Life-in-Christ

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

I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Jn.8:12

During our Lenten journey, we continue to see the play between light & darkness that the Church uses in our Scripture readings at Mass.

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The Transfiguration story is told early on during Lent.  When St. Thomas Aquinas reflects on the Transfiguration, he speaks of  ‘the “light” or the “glory” that envelops Christ during the Transfiguration. It “shines.”  Why have people, trans-historically and trans-culturally, associated holiness with light? Well, light is that by which we see, that which illumines and clarifies. But at bottom it is the fact that light is beautiful. Beautiful things shine. Aquinas says that Jesus, at the Transfiguration, began to shine with the radiance of heaven so as to entrance us with the prospect of our own transfiguration.

Our journey, both through Lent & through life, may at times seem dark.  However, Christ is the light, Who shows us the way to our true destination – eternal life with Him.

Fr. Barron in his reflection on the Transfiguration, summarizes St. Thomas, by noting  that Jesus is transfigured so as to show us what our ultimate goal/ our ultimate destination is.  Image result for heaven - scriptureWe can not be motivated, or inspired to achieve our highest potential if we don’t know what it is, or where we are going.

“At the Transfiguration, Moses was there representing the law and Elijah was there representing the prophets. But why were Peter, James, and John present? And what does this event mean to us today?”

“As he makes his way toward the cross, Jesus accordingly allows, for a brief time, his glory to shine through, the radiance of his divinity to appear. We are not meant finally for this world. This event is meant to awaken our sense of wonder at the world to come.”

How often do you reflect (with a sense of wonder) on the world to come?  Are you preparing, every day, for this life that will not end, with Christ?  We have the promise of life, light, & love without end.  Allow yourself to meditate with wonder and anticipation on that for which we were created -

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Jesus is preparing a place for you... Do you have a place prepared for Him in your heart? In your life?

 

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Darkness: Is it to be feared?

As I was reading Fr. Barron’s Lenten Reflection yesterday, I took a moment to pause and meditate on his focus on “Faith & darkness.”  

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In the morning when I wake up, I love the darkness.  This is the time of day when I find the most peace and quiet.  I am able to meditate and pray.  I can collect my thoughts, & focus on God, and Godly intentions.

However, Fr. Barron was reflecting on our “primordial fear of darkness.”  We become defenseless, unable to see where we are going, he says.

Thus, my own reflection led me to agree.  I do love the early morning darkness, and even the darkness found at night that allows me to sleep, but once I seek to move – I need light.

Even in surroundings in which I am quite familiar, I need light to move.  I never know if a dog, or a cat, or a loose toy will have somehow managed to “mysteriously” found its way into my familiar path.  I have suffered many a scape or  bruise from tripping over such things.Image result for darkness

This was Fr. Barron’s point.  “The fear of the dark is primordial. We don’t know where we are going, and that is so frustrating! So it is with the things of God.”    Our life of faith can seem to us as if we are walking in deep darkness.   Unlike evil, which seeks to keep us in darkness, the true life of Faith, which is centered on God, lights up our path, & leads us to true peace, joy, security, love, & life.

The Scripture story, which we read for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, about Abraham & Isaac, shows us that “God can be trusted, even when he is leading us through the deepest darkness. This means that great faith is justified – for Abram, and for us.”

Image result for darkness & GodDon’t be fooled by those who try to convince you that the darkness of evil & immorality are no different than the darkness of Faith.  There is a huge difference: one leads to destruction & loneliness — the other leads to eternal life & happiness.

Take a few moments & study the Scriptures; spend time with God – He is the one who will provide the light for your journey, & keep you safe.  Abraham & Isaac

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Gospel of John 8:12

Learn to wait patiently, & you will see the light of God shining brightly for you. It will lead you where you need to go.  

Jesus gives us His assurance: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)

 

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t.”  CS Lewis

 

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Who is Jesus?

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Today in broad circles, even among believers, an image has prevailed of a Jesus who demands nothing, never scolds, who accepts everyone and everything, who no longer does anything but affirm us.

The Jesus of the Gospels is quite different, demanding, bold. The Jesus who makes everything okay for everyone is a phantom, a dream, not a real figure. The Jesus of the Gospels is certainly not convenient for us.”

—Pope Benedict XVI

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During this season of Lent– get to know Jesus- the real Jesus.  Read the 1st Chapter of John in the Bible…

Is this the Jesus you know?  Do you live your life – your prayer life, your spiritual life, & your daily life in relationship to this Jesus?

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Temptation…

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Mk. 1:12-15; Mt. 4:1-10

“In answer to modern requests for signs and wonders, Our Lord might say, ‘You repeat Satan’s temptation, whenever you admire the wonders of science, and forget that I am the Author of the Universe and its science. Your scientists are the proofreaders, but not the authors of the Book of Nature; they can see and examine My handiwork, but they cannot create one atom themselves (without using the matter I have created). You would tempt Me to prove Myself omnipotent by meaningless tests…You tempt Me after you have willfully destroyed your own cities with bombs by shrieking out, “Why does God not stop this war?” You tempt Me, saying that I have no power, unless I show it at your beck and call. This, if you remember, is exactly how Satan tempted Me in the desert.

I have never had many followers on the lofty heights of Divine truth, I know; for instance, I have hardly had the intelligentsia. I refuse to perform stunts to win them, for they would not really be won that way. It is only when I am seen on the Cross that I really draw men to Myself; it is by sacrifice, and not by marvels, that I must make My appeal. I must win followers not with test tubes, but with My blood; not with material power, but with love; not with celestial fireworks, but with the right use of reason and free will.”   Fulton Sheen

If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation. St Augustine

 

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Lent: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return. Gen 3:19. Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.. Mk 1:15

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.

When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secImage result for lent journeyret will repay you.
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Facts, figures, and dates about Ash Wednesday. Click the underlined for more info

Make this Lent count – Prepare your heart, mind, soul, & family for a glorious Resurrection – a preparation for eternal life – where love & happiness are ours forever with God who loves us so much that He came & suffered & died for love of us—- not because He had to, but because He loves us & wanted to. What are we willing to do for Him?

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True love…

True love

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We are all in need of love. Society, & the people who make up society are often confused about what it means to love.  True love must be rooted in love of God.   Therefore, we must love as God loves — when it is easy and when it is not easy — when it is pretty and when it might not be as pretty….

How can you show love?  Here are some places in Scripture to meditate upon… & apply to your life and your relationships.

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Image result for Love - bible

 

Lord, may seek to love You as much as You love me.  Let that love be my source of strength & inspiration for loving others.  Amen.

Happiness continued…

 

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.  Psalm 92

 

 

 

 

 

 

He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. Proverbs 16:20

 

 

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

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Happiness…

Meditate on these 6 Steps…

Do you struggle with any of these steps? Which ones? Why?  As you reflect on these, also realize that these will help you to draw closer to God, & lead you to Eternal Happiness!

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My family is my strength…

But Family must be rooted in Christ & his love….

“Maybe the soul is tired because all it needs is more time with the Lord. Maybe the heart is tired because it has been fed with all the wrong things. Maybe the mind is tired because it hasn’t been nourished with beneficial knowledge.”

Dear God, Help me to spend time with You this day. May my family be my strength. May my family be a reflection of Your love. May I spend as much emotional time and energy with my family as I do in all the other areas of my life: work, social media, play, distractions, school, & the problem’s of others. May my family never “feel” the absence of my love. Rather, may my love be so strong & rooted in Your love, that they may “feel” it even when I am not with them. Amen.

Family is our greatest strength... & a family rooted in Christ is the strongest yet.

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In need of a spiritual mentor?

The life & writings of st Francis de sales:

St Francis taught that we can all attain a devout and spiritual life, whatever our position in society: holiness is not reserved for monks and hermits alone. He wrote that “religious devotion does not destroy: it perfects,” and his spiritual counsel is dedicated to making people more holy by making them more themselves.

St Francis mentored many people in his life time – bishops, priests, nuns, & lay people. He provided great spiritual counsel, & his wisdom lives on today in his writings…

Major writings of St Francis de Sales:

“An Introduction to the Devout Life,” a work intended to lead “(Philothea)”, the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and “it is an error, it is even a heresy”, to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life.

“Treatise on the Love of God,” It contains twelve books. The first four give us a history, or rather explain the theory, of Divine love, its birth in the soul, its growth, its perfection, and its decay and annihilation; the fifth book shows that this love is twofold – the love of complacency and the love of benevolence; the sixth and seventh treat of affective love, which is practised in prayer; the eight and ninth deal with effective love, that is, conformity to the will of God, and submission to His good pleasure. The last three resume what has preceded and teach how to apply practically the lessons taught therein.

“Defense of the Standard of the Cross”, a demonstration of the virtue:

    • of the True Cross;
    • of the Crucifix;
    • of the Sign of the Cross;
    • an explanation of the Veneration of the Cross.“Spiritual Conferences,”familiar conversations on religious virtues addressed to the sisters of the Visitation and collected by them

“Sermons,” – various sermons preached while he was Bishop.

“Letters,” mostly letters of direction, in which the minister of God effaces himself and teaches the soul to listen to God, the only true director.

Do you have a spiritual mentor/friend? Are you in need of one?  Why not invite St. Francis de Sales into your life?  He will lead you to a deep & loving relationship with God!

Excerpts adapted from the Catholic Encyclopedia

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