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Tag Archives: following Jesus

SUPREME JOY

SUPREME JOY

ABNEGATION (poem)

 

To love the loving when skies above

Love’s heaven are fair; to see the bloom

Of flowers we plant from our hearts of love

In hearts that pity our days of gloom;

 

To know in a world where all forget

A love unchanging – are joys supreme

For the loving soul; but they fill not yet

The measure fair of a Christian’s dream.

 

For generous souls seek other bliss

Than love rewarding love; their hope

Has loftier flight and broader scope,

And finds fruitition not in this

 

In self-forgetfulness they live,

In sacrifice their dream is wrought,

Believing that, receiving naught,

Their highest pleasure is to give.

 

– Golden Grains, Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, Eighth Edition, M.H. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

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“DOES WATCHING MASS ON TELEVISION FULFIL ONE’S SUNDAY OBLIGATION?”

Question: “I would like to know whether watching Mass on television fulfils one’s obligation. My husband never goes to church, but he does watch Mass on TV every Sunday. I attend Mass regularly, although I have missed church recently because of my health.

Answer: The simple answer to your question is ‘no’. Watching Mass on television does not fulfil one’s Sunday obligation. Assuming that your husband is a Catholic and is in reasonable health, he is required to be at Mass in person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in section 2180, specifies that the Sunday obligation is satisfied by ‘assistance’ at Mass, and every commentator I have read views that to mean attendance at a Eucharistic celebration.

Such reading would seem logical since Jesus said (Matthew 18:20): ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ The Eucharist has a community dimension which strengthens the faith of participants. It was with deliberate purpose that Jesus directed his memory to be kept alive by his disciples sharing a meal.

Although taking holy Communion at Mass is not required to satisfy the Sunday obligation, it seems clear that those who participate most fully are the ones who receive back from the Lord the sacred food offered in sacrifice. That gift, of course, is not available to television viewers.

The televised Mass has great value for those whose illness or infirmity precludes them from being in church. It would be incorrect to say watching TV fulfills their obligation. Simply put, there is for them no obligation. They are dispensed.

But the housebound can derive real spiritual benefit from following the prayers and readings of the Mass on television. I would suggest that they can multiply that benefit by asking to be placed on their parish’s Communion list so that a Eucharistic minister will visit them regularly.”

– This article by Fr Francis Doyle was published as part of the feature “Questions and Answers” in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue Friday 14th August, 2015. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

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THE TRUE DISCIPLES OF JESUS HAVE NOTHING BUT JESUS

He had not whereon to lay his head.

“‘Master,’ said a doctor of the law, addressing Jesus – ‘I will follow you, wherever you go.’ ‘The foxes have their dens, and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has not whereon to lay His head.’

Alas! This man thought to find, in following Jesus, a more honourable and easy life. Hence this answer which reveals to us in what poverty Jesus continued to live during the three years of His public life, and at the same time, on what conditions we can become His disciples.

It is as He said: ‘In vain do you hope to find in following Me, honours, riches, delights. Even as I, the Master and the Model of perfection, have practised poverty, so far as to be born in a stable, and to lack even a stone on which to rest My head, so must My disciples accept poverty with all its austerities.’

‘The true disciples of Jesus,’ said Saint Jerome, ‘have nothing and hope for nothing, absolutely nothing, but Jesus.'”

– Mgr. Dupanloup

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“I AM CONTEMPLATING CATHOLICISM… AS A MORAL DUTY” (BL. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN)

“A mere shadow, as dust and ashes”

“The Church aims, not at making a show, but at doing a work. She regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul. She holds that, unless she can, in her own way, do good to souls, it is no use her doing anything; she holds that it were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions who are upon it to die of starvation in extremest agony, so far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, though it harmed no one, or steal one poor farthing without excuse.” (Deliberately to offend God is the greatest of all evils; Diff. I, 239-40)

I am contemplating Catholicism… as a moral duty

I am contemplating Catholicism, chiefly as a system of pastoral instruction and moral duty; and I have to do with its doctrines mainly as they are subservient to its direction of the conscience and the conduct. I speak of it, for instance, as teaching the ruined state of man; his utter inability to gain Heaven by anything he can do himself; the moral certainty of his losing his soul if left to himself; the simple absence of all rights and claims on the part of the creature in the presence of the Creator; the illimitable claims of the Creator on the service of the creature; the imperative and obligatory force of the voice of conscience; and the inconceivable evil of sensuality.” (Apart from me you can do nothing”; Idea, 133)

– Bl. John Henry Newman

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE CALL TO FOLLOW JESUS – RATHER THAN POPULARITY, WEALTH AND ACCLAIM – IS NOT AN EASY CHOICE (COMMENTARY ON LUKE 14:25-33)

ARE WE WILLING TO ACTIVELY TURN AWAY FROM THE WORLD, EMPTY OURSELVES, BECOMING OPEN FOR HOLINESS, AND HUMBLY TO STRIVE TO BECOME MORE LIKE JESUS EVERY DAY?

÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷

“COUNT THE COST

Luke 14:25-33

At the time and place of [this] Gospel reading, the popularity of Jesus was at its zenith. Wherever he went great crowds gathered around him. They came for a variety of reasons. Some were drawn by curiosity, like the crowd at an accident or a fire. Others came with their needs. They or their loved ones were sick and the word was out that this man had the power to heal. Some were drawn by patriotic zeal. They hoped to use Jesus as the spark to ignite a revolt against Rome. Doubtless, some were drawn by a genuine interest in him and his cause, but these were in the minority.

Provoked by the sight of the crowd, Jesus was moved to speak very pointedly. Looking into the sea of faces, he said, ‘If anyone comes to me without turning his back on his father and mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and sisters, indeed his very self, he cannot be my disciple.’ What a startling demand. He did not make it easy for people to join his cause. What Jesus required of others, he had first required of himself. In devotion to the Kingdom of God, he had risked the alienation of family and friends. He had risked hatred, persecution, and death. Having made that kind of commitment in his own life, he would accept nothing less from his disciples. The will of God had to come first, above and before even the dearest of human relationships.

With his demands clearly on the table, Jesus insisted that people think twice, before getting involved. They would be well-advised to do what any sensible person would do before starting to build a tower. He would first estimate the cost, and then decide whether he had enough to complete the task. Otherwise, a half-finished project could make him the laughing stock of the community. Lest anyone should miss the point, Jesus drew another analogy. No wise king would rush heedlessly into battle. He would carefully appraise the odds, before going to war. Even so, a sensible person will not venture thoughtlessly into spiritual warfare. He will first count the cost. What was Jesus telling people with such words of warning? He was saying that it is better not to begin with a reckless folly that invites failure. His conditions of discipleship must be clearly understood, carefully considered, and then courageously undertaken.

Those of us who are older understand the wisdom of that in other areas of life. We urge our young people to get married with something more than romantic enthusiasm. That is a good incentive for marrying and no one would make light of it, but romance alone is not a sufficient foundation for the building of a good marriage. Take a good look at your intended partner. Consider carefully what is involved in the commitment you are about to make. Garner all of the insight that you possibly can. Then take the step with both eyes wide open.

Something akin to that is what Jesus was saying. He was not discouraging people from joining his cause. He was simply urging them to make a well-informed and serious decision. His approach to would-be disciples poses some questions of no small importance. Has Christian discipleship been made too easy? Has the Church made known the practical implications of a Christian view of life? Have we underlined the truth that becoming a follower of Christ means more than being a respectable person?

Christian discipleship is a costly adventure. If we have failed to say it before, let us say it now. Plainly stated, Our Lord requires this one thing of all his disciples: He must come first. That is an amazing demand. He confronts the world with quiet humility, calling for the primary loyality of every human heart. What is even more amazing is that it does not occur to us to question either his sanity or his lowliness. We look at him and know that his claim is reasonable and right.”
– “If you enjoy reading Fr Francis’ weekly homily you may like to order his homily and other books, CDs and DVDs by requesting a mail order form. Address: 15 Cuppin St., Chester CH1 2BN. Email: brfrancis@btconnect.com ”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 8th September, 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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ACCEPTING JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOUR INVOLVES MORE THAN JUST AN INDIVIDUAL SPIRITUAL DECISION

“Man cannot have God as a Father…unless he has the Church as Mother.”

BAPTISM IS NOT ONLY A WORD

“Heaven opens above us in the sacrament of baptism. The more we live in contact with Jesus in the reality of our baptism, the more heaven will open above us… A washing of regeneration: baptism is not only a word, it is not only something spiritual but also implies matter.

ALL THE REALITIES OF THE EARTH ARE INVOLVED

All the realities of the earth are involved. Baptism does not only concern the soul. Human spirituality invests the totality of the person, body and soul. God’s action in Jesus Christ is an action of universal efficacy. Christ took flesh and this continues in the sacraments in which matter is taken on and becomes part of the divine action.

WITHOUT WATER THERE IS NO LIFE

We can now ask precisely why water should be the sign of this totality. Water is the element of fertility. Without water there is no life. Thus, in all the great religions water is seen as the symbol of motherhood, as fruitfulness. For the Church Fathers, water became the symbol of the maternal womb of the Church.

NEVER IS CHRIST WITHOUT WATER

Tertullian, a Church writer of the second and third centuries, said something surprising. He said, “Never is Christ without water.” By these words, Tertullian meant that Christ is never without the Church. In baptism we are adopted by the heavenly Father, but in this family that he establishes there is also a mother, Mother Church. Man cannot have God as Father, the ancient Christian writers were already saying, unless he has the Church as Mother.

BEING PART OF THE CHURCH

We perceive in a new way that Christianity is not merely an individual, spiritual reality, a simple subjective decision that I take, but something real and concrete, we could also say something material. Adoption as children of God, of the Trinitarian God, is at the same time being accepted into the family of the Church, it is admission as brothers and sisters into the great family of Christians. And only if, as children of God, we are integrated as brothers and sisters into the reality of the Church can we say ‘Our Father’, to our heavenly Father. This prayer always implies the ‘we’ of God’s family…

INSTITUTED BY CHRIST

In Jesus Christ we see that God comes to meet us. In Christian baptism, instituted by Christ, we do not only act with the desire to be cleansed through the prayer to obtain forgiveness. In baptism God himself acts, Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit. In Christian baptism the fire of the Holy Spirit is present. God acts, not only us. God is present here today… Baptism will remain throughout life a gift of God, who has set his seal on our souls. But it will then be our cooperation, the availability of our freedom to say that ‘yes’, which makes divine action effective.”
– Text in quotation marks by Pope Benedict XVI (capital headings and header of this post added)

 

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