Life-in-Christ

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

1st Communion…more than a party…

This weekend my daughter celebrates her 1st Holy Communion.  This is a special moment for her, for our family, and for the Church.

I echo what Pope Benedict XVI once said, I use both the ‘I’ and the ‘we.’ For on many, many matters, I am not simply expressing ideas that have happened to occur to (Joseph Ratzinger) insert your individual name, but I am speaking out of the common life of the Church’s communion.

Receiving the Eucharist is one of those times when we can and should use both “I” and “we.” In the Eucharist “I” receive Jesus Himself – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  In the Eucharist, I become more fully part of the “we” that makes up the Church.

The reception of a Sacrament, and especially the receiving of the Eucharist, is and should be done in communion with other members of the Church.  It is a private and public action.  It illustrates our individual union with God, but it also highlights our communion with the Body of Christ, the Church.

FROM THE CATECHISM & THE BIBLE

INSTITUTING THE EUCHARIST (1337)Image result for 1st Communion  - black girl

At the Last Supper, knowing that his hour had come to leave this world, Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, gave them the command of love, and then instituted the Eucharist. When he commanded the apostles to “do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19), “he constituted them priests of the New Testament” (Council of Trent).

FOUR ACCOUNTS (1338)

Paul, Matthew, Mark, and Luke give an account of the institution of the Eucharist. John prepares for this institution by recording Christ’s words at Capernaum, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51). Learn more …

Image result for 1st Communion  quotes The Eucharist is an amazing gift that Christ has left us.  He loves us and desires to nourish us and keep us united with Himself and with one another.  This is why we have a period of preparation prior to our 1st Communion.  It is an event that we want to highlight and memorialize with solemnity and celebration.

Unfortunately, sometimes the actual reception of the Eucharist gets overshadowed by the party/parties that occur afterwards.

My own daughter will have 2 celebrations so that as many family members as possible can share in the momentous occasion.  I pray, however, that the beauty and love that is not just a symbol, but a reality, will fill my daughter and all of us who are part of the Body of Christ, with the knowledge and joy of knowing that Christ loves us unto death and has left us a physical way to be united with Him here and now.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise & All Thanksgiving, Be Every Moment Thine…

Image result for eucharist

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

St Joseph… working with Christ

May 1 – Feast of st joseph the worker

What is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker?

Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.

In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.

Comment:Image result for work - scripture
“The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15). The Father created all and asked humanity to continue the work of creation. We find our dignity in our work, in raising a family, in participating in the life of the Father’s creation. Joseph the Worker was able to help participate in the deepest mystery of creation. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, ‘Go to Joseph’” (see Genesis 41:44).
Quote:
In Brothers of Men, René Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus speaks about ordinary work and holiness: “Now this holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of work, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God….this mystery involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living.”
Do you see your work as a way to be connected to Jesus?  Can you find God in your work? Do you let Him be part of your work?  Ask St. Joseph to help you…

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

What is Divine Mercy Sunday? What is Divine Mercy?

Since 2000, the second Sunday of Easter has also been known as Divine Mercy SundayOn the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that “from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.”  Pope John Paul II had made “mercy” a theme of his pontificate.  In 1980, he wrote an encyclical on mercy, entitled, “Rich in Mercy.”  Therefore, it is not surprising that he would want a Feast in honor of God’s mercy. Why, however, did he choose the Sunday after Easter? He did this in order to highlight the fact that the Church’s liturgy is already proclaiming what God had revealed about His mercy to Faustina.

On the Second Sunday of Easter, the responsorial psalm and Gospel for Cycles A, B and C center on the theme of mercy. In Psalm 118 we sing three times, “His mercy endures forever.” The Gospel, from John 20:19-31, begins with the risen Christ appearing to the apostles on Easter night. Jesus calms his disciples by saying and giving them “Peace.”  The Gospel continues: Then he (Jesus) breathes on them and explains what the Divine breathing means with the words, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” He gives the apostles the power of God’s mercy for the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy.

In his sermon for the canonization, Pope John Paul II highlights Faustina’s writings on mercy, as well as our call to live the message.  Here are some excerpts from a sermon given by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska on 30 April 2000 (Vatican web site).

From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion
began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. TheImage result for jesus hugging
message is nothing new, but is a reminder of what the
Church has always taught through scripture and tradition:

…that God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners.

The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy
is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us —
no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

AAsk for His Mercy. God wants us to approach
Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and
asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon
the whole world.

BBe merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
to us.

CCompletely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will
receive.

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/backgr.htm#ixzz2PZkefsh2

Divine Mercy Chaplet

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , | Comments Off

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…

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Rejoice! Christ is Risen!

Image result for Easter - Jesus

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”

—CS Lewis

 

 

Image result for Easter - Jesus

 

Search no longer…

Happy Easter… Let us celebrate, not just for one day, but for a Season & for a Reason — we have found the answer… & the answer is Christ!

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed…  Jn.20:1-9

Search no longer. Christ is the answer!

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

For God so Loved the World…

Image result for god so loved the world

 Good Friday: A special REMEMBRANCE of God’s Love

Holy Week is a time for us to slow down, reflect on our relationship with Christ, & His great love for us.

Fridays during Lent, are dedicated in a special way, to honoring God’s great love & the  Good Friday manifestation of this Love…by Jesus’ Death on a Cross… for our salvation.

“Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life.”   Pope Benedict XVIImage result for god so loved the world

How much time have you spent allowing God’s Word to penetrate your life?

Are you reflecting on: Who you are? Where you come from? Where you must go? What path you must take in life?

The Gospel of John is a great place to begin… click on the underlined link to help guide you.  Reading, hearing, meditating on Jesus’ Passion & Death is not very comfortable, but it is necessary.  It gives us time to know Jesus more deeply.  It allows us to have a glimpse of what love is willing to do; of what love is capable of doing.

For God So Loved the World…

 

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Spy Wednesday: The Cost of Betrayal…

Click for video meditation

 

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt 26:14

 

 

Image result for spy wednesday catholic

Click for video meditation

What does Judas’ betrayal mean to us? To you? To me?  Do I betray Christ?  What type of “silver” am I choosing?  I encourage you to click on the images & reflect on the message of the videos…

This is the holiest of weeks…do I understand what Christ has done for us, for me?  Am I prepared to celebrate in His victory?  Am I prepared to walk with Him to Calvary so that I can share in His victory, His Love, His Life…?

Let us take time over the next few days to be with Jesus. Let us reflect on Scripture, talk to Jesus, and listen to Him.  

Image result for Judas - fulton sheen

As the events of Holy Week intensify, are we prepared to be known as "criminals?" Do we stand by Jesus?

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Palm Sunday: Entering into Holy Week.

Palm Sunday, is the official entry into Holy Week, the last week of Lent. In Catholic tradition, the conclusion of the week is the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum begins Thursday evening of Holy Week and concludes with the Easter Vigil.

On Palm Sunday we observe the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The crowds who were in Jerusalem for the Passover welcomed the proclaimed King by waving palms as He entered the city.

The irony of His acceptance as the new King by the crowds – who would only five days later cry for His execution – should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.

Let us take time this week to meditate on all the Christ has done for us – His road to Calvary – and the events and actions by those closest to Him & by those who claimed to know His Father. Click on image below for a short video meditation.

Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your Only-Begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Click
Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , | Comments Off

How is your Lent going? Are you having the best Lent ever?

I want to share a Lenten resource with you.  However, first I want to share what I am doing this Lent, which will explain why I am not regularly blogging.Image result for let god turn your world upside down - scripture

  1. I am intentionally spending more time with my family: going to movies, eating more with them, riding bikes when the weather is nice, watching a Harry Potter movie marathon with my son, taking my daughter to the library for a date day… I am trying to focus more of my time & energy on them, rather than crossing off items on a list every day.
  2. I am trying to focus on God & my need for Him to give direction to my life, rather than attempting to fix it all myself.  I have made the short prayer – “Jesus, I trust in You…” a regular part of my day…
  3. I am trying (not always successfully) to say no to all the other requests for my time that are taking me away from my family & my #1 resolution noted above.
  4. I am reflecting with Matthew Kelley on how to make this the Best Lent Ever!  click on this link:  http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/ 

The reflection for March 7th was entitled “Upside Down.”

If you let Jesus turn your life upside down, you will be happier than you ever imagined was possible. And you won’t just have happiness—you will have joy!Image result for Jesus transforming

This is what Jesus does. He radically transforms the lives of the people he encounters, by rearranging their priorities. Perhaps that is why we avoid a deeply personal encounter with Jesus, because we are afraid of that radical transformation. But you will look back a few years from now on things you thought were so very important today and realize that they were not—and that your new priorities have more truth, beauty, and wisdom.

Are we proactively seeking Jesus? Are we making an effort to experience him? Are we curious about him? Are we in a hurry to meet him? Are we happy to welcome him? What change is your heart prescribing for your life?  Are you proactively seeking Jesus out? or Are you just stumbling upon Jesus at different moments & in different experiences of your life?  Is Jesus really a priority in your life?

Image result for seeking jesus

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Laetare: We should be joyful, we know the outcome…

Image result for John 3:16 quotes

We know that Christ has won our salvation for us…We have reason to be joyful!  If only we faithfully accept God’s great & loving gift. Let us, therefore, be faithful to the One who has loved us unto death.  The Church pauses & reminds us, during our Lenten journey, to celebrate this victory won for our salvation: “Laetare Sunday” or, in English, “Joy Sunday.”

 

 

Image result for death where is your sting - Christian - quotes

 

                 Be Faithful! Be Joyful!

Image result for death where is your sting - Christian - quotes

 

 

We know the outcome…

We know that God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) love us.

All we have to do is: Love God in return, & love our neighbor (be kind to all, be patient with all, do not think ourselves better than others…). 

Today is a good day to reflect on how faithful, how joyful, & how loving we are.  Do we need to make changes?

“My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior” (Lk 1:46:47)

Related image

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off
M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2018