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Posts Tagged ‘Soul’

“We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/04/10 at 12:00 AM
If you fix your sight on God and thus know how to keep calm in the face of worries; if you can forget petty things, jealousies and envies, you will save a lot of energy, which you need if you are to work effectively in the service of men. (Furrow, 856)

The man who knows how to be strong will not be in a hurry to receive the reward of his virtue. He is patient. Indeed it is fortitude that teaches us to appreciate the human and divine virtue of patience. ‘“By your patience you will gain possession of your souls.” (Luke 21:19) The possession of the soul is attributed to patience, which in effect is the root and guardian of all the virtues. We secure possession of our souls through patience, for, by learning to have dominion over ourselves, we begin to possess that which we are.’ And it is this very patience that moves us to be understanding with others, for we are convinced that souls, like good wine, improve with time.

We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed, but not with the composure of the man who buys his own tranquility at the expense of ignoring his brothers or neglecting the great task (which falls to us all) of tirelessly spreading good throughout the world. We can keep calm because there is always forgiveness and because there is a solution for everything, except death; and for the children of God, death is life. We must try to keep our peace, even if only so as to act intelligently, since the man who remains calm is able to think, to study the pros and cons, to examine judiciously the outcome of the actions he is about to undertake. He then plays his part calmly and decisively. (Friends of God, 78-79)

“Here I am, for you have called me”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/09/26 at 12:00 AM

The day of salvation, of eternity, has come for us. Once again the call of the Divine Shepherd can be heard, those affectionate words: Vocavi te nomine tuo – I have called you by your name. Just like our mother, he calls us by our name, by the name we’re fondly called at home, by our nickname. There, in the depths of our soul, he calls us and we just have to answer: Ecce ego quia vocasti me here I am, for you have called me, and this time I’m determined not to let time flow by like water over the pebbly bed of a stream, leaving no trace behind. (The Forge, 7)

Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell him your story. I don’t want to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn’t recover it. Your complacency wasn’t quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him.

I don’t like to speak of someone being singled out to be part of a privileged elect. But it is Christ who speaks, who chooses. It is the language of holy Scripture: “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,” St Paul tells us [1]. I know that such thoughts don’t fill you with pride nor lead you to think yourself better than other men. That choice, the root of our vocation, should be the basis of our humility. Do we build monuments to an artist’s paintbrush? Granted the brush had a part in creating masterpieces, but we give credit only to the painter. We Christians are nothing more than instruments in the hands of the creator of the world, of the redeemer of all men. (Christ is passing by, 1)

[1] Eph 1:4:

Be Open to God’s Surprises

In Uncategorized on 2014/07/04 at 12:00 AM

In his homily, Francis noted that “we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the Risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.”

“Newness,” he said, “always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme, and plan our lives … This is also the case when it comes to God. … It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives … We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, He brings newness—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of newness for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom … The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to ‘God’s surprises’? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.”

“The Holy Spirit,” the pontiff continued, “would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. … Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality, and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. … Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community, and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond the Church’s teaching and community … and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ.”

In his last point, the Pope observed that “early theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; He impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the goodness of the Gospel … The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. … It is the Paraclete, the ‘Comforter’, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and urges us toward the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ.”

VIS 130520

The Unpreached Sermon: “a layman thinking like a priest”. Part II

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/01/05 at 9:11 AM

Let me tell you what he and she has done to themselves:

1. You live in a world of make-belief.  God has commanded us to worship Him (third commandment), but you have decided that, for you, the command is optional.  We are are nothing compared to God and we simply do not have a choice or right to reject a divine command.  The Church has made it relatively easy to obey this directive by mandating Sunday Mass (two hours at most out of one hundred and sixty eight) yet, in your crass stupidity you have decided that you will worship Supreme Being according to your own whim.  That is unrealistic!

2. This makes you the unwisest of people.  The divinely-set goal for humans is to be united with God for all eternity.  You, by amassing mortal sin after mortal sin, have shown a total lack of wisdom.  (A wise person knows what is important and valuable and acts on it appropriately.)  At this rate, no matter what worldly success you achieve, you will be a total failure in spiritual matters and that is what really counts against you.  A truly wise person knows this.

3.  Your salvation (goal) is at risk every second of your life.  You don’t know when you will die, and if you die loaded with serious sin, you will have objectively chosen hell for yourself.  Death is not the exclusive activity of the elderly; many, many younger people die through sickness, accident, life-style and crime.  If you are young it is true that you will likely be alive a year from now, BUT, it is not guaranteed, and that’s the problem.  It is rather dumb to risk hell for whatever activity you have decided is more important than Sunday Mass.  “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul.”  Sometimes people will take risks for noble reasons such as to save lives, but to risk your soul for mere two hours a week is neither realistic nor wise.

4.  You have cut yourself off from God.  (If you have unconfessed mortal sin today, do not come up for Holy Communion because that would be a sacrilege which is a worse sin than skipping Mass.)  The only grace you can legitimately pray for is the grace of repentance through Confession.  While you live, Christ can forgive a million mortal sins, if repentant.  After death, there is no mercy available, only judgment.  The game is over and you have either won or lost.

5. Your spiritual life has probably been further ruined because failure to attend Mass regularly is often the result of other habitual sins that make Mass attendance seem useless.  Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say that no one left the Church because he sat down and examined its doctrine and found them to be false.  It can’t be done.  The underlying reason, he said, was habits of serious sin such as marital infidelity, alcoholism, drugs, pornography, etc…

If you are in this very negative situation, my words are spoken in persona Christ.  He may be offering you that grace of repentance because He knows you do not have long to live.  Or you may actually feel a terrible burden combined with fear of the future.  If Christ is speaking and calling you today, don’t be dumb and ignore it because the Bible tells us that He will loose patience with stubborn sinner who consistently ignore His grace and they become spiritually hard-hearted.

Christmas is a great day for family and feast but I will be here after Mass today to hear Confessions and forgive you in the name of Christ for as long as anyone wishes to come.   This would be your greatest Christmas gift.

The Unpreached Sermon: “a layman thinking like a priest”. Part I

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/01/05 at 12:00 AM

My dear friends in Christ,

Christmas is spiritual joy because it is the beginning of our redemption. God the Son has taken on a human form so as to represent humanity in the process of atonement. Yet, because He remains God, His future sacrifice on Good Friday will be acceptable to God the Father.  Without Christmas and Good Friday, no one, regardless of how well he has lived on earth, could ever get into heaven.  Without Christ original sin would condemn us all to hell.  Something to be grateful for to say the least.

The next part of this sermon some of you might not like.  Let me preface it by stating that when a man is ordained a priest (assuming the correct understanding, motives and intentions) he become an alter Christus (another Christ).  In his spiritual ministry he acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).  Thus in every Mass and Sacrament, it is Christ Himself in operation through His duly ordained priest.  Now I am speaking in persona Christi because I am responsible for the spiritual welfare of all of you.

Christmas is also a time of sadness. When I look out and see the extra crowd of people  at the Mass, I know that many of you are either Christmas-Easter “Catholics” or you are intermittent and casual Mass attenders.

(In all my years of attending Christmas and Easter Masses, I have never heard the slightest reference to the lapsed Catholics sitting right in front of the priest.  I wonder if Christ Himself would have ignored the loss sheep.)

Spiritual Nourishment From Msgr. Romano Guardini

In 07 Observations on 2012/06/30 at 9:11 AM

“The more intensely He directs his creative power upon me, the more real I become. The more He gives me of his love, the fuller myself-realization in that love.  Christ is God in the pure, full sense of the word; the Logos through whom all things were created, myself included.  Not until he inhabits me, do I become the being God intended me to be.”

“Just as your soul is the shaper of your body, He is the shaper of your soul and body, the entity, you.”

“What makes a Christian Christian in everything he says and does is the living Christ in him; different in every individual and in every phase of that individual’s life.”

“He lives and grows in each of us, that our faith may increase, our love may be strengthened, our Christianity constantly deepened.”

“For redemption and rebirth do not mean that an individual, as if by a stroke of magic, is renewed overnight, but that the beginning of his renewal is established.  The wickedness is still there, but the new beginning as well.  The Christian is a battlefield on which the struggle constantly rages between the ‘old man,’ rooted in his rebellious self, and ‘the new man,’ born of Christ.”

“To be a follower of Christ does not mean to imitate him, literally, but to express him through the medium of one’s own life.”

“The task of the Christian consists in transposing Christ into the stuff of his own daily existence.”

Guardini, Romano Regnery pp.529-531

Your Triple-Eye

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/07/03 at 8:19 AM

St. Bonaventure posited that we were meant to have triple vision. Here follow his thoughts as distilled from his writings by Sr. Ilia Delio, OFM:

“In paradise the human person was endowed with a ‘triple’ eye: the eye of the flesh, of reason and of contemplation. . . . [The] eye of flesh, to see things outside creation; the eye  of reason, to see the things within; the eye of contemplation, to see things above.

. . . Every aspect of creation is like a reflecting pool of the divine…..Sin distorted the triple eye of the human person . . . strange blindness . . . blinded . . . unless grace with justice come . . . through Jesus Christ. It is Christ alone who restores the true light of knowledge so that the beauty of creation may be seen in proper relation to God and, indeed, may lead us to God.

Since the created world is finite, one must enter within the human soul created in the image of God which has the capacity for the infinite God. It is here that one finds a ground of loving relationship with God. . . . God dwells deep within the center of the soul. The degree to which one enters into this relationship depends on how open one is to knowing God and to knowing oneself in God.

Bonaventure believed that there is a light within the human soul that enables one to know things with certainty: it is a divine light which illuminates the truth of things and allows one to judge the certitude of things . . . a light which shines within the soul and penetrates one’ whole being . . . because of this light humans have knowledge of things they have never experienced.

Bonaventure held that within the human soul are eternal reasons that enable the human person to know the truth of God, and the truth of the things of God.  It is an inner light “from above: that shines on the human soul and illumines it. . . . It is the light of truth that regulates and motivates human reason and enable one to know things as true and certain.

Through transformation in Christ the triple eye of the human person is restored. One sees the truth of all reality, and in seeing rightly one loves rightly . . . deeper love of God, neighbor . . .”

Delio, Ilia SIMPLY BONAVENTURE New City Press.

http://www.newcitypress.com/simply-bonaventure.html

Can You Answer?

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/04/09 at 2:07 PM

1.What are some of the cultural stumbling stones that may keep us from effective union

with God?

2.Why does the Bible say that only a remnant will be saved? What happens to others?

3.What does it mean to set up our own righteousness a opposed to God’s?

4. What if a  person says that he/she is sincere?

5. How do we really know that the Word is  “in our life and in our heart”?

6. How does fulfilled prophecy show that “God is in control”?

7.Why does obedience serve as the ultimate test of a true relationship to God?

8. Why is the sin of pride compared to blindness?