Life-in-Christ

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

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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Daddy, do you know what I do all day?

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mt.10:14

Children are such a great blessing, but with this great blessing also comes great responsibility!   Speaking only from my personal experience and conversations with my own friends and co-workers (the majority who are women/mothers) – women tend to think about & worry about this responsibility and how all those “little moments” can be teachable & future shaping moments.

Women also tend to be able to focus on how all the daily events are forming and transforming who these little blessings are becoming. Dad’s can and do, as well.  Although, at times, their approach may be different.

Click on image for a video meditation.

 In the cited article below, Dr. Meg Meeker, MD focuses on the father/son relationship.  However, the majority of what is said can certainly also be applied to the father/daughter relationship.

Today, natural, healthy boyhood is under attack.

It is threatened not only by an educational establishment that devalues masculinity and boyishness, and not only by widely remarked social changes including widespread divorce and the rise of single-parent households that deprive boys of the responsible fathers they need, but by a noxious popular culture that is as degrading to boys as it is dangerous to girls.

As parents, we know that boyhood has been changing—for the worse. We want our boys to build tree forts and bear traps, not shoot aliens in video games. We remember when boys use to go trout fishing, sit under a tree while daydreaming about the future, and now we fear that our boys are cutting themselves off from us with iPods, earbuds, and computer porn.

Are our boys in trouble? If so, are they in more danger than past generations? Yes, and most definitely yes. But unlike some psychologists, sociologists, and educators, I believe that the troubles hurting our boys stem from three major sources:

  • Lack of close relationships with men (particularly fathers),
  • Lack of religious education, and
  • Aggressive exposure to a toxic media that teaches boys that the keys to a great life are sex, sex, and a bit more sex—and a whole lot of money and fame.

The good news is that we parents can turn this around. We must be willing to see that what our boys need isn’t simply more education, more prescriptions, more money, or more activities.

What they need is us. You and me. They need parents who are willing to take a good hard look at what their sons think and what they are doing. They need fathers who will embrace their sons and watch them with the eyes of a schooled hawk.

The foundations of any boy’s life is built on three things:

  1. His relationships with his parents,
  2. His relationship with God, and
  3. His relationship with his siblings and close friends.

If these three are strong, any boy can thrive in the midst of academic and athletic challenges, a toxic culture, and harmful peer pressure.  

Fathers, think about the important role you play in your child’s life – there is nothing insignificant about you.  Your child needs you.  Mother’s are wonderful, but children need and will seek out a male role model — will it be you?  Do you know what you child(ren) do all day?  Who are their friends? Do they know how to pray?  Do they know what you do all day?  Do they know that you love them?

You work to provide and care for them – but they need more – they need you – time with you…

For more information/ resources:
http://www.megmeekermd.com/  The wisdom of a Pediatrician.  The heart of a mother.
http://www.drray.com/  Dr. Ray Guarendi is the father of 10, clinical psychologist, author, public speaker and nationally syndicated radio host.

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All Glory to God, Who brings Mary to our Heavenly Homeland!

The Feast of the Assumption – August 15

What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.  (CCC 487)

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The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread (for details, see this article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia); and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.

Pope Pius XII:  “…All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her divine Son and always sharing his lot.Image result for Mary - scripture

  It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to him, of course, but closely joined with him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this victory and its final prize, but the blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”.
  Image result for Mary - scriptureSo then, the great Mother of God, so mysteriously united to Jesus Christ from all eternity by the same decree of predestination, immaculately conceived, an intact virgin throughout her divine motherhood, a noble associate of our Redeemer as he defeated sin and its consequences, received, as it were, the final crowning privilege of being preserved from the corruption of the grave and, following her Son in his victory over death, was brought, body and soul, to the highest glory of heaven, to shine as Queen at the right hand of that same Son, the immortal King of Ages.”  Image result for Mary - saint quote
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As I have brought My Mother to Me, I wish for you also to be with Me.  Will you follow her example?  Will you do whatever I ask? Will you accept your place as My Father’s adopted son/daughter? The depth of love I have for you is unfathomable. Let My Mother lead you to the Love, the Life, the Happiness I desire for you…
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A Saint for our time… Maximilian Kolbe

St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 – 1941)

He was born on 8 January 1894 in occupied Poland: he joined the Franciscans in Lwów in 1910, and was ordained eight years later, as his country became free and independent for the first time in over 120 years.
He believed that the world was passing through a time of intense spiritual crisis, and that Christians must fight for the world’s salvation with all the means of modern communication. He founded a newspaper, and a sodality called the Knights of Mary Immaculate, which spread widely both in Poland and abroad.
In 1927 he founded a community, a “city of Mary,” at Teresin: centred round the Franciscan friary, it attracted many lay people, and became self-supporting, publishing many periodicals and running its own radio station.
In 1930 he went to Japan, studied Buddhism and Shintoism, and through the Japanese edition of his newspaper spread the Christian message in a way that was in harmony with Japanese culture. In Nagasaki, he set up a “Garden of the Immaculate,” which survived the atomic bomb. He also travelled to Malabar and to Moscow, but was recalled to Poland in 1936 for reasons of health. When the Germans invaded in 1939, the community at Teresin sheltered thousands of refugees, most of them Jews.
In 1941 he was arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he helped and succoured the inmates. In August of that year a prisoner escaped, and in reprisal the authorities were choosing ten people to die by starvation. One of the men had a family, and Maximilian Kolbe offered to take his place. The offer was accepted, and he spent his last days comforting his fellow prisoners.
The man he saved was present at his canonization.
Maximilian Kolbe’s martyrdom is the least important thing about him. We are none of us likely to find ourselves in a position to emulate his sacrifice, and speculation as to the heroic way in which we would have behaved in his place is a pernicious waste of time. What is important is that he acted the way he did because of who he was – or, rather, because of who he had become. It is because of who he had become that we revere him as a saint: he would have been a saint (though perhaps not canonized) even if he had not been martyred. And that process of becoming is something we can all emulate. We can all become people for whom doing the right thing is obvious, natural, and easy. It requires no heroism, no special gifts: just perseverance, and prayer. (Universalis: August 14)
The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.
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Does Jesus only call those with the right credentials?

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.  He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Mk 3:13-19

“Jesus summoned those whom He wanted & they came to Him.”  If we study the Scriptures we will soon find out that Jesus wants everyone – He came that we all may have life and have it to the full.  He came for our salvation -we don’t need any special qualifications – all we need is to say “yes” to Jesus & His promises – say “yes” to His love & His life. There are some that He calls for special tasks, but the Good News is that He calls us all!

Jesus, may I never doubt that You are calling me. When the world and all the many things I am involved with try to drown out Your voice, help me to pause & be silent so that Your calm, loving voice may be my comfort and reassurance – that, yes, You Lord Jesus want even me.

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