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Posts Tagged ‘Holiness’

All Saints Day

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/31 at 12:00 AM

In the quaint little city of Ghent, Belgium, about 40 minutes outside of Brussels, is one of the world’s true artistic treasures – a masterpiece, really – known as the Altarpiece of Ghent. It is also sometimes referred to as the Adoration of the Mystical Lamb.

Composed of 12 different panels that are all hinged together, the primary panel in the center depicts the scene of Heaven that we hear about in our first reading from St. John’s Book of Revelation.

The scene is one of a verdant pasture, while in the background can be seen the spires of Jerusalem, reminding us that this is Heaven, the New Jerusalem.

In the center is the Lamb, standing upon an altar and surrounded by angels and a “great multitude from every nation, race, people, and tongue wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.”

These saints, who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” stream toward our Lord from every corner to give Him glory and honor.

The Lamb, of course, is Christ, and angels holding symbols of His Passion surround him. Blood gushes from His wounded breast into a golden chalice. Yet there is no pain on the Lamb’s face, but rather an expression of triumph.

Indeed, the instruments of His Passion and His bloody wound are the signs of His triumph over sin and death, and because of His wound, we can all be healed.

Hovering above the Lamb of God is the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove. Emanating from both the Holy Spirit and the Lamb are rays of celestial light that illuminate the entire scene. For there is no sun or moon to illuminate Heaven; only the glory of God!

Truly, it’s a remarkable piece of art – one that I like so much that our mural that we are in the process of creating for our apse wall will be modeled after it.

Included in our mural will be saints from across our Catholic history, as well as important Biblical figures from both the Old and New Testaments. My hope is that it will be the most significant piece of religious art in diocese.

My hope is that our mural will be one great way that we can give glory and honor to our Lord, as He so richly deserves.

As I mentioned on Sunday, I’ve spoken a lot about sin in the past several months, and for many reasons. Sin is the great enemy. What we must remember is that sin and God are mutually exclusive. They cannot and will not exist together. There is no sin in Heaven.

So in addition to being in a state of grace at the moment of death, to be admitted into the glory of Heaven, we must also be purified of our sins – either in this life or in Purgatory. We must be pure and holy!

But holiness does not come easy, does it? Try as we might, we all fail to live up to our calling as Christians. Thus, we need help if we are to be holy. That’s where the saints come in!

As those of you who come to daily Mass know, even though I preach a good bit on sin, I preach more about the saints than anything else.

Moreover, in building and decorating this church, we’ve gone to great lengths to incorporate many, many images of the saints: in our stained glass, in our statues, and eventually in the mural that we’re creating for the apse wall.

This is because I want you never to forget how important the saints are to us!

While we should, of course, fix our eyes firmly on Jesus and make Him the focus of our worship, it’s important for us to have the example of the saints ever before us.

The saints remind us that holiness is truly possible in this life, no matter what our circumstances may be.

So many of the saints were faced with incredible challenges and problems, and yet they persevered through them – and they show us how to do the same thing!

The saints show us how us to suffer well so that we grow in holiness through our sufferings. They even show us how to find joy and peace in the midst of suffering.

In their writings and by their very lives, the saints teach us the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith. They also pray and intercede for us from Heaven!

And most importantly, the saints show us how to love God as He should be loved. And it is in loving God as He should be loved, more than in anything else, that we are purified and made holy. It’s through loving God that we become like Him.

As we celebrate this great Solemnity of All Saints, as we bask in the glory of this great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, let us trust in their intercession to help us in whatever struggles life brings to us.

Let us look to their example of heroic virtue and purity of life and seek to imitate it for the glory of God and the sake of our souls.

Like the saints in Heaven, let us live out the Beatitudes with faithfulness and integrity so that we may one day join them around the altar of the Lamb.

All you saints in Heaven, pray for us!

1 November 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

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The Priesthood of Christ / audio

In 15 Audio on 2014/05/16 at 12:00 AM

The Priesthood of Jesus Christ Back to Series List

 

Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. General Introduction
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood01.mp3
Fr. Miller briefly discusses the aspects of the priesthood which will be discussed in future episodes.
2. The Old Testament Prietshood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood02.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at the priesthood of the Old Testament Jewish prietshood.
3. Christ’s Own Priesthood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood03.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at Christ’s own words as recorded in Scripture concerning his own prietshood.
4. The Priesthood in the New Testament
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood04.mp3
Fr. Miller examines the priesthood as seen in the New Testament, especially in the letter to the Hebrews.
5. The Priesthood of the Apostles
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood05.mp3
Fr. Miller examines the priesthood of the Apostles as instituted by Christ.
6. The Priesthood in the Early Church
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood06.mp3
Fr. Miller delves into ancient Christian writings to examine the priesthood in near-apostolic times.
7. The Prietshood in the Early Church 2
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood07.mp3
Fr. Miller continues his examination of ancient Christian writings to further our knowledge of the priesthood in near-apostolic times.
8. The Attack on the Priesthood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood08.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses how the priesthood has been attacked during the past 500 years.
9. The Priesthood of the faithful
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood09.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses the way in which all the baptized are said to be priests.
10. The Priesthood and Vatican 2
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood10.mp3
Fr. Miller briefly looks at the priesthood as seen in the documents of the second Vatican Council.
11. The Priestly Character
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood11.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at the indelible mark impressed on all who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.
12. The Mission of the Priest
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood12.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at what the mission of the priest is in our world today.
13. The Holiness of the Priest
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood13.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses the holiness that the priethood deserves and requires.

 

“People are not born holy. Holiness is forged.”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/03/28 at 12:00 AM
Everything in which we poor men have a part–even holiness–is a fabric of small trifles which, depending upon one’s intention, can form a magnificent tapestry of heroism or of degradation, of virtues or of sins. The epic legends always relate extraordinary adventures, but never fail to mix them with homely details about the hero.–May you always attach great importance to the little things. This is the way! (The Way, 826)

The main thing we are asked to do, which is so much in keeping with our nature, is to love: ‘charity is the bond of perfection’ [1]; a charity that is to be practised exactly as Our Lord himself commands: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind’ [2], holding back nothing for ourselves. This is what sanctity is all about.

Certainly our goal is both lofty and difficult to attain. But please do not forget that people are not born holy. Holiness is forged through a constant interplay of God’s grace and the correspondence of man. As one of the early Christian writers says, referring to union with God, ‘Everything that grows begins small. It is by constant and progressive feeding that it gradually grows big.’ So I say to you, if you want to become a thorough‑going Christian — and I know you are willing, even though you often find it difficult to conquer yourself or to keep climbing upwards with this poor body of ours — then you will have to be very attentive to the minutest of details, for the holiness that Our Lord demands of you is to be achieved by carrying out with love of God your work and your daily duties, and these will almost always consist of small realities. (Friends of God, 6-7)

[1] Col 3:14
[2] Matt 22:37

Signs For Our Times – Part II: Holiness of the Church

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/04/10 at 12:00 AM

The second mark of the Church or sign for our times is that of HOLINESS.  Holiness is a state of existence in which a person consciously endeavors to live in accordance with the perceived will of God because He is seen as far superior to man and to whom man owe’s obedience and worship.  This attitude may arise from the dictates of the Natural Moral Law embedded in the minds and hearts of all people by their Creator or the active participation in a religion that fosters holiness of life.

God in His goodness has given man through the Catholic Church a certain way to strive towards holiness because holiness of life is an essential of attaining salvation  which,  whether you believe it or not, is the ultimate goal of human life.  However, holiness of life can be rejected and contemporary society has done just that.  The capital sins are easily embraced and the Ten Commandments are flagrantly violated.  Holiness is not popular even among too many “Catholics”.  Holiness may be rejected, but it is still necessary and it will only be found fully in the Catholic Church.

The first aspect of the Church’s holiness is evident in its Founder.  It can be proven that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person in human form who came to save the human race (those who want to be saved) from the effects of its sins. The historical record shows without doubt that the Founder of the Catholic Church was God Himself.  He claimed to be God and proved it by doing things (miracles) that only God could do.

He even challenged His enemies to point out any moral deficiencies in His life and they could not.

Founders of other religions did not claim to be divine and in every case their lives did not suggest any notable degree of personal holiness.  For example, Mohammed, Martin Luther, the Buddha, and all the other lesser known founders.

Because He was God, Christ could endow the Church with the means to help its members acquire holiness in accordance with the individual’s free choice and acceptance of the graces given.  The means that set up by Christ are the seven Sacraments, which if used correctly, will enable the believer to make steady progress towards holiness.  No other religion, even many who call themselves Christians, have anything even remotely resembling the Catholic Sacraments, and therefore, if any of their members happen to be holy in God’s sight, it is in spite of their religion.

There are thirty thousand plus “Christian” denominations.  Some claim one, two, or three sacraments; none claim seven.  Without the Seven Sacraments, no church can claim to be the Church founded by Christ.

There will be those who say that they have the Bible and that is quite sufficient.  The problem is that the Bible as we know it came from the Catholic Church historically and did not appear as we know it until the end of the fourth century.  Only one apostle could possibly have read the New Testament (St. John).  Christ Himself did not tell the Apostles to write but to preach.  For the first centuries, Christians really did not have access to the Bible as we know it.  If the Bible had been meant to be an essential part of the true Church it would have been available from the  beginning.  The Catholic Church reveres the Bible and uses it, but does not claim it is the only means of knowing God’s will.

Holiness, by its very nature, suggests consistency and permanence.  This is  one of the reasons the Catholic Church is hated and ridiculed…it is consistent in its teachings. It does not bow to the whim of any contemporary culture. What was demanded by divine law centuries ago is still valid, and therefore, the Church refuses to join the cultural bandwagon which is clamoring for sin to be declared non-sin. Other groups that call themselves “Christian” readily and easily salute the contemporary cultural icons and are duly applauded for failure to be a consistent defender of God’s law. How many groups have embraced the homosexual demands  to be designated as  just another lifestyle with no negative moral implications? The Catholic Church does not do this, thus affirming her commitment to the idea of consistent standards of holiness. In another fifty years, the cultural elite will be demanding something else. The Church demands holiness.

There are three questions each person should ask himself:

1.  Where did I come from? (We came from God because parents only make our bodies, but it has to be God who creates our soul because human parents are incapable of creating an immortal soul.)

2.  Why am I here? (Merely to get the most out physical life and then die without any consequences?  No, to serve that God who created your soul and who will judge your performance.)

3. Where am I going?  (To a grave and nothing more?  We have a built-in sense of immortality (which means it is real) and we reach that state eventually, but how we spend it is up to us.)

(The above questions and answers are true whether you believe them or not.)

The Catholic Church alone has the complete truth regarding these questions and the best means to achieve the goals is through the holiness of the Church given through the Sacraments.  If you are a Catholic striving to lead a holy life, keep it up.  If you are a lapsed or an indifferent Catholic who picks and chooses what you will accept or do, you are telling God that you are right and He is wrong.  Rather risky!  If you are not a Catholic, pray for the grace to find God’s will.  If you find it is in the Catholic Church, embrace it and be grateful and live it to the fullest (as do most converts).

Next time we will look at another sign for our times, the Catholicity of the Church.

We Must Live the Faith with a Young Heart

In Uncategorized on 2013/03/27 at 12:00 AM

The pontiff urged the youth to “tell the world that it is good to follow Christ!”

JOY

“Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ (Lk 19:38).“

“Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul.”

“This is Jesus. This is his heart that looks upon all of us, who sees our sicknesses, our sins. Jesus’ love is great. And so He enters into Jerusalem with this love and looks upon all of us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light—the light of the Jesus’ love, of his heart—joy, and celebration.”

“At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms. We also welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God but He lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He enlightens us along the journey. And thus today we have welcomed him.”

“And this is the first word that I want to tell you: ‘Joy!’ Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but it comes from having encountered a Person, Jesus, who is among us. It comes from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! This is the moment when the enemy comes, when the devil, often times dressed as an angel, comes and insidiously tells us his word. Don’t listen to him! Follow Jesus! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Please don’t let him steal our hope. Don’t let him steal our hope, that hope that Jesus gives us.”

CROSS

“The second word. Why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: He is riding on a donkey; He is not accompanied by a court; He is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk who had the sense to see something more in Jesus; those with a sense of faith that tells them: ‘This is the Saviour. Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers. He enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood.”

“And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals, ‘You are princes, but of a crucified King.’ That is Jesus’ throne. Jesus takes it upon himself… Why the Cross? Because Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin—all of us—and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which none of us can take with us, it must be left behind.”

Here the Pope added a personal note: “My grandmother used to tell us children, ‘A shroud has no pockets!’” Then he continued: “Loving money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And also—each of us knows and recognizes—our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation.”

“Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus’ does for all of us upon his throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! It leads to the joy of being saved and of doing a little of what He did that day of his death.”

YOUTH

“Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: Youth! Dear young people, I saw you in the procession when you entered. I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart,” and here he emphasized, “a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty, a young heart. With Christ, the heart never grows old!”

“Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves, in giving ourselves and in going outside of ourselves, that we have true joy and through God’s love He has conquered evil. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace.”

“Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross. I look forward joyfully to this coming July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well in your communities—prepare spiritually above all—so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world.” Then, in an unscripted exhortation, the Pope called out: “Young persons, you must tell the world that it’s good to follow Jesus, that it’s good to go with Jesus. Jesus’ message is good. It’s good to go outside ourselves to the ends of the earth and of existence to bring Jesus! Three words: Joy, Cross, and Youth.”

“Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. May it be so.”