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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

“Blessed are the merciful…

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/09/23 at 12:00 AM

What is a merciful woman like? First of all, she is not like the morphine addict who slowly poisons herself, becoming completely unaware of the insidious and deadly effects of selfishness on the soul.

The merciful woman is one who is determined to help and support others in a kind and disinterested way. Recognizing that her own nature is flawed, and loving God in others requires her to begin over and over again, she prays for perseverance. Her loving heart is vigilant over the needs of others and on guard to protect those entrusted to her care as well as whomever God sends her way. She generously goes about doing good to others wherever she sees a need, be it spiritual or material, emotional or practical.

Above all, she is a forgiving person and not only disarms by her merciful ways those who have offended her, but does so in a manner that her forgiveness leads the offender to reconsider. The merciful woman knows that by nature it is easier for her to indulge her desires and plans rather than her duties which she at times looks at with anxiety and impatience. She is able to be merciful because she is very aware of this natural tendency to prefer her own plans rather than be self-giving, and thus she makes the effort to relinquish her plans and help those who have erred. In particular, she is conscious that everything she does has repercussions, and no action is without its impact on those which whom she deals.

In particular, she is not afraid to use opportunities that arise to gently correct family members and friends when they need to be alerted to the dangers of the ways and ideas that are contrary to what is true and right. Seek to understand others even when they seem to be unaccepting. By being a friend can cause other to open their hearts so be prepared to help them.

Show mercy and kindness to those who are sad, dejected, ill, or lonely. Comfort the grieving and the sorrowing. Never act indifferently to a suffering person; rather spend time with those who need physical or spiritual consolation. Never seek repayment or praise; that your are doing it for God in your neighbor is a rich enough reward.

We will only have mercy in our hearts when we offer mercy, when we forgive, our enemies from the example and with the help of Christ. Mercy is not simply a matter of giving alms to the poor, but also of being understanding of other people’s defects, overlooking them, helping them not only to cope with them but to love them despite whatever defects they may have. Mercy suffers and rejoices with others.

Your love of God can be measured by the way you treat those who need help. Follow Jesus’ example who was always motivated by mercy and always acted out of mercy. Lead others to turn to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother for solace, peace, and mercy.

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Love is…

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/09/09 at 12:00 AM

St. Gregory the Great comment in his work, Moralia 10.7-8 re St. Paul’s I Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, because it bears serenely the injury it suffers.

It is kind, because it repays evil with good.

It is not jealous, because it covets nothing in this world: it does not know what it is to envy worldly prosperity.

It is not boastful, because it yearns only for spiritual reward, and it is not carried away by external things.

It is not arrogant, because it thrives only on the love of God and neighbor and avoids whatever would take it from the path of righteousness.

It is not coveousts, because although it ardently pursues its own spiritual goals, it does not desire the goods of others.

It does not insist on its own way, because it scorns as as lien those things it temporarily possess here below: it seeks to hold on only to what is enduring.

It is not irritable and even though injuries seek to provoke it, it does not let itself have any desire for vengeance, for no matter how difficult a time it may have in this life, it hopes for greater rewards in the next.

It is not resentful, because it has invested its thought in the love of purity, and having rooted out all hatred, it is incapable of harboring in its heart any type of aversion.

It does not rejoice at wrong, because it feels affection for others and does not rejoice in seeing the ruin of its enemies.

It rejoices in the right, because by loving other as it loves itself, it is pleased to see goodness in them as if it were indeed something to its own personal advantage.

“Never give way to fear or routine”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/06/24 at 12:00 AM
You are going through a critical stage. You feel a certain vague fear and find it difficult to adapt your plan of life. Your work seems to weigh you down, since twenty-four hours are not enough to do everything you ought to each day. Have you tried following the Apostle’s advice: “let all things be done decently and according to order”? That means, in the presence of God, with Him, through Him, and only for Him. (Furrow, 512)

How shall I manage, you seem to ask, to act always in a spirit that leads me to finish all my professional work perfectly? The answer comes not from me, but from St Paul: ‘Work courageously, be strong. And let everything you do be done in a spirit of charity’ [1]. Do everything for Love’s sake and do it freely. Never give way to fear or routine. Serve God Our Father.

Having put them very much to the test, I am very fond of repeating these artless but very expressive verses:

My life consists in loving,
And if with loving I’m familiar,
‘Tis because I’ve sorrowed much;
For there’s no finer lover,
Than one who’s suffered much.*

Go about your professional duties for Love’s sake. Do everything for the sake of Love and (precisely because you are in love, even though you may taste the bitterness of misunderstanding, of injustice, of ingratitude and even of failure in men’s eyes) you will see the result in the wonders that your work produces — rich, abundant fruit, the promise of eternity!

It happens, however, that some people (who are good, or should we rather say ‘goodish’) pay lip service to the beautiful ideal of spreading our faith, but in practice they make do with a superficial and careless professional output. They seem scatterbrained. If we happen to come across such Christians, we should do our best to help them, affectionately but uncompromisingly, having recourse where necessary to the gospel remedy of fraternal correction: ‘Brethren, if a man is found guilty of some fault, you who are spiritually minded ought to show a spirit of gentleness in correcting him. Have an eye upon thyself, lest thou too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and so you will be fulfilling the law of Christ.’ (Friends of God, 68-69)

[1] 1 Cor 16:13‑14

Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/22 at 12:00 AM

I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads, grandfathers, and god fathers.

I had the good fortune to have a dad that is what you would hope for. He showed me how to be a man of faith, he showed me how to be a good husband, and how to be a good father to my children.

As I was thinking about my dad I thought back to the childhood that he made possible. When I was in grade school I grew up next door to David Spako. He was the biggest kid in school, the fastest, the strongest, and the top student.

Living next to David had a lot of advantages. In sports I was often on David’s team. In football I knew that if I could get a decent block David would run around everyone or over them. In our neighborhood we played a lot of two on two basketball. I would throw the ball to David and he would usually score and we often won.

Playing sports on David’s team gave me a lot of confidence. Because of what he could do I knew that if I did what I could do there was a good chance that we could accomplish what we hoped for.

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to have confidence with a good team mate. Today we get to see who wants to be our team mate and how confident we can be.

Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the Holy Trinity who is the best team mate we can have and wants to be on our team. So who is this team mate? The Trinity is how we see one God in three persons, the three persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at this closer.  God is love.

This seems like a simple statement but it is an amazing statement. This isn’t saying that God is loving like we might say he is merciful. The statement God is love is not describing traits of God but saying what His very nature is. God is love.

Let’s talk about the Trinity and how it affects us as believers. When we talk about the Trinity our language often is inadequate. That is why you’ll hear that the Trinity is a mystery and it is but that doesn’t mean that we can’t gain an understanding of the Trinity.

One God in three persons. That is a difficult concept for us to get our thoughts around but we can see that it had to be this way. Remember that God is love. For love to exist there has to be a relationship. God created all things. Before anything was created God existed and God is love. Who did God love in the beginning before anything was created? If God is love and he always existed in that way there had to be a relationship for love to flow to and from persons.

The Trinity is that community of persons where God as love existed in the beginning and still exists today. We can see that it was so from the beginning. In the story of creation in the beginning of the book of Genesis we read where God was creating all things. He created the heavens and the earth, the light, the sky and the seas, the plants on the earth and all kinds of living creatures.

Finally God was going to create man. The words of God in scripture revealed what man could not know. The scripture says in verse 26 “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”.

Notice God uses the plural words, “let us”, “our image”, and “our likeness”. Who is the us? God was more than one person from the very beginning. It had to be because  “God is love”.

If the Trinity is one God and three persons what does that mean and how can it show us how we can be believers.

The Trinity is three Persons who are each completely and wholly God, in an intimate dance loving completely, loving unconditionally, and supporting others.  God is love.

This is who God is and who he has always been. Three Persons who are each completely and wholly God recklessly giving of themself.

How can having God as the best teammate ever be a reality in my life so that I can be confident as a believer. I’d like to share my own example to show that we can be confident because God and any of us is an overwhelming majority.

For most of my life I’ve worked hard to stay out of prison and until recently I was successful. A few years ago I was asked to minister to men in prison. With my lifelong aversion to being in prison this did not seem like something I wanted or would be good at. What could I offer to men whose lives were so different from my own?

Yet I kept thinking that I was supposed to do this. The idea of God as my teammate really did give me the confidence that if I did my part we could be successful but he would have to do the heavy lifting. So I signed up with a measure of confidence but I was counting on God.

The first time I went into the prison was a wakeup call. You stand before the iron gates with officers around with guns that I assume were loaded and were not in holsters but looked ready for use

Then I walked in and heard the loud clank of the gates and it is a strange feeling as I am now locked in also. We go through another gate and the same sound and I realize that I am further in. This isn’t an idea anymore it is reality.

I walked into a room with about 30 prisoners in their brown uniforms. You know what I saw? Men who need a savior just like me. These men made mistakes but under different circumstances it could’ve been me. I saw men who wanted God in their lives. When everything is taken away from them they know that true joy and freedom come from love and God is the source of true love.

These men wanted to know about the ways of God. They wanted to know him love him and serve him. I wish that you could see the hunger they have for the sacraments which they might have access to once a month. We prayed, we received communion, we prayed the rosary, we read the scriptures, and we shared our faith.

I met men who helped me to see that faith is what really sets us free and brings joy and hope. Allowing God in my life to do the heavy lifting as my teammate allowed me a holy experience that I would not have been confident enough to tackle on my own. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an even better teammate than David Spako.

So what is our takeaway from all of this? What can we keep from today and use it this week as we leave this Mass and strive to know, love, and serve God?

Remember the words from Genesis. “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”. Yes, we were created to be in the image and likeness of God.

The image of God is in relationship loving totally, loving unconditionally, and supporting others. Brothers and Sisters this is what we are to imitate. This is what we were created for. This week let’s keep this and mind and ask ourselves are we acting in the image of God? Am I loving totally, am I loving unconditionally, am I supporting others?

God is love. We were created to be like him. Let us bring that idea back into our homes, our workplace, and in our neighborhoods. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be with you.

 

Deacon Jack Staub

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Charlotte, NC

God Is With Us

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM

Do you realize that there is someone who loves you so much that He was willing to die for you? Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, who by taking on a human nature, He, the only-begotten Son of God, entered our human condition in order to redeem it. Jesus was not pretending to be God; He is God. To rectify our fallen nature, He endured Gethsemane and Golgotha so that we could understand His love for us, and, that as He rose from the dead, so we can rise with Him.In His Incarnation, Life, Passion and Resurrection, Jesus Christ was love giving Himself to us for us and accepting us for Himself because He first loved us. Commit yourself to Him in gratitude. Seek to imitate Him. He models every virtue for you. Turn your mind, heart, will, and soul over to Him, asking Him to lead you with His promised grace.

In joy as in sorrow, God is always there for us. As we focus on Our Lord, His Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection, we identify with Him upon whom we gaze. Christ gave Himself to man completely. He began to do so not only with His Incarnation and life, but specifically with His passion and death.Whenever you believe you are being sorely tried, look at the face of the suffering Christ and He will give you the grace to cope, the courage to hang on and to endure your ordeal.Look at the Crucified for mercy, salvation, understanding and hope. Christ Crucified loves you and you are looking at the proof. The sufferings Christ endured on the Cross for us provide us with an understanding that by uniting our sufferings to His, we can grow spiritually. Look to Him who is calling you to follow Him.

We sometimes wonder why God sent His Son to die. Jesus took on our human nature so that we could regain the lost divine image. Jesus gave us so much out of love, yet He asks only that we return His love by doing the will of His/our Father. This we can do by bearing our trials and tribulations as well as by loving our neighbor for His sake. In taking upon Himself our human nature, Jesus Christ experienced every possible trial man undergoes. The sinless one, having endured our trials, sympathizes with our struggles, knowing our weaknesses. After having paid our debt, and while no longer on earth, He is in heaven where He mercifully intercede for us.

The irrevocable act of love is the Cross of Christ. Sinless, He willingly died for sinners. He died for us, and we are in His debt.It was on the Cross that Christ sacrificed Himself that you might live in Him.The life you live as a Christian must be a life of faith in the Son of God who loves you as no one else can. Be grateful for His gift of perfect love and demonstrate it by seeking Him with all you heart and living as He wishes you to live.

One of the greatest gifts you can offer God is self-donation. Whatever sacrifices self-donation requires will be compensated by the reality of knowing that what is most important to you is serving God.Self-d0nation to God can be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere in every walk of life. The essence of self-donation is trust in God. We self-donate when we decide to act in a Christlike way by changing our life to conform to His values and teachings.

We long to see God’s face. Look at the Crucified for He and the Father are one.Look at Him with the eyes of your heart and see yourself in them as the apple of His eye. Recognize His love for you and how He has created you in His image and endowed you with the dignity of a human person whom He has adopted as His own at cost of His only begotten Son.Uniting our sufferings with His redemptive ordeal, gives meaning and purpose to our trials. It is God who permits such events in our lives for the sole purpose that we might seek Him with love and become the persons we should be.

“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)

“Go with confidence to Mary”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/05/15 at 12:00 AM
When you see yourself with a dry heart, without knowing what to say, go with confidence to the Virgin Mary. Say to her, “My Mother Immaculate, intercede for me.” If you invoke her with faith, she will make you taste in the midst of your dryness the proximity of God. (Furrow, 695)

Let us also contemplate his blessed Mother, who is our Mother too. We find her on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, praying. This is nothing new for Mary. She has always acted like this, as she fulfilled her duties and looked after her home. As she went about the things of this earth she kept her attention on God. Christ, who is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo, wanted us also to have the example of his Mother, the most perfect of creatures, she who is full of grace, to strengthen our desire to lift our eyes up to the love of God at every moment. Remember the scene at the Annunciation? The Archangel comes down bearing a divine message — the announcement that Mary is to be the Mother of God — and he finds her withdrawn in prayer. When Gabriel greets her, she is totally absorbed in God. ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.’ A few days later she breaks out into the joy of the Magnificat, a Marian hymn which the Holy Spirit has transmitted to us through the loving faithfulness of St Luke. It reveals Mary’s constant and intimate conversation with God.

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour, and on the events that they had taken part in. She must have marveled at all the great things that God, in his boundless mercy, had done for his people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards his people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.’ The early Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)

“You will be able to support one another”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/02/27 at 12:00 AM
When you love other people and you spread that affection – Christ’s kindly, gentle charity – all around you, you will be able to support one another, and if someone is about to stumble he will feel that is being supported, and also encouraged, to be faithful to God through this fraternal strength. (The Forge, 148)

When the fullness of time comes, no philosophical genius, no Plato or Socrates appears to fulfill the mission of redemption. Nor does a powerful conqueror, another Alexander, take over the earth. Instead a child is born in Bethlehem. He it is who is to redeem the world. But before he speaks he loves with deeds. It is no magic formula he brings, because he knows that the salvation he offers must pass through human hearts. What does he first do? He laughs and cries and sleeps defenseless, as a baby, though he is God incarnate. And he does this so that we may fall in love with him, so that we may learn to take him in our arms.

We realize once again that this is what Christianity is all about. If a Christian does not love with deeds, he has failed as a Christian, besides failing as a person. You cannot think of others as if they were digits, or rungs on a ladder on which you can rise, or a multitude to be harangued or humiliated, praised or despised, according to circumstances. Be mindful of what others are — and first of all those who are at your side: children of God, with all the dignity that marvelous title entails.

We have to behave as God’s children toward all God’s sons and daughters. Our love has to be a dedicated love, practiced every day and made up of a thousand little details of understanding, hidden sacrifice and unnoticed self‑giving. This is the “aroma of Christ” that made those who lived among our first brothers in the faith exclaim: See how they love one another! (Christ is passing by, 36)

“Practice charity without setting any limits”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/11/28 at 12:00 AM
Love and practice charity without setting any limits or discriminating between people, for it is the virtue which marks us out as disciples of the Master. Nevertheless, this charity cannot lead you to dampen your faith — for it would then cease to be a virtue. Nor should it blur the clear outlines that define the faith, nor soften it to the point of changing it, as some people try to do, into something amorphous and lacking the strength and power of God. (The Forge, 456)

It was the Lord who took the initiative by coming out to meet us. He gave us this example so that we might join him in serving others, generously placing our hearts on the ground, as I am fond of saying, so that others may tread softly and find their struggle more pleasant. This is how we should behave because we have been made children of the same Father, that Father who did not hesitate to give us his dearly beloved Son.

Charity is not something we ourselves build up. It invades us along with God’s grace, ‘because he has loved us first’. We would do well to fill, to saturate ourselves with this most beautiful truth: ‘If we are able to love God, it is because we have been loved by God.’ You and I are able to lavish affection upon those around us, because we have been born to the Faith, through the Father’s love for us. Ask God boldly for this treasure, for the supernatural virtue of charity, so that you may practice it even in the smallest details.

Too often we Christians have not known how to correspond to this gift. At times we have debased it, as if it could be confined to a soulless and cold almsgiving; or we have reduced it to more or less stereotyped good works. This distortion of charity was well expressed once by a sick woman when she commented with sad resignation, ‘Yes, they treat me with “charity” here, but my mother used to look after me with affection.’ A love that springs from the Heart of Christ could never countenance such distinctions. (Friends of God, 228-229)

“Carry each other’s troubles”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/09/05 at 12:00 AM
Our Lord says: ‘I give you a new commandment: Love one another. By this love everyone will know that you are my disciples’. And Saint Paul: ‘Carry each other’s troubles and you fulfill the law of Christ’. I have nothing to add. (The Way, 385)

If we look about us we could find reasons for believing that charity is a phantom virtue. But if we then consider things from a supernatural point of view, we can also see what is the root cause of this sterility: the absence of a continuous and intense, person‑to‑person relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ, and an ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul, whose very first fruit is precisely charity.

In commenting on St Paul’s advice, ‘bear one another’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ’, one of the Fathers of the Church says, ‘By loving Christ we can easily bear the weaknesses of others, including those people whom we do not love as yet because they are lacking in good works.’

This is the direction taken by the path that makes us grow in charity. We would be mistaken were we to believe that we must first engage in humanitarian activities and social works, leaving the love for God to one side. ‘Let us not neglect Christ out of concern for our neighbor’s illness, for we ought to love the sick for the sake of Christ.’

Turn your gaze constantly to Jesus who, without ceasing to be God, humbled himself and took the nature of a slave, in order to serve us. Only by following in his direction will we find ideals that are worthwhile. Love seeks union, identification with the beloved. United to Christ, we will be drawn to imitate his life of dedication, his unlimited love and his sacrifice unto death. Christ brings us face to face with the ultimate choice: either we spend our life in selfish isolation, or we devote ourselves and all our energies to the service of others. (Friends of God, 236)