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Posts Tagged ‘Trinity’

Taking Chances

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/10/03 at 12:00 AM

Catholic theology teaches that God consists of three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All are co-eternal, all equal, and all distinct.  Because, in His very nature, God is perfect, the interrelationship between the Persons is also perfect, meaning that the Trinity lacks nothing and needs nothing else to enhance it in any way.

Yet, God did create the world and the human race simply because He wanted to; there was no need to do so whatsoever.  He wanted to give humans the opportunity to participate to some degree in the divine life, not become divine, which is impossible for humans, but to enjoy a union with God that will never end.

In one sense, this was a pure gift.  God needs no human person or any number of them to make Him more complete.  (If He did need humans, He would be lacking something. And, that means He would not be perfect.)  The world could vanish tomorrow, and He would be none the worse for it.

This union with God is a potential gift, not an absolute gift.  There is a price of admission.  Humans are creatures of God and must honor and obey their Creator in order to attain this eternal union.  Those who do this satisfactorily are what is often referred to as “saved,” or as saints.  Those who fail to follow God’s commands will be eternally deprived of ever sharing divine life.  That is their own choice.

Mankind is morally weak.  He likes what we call “sin.”  (Modern man has deleted the traditional list of sins (i.e. the Ten Commandments), so that for him, the only real sins are racism, sexism, environmental abuse, and being intolerant of  wrong ideas.  Virtue is not easy to attain, and we are constantly “falling off the wagon.”  To reach the eternal reward is a lifetime chore.  God knows that we are weak and too often fall back in sin.  We don’t want to, but we do.  Any sin is an offense against God who is all-holy, but some sins are worse than others, for example, murder (including abortion), adultery,  skipping Sunday Mass for insufficient or no reason, blasphemy, etc.  The only remedy for serious (i.e. mortal) sin for Catholics is to seek divine mercy through Confession/Reconciliation in the Catholic Church.  This mercy is available to every sinner regardless of the number and magnitude of his/her sins.

Divine mercy is not an abstract idea; it is very real. If you have ever committed a mortal sin and confessed it, you experienced divine mercy.  If you lived in a state of on-going serious sin for a long time, but eventually went to Confession, you, too, have experienced divine mercy.  If you have lived in a state of serious sin for a long time, and you are still alive, you are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?   The millions of lapsed Catholics are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?

Divine mercy has its limits.  Divine mercy to any serious sinner is a gift.  It is not required of God.  This mercy must be sought by the sinner; it is not automatic. If you insist on living a sinful lifestyle, God will not interfere; it is your choice.  If you ignore divine mercy, you will not receive it. Perhaps worst of all, divine mercy is not available after death.  Then, there will only by judgment.  There is no faith or repentance after death; no faith because you will know with certainty what you once had to accept by faith; there is no repentance because you are now existing in eternity which has no past, present, or future.  Thus, you cannot see your error and claim sorrow for sin….too late.  The die is cast!  The sinner and saint have made their eternal choices, and God ratifies THEM.  He sends no one to Hell; we send ourselves there.  The  time to seek divine mercy is now.

There is a movement developing in Catholic and Protestant circles that suggests Hell may not be eternal, that God is so good that He could not bear to leave people in Hell, and eventually everyone will get to Heaven.  By this thinking, St. Francis of Assisi and Adolph Hitler would both be in Heaven eventually.  Certainly a comforting thought for the sinner, but totally false.  Why would God demand morality in this life if it didn’t really matter if you obeyed Him or not?  Why should people strive for a virtuous life while history’s egregious villains end up in divine favor?  Besides, Christ Himself referred more to Hell than Heaven in the Gospels because He knew it was really possible to go there. And, He never implied it was a temporary place.

I have heard too many sermons in which God’s “love” is extolled beyond reason.  It is usually put forth as a romantic, sentimental, unconditional, and totally undemanding “love.”  No matter how sinful we are, the most we hear from God is, “Tsk, tsk.” But, true love, in any relationship, is a commitment to another person.  Basically, love is an act of the will.  If the Bible says anything about divine love, it says over and over that love toward God is shown only by our obedience to divine law. (“If you love me, keep  my commandments.”)

I met a man who said that he was not at all worried about sin, damnation, and Hell because he didn’t believe in them.  When I was child, I was a firm and sincere devotee of Santa Claus, but my belief did not change reality; there was no Santa Cause.  This man’s beliefs, or lack of them, will not change reality. Sin, damnation and Hell are realities, and their existence is not dependent upon his or anyone’s belief or lack of belief.  Reality is truth, and it exists outside of us; we do not decide what it is.

Divine mercy is real, and if you need it (we all do), it is available for the asking.  After we die, there will be a realization in the sinner’s mind that s/he lived the wrong life, but it will be too late to do anything about.  Lord, have mercy on us NOW.

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Credo: We Believe

In 15 Audio on 2014/05/30 at 12:00 AM

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

An explanation of what we mean when we say the Creed.


Credo: We Believe Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. We Believe
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo1.mp3
2. We Believe in One God, Part 1
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo2.mp3
3. We Believe in One God, Part 2
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo3.mp3
4. God the Father
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo4.mp3
5. The Father Almighty
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo5.mp3
6. Maker of Heaven and Earth
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo6.mp3
7. The Only Son of God
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo7.mp3
8. Eternally Begotten of the Father
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo8.mp3
9. Born of the Virgin Mary
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo9.mp3
10. He Suffered Under Pontius Pilate
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo10.mp3
11. He Descended to the Dead
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo11.mp3
12. On the Third Day He Rose
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo12.mp3
13. He Ascended into Heaven
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo13.mp3
14. He Will Come Again to Judge
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo14.mp3
15. We Believe in the Holy Spirit
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo15.mp3
16. The Holy Catholic Church
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo16.mp3
17. The Communion of Saints
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo17.mp3
18. The Forgiveness of Sins
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo18.mp3
19. The Resurrection of the Body
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo19.mp3
20. Life Everlasting
Host – Fr. Pablo Straub
credo20.mp3

 

Faith is a gift that begins in our encounter with Jesus

In Uncategorized on 2013/09/19 at 12:00 AM

Faith is a gift that begins in our encounter with Jesus, a real, tangible person and not an intangible essence, ‘mist’ or ‘spray’. Our real encounter with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was the focus of Pope Francis.

The Pope drew inspiration for his homily from the Gospel of John in which Jesus tells the crowd that “he who believes has eternal life”. He says the passage is an opportunity for us to examine our conscience. He noted that very often people say they generally believe in God.

“But who is this God you believe in?” asked Pope Francis confronting the ‘vapour’ of certain beliefs with the reality of a true faith:

“An ‘all over the place – god, a ‘god-spray’ so to speak, who is a little bit everywhere but who no-one really knows anything about. We believe in God who is Father, who is Son, who is Holy Spirit. We believe in Persons, and when we talk to God we talk to Persons: or I speak with the Father, or I speak with the Son, or I speak with the Holy Spirit. And this is the faith. ”

In the Gospel passage, Jesus also says that no one can come to him “unless drawn by the Father who sent me.” Pope Francis said that these words show that “to go to Jesus, to find Jesus, to know Jesus, is a gift” that God bestows on us.

The Pope said we see an example of this in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, where Christ sends Philip to explain the Old Testament in the light of the Resurrection to an officer of the court of the Queen of Egypt.

That officer – observed Pope Francis – was not a “common man” but a royal treasurer and because of this, “we may think he was a bit attached to the money”, “a careerist.”

Yet, said the Pope, when this individual listens to Philip speak to him of Jesus “he hears that it is good news”, “he feels joy,” to the point of being baptized in the first place they find water: “Those who have faith have eternal life, they have life. But faith is a gift, it is the Father who gifts it. We must continue on this path. But if we travel this path, it is always with our own baggage – because we are all sinners and we all always have things that are wrong. But the Lord will forgive us if we ask for forgiveness, and so we should always press onwards, without being discouraged – but on that path what happened to the royal treasurer will happen to us too”.

Pope Francis, what is described in the Acts of the Apostles, after the officer discovers the faith we also happen to us: “And he went on his way rejoicing” .. “It is the joy of faith, the joy of having encountered Jesus, the joy that only Jesus gives us, the joy that gives peace: not what the world gives, but what gives Jesus. This is our faith. We ask the Lord to help us grow in this faith, this faith that makes us strong, that makes us joyful, this faith that always begins with our encounter with Jesus and always continues throughout our lives in our small daily encounters with Jesus. ”

Vatican Information Service

“The Mass is an action of God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/02/08 at 9:15 AM
Isn’t it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar? (The Way, 530)

The three divine Persons are present in the sacrifice of the altar. By the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, the Son offers himself in a redemptive sacrifice. We learn how to personalize our relationship with the most Blessed Trinity, one God in three Persons: three divine Persons in the unity of God’s substance, in the unity of his love and of his sanctifying action.

Immediately after the Lavabo, the priest prays: “Receive, Holy Trinity, this offering that we make in memory of the passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, at the end of the Mass, there is another prayer of homage to the Trinity of God: “May the tribute of my service be pleasing to you, o Holy Trinity; and grant the sacrifice that I, who am unworthy, have offered to your majesty, may be acceptable to you; and that through your mercy it may bring forgiveness to me and to all those for whom I have offered it.”

The Mass is, I insist, an action of God, of the Trinity. It is not a merely human event. The priest who celebrates fulfils the desire of our Lord, lending his body and his voice to the divine action. He acts, not in his own name, but in persona et in nomine Christi: in the Person of Christ and in his name.

Because of the Blessed Trinity’s love for man, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist brings all graces to the Church and to mankind. This is the sacrifice announced by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and a fragrant sacrifice and a pure offering is made to me in all places” [1]. It is the sacrifice of Christ, offered to the Father with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit — an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us and surpasses the sacrifices of the old law. (Christ is passing by, 86)

[1] Mal 1:11 [

“An action of God, of the Trinity”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/07/11 at 9:11 AM
Isn’t it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar? (The Way, 530)

The Mass is, I insist, an action of God, of the Trinity. It is not a merely human event. The priest who celebrates fulfils the desire of our Lord, lending his body and his voice to the divine action. He acts, not in his own name, but in persona et in nomine Christi: in the Person of Christ and in his name.

Because of the Blessed Trinity’s love for man, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist brings all graces to the Church and to mankind. This is the sacrifice announced by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and a fragrant sacrifice and a pure offering is made to me in all places” [1]. It is the sacrifice of Christ, offered to the Father with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit — an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us and surpasses the sacrifices of the old law. (Christ is passing by, 86)

[1] Mal 1:11

“The Mass is an Action of God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/23 at 9:11 AM
Isn’t it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar? (The Way, 530)

The three divine Persons are present in the sacrifice of the altar. By the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, the Son offers himself in a redemptive sacrifice. We learn how to personalize our relationship with the most Blessed Trinity, one God in three Persons: three divine Persons in the unity of God’s substance, in the unity of his love and of his sanctifying action.

Immediately after the Lavabo, the priest prays: “Receive, Holy Trinity, this offering that we make in memory of the passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, at the end of the Mass, there is another prayer of homage to the Trinity of God: “May the tribute of my service be pleasing to you, o Holy Trinity; and grant the sacrifice that I, who am unworthy, have offered to your majesty, may be acceptable to you; and that through your mercy it may bring forgiveness to me and to all those for whom I have offered it.”

The Mass is, I insist, an action of God, of the Trinity. It is not a merely human event. The priest who celebrates fulfils the desire of our Lord, lending his body and his voice to the divine action. He acts, not in his own name, but in persona et in nomine Christi: in the Person of Christ and in his name.

Because of the Blessed Trinity’s love for man, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist brings all graces to the Church and to mankind. This is the sacrifice announced by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and a fragrant sacrifice and a pure offering is made to me in all places” [1]. It is the sacrifice of Christ, offered to the Father with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit — an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us and surpasses the sacrifices of the old law. (Christ is passing by, 86)

[1] Mal 1:11

“Come, Sanctifier, almight and eternal God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/16 at 9:11 AM
Be a eucharistic soul! If the centre around which your thoughts and hopes turn is the Tabernacle, then, my child, how abundant the fruits of your sanctity and apostolate will be! (The Forge, 835)

I was talking to you about the love of the Blessed Trinity for man. And where can we see this more clearly than in the Mass? The three divine Persons act together in the holy sacrifice of the altar. This is why I like to repeat the final words of the collect, secret and postcommunion: “Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,” we pray to God the Father, “who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

In the Mass, our prayer to God the Father is constant. The priest represents the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, who is, at the same time, the victim offered in this sacrifice. And the action of the Holy Spirit in the Mass is truly present, although in a mysterious manner. “By the power of the Holy Spirit,” writes St John Damascene, “the transformation of the bread into the body of Christ takes place.”

The action of the Holy Spirit is clearly expressed when the priest invokes the divine blessing on the offerings: “Come, Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared in honour of your holy name” — the holocaust that will give to the holy name of God the glory that is due. The sanctification we pray for is attributed to the Paraclete, who is sent to us by the Father and the Son. And we also recognize the active presence of the Holy Spirit in this sacrifice, as we say, shortly before communion: “Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, by your death have brought life to the world…” (Christ is passing by, 85)

Spiritual Icons

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/12/16 at 9:46 AM

The early Christians understood and demonstrated what Pope Benedict speaks of…. The Holy Spirit and the Church.

“God did not create the person so that he might be dissolved but so that he might open himself in his entire height and in his innermost depth-therefore, where the Holy Spirit embraces him and is the unity of divided persons.

“The Church is the icon of the Father, the image of God, and at the same time the image of man, so the Church is the image of the Holy Spirit. From here we can understand what the Church actually is in the deepest part of her nature: namely, the overcoming of the boundary between I and Thou, the union of men among themselves through the radical transcendence of self into eternal love. Church is mankind being brought into a way of life of the Trinitarian God.  For this reason she is not something that belongs to a group or a circle of friends.  For this reason she cannot become a national Church or be identifies with a race or a class.  She must, if this is true, be catholic in order ‘to gather into one the children of God, who are scattered abroad.  (John 11:52)

The Church does not being, therefore, as a club; rather, she begins catholic….The universal Church is not a federation of local churches but rather their mother.”

Pope Benedict XVI, IMAGES OF HOPE.  Ignatius pp.68-69.

Most Blessed Trinity by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/06/18 at 7:00 AM

• One of the great creedal documents of our Faith is the Athanasian Creed, which provides a rather terse but clear exposition of our Catholic beliefs regarding the Trinity as well as the Incarnation.

• While whether or not St. Athanasius is actually the author of this creed is subject to debate, the theological content of this creed is not. Indeed, this beautiful document – which was originally intended for liturgical use – is a wonderfully concise treatise on what is often considered one of the most difficult to understand dogmas of our faith.

• I mention the Athanasian Creed because today, my friends, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In doing so we are celebrating the central tenet of our Christian heritage: that not only does God exists, but that He exists as a Trinity of persons.

• Belief in the Holy Trinity is the central tenet of our faith because it is the mystery of God in Himself, and as such it is the source of all the other mysteries of our faith.

• To be Christian means to express faith in not just a god, but in a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to enter into relationship with Him.

• When we are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through our baptism we are called to actually share in the life of the Blessed Trinity, both here on earth and eternally in Heaven.

• Making the sign of the cross is our constant reminder of the Trinitarian reality of our God and our call to share in the life of the Trinity.

• As we celebrate this central tenet of our faith, there are two fundamental points for us to consider. First, the mystery of the Trinity is a dogmatic mystery of the Faith that we will never fully comprehend in this life.

• God is infinite, but our minds and our capacity to intellectually grasp things are quite finite. Therefore, when we come to study our Lord and the mysteries of our faith, naturally there are going to be certain things that we cannot fully understand.

• When we run across these mysteries that we cannot fully grasp, we must simply accept them obediently with faith. And while obedience is not always valued in our American society, it is vitally important for the practice of our faith.

• One of the secrets of the spiritual life is that obedience is often a precursor to understanding. When we choose to be obedient to the Lord and accept difficult teachings with faith and love, we are often graced with a deeper understanding of the mystery.

• The humility and docility that obedience requires of us has a way of opening our minds and hearts more fully to mysteries of our Faith, and thus we should learn to be obedient to all the teachings of the Church – even if at first blush we may not understand or agree with them.

• The second point for us to consider today is that the Trinity shows us that we are all called to the vocation to love. Our Lord exists not simply as a trinity of person, but as a communion of love. As St. John tells us in the Scriptures, God is love.

• So as we meditate on the Trinity today, we are called to meditate on God’s love, on His goodness. Our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of God’s love.

• Deuteronomy speaks of the abiding love God has for His people, which has been shown by the tremendous ways God has manifested His power in human history.

• Certainly it makes perfect sense that God would reveal Himself in ways that manifest His love for us because God is Love. Love is God’s very nature, His essence. And as we are created in His image and likeness, it is our nature, too, to love. Indeed, it is our vocation as Christians to love.

• Recently, I spoke about vocations to priesthood and religious life as well as the vocation to married life in homilies during the Easter season.

• As Christians, regardless of whether or not we are called to those particular vocations, all of us are called to the vocation of love. All of us are called to love one another and to be joined in the loving union of the Trinity. It is what our Lord has created us for.

• St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans reminds us today that we are children of God and heirs of God with Christ. Therefore, we are called to be and act like Christ if we wish to be glorified with Him. We must learn to love as God loves, if we wish to join in that communion of love in Heaven.

• The Holy Trinity teaches us exactly what love is, and the true love we learn about from God is much different from the false forms of love we see portrayed on TV or in the movies. It is much different than the love our society propounds today.

• The world tells us that love is a warm feeling that is primarily expressed through intimate physical contact. The world tells us that love is fragile, that it is easily lost, that it doesn’t require commitment or even fidelity to the one we love.

• And the world also tells us that we can stop loving someone if it’s inconvenient, costs us too much or causes us too much pain.

• In contrast, if we look at the actions of the Blessed Trinity, Who Is Love, we get a different picture of what love really is. Consider the actions of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity for a moment:

• God the Father, Who Is Love, chose to create the world and gave man every material thing he needed to survive and be happy.

• The Father also gave us His laws to live by and entered into an eternal covenant with us, helping us to understand what is truly right and good so that we could live in complete freedom as His children. And when man transgressed that law, the Father punished man so that he could learn from his mistakes.

• God the Father, Who Is Love, loves us so much that He gave us His only Son. And this Son, Jesus Christ, Who Is also Love, loves us so much that He suffered a very cruel and agonizingdeath so that we might not perish, but might have eternal life.

• And this Son, Who Is Love, loves us so much that He sent us the Holy Spirit. And this Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Advocate, Who Is also Love, and Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, loves us so much that He comes to us to guide us and bring us peace.

• As long as we remain in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit remains in our soul!

• From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love is a choice, it’s an act of the will. From the Trinity we learn that love is creative, generous, faithful and helps to correct the faults of the lover and the beloved.

• From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love is sacrificial and often demands suffering for the sake of the beloved. From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love gives comfort, direction, and peace to the beloved.

• This is the love our Lord gives to us, and it’s the love we are called to give to Him and to one another.

• My dear friends in Christ, know now and fix in your hearts that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.

• And most importantly, know that this Lord whom we worship is Himself a communion of love in whose life we are called to share.

• Moreover, He makes the promise to be with us always, even until the end of the world.

• Therefore, let us learn to love God and one another well here on earth so that we will be properly prepared to be united with our Lord and one another in Heaven.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC