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Posts Tagged ‘Guidance’

Spiritual Maternity of Christians

In Uncategorized on 2014/10/10 at 12:00 AM

THE CHURCH “MAKES” CHRISTIANS, AND CHRISTIANS “MAKE” THE CHURCH

 Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Church during the “Year of Faith”, turning to the theme of maternity.

“Among the images that the Vatican Council II chose to help us better understand the nature of the Church, there is that of the ‘mother’: the Church is our mother in faith and in the supernatural life. For me it is the most beautiful image of the Church: the Church as mother. In what sense and how is the Church a mother? Let us begin with the human reality of maternity”.

“First and foremost a mother gives life, she carries her child in the womb for nine months and then introduces him to life – she generates him. The Church does likewise: she generates us in faith, by the work of the Holy Spirit who renders her fruitful, like the Virgin Mary. Certainly, faith is a personal act … but we receive faith from others, in a family, in a community that teaches me to say ‘I believe’, ‘we believe’. A Christian is not an island! We do not become Christians alone and by our own efforts, but rather faith is a gift from God that is given in and through the Church. And the Church gives us life in Baptism: that is, the moment in which she enables us to be born as children of God, the moment in which she gives us life in God, in which she generates us as a mother. … This permits us to understand something very important: our participation in the Church is not an external or formal fact, it is not a question of filling out a form, but is instead an internal and vital act. One does not belong to the Church in the same way as one belongs to a society, a team or any other organisation. It is a living bond, like that one has with one’s own mother as … the Church is truly the mother of all Christians”.

“A mother does not limit herself to giving life, but rather with great care helps her children to grow; she gives them milk, she nurtures them, she shows them the path of life, she accompanies them … she also knows how to correct them, to forgive, to understand; she knows how to be close to them in times of illness and suffering. In short, a good mother helps her children to come out of themselves, not to stay comfortably tucked under the maternal wing. … The Church, like a good mother, does the same thing: she accompanies our growth by transmitting to us the Word of God, which is a light that illuminates the path of Christian life, in administering the Sacraments. She nourishes us with the Eucharist, she brings us God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance, she supports us in times of sickness through the Anointing of the Sick. The Church accompanies us in all our life in faith, in all our Christian life”.

Francis concluded by remarking that in the first centuries of the Church, it was very clearly understood that “the Church, while she is the mother of Christians, while she ‘makes’ Christians, is also ‘made up’ of Christians. The Church is not something apart from us, but is rather the entire body of believers, as the ‘we’ of Christians: I, you, we are all part of the Church. So, we all experience the maternity of the Church, both pastors and faithful. At times I hear: ‘I believe in God but not in the Church … I’ve heard that the Church says … that priests say…”. Priests are one thing, but the Church is not made up solely of priests – we are all the Church! And if you say that you believe in God but you do not believe in the Church, you are saying that you do not believe in yourself, which is a contradiction. We are all the Church: from the recently baptised child to the bishops, to the Pope; we are all Church, and we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all called to collaborate in the birth of faith in new Christians, we are all called upon to be educators in faith, to proclaim the Gospel. … We all participate in the maternity of the Church … we are all the Church … so that the light of Christ may illuminate the furthest reaches of the Earth. Long live the Holy Mother Church!

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Help Wanted: Spiritual Direction

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2014/08/15 at 12:00 AM

The only question truly worth asking is that of the rich young man of the Gospel: “What must I do to gain eternal life?” This question naturally leads to others, such as “How can I achieve holiness in this life?” or “What is God’s will for me?” God answers these questions for us in many ways.

Simply following the Ten Commandments is a good start, as Jesus himself advised the rich young man. We can also look to God’s Revelation to us through Sacred Scripture and Tradition – the guidance of the Church through its teaching authority and sacraments. We can then consider our present state in life and our past life experiences for good clues as to what God wants for us in any present moment.

Beyond these useful strategies, however, the best way for Catholics to find trustworthy answers to the crucial questions is to have a spiritual director. As Saint Josemaria Escriva put it, “You wouldn’t think of building a good house to live in here on earth without an architect. How can you ever hope, without a director, to build the castle of your sanctification in order to live forever in heaven?” This is true for everybody, whether simple or uneducated, or complacently successful.

During his pontificate, Benedict XVI several times urged faithful Catholics who desired to pursue holiness and grow closer to God to make use of a spiritual director: “We always need a guide, dialogue, to go to the Lord… We cannot do it with our reflections alone. And this is also the meaning of the ecclesiality of our faith, of finding this guide.” By this means, he explained, we can avoid being limited by our own subjectivist interpretations of God and what he might be calling us to do, as well as benefiting from our guide’s “own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus.”

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http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/help-wanted.html

Real Hope

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/11/04 at 1:11 AM
 Excerpt from ‘The Forty Days’ Teaching by Cardinal John Henry Newman in PRAYERS, VERSES AND DEVOTIONS. Ignatius Press.

God has determined, unless I interfere with His plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness.  He looks upon me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can do best, be what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it to me.

God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not . . . God leads us by strange ways; we know He wills our happiness. . . . We are blind; left to ourselves we should take the wrong way; we must leave it to Him.

I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created.

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. . . . I am necessary for His purpose. . . . I am a link in a chain . . . of connections between persons.

I will trust Him. Whatever, whenever I am, I can never be thrown away. . . . He knows what He is about.

How constant is He in His affection! “I will never leave thee or forsake thee.”  He did not forsake me in my sin. . . . He found me and regained me. . . . He resolved to restore me, in spite of myself. . . . What does He ask of me, but that, as He has loved me with an everlasting love, so I should love Him in such poor measures as I can show.