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8th APRIL, BIBLE READING (NUMBERS 21:4-9)

IF ANYONE IS BITTEN AND LOOKS AT THE FIERY SERPENT, HE SHALL LIVE.

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.”

At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.” Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.” So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

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

 

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WHY THERE ARE PRAYERS NOT ONLY TO THE LORD JESUS, SON OF GOD, SECOND PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY, BUT ALSO TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

“The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the love with which Jesus continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings without exception.”
(CCC 478)

CHRIST’S TRUE BODY

476 Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ’s body was finite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed…its representation in holy images [is] legitimate.

477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see.” The individual characteristics of Christ’s body express the divine person of God’s Son. He as made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted.”

THE HEART OF THE INCARNATE WORD

Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony, and his Passion and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God…loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation (cf. Jn 19:34), “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that…love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church)

A PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
filled with infinite love;
broken by our ingratitude
and pierced by our sins,
yet loving us still;
accept the consecration
we now make to You of all that
we are and all that we have.
Take every faculty of our souls
and bodies, only day by day
draw us nearer and nearer to
Your Sacred Heart; and there
as we shall hear the lesson,
teach us Your Holy Way.
Amen.

 

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OUR CHRISTIAN GOD IS OUR ONE AND ONLY GOD, AND HE IS INVISIBLE – BUT WHY ARE THERE STATUES AND STAINED GLASS WINDOWS IN CATHOLIC CHURCHES?

“… In the Church of Our Lady in Bruges [Belgium] there is a beautiful marble sculpture by Michelangelo of Mary with the Infant Jesus. The sculpture is especially famous because it was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to have left Italy during his lifetime. This sculpture was removed twice from Belgium after its arrival. Firstly, in 1794 by the French Revolutionaries, after they had conquered the Austrian Netherlands. The second removal was in 1944 by retreating German soldiers, who smuggled the sculpture to Germany enveloped in mattresses in a Red Cross lorry. It was found two years later and returned to Bruges.

In the Church of the Beguinage, apart from wonderful Flemish religious paintings from may centuries ago, there is the oldest statue of Our Lady in Bruges, known as Our Lady of Consolation, which dates from 1240. Here in this church every day the Benedictine Sisters celebrate their liturgy. We arrived at 12noon as the Sisters were singing the liturgical office called Sext.

‘REVELATIONS NOT TO BE ACHIEVED BY RATIONAL THOUGHT’

All this great religious art, sculpture and stained glass windows remind us that many centuries ago, when only the religious, rich and privileged had the chance to learn to read and write, and ordinary people learned about their religion often through looking at the pictures of Jesus, Mary, the angels, the saints and the Church. The 12th century Italian monk, Gratian, wrote, ‘Paintings are the Bible of the laity.’

In more recent years, the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, ‘Some things lead us into a realm beyond words. Art thaws even the frozen, darkened soul, opening it to lofty spiritual experience. Through Art we are sometimes sent – instinctively, briefly – revelations not to be achieved by rational thought.’

Each of us today can gain great spiritual help through our looking at religious art. As the Australian religious sister and writer Veronica Brady wrote, ‘We need our artists to remind us not only of who we are but also of what the world is.'”
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris

 
 

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