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Posts Tagged ‘Judgment’

Four Last Things

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/09/11 at 12:00 AM

On the left side of our church we have this beautiful stained glass window of our Lord crowned with thorns. I love this window – in large part because it is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend of mine: Fr. Peter Conroy.

Fr. Peter and I met in Eastern Europe almost 20 years ago, and by providence we ended up in the same seminary a year later where we were classmates and close friends.

Fr. Peter was ordained in June of 1999 for the Diocese of Portland, Maine, and I was planning a trip to see him in November of that year, when he died quite unexpectedly in his sleep. Today is the anniversary of Fr. Peter’s death. He was 39 years old.

Fr. Peter was a priest on earth for only 5 months, but now he is a priest for all eternity.  When I look at this window, I think not only of my good friend, but I am also reminded of the brevity of life and of how none of us knows when we’ll have to face our Lord and His particular judgment of us.

Certainly that is the theme of our readings today. Both our first reading from the Book of Daniel and St. Mark’s Gospel speak in apocalyptic terms, reminding us of the great, final battle between good and evil and the subsequent Final Judgment.

As we come to the close of the liturgical year and prepare for Advent, Holy Mother Church leads us in the liturgy to meditate on death, judgment, Heaven and hell – what we traditionally call the “Four Last Things.”

And Holy Mother Church encourages us to meditate on the Four Last Things bearing in mind that we do not know the day or hour when we will be asked to give an accounting of our lives.

So while we trust whole-heartedly in God’s mercy and goodness, we also know that we need to prepare ourselves to see Him!

Our second reading today reminds us that our sins are forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but all the same we must be sorry for our sins, ask forgiveness, and make reparation for our sins if we hope to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice!

The prophet Daniel tells us in very clear language of the eternal punishment that awaits those who have refused to repent of their sins, but he also speaks so beautifully of the eternal reward that awaits the just!

He says that, “the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”

And so we must give very careful consideration to our death, knowing that once we pass through that great and mysterious veil separating the invisible from the visible, there will be no going back.

The judgment rendered in that first moment that we step into eternity will be final and irrevocable.

As a priest it has been my observation that most people die as they live. What I mean by that is that, if you live your life for God, seeking to love and serve Him; if you have a real relationship with our Lord, placing yourself in His presence daily through prayer, then you will – in all likelihood – know His presence at your death and pass away peacefully.

But if you’ve fought God and His commandments your whole life, if you’ve refused His mercy by refusing to repent of any of your sins, then chances are you won’t repent on your deathbed.

It is the sad lot of serious sinners that they tend to die in despair rather than in peace. Even when at death’s door they know they have sinned against God, so many refuse to trust in His mercy that our Lord gives so willingly and freely to any who ask for it.

The point is that we must begin preparing for our death now, even if we’re young.
Death is a mystery. For the soul who knows our Lord, who trusts and loves our Lord, death can be beautiful and joyful. But for those who have turned away from our Lord, death can by horrifying.

This is because the soul knows its eternal fate before it passes into eternity. Indeed, none of us will be surprised by the final judgment rendered upon us by our Lord. For in the depths of our hearts we know whether or not we are truly God’s friends.

So how do we ensure our names are written in the Book of Life that Daniel mentions? First of all, we must repent of all sin – especially our mortal sins. This means that not only must we be sorry for those actions, but we must try never to commit them again.

For Catholics it is imperative that we participate in the sacramental life of the Church, going to confession regularly and receiving Holy Communion regularly.

We must seek to follow all the tenets of the Church, and we must do our best to serve our Lord and show our love for Him by serving and loving others.

But most importantly, my brothers and sisters, we must pray daily. We must cultivate the silence necessary to truly listen to our Lord. For this is how we develop a lasting relationship with Him that will help carry us into eternity.

In prayer our Lord gives all the graces we need to fulfill our vocations and live holy lives. In prayer our Lord reveals His will to us so that we know what it is that He wants us to do.

But He also reveals His heart to us in prayer so that we come to love Him more than we love ourselves. And this is the key! For it is when we love God more than we love ourselves thatour contrition for our sins becomes perfect and we make great strides in holiness.

We are very blessed here at St. Ann’s to have Eucharistic Adoration 33 hours each week, for in Adoration we can enjoy the profound experience of seeing God in the Eucharist.

By faith we know that at every Mass our Lord humbly descends from Heaven to come to us under the appearance of bread and wine. Our Lord is really, truly present in the Eucharist, and in Eucharistic Adoration we can worship Him at length.

Truly, my brothers and sisters, spending time with our Eucharistic Lord is the best way to prepare for Heaven, for by being in His presence we get to see Him Whom we hope to adore for all eternity. If you don’t already come to Adoration, make it a point to do so.

Death comes for us all. But for Christians death should be a joyful and peaceful event. It can be just that: joyful and peaceful, if we are willing to live our lives in communion with our Lord.

May we all resolve to dedicate more time to our Lord in prayer. And by doing so, may we all be well prepared for that moment when we must render an account to God for our lives.

St. Joseph, Patron of Happy Death, pray for us.
18 November 2012

On the left side of our church we have this beautiful stained glass window of our Lord crowned with thorns. I love this window – in large part because it is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend of mine: Fr. Peter Conroy.
Fr. Peter and I met in Eastern Europe almost 20 years ago, and by providence we ended up in the same seminary a year later where we were classmates and close friends.
Fr. Peter was ordained in June of 1999 for the Diocese of Portland, Maine, and I was planning a trip to see him in November of that year, when he died quite unexpectedly in his sleep. Today is the anniversary of Fr. Peter’s death. He was 39 years old.
Fr. Peter was a priest on earth for only 5 months, but now he is a priest for all eternity.
When I look at this window, I think not only of my good friend, but I am also reminded of
the brevity of life and of how none of us knows when we’ll have to face our Lord and His

particular judgment of us.

Certainly that is the theme of our readings today. Both our first reading from the Book of
Daniel and St. Mark’s Gospel speak in apocalyptic terms, reminding us of the great, final

battle between good and evil and the subsequent Final Judgment.

As we come to the close of the liturgical year and prepare for Advent, Holy Mother Church
leads us in the liturgy to meditate on death, judgment, Heaven and hell – what we

traditionally call the “Four Last Things.”

And Holy Mother Church encourages us to meditate on the Four Last Things bearing in mind
that we do not know the day or hour when we will be asked to give an accounting of our

lives.

So while we trust whole-heartedly in God’s mercy and goodness, we also know that we need
to prepare ourselves to see Him!

Our second reading today reminds us that our sins are forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice on
the cross, but all the same we must be sorry for our sins, ask forgiveness, and make

reparation for our sins if we hope to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice!

The prophet Daniel tells us in very clear language of the eternal punishment that awaits those
who have refused to repent of their sins, but he also speaks so beautifully of the eternal

reward that awaits the just!

He says that, “the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who
lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”

And so we must give very careful consideration to our death, knowing that once we pass
through that great and mysterious veil separating the invisible from the visible, there will be

no going back.

The judgment rendered in that first moment that we step into eternity will be final and
irrevocable.

As a priest it has been my observation that most people die as they live. What I mean by that
is that, if you live your life for God, seeking to love and serve Him; if you have a real relationship with our Lord, placing yourself in His presence daily through prayer, then you will – in all likelihood – know His presence at your death and pass away peacefully.

But if you’ve fought God and His commandments your whole life, if you’ve refused His mercy by refusing to repent of any of your sins, then chances are you won’t repent on your deathbed.
It is the sad lot of serious sinners that they tend to die in despair rather than in peace. Even when at death’s door they know they have sinned against God, so many refuse to trust in His mercy that our Lord gives so willingly and freely to any who ask for it.
The point is that we must begin preparing for our death now, even if we’re young.
Death is a mystery. For the soul who knows our Lord, who trusts and loves our Lord, death
can be beautiful and joyful. But for those who have turned away from our Lord, death can by

horrifying.

This is because the soul knows its eternal fate before it passes into eternity. Indeed, none of
us will be surprised by the final judgment rendered upon us by our Lord. For in the depths of

our hearts we know whether or not we are truly God’s friends.

So how do we ensure our names are written in the Book of Life that Daniel mentions? First
of all, we must repent of all sin – especially our mortal sins. This means that not only must

we be sorry for those actions, but we must try never to commit them again.

For Catholics it is imperative that we participate in the sacramental life of the Church, going
to confession regularly and receiving Holy Communion regularly.

We must seek to follow all the tenets of the Church, and we must do our best to serve our
Lord and show our love for Him by serving and loving others.

But most importantly, my brothers and sisters, we must pray daily. We must cultivate the
silence necessary to truly listen to our Lord. For this is how we develop a lasting relationship

with Him that will help carry us into eternity.

In prayer our Lord gives all the graces we need to fulfill our vocations and live holy lives. In
prayer our Lord reveals His will to us so that we know what it is that He wants us to do.

But He also reveals His heart to us in prayer so that we come to love Him more than we love ourselves. And this is the key! For it is when we love God more than we love ourselves that
our contrition for our sins becomes perfect and we make great strides in holiness.

We are very blessed here at St. Ann’s to have Eucharistic Adoration 33 hours each week, for
in Adoration we can enjoy the profound experience of seeing God in the Eucharist.

By faith we know that at every Mass our Lord humbly descends from Heaven to come to us
under the appearance of bread and wine. Our Lord is really, truly present in the Eucharist,

and in Eucharistic Adoration we can worship Him at length.

Truly, my brothers and sisters, spending time with our Eucharistic Lord is the best way to
prepare for Heaven, for by being in His presence we get to see Him Whom we hope to adore

for all eternity. If you don’t already come to Adoration, make it a point to do so.

Death comes for us all. But for Christians death should be a joyful and peaceful event. It can be just that: joyful and peaceful, if we are willing to live our lives in communion with
our Lord.

May we all resolve to dedicate more time to our Lord in prayer. And by doing so, may we all
be well prepared for that moment when we must render an account to God for our lives.

St. Joseph, Patron of Happy Death, pray for us.
18 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

 

 

 

Being Objective About Being Subjective by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/06/19 at 12:00 AM

One of the effects of living in a society that substitutes opinion for truth is that subjective judgment becomes the norm for truth. “I believe it; therefore, it is true,” rather than,“ It is true; therefore, I believe it.” Such a person sees truth as a product of his own mind rather than something we discover in the world of reality. One who habitually thinks like this can eventually lose an awareness of the difference between thinking objectively and thinking subjectively.

There is certainly a place for subjective judgments. There are elements of reality that simply do not demand objective evaluation or appraisal. If we are in a restaurant, there is no best meal, or morally good/bad meal, or  true/false meal. Barring other factors, the choice is ours. Many of our everyday choices are subjective and quite legitimate. For example, clothes choice, activity choice, exercise, TV programs, etc.

When we view persons, things or events objectively, we see them as they really are regardless of our personal attitude, feelings etc. about  them. For example, Mozart was a great musician. That is established truth whether we agree or not. On the other hand, it is quite legitimate to say, “Mozart is a great musician, but I don’t like his music” because objective truth is still recognized.

Natural laws are fixed even if we don’t like them. The law of gravity is not subject to our veto. Anyone who would dispute or deny what is objectively true can be said to be literally unrealistic, and his judgments and inferences are suspect.

Negative subjective thinking arises when we view persons, things or events through the eyes of our own biases, likes/dislikes etc. “I don’t like Mozart’s music; therefore, he can’t be a very good musician.” This attitude denies objective reality as the basis of truth.  Any further discussion of Mozart is probably useless with such a person. Moreover, people who thrive on personal opinion see themselves as their own standard and impervious to criticism because they can always say, “Well, that’s my opinion,” meaning that’s the end of the discussion.

Opinion is only as valid as the amount of factual basis that supports it.

One who issues opinions based on not much more than personal bias can never be engaged in productive thinking or discussion with those who view things more objectively. Ultra liberals and  ultra conservatives are examples of this thinking.

The problem with substituting subjective opinion for truth is that when we act on a wrong or false opinion, the results can be negative and usually are. “I believe God is so good that He will save everyone eventually.” “Christ was merely a great teacher like Socrates or Aristotle, nothing more.” “All religions lead to heaven.” “Christ did not mention homosexuality in the Gospels.” “I’m a good person. I don’t need religion.”  “God will take care of me when I die.” What is happening here is that the speaker is substituting his/her wishful thinking for truth. None of these statements conform to Biblical reality, but they are commonly voiced.

We forget that a man/woman must worship God as He sees fit, not as he/she sees fit. Those who “think” like this are, in effect, demanding, or at least assuming, that God should be receptive to his/her opinion even though He has decreed otherwise. After all, truth arises in MY mind, and God should agree with me.

However, truth/reality does not change to accommodate our false ideas and errors.

In matters of religion and faith, it can be eternally dangerous not to seek and hold to objective truth. That was Eve’s mistake; she ignored the objective truth that God had set down and relied on her personal evaluation of the serpent and his offer. Our personal opinions simply do not count if they are at variance with the truth, be it natural or divine. There is no substitute for truth, especially divine truth given to us in the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Error is error even if everyone is in error and truth is truth even if no one believes it.

Christ Guides the Journey of Humanity

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/02/28 at 11:11 AM

The Holy Father   commented on Jesus’ words about the end of time, often considered one of the most difficult texts in the Gospel.

“This difficulty derives from both the content and the language”, explained Benedict XVI. “It describes a future that exceeds our own categories of comprehension, and Jesus therefore uses images and words from the Old Testament, but above all, He introduces a new centre, Himself, the mystery of His person, His death and His resurrection. … It is Jesus Himself who connects present and future; the ancient words of the prophets finally find a point of reference in the Nazarene Messiah: He is the true foundation which, amid the world’s disorder, remains firm and stable”.

“We know that in the Bible the Word of God is the origin of creation. All of creation, starting from the heavenly bodies – the sun, the moon and heavens – obey the Word of God, and exist inasmuch as they are ‘called into being’ by the Word. This creative power of the Divine Word is concentrated in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, and passes through His human words, the true ‘firmament’ that guides man’s thoughts and actions on earth. Therefore, Jesus does not describe the end of the world, and when He uses apocalyptic images, He does not act as a ‘seer’. On the contrary, He wishes to ensure that His disciples in every age remain unmoved by dates and predictions, and gives them instead a more profound understanding, showing them the right path to take, now and in the future, towards eternal life. Everything changes, the Lord reminds us, but the Word of God does not change, and before it each of us is responsible for our own actions. It is on this basis that we will be judged”.

“Natural disasters occur in our times too, as, unfortunately, do wars and violence. We too need a stable foundation for our lives and our hopes, especially in view of the relativism that surrounds us. May the Virgin Mary help us to find this stable centre in the person of Christ and His Word”, the Pope concluded.

VIS 121119

Dale Alquist – Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense

In 15 Audio on 2012/03/08 at 9:11 AM

 

G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense

Host – Dale Ahlquist

Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, discusses the life and work of the great 20th Century English writer, G.K. Chesterton. Chuck Chalberg appears as G.K. Chesterton in vignettes which features excerpts from Chesterton’s writings.

Please click on this link to access these programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=6140&T1=Ahlquist

1.Introduction to Chesterton

2.Wonder: G. K. Chesterton’s thoughts on the wonder of the Universe

3.The Riddles of God

4.The Signature of Man

5. Uneducating the Educated

6.Fancies and Fads

7.The “D” Word

8.Puritans and Pagans

9.The Art of Defending the Faith Part 1

10.The Art of Defending the Faith Part 2

11.Talking in Rhyme

12.Recovering the Lost Art of Common Sense

13.A Chesterton Reading Plan

Please click on this link to access these programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=6140&T1=Ahlquist

Being Objective About Being Subjective

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/08 at 6:07 PM

One of the effects of living in a society that substitutes opinion for truth is that subjective judgment becomes the norm for truth.“I believe it; therefore, it is true,” rather than,“ It is true; therefore, I believe it.” Such a person sees truth as a product of his own mind rather than something we discover in the world of reality. One who habitually thinks like this can eventually lose an awareness of the difference between thinking objectively and thinking subjectively.

There is certainly a place for subjective judgments. There are elements of reality that simply do not demand objective evaluation or appraisal. If we are in a restaurant, there is no best meal, or morally good/bad meal, or  true/false meal. Barring other factors, the choice is ours. Many of our everyday choices are subjective and quite legitimate. Ex. clothes choice, activity choice, exercise, TV programs, etc.

When we view persons, things or events objectively, we see them as they really are regardless of our personal attitude, feelings etc. about  them. Ex. Mozart was a great musician. That is established truth whether we agree or not. On the other hand, it is quite legitimate to say, “Mozart is a great musician, but I don’t like his music” because objective truth is still recognized.

Natural laws are fixed even if we don’t like them. The law of gravity is not subject to our veto. Anyone who would dispute or deny what is objectively true can be said to be literally unrealistic, and his judgments and inferences are suspect.

Negative subjective thinking arises when we view persons, things or events through the eyes of our own biases, likes/dislikes etc. “I don’t like Mozart’s music; therefore, he can’t be a very good musician.” This attitude denies objective reality the basis of truth.Any further discussion of Mozart is probably useless with such a person. Moreover, people who thrive on personal opinion see themselves as their own standard and impervious to criticism because they can always say, “Well, that’s my opinion,” meaning that’s the end of the discussion.

Opinion is only as valid as the amount of factual basis that supports it.

One who issues opinions based on not much more than personal bias can never be engaged in productive thinking or discussion with those who view things more objectively. Ultra liberals and  ultra conservatives are examples of this thinking.

The problem with substituting subjective opinion for truth is that when we act on a wrong or false opinion, the results can be negative and usually are. “I believe God is so good that He will save everyone eventually.” “Christ was merely a great teacher like Socrates or Aristotle, nothing more.” “All religions lead to heaven.” “Christ did not mention homosexuality in the Gospels.” “I’m a good person. I don’t need religion.”  “God will take care of me when I die.” What is happening here is that the speaker is substituting his/her wishful thinking for truth. None of these statements conform to Biblical reality, but they are commonly voiced.

We forget that a man/woman must worship God as He sees fit, not as he/she sees fit. Those who “think” like this are, in effect, demanding, or at least assuming, that God should be receptive to his/her opinion even though He has decreed otherwise. After all, truth arises in MY mind, and God should agree with me.

However, truth/reality does not change to accommodate our false ideas and errors.

In matters of religion and faith, it can be eternally dangerous not to seek and hold to objective truth. That was Eve’s mistake; she ignored the objective truth that God had set down and relied on her personal evaluation of the serpent and his offer. Our personal opinions simply do not count if they are at variance with the truth, be it natural or divine. There is no substitute for truth, especially divine truth given to us in the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Error is error even if everyone is in error and truth is truth even if no one believes it.