When George Lucas wrote these words for the character Yoda to speak, he touched on the truth uttered so often in the Bible. Do not be afraid. We must not be a people ruled by fear, anger and hatred. We must become a courageous people who dare up love, who act with mercy and compassion, and who shine the light of the Gospel in our world where darkness seems to be growing with little restraint.
I have intamacy with God, not in spite of of the fact that I am sinful, but precisely because I am sinful, know it, and confess it in my heart to him. This is my personal proof of the the wisdom of following the “little way”.
I get it. You have reasons for not going to church.
If you aren’t going to church today, perhaps even more so if you are, there is something you need to know. Going to church isn’t about going to church. Once you understand that, and if you ask from your heart for the grace to know what it is actually about, and you receive the gift of knowing; it is a game changer.
“The Heart of Christ must be recognized as the heart of the Church: It is He who calls us to conversion, to reconciliation. It is He who leads pure hearts and those hungering for justice along the way of the Beatitudes. It is He who achieves the warm communion of the members of the one Body. It is He who enables us to adhere to the Good News and to accept the promise of eternal life. It is He who sends us out on mission. The heart-to-heart with Jesus broadens the human heart on a global scale.” – Saint Pope John Paul II
Faith is a gift. Open your heart to that gift. It isn’t about going to church, it is about family coming together in love, to spend time with the one who loves us best, and with each other. In this way we remember, we celebrate, and we believe. In this way we find joy and strength to carry us through the storms of this life. In this way we stay connected to those who have gone before us in life to their eternal home. In this way we are given a space and time which removes many of the distractions that surround us so that we may have a heart-to-heart with Jesus.
Change your game. Change your life. Together, we can change the world.
Let us open ourselves to the Divine Love, throwing ourselves into that ocean of mercy! Trusting, surrendering, believing and receiving the grace which Jesus longs for us to accept. If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.
“Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion… He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation.
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.
So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.”
From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop (Oratio 9 in ramos palmarum: PG 97, 990-994)
A hypothetical election showdown by the numbers, if you pay attention to polls. 5 of 44 polls over the last 8 months show Trump leading Clinton. In 37 of the 44 she soundly defeats him.
Clinton has led Cruz for 5 months straight, but now he has caught up.
Rubio trailed Clinton until December. He led led since & currently leads 47.5% to 42.8% edge. (numbers pulled from an email sent by Catholic Vote)
ISIS campaign of horror against Christians and other minorities is nothing new because Genocide is nothing new. Genocide is defined by the United Nations in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part ; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
There can be no doubt that genocide against Christians is happening and it must be opposed. Extensive and irrefutable evidence supports a finding that the so-called Islamic State’s mistreatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition. This evidence includes:
• assassinations of Church leaders
• mass murders and deportations
• kidnapping for ransom
• sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women
• forcible conversions to Islam
• destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and artifacts
ISIS’s own public statements take “credit” for the murder of Christians precisely because they are Christian and express its intent to wholly eradicate Christian and other minority communities from its “Islamic State.” Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill noted in their historic joint statement that “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.”
The Knights of Columbus, to their credit, are part of an effort along with In Defense of Christians (IDC is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks the protection and preservation of Christians and Christianity in the Middle East through raising global awareness, mobilizing international support, and educating policymakers toward constructive international policies on their behalf.) to encourage the US administration not ignore Christian genocide. A new online petition is urging Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS. Co-sponsored by In Defense of Christians (IDC) and the Knights of Columbus, the petition can be signed at StopTheChristianGenocide.org
Christians in Iraq and Syria have suffered injustice after injustice by being kidnapped, killed, having their homes and churches confiscated or destroyed, and being forced to flee for their lives. Because of hit squads, they fear to enter UN refugee camps and, as a result, are then often excluded from immigration to the West,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who signed the petition and testified on the matter before a congressional subcommittee in December.
He added, “After all of this, these people deserve to have the U.S. State Department call what has happened to them by its rightful name: genocide — just as the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and so many other prominent individuals and institutions have already done.”
IDC Executive Director Kirsten Evans said, “The International Association of Genocide Scholars, over 200 members of Congress and over seventy human rights experts and organizations, spanning the nation’s religious and political spectrum, have raised their voices that the treatment of these communities by ISIS meets even the strictest definition of genocide under international law, and must be treated as such.”
The State Department is required by law to make a designation one way or the other on the matter by mid-March.
Take a moment to sign the petition today. Pray and work for peace every day.
I have been involved with prison ministry for over half of my life and I was talking with a group of guys yesterday who struggle with this idea of “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Our conversation stemmed from a question about why Catholic Churches have crucifixes and Protestant Churches have crosses without the corpus on them.
So I in turn struggled to find the right words to explain the connection to a theology of suffering to them. This is a difficult concept for anyone who is suffering to wrap their head around, yet it is foundational to the Catholic Christian’s fully embraced spiritual journey. Rather than try to tell you what I said, I will share what I received in my email today. Because while he is saying the same things I did, Bishop Robert Barron did a much more succinct and clearly stated job of it in this Reflection for the 10th Day of Lent.
St. Paul reflected often on suffering. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).
In his letters, Paul frequently attests to his great suffering. He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned many times, rejected by his own people, and he suffered under the weight of some ailment—physical or psychological, we don’t really know—for the whole of his life. Finally, of course, he was put to death. He was a man who knew about pain.
But here he tells us that he rejoices in his sufferings because, somehow, they are joined to the sufferings of Christ.
How do we understand this? Well, Christ saved us through an act of suffering. He died for us on the cross, bearing in his own person the weight of our sin. On the cross, suffering and love coincided. And when you think of it, every act of love involves suffering, since love always involves bearing the burden of another.
Now in Paul’s vision, the Church is not a society or a collectivity of like-minded people. Rather, it is a body, made up of interdependent cells, molecules, and organs. We don’t just follow Christ or admire him; we participate in him. Baptism involves just this dynamic of identification and participation.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that we will be called upon to suffer. We have been given the privilege of carrying on Christ’s work in the world in just this way.
Charles Williams speaks of the principle of co-inherence as key to Catholicism. This is the idea that we are connected to one another much as the organs and systems of a living body are connected.
Thus, just as one system can take up the work of another, or one organ the burden of another that is ailing, so can one member of the body of Christ bear the burden of another.
In accord with Paul’s master idea, we can consciously offer our suffering—physical, spiritual, psychological—to Christ in order that he might use it, in his own mysterious manner, to benefit someone else. Christ allows us to minister through our pain.
In a recent Washington Post article one of the presidential candidates referred to Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico as political. I think he is right, although not in the particular spin he used to present the idea.
How would I define politics? Interaction with others in an effort to exchange ideas, and influence current and future actions of a community. In that sense most public activity is political. Religion and faith have always, and rightfully, had a political component. That is why freedom of religion, not merely freedom of worship, is so important in a society that values freedom.
So a pope making a trip to Mexico, the United States, or anywhere else is political. But that is no surprise. Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem was political and so was Peter’s trip to Rome.
Yesterday we remembered St Paul and today two of his disciples, Timothy & Titus. Who passed their faith to you, and who are you passing your faith on to? The Christian Faith is alive. If it is not being shared it is a light under a bushel which does nothing to dispel the darkness.
- Catholic Church
- Family Life
- Social Networking
- Something To Chew On