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Tag Archives: Christ

IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable, your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.

PRIORITIES

The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offences from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.

It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. In truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the burning.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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AT THE FIRST SIGN OF DANGER THE SHEPHERD CANNOT RUN AND LEAVE THE SHEEP TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES – ST OSCAR ROMERO

” ‘I will stay with my people’

Many of our readers will remember the assassination of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador in 1980. Killed because he stood up for his oppressed people. He made public the horrific crimes being committed, many of them by agents of the government. Because of this he was under constant threat of death. But he would not be silenced, and to those who suggested that he go into hiding or exile he said, ‘At the first sign of danger the shepherd cannot run and leave the sheep to fend for themselves. I will stay with my people.’

He was shot dead while he was saying Mass – another martyr for Christ

He was shot dead in March 1980 while he was saying Mass, another martyr for Christ. While every century of the Church has seen its share of martyrs there were many more Christians martyred in the twentieth century than in all other centuries combined. We thank God for them and for the witness they gave, but giving one’s life for Christ is asked only of the few.

We are called to stand up for our faith 

All of us, however, are called to stand up for our beliefs especially today when faith and Christian values are being ignored more and more. In some situations it can take courage to admit to being a Christian. But Christ tells us not to be fearful, that He is always with us. We struggle at times to be faithful. But we are strengthened by his assurance to help, by his presence with us on the journey, and by his promise to be there at the end of our lives to present us to the Father. ‘If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in Heaven’ (Mt 10).”

– This article was published in Saint Martin Magazine, issue June 2015. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link).

 

 

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HOW TO BECOME A RELIGIOUS SISTER (CATHOLIC NUN)

“From discovering a community to taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience

Religious sisters are called by God to live a special life as brides of Christ in service to the Church. Because becoming a religious sister is a serious commitment, there are several stages in the process:

1. “Come and See”

A time of visiting various religious orders to learn about them, meet the sisters, and explore different charisms. At this time, a woman feels called to religious life, but doesn’t know which order to join.

2. Aspirancy/Pre-Candidacy

When a woman feels called to a particular religious order, she starts the application process. While in application, she is called an ‘aspirant’ because she aspires to join the order.

3. Postulancy/Candidacy

When a woman’s application has been accepted, she joins the day-to-day prayer and work of the order, albeit in an exploratory way. She learns more about the sisters, and begins formation, perhaps taking classes in theology and scripture. This is a time of further discernment. Length can vary depending on the person and the order.

4. Novitiate

At this stage a woman is called a ‘novice’ because she is new to the order. For a period of about two years, the novice lives the life of the order in nearly every way and continues formation. This period is analogous to being engaged; the dating is over and now she is moving toward making vows.

5. Vows

When a woman and the community feel sure about her call, she vows poverty, chastity, and obedience, which together are called the ‘evangelical counsels.’ In most orders (though not all), members profess perpetual vows after a period of three or more years after they first take vows. Note that while the process of formation is similar, each religious community has its own particular nuances. It’s best to ask the vocation director of a particular order about their process.”

– From the leaflet: “Archdiocese of Southwark, Vocations” – web address, further reading: http://www.southwarkvocations.com (external link).

 

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“THE ROAD OF VICE IS IN REALITY NARROW, AND IT LEADS TO AN ETERNAL PRECIPICE”

÷ “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Mt 10:38-39) ÷

“I AM DETERMINED TO SUFFER EVERY TORTURE RATHER THAN BECOME THE SLAVE OF THE DEVIL.”

“I see around me a multitude of those who, blindly persevering in error, despise the true God; but I am Christian nevertheless, and I follow the instruction of the Apostles. If this deserves chastisement, reward it; for I am determined to suffer every torture rather than become the slave of the devil. Others may do as they please since they are…reckless of the future life which is to be obtained only by sufferings. Scripture tells us that ‘narrow is the way that leads to life’…because it is one of affliction and persecutions suffered for the sake of justice; but it is wide enough for those who walk upon it, because their faith and the hope of an eternal reward make it so for them… On the contrary, the road of vice is in reality narrow, and it leads to an eternal precipice.”
– St Leo of Patara

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (2 CORINTHIANS 5:14-21)

FOR OUR SAKE GOD MADE THE SINLESS ONE INTO SIN.

The love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect that if one man has died for all, then all men should be dead; and the reason he died for all was so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them.

From now onwards, therefore, we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh. Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now. And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. It is all God’s work. It was God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation. In other words, God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not holding men’s faults against them, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled. So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MARK 12:35-37)

HOW CAN THEY MAINTAIN THAT THE CHRIST IS THE SON OF DAVID?

While teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, “How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said:
The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit at my right hand
and I will put your enemies
under your feet.
David himself calls him Lord, in what way then can he be his son?”
And the great majority of the people heard this with delight.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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WHEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE WORLD HAD THREE FLOORS AND THE EARTH WAS UPHELD BY PILLARS – AND AT ONE POINT, EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR US…

“The first Christians were predominantly of Jewish extraction. The way they understood the physical world around them enabled them to understand the meaning of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus in a unique way that still has implications for us today. Their primary understanding of redemption was firstly formed by the belief in the way God had created the world around them, and secondly in their belief in a universal truth. Their understanding of the physical structure of the world was, however, archaic, but the universal truth, namely that love is communicated by touch, was right. Nevertheless by putting these two concepts together considerable light can be thrown on the essence of any authentic spirituality that claims to be Christian.

HUMAN BEINGS LIVED IN A WORLD WITH THREE FLOORS

In the Old Testament human beings lived in a world with three floors. On the first floor, upheld by pillars to stop the earth from falling into the waters below, men and women lived out their lives until when, after death, they were sent down to the ground floor to live in the shadowy world of Sheol. What we would call the sky, they called the firmament. God was seated on a throne above it using it as his ‘footstool’. The firmament was visualised as something solid, rather like a transparent cooking pot that enabled God to observe how human beings were behaving. The firmament was supported on either side by the ‘eternal hills’ and had flaps strategically placed, enabling God to send down rain and snow, wind and thunderbolts, and angels too, when their services were being called for. Although the sun shone as it arched its way across the firmament, like the moon and the stars, the ground floor and the first floor had been plunged into spiritual darkness. These were now the places where the demons ruled, ever since the first man and woman had rejected God. So, in future men and women would no longer ‘walk and talk’ with God, ‘in the cool of the evening’, as they had done in the first paradise.

LAYING ON OF HANDS

When Jesus was born on the first floor, His physical presence radiated the love that shone out of Him to bring light where darkness had prevailed before. This love, like all human love, was communicated through touch, by a kiss, an embrace, by the washing of feet, all common practices in the world into which He was born. The very moment after His death on the cross, the New Testament pictured Christ descending into Sheol on the ground floor, to redeem those who had died before Him with the fullness of love that He had just received. It was believed that all who died before Christ’s coming would have to wait for His redemptive action. The same demons that were put to flight as He descended through the nether regions to release the ‘captives’ were put to flight for a second time, as He ascended through the air above, leading the captives back to His Father. Now seated at God’s right hand they could both send the Holy Spirit through the corridor made through the realm of the demons at His Ascension. This enabled the love that the apostles had already received to be surcharged on the first Pentecost Day with the Pleroma, or the fullness of love, that He had received on the first Easter Day. Now they in their turn literally handed on what they had received from Jesus to all who freely chose to receive it. That’s why all the sacraments involved the laying on of hands, so that what Christ had handed on to the apostles could be handed on generation after generation all the way down to us.

CHRIST’S TOUCH

So it is absolutely true to say that the love that Jesus experienced after His resurrection is handed on to us today through the hands of the priest who baptised us, and through the hands of the bishop who confirmed us. The measure in which that love possesses us is only limited by our capacity to receive it. These physical touches that happen but twice through the priest and through the bishop can be received every day through the touch of Christ Himself in thhe sacred mysteries. That is why for St Francis this was the most profound mystery of all:

‘He shows Himself to us in this sacred bread as He once appeared to His apostles in real flesh. With their own eyes they saw only flesh, but they believed that He was God, because they contemplated Him with the eyes of the spirit. We too with our own eyes see only bread and wine, but we must see further and firmly believe that this is His most holy Body and Blood living and true. In this way our Lord remains continually with His followers, as He promised: ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world’.” (Admonition 1)

The common belief of the first Christians in a universe with three floors was, of course, erroneous, but it is worth understanding for the insight which it can give us into the essential meaning of ‘Physical Redemption’ which cannot be discarded. It is the physical presence of Christ bursting with uncreated life and energy which brought and still brings to this world the love that impelled God to create it in the first place. It is this love and this love alone that, as was revealed to St Francis on La Verna, unites us to God.

ASCETICISM OF THE HEART

Now the most powerful form of energy that was originally responsible for the creation of the world entered the world again as human love in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the story of how this otherworrldly
love gradually penetrated every part of Him, until it reached out through Him to others to transform their lives, as it had transformed His. There is [daily Holy Mass] one way to receive this love, as St Francis shows throughout his life, and that is to set aside daily quality space and time for prayer. When anyone asks me what ascetical practice they should adopt, I always answer that first and above all others you should adopt the asceticism of the heart. That is: don’t give up anything you like or enjoy (apart from sin, of course!) Except if it prevents you from giving quality space and time for daily prayer each day.

If you do that, come what may, you will eventually receive the love that will make you want to throw away all the so called pleasures and pasttimes that you once thought you could not do without, just as a miner throws away the dross when he has found true gold. The big question that was continually asked by the Fathers of the Church was not how do we love God, but what do we do to allow His love to enter into us so that He can give us the inner power and strength to love Him as we should and to love our neighbour as ourselves. As Jesus put it: First seek God and His kingdom and then everything else will be given to you. Prayer was everything in the spirituality of St Francis, all he was given, all he received, was received there.”
– This article by David Torkington was published in Messenger of Saint Anthony, March 2013 issue. For subscriptions, please contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

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[ NB. The greatest prayer is the Holy Mass. Those who pray well alone, however, pray also best together. And also remember to offer the Holy Rosary at least once a day in our troubled times, PLEASE. ♥ ]

 

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