Last week, the message of the Epistle and Gospel focused on judging actions, but not people, rather being humble minded and reminded of the value of penance.
This Sunday, the message is about hope.
In the Epistle, St. Paul empathizes with the sufferings of his brethren, and to see their sufferings as a share in the punishment for sin. We don't know if our sufferings are for our own sins, or the sins of others, we only know for certain that God is fully loving and fully just.
"For the creature was made subject to vanity, nor willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject in hope; because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption."
St. Paul refers to the concerns of this life as vanity because of the evil brought into the world due to original sin. Our suffering in this life, therefore, is due to having to serve in the context of things that are vain, meaning, that they do not fulfil the ultimate desire of one in who is in the Spirit of Christ, and because of the disorder of this life in which we must serve, suffering is inevitable.
"For we know that every creature groaneth, and travaileth in pain, even until now; and not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves grown within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body, in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Here St. Paul referes to the mystical "adoption" not as coming first into the Church, but the union of the created soul with God.
We then see in today's Gospel reading, Jesus suprising the apostles and other fishermen by giving them very unlikely fishing advice, which due to the miracle, turns out to be a success.
Our Lord commands Simon, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon, answering, said to Him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing..." How often it is, in the midst of our sufferings, that we turn to Jesus and find that nothing seems to be working out? What then? Do we lose hope and trust during the night of our souls? Do we then say, "Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing"?
This was a serious concern for them. Back then, it wasn't like fishing was a sport, but it was the means by which to feed their people. "All night" was no exaggeration, but a real description of their plight. These were expert fisherman who did this for a living, and worked all through the dark hours, with still nothing to show. It was a bit of a desperate situation. They'd not seen themselves as having given up, but that the situation itself was a lost cause. After the long night, they had brought in the boats and equipment and were washing their nets when our Lord called out to them.
Simon, in obedience to Jesus, followed his order to let down the net. When Simon saw the miraculous result of the multitude of fishes, he repented of his sin. What was the sin? The sin was that Simon did not ask Jesus for his assistance, and trust that he would, in some way, help him.
"And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him."
Why is that we get ourselves often so bogged down in inward or outward complaints, even to the point of thinking too much of something as if it were such a cause to be it's own end (rather than a means to union with the Almighty) or even lose our peace all together? How do we, once and for all, bring our own ships to land and leave all things, in order to trust in Jesus above all else (even in the long, dark night)? Do we always need a miracle to grow in supernaturalized hope?
We grow in hope when we grow in love of Christ. We grow in love of Christ when we seek to know him in his actions revealed to us in the Gospels, and in faithful adherence to his Sacraments. And, we grow by the other essential requirement: by daily meditation on his life.
We must have a conversation with him, even outside of our daily prayer time, where we endeavor to share every moment with the aim to maintain his True Presence within bodies. The holiest place on the planet to each faithful Catholic should be his own heart --- not for its corruption, having been born of original sin, having suffered its effects, and itself having commited sin, but because it is the place where Jesus seeks to dwell. We don't need to "feel" that it is the holiest place, but rather, we must recognize this vocation of every faithful Catholic, to be the living tabernacle of the Lord. However, when we sin against hope, when we lose our peace over life's trials, we dissipate Christ within us.
The more we make a habit of regarding our Lord in our hearts more frequently after Holy Communion we can grow in the supernatural gifts.
If there were a burglar to come to your home tonight, and he knocked on the door, then said, "Hello, it's a strange man come to burgal your home!" would you open the door and let him in?
The answer is: No. Of course not. However, when we chose to let our peace be disturbed we do worse than opening the door to have our homes burgled, as we are talking about the home Christ looks to make in our hearts, at a very high price he paid for you.
We are creatures with emotions, and this makes it more challenging to grow impatient or fall into poor judgment. This is why the more we regard the Lord's Presence within us (after receiving Holy Communion), the more we will be readily apt to do whatever it takes to maintain that sanctuary within ourselves, where God can dwell more fully and peacefully. Also, we must chose to leave all things, in order to follow Him. When we see that even the necessities in life are only for the purpose of getting us by in this life in order that we may serve Him, we must use them as if they are just that: a means to a glorified end. We must have holy impatience only withourselves to endeavor to be always recollected, and always keep our hearts at peace to maintain Christ within us.
28 June 2009
Last week, the message of the Epistle and Gospel focused on judging actions, but not people, rather being humble minded and reminded of the value of penance.
26 June 2009
All joyous where with grief I pine
In pity, pause a while and say
Was ever sorrow like to mine?
See hanging here before my eyes,
This body, bloodless, bruised and torn.
Alas! It is my son who dies
Of love deserving, not of scorn.
For know this weak and dying man
Is Son of Him Who made the earth,
And me, before the world began
He chose to give Him human birth.
He is my God! And since that night
When first I saw His Infant Grace
My soul has feasted on the light,
The beauty of that heavenly face.
And now, behold this loving Son
Is dying in a woe so great,
The very stones can only moan
In sorrow at His piteous state.
Eternal Father, God of Love!
Behold Thy Son, O see His woe!
Canst Thou look down from heaven above,
And for Thy Son no pity show?
But no, that Father sees His Son
Cloth'd with our sins, our guilt and shame,
And spares not that Beloved One
Though dying on His cross of pain.
My Son, My Son, could I at least
Console Thee in this hour of death
Could I but lay Thee on my breast
And there receive Thy parting breath?
Alas! No comfort I impart.
Yea, rather this my vain regret,
But rends still more Thy loving heart
And makes Thy death more bitter yet.
Ah, loving souls! Love, love that God
Who all inflamed with love expires!
On you this life He has bestowed.
Your love is all that He desires.
03 June 2009
Here are now some excerpts of the Gospel readings from this week, thus far:
Pentecost Sunday, Gospel according to St. John 1:23-31(excerpt) "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, or let it be afraid."
This is an excellent reminder to us to not be too overly embroiled in the news of the day so much that we lose our peace. That would be "tossing the baby out with the bath water," even if unintentionally, since we dissipate and even threaten to lose the holy grace of God in losing our peace.
Pentecost Monday, Gospel according to St. John 3:16-21
"At that time Jesus said to Necodemus: God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosover believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him. He that believeth in Him is not judged; but he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved; but he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God."
So many people today will wrongly say that "God came not to judge the world", and that everything goes. But that is not what is meant by "judge"; as this obviously means that Jesus did not come to judge at once every soul within the world, but has He Himself explains that "whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." But who is it that "believeth in Him"? The one that believes in Christ believes in ALL HIS WORDS, knowing that just as Christ is eternal, so are Christ's words. "For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved."
Pentecost Tuesday, Gospel according to St. John 10:1-10
(excerpt) "Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers, an the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in and go out, and shall fnd pastures. The theif cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly."
Jesus here reveals that he is "the door of the sheep" and that "all others ... are theives and robbers." And then, what is the point of dialogue with those who do not profess the doctrines of Jesus Christ as true for all places, all peoples, and all times, except to harm our souls?
Ember Wednesday After Pentecost, Gospel according to St. John 5:44-52
"At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they shall al be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, but He Who is of God, He hath seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say unto you: he that believeth in Me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven: that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give, is My flesh for the life of the world."
"Everyone who has heard of the Father, AND hath learned, cometh to Me." This presupposes that not all who would hear of the Father would necessarily would also have learned. Then our Lord further defines his Church and Bride by emphasing (yet again) the Dogma of the Holy Eucharist: "... the bread that I will give, is My flesh for the life of the world." The word he used when he clarified to the Apostles (after they returned from having separated from him by their incredulity on having to actually "eat" the Lord's Flesh) was similar to the word we use today meaning "to masticate". Our Lord makes it very clear that this Holy Communion wasn't only necessary to have eternal life, but also to recognize that by his own Authority, (as then given to the Apostles to hand down in the way that he handed it to them) that Holy Communion is TRULY his body (and fully his body, with his blood).
If we are to profess Christ, and seek true and everlasting peace, we are to believe in Christ, that is to say, we are to believe in his Words, as that are Life. His words gives us the doctrine of the one true Church, and supporting this are the doctrines of those who did not go astray from his Bride --- the Church Fathers and the Church Doctors.
Our inheritance of Christ is the Catholic faith, and if we have not only heard but also learned, we accept ALL the truths that have been handed down from the Apostles. These are truths that do not develop with the times, because God is timeless. Time is our experience in the human modality, and the human modality is a creature made by God. If we believe in Christ we are subservient to him in his true Church. When one says that the doctrines of His Bride can evolve, they deny Christ as Lord. The Light of Holy Ghost does not rest upon those who do not receive Christ from the Father as eternal, unchanging Truth Incarnate.
Christ served us by his suffering and death.
Society's duty is to serve under Christ, but for this to happen, since society places itself as a god, and refuses to serve, Christ must continue to suffer in his victim souls. Let us prepare to suffer together in the true Body of Christ, joined by His Flesh (Holy Communion). We prepare by constant prayer (the Mass, the rosary, meditative prayer), and not forgoing the Sacrament of Reconciliaton (Penance) as required to grow further in His Grace. Our peace and our joy is not of the world, but in Christ who is eternal. Keep peaceful, vigilant hearts by honoring our Lord in the Sacraments, exhort your neighbors, and keep confidence only in Jesus.+
Admonition: God's Word against
He Who is the breath of life and in spirit is one God says these things: The thought of almighty God is His Son, to Whom all creation, which is His work, is subject, because by the Word of God, that is, by His Son, “all things were made” [John 1.3], all things that were given life in the height of heaven and in the depths, which is this earth that stands opposite the luminaries above. God gave to His work the capacity to praise Him and to work for Him, and because He is the warrior who carries the banner against His enemies, the inhabitants of darkness, He cuts off all that darkness, all those, that is, who attribute to themselves the things which have been achieved in them by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Such people are designated “apostates.” Those people who look wholly to themselves and not to their Creator are called His enemies, those who, blinded by their own “knowledge,” cast away the service due to the Father. And so they, with all the works they have stored up for themselves in the darkness, done without reference to God, will be cast into torment, along with the devil, who wished to be like the Most High. Such people are the bowels of the devil, because they work according to his designs, and are, therefore, stripped of the brightness of God's light. At the devil's instigation, they seek to destroy the Scriptures and the doctrine laid down
by the Holy Spirit. Yet just as heaven cannot be sundered before the appointed time, so also the words of the Holy Spirit cannot be altered.
ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
(taken from) Epistle to the Magnesians
Chapter VIII.—Caution against false doctrines.
Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace. For the divinest prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased Him that sent Him.
Be not deceived with strange doctrines, “nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies,” (1 Tim. i. 4) and things in which the Jews make their boast. “Old things are passed away: behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. v. 17.) For if we still live according to the Jewish law, and the circumcision of the flesh, we deny that we have received grace. For the divinest prophets lived according to Jesus Christ. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, the Almighty, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His Word, not spoken, but essential. For He is not the voice of an articulate utterance, but a substance begotten by divine power, who has in all things pleased Him that sent Him.
Introductory Note to the Spurious Epistles of Ignatius
Epistle to the Tarsians
Chapter II.—The true doctrine respecting God and Christ.
For Moses, the faithful servant of God, when he said, “The Lord thy God is one Lord,” (Deut. vi. 4; Mark xii. 29.) and thus proclaimed that there was only one God, did yet forthwith confess also our Lord when he said, “The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord.” (Gen. xix. 24.) And again, “And God said, Let Us make man after our image: and so God made man, after the image of God made He him.” (Gen. i. 26, 27.) And further “In the image of God made He man.” (Gen. v. 1, Gen. ix. 6.) And that [the Son of God] was to be made man [Moses shows when] he says, “A prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me. (Deut. xviii. 15; Acts iii. 22, Acts vii. 37.)
ST. JUSTIN MARTYR
Introductory Note to the Writings of Justin Martyr
(taken from) The First Apology
Chapter XI.—What kingdom Christians look for.
And when you hear that we look for a kingdom, you suppose, without making any inquiry, that we speak of a human kingdom; whereas we speak of that which is with God, as appears also from the confession of their faith made by those who are charged with being Christians, though they know that death is the punishment awarded to him who so confesses. For if we looked for a human kingdom, we should also deny our Christ, that we might not be slain; and we should strive to escape detection, that we might obtain what we expect. But since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men cut us off; since also death is a debt which must at all events be paid.
02 June 2009
Have you noticed that there is so little media play regarding the army recruiter who was recently shot dead by a American Muslim? Strange.
Read What Bonnie Erbe calls "Prolife Extremists" and what the penalties should be
Commentary Re.: Bonnie Erbe's Statements
It is not surprising to me that Bonnie Erbe, host of "To the Contrary" (broadcasted on over 400 PBS tv stations across the US) backtracked tremendously from her inflammatory, highly prejudicial remarks against prolifers. Why am I not surprised? Because it was right after I spoke with her boss, Joyce Fowler, Executive Producer of Persephone Productions about the US News & World Report article. Ms. Fowler was generous with her time, and although I assume we have a very different understanding of morality on the point of abortion, she made the point to say that she would not expect that of Bonnie on her show, and that she was altogether surprised that Bonnie would say that anywhere. (Ms. Fowler had first heard of the article when I brought it to her attention yesterday morning.)