Archive | October, 2015

More? There Is More?

20 Oct

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If you are not Catholic, please bear with me for a moment. If you are Catholic, hang in there.

For all of you, I hope this reflection encourages you to “go for more,” ever more in your daily prayer life.

The Resurrection of Christ

I was reflecting on the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ. How often I reflected on this great gift and mystery of the God of power and might, the God of eternal love, the God who dies and rises for our sake—and on the great reward waiting for us in our own resurrection from the dead.

But this time, I recalled that “the guards were shaken with fear and became like dead men” (Mt 28:4). Dead folks see nothing and hear nothing. This was a “death” to life and the glory of God.

Then I mused, “How often have I been “dead” before the great and wondrous God? How often have I breezed through ‘prayer’ and felt so holy? How often have I taken God’s saving love for granted?”

Once is once too many times, I realized—but I also knew that I had so often just gone through the motions of prayer. And, missed what God had in store for me.

The Ascension of Jesus

Oh, the wonder of that moment in Christian history—Jesus ascends to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God.

It is a blessing, indeed, to be caught up in that great promising moment—when we, through the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, are all destined to ascend to the throne of the Father.

Then, in my reflection, I recalled that the angel chided us for standing around looking up to heaven. I recalled the Lord’s last words to us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them everything I have commanded you.”

Oh, my dear Lord, it’s so easy to look at the blessings and ignore the true Way—the way of discipleship in which we feed your hungry people, love the unlovable, embrace those too filthy and alien to embrace, and to forgive even the most unforgiveable.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Christian churches have such great artwork depicting that first Christian Pentecost. It was a historic, life-giving and powerful moment—a moment the never ends because the Spirit of God dwells among us as the Lord and Giver of Life (as we pray in the Nicene Creed).

The Spirit came then—and comes today—to replace confusion with clarity, fear with courage, and indecision with commitment.

The Holy Spirit is a mysterious presence—too often ignored because of ignorance or casual faith. Yet, it is the Holy Spirit who gives the entire Church, and each one of us, the adoption by the Father in Christ Jesus.

Without the Spirit, baptismal water would just be water and the Eucharist would just be bread. Without our divine Holy Spirit, there could be no grace for leaders of his Church, no joy in salvation, no hope in the Word of the Lord.

When we do not surrender to the Holy Spirit, the entire force of Christianity is weakened and faith appears foolish or, at best, fruitless.

I’m sure, Catholic readers, that you recognize these three mysteries: the first three from Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

I hope this reflection helps you “go for more,” ever more, in your daily prayer life.

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Today’s Christian Challenge

11 Oct

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“The world’s in a mess.”

“Our country’s in a mess.”

“Democrats seem bent on destroying our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

“Republicans can’t get their act together. They’re just fighting themselves and doing nothing to help us.”

Gloom and doom—that’s what so many people see. And that’s why so many people seem to think that all is lost. They might as well say:

“Our nation cannot recover from its debt and its loss of favor and respect in the world.”

Baloney!

All is not lost—at least, all does not have to be lost. We can recover—as a nation. And we can still return to the religious principles that made our nation strong, those principles born of the dignity of human beings made in the image of God.

I see a number of problems that need our immediate attention.

  • A growing number of people seem to be trying to remake God into their own image. This comes from ‘’cafeteria Catholicism” (or Protestantism and maybe even Judaism)—a tendency to pick and choose what is true and not true. It is born of compromised preaching and teaching of the faith and the fear of alienating “the faithful,” who are not really all that faithful. Part of the problem is ignorance due to compromised preaching and teaching.
  • The onslaught of rapidly developing technology has mesmerized some people to the extent that they seem to have their eyeballs glued to the latest release of the must-have phone that will antiquate all other phones—add to this new and addictive video game.
  • Our government has gone far too far into the pits of confusion and amoral decisions. Political Correctness has become the gospel of distraction, wooing people into a certain mental and spiritual lethargy in which no one can be sure about anything—so anything goes. “What works for you is fine. If it does not work for me, that’s fine, too. We’ll all just go on our merry, unconnected way to a deadly isolation.”
  • Many Catholics and other Christians are afraid to stand, in the public arena, for what they believe. They have embraced a dangerous neutrality that helps the forces of evil. There is no room for neutrality in our relationship with God and Church.

So, what’s the answer and what is the Lord asking of us?

  1. We are to have faith, of course, but a true faith that brings us to peace of mind and heart, inner joy, great trust in God and the strength and courage to stand for what is true and just.
  2. We must be informed about political issues and vote our Christian conscience.
  3. We must strengthen Christian families. Pope Francis, in his visits to Cuba and our own United States, had this to say:“It is in the home that we learn fraternity and solidarity (and) we learn not to be overbearing. It is in the home that we learn to receive, to appreciate life as a blessing and to realize that we need one another to move forward.”

And back in Rome, in an October 7 General Audience, Pope Francis said, “Family spirit” is like “a constitutional charter for the Church. (T)his is how Christianity must appear, and this is how it must be.”

It’s a tough challenge, but let’s try this for starters:

Let our faith be unquestionable, our love life-giving and our hope contagious.