Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

“Know how to forgive one another”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/07/15 at 12:00 AM
How very insistent the Apostle Saint John was in preaching the mandatum novum, the new commandment that we should love one another. I would fall on my knees, without putting on any act – but this is what my heart dictates – and ask you, for the love of God, to love one another, to help one another, to lend one another a hand, to know how to forgive one another. And so, reject all pride, be compassionate, show charity; help each other with prayer and sincere friendship. (The Forge, 454)

Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate and took on our nature to reveal himself to mankind as the model of all virtues, ‘Learn from me,’ he says to us, ‘for I am meek and humble of heart.

Later, when he explains to the Apostles the mark by which they will be known as Christians, he does not say, ‘Because you are humble.’ He is purity most sublime, the immaculate Lamb. Nothing could stain his perfect, unspotted holiness [1]. Yet he does not say, ‘You will be known as my disciples because you are chaste and pure.’

He passed through this world completely detached from earthly goods. Though he is the Creator and Lord of the whole universe, he did not even have a place to lay his head. Nevertheless he does not say, ‘They will know that you are mine because you are not attached to wealth.’ Before setting out to preach the Gospel he spent forty days and forty nights in the desert keeping a strict fast. But, once again, he does not tell his disciples, ‘Men will recognize you as God’s servants because you are not gluttons or drunkards.’

No, the distinguishing mark of the apostles and of true Christians in every age is, as we have heard: ‘By this’, precisely by this, ‘shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

(Friends of God, 224)

[1] cf John 8:46


“You have to live in harmony with your fellow men and understand them”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/02/12 at 12:00 AM
You have to live in harmony with your fellow men and understand them as a brother would. As the Spanish mystic says, you have to put love where there is no love to obtain love. (The Forge, 457)

Christ, who came to save all mankind and who wishes Christians to be associated with him in the work of redemption, wanted to teach his disciples — you and me — to have a great and sincere charity, one which is more noble and more precious: that of loving one another in the same way as Christ loves each one of us. Only then, by imitating the divine pattern he has left us, and notwithstanding our own rough ways, will we be able to open our hearts to all men and love in a higher and totally new way.

Tertullian writing in the second century tells us how impressed the pagans were by the behaviour of the faithful at that time. So attractive was it both supernaturally and humanly that they often remarked: ‘See how they love one another.’

If you think, looking at yourself now or in so many things you do each day, that you do not deserve such praise; that your heart does not respond as it should to the promptings of God, then consider that the time has come for you to put things right.

The principal apostolate we Christians must carry out in the world, and the best witness we can give of our faith, is to help bring about a climate of genuine charity within the Church. For who indeed could feel attracted to the Gospel if those who say they preach the Good News do not really love one another, but spend their time attacking one another, spreading slander and quarrelling? (Friends of God, 225-226)


In 07 Observations on 2015/10/09 at 12:00 AM

The source of grace is Christ Himself, incarnated into our human nature having received His body though His mother by the action of the Holy Spirit.

There is no one on earth who was closer to Him who gave us spiritual life than His mother.

Hear and follow her two instructions she has given you: Let it be done to me according to His will and Do whatever He tells you.

Ask Mary to form Jesus in you so that you become like her Son.

Jesus of Nazareth

In 14 Book Corner on 2015/05/01 at 12:00 AM

Jesus of Nazareth

From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
In this bold, momentous work, Joseph Ratzinger-in his first book written since he became Pope-seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent “popular” depictions and to restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and invites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.

From Jesus of Nazareth: “the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in the Wisdom Literature-the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth.

He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: faith, hope, and love.”

Jesus of Nazareth
Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection

For Christians, Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world, and who rose from the dead in triumph over sin and death. For non-Christians, he is almost anything else–a myth, a political revolutionary, a prophet whose teaching was misunderstood or distorted by his followers.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and no myth, revolutionary, or misunderstood prophet, insists Benedict XVI. He thinks that the best of historical scholarship, while it can’t “prove” Jesus is the Son of God, certainly doesn’t disprove it. Indeed, Benedict maintains that the evidence, fairly considered, brings us face-to-face with the challenge of Jesus–a real man who taught and acted in ways that were tantamount to claims of divine authority, claims not easily dismissed as lunacy or deception.

Benedict XVI presents this challenge in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, the sequel volume to Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration.

Why was Jesus rejected by the religious leaders of his day? Who was responsible for his death? Did he establish a Church to carry on his work? How did Jesus view his suffering and death? How should we? And, most importantly, did Jesus really rise from the dead and what does his resurrection mean? The story of Jesus raises many crucial questions.

Benedict brings to his study the vast learning of a brilliant scholar, the passionate searching of a great mind, and the deep compassion of a pastor’s heart. In the end, he dares readers to grapple with the meaning of Jesus’ life, teaching, death, and resurrection.

Jesus of Nazareth
His Infancy and Childhood

The momentous third and final volume in the Pope’s international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series, detailing the stories of Jesus’ infancy and boyhood. This third part of the trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth begins with the Gospels and concludes with the contemporary man.

As the Pope wrote in volume two of this series, he attempts to “develop a way of observing and listening to the Jesus of the Gospels that can indeed lead to the personal encounter and that, through collective listening with Jesus’ disciples across the ages, can indeed attain sure knowledge of the real historical figure of Jesus.”

In God We Trust?

In 16 Deacon Ruben Tamayo on 2015/04/10 at 12:00 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 2.22.24 PM
God gives us every reason to trust Him. We read throughout both the Old and New Testaments that God is trustworthy not just a few times but many times. One such example is Psalm 145: “The LORD is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.”
The Bible is also littered with plenty of examples of humanity deciding that God and His ways should not be trusted, doing things their way, and then suffering the painful consequences of their petulance and obstinacy. Here are just a few examples:
Adam and Eve disobey God, not because their lives aren’t all good and full of blessings, but because the serpent plants a seed of doubt in them about God’s love for them.
After growing impatient waiting to conceive Abraham’s child as God had promised, Sarah takes matters into her own hands and has Abraham lie with her maidservant Hagar so that Abraham may have the child God promised Him.
The Israelites create a golden calf and worship it despite the great miracles God performed for them simply because Moses took “too long” to return from his meeting with God at Mt. Sinai.
In Luke chapter 11, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons with the help of Satan himself even after witnessing Jesus feed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish, bringing back to life the widow’s son, and healing many others.
So, why does this pattern, i.e. our continually turning our backs on God despite His proven faithfulness to us, keep repeating over and over throughout all of history and in our lives today? The short answer is because we provide Satan with an opening to drive a wedge, pride, between us and God. God is always trustworthy. How about us humans? Sadly not so much. St. Teresa of Avila says this well: “Consider seriously how quickly people change, and how little trust is to be had in them; and hold fast to God, who does not change.”
Satan, whom Jesus calls the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) appeals to our pride and attachment to earthly vices to convince us that he is the one who is trustworthy, not God. After all, God doesn’t give us what we want when we snap our fingers so God must be lying when He tells us that He loves us. God even lets us suffer – what kind of love is that?! We are foolish to fall for these lies!!!

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This is reminiscent of the scene from the Disney animated film, the Jungle Book, where Kaa, the serpent, hypnotizes the young boy Mowgli while singing: “Trust in me, just in me, shut your eyes, trust in me.” Kaa obviously doesn’t care about the well-being of the boy – he just wants to gain control of him to eat him. “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” from 1 Peter 5:8 comes to mind as well.
The good news is that God gives us free will and Satan has no power over us. But we must grow in humility and recognize that we always need God’s help – God who is always trustworthy. St. Vincent de Paul provides great advice on this point: “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
Reflection based on the Mass readings for the 3rd Thursday of Lent 2015: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalm 95, and Luke 11:14-23)

Divine Light

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2015/03/13 at 12:00 AM

One of the key visuals in the story of the Transfiguration is the divine light that radiates from Jesus. Matthew says, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Luke reports, “His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” And Mark says, “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.”
This light seems to signal the beauty and radiance of a world beyond this one, a world rarely seen, only occasionally glimpsed, amidst the griminess and ordinariness of this world.

Is this beautiful and radiant world ever seen today? Let me share a few stories with you. When I was travelling recently, I met a man who, as a young man, met St. Padre Pio, the famous stigmatist. He was privileged to serve his Mass. During the elevation of the host, after the consecration, this man noticed something remarkable: there was a glow around the holy man’s hands. Years later when he heard reports of “auras” he said to himself, “That’s what I saw that day.”

Malcolm Muggeridge, the English journalist and convert to Catholicism, was filming Mother Teresa for a documentary. One day, the electricity was out, and he bemoaned the fact that he had to film her without lights, convinced that the day would be lost. However, when the film was developed, he noticed that the scenes were beautifully lit. To his surprise it appeared as though the light was coming from her.

Consider also the Shroud of Turin. There is scientific speculation that the marks on the shroud, the holy icon thought by many to be the burial shroud of Christ, were caused by a burst of radiant energy – light energy.

I’d like to leave you with one last thought: from the time of the earliest disciples, the holy followers of Jesus were pictured with halos above their heads. What is a halo if not the divine light breaking into our world today?

“St. Aquinas says that Jesus is transfigured before his disciples in order to allow them to see the great goal so that they might have courage as they struggle on the way.”

– Fr. Robert Barron

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“You are able to call yourself a son of God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/01/30 at 12:00 AM
Give thanks often to Jesus, for through him, with him and in him you are able to call yourself a son of God. (The Forge, 265)

If we feel we are beloved sons of our Heavenly Father, as indeed we are, how can we fail to be happy all the time? Think about it. (The Forge, 266)

How beautiful our Christian vocation is ‑‑ to be sons of God! It brings joy and peace on earth which the world cannot give. (The Forge, 269)

Ut in gratiarum semper actione maneamus!, may we be always giving thanks. Dear God, thank you, thank you for everything: for what goes against me, for what I don’t understand, for the things that make me suffer. The blows are necessary to hack away what is superfluous from the huge block of marble. That is how God sculptures the image of his Son in souls. Be grateful to God for those caresses! (The Way of the Cross, Sixth Station, 4)

When we Christians have a hard time of it, it is because we are not giving to this life all its divine meaning. Where the hand feels the prick of thorns, the eyes discover a bunch of splendid, fragrant roses. (The Way of the Cross, Sixth Station, 5)


In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2014/06/23 at 12:00 AM

From the beginning of a sermon on the beatitudes by Saint Leo the Great, pope
(Sermo 95, 1-2: PL 54, 461-462)

I shall put my laws within them

Dearly beloved, when our Lord Jesus Christ was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing various illnesses throughout the whole of Galilee, the fame of his mighty works spread into all of Syria, and great crowds from all parts of Judea flocked to the heavenly physician. Because human ignorance is slow to believe what it does not see, and equally slow to hope for what it does not know, those who were to be instructed in the divine teaching had first to be aroused by bodily benefits and visible miracles so that, once they had experienced his gracious power, they would no longer doubt the wholesome effect of his doctrine.

In order, therefore, to transform outward healings into inward remedies, and to cure men’s souls now that he had healed their bodies, our Lord separated himself from the surrounding crowds, climbed to the solitude of a neighboring mountain, and called the apostles to himself. From the height of this mystical site he then instructed them in the most lofty doctrines, suggesting both by the very nature of the place and by what he was doing that it was he who long ago had honored Moses by speaking to him. At that time, his words showed a terrifying justice, but now they reveal a sacred compassion, in order to fulfill what was promised in the words of the prophet Jeremiah: Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I shall establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. After those days, says the Lord, I shall put my laws within them and write them on their hearts.

And so it was that he who had spoken to Moses spoke also to the apostles. Writing in the hearts of his disciples, the swift hand of the Word composed the ordinances of the new covenant. And this was not done as formerly, in the midst of dense clouds, amid terrifying sounds and lightning, so that the people were frightened away from approaching the mountain. Instead, there was a tranquil discourse which clearly reached the ears of all who stood nearby so that the harshness of the law might be softened by the gentleness of grace, and the spirit of adoption might dispel the terror of slavery.

Concerning the content of Christ’s teaching, his own sacred words bear witness; thus whoever longs to attain eternal blessedness can now recognize the steps that lead to that high happiness. Blessed, he says, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. It might have been unclear to which poor he was referring, if after the words Blessed are the poor, he had not added anything about the kind of poor he had in mind. For then the poverty that many suffer because of grave and harsh necessity might seem sufficient to merit the kingdom of heaven. But when he says: Blessed are the poor in spirit, he shows that the kingdom of heaven is to be given to those who are distinguished by their humility of soul rather than by their lack of worldly goods.

Eucharist is not magic

In Uncategorized on 2014/06/13 at 12:00 AM

Pope Francis gave special emphasis to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, saying that it is not magical act, but an encounter with the living God.

Pope Francis delivered this to those who gathered in the Vatican’s guest house, Santa Marta, for a private liturgy.

The Holy Father drew his reflections from the morning’s reading from the passage in psalms, “We will go with joy to the House of the Lord,” saying to those gathered that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is not a “magic rite,” but rather an encounter with Jesus, who is our constant companion in life.

Throughout the history of God’s people, the Pope said, there have been many “beautiful moments which bring joy,” but also moments “of pain, martyrdom and sin.”

However, the Pope noted that “God, who has no History because He is eternal, desired to make History by walking alongside His people.”

“He decided to become one of us, and as one of us, to walk with us through Jesus.”

Pope Francis stressed that this act not only shows us the greatness of God, but also his humility, saying that when his people strayed from him “in sin and idolatry,” he did not abandon them, but “He was there” waiting for their return.

Jesus shows us the same humility, said the Pope, in that “he walks with the People of God, walks with the sinners; walks also with the arrogant,” adding that Jesus did much to “help these arrogant hearts of the Pharisees.”

The Church, stressed the pontiff, can rejoice in the humility of God which accompanies us as “We go with joy to the House of the Lord.”

“We go with joy because He accompanies us, He is with us…and the Lord Jesus, even in our personal lives, accompanies us with the Sacraments. The Sacrament is not a magic rite: it is an encounter with Jesus Christ; we encounter the Lord – it is He who is beside us and accompanies us.”

(CNA/EWTN News).

What is love?

In 07 Observations on 2014/04/18 at 12:00 AM

Detailed notes taken by Aida Tamayo on Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism Series

Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as “to will the good of another.” Love is not a feeling.  Love is an act of the will to want that which is good for someone else.  If possible one will also act to bring about the good of another. That is why Jesus said love your enemy (Will the good of that person).  What is the good of the person, my enemy? Perhaps that this person sees the evil in his actions and turns to do what is good.

Love is a powerful word and it is the most overused and abused word of our times.  Pope Benedict XVI said God is Love and he is right.  But when our understanding of Love is so skewed, so will be our understanding of God.  Here is how we use LOVE: I love pizza (it pleases me) I love this show (it entertains me) I love you (you give me pleasure), I love my parents (as long as they don’t tell me what to do or inconvenience me) I love God (as long as His Will doesn’t interfere with mine).  Love in our world is what makes me feel good.  So if God is Love He will do what will please me. No.

God is LOVE, the source of all goodness.  Love is not what I feel and it is not about me. Love is about the good I can will and do for others.

Loving God, and being His followers.  Pope John Paul II called the Beatitudes the self-portrait of Christ in Veritatis Splendor. Most Bible scholars would agree that the Beatitudes give us a clear picture of the true disciple of God.  To get to this point, a follower must be following all the commandments and come to understand that the meaning of life is doing the will of God.  Pursuing the Beatitudes will perfect the soul of those that will to follow the Lord. Father Barron says that the Beatitudes reveal that the true path of joy is found not in grasping at power but in the willing surrender to God’s mysterious grace.

Loving others, and turning the other cheek.  Turning the other cheek is a way of forcing an aggressor to confront its aggression.  We are not saying that a Jewish person in Nazi Germany confronts the Gestapo.  That would be suicide. What Jesus meant is that when presented with an injustice, instead of returning the injustice or running away from it we choose a 3rd option… turn the other cheek.

To illustrate the point we can look at someone who understood Jesus’ message well and puts it into practice.  Blessed Teresa once entered a bakery in Calcutta with a poor hungry child.  She asked the owner if he could spare a piece of bread for the child.  He spit in her face.  She calmly wiped her face looked at him kindly and said, that was for me, now can you spare a piece of bread for the child.  That is what Jesus meant by turning the other cheek. She understood Love: Will the good of the other.