Life-in-Christ

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

Daddy, do you know what I do all day?

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mt.10:14

Children are such a great blessing, but with this great blessing also comes great responsibility!   Speaking only from my personal experience and conversations with my own friends and co-workers (the majority who are women/mothers) – women tend to think about & worry about this responsibility and how all those “little moments” can be teachable & future shaping moments.

Women also tend to be able to focus on how all the daily events are forming and transforming who these little blessings are becoming. Dad’s can and do, as well.  Although, at times, their approach may be different.

Click on image for a video meditation.

 In the cited article below, Dr. Meg Meeker, MD focuses on the father/son relationship.  However, the majority of what is said can certainly also be applied to the father/daughter relationship.

Today, natural, healthy boyhood is under attack.

It is threatened not only by an educational establishment that devalues masculinity and boyishness, and not only by widely remarked social changes including widespread divorce and the rise of single-parent households that deprive boys of the responsible fathers they need, but by a noxious popular culture that is as degrading to boys as it is dangerous to girls.

As parents, we know that boyhood has been changing—for the worse. We want our boys to build tree forts and bear traps, not shoot aliens in video games. We remember when boys use to go trout fishing, sit under a tree while daydreaming about the future, and now we fear that our boys are cutting themselves off from us with iPods, earbuds, and computer porn.

Are our boys in trouble? If so, are they in more danger than past generations? Yes, and most definitely yes. But unlike some psychologists, sociologists, and educators, I believe that the troubles hurting our boys stem from three major sources:

  • Lack of close relationships with men (particularly fathers),
  • Lack of religious education, and
  • Aggressive exposure to a toxic media that teaches boys that the keys to a great life are sex, sex, and a bit more sex—and a whole lot of money and fame.

The good news is that we parents can turn this around. We must be willing to see that what our boys need isn’t simply more education, more prescriptions, more money, or more activities.

What they need is us. You and me. They need parents who are willing to take a good hard look at what their sons think and what they are doing. They need fathers who will embrace their sons and watch them with the eyes of a schooled hawk.

The foundations of any boy’s life is built on three things:

  1. His relationships with his parents,
  2. His relationship with God, and
  3. His relationship with his siblings and close friends.

If these three are strong, any boy can thrive in the midst of academic and athletic challenges, a toxic culture, and harmful peer pressure.  

Fathers, think about the important role you play in your child’s life – there is nothing insignificant about you.  Your child needs you.  Mother’s are wonderful, but children need and will seek out a male role model — will it be you?  Do you know what you child(ren) do all day?  Who are their friends? Do they know how to pray?  Do they know what you do all day?  Do they know that you love them?

You work to provide and care for them – but they need more – they need you – time with you…

For more information/ resources:
http://www.megmeekermd.com/  The wisdom of a Pediatrician.  The heart of a mother.
http://www.drray.com/  Dr. Ray Guarendi is the father of 10, clinical psychologist, author, public speaker and nationally syndicated radio host.

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All Glory to God, Who brings Mary to our Heavenly Homeland!

The Feast of the Assumption – August 15

What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.  (CCC 487)

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The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread (for details, see this article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia); and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.

Pope Pius XII:  “…All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her divine Son and always sharing his lot.Image result for Mary - scripture

  It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to him, of course, but closely joined with him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this victory and its final prize, but the blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”.
  Image result for Mary - scriptureSo then, the great Mother of God, so mysteriously united to Jesus Christ from all eternity by the same decree of predestination, immaculately conceived, an intact virgin throughout her divine motherhood, a noble associate of our Redeemer as he defeated sin and its consequences, received, as it were, the final crowning privilege of being preserved from the corruption of the grave and, following her Son in his victory over death, was brought, body and soul, to the highest glory of heaven, to shine as Queen at the right hand of that same Son, the immortal King of Ages.”  Image result for Mary - saint quote
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As I have brought My Mother to Me, I wish for you also to be with Me.  Will you follow her example?  Will you do whatever I ask? Will you accept your place as My Father’s adopted son/daughter? The depth of love I have for you is unfathomable. Let My Mother lead you to the Love, the Life, the Happiness I desire for you…
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A Saint for our time… Maximilian Kolbe

St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 – 1941)

He was born on 8 January 1894 in occupied Poland: he joined the Franciscans in Lwów in 1910, and was ordained eight years later, as his country became free and independent for the first time in over 120 years.
He believed that the world was passing through a time of intense spiritual crisis, and that Christians must fight for the world’s salvation with all the means of modern communication. He founded a newspaper, and a sodality called the Knights of Mary Immaculate, which spread widely both in Poland and abroad.
In 1927 he founded a community, a “city of Mary,” at Teresin: centred round the Franciscan friary, it attracted many lay people, and became self-supporting, publishing many periodicals and running its own radio station.
In 1930 he went to Japan, studied Buddhism and Shintoism, and through the Japanese edition of his newspaper spread the Christian message in a way that was in harmony with Japanese culture. In Nagasaki, he set up a “Garden of the Immaculate,” which survived the atomic bomb. He also travelled to Malabar and to Moscow, but was recalled to Poland in 1936 for reasons of health. When the Germans invaded in 1939, the community at Teresin sheltered thousands of refugees, most of them Jews.
In 1941 he was arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he helped and succoured the inmates. In August of that year a prisoner escaped, and in reprisal the authorities were choosing ten people to die by starvation. One of the men had a family, and Maximilian Kolbe offered to take his place. The offer was accepted, and he spent his last days comforting his fellow prisoners.
The man he saved was present at his canonization.
Maximilian Kolbe’s martyrdom is the least important thing about him. We are none of us likely to find ourselves in a position to emulate his sacrifice, and speculation as to the heroic way in which we would have behaved in his place is a pernicious waste of time. What is important is that he acted the way he did because of who he was – or, rather, because of who he had become. It is because of who he had become that we revere him as a saint: he would have been a saint (though perhaps not canonized) even if he had not been martyred. And that process of becoming is something we can all emulate. We can all become people for whom doing the right thing is obvious, natural, and easy. It requires no heroism, no special gifts: just perseverance, and prayer. (Universalis: August 14)
The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.
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Does Jesus only call those with the right credentials?

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.  He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Mk 3:13-19

“Jesus summoned those whom He wanted & they came to Him.”  If we study the Scriptures we will soon find out that Jesus wants everyone – He came that we all may have life and have it to the full.  He came for our salvation -we don’t need any special qualifications – all we need is to say “yes” to Jesus & His promises – say “yes” to His love & His life. There are some that He calls for special tasks, but the Good News is that He calls us all!

Jesus, may I never doubt that You are calling me. When the world and all the many things I am involved with try to drown out Your voice, help me to pause & be silent so that Your calm, loving voice may be my comfort and reassurance – that, yes, You Lord Jesus want even me.

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The Lord is Kind & Merciful. Are we…?

Lenten Practices:
 
During our Faith journey we are encouraged to reflect on God’s great mercy.
A very practical way to do this is by embracing & participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
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•Reconciliation is Jesus’ call to conversion; to repent, and believe in His message.
•Our fundamental conversion begins at Baptism when we receive the new life of Christ. The call to conversion continues, however, throughout our lives.
•We respond to this call by repentance and turning from sin, which transforms our lives and is God’s plan for us.
•Jesus’ call to conversion and penance does not aim first at outward works, but at the conversion of the heart. Without this, any penances remain sterile and false. (For a full explanation & meditation on this Sacrament click on Catechism of the Catholic Church … begin CCC 1440).
- Confession calls us to a conversion of heart.  It should lead us to a habitual disposition of kindness & mercy toward others…just as we have received from Christ Himself.
•Jesus instituted this sacrament after His resurrection from the dead: “On the evening of that first day of the week…” (Jn 20:19-23)
Image result for Jesus - reconciliationConfession is not something to be feared. It is a way to bring us closer to Jesus. It draws us out of darkness into God’s own light. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, constantly desires to bring about to the fold any sheep who have strayed. It is never too late (this side of death) to turn back to Him. No sin is unforgiveable. Through His death and Resurrection, Jesus has conquered ALL sin.
Jesus, like a loving parent, will always forgive us… He yearns for us to be close to Him.
As Pope Benedict reminds us:
—It is very helpful to confess with a certain regularity. It is true our sins are always the same; but we clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week even if the dirt is always the same, in order to live in cleanliness, in order to start again. Otherwise, the dirt might not be seen, but it builds up.
Image result for Jesus - reconciliationWill you be reconciled to God this Lent, & go to Confession?
As God is kind & merciful toward you, will you go forth showing those same characteristics with others?
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Heart of Jesus, burning with love for me, inflame my heart!

“The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”
–Rm 5:5

 The Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus…. Why?  Because the Church continually mirrors in Her life the natural ebb and flow of our human lives.  As we seek to mark those special moments in our own lives with special days, such as Anniversaries, etc., so the Church wants us to pause & reflect on the great love that Jesus has for us.  As we typically give & receive gifts on these occasions, so Jesus seeks to give us the gift of His grace, His life, His love….

I would like to share with you a beautiful thought taken from One Bread, One Body.  This beautifully illustrates God’s great love for us – each of us – individually.  Don’t doubt that you are loved.  You are loved greatly!

One of the most beautiful – and disappointing – verses of the Bible is: “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:16). We all want to be loved, but we don’t necessarily value being loved by Someone Who by His nature loves everyone. We want to be loved exclusively, individually, and specially. If someone told you “I love you,” you would probably be impressed. If that same person repeated this to everyone, you may not be so impressed.

However, God loves everyone – not generically, but individually and specially. This is impossible for us to do or even conceive. Yet “nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37). God created us as unique individuals. He knows everything about us. He remembers every word, thought, and action we have ever said, had, or done. He has numbered the hairs of our head (Mt 10:30) and even counted every tear we’ve ever shed (Ps 56:9). God’s individualized knowledge of each of us indicates His individualized love for each of us.

When we speak of the Heart of Jesus – we are speaking of God Who is Love.  Take time today to celebrate God’s love for you – & in turn, take time to love God in return – He gifts us with His grace.  What is your gift back to Him?

St. Thomas More – Feast Day June 22nd

Comfort in tribulation can be secured only on the sure ground of faith – holding as true the words of Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church.  – St. Thomas More

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St. Thomas More (1478-1535)
Thomas was a friend of King Henry VIII and the Lord Chancellor of England–a position of power second only to the king. When the king sought a divorce and declared himself the head of the Church in England, Thomas opposed him and resigned. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and martyred.
One of his more famous sayings, & a poignant reminder for those of us seeking to following Christ & His teachings: The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for. Amen.Image result for st thomas more

Every time and every culture presents its own difficult choices, either for or against, our beliefs & decision as Christians to follow Christ.  This is why the Church holds up for us saints & martyrs — they serve as an inspiration and guide for us.  Although the path to Eternal Life, Love, & Happiness is difficult – many others have traveled the path, and are now where we hope one to be as well.

Let us look to these holy men and women, so that at the end of our days we may be able to say with them: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7

Are there things occurring today in our culture that you make you face difficult choices? Choices that are opposed to your beliefs?  What do you do?  Do you understand the root of why Christianity may say something is wrong that our culture says is right and good?  Take time to learn about your faith; to learn about Christ and His teachings.

The Feast of Corpus Christi: Celebrating Jesus’ Great Gift…

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Click on image to join in Prayer & Praise.

The Feast of corpus Christi

Click on image for Children’s Catechesis on the Eucharist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the catechism & the Bible

Instituting the Eucharist (1337)

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).

The Eucharist 101

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 …

Being Celebrated this weekend, at a Catholic Church near you…

The Feast of corpus Christi

 Come, join the celebration!

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Judging, Loving, Living

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We are not called to judge others, but we are still called to be good examples to them, and share the love of Christ with them.

 

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Don’t use “not judging” as a reason not to boldly and proudly live your Faith. Do use “not judging” however, to think the best of others, and not assume ulterior or malicious motives in their actions. 

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Love one another as I have loved you. – Jesus

 

Judging, living, & loving as a disciple of Christ can be extremely complicated.  As disciples, we say we will not only follow Jesus, but we will follow His teachings.  As humans, with fallen natures, it is difficult not to see “our brothers & sisters” seemingly not following Jesus’ teachings.  What do we do? What do we say?  Some of these “infractions” are quite obvious – we are not judging, but observing.  For example, a friend has an abortion; a sibling gets a divorce; someone we know well enters into a homosexual relationship; a co-worker succumbs to infidelity…. The list goes on…

This is where disciples struggle.  What do they do?  Jesus has told us what to do.  Love them.  Love must always be first & foremost in our response.  Jesus tells us that quite clearly throughout Scripture.  He also tells us not to judge, as noted above.  We do not know everything going on other people’s lives.  We don’t know what they have suffered: either in their childhood, or even now behind closed doors.Image result for beating people over the head with Scripture

So, as disciples armed with the truth, we feel compelled to confront them with the Truth.  The problem is – we often, unwittingly, pound them over the head with it, & thus turn them completely off.  As a popular saying goes: People don’t care what you say, until they know that you care.

We have to love people in their need  – seek to help & if possible work on healing their hurts (even if all we can do is pray for their healing) before we can lead them on.  Love & prayer is our most powerful tool.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your discipleship.  Ask where people need healing – show them kindness & love – this will build the bridge that leads to the Truth!  Come Holy Spirit!

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Post Pentecost: Continuing to let the Holy Spirit work in your life.

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The day of Pentecost is over, but the work of the Holy Spirit is not.  Daily we need to be attentive and open to the work of the Holy Spirit.

 Are you inviting the Holy Spirit to be with you, to guide you, and continue to help you be who God has created you to be? 

 

Beginning your day with prayer puts everything in focus.

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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Thank you Jesus for this day & for all of my blessings.  Please send Your Holy Spirit to be with me this day; to guide me, to enlighten me, to comfort me, & to help me to remember that I am a child of my Heavenly Father. 

I know that everything will be ok, and if I only take time throughout the day to praise You & listen to You, I will make the choices I need to make to stay on the path that helps me to be the person You created me to be.  In Your Most Holy Name, I pray.  AMEN.

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