Posts Tagged ‘Edward Leen’

Catholic Recovery: AA and The Sacraments (Addiction is no joke)

September 25, 2018

The Best Cure for a Sick Human Being May Be Prayer 

Image may contain: drink

By John Francis Carey

Image may contain: text

The “Big Book”

Addicted people, alcoholics and drug addicts, generally know where to go to get sober: Alcoholics Anonymous (and Narcotics Anonymous). Oh you can go to Malibu if your health insurance is good enough or you are  rolling in dough, but only the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has a decades-long proven track record of getting drug addicts and alcoholics sober and keeping them that way.

So, having exhausted all prior options and afraid that sacrificing a live chicken in suburbia would upset the neighbors, I went to AA.

But since I am a Catholic, I have another place to go to help me to maintain a “fit spiritual condition.” We have the Church.

Suffering miserably, I trembled as I asked my spiritual advisor and AA sponsor the secret to good health and happiness.

“Go, listen to the Spoken Word, eat the Body of Christ in the form of the Eucharist at Mass, and confess your sins,” both of them replied.

I told them I thought I needed a better doctor and more health insurance.

“Nonsense,” one said.  “Physically you are fine. What you need is a spiritual awakening!”

There’s that thought again: spiritual awakening.

Isn’t “spiritual awakening” the entire point of Alcoholics Anonymous? Isn’t Step Twelve “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

So,  I stepped into a Catholic Church for the first time in years.  Before too long The Holy Spirit began to talk to me and recommended I go to confession and get a new start on life by wiping away all the built-up sin and grime and dirt.

After confession, my first in decades, I felt like I could fly. So, for once in my life I followed orders exactly: I went to Mass every day, I listened, paid attention, concentrated and consecrated my efforts in life.

I also received Holy Communion daily: The Bread of Life. I have been keeping this daily routine supplemented with lots of prayer and spiritual reading since 2007; and you know what? I have had a spiritual recovery.

My Old friend Peter calls it a “CONVERSION.”  Like Saul in the Scripture: “the scales fell from my eyes.”

And Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, used those same words.

“The scales fell from our eyes.”

One of the landmark books that told me I was on the right track was “Holy Spirit” by Father Edward Leen.

Father Leen says if you do the daily diet of Mass and Communion and you keep your life in a helpful, grateful and useful frame of mind with lots of good works: you will be filled with an “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”

It happened to me exactly the way my spiritual advisor and Fr. Leen promised.  And I am reborn.

Many Catholics in AA find St. Francis de Sales a good one to read in order to straighten out a long lost catholic soul. “Introduction to the Devout Life” is the book that includes just about everything Francis de Sales teaches: but there are several shorter books of his teachings to get folks started.

And don’t let that word “devout” slow you down. Are you devoted to your sobriety or not? Are you grateful to God and devoted to Him?

I keep in mind that “what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”

Like a Space Walker tethered to the mother ship by a three inch diameter chord — we have support from our AA fellowship and the Church and all its benefits. But, I know that a mortal sin just now will slam the hatch, sever my relationship with God, and I could float off into space before I come to my senses and return to the Spiritual Life again! IF I can return to the spiritual life again.

Ed White was the first American to perform a spacewalk. Image Creit: NASA

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” So as I look at the Twelve Steps and the Ten Commandments, and see that our supplemental Catholic Church effort actually has fewer steps that AA! And since we are seeking that “daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition” — it might be a good idea for me not to continue to violate the Ten Commandments. I need all the Grace God can give me and I sure don’t want to slam the door in God’s face again.

It is only by the Grace of God that I am still alive.

So we use everything at our disposal to stay sober and stay on a spiritual path. We “go to any lengths to get it.” That means we pray, we go to AA meetings and we go to Church.

Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob both once said, “I’ll never go to church again.” But both DID go back to church after they got sober using the steps.

Now a few thoughts on prayer:

“A soul should not resolve, on account of the dryness it experiences, to abandon prayer.” — St. Teresa of Avila

“No prayer, no spiritual life.” –St. John Paul II

“Nothing so much purifies our mind from its errors, or our will from its depraved  affections, as prayer.” — St. Francis de Sales

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” — St. Pio of  Pietrelcina (“Padre Pio”)

For thousands of years, human beings have been praying. We modern Americans may need to give it a try too. I know it’s not cool but being cool won’t keep me sober or get me to heaven!

.

Related:

.

Image may contain: one or more people

We recommend the book “Holy Spirit” By Edward Leen. It changed my life. It can change yours too.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, beard and closeup

Padre Pio

.

 (Padre Pio)
.
.
.
.
.
 (“Stay in the present moment.”)
.
Image may contain: text
.
Book: Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly.
  1. Pray/Meditate
  2. Study
  3. Pour ourselves out in service to others
  4. EVANGELIZE
Advertisements

Does the Holy Spirit Live in You?

August 22, 2018

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Image may contain: indoor

The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is a Person. The Bible says that He is not something, He is Someone. He is God. There are three Persons in the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful. We read in Micah 3:8, “I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Bible says that God is present everywhere. No matter where we go, He is there. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The Holy Spirit can be in both your heart and my heart, even though we may live a thousand miles apart.

The Holy Spirit has all knowledge. The Bible says, “The Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us and takes us deeper and deeper into God’s truth as we go along in our Christian life. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but we can grow only by the help of the Holy Spirit.

The moment that we receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts. Our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit helps us live the Christian life. There is not a person anywhere who can be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. There is not a person who can follow Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit sees everything that goes on. He knows what goes on in our hearts. He knows what goes on in our minds. Nothing is hidden from Him. And in Hebrews 9:14 the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is eternal.

The Spirit is called holy. The Bible says, “Be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And one of the Holy Spirit’s ministries is to help make us holy. We ought to be more holy today than we were yesterday. We should always be conforming more to the image of Jesus Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps us in this growing process.

Conviction of Sin
First, the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin. Jesus said, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit uses a mother’s prayers, a tragic experience, a pastor’s sermon or some other experience to convict us of sin and of our need to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. He points to us and says, “You are a sinner. You need to repent.” We don’t like to hear that, but that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Without that work we could never have our sins forgiven. We could never be saved. We could never go to Heaven.

New Life
Second, the Holy Spirit gives new life. The Bible says that we are dead in sins and trespasses. Our spirit within us, made in the image of God, is dead toward God. Mankind needs life. All have sinned. Therefore, all are dead toward God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). You must be born again. And the Holy Spirit is the One who does the work of making you a born-again person. It is a supernatural act.

Paul said to Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Our good works and all the good things that we have done are not going to save us. We are saved by the mercy of God, by the grace of God. It is something I didn’t earn, something I didn’t work for. It is the gift of God, the gift of salvation.

Indwelling Spirit
Third, the Holy Spirit indwells us. Many of you are spiritually dead and are completely immersed in our hedonistic culture. God says, “I will put my Spirit in you. I will come to live in you.” Your body becomes the temple where God dwells by His Holy Spirit.

That is the reason we should never take anything unclean into our bodies. That is the reason we should discipline our bodies. God loves your body. He doesn’t want it polluted by fleshly lusts and the things to which you give yourself. The Bible says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Power to Serve Christ
Fourth, the Holy Spirit gives you power to serve Christ. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8). I couldn’t do the work I am doing without the power of the Holy Spirit. I am a communicator of God’s message. He called me and gave me that gift. What counts is the message that–according to Scripture–Christ died for our sins, He rose again, He is coming back again and He is ready to come into your heart by the Holy Spirit and make you a new person. That is the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). There are people whom you may not be able to love easily. But the Holy Spirit will give you the power to love them. Love is the greatest evidence that you know Christ. The Holy Spirit can love through you.

There are times I feel that I don’t have joy, and I get on my knees and say, “Lord, where is the fruit of joy in my life?” I find that the joy is there, down deep. It is a deep river. Whatever the circumstances, there is a river of joy.

The peace that passes understanding comes from the Holy Spirit. Whatever the circumstances, I have peace in my heart. I know where I am going, I know where I have been. And I know why I am here–by the Holy Spirit.

Do you know Christ? The Holy Spirit comes to magnify, to glorify and to exalt the Son. Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall not speak of Himself. He comes to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes to glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). And the Holy Spirit is pleased when you glorify Christ in your life.

It is the Holy Spirit who draws you to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts you of your need of Christ. There is only one way of salvation, and that is Christ. It is a dangerous thing to resist the Spirit. “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28–29).

I am asking you to give in to the call of the Holy Spirit. I am asking you to say, “I want Christ in my life, to be my Lord and my Savior.” I know thousands of churchgoers who need to come to Christ, led by the Holy Spirit. You need to say, “I want Christ in my heart.” Say, “I want to know I am going to Heaven. I want my sins forgiven. I want to start a new life.”

By    •   April 30, 2009

https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/may-2009/does-the-holy-spirit-live-in-you/

****************************************************

Image may contain: one or more people

Catholics often encounter the Holy Spirit and we may, from time to time, find people truly able to carry the gift of the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Edward Leen’s book “Holy Spirit” is a great read for any Christian. Leen believes that the Holy Spirit lives inside each of us in a phenomena known as the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Believers say this indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes for the “Sanctity of Human Life” in each of us. And how do we make the most of this most precious gift? We live within God’s Law (The Commandments), and we seek to do the Will of God.

Matthew Kelly tells us in “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” to pray and meditate, to study and stay true to the scriptures, to pour ourselves out in loving service to others and to evangelize to have a spectacular God-centered life!

Image may contain: text

“Twelve-step programs teache, of course, twelve steps. Matthew Kelly suggests we can boil those down to just Four Signs of a Dynamic Christian/Catholic.”

Morning Prayer for Tuesday, August 7, 2018 — God’s spirit is always with you, His hand is on your shoulder — Anthony Hopkins on his Great Gift

August 7, 2018

Image may contain: text

Never doubt that God’s spirit is always with you, wherever you are, to keep you on the right path. God’s keeping power is never at fault, only your realization of it. You must try to believe in God’s nearness and availability of His grace. It is not a question of whether God can provide a shelter from the storm, but of whether or not you seek the security of that shelter. Every fear, worry, or doubt is disloyalty to God. You must endeavor to trust God wholly. Practice saying: “All is going to be well.” Say it to yourself until you feel it deeply.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may feel deeply that all is well. I pray that nothing will be able to move me from that deep conviction.

Related:

Over and over again in the scripture we see the words “do not be afraid.” God expects us to know and believe that he has our back!
.
This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
.
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
.
Another anti-anxiety prayer is this one:
.
God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

Image result for God's loving hand, art

Related:

 Image may contain: 1 person, beard, eyeglasses and closeup

Sir Anthony Hopkins

Image may contain: one or more people

Each human being has a spark of God within him. Curing addiction can awaken this spark and create a spiritual experience — and a better person!

Morning Prayer for Saturday, August 4, 2018 — Seeking conscious contact with God

August 4, 2018

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor and nature

“And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee.” It is the flow of life eternal through spirit, mind, and body that cleanses, heals, restores, and renews. Seek conscious contact with God more and more each day. Make God an abiding presence during the day. Be conscious of His spirit helping you. All that is done without God’s spirit is passing. All that is done with God’s spirit is life eternal.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be in the stream of eternal life. I pray that I may be cleansed and healed by the Eternal Spirit.

Related:

Morning Prayer for Thursday, June 28, 2018 — Maintain your calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending challenges

June 28, 2018

If you can take your troubles as they come, if you can maintain your
calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending engagements,
if you can rise above the distressing and disturbing circumstances in
which you are set down, you have discovered a priceless secret of
daily living. Even if you are forced to go through life weighed down by
some unescapable misfortune or handicap and yet live each day as it
comes with poise and peace of mind, you have succeeded where most
people have failed. You have wrought a greater achievement than a
person who rules a nation. Have I achieved poise and peace of mind?

Meditation For The Day

Take a blessing with you wherever you go. You have been blessed, so
bless others. Such stores of blessings are awaiting you in the months
and years that lie ahead. Pass on your blessings. Blessing can and does
go around the world, passed on from one person to another. Shed a
little blessing in the heart of one person. That person is cheered to
pass it on, and so, God’s vitalizing, joy-giving message travels on. Be a
transmitter of God’s blessings.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may pass on my blessings. I pray that they may flow into
the lives of others.

Image may contain: one or more people

Book: Holy Spirit by Fr. Edward Leen
.
Every human being has the spark of God within. What we want to do is make that spark into hot, life saving flame! We want the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Related:

Are we growing in faith? Not afraid to take risks to be a disciple of Christ? Prayer for Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018
.
Image may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water
.
Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
Monday, June 11, 2018
A CHURCH COMING OUT OF HERSELF TO THE PERIPHERIES

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ Acts 11:21-2613:1-3Mt 10:7-13 ]

The persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem resulted in the Church of Jerusalem going out of herself to other cities.  If not for the persecution, the Christian Church would not have grown because it would have been domesticated and reduced to another sect of Judaism.  So divine providence used such events for the spread of the gospel.   One of the cities that the Jewish Christians went to announce the Good News was Antioch. “A great number believed and were converted to the Lord. The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace.”

Barnabas, whose feast we celebrate today, played a key role in the spread of the gospel to all the nations.  Indeed, without Barnabas, Paul, who was then called Saul, might have been left as an unknown figure as many did not quite trust a former persecutor of the Church.  Barnabas might not have been the chosen apostle to the Gentiles, but he was certainly instrumental in rehabilitating Saul in the Christian community, giving him credibility and confidence.  It was his initiative to bring Paul to help him in his ministry.  “Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a number of people.”  Without his graciousness and encouragement, Saul would not have entered the Church to assume leadership.

Barnabas, whose name means encouragement, was truly an encouraging person towards all those who were growing in faith.  He was not afraid to take risks, as in soliciting Paul for help. He encouraged Paul to work with him in instructing the Christians at Antioch.  “He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.”  Barnabas was a true example of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.  He patiently formed the early Christians in faith.  “He urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; and a large number of people were won over to the Lord.” He was aware that just because one is converted to the Lord does not mean that he would stay faithful to Him unless he continues to grow in the faith through study, reading the Word of God and sharing the faith with each other.

What is significant is that the community that Barnabas formed was not a conclave of Christians where they were only concerned about themselves.   A sign of a true, living and loving Christian community is when they reach out and proclaim Christ to others, and form new communities.  This is the danger of many so-called Christian communities. They become exclusive elite club members, absorbed in themselves and admitting only those who are good.  This is the saddest part of the Catholic Church because we are at most parochial-minded, even if we are considered “good Catholics.”  We are not reaching out to each other in the parish, much less to non-Christians.  A look at the statistics of our conversion rate will show that we are a maintenance Church.  With 383,000 Catholics or more, we have slightly over a thousand adult baptisms a year.  We are not a vibrant, evangelistic and missionary Church.  We are quite contented to take care of our own parishes instead of growing new parishes and building new churches and new communities.  We rarely build new churches, for after so many years, we are only 32 parishes.  This clearly indicates that we are not growing fast enough to establish new communities.

In the early Church we see Barnabas and Paul being sent out as missionaries.  “One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”  They were receptive to the Holy Spirit prompting them to share the Good News with people elsewhere.  Indeed, the Church must be missionary-minded, always finding new ways to establish new communities.  We must avoid being a complacent Church that is inward-looking and protectionist.  We must be ready to welcome new people into the Church and in our ministries.  “Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rath­er than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”  (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 49)

Pope Francis challenged the Church to go forth.  “All of us are called to take part in this new missionary ’going forth’.  Each Christian and every community must dis­cern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”  (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 20) What are these peripheries?  It is not just a geographical periphery but also existential periphery.  We must be bold and creative. “Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’. I invite every­one to be bold and creative in this task of re­thinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communi­ties.”  (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 33)  This is what the gospel is inviting us to do when the Lord said to His disciples, “As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.”

We must open our doors to the world. Jesus instructed His disciples, “Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you.”  There is no coercion on our part but just offering the gift of the Good News.  Indeed, Pope Francis is insistent that “The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One con­crete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if some­one, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacra­ments be closed for simply any reason.” (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 47)

This requires us to trust in Jesus and rely on Him alone.  Jesus told the disciples, “Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.”  This mission cannot be accomplished without the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit, “One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”  Like the apostles, we are sent by a praying, spirit-filled and anointed community, regardless whether we are priests, religious, missionaries or laity involved in the mission.  We too must pray and discern how the Spirit is asking the Church today to renew herself and to go out to offer everyone the life of Christ

So let us without fear join the psalmist in singing “a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders. His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation. The Lord has made known his salvation; has shown his justice to the nations. He has remembered his truth and love for the house of Israel.”   Let us go forth as Church, out of our comfort zones, to the existential periphery to announce the gospel of the Lord.  The Lord reminds us, “You have received without charge, give without charge.”  “An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the out­cast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy.”  (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 24)

Let us be generous in our contribution and support, whether in financial resources or time, to those whom we have sent out as missionaries to proclaim the gospel, those who labour in our diocese and beyond. It is not enough to send them out without supporting them with our prayers and resources.  “The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a com­munity of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be.”  (Gaudium Evangelii, No. 24)

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
***************************************************
.

Prayer for Evangelization

Heavenly Father,

Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.

Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.

Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.

In moments of hesitation, remind me:

If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?

If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?

If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?

God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/prayer-for-the-new-evangelization.cfm

Book:

Bishop Goh reminds us to be “Dynamic Catholics.”

  1. Pray/Meditate
  2. Study
  3. Pour ourselves out in service to others
  4. EVANGELIZE

Related:

Image may contain: one or more people

Book: Holy Spirit by Fr. Edward Leen

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, June 2, 2018 — Do you know what is of heavenly origin?

June 1, 2018

Tissot, The Chief Priests Take Counsel Together
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. Mark 11:18

.

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 352

Reading 1 JUDE 17, 20B-25

Beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand
by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.
Keep yourselves in the love of God
and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
that leads to eternal life.
On those who waver, have mercy;
save others by snatching them out of the fire;
on others have mercy with fear,
abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you unblemished and exultant,
in the presence of his glory,
to the only God, our savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord
be glory, majesty, power, and authority
from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Alleluia  SEE COL 3:16A, 17C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

.

Gospel  MK 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
.
********************************************
.
.
Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
02 JUNE, 2018, Saturday, 8th Week, Ordinary Time
PERSONAL AUTHORITY OF LEADERS COMES FROM FAITH THAT WORKS ITSELF THROUGH LOVE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ JUDE 17:20-25;  MK 11:27-33 ]

In the gospel today, the authority of Jesus was questioned by the Jewish leaders.  Without mincing their words, they said to him, “What authority have you for acting like this?  Or who gave you the authority to do these things?”  The response given by Jesus might appear to be paradoxical but in fact it forced the Jewish leaders to admit their fear and prejudice against Him.

By citing the example of John the Baptist, who was popularly acknowledged as a great prophet by all the common people and could not be disputed by the Jewish leaders lest they incurred the wrath of the people, it underscores the fact that if John the Baptist had won such respect from the people, it was because of his lifestyle and preaching.  We know that John the Baptist lived a life of poverty in the desert, having only wild locusts and honey for his food.  He preached the baptism of repentance with such forcefulness and conviction that many who heard him could see the power of God at work in him and recognized his words as coming from God Himself.

The implication is that Jesus too based His authority not so much on the institutional office given to Him, as was the case of the Jewish leaders, but on the authority that came from His way of life, His identification with the Father and His works.  In John’s gospel, He said, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.” (Jn 14:11)  So Jesus was telling the Jewish leaders that His authority could be verified by the works that He had done.

Truly, in any discernment of authenticity, we must verify the fruits of the work of the person.  When something is from God or from the Holy Spirit, it will surely bear good fruit.  Not just fruits, but lasting fruits of the Spirit.  Jesus in the gospel taught us that we should judge the tree by its fruits.  So even if we have personal prejudices against a person, let the enduring fruits of his work substantiate his claims that his mission comes from God.  Conversely, if we are not producing good and lasting fruits, then we must be weary of the origin of our work, whether it comes from God or from the human spirit, or worse still, the evil spirit under the guise of the good spirit.

What does it mean for us as priests and lay leaders?  It is not enough to rest our authority on the office, be it by ordination or by appointment.   Institutional authority alone cannot command respect from those whom we serve.  We need to complement our institutional authority with personal authority that comes from a life of faith and love of God.  This is what St Jude said to the Christians.  He exhorted them saying, “You must use your holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.”  Indeed, a true Christian leader, clerical or lay, must act from the authority given to him by Jesus through faith in Him as the Risen Lord, and bathe in His love and mercy, so that he would never become too proud, arrogant or self-reliant, but always surrendering his life and ministry to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, this faith in God’s love and mercy must result in a genuine concern for our brothers and sisters in faith.  It is out of love for them that St Jude urged the Christians to act thus, “when there are some who have doubts, reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.”  A good leader therefore is one who cares for the faith and salvation of his or her fellow brothers and sisters.  Like the Good Shepherd, lay leaders must show fruits of genuine pastoral care for those who are weak in their faith, those who are on the way to perdition and those who are living in sin.   When we are sincere in reaching out to such wounded and stray Christians, they will eventually respond to us as they know we are truly concerned about their well being and not just an attempt at proselytizing.

All of us in a certain sense therefore have the authority to proclaim the gospel even if we do not have institutional authority.  By our very lives, we can bring Jesus to others and convict them of their sin and pride.  Through our good examples of faith and love, we can win the hearts of those who are searching for God.  And as the psalmist tells us, many people are thirsting for God and waiting to see His power and glory.  If we show kindness to such people and they perceive the kindness as coming from God, they will be brought to conversion.

Finally, if we are skeptical about those leaders placed over us or those who claim to be working for God, then we must be sincere in evaluating the genuineness of their authority.  Before we reject their claims that their work is from God, we must be objective in examining their works and their fruits.  We cannot dismiss a person simply because we are not inclined to him or her.  Worse still, quite often, the real motives for our rejection of such leaders are due to our jealousy and insecurity.  Our pride and envy of their success make us envious, and we try to discredit their works.  So we must pray that we do not work against God unwittingly, especially when we can see that a certain project or church group is helping people to live a life of holiness and charity with evangelical zeal.

The last line of today’s first reading sums up the final criteria in our discernment of genuine authority and the works of God, namely, that in all things, we can say confidently, “Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy.  To God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, authority and power, which he had before time began, now and for ever.  Amen.”  In other words, whether as leaders or followers, we must give glory to God for He is the One who is the source of all authority and power.   When anyone begins to think consciously or unconsciously that he or she is the one responsible for the success of the works undertaken, then that person is being deceived by Evil One.  The moment success gets into our head, we are headed for a downfall.  So let us follow Jesus in affirming that our authority and power comes from His Father and that whatever we do, we want to do it in union with Him, doing only His will and His alone.

.
Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
.
*********************************
.
Homily Ideas for Mark 11: 27-33 “By What Authority”?
.
Don’t forget, Jesus was an outcast and “the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.” (Matthew 27: 41)

In Mark’s account in Chapter 11, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Jesus over the issue of authority. They had every right to do so. They were the duly appointed leaders of the nation of Israel. But even though they had this authority, they did not understand that the authority of Jesus was much greater than theirs. They wanted to question Jesus‘ authority for teaching the people things which were contrary to what they were teaching them, and for doing miracles on the Sabbath day, which they thought ought not to be done on that day. They believed that Jesus was a false prophet. They did not understand, spiritually, how it is God who raises up men to have and to exercise true spiritual authority among the assembled people of God. They did not understand that this man who was standing in front of them was the Lord of Glory; their Master, their Messiah, and their King; the One through whom the world was made. They just saw Him as a man who was a troublemaker; a man who needed to be brought into line with their own false teaching and authority.

This passage is very important to all believers in Jesus Christ, or all who are considering believing in Him. For it teaches us that we have a very reasonable faith which is based on the authority of God Himself. These verses teach us that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, have no responsibility to submit to the authority of men who would put us into spiritual bondage to themselves.

Any pastor or spiritual leader in the visible Church of Jesus Christ who cannot recognize the difference between an appointment to an office that men appoint other men to; and the particular graces and gifts which God alone gives to establish good spiritual authority in the lives of God‘s people, may come to make great mistakes in the exercise of their authority. There is an authority which God gives and conveys, that enables a man to be raised up to do God‘s good work in promoting the gospel and Christ‘s kingdom; and there is an authority which men give to men, or which men take to themselves, which shuts other men up to themselves rather than to God. Men who are spiritually blind in this regard, may find themselves attempting to put other people around them under their own spiritual authority, rather than establishing the people who attend their church under God‘s true authority. They may actually find themselves trying to take away the true spiritual freedom which God has called all believers to, by attempting to do these things. Indeed, they may actually find themselves opposing the true work of God. So, this afternoon I would like to set before you the Lord Jesus‘ response to the question, ―By what authority are you doing these things?‖ His response was 1st of all – To ask His own question of them. (Verses 27-30) It was 2ndly – To know their reasonings. (Verses 31 and 32) And then 3rdly – It was to refuse to give them the answer to their question. (Verse 33).

From Pastor Paul Rendall

http://www.reformedbaptistoftama.com/sermons/Se
rmons%20on%20Mark’s%20Gospel/pdf/Mark%20
11%3B%2027-33%20%20By%20What%20Authority.pdf

.
***********************
.
Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
28 MAY 2016, Saturday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time
WITNESSING IN THE MARKET PLACE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ Jude 17:20-25; Ps 62:2-6; Mk 11:27-33  ]

In this age of secularization, the gospel has to be brought to the market place where the people are.  We cannot expect people to come to our churches to look for Christ.  A few might come out of desperation.  But the world seems to be more appealing and attractive.  They speak louder and there are more choices.  Our young people are out there, seduced by the world of music, entertainment, arts, pleasure, fun and excitement.  They are glued to their mobile devices, always on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  So if we want to capture them for Jesus, the Church, as the Holy Father, Pope Francis says, must go out to the frontlines of the battle where the sick and wounded people are, not stay in the comfort of our offices, waiting for them to come and seek us out for help.

Yet, there is so much danger when we try to bring the gospel to the market place.  In a world that is so secularized, in order to befriend them, we have to become in many instances, like them, and sometimes unfortunately even one of them.  This gradual process of desacralization has taken place since Vatican II.  Priests and religious tend to become more secularized in their dressing and lifestyle.   No longer do we try to be different from the rest of the world in dressing and sometimes we even adopt the lifestyles of the world.  At times, we wonder what it means to be “holy” today when the original meaning of being holy is to be set apart and to be different.   The question is:  can the world tell that we are different from others, not necessarily in dressing but in values and lifestyle?   Perhaps, for this reason also there is a great fall in the number of priestly and religious vocations as our life does not seem to be much different from that of the laity.  And why give up so much to be a priest or a religious when as a lay person one can spread the gospel anyway.

At the heart of it all is the loss of urgency in the work of evangelization.  With the doctrine that explicit faith in Christ and baptism is no longer necessary for salvation, many Catholics do not see why we should bother to bring people to Christ since they can be saved by and in their own faith tradition.  Unlike in the 15th and 16th Centuries where missionaries came from Europe with the conviction of saving souls for Christ, there is this implicit belief among many Catholics today that we should let those who already have their religion remain as they are.  As for those without religion, so long as they live a good life, it is sufficient. Indeed, today, faith in Christ has weakened tremendously that missionary zeal has been lost to a great extent, not just among the laity but even priests and religious.  Even for those who have become priests and religious, many joined not so much because they are passionate about spreading the gospel message but simply because it is a good life, with comfortable living, a life of bachelorhood, and opportunities to engage in some good works now and then.

Surely, most of us would not think that those who are not baptized would be condemned to hell but that God in His own way would save them.  As the Constitution of the Church in the Modern Word says, “Pressing upon the Christian to be sure, are the need and the duty to battle against evil through manifold tribulations and even to suffer death. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.  All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.” (GS 22)  The Constitution of the Church reiterates this teaching when it says, “Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.” (LG 16)

In the light of such challenges, how do we defend the need for the spread of the gospel and how do we continue to witness to Christ in a very secularized, multicultural and multi-religious world?  Once again, we need to find the authority to do what we are doing.  This was the question posed to the Lord in the gospel when the Jewish religious leaders asked, “What authority have you for acting like this?  Or who gave you the authority to do these things?”  The truth is that the Jewish leaders were not interested to know the answer.   They were simply trying to disprove Jesus, to discredit Him so that their authority would be not eroded from the eyes of the people.  They were both envious and intimidated by Jesus, whom they saw as someone who was a threat to their status quo and the institution.  Instead, Jesus exposed their hypocrisy by countering their question with another question of authority.  Indeed, they were not sincere in seeking for the truth but were afraid of the truth.

Similarly, in the work of evangelization, we ourselves need to be clear about our own conviction of Jesus if we were to present Him as the Saviour of the world.  Is our faith found in Him alone? As St Jude says, “Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy.  To God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, authority and power, which he had before time began, now and for ever.  Amen.” Otherwise, the situation is precarious when we try to witness to Christ in the world.  Instead of changing the world, the world changes us instead.  This was the situation of the Christian community during the time of St Jude.  They were faced with the danger of religious leaders teaching heresies and apostasy as many drifted away from the faith and turned away from the Lord.  This was because of the weak foundation of their faith; the bad examples and lifestyles of the Christians and faith in the life that was to come.  Like them, many of our Catholics today are so secularized that they live only for this world.  Many of our Catholic parents are so weak in the knowledge of their faith and are such poor examples of Christian life, so much so we should not expect their children and children’s children to be fervent in their faith except for the grace and mercy of Christ.

It is for this reason that St Jude gave us guidelines to remain firm in our witness even whilst we witness in the market place.  He wrote, “Remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect. You must use your holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.”  As Catholics, we need to strengthen the foundation of our faith through the ongoing study of doctrines and the Sacred Scriptures.  Unfortunately, many of us not only do not update ourselves in the teachings of the Church but we do not read the Word of God regularly, and be nourished by the Word of life.  When we do not build up our faith, we are potential victims for the Evil One, as the world would confuse us and we will eventually lose the faith.

Secondly, St Jude urges us to pray in the Holy Spirit.  We must never forget the importance of prayer and a personal relationship with the Lord, which is made possible when we pray in the Holy Spirit and live and walk in the Spirit.  With the psalmist, we must thirst for Him, the living water, to quench our spiritual thirst.  “So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.  For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise.”   Only in the Holy Spirit, can we witness with faith and love.

Thirdly, St Jude reminds us of the hope of the Lord’s return.  We do not live only for this life but for eternal life.  This life is short and in the blink of an eye, we will be no more.  So let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that we will not join our forefathers.  Our time will come and therefore we must live fully in this life with a view of fullness of life eternal after death with Jesus Christ forever.

Only when we are rooted in the truth, filled with the Holy Spirit and living in the ambience of God’s love, are we ready to witness to Christ by strengthening our fellow Catholics who are weak in their faith, as St Jude says, “when there are some who have doubts, reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out.”   To those outside the faith, we must be watchful that in trying to reach out to them, we do not lose our identity and our values and faith in Christ.  He said, “but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.”  Let us not betray Christ by our conduct, life, words and deeds.

.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

*************************************

No automatic alt text available.

Bishop Goh reminds us to be “Dynamic Catholics.”

  1. Pray/Meditate
  2. Study
  3. Pour ourselves out in service to others
  4. EVANGELIZE

Related:

Image may contain: one or more people

Book: Holy Spirit by Fr. Edward Leen

Meditation for June 1 — I pray that I may be gradually transformed from the old life to the new life.

June 1, 2018

Image result for Anthony Hopkins, photos

Meditation For The Day: June 1

You were born with a spark of the Divine within you. It had been all
but smothered by the life you were living. That celestial fire has to be
tended and fed so that it will grow eventually into a real desire to live
the right way. By trying to do the will of God, you grow more and
more in the new way of life. By thinking of God, praying to Him, and
having communion with Him, you gradually grow more like Him. The
way of your transformation from the material to the spiritual is the
way of Divine Companionship.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may tend the spark of the Divine within me so that it will
grow. I pray that I may be gradually transformed from the old life to
the new life.

— From the book “24 Hours a Day”

http://www.recoveryreadings.com/dailyrecoveryreadingsJune1.html

Related:

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

Keywords on this site:

, , ,  ,  ,

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, January 6, 2018 — The Spirit is the one who testifies and the Spirit is truth — The “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” in each of us

January 5, 2018

Christmas Weekday
Lectionary: 209

Image result for holy spirit, photos, stained glass window

Photo: Christ the King Catholic Church (Ann Arbor, Michigan) – interior, Holy Spirit window

Reading 1  1 JN 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm  PS147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE MK 9:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”or

LK 3:23-38 OR 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias,
the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel,
the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam,
the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea,
the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed,
the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon,
the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug,
the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad,
the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared,
the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

or

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age.
He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha,
the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala,
the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin,
the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac,
the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

.
**********************************************
.

Genealogy of Jesus

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus

.

***********************************************

.

Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
06 JANUARY, 2018, Saturday, Weekday of Christmas Time
OUR CAPACITY TO LOVE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ 1 JOHN 5:5-13PS 147:12-13,14-15,19-20MK 1:6-11  ]

The theme of the First Letter of John is the love of God and the implications of His love for us.  As the children of God, we too are called to love one another.  In yesterday’s reading, St John wrote, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.  How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?  Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”  (1 Jn 3:16-18)  The question that is raised today is, how then can we find the capacity to love as He loved?

This capacity to love as He loved us depends on whether we believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  St John said, “I have written all this to you so that you who believe in the name of the Son of God may be sure that you have eternal life.”   Faith in Jesus as the Son of God means to believe that He is truly human and divine.  St John in his time was battling with a heresy called Gnosticism where the true humanity and divinity of Jesus was not fully accepted.  Some thought that Jesus was only divine when he was baptized and “the Christ” left his body just before He died.  This heretical theological position was expounded to protect the divinity of Christ, since God cannot die.   If that were the case, then there is no real salvation for humanity because only God can take away our sins.

The faith of the Church in Jesus is clear.  Jesus is truly the Son of God and the Son of man in one person since the moment of His incarnation.  Only this faith in His divine sonship can help us to overcome all trials in life and give us the capacity to love as He loved.  “Who can overcome the world? Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  Only Jesus who was truly man, doing the will of God even though He was divine, can give us hope that we too can do the will of God with a human will.  Indeed, He “emptied himself,  taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.”  (Phil 2:7)

What, then, is the basis for us to believe that Jesus is truly the Son of God and not just a man?  St John gives us three criteria.  “Jesus Christ who came by water and blood, not with water only, but with water and blood; with the Spirit as another witness – since the Spirit is the truth – so that there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water and the blood, and all three of them agree.”  In the bible, when there are three witnesses, the testimony is considered valid.  Furthermore, St John said, “We accept the testimony of human witnesses, but God’s testimony is much greater, and this is God’s testimony, given as evidence for his Son.”

In the first place, the water refers to the baptism of our Lord.  We are aware that Jesus was baptized even though as the Son of God, He was sinless and hence did not require baptism.  When John the Baptist deterred Him from getting baptized, Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15)  Jesus received baptism as a man from John the Baptist in order to be identified with sinners like us so that He could assume in His body our sins.  St Paul remarked, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (2 Cor 5:21)

Baptism too was the beginning of His mission.  He was confirmed as the Son of God so that He could live out His sonship for others to follow the same.  “A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’”  Confirmed by His Father, this gave Him the impetus to bring all others into sonship in Him by inviting us to follow Him, living His way of life. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (Jn 1:12f)  As a consequence, by virtue of our baptism, we are to live His life.

Secondly, Jesus came “not with water only, but with water and blood.”  In other words, Jesus not only came as a man even though He was God but as St Paul said, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”  (Phil 2:8) The death of Jesus on the cross reveals to us the ultimate meaning of sonship in Christ.  It means that we are called to empty our lives totally for the love of God and our fellowmen, even unto death.  The command to love has no limits.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.”  (Jn 15:12-14)  Truly, in the death of Christ, we see the unconditional and total love of God, not just of Christ but of His Father as well.  “He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?”  (Rom 8:32)

Thirdly, it was not just that Jesus was baptized and that He died, more importantly, the Holy Spirit was with Jesus throughout His life.  He is the witness to Christ as the Son of God.  “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.”  (Jn 15:26)  The Spirit came upon Jesus when He was baptized.  “No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him.” Throughout His ministry, Jesus was working in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The apostles testified “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”  (Acts 10:38)

Most of all, Jesus did not end His life just in death, He was also raised in the power of the Holy Spirit.  “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”  (Rom 8:11)  “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (Phil 2:9-11)  If this is God’s testimony for His Son, it means therefore “Everybody who believes in the Son of God has this testimony inside him; and anyone who will not believe God is making God out to be a liar, because he has not trusted the testimony God has given about his Son.”

Consequently, only with faith in Christ’s divine sonship can we be given new life in the Spirit.  John the Baptist said, “Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”  After His resurrection and ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit upon them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  (Jn 20:22f)  This same Holy Spirit is given to us at our baptism and renewed at confirmation when we are sent out on mission.  We are made sons and daughters in Christ.  Sharing in His life, we are called also to share in His suffering and glory.  “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!  Father!”  it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”  (Rom 8:15-17)

This same Holy Spirit not only empowers us to be His disciples by giving us the Spirit of Christ but also gives us the power to do what He did.  Jesus assured His disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.  I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”  (Jn 14:12-14)  True enough, we read in Mark’s gospel, “And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it”  (Mk 16:20) by using His name to cast out demons, speak in new tongues, lay their hands on the sick.  (cf Mk 16:17f)

Consequently, we can understand why the Christian experience of God’s love follows that of Christ’s;sharing in His baptism as we die to our sins and so begin the path of sonship; following Him to the extent of dying with Him on the cross, so that we can share in His resurrection.  This is all made possible through the work of the Holy Spirit given to us at our baptism and confirmation and reinforced by the Eucharist.  This explains why the Christian experience of God is called the Rite of Christian Initiation.  Unless, we share a common experience of sonship in Christ, we cannot do what He did.

Today, as we celebrate the Eucharist, we are called to renew the Holy Spirit given to us at baptism and confirmation, for it is the same Holy Spirit that transforms the bread and wine into His Body and Blood.  Only by receiving the Eucharist frequently, do we receive the Holy Spirit anew as well.  By inserting ourselves into Christ and His Church, the mystical body of Christ, we can grow in faith, in love and in our sonship so that we can live the life of the Spirit, the life of Christ.  Unless we renew the Holy Spirit in us daily through the Eucharist, the Sacraments and prayers, we will lose the power to be witnesses of His love.

.
Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
.

.

************************************************

Image may contain: one or more people

Fr. Edward Leen’s book “Holy Spirit” is a great read for any Christian. Leen believes that the Holy Spirit lives inside each of us in a phenomena known as the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Believers say this indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes for the “Sanctity of Human Life” in each of us. And how do we make the most of this most precious gift? We live within God’s Law (The Commandments), and we seek to do the Will of God.

Matthew Kelly tells us in “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” to pray and meditate, to study and stay true to the scriptures, to pour ourselves out in loving service to others and to evangelize to have a spectacular God-centered life!

Image may contain: text

“Twelve-step programs teachs, of course, twelve steps. Matthew Kelly suggests we can boil those down to just Four Signs of a Dynamic Christian/Catholic.”

Related:

Image result for Bishop Robert Barron, photos

 (By Bishop Robert Barron)

Pain, Suffering, Addiction and Spiritual Growth — Everyone Has Issues to Resolve — Here Are Some Resources

June 15, 2017

A friend asked us for a quick update on our spiritual journey — Here are some resources for others to consider….

Related:

Image result for train wreck, history, photos

Image may contain: sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

Above: This is the life of the average American man. At the bottom (the biggest part) is sex, drugs and rock and roll. (Notice there is a lot of wreckage near here!) As we move up, through the years, God hopes we are growing spiritually and throwing out things that get us into trouble. When we get to the top, He hopes we can reach out closer to Him. Many of us choose to fail….

If you stay at the bottom, You’ll die in the desert

Related:

***********************************************

Research Going Badly: I tried everything before I tried to allow God to find me!

*******************************************

The Brain and Being Human: