A child must crawl back into his mother’s womb!

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As I heard the gospel proclaimed today by our pastor this morning, and during his homily I made an interesting observation. I thought about the story for the 3rd chapter of John’s gospel, after being prompted to by the explanation of today’s gospel. The story tells how Nicodemus questioned Jesus about being born again. He uses a strange reference to a full-grown person going back into the womb of his mother. Jesus quickly clarifies that he is not talking about physically going back into the womb, rather it is a spiritual rebirth that he is speaking of.

However, when questioned about the fact that he said that his disciples would eat his flesh and drink his blood by saying that eating his flesh and drinking his blood is exactly what he expects them to do. It would be as if he said to Nicodemus that he would have to physically enter the womb again to be reborn. The idea of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood is as ridiculous as going back into the womb. Again, he does say that eating his flesh and drinking his blood is exactly what needs to done to be to live forever. It is not practical to enter a womb to be reborn again, but eating the flesh of Jesus, in the form of Eucharistic bread is a very practical thing that has become the source and summit of our faith as Catholics. More on the disciples reaction to this troubling revelation of Jesus about what kind of sacrifice he would offer for us once for all time in the Eucharist tomorrow…Stay tuned and God bless you!

Cleansing our minds from evil…

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ImageI was thinking during the reading of the Mass readings this morning how thankful I am for God gracing me with the different prayers and devotions, as well as websites, Twitter and Facebook friends that keep me focused on Him.  I have struggled with being distracted with the trappings of this world, whether it be by financial concerns or the evil of pornographic images that can lead to full on pornography in the past and have sometimes found it difficult to justify even being connected to the internet.

However, the present moment in my life has been graced by many “holy” distractions that lead me to deepen my relationship with the Lord.  I felt motivated to write about it today, but figured that I wouldn’t because I would probably be too busy preparing for my class tonight.  However, directly after receiving Communion today, I realized that I was bothered by a small pain in my head that I noticed that I get right after receiving Communion and I knew that this was a gift of the Lord’s coming into my body in the form of bread and wine, but in His body and blood that caused this pain.  It was a gift that was meant to cleanse my mind of all the memories of past sins and allow me to be further converted into the man who God is creating me to be.  When I shared this with my son, I realized that I should look up whether there was anyone else who has ever noticed anything like this happening after Communion.  The only article I found was someone who had headaches that probably stemmed for problems with gluten, since it happened about a half an hour after receiving.

Anyway, I wanted to write this post today to give thanks to God for this revelation of the work that is being done in my life to cleanse my mind of evil, both in the physical world of the Eucharist, physically effecting chemical changes in my brain, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that has motivated me, as He is trying to motivated us all, I believe, to fill our virtual world with many friends and followers that lead us to a closer relationship with Jesus.  It was in the hope that this post would be read by someone who has recognized the power of God working in their lives through the Eucharist and the other people and things that they have connected to through the internet and will be encouraged by reading my story.  In addition, if there is anyone who finds their life preoccupied by sin and “unholy” distractions.  Hopefully, they will know that if they are open to receiving the grace of God through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, as well as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to find spiritually uplifting friends on Facebook and holy men and women to follow on Twitter, and websites that focus on deepening your relationship with God, there is light at the end of the internet.  I hope that I can somehow be a part of that light for someone too.

dc Talk / In the light from nicoletta477 on GodTube.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FBE9E1NU

Are you still persecuting the church?

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I’m breaking from my normal format today, to make a comment about the readings for today’s Mass.  It seems to me that the gospel reading today makes it very clear that Jews that were with Jesus had a hard time accepting the fact that Jesus said that they would have to eat flesh and drink blood to have life within them.  How many non-denominational Christians are still struggling with this today?  It strikes me that if they would only see that Jesus has been present in the church

imagesince the Institution of the Eucharist, the people who had struggled with accepting that the Eucharist is truly His Body and Blood would have the scales fall off their eyes just like Paul.  Jesus wanted us to be One Church, not many denominations of Christian churches.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that other Christians are still struggling, like us, to follow Christ in their own way, but with a Pope like Francis, and a God who humbled himself to come down to earth, not just as a baby but also making himself present to us in the form of bread and wine right now, I think we could easily be in Communion as brothers and sisters in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  Maybe they are waiting for Jesus to return and really blind them, like Saul was on his way to persecute the first Christians, before they will let their eyes be opened to the truth that has been revealed for 2000 years of history in the church.

I pray that we all continue to follow God’s will for our lives and we are brought so low that everyone can see Jesus behind us…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand…Jesus!

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3rd quarter of 16th century

3rd quarter of 16th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I was set on fire by the reading today, and I hope that by the grace of God I am used to stoke this fire in the hearts of everyone who reads this today.  For some it will be hard to hear.  I’m sorry for your feelings and I hope that you forgive me.

 

In the gospel for today’s Mass readings, Jesus says the words that are included in my title for today’s post.  This is his reaction to hearing that John the Baptist had been arrested.  (Matthew 4:17). From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,k “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

Also, in the first reading for today’s Mass readings, we hear about the testing of spirits.  In John’s letter he goes so far to say that those that do not believe are the antichrist…Is that you?  You be the judge:

 

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.a2This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God,b3and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus* does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.  (1 John 4:1-3)

 

I am left with one question for anyone who may come across this post…Do you question the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist?  Do you preach against it, like Catholics are a cannabolistic cult society that believes that eating people’s flesh is somehow sacred?  Do you not understand and thereby plead ignorance and say it must not matter and it must not be necessary to my faith in Jesus?

 

Read John 6:66, and then read the above letter from the same Saint John the evangelist that wrote it…I did, and I am left with the distinct impression that anyone who stands against this teaching is the antichrist!

 

Lord, I pray for all those lost souls that have been led astray by false prophets, I pray that in the spirit of repentance that you will send the holy Spirit down upon us all and keep us faithful to your teaching and your truth.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

Is it just me, or is Jesus talking to us too?

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Offertoire en rite tridentin

Offertoire en rite tridentin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

 

Reading:  Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”  (Luke 10:23-24)

 

Observation:  It is possible that I came to this conclusion before when I heard this reading and I may have even journaled on it.  However, I feel like it is important for me to say that I feel blessed to be living in these days where we can know Jesus intimately through all the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist.  In both visible signs of God’s grace, we can see, feel and experience grace in a way that the prophets and kings of the old testament only dreamed about.

 

Personification:  Patience. I came to the conclusion after Mass on Sunday, that I need to show more patience with those that are leading our congregation in worship and in the different ministries in our church.  I was reminded of the fact that it took me 20 years of walking in the faith to come to the conclusions that I have about the importance and necessity of the church in all areas of your life.  That should not be a matter of pride for me that I got to this point in my faith in 20 years, rather I should be thankful that the grace of God has gotten me this far and his grace is enough to get us all to be able to enjoy eternal life with Him.

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

She did it…Purged the sin from my life…At least for today…Remember, tomorrow!

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Русский: Феодоровская икона со сказанием Кострома

Русский: Феодоровская икона со сказанием Кострома (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

 

Reading:  Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,* but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.  (Matthew 1:18,21)

 

Observation:  Why do we Catholics make such a big deal about Mary?  For me, after today it will be because she finally purged me from a sin that I was struggling with.  Before today, I did the “33 days to morning-glory” retreat, and read about how the indwelling of the holy Spirit in Mary makes her flesh worthy of honoring.  We know that she intercedes for us as our spiritual Mother, at the right hand of God, alonside her son as the queen in Heaven.

 

Personification:  Gentleness. I will display the fruit of gentleness by remembering the gentleness of our Mother, the Virgin Mary when she intercedes for me in Heaven.  She would not implore God in haste and anger, because she is in union with Him through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus.  I hope to display the same gentleness when imploring God’s people to more closely follow His will in their life, while remembering to pray for the indwelling of the holy Spirit in me, because of the consumption of His Son’s flesh in the Eucharist.

 

Prayer:  Remember, O most compassionate Virgin Mary, that anyone who fled to your protection, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.  Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother.  To you do I come.  Before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me…I ask for the continued grace over my family to grow into the family that God intends it to be and to be a beacon for all people displaying the love of God…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

Thanks be to God…He calls sinners to be saints!

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English: Christian Petersen's Head of Christ i...

English: Christian Petersen’s Head of Christ in Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Ames, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

 

Reading:  Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.  (Matthew 25:13)

 

Observation:  After reading my journal yesterday, you may have gotten the impression that I was done with sin in my life, and I may have even hoped that it was true when I wrote it yesterday.  However, the truth is, even though I know that I will have to make an account for all of my unwillingness to follow God at times, I still willingly choose to make the same mistakes.  The good news is that even though I did not choose to “stay awake” in the past, I can choose to lean on His grace that is never-ending, and prepare for the imminent return of Jesus by receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

 

Personification:  Patience I am choosing to focus on the fruit of patience again today, because I need to remind myself that even though God is patient with me and my conversion, I must also be patient with myself.  I almost changed the title of my blog today, because of something that I read on Cardinal Dolan’s blog that was written by Saint Thomas Aquinas.  However. I thought that since God is calling me to be a saint, even in my broken “sinful” present state, maybe someone will remember what I wrote as the title for my blog, and find it helpful someday.  http://blog.archny.org/

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray that I can embody the holiness that springs forth from your words, agere sequitur esse, “Actions flow from being!”…Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

Ash Wednesday…are your ashes showing?

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Prophet Joel, Russian icon from first quarter ...

Image via Wikipedia

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  Blow the horn in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly!  (Joel 2:15)

Observation:  I am hearing in the first reading for today’s Mass readings, from the book of Joel, that we should not only plan on fasting, but our church and our lives should be proclaiming a fast, so that everyone can join in the sacrifice and enjoy the fruit that comes from fasting and repentance.  At the end of this verse, he says to call an assembly and even though I don’t know what that would look like in Joel’s time, I can imagine that our Mass and church services around the world would be pleasing to God today.

Personification:   Generosity  It will be my intention to display the fruit of generosity today, by continuing the work that Joel did in his time, and John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed to us during the beginning of their ministry and throughout their life.  While we are with Jesus, it would not be necessary to be fasting, especially during Communion, but at all other times I must remember to show the repentance that is befitting a sinner like me.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be more willing to be repentant and always faithful in showing the repentance that brings others to repentance as well.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

How does “qorban” relate to me? I hope my sacrifice is acceptable…

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The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...
Image via Wikipedia

Gift:  Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

Reading:  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ andWhoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, If a person says to father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is qorban* (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”  (Mark 7:11-12)

Observation:  Jesus is teaching me here that I should not look to society to decide what is the proper perspective on any issue, regardless of how long it has been accepted in this or any other country.  I should look to the Word of God to decide the proper perspective on any issue and rely on the understanding of the church, with the guidance and inspiration of the holy Spirit.  I should not try to rationalize and justify any behavior that does not align itself with the truth as it is revealed through Jesus Christ and His church.

Personification:  Self-Control  Today is another day that I feel I was left in the arms of our almighty Savior and guided by the holy Spirit, to live out the will of God in my life.  Days like this are truly a blessing and although I know it probably won’t last forever starting with whether it will even continue through tonight.  I am thankful that God has revealed to me new ways today to surrender to Him and allow peace that came to me and my family.

Prayer:  Lord, through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the grace that flows freely from it, I am thankful for the peace that comes to those who wait on you and I hope that I am waiting on you again tonight.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Ask the Lord to rise up, and He will…

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Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  Arise, LORD! Save me, my God!  (Psalms 3:8)

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But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home *to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”  (Mark 5:19)

Observation:  It is amazing that the Lord would rise up inside of me and save me, because I have spent so much of my life looking more like the man possessed by many demons than someone worthy of salvation.  I guess that is the point of today’s responsorial Psalm from the Mass readings and the Gospel.  The truth is, even the crazy man who is running around destroying stuff and tormenting people, God sees as worthy of saving.  For me, I am thankful that God has taken up residence in my heart and I am hopeful that I will always remember to call on the Lord  to rise up in me and never take for granted that Jesus is waiting for me to invite him into my body through the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Personification:  Love  I know that with the love that God has shown me through the sacrifice of His Son, I should be able to love everyone that I meet today.  It is only by grace that I can display love for people who I do not know, and it is a miracle that someone like me, who was raised not to show affection, can make a free and open display of God’s love to others.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display your love to others out of store of grace that has been freely given to me through your church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.