Life-in-Christ

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

2nd Sunday of Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord…

Image result for lead me LordThe beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. (MK.1:1)

Reflection

The Prophet Isaiah reminds us that the Lord will lead us in the way we should go, if only we hearken to His commands – if we but listen to what He says to us.  In the hustle & bustle of the activity leading up to Christmas, are we taking time to slow down & hearken to God’s voice? Are we surrounded with enough quiet to hear Him?Image result for stillness =scripture

Advent Action

Take a few moments each day this Advent for some quiet time to reflect on God’s Word.  What is God saying to us?  How does He speak to us through His prophets? through His Church? through the silence of our prayer?

Prayer

Lord, teach me what is good for me.  Let me hear your voice so that I may be guided along the right path.  Amen.

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

Advent: Preparing & Sharing…

Happy & Blessed Advent Season!
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come!

The word Advent is from the Latin adventus for “coming” and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas. Advent always contains four Sundays, beginning on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, (November 30) and continuing until December 24.

Advent is a great time to reflect on our own spiritual life, and where we are in our relationship to God and to others. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on how we are living out our Baptismal call “to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.”

How can we practically share the love and message of Christ? The USCCB released a study a few years ago that they had commissioned, titled Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012. This study shows how Catholics in the United States get their information; what place religion plays in their search for information; and, how they view the Catholic Church’s presence, most specifically on the internet. This is a great resource for us who work in ministry to see where and how we need to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ!Advent wreath with lighted candles  Stock Photo - 16662000

In looking at the data, I found it of great interest, that while it appears at first glance that some of the numbers are low, in reality they are quite staggering. For example, only one in 20 Catholic adults (5 percent) reads or follows a blog about the Catholic Church, faith, or spirituality. This is equivalent to an audience of 2.9 million individuals. 5% translates into 2.9 million individuals, that is a lot of precious souls to be able to share the Good News with! I encourage you to see how you can promote some of these Catholic blogs…

In addition to technology, there are other ways that we are called “to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.” As Pope Benedict reminded us, and Pope Francis likewise notes, we are called To Welcome the Stranger. We are invited to welcome, with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities, those who have no home, no family, & no community.

Advent Resources

A friend of mine regularly reminds me of this welcoming aspect of evangelization & the new evangelization: We must meet people where they are and welcome them and love them as Christ would. We will not convince them of the truth and beauty of the Good News of Jesus Christ if it does not offer them hope, and if it does not seem real. If ours is not an authentic witness and oneness with those we are reaching out to, it won’t matter how good our blogs or our presentations are. Why? Because Christ will not be truly visible.

As I conclude, and as we begin our Advent journey, I offer you a quote from the Synod on the New Evangelization:

“… the importance of humility was raised, with Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan in the Philippines. saying to loud applause that the Gospel can be preached to empty stomachs, but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as those of his flock.”

As we seek to share the Good News, can those we are serving and ministering to see Christ in us?

Let us together be true witnesses of the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Do you believe that Christ is King?

Click for meditation

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?

Click for Meditation

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

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…

Image result for gratitude attitude

Image result for give thanks to the lord

Thank you Lord for all of your gifts & blessings.

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

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.

Image result for god bless america

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

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… 

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

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.

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

Guardian Angel, Pure & Bright, Guide me both Day & Night…

Image result for Guardian Angel

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

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged | Comments Off

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.

Posted in Catechesis | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off
M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012 http://xtnfamily.tumblr.com/