Life-in-Christ

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

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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Guiding our children (& others) in the right direction…

When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.

—CS Lewis

 

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3 Key sources for teaching & guiding our children:

1. Scripture

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2. The Catechism

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On the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by John Paul II: GUARDING THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH IS THE MISSION WHICH THE LORD ENTRUSTED TO HIS CHURCH, and which she fulfils in every age… The Catechism of the Catholic Church … is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium.  I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

3. Example

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Family…

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How do you feel?

How do you make those in your family feel?

Pray that you & those in your family may have the strength & patience to live for one another; to love one another; to support one another; and, to do all of this in a way that allows each member to feel lived for, loved, & supported.

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Jesus: The Healer…

A leper came to him (Jesus) and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He (Jesus) remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45)

Image result for jesus heal meDo I believe that Jesus can heal me from whatever keeps me from being whole? Have I asked Jesus to heal me? Have I ever told anyone about the healing power of Jesus?

Jesus, healer of all, may I always turn to You in need and trust that You will heal me. May I truly desire to be made clean and pure – in accordance with my dignity as one created by God & given the privilege by Your sacrifice on the cross to be an adopted child of God. Amen.

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Restless…

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Augustine (August 28th): A short synopsis of his life is provided below (courtesy of The Catholic Encyclopedia).

As we celebrate his feast & his life, a question worth asking is “Why does someone who lived over 1600 years ago remain relevant for both disciples & non-disciples of Christ?”

Image result for st augustineWe are made for God & it is for this reason that the Catechism of the Catholic Church begins with the Prologue titled: The Life of Man—To Know and Love God … “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength…” (read more).

We need to ask ourselves daily – what are our hearts seeking after? If we start to feel agitated, discouraged, “unhappy,” perhaps it is because we are no longer resting in God; no longer seeking to know Him & to love Him.

Am I spending time with God?
Am I seeking to grow in my love for Him?
Am I seeking to know Him more deeply?
When am I “happiest” and most at peace?
How do I define “happiness”?
Whose voice do I listen most intently to – God’s or the culture & media?
At the end of my life, what will happen? Do I trust in God’s promise of eternal life, love, & happiness -with Him?

“FATHER,… this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” 1 Jn.17:3.

 

St Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430)
He was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church and embraced the Manichaean heresy, later seeing how nonsensical it was and becoming a Neoplatonist instead. He led a wild and dissolute youth. He took a concubine by whom he had a son, Adeodatus. He had a brilliant legal and acedemic career. At length, through the prayers of his mother, and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christanity. He was baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death. He returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous number of works: the Office of Readings has many extracts from them. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.

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I have been blessed…

Short reflection taken from ThrivingFamily.com:

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, we 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.
  • Cures our bent: 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.
  • 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

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Thank you Jesus for the gift of my children.

 

1) What are you grateful for? (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?

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How are you living?

 

Be careful, my child, in all you do, well-disciplined in all your behavior.

Do to no one what you would not want done to you. Give your bread to those who are hungry, and your clothes to those who are naked.

Whatever you own in plenty, devote a proportion to almsgiving. Bless the Lord God in everything; beg him to guide your ways and bring your paths and purposes to their end.   Tobit 4

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The Lord is my strength…

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Turn to the Lord.  Be still. Let Him be….

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Why I don’t walk away… even when I want to…

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Our Lady, Mother & Queen

Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.

– St. Augustine

 
 
 
 
Almighty God, our Father,
  you have given us Mary, the Mother of your Son,
  to be our Mother and Queen.
Grant that, supported by her prayers,
  we may come to the kingdom of heaven
  and to the glory destined for your children.
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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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012 http://xtnfamily.tumblr.com/