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“EACH OF US IS A KEY FIGURE IN GOD’S PLAN”

“Most of us lead rather unexciting lives. From childhood on, through high school and perhaps through college, we have followed a pretty conventional path. We have settled into a job or profession, sometimes without too much choice in the matter. We have married, bought a home, founded a family and are tied to a routine in which every day is quite like every other day.

‘WE HAVE FOLLOWED A PRETTY CONVENTIONAL PATH’

We are neither rich nor famous. Nothing very thrilling ever happens to us. Life is just a continuing round of work, bill-paying, minor crises and moderate pleasures. We read about other people whose names make the news, people who are doing important things, and we feel vaguely dissatisfied. Our own life seems drab and insignificant by comparison.

‘NOTHING VERY THRILLING EVER HAPPENS TO US’

We can see nothing in our future except more of what we have in our present. We wonder whether we have somehow missed the boat. Perhaps we were meant for greater things than this rut of mediocrity in which we seem to be imprisoned. It is all very discouraging.

‘WE WONDER WHETHER WE HAVE SOMEHOW MISSED THE BOAT’

There are very few of us who wholly escape such jaundiced moments of self-depreciation. They may not occur often, but we do encounter periods when we feel disheartened at what appears to be the pointlessness of our life.

‘WE DO ENCOUNTER PERIODS WHEN WE FEEL DISHEARTENED’

It seems that we need to remind ourselves of our essential importance in God’s scheme of things. Each of us is a key figure in God’s plan; otherwise He would not have created us. And our importance, in God’s eyes, is not to be measured by spectacular achievements, but precisely by the day-to-day fulfilment of the duties which we sometimes find so deadly dull.

GLORY ENOUGH FOR ALL

It is a fruitless undertaking to attempt to evaluate the comparative value of human accomplishments. It does seem obvious, however, that some of the achievements which rate high in news value may be scaled pretty low by God’s standards. The first men to land on the moon will have demonstrated a high degree of courage and of physical stamina, but they will not necessarily have added much to the sum of total human happiness.

ADDING TO THE SUM OF TOTAL HUMAN HAPPINESS

Moreover, there is no man (or woman) who can with honesty preen himself upon the success of his endeavours, whether he be the President of the United States or the world’s greatest artist. He never can say, ‘I did it all by myself.’ Too many other people have had a part in his making.

WE CANNOT TAKE ALL THE CREDIT

His parents have transmitted to him his brains and his talents and have formed his character and implanted ideals. Selfless and dedicated teachers have cultivated his mind and have imparted knowledge. Numberless friends and acquaintances along the way have bestowed encouragement and support.

LIKE A GREAT RIVER IS FORMED BY THE CONFLUENCE OF TRIBUTARY STREAMS…

Like a great river which is formed by the confluence of many tributary streams, a ‘great’ man is the fortunate focus of the contribution of many people. He has added his own bit to the total, unquestionably. He has used his assets well. But he has not arrived at his objective alone and unaided.

NOT ALONE AND UNAIDED

God’s plan for the universe undoubtedly calls periodically for men and women of beyond-average talent and accomplishment. This is true even on the natural level and aside from the heroism of the saints. When such men and women are needed, God can be depended upon to see that they are produced.

However, when it comes to the assignment of merit, God has only one rule: the ultimate glory goes to him who does the best he can with such abilities and opportunities as he possesses, however humble that ‘best’ may be.

A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE

By the usual standards of money, power, romance, fame and success, ours may be a very undistinguished life. Yet, to God and to the final realisation of His plan, ours may be a very important role. We cannot measure or even know the eventual effect of our influence upon our fellows. But we do know that our day-to-day relationships with family, friends, co-workers and even casual acquaintances, can constitute a vocation of a very high order.

The simple kindness and considerateness which we show toward others, may, in the end, be of greater consequence for humanity than the conquest of space.”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

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THE GOODNESS OF CHRIST TEACHES US THAT WHO WE ARE IS ABSOLUTELY INDEPENDENT OF WEALTH, POWER AND SUCCESS

IF WHAT SOCIETY TELLS US TO BE GOOD AND BAD DOES NOT CORRESPOND WITH WHAT IS REALLY GOOD AND BAD EACH INDIVIDUAL FEELS BURDENED.

“For a person to encounter the goodness of Christ in another person is in particular to encounter himself for what he really is. The world forces us to be ourselves, plus something else: family, profession, nationality, race, class… It necessarily groups us in series. It judges us according to what counts for the world as qualities and deficiencies, but does not touch who we really are.

Each person in society feels himself branded by the original sins that vary according to the social environment and that are treated as incurable. But in relation to the goodness of Jesus Christ, it is the individual person who exists, and everything else is relativised in one fell swoop.

WHO AM I, THEN?

If the catalogue of what is good and what is evil does not correspond with what is actually good and evil, each person nevertheless – and this time it does touch who he is – feels burdened with his deficiencies and limitations. No society is kind toward what it considers vices or a disgrace.

But in the encounter with the goodness of Jesus Christ we do not automatically become innocent; we may learn that we no longer have to feel guilty about certain weaknesses, but we learn quickly which weaknesses really affect us.

HONEST ACCEPTANCE OF MYSELF WITHOUT SWEEPING MY WEAKNESSES UNDER THE CARPET ANY LONGER

Nevertheless, the goodness of Christ considers them all curable. It teaches us that this ‘who we are’, which has been so manhandled by the world, possesses a value that is absolutely independent of wealth, power, smarts, influence, strength, and success. The goodness of Christ works with us; even more, it hopes for something from us, from each one of us. The goodness of Christ is above all something else: an encounter that affirms for us that we exist, that makes us present to ourselves, that walks alongside us in a common life.”
– Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel

 

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THE SALVATION HISTORY OF ALL MANKIND AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE: CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

PREPARING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

“In Galilee Jesus announced to the people that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. He invited them to repent of their sins that they might enter the kingdom. He insinuated that He was the Messiah by assuming the title ‘Son of Man,’ and by claiming to be the ‘Lord of the Sabbath.’ He also claimed the divine power to forgive the sins of men. He authenticated these claims by the miraculous cures He worked. The nature of His teaching and His claims and the miracles which accompanied them excited the admiration of the people. Some, such as Peter and Andrew, James, John and Nathanael, attached themselves to Him as disciples. But the Pharisees refused to accept Him or His claims and resolved to do away with Him.

THE CHOICE OF HIS TWELVE APOSTLES SHOWS JESUS CHRIST’S INTENTION OF EXTENDING AND BROADENING HIS WORK ON EARTH

Despite their opposition Jesus continued His work to establish the kingdom of heaven. Some time after the crystalisation of the opposition of the Pharisees to Him He took the first definitive measures to ensure the continuation and the extension of His work on earth. He went up a mountain and prayed to God. Then He summoned His disciples and from them He chose twelve Apostles to assist Him in His work. As St Mark says:

‘… he appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them forth to preach. To them he gave power to cure sicknesses and to cast out devils. There were Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter, and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (these he surnamed Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him’ (Mark 3:14-19).

The choice of the twelve Apostles is an important event in the Galilean ministry of Jesus. It shows, first of all, His intention to broaden the field of His work. He chooses them so that they also may preach the kingdom of heaven, and preach it in power, for He gives them the power to work miracles. They will bring His message and power to those to whom He Himself will not personally appear.

THE ROLE OF THE APOSTLES

Secondly, by choosing only twelve out of His followers, and by giving only to those twelve the power to preach the kingdom, Jesus Himself establishes a distinction of function and authority among His disciples. Some will be only His disciples; by their belief in Him and by their repentance they will enter the kingdom with Him and enjoy its blessings. But others – the twelve Apostles – will not only enter the kingdom with Him to enjoy its blessings, they will also share in His own power to establish the kingdom, to rule it, to preach its doctrines and to disperse its blessings.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that Jesus chose twelve Apostles. No doubt He chose twelve in remembrance of the fact that God’s blessings were promised to the twelve tribes of Israel. In this way He relates the founding of the kingdom of heaven to the original promises made by God to Israel.

THE BEAUTIFUL SERMON ON THE MOUNT

Shortly after the choice of the twelve Apostles Jesus ascended a mountain again and delivered to His disciples, and perhaps to some of the crowd that followed Him the beautiful Sermon on the Mount. The high moral and spiritual tone of this sermon has retained the admiration of all men down to the present time. It is well to remember though, that the sermon does not contain the whole message of Jesus. In it He does not, for example, speak of the nature of His Church nor of the doctrine of Redemption. These and other doctrines He will speak of later. In the Sermon on the Mount He is content to describe to His disciples the moral climate of the Kingdom of Heaven, its identity with and its perfecting the Old Law delivered to the world through Moses and the Prophets.

Jesus begins His sermon with the Beatitudes:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3-10).

THE SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES AND BLESSINGS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE KINGDOM

In these Beatitudes Jesus describes both the spiritual attributes of the members of the kingdom of heaven and the blessings which God gives them both in this present world and in the world to come, in this present time and in eternity. The members of the kingdom, the disciples of Christ, must be ‘poor in spirit,’ ‘meek,’ that is, they must be men who turn to God alone for relief from the woes of this world. They are men who mourn their sufferings, but who hope for consolation in union with the sufferings of the Messias. They are men who hunger and thirst for justice, that is, holiness. They are men who extend mercy to all, who live in union with God in purity of heart, who seek to bring peace to the troubled world of men, who suffer persecution for the sake of Christ, the Son of Man.

The men who possess these spiritual qualities will be members of the kingdom of heaven: ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ They will inherit the Messianic blessings. To them will be given purity of heart, real holiness. In eternity they shall be called the children of God and they will see God face to face.

FALLEN MAN’S NATURE LEFT TO ITS OWN DEVICES TENDS TO SEEK SECURITY RATHER THAN HOLINESS

In the Beatitudes Jesus simply but strongly shows the contrast between the conception of life of fallen man and the new idea of life which He has come to realise in the kingdom of heaven.

Fallen man, betrayed by his own weaknesses and misled by the devil, tends to find security and happiness by relying on force and power. He puts his faith in wealth and domination, rather than in God. He seeks security rather than holiness. He chafes under poverty, distress or suffering. He will not forgive injuries or extend mercy to the erring. Insecure in such happiness as he may find, he is ever at odds with his neighbours. Afraid of pain and loss, he will compromise with truth and principle for the sake of comfort.

IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN MAN’S ESTIMATE OF VALUES IS CHANGED

But in the kingdom of heaven which Jesus is to establish, man, with God’s help, will change his estimate of values. He will no longer be so passionately, so desperately concerned with the pleasures, the wealth, the power of this world. He will raise his eyes on high and seek the holiness, the justice of God. To gain this great blessing he will rely not on his own strength but on the power and the love of God. Trusting in God he will hope for his own ultimate redemption. Buoyed up by this consoling hope he will accept his own sufferings, the penalty of sin, and will extend mercy and peace to his fellow sufferers in the general torment of mankind. Firm in this hope he will suffer persecution, even unto death of his mortal body, for the sake of attaining union with God in justice and holiness.

UNION WITH GOD IN JUSTICE AND HOLINESS

After the solemn announcement of the Beatitudes Jesus addresses His disciples more directly and tells them that they are the recipients of these blessings, and through them these same blessings will be given to the world.

‘You are the salt of the earth,’ He tells them. ‘You are the light of the world … so let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:13, 14, 16).

‘I HAVE NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFIL’

Following this admonition to the disciples Jesus goes on to explain the relation between the Law of His kingdom and the Old Law of Moses and the Prophets.

‘Do not think,’ He says, ‘that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall be lost from the Law till all things have been accomplished’ (Matthew 5:17-18).

Since Jesus Himself in the rest of the sermon will make some changes in the Old Law, and since His Apostles will later abrogate many of the detailed and minute prescriptions of the Mosaic Law, this statement of Jesus is not easy to understand. Fortunately He Himself provides the clues to His real meaning.

A HIGHER PLANE OF MORALITY

In the first place, we notice that the changes which Jesus Himself institutes are not so much an abrogation of the Mosaic Law as they are an extension of it, or rather an elevation of it to a higher plane of morality. Thus Jesus tells His disciples that not only is murder wrong but even anger against or contempt for one’s fellow man.

CHARITY IS THE FOUNDATION

It is quite clear also that the foundation of the changes made by Jesus is love or charity.

‘You have heard,’ He says, ‘that it was said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and shalt hate thy enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, who makes his sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and the unjust’ (Matthew 5:43, 45).

Men are to love one another as God loves them, loving both friends and enemies, both good and evil, the just and the unjust. In this way, men, as Jesus says to His disciples, ‘are to be perfect, even as (their) heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48).

WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE LAW OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

The bond of continuity or identity between the Mosaic Law and the new Law of the kingdom of heaven is love, the love of God for men and the love of men for God and for their fellowmen in God. Jesus will say later that the two great commandments of the Old Law are the commands to love God and to love one’s neighbour, and He will explain that one’s neighbour is every fellow human being. Even here in the Sermon on the Mount He sums up the Old Law in the Golden Rule:

‘Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, even so do you also to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 7:12).

And this Golden Rule is a law of love, for it commands men to love one another with the wholehearted love they give themselves.

When Jesus says, then, that He has not come to destroy the Mosaic Law but to fulfil it, He means that He will not revoke the essential meaning of that Law, the law of love. But He will fulfil it by extending the scope or the object of love and by deepening the quality of love. In His kingdom men must love God and all other men, and in this way Jesus makes all men the object of Christian love.

Moreover Jesus deepens the quality of love by insisting that it is concerned not only with external actions but also with the inner man, with the heart and the mind of man. So he castigates not only the actual adulterer, but even those who look with lust at another human being (Matthew 5:27-28).

IN THE KINGDOM THERE IS NO HUMAN PRAISE FOR PIETY – IT GOES WITHOUT SAY

Jesus also emphasises the purity of the love which He demands in His kingdom by contrasting the piety demanded of His disciples with the piety of the Pharisees. The Scribes and the Pharisees perform works of piety ostentatiously so that they may be well regarded by men. When they give alms to the poor, they call it to everyone’s attention. When they fast, they disfigure their faces and look gloomy so that all may know they are fasting. On the contrary the disciples of Jesus are not to parade their virtues before the crowd, nor to seek the praise of men for their piety. They are to do good for the sake of God alone, and God will give them their true reward. They are to pray often, for prayer is powerful. God will answer their prayers. They are not to judge others; judgement is reserved to God. Their love of God must be a real, an effective love; it must be a love which produces works of virtue. ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 7:21).

A TRUE INTERIOR LOVE

The primary message of the Sermon on the Mount is the message of love. Jesus accepts what His Father had revealed to mankind through Moses and the Prophets, the law of love. Men are to love not only their friends but also their enemies, not only their fellow countrymen but also all men.

The true child of God loves all men. And this love must be a true interior love, proceeding from the innermost heart of man, a love as strong as his love for himself. Moreover it must be a love patterned after God’s love for men, complete, sovereign and impartial. As such it will go far beyond the demands of the old Mosaic Law. It will rule not only the external actions of a man but also his innermost thoughts and desires. It will be a total, a dedicated love. In this present world it will be a disinterested love, seeking no present reward for men.

JESUS CHRIST’S MESSAGE IS STARTLING

When Jesus had finished preaching this message of love, this foundation of His kingdom, as St Matthew tells us, ‘the crowds were astonished at his teaching; for he was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their Scribes and Pharisees’ (Matthew 7:28).

It was clear to the crowd that had followed Jesus that there was something new and strange about the preaching of Jesus. Not only was His message new and startling but He had deliberately emphasised the difference between His preaching and the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees. The latter spoke as theologians, appealing to the authority of other theologians or to the authority of their ancient scriptures. But Jesus dared to speak in His own name and, in His own name, to make changes in the Pharisaic interpretations of the law.

Though the crowds did not fully realise it, Jesus was speaking to them as the Christ, the Messias, instituting the Kingdom of God. He spoke as the Lawgiver, establishing the new law of grace which would be the foundation of the Kingdom of God.”
– Martin J. Healy S.T.D., 1959

 

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O GOD TO WHOM BELONGS ALL POWER (HYMN)

O GOD TO WHOM BELONGS ALL POWER:

O God to whom belongs all power,
The creatures with the water bear
You leave, in part, within its depths,
In part, you raise into the air.

Grant to us all your servants here,
Who by your Blood are purified,
That we may know no sinful fall,
No loathesome death of sin abide.

Our prayer, most loving Father, hear
Through Jesus Christ, your only Son,
Who with the Holy Paraclete,
Now reigns while endless ages run.

 
 

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IS THERE REALLY ANYTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE BIT OF FORTUNE-TELLING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE NEW YEAR BRINGS?

HIDDEN LUST OF POWER

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church has two paragraphs on this. God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it.

All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honour, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2115, 2116). (From St Martin’s Messenger, Ireland)”
– This article was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue September 2013. For subscriptions or to support seminarians, please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link).

 
 

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ST CHRISTOPHER’S STORY: ALL OF US HAVE THE DUTY TO FERRY OUR FELLOW MEN FROM ONE SHORE TO THE OTHER, CROSSING DANGEROUS “RIVERS”

ST CHRISTOPHER (JULY 25) – SERVING AN ALL POWERFUL MASTER, JESUS CHRIST

HISTORY – OR MOSTLY LEGEND?

“Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calender, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him. There are several legends about him including the one in which he was crossing a river when a child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The child, according to the legend, was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world. This was what made Christopher patron saint of travellers and he is invoked against storms, plagues, etc. His former feast day was July 25.

THE CHURCH REQUIRED 100 PER CENT EVIDENCE

In 1969, the Church took a long look at all the saints on its calendar to see if there was historical evidence that that saint existed and lived a life of holiness. In taking that long look, the Church discovered that there was little proof that many ‘saints’, including some very popular ones, ever lived. Christopher was one of the names that was determined to have a basis mostly in legend. Therefore Christopher and others were dropped from the universal calendar.

CONFINED TO LOCAL CALENDARS

Christopher’s cult was not suppressed but it is confined to local calendars (those for a diocese, country or so forth). His name Christopher means Christ-bearer. He died a martyr during the reign of Decius in the third century.

THE QUEST FOR THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD

Before Christopher became a Christ-bearer, he had a strong desire to passionately serve the person who was the most powerful man in the world. This might be a likely story but has not been historically verified. There is little historical data on St Christopher but enough to admit that we are in the presence of a martyr and therefore a saint. It doesn’t hurt to remember him.

A HAGIOGRAPHICAL STORY

The cult and the veneration rendered to this saint are manifold and are present throughout history not just in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims, who forded the Alpine passes or crossed rivers, invoked the protection of St Christopher. St Christopher became the patron of ferrymen, of postmen and athletes, of labourers and porters, of those who did heavy work. Then, after the XVI Century devotion to him waned. We do not know why.

Why this whole devotion and plea for ‘protection’? All this is because of a hagiographical story about him in the works of Jacob de Voragine in his ‘Legenda Aurea’… Here it is:

‘TO PREVENT HARM COMING TO ME’

Christopher was a Canaanite, a giant of a man endowed with great and impressive physical strength. He was a warrior and his face aroused terror in those who beheld him. He had a great desire to serve the strongest of men and so he went in search of such a person. At first he found a very powerful king and was employed in his service.

But one day he heard a juggler sing a song in which he used the word ‘devil’ and each time he used that word he saw the king make the Sign of the Cross. Christopher became uneasy and doubtful and asked the king the reason for his behaviour. When the king hesitated, he threatened to leave. Finally he confided in him: ‘When I hear the name of the devil, I make the Sign of the Cross to prevent any harm from coming to me.’

THE CROSS WAS HIS ‘ONE WEAKNESS AFTER A CERTAIN JESUS CHRIST DIED ON IT’

Christopher concluded that the devil was stronger than the king. He left the king and continued his search… for the devil, that he might be employed by him. He looked everywhere but did not see him. Given the ubiquity of the subject, he did not have to search very hard. Along a deserted road he saw, coming toward him, a terrible-looking character who asked him: ‘Where are you going and who are you looking for?’ Christopher replied: ‘I am looking for the devil because I have heard that he is the strongest person.’ And the devil, the Father of lies, replied: ‘I am the one you are looking for.’ It was there that Christopher was employed in his service and docilely obeyed him like a true disciple.

One day they came to a Cross and the devil instinctively diverted his steps. The action did not escape Christopher: ‘What is the meaning of this? Why did you avoid the Cross?’ The devil pretended not to hear and did not answer him, but Christopher insisted: ‘You mean to tell me you are afraid of it?’ Again – silence. When he threatened to leave him forever, the devil was forced ‘to confess’ that the Cross was his one weakness after a certain Jesus Christ died on it… Christopher logically concluded: ‘Then, if you are afraid, then you are not the most powerful person. Goodbye, I will go and find Jesus Christ.’ He parted company with the devil.

‘I WILL GO AND FIND JESUS CHRIST’

Once more he began his quest for the most powerful person. ‘Where is Jesus Christ?’ he kept asking people. They told him: ‘Go down there to that hermit and he will show you Jesus Christ.’ He went there and found a poor hermit wrapped in prayer and penance. ‘What have I to do to meet Jesus Christ?’ he immediately asked. What a question! The poor hermit was a saint but not an expert in the discernment of spirits. He did not have time to instruct him. And besides, he did not know the proverb that said before you know a person you should have walked in his shoes. ‘You must fast!’ He looked perplexed. ‘Should I fast? I cannot… Ask me to do anything else…’ He replied: ‘To see Jesus Christ you will have to pray a lot.’ Christopher replied: ‘That is another thing I can’t because I don’t know what prayer means.’ The hermit then pointed to the river nearby and said: ‘No one can cross without danger of death. Well, if you stay on the bank your enormous strength and your prodigious stature will serve to transport travellers. Your service would then please Christ. You will then be able to see him.’ He was finally satisfied and he replied: ‘This is something I can do and I will do it to serve Christ.’

‘I WILL DO IT TO SERVE CHRIST’

That was what he did day and night without hesitation and with a sense of dedication and without discrimination. It also made him very happy. But when would he see Jesus Christ?

One night heard the voice of a child calling him: ‘Christopher, come and help me to cross the river.’ Christopher came out of his hut but found no one. He did the same thing a second time – no one. The third time he finally saw a child who had begged for his help: ‘Come and take me to the other shore.’ Christopher took the child on his shoulders and began crossing. Instead of a simple crossing it became more and more complicated. The weight he was carrying increased; the force of the water became stronger; and he, the giant, for the first time, thought he would not be able to get across. But he finally succeeded this time. When he reached the other shore he said to the child: ‘My dear child, you caused me some real danger. You weighed so much I thought I had the whole world on my shoulders.’ The child replied: ‘Don’t be surprised, Christopher, you not only carried the whole world on your shoulders but also the one who created it. I am Jesus Christ, the master you seek to serve. As a proof that I am telling you the truth, place your staff outside your hut and tomorrow I will adorn it with fruits and flowers.’ After this, the child disappeared. On the next day, the staff was full of date palms.

As one notices, this story, (with its stamp of various mythological-cultural influences) is very touching and has many lessons, philosophical, spiritual, catechetical and existential…

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS

I think every person should see his life as a duty to ferry his fellow men from one shore to the other, crossing some dangerous ‘rivers’. Parents who bring a new life into the world ferry their child from the realm of the womb into the world. After this they still have to ferry him/her from the shores of infancy to childhood and then continue ferrying him/her in a thousand other ways. They have to lead their child to the other shore of adolescence. The journey across the ‘river’ of adolescence is never easy, it is definitely risky, turbulent, difficult and sometimes circuitous. In short, they have to accompany them to decisively ‘make that passage’ to God. We who are teachers, what we do daily is: ferrying our students to the other shore of knowledge, helping them cross the dangerous river of ignorance? We are constantly ferrying people to the other ‘shore’, seeking only their good. In short, we are all called to be ferrymen from one shore to the other. If this duty is performed in the same spirit of Christopher, with devotion and out of love for Jesus Christ, then each of us has found our own particular path to holiness. It is original, different and precious, just as every single flower in our garden.”
– This article by Mario Scudu (T/A I.D) was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue July 2010. For subscriptions and donations for seminarians please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link).

 
 

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“I’M JUST DOING THAT FOR A BIT OF FUN” – WHY DOES THE CHURCH TELL US TO STAY AWAY FROM PSYCHICS?

“QUESTION: What does the Church think of Psychics?

ANSWER: Thank you for your question. The Church rejects all practices falsely supposed to unveil the future. It says ‘consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal the desire for power over time, history and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honour, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone.’ Psychics would be included in the list.”
– This article was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue July 2010. For subscriptions and donations please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link).

 
 

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