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Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

Pope Benedict XVI is happy to report a “springtime of Eucharist devotion in the Church today,” he told his weekly public audience on November 16.

The Pope said that he has seen a revival of interest in Eucharistic adoration, especially among young people. It is a “wonderful development,” he said that more people “stop in silence before the tabernacle to spend time with Him.”

The Pope made these remarks as he discussed the influence of St. Juliana of Liege, an Augustinian nun who experienced a mystical vision that prompted her to advocate the establishment of the liturgical feast of Corpus Christi to inspire greater devotion to the Eucharist. Pope Urban IV proclaimed that feast in 1264, enlisting St. Thomas Aquinas to write the beautiful liturgical texts for the feast.

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This entry is my response to the blog post: We are Christians, not Catholics because we choose to follow Christ

The article above ( unfortunately, the link to it has been broken) is full of misconceived ideas. A sad problem that I see in a lot of former Catholics, specially in America. But this problem has deep roots, as most former Catholics had never really known their Catholic faith as they decide to leave the Church. In my experience, this is true in 99% of the cases, more often then not their opinions on Catholicism are not based on facts, but on their personal (mis) perceptions and experiences.

It is interesting when someone says: “As a Catholic I didn’t know Jesus and the Bible”, as though it was the Church’s fault they didn’t! No Christian person should feel they can blame others for their own failure in building a relationship with the Lord. 

I always try to prompt former Catholics and critics of Catholicism to ponder on the fact that although we have the Liturgy of the Word at daily Mass, the Catholic worship is not a Bible study assembly. Mass is a thanksgiving celebration to God the Father that includes the Liturgy of the Word, along with the Eucharist (thanksgiving in Greek).  However, to deny that the study of the Scripture is an important part of the Catholic faith is to declare  that one doesn’t know what takes place at Mass.  The Church goes through the entire Bible in the course of two years, with no repeating passages read each day. Every Sunday the readings include at least one passage from the OT, plus the Psalms, which are carefully selected to shed light on the NT readings.  At daily Mass two NT passages are read and explained in the homily.

Everyday many millions of Catholics listen to the readings at Mass and then come home and open their own Bibles to reflect on the teachings that they have read in Church. I guess what I mean is that it takes a personal commitment to follow Jesus. Unfortunately,  these days people have grown more and more comfortable with the notion of pointing fingers, rather than taking responsibility for their actions or inactions.

On the other hand, I have seen numerous protestant Christians who, in their search for the truth, have joined the Catholic Church either because they could no longer bear the weight of division within Protestantism, the diversity of scriptural interpretations accepted and professed by the different churches, or simply because when they learn what Catholic Christianity actually teaches  they are taken by surprise by the richness of the Church’s Scriptural foundations.

The article I am debating here, at a first glance, seems to be calling people to be true followers of Christ, which is great and clashes in NO shape or form with what the Catholic faith teaches.  However, a closer look tell us that in fact the poster has an agenda and his  focus is not simply to promote discipleship of Jesus, but to incriminate the Catholic Church and indirectly discriminate her members.

Christ is the centre of the Catholic Faith. We believe that salvation is a free gift of God, and that faith in Jesus is necessary for salvation. Therefore, imitation of Christ is a core belief of Catholicism. Obedience to His teachings and the keeping of God’s commandments are the fruits of our faith. In other words, Catholics are called to be true disciples of Christ not only through their faith but also in their actions.

Clearly,  prejudice against Catholicism is a problem that cannot be tackled only through ‘apologetic efforts’.  I suspect that giving a true witness of the Gospels would be considerably  more effective. However it may be,  I am a follower of Christ and a proud Catholic. Amen!

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Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You.

You have brought me into existence, you support me throughout my life and you invite me to share in your life forever. How good you are to me! Protect me from moral and spiritual harm. Give me your spirit to inspire, guide and transform me. Use me for your Glory and for the use of others and never let me be separated from you, my God and my all! Amen

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Our wills are naturally selfish. We love to have our own way. It’s not easy to submit to the will of another, unless there’s some strong motive that impels us to submission. The carrying out of our wills in a selfish way only leads to more selfishness and to a stronger inclination to have our own way. It’s this selfish inclination in the will that makes it necessary for God to demand submission from us. His will is never selfish, but always benevolent. The cheerful doing of it always leads to an increase of benevolence in us. Therefore, when God demands us to submit our wills to him, he’s doing that which is best for us. The more consideration for others and true benevolence is developed within us, the more our natures are purified and exalted and the more we are able to fulfill the purpose of our creation.

 

Submitting to God is often the hardest of all tasks, yet it’s the most necessary if we’re to be exalted to fellowship with God and enjoy the highest development of our faculties and powers. Selfishness always tends to degrade. It’s ignoble—exercise tends to dwarf and blight the finest things in our characters. The adoption of a submissive attitude toward God and his will, paves the way for the natural development of those qualities within us which are most worth developing, and which ennoble us most when they’re developed. The more our souls run out God-ward, the more like him we become; and the more like him we become, the happier and more useful we are. Unselfish devotion to benevolent service toward God and toward our fellow-man enriches the heart and life as nothing else can do, and leads the way to happiness, peace, and contentment, which make one truly blessed.

 

Submission to God is the one necessary thing in order to enjoy the Christian life. The more fully we’re submitted to his will, the more cheerfully we can carry it out, and the sweeter and richer will be the joy of doing it. Reluctant submission to God is not real submission. Reluctant obedience is never real obedience. It’s only when the heart responds to God willingly and cheerfully that the power of such service to make one happy is realized. We must conquer our reluctant wills. “The essence of sacrifice of self is the sacrifice of the will. Unwilling offerings are a contradiction, and in fact, there are no such things. The quality of unwillingness destroys the character of the offering and robs it of all sacredness. Reluctant Christianity is not Christianity.”

 

True nobility of both the inner and the outer life comes from submission to, and cooperation with, God. The nature of our relations with God depends upon the extent of our submission to him. This is well illustrated in the relation of husband and wife. When two marry, and there’s no merging of the wills and purposes, but each retains his or her individuality, standing apart from the other in wish and desire, in choosing and willing, their union can never be a happy one. They must yield themselves to each other. There must be a merging of their wills into each other, a combining of their purposes, a consideration of each other, a sacrificing of the individual will. The husband and wife who really love each other can enjoy each other’s society and draw near to each other in spirit and affection. This makes their union a blessed reality, and a source of more true joy than any other natural relation. Those who thus enjoy each other are the ones who have sacrificed self and lost sight of selfish considerations; each desires to please the other and each finds his or her happiness in the happiness of the other.

 

In the Scriptures, Christ is represented as being the husband of the church, and the church is taught to submit to him as a wife should submit to her husband. The wife submits to her husband because she loves him—if she submits from any other reason she must be unhappy in her submission. The submission, that comes from love, and is the willing response of love, is the source of the deepest and truest happiness that can come from human sources. So the submission to God, which is acceptable to him, and which reacts in blessedness to the soul who submits, must be based upon love. The secret of such submission is thus stated by John, “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” (1 John 4:16) So he exclaims in the next breath, “God is love.” Only the truly submitted heart can fathom the love of God, or can love God with that self-enriching love, which inspires devotion and causes us to delight in God. The fervor of love softens the will and makes it flexible. When we love, it is easy to obey; it is easy to submit. All the irksomeness and compulsion is taken out of religion when the heart is full of love toward God. The more we love, the easier it is to serve, and the more joyful is that service.

 For more on submitting to Divine will, follow the link.

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An Indian priest has bagged awards at two international film festivals in the US for his short film, The Last Appeal, based on the story of Poland’s Sister Faustina Kowalska.

Father Bala Shoury Udumala took the “Official Finalist Award” at the Las Vegas International Film Festival 2009 this month, while the Mexico International Film Festival honoured him with “The Silver Palm Award” for the film in the student category, said the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in a report. About 2000 films from over 50 countries were represented at each of the film festivals, the report said. Father Udumala’s 35-minute film portrays the story of the peasant girl Helen Kowalska, who later becomes a nun in a convent in Poland. As Sr Faustina, she brought the message of the Divine Mercy to the Catholic faithful. Father Udumala, who graduated with a Masters degree from Loyola Mary Mount University in Los Angeles in Film and Television Production in 2008, wrote, directed and produced the film, which was aired on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), the largest Catholic channel, two weeks ago.

The film brings the struggles of Helen in delivering the message through the humble life of a nun in a convent in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century. It also depicts the revelations and visions she received from God. Besides English and Spanish, the film has been dubbed into several Indian languages.

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Many people these days seem to turn to Christianity mainly for the sake of their own personal material fulfilment, rather than because they want to surrender themselves to God and follow Jesus’ example  during His life on earth, or simply achieve spiritual growth.

I feel that many Christian denominations tent to focus on material prosperity and worldly achievements, as opposed to spiritual growth and spiritual fulfilment. It seems as though  the ultimate purpose of being a Christian is to achieve self-benefits without self-sacrifice or deprivation. Which is as convenient as it is far from the truth. 

Some Christian completely distort Jesus’ teachings to fit their views, and their understanding of Christianity has no resemblance to what you see in Jesus’  ministry, or for that matter, the Bible itself.

A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish. (Psalm 49:20)

Recently, an American Pastor was talking on TV about her book ‘Buy the Shoes, Eat the Coockie’ – or something to that effect – I must admit I was very saddened by her arguments. After watching her interview, I found myself wondering about  the purpose of penance, self-sacrifice or as Catholics say, ‘the offering up’ of one’s sufferings as means of  achieving  a holy life…

There are plenty of instances in the Bible where Jesus talks about material wealth and the lack of it, as well as spiritual growth and the way to the truth. Many interpretations, however, seem to fall short of understanding His words, even though they sometimes can be plain clear. 

Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25)

A good Christian wants to be more like Jesus Himself.  A good way of  ‘practicing’ this is to always remember to ask ourselves a very simple question, whenever we found ourselves in position when we are not sure which way to go: What would Jesus do/say if He was me right now? I am certain that if we put our own will aside and listen carefully to the answer, it would most definitely lead us  to live a more sanctified way of life.

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