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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

More awesomeness from Likable Art‘s Cory Heimann.  I want to publicly thank Cory for acting on the impulse to send me this video because I really needed to be confirmed in that message today and I feel blessed and honored to have gotten it when I did.  Thank you Cory!

Our Savior lives!  Happy Easter, dear friends, happy Easter!

 

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“Annunciazione” by Pietro Perugino, ca 1489

We break from our Lenten fast to keep the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when Gabriel delivered God’s message to Mary and she said yes

 Visit Deacon Jim‘s weblog, Servant of the Word, for today’s liturgy and homily

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 In today’s liturgy we read Paul in 1 Corinthians.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,  

and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  
All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,  and the rock was the Christ.  
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.  
 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.  
 
Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.  
These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 cor 10:1-6, 10-12

Paul draws the comparison between the disobediant Israelites under Moses to those present Christians in Corinth.  God sent the Israelites a savior from their bondage in Egypt (Moses) as He would send the “new Moses” Christ Jesus to lead mankind from its bondage in sin.  The Israelites passed through cloud (Spirit) and sea (water) just as we are now baptized.  God provided real and spiritual food and drink for their sustenance, just as Jesus now provides His real body and blood which we eat and drink for our spiritual wellness.  As the Israelites participated as a community, so do we. 

Yet, with all that God had done for the Israelites, most fell into grumbling, idol-worshipping, and disobedience and were “struck down in the desert.”  They did not complete the forty years wanderings to make it to the promised land.

Paul warns us that just like them, we may suffer (eternal) death, though we too have been chosen by God, saved through baptism of water and spirit, and have eaten and drunk from the communal cup.  At any time, we may fall back into idolatrous behavior, in other words, Sin! 

The doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved is a false assurance.  Though God fills our lives with blessings and provides the grace necessary to sustain and save us, at any time any of us might fall into temptation, a fall that may take us away from salvation, just as the Israelites – for whom God sent Moses, performed miraculous deeds and parted the sea – were eventually struck down in the desert.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) , we see that the owner of the fig tree is disgusted that so much time has passed, yet his tree has not born fruit.  Why should he not cut it down?  But the vine dresser offers to provide a year’s worth of extra nurturing.  One more chance for the fig tree to show its worth and do credit to the owner. 

God is patient with us as we find our way to Him…and back to Him.  But remember that despite His infinite patience, a time will come when we will be called to account and on that day, we will pass the test, or we will be cut down.  Some people might think this is unfair.  Why?  hasn’t God provided Jesus Christ for our salvation?  the words of life in the Gospels and in the other books of the Scripture?  the apostolic priesthood to be reconciled to Him and from which to receive the sacraments?  the holy Church to teach and guide us?  grace to sustain us?  the Holy Spirit to lead us?  Some say a loving God would not abandon us because of our sinful ways, because we are doomed to fall to temptation.  I say, our God loves us as any good father does, and therefore, expects us to do our best.

If today you observe yourself and you are doing the modern equivalent of dancing around a golden calf, then today is the day to repent.

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Today is Ash Wednesday.  When I was young, this day was one of my least favorite days of the year, competing with Good Friday for awfulness.  The Lenten season was drudgery and pain and meant that I couldn’t eat chocolate or the newly delivered Girl Scout cookies.  I felt bad about Jesus dying.   Forty days dragged on and on.  But God is good and I grew in my faith and my understanding of this liturgical season.  Lent is now my favorite season, and Ash Wednesday one of my favorite days on the Church calendar.

Tonight, something wonderful happened at our parish for our Mass.  It was full of people!  Not just “Sunday morning at 11 am” full, either — it was overflowing, as in Midnight Mass overflowing.  All the seats were taken, we squished in, my family took our usual “no kneeler” pew and every spot was filled.  People lined the back walls and sat on folding chairs in the narthex.   It was very moving.  Fr. Tom watched in awe as more and more people came in.  This, for a Wednesday Mass that is no longer a holy day of obligation.  When we sang the Kyrie Eleison, the sound of so many voices brought tears to my eyes.  Fr. Tom, known for his good homilies, knocked it out of the ballpark with a straightforward challenge to each of us to fast earnestly throughout Lent, to suffer and deny ourselves.  He said, if there is no medical reason why you cannot fast, there is every spiritual reason to do so.  Can you do it?  Will you do it for Jesus?

On the way out of church, I noticed that the little Lenten black books were being snatched up too.

What does this mean?    Is it a reflection on our economy?  on the state of the nation?  Are people scared?  Is it a revival within our parish or the Catholic Church?  I don’t know, and I can’t speculate on that, but there were a lot of souls who needed to be there tonight, and it was a blessed thing to see.  So many souls receiving ashes on their forehead and reminders to turn away from our sins and be faithful to the gospel.

To that I say, “Amen, Amen.”

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A sign? Relics of St. Therese Ecumenical Service, Bishop George Stack, Guest Preacher Rt Rev’d Graeme Knowles, Dean Of St Paul’s Cathedral. Oct. 13, 2009

A sign? Relics of St. Therese Ecumenical Service, Bishop George Stack, Guest Preacher Rt Rev’d Graeme Knowles, Dean Of St Paul’s Cathedral. Oct. 13, 2009

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.  As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.  For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.  –Isaiah 55: 8-11

As I read about the pilgrimage of the relics of St. Thérèse across Great Britain, I remember thinking, “Wow, how incredible that such a progression should be allowed in the land of the English Reformation, in a nation which cannot have a Roman Catholic Prime Minister.”  I thought that the crowds coming to see her relics were remarkable and the fact that the relics were on view in the cathedral halls of the Church of England was very…surprising, to say the least.

Now it appears that the Little Flower, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face has been interceding on behalf of our Anglican and Episcopalian brothers and sisters.  And she, via her relics, may have been sent to Great Britain as part of God’s plan, to ease the way for the Traditional Anglican Communion to return to the Mother Church. 

From the Catholic Key Blog:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anglican Bishop Confirms St. Therese is Behind Anglican Ordinariate

Yesterday we conveyed the suspicion of former Episcopal and now Kansas City Catholic priest, Father Ernie Davis, that the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux was behind the Vatican’s move to provide a structure to welcome Anglicans into full communion. Now, the Anglican Catholic Bishop of Canada strongly confirms that thought.

Father Davis, who leads St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City which hosts an Anglican Use community, wrote of the news from the Vatican:

Anglicans and Catholics flocked to visit the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux as they made a very recent pilgrimage to England. Her relics rested on her 2009 feast day at York Minster, the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of York. When I read about that, I told the people here at St. Therese Little Flower that she was working on something big. In other words, preparations for this Apostolic Constitution have been in process for 170 years, and some of the preparations have been made at levels that are higher than popes.   (emphasis mine)

The Traditional Anglican Communion Bishop of Canada saw the claim and sent an email today to Father Davis with remarkable details of St. Therese’ intercession. Here’s the email:

Dear Father Davis,

Your story about the Anglican Ordinariate and St Therese (which came to me via England this morning) is very interesting. And I can tell you another connexion with her.

I am the Anglican Catholic Bishop of Canada in the TAC. I was present at the Synod of TAC Bishops in Portsmouth England in October 2007 which voted unanimously to ask for full communion, and signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The first full day of the Synod was October 1st, the ‘new’ date of St Therese’s feast, and the actual vote to ask for full communion was taken on October 3rd ‘old’ date of her feast.

I also accompanied the Primate and Bishop Robert Mercer CR to deliver the Letter to the CDF where we had been directed by the Holy Father. My friend Mother Teresa of the Carmel in Edmonton had given me some holy cards with a piece of cloth touched to her relics. Each of us carried one of these cards, and we asked St Therese’s prayers on our venture. We also had similar cards from Poland of the Servant of God John Paul II.

I have continued ‘to bother her’ about a favourable response to our request, and now thanks to the generosity and love of the Holy Father who has taken a personal interest in us for many years, and the prayers of St Therese, something wonderful has come about.

God bless you,

+Peter Wilkinson, OSG
Bishop Ordinary
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
TAC

Father Davis has posted the letter at his blog, which is also on our blog roll. He’s been quiet for a while, working on a book, but I’ll bet it’ll be worth checking in there as things progress.

It would seem that St. Thérèse is fulfilling her desire to be a missionary and her promise to shower the world with roses.  From the St. Thérèse Relics Blog (chronicling the visit across England and Wales), here is what Most Reverend Fernando Millán (Prior General– Order of Carmelites) had to say during the homily at the Farewell Mass at the Friars, Aylesford.  After remarking on the success of the visit in terms of number of pilgrims who attended and reported personal conversions that occurred, he said: 

– The second success is no less important. Many have underlined the ecumenical importance of this visit. Not only Catholics, but also Anglicans, Methodists, Buddhists, and people without religious affiliation… came to visit the relics. There is something so basic, so fundamental, so essential in the message of Therese that many people, no matter what their religious confession, feel she has something to say to them.

Perhaps (among many other elements of her spiritual teaching) we find with Therese that God is not a God of fear, a God of implacable Justice, a God before whom we feel afraid. When Therese listened to talk of the justice of God, instead of being sad and fearful… she was quite happy: “God knows how weak we are!” When Therese was writing this, in France there was still a very strong influence from Jansenism. That was a religious group or movement, with very good people and very committed Christians, who were worried about the level and the quality of religious life in France. They were asking for a greater seriousness, more commitment, and they were always stressing the justice of God and the gravity of sin. That is fine and there is nothing wrong with it. But, Jansenism forgotten the key point, the essential element, the basis of the Gospel and Christian life is not rules, justice, norms for punishment… but that it is about grace, love, mercy and freedom. That is the secret of Therese; that is perhaps also the secret of her success…

If, after this visit we are a little bit closer to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ; if we have been able to forgive somebody; if we have decided to remove form our hearts hatred and prejudice; if we trust more in God, even when we are suffering; if we are ready to feel the love of God in our lives… if only one person has received that message and is willing to live it… the visit has been a great, great success, and we can say that it was worthy to bring the relics of this Carmelite to this country. I am sure that not only one person, but a lot of people today are a little bit closer to God, and so a bit closer to others around them. I am sure that we all have grown these days in faith, in humanity, in tenderness in solidarity

THANK YOU, LITTLE THERESE, FOR BEING WITH US. YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULDN’T BE PASSIVE IN HEAVEN, BUT VERY ACTIVE. PLEASE, INTERCEDE FOR US, FOR OUR FAMILIES, FOR OUR COUNTRIES, FOR PEACE AROUND THE WORLD. INTERCEDE ESPECIALLY FOR ALL THOSE WHO SUFFER, ALL THOSE WHO ARE SICK AND LONELY, ALL THOSE WHO NEED MORE OF OUR LOVE AND OUR PRAYER… AMEN

Emphasis mine.

We cannot know in what ways God is acting in the world, we cannot see as He sees but in hindsight, when we view how miraculously events unfold, we can see His Hand.  The convergence of the many known (and the countless unknown) events leading up to the Vatican announcement suggest a larger plan unfolding.  Providence?  We shall have to wait and see.  In the meantime, let us all pray that we the Church and our Holy Father Pope Benedict be guided by the Holy Spirit, that God’s will be done on earth.   We can be assured that God’s word will indeed achieve His Will. 

How awesome is our God! 

Anglican Bishop Confirms St. Therese is Behind Anglican Ordinariate.

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Came across a thought-provoking (and sad) entry on the Get Religion blog , which is the place to go when you want to find out / discuss why newspeople can’t seem to report religion issues accurately…if they even report them. 

In this post, Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans ponders the questions being raised in a series of New York Times articles:

Anyone concerned about America’s fertility industry should ponder “21st Century Babies” being posted in installlments on the the New York Times website. Writer Stephanie Saul is doing an excellent job of revealing the moral dilemmas and, frankly, distress and suffering that may occur when potential parents decide to try in-vitro and intrauterine insemination.

As it turns out, the second NYT article in the series has to do with (*ahem*)… ‘selective reduction’:

Generally speaking, Saul [the NYT reporter] doesn’t mince words in delineating the awful choices that patients and doctors may have in balancing one life against others. Yet in that context is it is very odd that she places a few religious ideas so deep in her story that they almost seem to play lesser roles. And yet it is likely that they are actually quite important.

Sauls carefully notes that causing the death of some fetuses (any word choice can’t capture this) is “known as” selective reduction. But the pro-life movement, as Sauls comments later in the story, call the same procedure elective abortion. The words “selective reduction” dance in and out of quotes in a way that seems to signal either ambivalance or poor editing. And the fact that this procedure has ethical and religious implications should have been closer to the top.

Read E.E.Evans post–she raises important points regarding the issues vis à vis the ‘reporting job’,  and then read the NYT series linked there.  I was actually rather impressed with the NYTimes article–having a rather low opinion of the Grey Lady.  But oh…did that article make my heart ache.

In our grief and inability to deny ourselves anything, to accept our individual suffering — in this case, fertility problems — we are climbing the Tower of Babylon.  What happens when we try to take on God-like decision-making are these horrendous outcomes.  For instance–trying at all costs to ‘bring life into this world’ leads to the death of four innocents.   And no, this isn’t the same as any miscarriage.  Woman was not built to carry 6 children in womb.  She is a human, not a cat.

Each hopeful would-be parent is not owed a child by nature.  As the Church teaches:

2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The “supreme gift of marriage” is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged “right to a child” would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right “to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,” and “the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

(If you do not know it, the Church condemns as a moral evil, IVF procedures.  See DONUM VITAE.  (For an explanation of the teachings, I recommend this article.)

I am continually ashamed at the arrogant ideas of my youth (when as an unformed and uncatechized young adult I thought the Church wrong on its teachings of birth control, fertility issues, etc.) and equally amazed at daily reminders I see now of the wisdom of the continuous teaching of the Magisterium.   Thank you, Christ Jesus for giving us the Mother Church!  Holy Spirit, continue to guide and protect her teachings. 

God, have mercy on us….for we really don’t seem to know what we are doing.

Three in a casket.

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