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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Consider the Beatitudes

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/07/01 at 12:00 AM

The Beatitudes clearly image the perfect fruits of the Holy Spirit in man’s soul.  The Beatitudes are as “divinely” human acts we can perform.   In living the Beatitudes, we will gain the reward attached to them now and in the afterlife.

sermon-on-the-mount-13-1-GoodSalt-prcas6178All the Beatitude align to our human desire for happiness.  This desire was placed in our hearts by God to draw us to Himself who is the fulfillment of those desires.  St. Augustine stated it clearly: “Thou hast made us for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

We are called to imitate Christ; to be Christlike.  the Beatitudes are a mini biography of Christ, of His charity.  They describe His perfected humanity, the one we are to follow, the one He models for us.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way – our only way. He is our Truth – our only truth. He is our Life – our only life. To know Jesus Christ is the supreme goal of every Christian.

Jesus drew up and eight point plan to guide us. The Beatitudes teach us that real happiness comes from fulfilling God’s will for us. It is a good idea to follow Pope Francis’ admonition to dwell on Our Lords’ magnificent plan contained in the Beatitudes. These Beatitudes are Our Lord’s invitation to a godly life. Let us accept this divine invitation with joy and determination.

All the Beatitudes have the sanctification of our souls as their goal. Our Lord, through the Beatitudes, calls each and every woman, NOW, to reform, to conform herself to Him. In the Beatitudes you have the one and only strategy you need to be filled with a supernatural joy you will be able to communicate to others. They will enable you to be exemplary lay apostles radiating Christ to others.

The Beatitudes contradict the spirit of our times. The culture and media of today call losers winners and losers those whom Jesus declares winners. For as where the world exalts wealth, power, glamor and influence, Our Lord commends humility, meekness, mercy, purity, generosity and detachment.

Which path are you following? What path will you take? Let’s be like St. Peter who recognized that Jesus has the words of eternal life and say “YES” to Him.

 

 

 

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Late Have I Loved You Echoes

In 07 Observations on 2015/07/17 at 12:00 AM

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you!  For behold you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside….You were with me and I was not with you.  I was kept from you by those things….You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness.  (St. Augustine CONFESSIONS, 10, 27-38)

Echoed down centuries, Francis Thompson in THE HOUND OF HEAVEN:

I fled Him, down the night and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

           Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

           Up vistaed hopes I sped;

            And shot, precipitate,

Adown Titanic glens of chasmed fears,

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after

           But with unhurrying chase,

           And unperturbed pace,

   Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

          They beat-and a Voice beat

          More instant than the Feet-

             “All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

Christ, today and always, is not far away.  If we forget him, he does not forget us.  He is the Way, and that road to join him is always open.  We must leave our self-centeredness and enter into the new dimension of his risen and ascended love.

Suffering

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/11/07 at 12:00 AM

For the past four Sundays, our epistle has come from the Letter to the Hebrews. These readings have been focusing on Jesus as our great high priest and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.

We’ve read about how Jesus was perfected through His suffering endured on our behalf, and of how He sympathizes with our weaknesses having Himself been similarly tested, yet without falling into sin.

We’ve heard of how Jesus is able to deal patiently with us, of how we should confidently approach Him in times of need, and of how His priesthood will last forever.

Today we are reminded by the Letter to the Hebrews of how Jesus is the perfect high priest Who is always able to save those who approach God through Him.

What we learn from all this is that Jesus lives to save us from sin and death. As our great high priest, He is constantly interceding with the Father on our behalf.

Truly, my brothers and sisters, we see in the priesthood of Jesus Christ the clear and perfect love that our Trinitarian Lord has for all humanity. For in the priesthood of Jesus we see that God wants more than anything else to save us from eternal death!

His desire for our salvation, shown in His Mercy, is the greatest sign of God’s love for us.

In our weakness and lack of faith, we frail humans are prone to questioning the love of God when suffering arises in our lives. When bad things happen we often wonder how an all-good and all-loving God could allow such a thing to happen.

This is especially true when suffering arises that has no direct human agent to blame, such as in the case of natural disasters. Perhaps many of the people who have been so harshly affected by Hurricane Sandy are asking that very question right now.

It’s really quite a normal response for people to wonder if things like natural disasters or other widespread forms of suffering are actually punishments from our Lord. But we cannot know if that’s the case or not.

Regardless of how our sufferings come to us, as Christians we should strive to look upon our sufferings as a means of making reparation for our sins and for turning more closely to our Lord, for there is great holiness to be found in doing this.

While it is easy for our emotions to get the better of us in times of crisis, as people of faith we should strive never to question the love the Lord has for us.

For our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross for our sakes is a definitive proof that He does love us. For who would willingly undergo such terrible suffering for the sake of others and at the hands of others if not for love?
In examining the fact that our Lord became man, and suffered and died for us and because of us, the only logical conclusion is that He does love us – and loves us in a way that no human can ever fully match. He loves us in an infinitely perfect way, even if we don’t always understand it!

And so when we suffer in this life – and we all do – the proper response of faith is not to question and turn away from our Lord.

Like the long-suffering Job, we must be willing to accept both good and bad from God’s hands – trusting that both the good we enjoy and the suffering we endure in this life are means for God to help us grow in holiness and prepare for Heaven!

Like Job and all the saints who have gone before us, our response to the Lord in every circumstance of life must be one of love and gratitude.

And this is where we must turn to both our first reading and our Gospel today. Both Moses and Jesus call us to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and all our strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus tells us that these are the greatest commandments. In other words, this is God’s greatest expectation of us. Love is what our Lord desires the most from us!

No doubt all of you who are parents can relate to this. You want your children to love you, do you not? You want your children’s love because you love them so very much.

Everyone who loves wants to be loved in return. This is as true for God as it is for man. And so ultimately, this is what our readings are about today. From Hebrews we learn of God’s love for us, while our first reading and Gospel exhort us to love Him in return.

St. Bede the Venerable has a famous saying: “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.” In this quote St. Bede marvelously ties together the two great commandments we hear from our Lord in today’s Gospel.

So while there are many ways to love God, such as obedience to His commands, fidelity to prayer, generously giving to the Church, and so forth, the most perfect way to show God love is to love others as we love ourselves.
We see a marvelous example of this in the life of St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day the Church celebrates this weekend. Martin was the illegitimate mulatto son of a Spanish nobleman, who became a Dominican brother in Lima, Peru, in the 17th century.

Though he was considered an outcast in society, and even though he was sometimes harshly treated by his fellow religious, St. Martin was a master of charity, constantly practicing works of mercy for all in need.

Martin was known for always considering the needs of others as more important than his own needs, often depriving himself of food and sleep so that he could help others.

But Martin’s greatest work of charity was to help others get to Heaven. Many people of all walks of life were converted by his disarming and straightforward love.

So St. Martin shows us that our love for others is most perfectly manifested when we act in ways that help them to get to Heaven, just as God’s love for us is most clearly seen in the fact that He desires to save us!

And so as we consider our relationships with one another, we must learn to think in terms of salvation. Do we always act in ways that help others grow in holiness?

Do we encourage them in the ways of faith? Do we encourage them to keep the commandments? Are we willing to correct others charitably out of love for their soul, even if it is uncomfortable for us to do so?

Or do we sometimes do things that hinder another person’s salvation? Do we speak, act, or dress in provocative ways? Do we encourage others to sin or to dwell upon sinful things? Do we stir people to anger, pride, lust, greed, envy, gluttony, or sloth?

This past week we celebrated the twin feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Days, which called us to honor the saints and to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. But ultimately, these feast days point us toward eternity, and thus call us to prepare for our own death.

One great way to prepare ourselves for eternity is by loving others enough to help them along the path to salvation. The beautiful thing about loving others in this way is that by doing so, we also manifest our love for God.
May we all learn to love each other better by truly working for one another’s salvation, and may we thereby prove our love for God, Who desires nothing else than to save us from sin and death.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.
04 November 2012

© 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, please 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

“You have him always at your side”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/07/05 at 12:00 AM
How wonderfully effective the Holy Eucharist is in the actions, and even before that in the souls, of those who receive it frequently and piously. (The Forge, 303)

If all those people became so enthusiastic and were ready to acclaim you over a piece of bread, even granting that the multiplication of loaves was a very great miracle, shouldn’t we be doing much more for all the many gifts you have granted us, and especially for giving us your very self unreservedly in the Eucharist? (The Forge, 304)

Good child: see how lovers on earth kiss the flowers, the letters, the mementos of those they love|… Then you, how could you ever forget that you have him always at your side ‑‑ yes,Him? How could you forget|… that you can eat him? (The Forge, 305)

Put your head frequently round the oratory door to say to Jesus: I abandon myself into your arms. Leave everything you have ‑‑ your wretchedness ‑‑ at his feet. In this way, in spite of the welter of things you carry along behind you, you will never lose your peace. (The Forge, 306)

A Trilogy of the Unreal: Part 2 – “Jesus” Might Offend

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/07/28 at 9:11 AM

For some time now, it as become fashionable to tell Christian clergy and laity that they may not invoke the name of Jesus in prayers in any public supported forum. After all, not everyone  is a Christian, and they may be “offended” by hearing the name of the Christian God. (To which I say, “Let them be “offended”; it’s rank hypocrisy anyway.) I would be neither surprised or offended if a rabbi mentioned Yahweh, or a Muslim referred to Allah, or a Buddhist mentioned Buddha.

This is still another example of the modern world’s attitude that religion is really not very important, and that belief and practice can be and should be tailored to the contemporary culture. Certainly any religion that claims to be true and can prove it like Christianity is utterly taboo. After all, truth is what we decide is true; there can’t be any such thing as objective truth.

This attitude of religious indifferentism is really inimical to human nature. Man is created with a religious bent. He may neglect or ignore it, but it is still there. Another part of inborn human nature is to seek the truth; it is part of our ability to think rationally. Society cannot exist without truth; it would devolve in chaos in no time. The problem with religious indifferentism is that it ignores contradictions which are fatal to correct thinking. Christianity believes in a triune God (3 Persons); Islam, in a unitary god (one person); Buddhism in no gods because it is basically a philosophy of this life; Hinduism believes in 300,000,000 (million) gods. They are all acceptable? It doesn’t matter?

There are those who say that God has abandoned the U.S. to its stupidities and religious nonsense. Perhaps; perhaps not! It would not be the first time that God hardened hearts because of obdurate evil.

I know an Anglican priest who, when told he could not invoke the name of Jesus in his prayer,  simply used the phrase “Christ our Lord” instead.  Everyone knew what he meant.

Those who denigrate Christianity so as not to “offend” someone are just another version of the anti-Christian atmosphere becoming more prevalent in this society. If these people were sincere, they would forbid all religions to curtail their prayers and invocations; they don’t.

Finally, denial of religious truth is a sign of the unreality which seems to be the hallmark of contemporary society. There is a term for those who think the unreal is real.

“Is he not the carpenter?”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/09 at 9:11 AM
Joseph loved Jesus as a father loves his son and cared for him, giving him the best he had.  Joseph took charge of this child as he had been commanded and turned Jesus into a workman, passing on his craft to him.  That is why their neighbors in Nazareth, when they spoke of Jesus, called him, roughly speaking, a ‘carpenter’ or ‘the son of a carpenter’.  Mt. 13, 55

Jesus must have resembled Joseph in his traits of character and ways of working and talking. His realism, his powers of observation, his way of sitting at table and breaking bread, his attraction for explaining his teaching in a concrete way by taking his examples from everyday things, reflect what Jesus’ childhood and youth were like and therefore his relationship with Joseph. What depths there are in this mystery! This Jesus, who is a man, who speaks with the accent of a particular region of Israel, who resembles a workman named Joseph, is indeed the Son of God. And who can teach God anything? Nevertheless, he is truly man and his life is a normal one: first a child, then a young man who helps Joseph in the workshop, and finally a mature man in the fullness of age: «Jesus advanced in wisdom and grace before God and men» (Lk 2,52).

At the human level Joseph was Jesus’ master. Day by day he surrounded him with tender affection and cared for him with joyful self-denial. Is this not a very good reason for thinking this man to be just (Mt 1,19): this saintly patriarch in whom the Old Testament faith reaches its climax as a master of the interior life?


“Mary is a Mother who will never abandon us”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/03/28 at 10:05 AM
You are not alone. Neither you nor I can ever find ourselves alone. And even less if we go to Jesus through Mary, for she is a Mother who will never abandon us. (The Forge, 249)

It is the moment to turn to your Blessed Mother in Heaven, so that she may take you into her arms and win for you a glance of mercy from her Son. And try at once to make some practical resolutions: put a stop once and for all, even though it hurts, to that little defect that holds you back, as God and you yourself know so well. Pride, sensuality and a lack of supernatural spirit will combine forces to suggest to you: ‘That? But what a small and insignificant little thing it is!’ Don’t play with the temptation. Instead, answer: ‘Yes, in this too I will surrender myself to the divine call.’ And you will be right, for love is shown especially in little things. Normally the sacrifices that Our Lord asks of us, even the most difficult ones, refer to tiny details, but they are as continuous and invaluable as the beating of our heart.

How many mothers have you known who have been the heroines of some epic or extraordinary event? Few, very few. Yet you and I know many mothers who are indeed heroic, truly heroic, who have never figured in anything spectacular, who will never hit the headlines, as they say. They lead lives of constant self‑denial, happy to curtail their own likes and preferences, their time, their opportunities for self‑expression or success, so that they can carpet their children’s lives with happiness. (Friends of God, 134)

“He will give you his strength”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/03/07 at 9:11 AM

When you find yourself worn out or fed up, go and confide in Our Lord, as that good friend of ours did, and say: “Jesus, see what you can do about it. Even before I begin to struggle, I am already tired.” He will give you his strength. (The Forge, 244)

You want to know on what our faithfulness is founded? I would say, in broad outline, that it is based on loving God, which makes us overcome all kinds of obstacles: selfishness, pride, tiredness, impatience|… A man in love tramples on his own self. He is aware that even when he is loving with all his soul, he isn’t yet loving enough. (The Forge, 532)

Jesus, who has encouraged this feeling of emptiness in us, comes out to meet us and says: “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink” [1]. He offers us his heart, so that we can find there both rest and strength. If we accept his invitation, we will see that his words are true. And our hunger and thirst will increase to the point that we desire God really to inhabit our soul and never to take his light and warmth away from us. (Christ is passing by, 170)

[1] John 7:37

“Saint Joseph, a teacher of the interior life”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/06/01 at 9:09 AM
Saint Joseph, father of Christ, is also your father and your lord. Ask him to help you. (The Way, 559)

Saint Joseph, our father and lord, is a teacher of the interior life. Place yourself under his patronage and you’ll feel the effectiveness of his power. (The Way, 560)

Speaking of Saint Joseph in the book of her life, Saint Teresa says: ‘Whoever fails to find a Master to teach him how to pray, should choose this glorious Saint, and he will not go astray.’–This advice comes from an experienced soul. Follow it. (The Way, 561)

Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch. (The Forge, 551)

There are many good reasons to honour Saint Joseph, and to learn from his life. He was a man of strong faith. He earned a living for his family ‑‑ Jesus and Mary ‑‑ with his own hard work. He guarded the purity of the Blessed Virgin, who was his Spouse. And he respected ‑ he loved! ‑ God’s freedom, when God made his choice: not only his choice of Our Lady the Virgin as his Mother, but also his choice of Saint Joseph as the Husband of Holy Mary. (The Forge, 552)

Saint Joseph, our Father and Lord: most chaste, most pure. You were found worthy to carry the Child Jesus in your arms, to wash him, to hug him. Teach us to get to know God, and to be pure, worthy of being other Christs. And help us to do and to teach, as Christ did. Help us to open up the divine paths of the earth, which are both hidden and bright; and help us to show them to mankind, telling our fellow men that their lives on earth can have an extraordinary and constant supernatural effectiveness. (The Forge, 553)

Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after our Mother. He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God. (The Forge, 554)

Ascension: Go and Come?

In 07 Observations on 2011/05/31 at 9:29 PM

Jesus told his disciples: “I go away, and I will come to you” (Mt.14:28) and they were joyful when He ascended.  Does this make sense?

Go and come?  Come again?  What?  We do say in the Creed: “He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father?”  So, He has gone, but where is He?

Ponder these thoughts:

The way of relating to Christ changed with his Resurrection.

Jesus is with the Father.  When He is with the Father, He sees us just as when He saw the apostles in the storm on the lake while He was praying on land.  He saw them and went to them.  So He sees us, and when we call him, He hears and comes.

When Jesus ascended He became present to all mankind, everywhere and for all times.  He is now present to all in a completely new and more powerful manner.  He has not disappeared; He is close by.

But, where is He?  He does not occupy space; He is at the right hand of the Father as God, with complete dominion over space.  When Jesus ascended, He entered into the the mystery of God, into another dimension.

St. Paul speaks of this dimension, which is beyond our present understanding. I could spend the whole day explaining the computer to the cat, and it would not understand.  The same with us now: we cannot understand the dimension of the Father.

So, it is with Faith that we accept the gift of grace from God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

We can gain great consolation from the words of St. Augustine: “God’s ears hear our prayers.”  Let us ask for an increase in faith, hope, charity and fidelity.

PS: It bothers me to hear someone say, “Well, it beats the alternative” with regard to accepting an illness.  Perhaps it is only with the eyes of faith that one can see the glass door behind the deathbed, the door on which Jesus knocks.  When we pass through it, we will find him on the other side.  May He say to each of us: “Good and faithful servant.”