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God. Not God. These are the Only Choices!

“The strength of the soul consists in its faculties, passions and desires, all of which are governed by the will. Now when these faculties, passions and desires are directed by the will toward God, and turned away from all that is not God, then the strength of the soul is kept for God, and thus the soul is able to love God with all its strength.”

— St. John of the Cross, p. 259 of “Ascent of Mt. Carmel.”

Not everyone is going to heaven.  Let’s get that out of the way.  And, there are probably people who are going to hell who, at this moment, don’t think that it is possible for them.  After all, they were baptized and received their First Holy Communion (especially if they are Catholic) or they have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior (if they are Protestant.)  It’s not enough, though.

We have to make the choice to act like we are baptized or Jesus is our Savior every single minute of our existence on this life.

Dr. Italy likens this to a door.  On one side is Jesus (who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and the only way to the Father) and on the other is not-Jesus.  The idea is at the end of our life the door will close and depending upon which side of the door we are standing when it slams shut and locks will determine where we spend eternity.

I don’t know about you, but I tremble when I think about it.  St. Paul told us that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Pretty scary words.  I mean, have you read Matthew, Chapter 5 and 25?  We all fall short of the beatitudes.  Oh, and by the way, the door is narrow that leads to heaven.  More complications.

And, yet, there is so much hope if (and this is a big “if”) we trust Jesus.  Trust Him in everything, everyday.  Put our daily lives into His loving Hands.  Sometimes, I feel like the woman with the hemorrhage and I touch the hem of His garment and hold on for dear life.  Everyday, we make the choice for God because we don’t know when that door is going to shut.

Choose wisely, friends.

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Filed under Beatitudes, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Jesus, St. Paul

God Can’t Stop Himself

Tonight, I’m going to make a short story long.

We own a 21 year old car, a Corolla.  It has 257K miles on it and we are expecting to get another 50K before it dies and we park it on the side of the road with a sign that says “first come, first serve.”  It hasn’t had air-conditioning in almost 10 years.  Ten years ago it didn’t matter so much because we were younger.  Now, it does, so we only go out in the heat before noon or after 7 p.m.  That, too, is okay.  The two back windows haven’t been able to come down in about 4 years.  Now, the driver’s side window doesn’t come down.  It would cost us almost $300 to get it fixed.  That is about what the car is worth.  So we have one window that we can open.

Yesterday, when I was at Adoration, Jesus and I discussed the car.  Charlie and I had had the discussion on Wednesday, when we were talking about whether or not getting another used car was a wise use of our resources right now.  (We pray every night that God will show us how to use our resources wisely.)  I realized that since the heater works quite well on the car, we only have to get through about 2, possibly 2 1/2 months before cooler weather.  I came home from Church and purchased a portable car fan for circulating the air from Amazon.  We decided that we will make a decision in the spring unless a newer used car drops itself in our lap.  I believe in miracles so who knows?

On Friday, we go up into town to run any errands that we need to do.  We left the house about 9:30 a.m. under very cloudy skies.  The clouds kept the sun off of us and the heat down in the car.  We had 6 stops to make.  At the last stop, the sky looked very threatening for a storm.  I told Charlie as we walked into the store that I had a feeling that it wouldn’t start raining until we were home.  When we came out, the sky was still dark and cloudy, and the car, even with only one window open was comfortable.  No rain.

I told Charlie that today, God was blessing us with the clouds to keep us cool.  He replied, “He’s always blessing us.  In fact, I think God can’t stop Himself from blessing us.”

Amen!

The sun came out when we pulled into the driveway and it has been sunny and hot the rest of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Adoration, Catholic, Faith, Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized

No! We don’t!

I went to the Women’s Club meeting last night at my Church (Catholic, of course.)  Thirteen years ago, I joined.  Stopped going to the meetings about 8 years or so ago.  I always pay my dues though.  (It’s only 20 dollars and then I get a copy of the minutes, etc. and can keep up with what they are doing in case I want to go back.)  Most of the time in the past 8 years, I went to the first meeting of the year and paid my dues in person.  However, last night was the first time I went to a first meeting in two years.  They have all new officers, so I thought it might be different.  So, I went.

And, it started out fine.  One of the past presidents did a wonderful program on why we should and do make the Sign of the Cross.  We all got to read one of the 21 reasons and as we went around the room to read, the whole thing began to fall apart.  So, we are talking about our worship of a Triune God.  (Get it, right?  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.)  Couldn’t get any plainer.  Then someone, who should know better, reminded us that a wonderful Muslim woman told her that we all pray to the same God.  WOW!  NO WE DON”T.  What doesn’t this good Catholic woman not understand about a Triune God?  Of course, since I wouldn’t be coming back to the meetings the rest of the year, I let it pass.  Someone else can deal with her delusion

That wasn’t all.  They pass a jar around for donations to the Madonna Fund.  This fund used to provide locally for mothers with small children who needed financial help.  Last night, I found out that the Madonna Fund is given to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for use overseas.  Since 98% of CRS employees give to pro-abortion candidates during an election and CRS also promotes contraception and abortion overseas, I could never give to the Madonna Fund again.

It’s never easy for me to go to a Catholic organization’s meeting, when it espouses positions that aren’t Catholic.  (sigh)

Maybe next year?

 

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It’s the Feast of the Transfiguration! The Apostles Saw the Face of God and Lived!

Here is the picture and explanation from http://www.morningoffering.com

Transfiguration

Feast of the Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord takes place on August 6th, an event mentioned in all three Synoptic Gospels. After revealing that he would be put to death in Jerusalem, Jesus took the three disciples of his inner circle to the summit of Mount Tabor in order to reveal his glory to them. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigure before them, radiant in the fullness of his glory as he truly was, the Son of God. Next to Jesus were Moses and Elijah as witnesses to Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament law and prophets. St. Matthew writes of the event by saying, “He was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.”

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Filed under Adoration, Catholic, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, Liturgy, New Testament, Transfiguration

What do the Bishops say about this election?

Just heard Father Pavone’s talk on the Catholic responsibility to vote.  He makes a lot of good points and has given me something else to think about.  Thought you’d like to listen.

http://tinyurl.com/h4sgnrw

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Have to Get It Right!

Matthew 5:48   “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Want to know what you need to do (and, if you are anything like me, you’re probably not doing it very well at all.)  Read Matthew Chapter 5.  You know, the one with the beatitudes, plucking out eyes and cutting off hands, and anger, and adultery, and divorce, and swearing, and retaliation, and loving one’s enemies.  One can’t read this Chapter without realizing what little worms we are when it comes to the whole perfection thing.  I read Chapter 5 before and after going to confession.  This and Chapter 25 are all I need to trot myself off to the confessional.  Add the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and I can go all gooey on the inside contemplating my long stay in Purgatory.

And yet. . .

God gives us grace and forgiveness and mercy to help us to prioritize the pursuit of holiness in our lives.  Pursuing holiness begins with having a strong, true, and ardent love for God and for our neighbor.  It means praying and fasting and making each word and act and little daily sacrifice the means of proving our love for our Savior who died on the cross for Love of us.  An effective love can transform a dry, cold heart into a furnace of charity.  Then we can burn with Love of God even while we must live here below.  I hope you, like myself, pursue this ardent charity.

We got to get this right.

“Lord, with your loving care, guide the penance we have begun.  Help us to persevere with love and sincerity.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.”  Liturgy of the Hours: Evening Prayer for the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

 

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Filed under Almsgiving, Beatitudes, Catholic, Charity, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, Liturgy of the Hours, Love, New Testament

Righteousness – A Word Study

Just finished reading Chapters 3 and 4 of Matthew’s Gospel.  There is so much there that it would take pages to discuss.  It is about His baptism by John and His temptation in the desert.  Satan was tempting Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.  He wants Him to embrace an earthly and political mission and thus subvert from His real mission of suffering and dying for our salvation.

Unlike us, Jesus could not have sinned at any time during His earthly life.  His “temptations” were entirely the suggestions of the devil and had nothing to do with any kind of inner struggle or disordered desire of a fallen nature.  We, of course, experience temptation because of our fallen nature.  However, just because He couldn’t sin, doesn’t mean that He didn’t show us how the devil should be treated when he comes around with his “suggestions.”

According to St. John Chrysostom, Jesus gives us a perfect example of Christian obedience.  Earthly life is our wilderness.  Our goal is to get to the “land” of heaven.  This life is like a probationary period for us.  God wills that we  overcome temptations (from the world, the flesh, and the devil) through the practice of penance and obedience to God’s word.   We must desire Christ’s humility.  And this is how we can increase the gift of righteousness:  penance, obedience, and humility.

Righteousness is a gift from God.  The word itself is used 7 times in Matthew and 85 times in the rest of the New Testament.  Christ first gives us this gift in Baptism when we are restored in our relationship as an adopted son or daughter of God.  It always means (from the Greek) the uprightness and faithfulness of God and His people.  It is part of the unique covenant vocabulary that runs throughout the old and new testaments.  God’s righteousness is because He is holy and is revealed as He takes care of Israel.  Now, He has demonstrated His righteousness through the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus wants us to be righteous, like He and His Father, are righteous.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”  Jn 4: 7-8, 10

And, I might add, fill you with righteousness.

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Filed under Almsgiving, Catholic, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, James, Jesus, Lent, New Testament

Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. (Gn 3: 19)

About three years ago, my husband and I began to read the Gospels, (out loud) two chapters at a time, on Ash Wednesday.  We found that by doing so we could read all four Gospels by Holy Saturday.  The first time, we continued after Easter and read until the end of the NT.  Then we began the New Testament again and read it through 2 chapters a night.  Then, we began to read the Old Testament, the same way.  We are only to the end of Wisdom, so we have set it aside and began the Gospels again tonight.

Everyone else reads other books for their spiritual reading during Lent.  We just stick with the Gospels.  Doing so, we have had great Lents for the past three years.

So after dinner tonight, we began.  Matthew Chapters 1 and 2.  What is Jesus’ ancestry and where was He born?  I especially like the verses about St. Joseph dreaming of angels.  He was such a man of faith!  That we would have just a bit of his faith and humility, we too could dream of angels.

Finally, today’s liturgy is an invitation to penance.  The predominant thought of the day should be that while physical penance is okay, we need spiritual penance–humility, recognition of our faults, a steadfast heart, and the reformation of our lives.  The Lord wants us to be converted to Him with all our hearts, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.  He wants us to “rend our hearts; not just our garments.”

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil.  As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  (Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday-Evening Prayer)

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Filed under 40 Days for Life, Fasting, Gospel, Jesus, Lent, Liturgy of the Hours, New Testament, Old Testament, Sacred Scripture

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit of God

Ephesians 4: 29-32 is both invitation and warning.  It invites us to avoid sin and all occasions of sin.  It warns us that the Person of the Holy Spirit will be insulted by our sin.

St. Paul gives us a list to follow especially where it concerns destructive and devisive speech.  He tell us to put away all

  • Bitterness
  • Wrath
  • Anger
  • Malice
  • Clamor
  • and Slander

We are to

  • be Kind to one another
  • be Tenderhearted
  • be Forgiving

Remembering the words of our Savior in the Our Father, we thank God for His mercy towards us by showing mercy to others.  Forgiveness!

St. Paul wants “no evil talk” coming out of our mouths.  Whatever we speak should be “edifying” that “it may impart grace to those who hear.”

He also alludes to Is 63:10 where the Prophet recalls how the Exodus generation of Israel grieved the Holy Spirit by grumbling against the Lord and Moses.

Heaven help us!  When I read what passes for discourse today in the age of Facebook and Twitter, I’m reminded that we, too, are a perverse generation, grumbling against the Lord, and grieving the Holy Spirit by our lack of charity and forgiveness.

We need the Holy Spirit to actually intercede for us.  Pray with me these intercessions from the Liturgy of the Hours’ morning prayer for today.  “Lord, pour out your mercy upon us.”

Christ, Rising Sun, warm us with your rays, and restrain us from every evil impulse.

Keep guard over our thoughts, words, and actions, and make us pleasing in your sight this day.

Turn your gaze from our sinfulness, and cleanse us from our iniquities.

Through your cross and resurrection, fill us with the consolation of the Spirit.

 

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Filed under Catholic, Charity, Exodus, Holy Spirit, Liturgy of the Hours

The Manifestation

Collect.  O God, who by the leading of a star didst on this day manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may be brought to the contemplation of thy glorious majesty. through the same Lord. . .”

Today, Jesus shows Himself to the world as God and the Lord of the world.

The Magi saw a star and set out immediately.  Their faith was strong and sure.  They had generous hearts.  Their souls were ready to make the long, arduous journey.  They didn’t give up although the star disappeared at one point.

My meditation today reminds me that when God urges us to greater generosity and closer union with Him, we need to be like the Magi and follow His urging with faith, promptness, selfless generosity, and perseverance.  He is our Quest and we must not give up, even if the star of faith in our soul disappears and we feel an interior darkness.  These periods of darkness are part of His will and so we must overcome them with a pure, naked faith.  In other words, no matter what, we trust in Him.

Sometimes I pray, “Lord, what do you want from me?”  The Feast of the Epiphany reveals some of the answers.  He wants my co-operation.  He wants me to pray and work for the conversion of those who are near to me (family and friends) and those are far away (strangers.)  He wants the incense of prayer, the myrrh of suffering for the love of Him, and the gold of charity.

O Lord, please let Your star shine for me today so I will only take the road that leads directly to you.

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Filed under Charity, Epiphany, Faith, Jesus, Love