Life-in-Christ

Knowing Christ & His Message through Scripture, the Catechism, & the Catholic Church

Thanksgiving as a way of life… Give thanks to the Lord!

In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus1 Thess. 5:18

As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day, let us take a few moments to reflect on what we can & should be thankful for.   

Are there things/people that you are taking for granted?
What should you do to rectify this?

Is Thanksgiving just a one day event, or is it something I try to live daily, especially during the Holiday season?

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever…

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Thank you Lord for all of your gifts & blessings.

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Thank you & God bless you for your service!

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.Image result for veterans day

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

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Saints & Souls…

Come, let us worship our God, who is glorified in the assembly of his saints.

Excerpts from a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot.
Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honours when their heavenly Father honours them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honour from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning…

The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.Image result for entrance into heaven

Come, brothers & sisters, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us… Full sermon

Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great, for the reign of our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you just ones! Praise is fitting for loyal hearts, for the reign of our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun.

 Let us spend time in prayer: Asking the Saints to assist us & Praying for those who have gone before us…. Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O’ Lord & Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them… 

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Birthdays: A time to reflect, a time to be grateful…

Birthdays, for me, are a great time to reflect on our lives, our struggles, & our blessings.  It not only gives us a chance to do a “look back” on our lives, but it is also a great opportunity to do a “look forward.”  What do we have to be grateful for? How has our attitude toward life been?  What do we need to change? How are we living our life as a disciple; a child of God?  With this in mind, I was struck by a reflection posted on the site of Thriving Family:

Despite the highest standard of living in the history of humanity, our generation seems driven by an insatiable desire for more, better and faster. Just when we should feel most satisfied, we find ourselves bored and disillusioned. The problem is not that things are so bad, but that we have lost a gift called gratitude.

The Scriptures urge believers to maintain a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances. We do so not as a gift to God, but as a gift from God. He doesn’t need our thanks, but we desperately need reminders that we are created beings dependent upon our Maker. Giving thanks realigns our hearts with the apostle Paul’s expression of praise in his letter to the Romans: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (11:36). Acknowledging God as the Source of all things frees us from the lie that we don’t need Him.

Unfortunately, children are born with a propensity toward greed, envy and other vices that foster discontent. Parents can help their children guard against that propensity by encouraging gratitude and explaining that we give thanks because it …

  • Makes us rich: The endless pursuit of more creates artificial poverty. The discipline of gratitude, by contrast, brings natural wealth by freeing us from the snare of comparisons and unrealistic expectations. It is impossible to be truly grateful and discontent at the same moment.
  • Increases our level of contentment in life: According to Paul, contentment is a discipline we learn, not a feeling we experience. Remember, every one of us has a natural tendency toward discontent. That’s why we must remind one another to give thanks to the Source of our lives and livelihood.
  • Gives us joy: It has been said that the worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank. A major part of joy in life is expressing gratitude to the One who meets our needs. Like helium fills a deflated balloon and lifts it to the heavens, thankfulness connects our spirits to the Source of all joy.

Encouraging gratitude could, and should be a family activity; a family way of life.

  • For Family Activities & Additional Scripture verses click here…

Psalm 100:1-5
Philippians 4:4-12
Colossians 3:15-17
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Hebrews 12:28

 

1) What are you grateful for? (Make a list or elaborate on one thing.)

2) Do you make it a practice to reflect daily on the blessings that God has given you, and thank Him?

3) As a family, what are ways we can express thankfulness to God each day this week?

As I prepare to celebrate my birthday this week, I am thankful for my family. My children are such a blessing in my life! My husband, who is a true partner in raising our children in the Faith, is another huge blessing! My extended family (parents, siblings...) are such a blessing! My Faith family, who share in my joys & struggles are a blessing! Thank you Heavenly Father for these great gifts!!!

The Rosary…Leading us closer to God.

Feast of the Holy Rosary: October 7

 

 

The Rosary is my favourite prayer. A marvellous prayer! Marvellous in its simplicity and in its depth. . .the simple prayer of the Rosary beats the rhythm of human life.”
Pope John Paul II.

 

Pray a live, virtual rosary: http://www.comepraytherosary.org/

 

 

   “The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order. ” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 

 

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote: “The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.”

 

How to pray the Rosary (link) – with prayers included.

The Joyful Mysteries – YouTube

The Sorrowful Mysteries – YouTube

The Glorious Mysteries – YouTube

The Luminous Mysteries – YouTube

“Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it.”513 “No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.”514  CCC970     Let us call on Mary, & ask her to help us to cooperate with God’s grace, as she did.  May we open our hearts to Mary, so she may daily lead us closer to God.

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Guardian Angel, Pure & Bright, Guide me both Day & Night…

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The Holy Guardian Angels

Jesus says, See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always gaze on the face of my Father in heaven. Thus even little children have guardian angels, and these angels remain in the presence of God even as they fulfil their mission on earth.

One of the benefits of this feast is that it reminds us that God cares for us each, individually. We all know this in theory, but it is easy – in times of depression or temptation – to convince ourselves that we are too small to matter, for good or ill. Let us use this feast to remind ourselves that each of us has an angel of our very own looking after us; and also to pray to God for our own Guardian Angel. What a bore and a burden to them some of us are. May we one day be a cause of rejoicing for them also.* Feast Day: October 2.

Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ’Get up!’ he said ’Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands.  Acts 12:7

 

 

 

He has commanded his angels to keep you in all your ways; they shall bear you upon their hands lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91

 

*Universalis

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The purpose of angels & archangels…

Click on image for a video meditation.

Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (…) Michael was the leader of the army of God during the uprising of Lucifer. He is known as the Defender. Raphael travelled with Tobit and protected him. He is known as the Healer. Gabriel informed Mary that she would bear the Savior. He is known as the Messenger of God. Feast Day: Sept. 29

 

A sermon of Pope St Gregory the Great

The word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature …You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

As you pause today to praise God with His angels, do not be afraid to examine your life & call on God’s messengers for assistance.

Is the devil attacking you – tempting you – call on St. Michael the Archangel.  St. Michael, the Archangel, defend me in this battle within my soul…

Is there some area of your life that is in need of healing?Do not be afraid to call upon St. Raphael to assist you.  Dear St. Raphael, bring healing to my soul, to my mind, to my worn out spirit…

Is there something that you are discerning? A decision to be made; guidance you are in need of? Image result for st gabriel the archangel Do not be afraid to call on St. Gabriel.  St. Gabriel, bring to me a clear understanding of God’s will for me… help me to see where God’s Spirit is leading me…

Lord God of hosts,   in your all-wise plan you assign to angels and to men  the services they have to render you.  Grant that the angels, who adore you in heaven,  may protect us here on earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,  one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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What do we do in the wake of a tragedy?

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Click on image for a beautiful meditation on Christ our Hope & our Final Destination.

During those times when it seems that evil & tragedy are more widespread than ever before, it is important to remember that there IS MORE. As Christians, we know the outcome of the battle between good & evil. As Christians, we know our final destination is greater than any tragedy or suffering we can experience on earth — that is because Christ wins the battle against evil. Christ calls us to complete & everlasting union with Himself & our Heavenly Father, in union with the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, we know the power of prayer. We know the power of hope in our final destination – union with God… As Christians we know the power of Christ!

Scripture is filled with reminders of hope:
Job 11:18 And you shall be secure, because there is hope; yes, you shall look about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.
Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.
Psalms 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

Psalms 39:8And now, Lord, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.

Romans 5:5 And our hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good of them that love God, to those who called according to his purpose.

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Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope; patient in tribulation; persevere in prayer;
Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Matthew 28:20 …For I am with you always, until the end of the age..
Books of the Bible: click for an online Bible.
Scripture, and our Lord, tell us also that we must do something. We cannot just sit around talking about all that is wrong with the world…In the spiritual battle that is going on around us – know that we have the greatest of Generals leading us. To ensure our victory, we need to listen to Him, follow His lead, & never lose confidence in His ability to guide us to eternal victory!

Image result for soldiers for christ“Soldiers! Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, our God, asking through Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, beseeching the aid of the God of our forefathers in the defense of our homes and our liberties, thanking Him for His past blessings, and imploring their continuance upon our cause and our people.”

“Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray – to really pray.”Image result for soldiers for christ

“Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight – all through the day. Let us pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for the churches.”

“Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word ‘concern’ out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and His redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.” General Robert E Lee, 1863

Let us pray!

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Let us celebrate the birth of Mary: Let us ask her to pray for us!

Birth of Mary: September 8th

Let us proclaim the greatness of our Savior who chose to be born of the Virgin Mary. Confident that He will hear us, we ask:

Lord, may your mother pray for us.

Sun of justice, you showed your day was dawning in the immaculate Virgin Mary;
help us to walk in the daylight of your presence.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Eternal Word, in the living flesh of Mary you found a dwelling place on earth;
remain with us for ever in hearts free from sin.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Christ, our Saviour, you willed that your mother should be there when you died;
through her intercession may we rejoice to share your suffering.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Loving Saviour, while hanging on the cross, you gave your mother Mary to be the mother of John;
let us be known as her children by our way of living.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Lord God,
the day of our salvation dawned when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to your Son.
As we celebrate her own nativity,
grant us your grace and your peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.   Amen.
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Labor Day: A Call to Christians

On Monday, our country observes Labor Day. Celebrated on the first Monday of September, this holiday pays honor to the contributions and achievements of American workers.

This is a time that we set aside to acknowledge not only those who work, but the actual work they do to make society a better place. It is a time to reflect on how it takes all different types of workers and work to have a well-functioning society.

We honor policeman for enforcing the law. We honor firefighters for putting out fires. We honor doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers for taking care of people.

As Christians we are also called to labor and have an influence on society. What is it that Christians should be known for? The answer, quite simply is we should be known for doing the work of Christ.

As we reflect on our lives and labors as Christians, I invite us to do so in light of the Vatican II documents, most specifically Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations). This Dogmatic Constitution is rich in content:

CHAPTER OUTLINE OF LUMEN GENTIUM
1. The Mystery of the Church (1-8)
2. On the People of God (9-17)
3. On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and In Particular on the Episcopate (18-29)
4. The Laity (30-38)
5. The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church (39-42)
6. The Religious (43-47)
7. The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven (48-51)
8. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church (52- 69)

However, Chapter 2 “On the People of God,” and Chapter 5 “The Universal Call to Holiness,” offer great insight into the “work” of a Christian.

At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right.(85) God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness(LG 9)…

Image result for christians working togetherThus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history (LG 40).

As Christians, as laborers for Christ, there is much to be done to better society, but we don’t act or work alone. Jesus calls us to link our efforts together so that whatever our gifts and talents, if we are using them to give glory to God and serve our neighbor, then we will not only be doing our work, but we will be doing it well. For, if we are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” then we know “that in the Lord (our) labor is not in vain” 1 Cor. 15:58.

How are you working to better society?

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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012 http://xtnfamily.tumblr.com/