Life-in-Christ

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

Pentecost: The Promise of the Holy Spirit

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Acts 11

As I (Peter) began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift He gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”

There is a period of 50 days from Easter Sunday until Pentecost Sunday.  The word Pentecost comes from the Greek, literally meaning 50th day.  Pentecost is a feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the “feast of weeks” or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10).

During these 50 days, the Church in her daily Mass readings invites us to enter into the life of the early Church, specifically through the Acts of the Apostles.  We see the struggles and the joys encountered as the early disciples sought to understand and live out the message of Jesus Christ.  Within these struggles and joys, we also witness a great unity – where they are of one mind & heart.   The disciples come to understand the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus promised to them to guide them into all truth.

This year, Pentecost falls on May 20th.  Let us take time to walk with the disciples by prayerfully reading the Acts of the Apostles, and praying for an openness to the Holy Spirit so that we may be filled with the transforming & life-giving power of God.

Risen Lord, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to us.   Help us to prepare our minds and hearts to receive this great Gift so that we may go forth in Your power and Your love – offering the message and joy You offer to all those we meet.  Amen.

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Let’s talk about Mary and the month of May…

Mary & the month of May

Have you ever read that book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”?

Talking about Mary, is kind of like that…

If you mention May and the Blessed Mother, you have to mention May Crowning.If you mention May Crowning, you have to explain how Mary is the Queen of Heaven & Earth.

If you mention that Mary is the Queen of Heaven & Earth, you have to talk about the Assumption.

If you talk about the Assumption, you have to explain that Mary was received into Heaven, body and soul, without suffering corruption.

If you make it through all of that, you have to explain that Jesus loved her and wouldn’t the perfect Son want to do that for the Mother who bore Him and loved Him and was there at the beginning of His public ministry and stayed with Him even when He was crucified on Calvary.

If you explain that she is full of grace and lived out her calling perfectly, you have to talk about the Immaculate Conception.

If you talk about the Immaculate Conception, you are going to have to talk about the Ark of the Covenant and how no man could touch it and how it prefigured Mary and how she is the New Eve and why that’s all scriptural and the Book of Revelations and the Women Clothed with the Sun and how she was like Hannah, and Ruth, and Queen Esther, and Judith.

And if you make it to Judith, you are going to have to explain why Judith is not in their Protestant Bibles—but they don’t know what they are missing because it is an AWESOME book.

And if you make it past the Septuagint, you are going to have to explain why the Protestant Reformers rejected it.

If you mention the Protestant Reformation, you are going to have to talk about Indulgences and the Papacy and praying to the Saints and the Rosary.And if you talk about the Rosary, you are going to have to talk about why the prayers come right out of the Bible and the Our Father was prayed by Jesus Himself and the Hail Mary is a combination of the words of Archangel Gabriel and Saint Elizabeth (Gospel of Luke).

And if you manage to explain why we pray memorized prayers, you will have to explain that we pray in many different ways and it all comes together in the Mass and the Mass fits into the Liturgical Calendar and the Liturgical Calendar takes us from Advent to Christmas to Ordinary Time to Lent to Easter to Pentecost to…

To the Blessed Mother (Who always leads us to Jesus)!

And… if you mention the month of May and the Blessed Mother, you’d better put on another pot of coffee because you are about to cover the same ground all over again.

 

 

(adapted from Catholic by Grace blogspot)

Hit the road…for Jesus!

“I have been sent by the Lord Jesus Who appeared to you on the road.”
–Acts 9:17

Saul went to Jerusalem and then to Damascus to arrest those who were “living according to the new way” (Acts 9:2). The exact translation is “those living according to the way,” or even more precisely, “those living according to the road.” Ironically, Jesus appeared to Saul on the road (Acts 9:3) when Saul was about to arrest those “living according to the road.”

Saul’s conversion was not the only one to begin on the road. The Ethiopian eunuch took the gospel to the ends of the earth (see Acts 1:8) after he was converted on the road in his chariot (Acts 8:26ff). On the afternoon of Jesus’ resurrection, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus “said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning inside us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’ ” (Lk 24:32) “Then they recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know Him in the breaking of bread” (Lk 24:35). After Mary received the Holy Spirit and became the mother of God, she hit the road and brought Jesus and the Spirit to Elizabeth and her pre-born baby, John (Lk 1:39).

Jesus, Mary, and Paul were on the road. The early Church called herself “the road.” The message is: Life is a road-trip, the Church is a road-house, and our job is road-work. Go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come to Jesus (Lk 14:23). Hit the road for the risen Jesus.

Above Reflection Taken From: http://www.mycatholic.com/reflections/

The Easter Season Continues…

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Do you believe that Christ is King?

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Feast of Christ the King
Sunday, November 26th

Grace and peace to you from Him who is, who was, and who is to come, from the seven spirits in His presence before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First-born from the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. He loves us and has washed away our sins with His blood, and made us a line of kings, priests to serve His God and Father; to Him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev. 1: 4-6)

Thy kingdom come
The coming of the kingdom of God, says our Lord and Savior, does not admit of observation, and there will be no-one to say “Look here! Look there!” For the kingdom of God is within us and in our hearts. And so it is beyond doubt that whoever prays for the coming of the kingdom of God within himself is praying rightly, praying for the kingdom to dawn in him, bear fruit and reach perfection. For God reigns in every saint, and every saint obeys God’s spiritual laws — God, who dwells in him just as he dwells in any well-ordered city. The Father is present in him and in his soul Christ reigns alongside the Father, as it is said: We will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Continue reading…

Do I believe Christ is the King?
What does it mean for me to believe or not to believe?
If I believe, what kind of allegiance to the King is demanded by my belief?

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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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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2018