

    "People respond to the truth, especially when it is spoken with clarity and love," Brehany continued, encouraging lay Catholics to read the letter and to "share it with confidence."

    0 (0 Ratings)

    The great paradox of life is...

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 10:40 AM [General]


    Losing and Gaining Our Lives

    The great paradox of life is that those who lose their lives will gain them.  This paradox becomes visible in very ordinary situations.  If we cling to our friends, we may lose them, but when we are nonpossessive in our relationships, we will make many friends.  When fame is what we seek and desire, it often vanishes as soon as we acquire it, but when we have no need to be known, we might be remembered long after our deaths.  When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we find ourselves often in the center.

    Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human arts.  This will gain us our lives.

    (In my inbox this AM}

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    The Meaning...

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 4:55 AM [General]

    Suffering for Christ means suffering because we are like Christ. Very often the opposition we meet is the result of our own selfishness or imprudence. We are not martyrs when we are "persecuted" by those who merely treat us as we treat them. A Christian martyr is one who, like Christ, is simply a witness to God's love, and brings out of human hearts the good or evil that is already there.

    Quote:
    "No one is a martyr for a conclusion, no one is a martyr for an opinion; it is faith that makes martyrs" (Cardinal Newman, Discourses to Mixed Congregations).
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