Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me": the grace of final perseverance

Saint Paul experienced and wrote about the reality which the Church is living through in the present age, where so many, enamored of various "lobbies" and pressure groups, abandon Christ and His Church. In 2 Timothy he responds to such unfaithfulness in this way: "At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it." Our faith is given that we might grow in virtues and among these what is called the grace of final perseverance. If we do not fall away from the life of the Church and from her teaching in faith and morals we can look forward to the eternal life of heaven. "The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus. Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the 'blessed hope' of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the 'holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.'" (CCC 2016)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Let no one deceive himself."

Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
- 1 Cor 3:18-23 God's truth is his wisdom, which commands the whole created order and governs the world. God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself. - CCC 216

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"It is I; do not be afraid": consolation for the natural Christian state of persecution

"Lord, save me!” is the cry of the Christian who has stepped out in Faith as commanded by Christ but who upon encountering difficulty is afraid to continue the journey. This is the cry of Peter, who is sinking and left, as he thinks, to his own resources in the danger of the sea. But he is told to use a different standard, that of the Faith which in the human weakness we know as fear, he has momentarily forgotten. The command of the Lord, "It is I, do not be afraid", to Peter and to all of us is to recover ourselves, by the composure of Faith, thereby returning to the serenity of trust amid the violence of the world. This is the natural state of the supernatural Christian, that of persecution and sometimes of martyrdom, which we are in constant danger of forgetting and with it the Faith by which we are saved. And there is also the loving remonstrance as He pulls us up, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Saturday, July 26, 2014

17th Sunday: Living with the signs of giving all for the pearl of great price

Have you chosen to live for the Kingdom now? The Kingdom is the pearl of great price, the organizing principle of a life of Faith in Jesus Christ.

Without Christ there is no Kingdom, and without the Church there is no Christ.  If the Church is not in your life then the Kingdom which comes to us in the Person of Jesus Christ is not either.

The unaccompanied children currently being pushed over the border into the "promised land" of the United States in some cases by deadbeat parents are a lot like the situation in which some children find themselves in our Church today. Many children are "pushed" over the border into the Church, which is the beginning of the heavenly Kingdom on earth, by deadbeat parents who refuse to be engaged as witnesses of faith through the conduct of their own lives.

But a faith that is not good enough for the parents will not good enough for children because "like father, like son".

There is a widespread crisis in the call to the Kingdom: most kids who get Confirmed stop practicing Faith after Confirmation. By observation of parish life I can tell you which children those are going to be and why. If I do, are you going to do something about it?

Living for the Kingdom is done through signs because love and commitment are visible through the signs made evident by the choices which make up our lives.

Clothing on Sundays that suddenly on Confirmation Sunday is not good enough is not Sunday best. Sunday best remains Sunday best even after it becomes workday best; if the typical club and bar clothing that people use on a typical Sunday comes off on Confirmation Sunday then it proves the people who wear it know it’s not Sunday best.  So why do they tell Father it is?

Saturday vs Sunday? Why? Saturday available only when some reason beyond control prevents from attending on Sunday. Sundays are the celebration of the resurrection when we reaffirm faith in the empty tomb by coming to Mass for a real encounter with the One who conquered death and escaped the tomb, promising us the same. Saturdays for habitual convenience only teaches children that God is a nuisance that we must avoid and who must be made less burdensome in our lives.
Do we live on Sunday like it’s just another day of the week instead of Lord’s Day? Rest is commanded by God on Sundays in order to imitate Him and made possible by avoiding unnecessary shopping or servile work whenever possible

Faith formation for children is not ordering a product but one aspect of lived and saving Faith including Sunday worship. Pray for parents.

When parents take "time off" from Church when class is over during the summer they teach children Faith is something to outgrow like school.

Please pray for Catholic parents who impose spiritual poverty upon their children by failing to take them to Mass on Sunday.

Parents who think they get more out of life by taking shortcuts with God end up with children cutting God entirely out of life.

Stop making excuses to "Father" about why you cannot keep the Commandments; talk to God about it because it's you and Him on Judgment Day.

Christ does not say sell all you have for Kingdom but live as if you would. What are the signs which say the Kingdom is first in your life?

When the Kingdom is far more precious to us than a pearl for which we are willing to give up all we have our children will know it and follow our example.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

16th Sunday "those who are just must be kind": let us teach the truth with compassion as evidence of our love

There is a judgment but, until then, good and evil co-exists in this world.

" ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The results of the judgment will not be equal for all:

"The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

But it should never be that we are like weeds. In Christ we are called to bear fruit that will last by learning the truth and teaching it without judgment and in compassion to others:

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear."

--  Mt 13:24-43\

"Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal." All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ's salvation but still on the way to holiness:
The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
-- CCC 827

Friday, July 18, 2014

“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order"

I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you

If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice

 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom:
I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws. . . Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being.
- CCC 297

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"The way of the just is smooth": the Name and the title of the Lord

...the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. - Is 26 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." - CCC 1807