Life-in-Christ

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

December 18: Come O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler…

Today, we call on our Lord and Ruler!

O Adonai (Exod 3:14)
Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel (Matt 2:6; Micah 5:1; 2 Sam 5:2), You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law (Exod 20). * Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us (Jeremiah 32:21).

Advent Action:

Take time to meditate on the Scriptures listed above.  Is God truly your Lord and Ruler?  If someone observed your life, or walked into your home, what would they see? Who or what would appear to rule your life?

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Come Lord Jesus: The O Antiphons…Our Hope Fulfilled…

The Catholic Church has been singing the “O” Antiphons since at least the 8th century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23.  They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.

Click here for a video meditation

December 17

Come, O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

Advent Action:

Take some time today to reflect on Christ’s coming. The above video meditation is a good reminder that we await Christ’s birth.   His birth is more than nice sentiments.  It is life altering for us… He came to teach, guide, & redeem us.  Are we truly ready for His birth? Are you ready to welcome the source of all wisdom into your life? Come, O Wisdom from on high…

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3rd Week of Advent: Rejoice!

Image result for 3rd week of AdventBrothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  
Phillipians 4:4-7


The Scriptures for the Third Sunday of Advent proclaim their message in no uncertain terms: Rejoice! Joy is all around us and our celebration of Advent calls us to discover it. The joy that the Scripture passages speak about is not a joy that equates with hilarious laughter. It is a joy that comes knowing God & having a personal, loving relationship with Him. It is the joy Isaiah describes when he writes, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.” It is a joy that cannot be bought or obtained from artificial highs. It is a joy that comes from knowing & seeking God – Who is real and comes to us not only at Christmas, but every day!

Advent Action: Image result for 3rd week of Advent

Rejoice! Be joyful today. Do something to bring joy into the lives of those around you – come up with at least 1 joy-inducing action & put it into practice!

 

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2nd Week of Advent: Peace…

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The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater (like the light of seven days). On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of His people, He will heal the bruises left by His blows. (Isaiah 30:26)

Reflection

God, while His ways are still mysterious to us, is not on the sidelines of our lives. Just as Isaiah predicted, He has come, in Jesus, to bind up the hurt of His people, and through Jesus’ presence is still active in the world. (EWTN)

Advent Action

As the Lord binds up the wounds of those who are hurting, let today be an opportunity for you to do the same.  Start with your family.  Is there anyone in your family who is hurting? Who is tired? Who is in need of some extra attention? Reach out to them…do something nice – make a phone call; give an extra (or an unexpected) hug or kiss to them.Image result for family love

Before going to bed, say a decade of the rosary for  your mother, your father, your spouse…

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for the love and comfort You show to me.  May I reach out to those I love, & bring them comfort and joy.

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Jesus, prince of peace, may You always be present in our hearts, our homes, & our world.

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Advent: Preparing and 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 couple of 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 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!

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Do we believe that Christ is King?

Click for meditation

Feast of Christ the King
Sunday, November 25th

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

What do I have to be thankful for…?

Short reflection taken from ThrivingFamily.com:

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.
  • Cures our bent: 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.
  • 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? (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?

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Thanksgiving as a way of life…

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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Elections: Voting. It makes a difference.

“Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Important websites:

http://votesmart.org/   Click on the Vote Easy tab in the middle to see where candidates stand in comparison to you.

USCCB -

 Catholics Care/ Catholics Vote   -Read  Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States (en Español), which

 provides a framework for Catholics in the United States.

 

It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person (CCC#1913).

There is no doubt that this presidential election year is a tough one.  Unfortunately, there is not a single stellar candidate.  Both candidates for President have moral flaws.  Thus, the question arises, which candidate can I in good conscience vote for?  I suggest you do the following:

 

1. Pray.

2. Be informed.  Visit the websites I have listed at the top of this page.

3. Vote. It is true – your vote matters. Yes, it may be painful to have to vote for a candidate that you normally would not vote for.  However, some of the key issues to focus on – as a Christian, as a Catholic – are faith, family, life…

Now more than ever, we are in need of the Holy Spirit & the gift of  Counsel: The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)

“You are the salt of the earth. . . You are the light of the world. . . your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5: 13, 14, 16).

 

 

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Saints & Souls…our connection to them.

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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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2018