Life-in-Christ

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

Let’s talk about May & Mary…

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…

May.

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)
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Passive no longer… Our duty to vote!

By our baptism, Catholics are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be “salt for the earth, light for the nations.” As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person … As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (CCC 1913-1915).

 

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Are you registered to vote?

Are you voting?

Are you voting as a baptized Christian?

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There is a reason that we say that Baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul… Your adoption as a son/daughter of Christ is real & eternal. Once Baptized as a child of God – always a child of God –

& I will vote as a child of God. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, come vote with me...

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Loving as Jesus loved…

 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you… This I command you: love one another.” (Jn 15)

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Reflection for the day: I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Ask yourself “How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?” Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love. Work without love is slavery.        Mother Teresa

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All I need is Jesus & my Bible!

Living what we believe

Or, Do i need more?

Why should we care what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says? Isn’t Scripture sufficient? Isn’t my personal relationship with Jesus all that matters anyway? When I hear questions like this I am reminded of a story I once heard.

One day the manager of a manufacturing plant pulls an employee aside & takes him over to a new machine which had just been installed. It is a huge & complicated machine. The manager tells the employee, “I am going to put you in charge of this machine. If you do a good job with it, you’ll get a bonus of $5000 dollars at the end of the year. But, it is an expensive machine; if you mess it up, out you go on your ear. Here is a book that explains the machine. Now get to work!” Image result for you're fired vs a bonus
“Wait a minute!” the employee says. “If this is going to mean the difference between a bonus and no job at all, I want more than a book. A book is too easy to misunderstand. And besides, you can’t ask questions of a book. How about getting someone over here from the place where they make these machines? They can tell me all about the machine and see that I get it straight.” (The Faith Explained).

So it is with our purpose and our eternal happiness. We need more than a book – we need someone to show us the way. God, has sent His own Son – His own Divine Son, Jesus Christ to show us. Jesus came for our salvation – but He also came to teach us & show us what we need to know about the truths regarding God that will lead to us to a relationship with Him; that will allow us to live as adopted children of God – sharers in His Divine Life. These truths and this sharing in the Divine Life lead us to a love for God – & love finds fulfillment in action. So how are we to live this life of love?Image result for Catechism as a guide

Jesus, knowing that He would ascend to the Father, left us teachers – He chose the Apostles to lead us and guide us, and after them their successors. Jesus entrusted to them the fullness of His teaching – full authority in heaven and on earth – to lead others to Him, and to the Father, and the Holy Spirit. See Catechism (paragraphs 787-810, 857-862) for an initial overview) & Scripture passages (Mk 1:16-20; 3:13-19; Mt 13:10-17; Lk 10:17-20; 22:28-30; Jn 15:4-5;Jn 6:56; Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14; Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; Cf. Acts 2:42…)

This unbroken line – succession- from the Apostles to today is found in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches us what Jesus taught – the path to eternal life, love, & happiness. It is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with a plentitude of Scriptural references that we can find a guide – with the added assistance of the Church’s various ministers to help us follow and stay on the right path – not only through teaching, but through a Sacramental life.

The Church is here to be that guide that will help us understand the guide book (Scripture).  The Church, filled with, & guided by, the Holy Spirit will help guarantee that we get that large bonus at the end of our life.  This bonus, however, is not a large sum of money.  What we get is invaluable – Eternal Life, Love, & Happiness with God.

Let’s learn how to use the Book & the Machine (life) to draw others to Christ, & share this priceless gift with them!

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Living the “us” in Jesus…

Image result for Mark 16:15Bring on the Jesus team!

“…and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians…” (Acts 11:26).

In a talk given by Pope Francis, he warned about those who seek to promote themselves instead of Jesus and His teachings.

Pope Francis warned that some people, even in the Church, are “social climbers” that try to promote themselves, instead of seeking to glorify Christ.

“These social climbers exist even in the Christian communities, no? Those people who are looking out for themselves … and consciously or unconsciously pretend to enter but are thieves and robbers,” he said.

Why? Why steal the glory from Jesus? They want glory for themselves and this is what (Jesus) said to the Pharisees: ‘You seek for each other’s approval,’” the Pope responded. The result of this approach is that the faith becomes “something of a ‘commercial’ religion,” he reflected. “I give glory to you and you give glory to me. But these people did not enter through the true gate. The (true) gate is Jesus and those who do not enter by this gate are mistaken.” Christians can know which way or gate is Jesus’ by looking for the marks of the Beatitudes, he said.

There are many paths that we can follow, he explained, some perhaps more advantageous than others in getting ahead, but they are “misleading, they are not real; they are false. The only path is Jesus.

Jesus calls us to work together in His name. He commands us to go out into the world – Baptizing all in the name of the Father, & the Son, & the Holy Spirit – He commands us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, & Spirit, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

No, the Christian life cannot be about “I,” it is about Jesus … and the collective, unified us.

If I do not go…

Jesus goes, so that the Holy Spirit can come

Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you (Jn 16:5-).”

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We don’t always understand why people have to leave us. Whether they leave because of death, job, family, or other reasons – it affects us. Initially, it seems that leaving is equal to void – to emptiness. However, Jesus tells us that He has to go or we will be missing out on fullness of life – with Him! If He doesn’t go, then the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Life & Love – the Spirit of Jesus and the Father – won’t come.

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Jesus offers us so much – more than anyone or anything can – prepare yourself – trust in Him – be at peace. For although He goes, He is still with us.

Are you open to the Holy Spirit?  Do you pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit? In your life? For others? For your family? For your community of faith?

Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before us in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Community: Discipleship: “Not going it alone”

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness… Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them… ((Mt.10:1,7).

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick (Lk.9:2)

Go - but not alone...

After this the Lord appointed seventy [-two]* others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit… He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest (Lk. 10:1,2).

And he (Jesus) called the twelve; and began to send them two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits (Mk. 6:7).

These are just a few Scripture passages from the New Testament showing us how Jesus sends us forth with others. He calls us forth into community (Baptism) & then sends us out as a community of believers to share the Good News and His healing power (Eucharist & Confirmation).

Do we understand the power & strength of community living – why Jesus established a Church? (Mt 16:18) The Church is about mission – the mission of Evangelization- sharing the Good News and caring for Jesus’ people… Matthew 28:1-20, Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Matthew 26:1-75, Acts 1:8

Let us pray this day asking Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our role in community – if Jesus has called us forth into community – & He has – then we must acknowledge that we have a role – not just as an individual, but as a member of Christ’s Church, who is called to go forth as a disciple with others.

We are reminded in the Acts of the Apostles that, “The word of God continued to spread and grow.”   God’s Word still continues to spread … all we have to do is pray for God’s Spirit to come upon us – & then work together, as disciples, in God’s name.

Come Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to show me, to confirm for me my role in your Great Plan. Amen.

The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit!

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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.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise when we read in the Acts of the Apostles that: The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Even though they had just been persecuted & thrown out of the area… they had the Holy Spirit within them – & were filled with joy!  As a disciple of Christ, can we say the same?Image result for death where is your sting - Christian - quotes

Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Be Joyful!

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We know the outcome…

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

All we have to do is: Ask for the Holy Spirit — 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. Are we living the Easter message?  Do we ask the Holy Spirit to come to us… to be with us … to guide us in all we do? Do we need to make changes?

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

Pause-

Even before it was a popular saying, I would often tell people (myself included), to take a moment to pause, pray, & then proceed.  This can help put things in perspective – calm you down – and allow you to continue whatever you are doing in a more peaceful, meaningful way.

Recently, when I was on my computer, I was struck by the need to pause & be grateful, when I saw the following graphic about blessings… how true it is – Image result for Blessed

 Beginning your day with prayer puts everything in focus, & taking a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life, is a great way to start your day on the right foot.

How are you starting your day? Do you have a lot to do? Are things rushed, and easily become hectic & out of control? If you PAUSE – Take a moment to PRAY – then PROCEED – things will be put in their proper prospective, and engulf your day in a cloud of calm.

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Heavenly Father, thank you for all of the gifts that you have blessed me with.  Thank you for a wonderful husband, who walks my faith journey with me, and who is a great father to our children. Thank you Lord for my 2 beautiful children – they truly are my greatest joy & comfort.  Thank you for all of the blessings in my life – great & small – including Your very presence.  Please continue to be with me – sending Your Spirit to guide me & direct me in all I do – in Jesus’ name I pray.

 

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Where is my Lord? — The Easter Season continues…

Where is my Lord?

Greetings in Christ! As the Easter Season continues, I think back to my childhood.  Growing up, one of my family’s traditions was the hiding of Easter baskets and Easter eggs. When we got home from Easter Sunday Mass, we knew that if we wanted to partake in all of the Easter goodies – chocolate, different flavored jelly beans, and more chocolate – we would have to find our Easter basket.

For those of you who think I am going to talk about the joy and anticipation of this tradition – you are mistaken. I dreaded the Easter basket hunt and the Easter egg hunt later in the day, even though there was monetary reward involved with the latter.

Everyone else in my family loved these traditions. My own children love doing something similar.  So, why did I find it so dreadful? To put it quite frankly, I often have difficulty finding things that are not in plain site. Unfortunately, sometimes even when things are in plain site, I still don’t see them.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise then that the Easter story which touches me most is from the Gospel of John (20:13). Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb where Jesus was laid. Some angels, whom Mary doesn’t recognize as such, ask her why she is crying.

“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” The Gospel continues: She turned around and saw Jesus standing , but did not know that it was Jesus.

He was so close – right in front of her – but she did not recognize Him. It is not until Jesus says her name, “Mary,” that she is able to recognize Him.

Jesus is risen. Truly risen! He lives and He is present to us. Do we seek Him? Are we open to recognizing Him, especially as He calls us by name? or – Do we just assume that we are better off not searching because we can’t readily see Him?

Jesus is always with us. Sometimes it will be easy to see Him, other times, not so easy. As a child, my dad would go stand by my basket, or by where some of the eggs were hidden, and all he would have to do is gently say my name, and I would know that the treasure was very close. I was then able, by his quiet guidance, to quickly discover that which I previously could not detect. Even though I acted as if I didn’t care, once I found my Easter treat, I was filled with joy!

Our faith teaches us that the Crucifixion is not the end of the story. Christ lives and is present to us. He calls us each by name, and wants us to find Him – daily.

May we open our eyes and our hearts to the many ways He calls us, so that like Mary Magdalene, our weeping can be turned into great joy and happiness. We, then, can in turn share the Good News, as Mary did with the Apostles: “I have seen the Lord!”

Wishing you many Easter graces and blessings as we continue our faith journey together!

 

 

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