Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MEDJUGORJE MESSAGE

Medjugorje Message


On February 25, 2013, Our Lady appeared to the visionary Marija and delivered the following message to the world:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Monday, February 25, 2013

DAY 6 - NOVENA FOR OUR POPE

I have been remiss and have failed to post this Novena for Pope Benedict XVI.  Please say the prayer every day for our dear Papa.

Love and Peace,
Abbey

~*~

courtesy of John-Paul, johnpaul@praymorenovenas.com

 
The papacy plays a huge role in bringing unity to the Church. 
 
Let's pray today in thanksgiving for the unity that Pope Benedict XVI has brought about within the Church. 
 
Here are the novena prayers for today:
 
Day 6 - Novena Prayers for Pope Benedict
 
Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care in these last days of his rule, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build Your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.
 
[Insert your intentions and personal petitions for the Pope here]
 

Prayer for the Pope:
 
Let us pray for Benedict, the Pope.
May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.
May Your hand be upon Your holy servant.
And upon Your son, whom You have anointed.
 
Closing: The Prayer of St. Benedict
 
Gracious and holy Father,
please give to our Pope and 
to us the faithful:
intellect to understand You;
reason to discern You;
diligence to seek You;
wisdom to find You;
a spirit to know You;
a heart to meditate upon You;
ears to hear You;
eyes to see You;
a tongue to proclaim You;
a way of life pleasing to You;
patience to wait for You;
and perseverance to look for You.
 
Grant Your servant the 
Pope and us the faithful:
a perfect end,
Your holy presence.
A blessed resurrection,
And life everlasting.
 
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...
 
Amen.

 

DEAR GOD, HELP ME FIND MY JOY

It seems I've lost my joy recently.  And as I pray to God for His guidance, he has spoken to me saying "Go about your day; I will take care of everything."  Amazing Grace +++

I refer to the Serenity Prayer because it is more than just one stanza, and it is up lifting and if you pray it with all of your heart, it truly will bring you the serenity of knowing what you cannot change (others) and what you can change (yourself.)  May God bless you and keep you in his loving care. +++

Abbey
~*~

The Serenity Prayer
Path God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

THOUGHT, VERSE AND SMILE :)


 
This Day's Thought
    
    



We have not been created for the purpose of finding our ultimate satisfaction in a job.  There is no spouse whom we were ever meant to take as the ultimate concern in our life.  We have been made for the purpose of knowing God.
  
Mark Dever
This Day's Verse
 
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
  
Ephesians 1:7-10
The New International Version
This Day's Smile
 
A humble heart is like a magnet that draws the favor of God toward us.

Jim Cymbala

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI’s farewell Angelus: "I will never abandon the Church"

Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Angelus address:
Dear brothers and sisters!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).

The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, "This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him" (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new "exodus" (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: "Master, it is good that we are here" (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: "[Peter] ... on the mountain ... had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? "(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. "The Christian life - I wrote in my Message for Lent - consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love "(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to "climb the mountain", to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

THE PROTESTANT POPE

IgnitumToday

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 07:02 AM PST

When I started flight school in the fall of 2007 and, that same week, began working as the youth minister at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Duluth, MN, two things were true about me: I had never touched the controls of a plane and I wasn’t Catholic.  While I’m sure that’s usually the case in flight training, I’m quite sure it’s rarely the case in Catholic youth ministry.  I know that more than a few parishioners scratched or shook their heads in confusion as to why Fr. Eric made his decision.  Thankfully, he had been hired as a Catholic youth minister before he was Catholic, so he could identify well with my situation.

My two life paths at that time, aviation and considering Catholicism, looked quite the same in a lot of ways.  With flight, I’d researched a little bit and the desire and awe within had been gaining strength; with the Church, my desire for truth had been enkindled by attending a Mass out of curiosity and had developed into me reading an old copy of the Catechism at this Barnes and Noble for four hours a day, dog-earing my spot, and then hiding it behind other books until the next day because I couldn’t afford to buy it and I sure-as-heck didn’t want someone else to buy it, either.

My inaugural day immersed in both was also quite similar.  At the end of our first day of classes, the instructor showed us the sign up sheet where we could reserve our spot to be “up in the plane” within 24 hours, which my fellow students and I couldn’t believe; and, my first morning on the job, Fr. Eric proudly walked into my office and thumped a gleaming copy of the new, accepted, authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church down in front of me, with a handwritten note inside, making it MY very own copy, which I couldn’t believe.  Now, suddenly and unbelievably, I had “slipped the surly bonds of earth“ and was getting paid to study the Catholic Church!

Nic Pilot

And so the journey of learning to soar began.  Over then next few months, there were many parallels between flight and faith.  Often, I’d be studying something like the Coriolis effect or lift and how we use them to achieve flight, and I’d stumble upon CCC 354, which states, “Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality” or CCC 159, which states, “The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

Not only were science and religion suddenly connected in a far deeper way, but the daily life of the Church began transforming my experiences at the yoke.  When I’d be lined up at the end of the runway, waiting for clearance, not only would there be the normal prayer that I used whenever I merged onto the freeway on my motorcycle, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit”; now, I’d also be quietly reciting a passage from Psalm 143 in the Liturgy of the Hours: “Let your good spirit guide me in ways that are level and smooth”.

However, of all the aspects of Catholicism I discovered that began to shape my life, few impacted and deepened it in a more powerful and steady way than that of Pope Benedict XVI.  My journey had been a constant process of hacking and sanding away the pile of prejudice and misconception toward Catholicism that I’d built up in my life and, along the way, two statements by Baba Bene were the most instrumental in hewing some of the largest boulders away.

First, in the forward to his book Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, Pope Benedict says that “everything depends” on “intimate friendship with Jesus”.  As a fervent Protestant Christian, having a “personal relationship with Jesus” was my eternal tag line, and seeing the Pope, leader of what I’d previously heard was the “whore of Babylon”, place such supreme importance on intimacy with Christ caused me to second-guess my  prior stance.  After all, if the mouthpiece of Catholicism thinks that all the Tradition and theology pivots and hinges on a personal relationship with Jesus, how bad could the belief system be, especially since, “It’s all about Jesus, man!” was my daily motto?

The second, more powerful, quote is the famous line from Deus Caritas Est:  ”Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”  When I first read those words, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Here, in one sentence, the head of this enigmatic entity, the Catholic Church, had summed up everything I’d known about Christ.  As much as I was impressed–or nearly addicted–to the “Disneyland of Theology” I was finding in Catholicism, this one line kept coming back to me as the most complete line of apologetics for the Church I’d read so far.  I kept thinking, “Who IS this guy?  He talks like a Protestant!”


About eight months after starting my two paths of study, I’d joined the ranks of wanna-be pilots who had done their first solo flight and the ranks of the Church Militant.  Fittingly, the two were linked, yet again.

On the return trip of my solo, because of a combination of a couple of extenuating circumstances, I lost my heading, and, being that it was a small plane with no GPS, I was lost.  I had no clue which way to go.  In ground school, we were told that if you lose your way, simply locate a town, descend low enough to read the water tower, and you’ll know where you are, all of which I did.  I don’t know if I’d ever been so happy to see the town McGregor, MN!

I now knew my way home, and as I climbed back up to a comfortable level the words of our beloved B16 came to mind as clearly as if B16 was chillin’ in the control tower and talking through my headset: “a new horizon and a decisive direction”.  It was clear then, as it has been virtually every day since, that the Church, through the Sacraments, is able to bring us into the deepest possible intimacy with our Savior.  Pope Benedict, through his utmost service to the Sacrament of Holy Orders, has been the only pope I’ve known, so I guess I am a bit biased, but I don’t know if I could have dived into this Faith without his loving, Fatherly example each step of the way.

I may never meet Pope Benedict in this life.  The odds are against me getting a private audience, at this point.  And I’m pretty sure I’ll never get to sit down and watch “The Sandlot” with him, as I’ve always wished.  However, I am planning to meet him on the flip side.  I do know that his fatherhood brought me into the fullness of the family.  And I am certain that his decision to resign was done in love and wisdom, and will result in the betterment of the Church.

Thanks, prayers, and love to you, Pope Benedict XVI, my Protestant Pope.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

LET'S HAVE SOME LAUGHTER!

Oldies, but still goodies ........

Every Wife Is A 'Mistress" For Her Husband.
"Miss" For One Hour & "Stress" For the Rest 23 Hours..!.


There Are Two Times When A Man Doesn't Understand A Woman
Before Marriage And After Marriage.

  
Wife: I Will Die.
Husband: I Will Also Die.
Wife: Why Will You Die?
Husband: Because I Can't Bear That Much Happiness..!.
 

My Husband And I Divorced Over Religious Differences.
He Thought He Was God, And I Didn't.


Marriage Is Like  A Public Toilet
Those Waiting Outside Are Desperate To Get In
& Those Inside Are Desperate To Come Out.


Why Hurricanes Were Usually Named After Women?
Because When They Arrive, They're Wet And Wild, But
When They Go, They Take Your House And Car...
 

Text Messaging
Husband Sends The Following Message To His Wife
My Love,
If You're Sleeping, Send Me Your Dreams.
If You're Smiling, Send Me Your Smile.
If You're Crying, Send Me Your Tears.
I Love You.
Wife Texted Back :
I'm In The Toilet,
What Should I Send You?


 The Woman Applying For A Job In A Florida Lemon Grove
Seemed Way Too Qualified For The Job.
"Look Miss," Said The Foreman, "Have You Any Actual
Experience In Picking Lemons?"
"Well, As A Matter Of Fact, Yes!" She Replied.
"I've Been Divorced Three Times."


Whisky Is A Brilliant Invention.
One Double And You Start Feeling Single Again.


A Man Goes To The Wizard To Ask If He Can
Remove A Curse He Has Been Living With For The Last 40 Years.
The Wizard Says, "MaybeBut You Will Have To Tell Me
The Exact Words That Were Used To Put The Curse On You."
The Man Says Without Hesitation,
"I Now Pronounce You Man And Wife."


Husband Searching Keywords On Google `How To Tackle Wife? `
Google Search Result, `Good Day Sir, Even We Are Searching`.


A Man Goes To A Shrink And Says, "Doctor, My Wife Is Unfaithful To Me.
Every Evening, She Goes To Larry's Bar And Picks Up Men.
In Fact, She Sleeps With Anybody Who Asks Her!
I'm Going Crazy.
What Do You Think I Should Do?"
"Relax," Says The Doctor,
"Take A Deep Breath And Calm Down.
Now, Tell Me, Exactly Where Is Larry's Bar?"


Husband Throwing Darts At His Wife’s Photo And Not Even A Single One Hitting The Target...
From Another Room Wife Called The Husband: “Honey What Are You Doing...
Husband: “MISSING YOU”...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

TEXTING CODES FOR SENIORS


Young people have theirs,
now Seniors have their own texting codes:

* ATD- At the Doctor's


* BFF - Best Friends Funeral


* BTW- Bring the Wheelchair


* BYOT - Bring Your Own Teeth


* CBM- Covered by Medicare


* CUATSC- See You at the Senior Center


* DWI- Driving While Incontinent


* FWIW - Forgot Where I Was


* GGPBL- Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low


* GHA - Got Heartburn Again


* HGBM - Had Good Bowel Movement


* LMDO- Laughing My Dentures Out


* LOL- Living on Lipitor


* OMSG - Oh My! Sorry, Gas


* TOT- Texting on Toilet


* WAITT - Who Am I Talking To?


Hope these help. GGLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST

9 things you need to know about the mysterious temptation of Jesus
by Jimmy Akin
Thursday, February 14, 2013 8:59 PM
http://www.ncregister.com/images/sized/images/uploads/christ-in-the-desert-18721-e1276316336416-255x187.jpg
Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and then was tempted by the devil. What is going on in this mysterious incident?

This Sunday the gospel reading speaks of a mysterious event, just after Jesus' baptism, in which he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness.
How could Jesus--the All-Holy Son of God--be tempted?
Why did this event happen, and what was going on?

Here are 9 things you need to know about Jesus' "temptations" . . . and ours.

1. Why did Jesus go into the desert after his Baptism?

Empowered and led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert in preparation for his ministry, which his baptism inaugurated. Click here for more information on his baptism.

Forty days recalls various periods of preparation in the Old Testament, including the forty days Moses spent fasting and with God on Mt. Zion at the giving of the Law (Ex. 34:28), the forty days the Israelites spent spying out the Promised Land (Num. 13:25), and the forty years that the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land (Num. 14:34). 

2. How could Jesus, who is All-Holy, be tempted?

The Greek word used here for temptation (peirazo) does not indicate that Jesus had the disordered desire that we refer to in English as temptation. Instead, it means "to try," "to attempt." Here the devil tries to get Jesus to sin--and fails.
The Catechism notes:

The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time” (Lk. 4:13) [CCC 538].

It also notes that the trials the devil puts Jesus to recapitulate those faced by Adam and Israel in the desert (CCC 538).

Observe that when Jesus responds to the devil, in each case he quotes from Deuteronomy--the final presentation of the Law that Moses gave the Israelites before their entry into the Promised Land. He thus adheres to and fulfills the Law that Israel broke.

3. Jesus' first trial: forbidden food

The first trial is occasioned by the fact Jesus has been fasting for forty days, and so he is hungry. The devil invites him to violate the fast by using his powers as the Son of God to turn a stone into bread.

This echoes Adam eating the forbidden fruit and Israel's complaint against Moses for depriving them of the bread they had in Egypt by leading them into the wilderness.

In rebuffing the devil, Jesus repeats Moses' rebuke to the Israelites' complaint (Deut. 8:3).

4. Jesus' second trial: false worship

In the second trial (in St. Luke's order of presentation), the devil offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he will worship him. This reflects the influence that the devil had in the world order of the time, but which he would lose through Jesus' actions (Rev. 11:15).

It asks Jesus to play into the false, political understanding of the Messiah's role that was popular at the time, but which Jesus himself rejected (John 18:36).
It also echoes the temptation to false worship that the Israelites had in the desert, both at the incident of the Golden Calf (Ex. 32:4) and more generally (Lev. 17:7).

Jesus rebuffs the devil by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13, reflecting the fundamental requirement of Israelite worship.
 

5. Jesus' third trial: testing God

In the third trial (in Luke's order), the devil tries to get Jesus to put God to the test. Since Jesus has been rebuffing him by quoting Scripture, the devil now quotes a statement from the Psalms (Ps. 91:11-12) as the basis for the trial.
In doing so, he inverts the meaning of the Psalm, which says that those who trust in God will receive his protection. It does not say that people should take reckless risks or insist on miracles on demand to test whether God will keep his word. That is an attitude of dis-trust.

Jesus recognizes this and quotes back to him Deuteronomy 6:16, in which Moses rebukes the Israelites for having put God to the test in the wilderness.

6. What does this event reveal to us about Jesus, Adam, and the devil?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 

The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfills Israel's vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God's Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil's conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder.  Jesus' victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father [CCC 539].

7. What does this show us about Jesus' role as the Messiah?

Many people wanted a Messiah who would seize political power and usher in an age of prosperity and plenty. But Jesus voluntarily undergoes hunger and refuses political power--a very different kind of Messiah!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb. 4:15).  By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert [CCC 540].

8. How do Jesus' "temptations" relate to ours?

Pope Benedict explains:

Matthew and Luke recount three temptations of Jesus that reflect the inner struggle over his own particular mission and, at the same time, address the question as to what truly matters in human life.

At the heart of all temptations, as we see here, is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.
Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion—that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms [Jesus of Nazareth, vol. 1, p. 28].

9. How can we relate Jesus' time in the desert to our own experience of Lent?

Pope Benedict explains:

Lent is like a long "retreat" in which to re-enter oneself and listen to God's voice in order to overcome the temptations of the Evil One and to find the truth of our existence.

It is a time, we may say, of spiritual "training" in order to live alongside Jesus not with pride and presumption but rather by using the weapons of faith: namely prayer, listening to the Word of God and penance.

In this way we shall succeed in celebrating Easter in truth, ready to renew our baptismal promises [Angelus, Feb. 21, 2010].

CONCENTRATE - TAKE IT IN!

Concentrate on this Sentence

'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... 'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.' Something good will happen to you today; something that you have been waiting to hear.  Keep reading below ....


There comes a point in your life when you realize:

Who matters,
Who never did,
Who won't anymore...
And who always will.
So, don't worry about people from your past,
there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.

Give these flowers to everyone you don't want to lose in 2013 Including me, if that's what is in your heart.

THE SECRET OF CONFESSION


"Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

The daughter of a Baptist minister becomes a Catholic because of the opportunity to go to confession. A Presbyterian pastor involved in the healing ministry publicly announces his wish that his church have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A middle-aged mother of three refers to confession as the turning point of her life. Do they know something we don't know?

O, THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
"It is in Christ and through His blood that we have been redeemed and our sins forgiven." (Ephesians 1:7)

Picture Jesus hanging on the cross, blood coming out of His nailed hands and feet, blood dripping down His face from His thorn-crowned head, blood seeping out His shredded back after having been whipped and scourged. One drop of the blood of Jesus can wash away every sin that has, or will be committed. One drop of the blood of Jesus can wash away wars, nuclear bombing, holocausts, abortion, hatred, and racial prejudice. The only thing that can keep our sins from being forgiven is our refusal to repent and confess them.

WHY DO I HAVE TO CONFESS MY SINS TO A PRIEST?
"Any forgiving I have done has been for your sakes, and, before Christ, to prevent Satan -- whose guile we know too well -- from outwitting us."(2 Corinthians 2:10-11)

We confess our sins to a priest simply because Jesus said so. He gave the apostles authority to forgive sins in His name. (Jn 20:23) God, of course, does all the forgiving and all the healing, teaching, counseling, feeding, etc. Everything good is done by God's power, but He often works through people, members of the body of Christ, and He has decided to use people as His instruments in teaching, feeding, counseling, etc., and even in forgiving. We are open to God using a person to feed us but when it comes to forgiveness, we are reluctant to involve other people and think we should talk to God alone. But God commands: "Declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may find healing." (Jas 5:16)

So, Biblically, we are to confess our sins not only to God but also to other human beings. But why a priest? A priest represents the family of God, our community, the local body of Christ. We confess our sins to a representative of the Christian family because our sins hurt others in the family, and to be reconciled fully we must ask forgiveness not only of God Whom we have disobeyed and those immediately affected by our sins but also of the church family hurt by our sins. It's impossible to apologize to each and every one, but at least we can talk to a representative of the family and ask forgiveness. Unless we confess our sins to a priest, we feel like there's something missing because there is something missing: reconciliation with the church family.

HOW TO MAKE LIFE-CHANGING CONFESSIONS
"All this has been done by God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18)

The priest is the minister of forgiveness, which is one part of the process of reconciliation. The Lord has delegated the priest to forgive in His name and on behalf of His body, the Church, but all of us have an important part in the larger ministry of reconciliation. When many parts of Christ's body minister reconciliation, we see many life-changing confessions.

There are several steps in the process of reconciliation. These steps build on one another. The priestly ministry of forgiveness is in the middle of the reconciliation process. The lay person's ministry of reconciliation both precedes and follows the priestly ministry of forgiveness. Without the layperson's ministry of reconciliation, few people will receive the priest's ministry of forgiveness, and confession will not be completed by healing and freedom from guilt.


1. CONVINCED OF LOVE AND CONVICTED OF SIN

"We, for our part, love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)

According to Pope John Paul II, we have lost the sense of sin because we have lost the sense of God. If we are aware of God and His love, we will be sensitive to the responsibilities we have in our relationship with Him and to our failures in that love-relationship. When we are aware of love, we become aware of sin. "Little is forgiven the one whose love is small." (Lk 7:47) Fewer people go to confession now, not because we commit fewer sins, but because we have less awareness of sin and of God's love for us.

If we were love-conscious, we would be sin-conscious. We may have been taught to examine our conscience, but even more importantly we should examine our consciousness of God's love for us. For example, you are sitting with another person and gossiping about a third party. You really don't think you are doing anything wrong. The third party, unaware of what you are doing, suddenly walks into the room and gives you a gift. You feel like crawling under the table because that act of love suddenly made you conscious of your sin. In the context of love, our awareness of sin increases dramatically. For example, after Peter experienced Jesus' love when he caught the tremendous number of fish, he immediately was convicted of his sins. He fell at the knees of Jesus and said: "Leave me, Lord. I am a sinful man."(Lk 5:8) The more we love others, the more likely it is that they will be conscious of their sins.

How are we convinced of love and thereby convicted of sin? The Spirit convicts us, proves "the world wrong about sin, about justice, about condemnation." (Jn 16:8) We should ask Him to do this through intercessory prayer. For example, a group met in a nearly deserted church at the time confessions were scheduled and prayed that God's people be convinced of His love for them and thereby convicted of sin. At first, there was only one confession during the hour. Within three years, people were waiting for confession at almost all the confession times. These times had to be extended. Few will go to confession or repent until God's people exercise the ministry of conviction in the Spirit, especially through intercession.


2. THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE

"Jesus appeared in Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15, our translation)

Repentance is responding to God's love by making a definite decision to change our minds, our hearts, our lives. John the Baptizer appeared, proclaiming a baptism of repentance (Mk 1:4): an immersion, a bath in repentance. In the baptism of repentance, we let the Lord deal with the root of our sins, and not just the symptoms. We change our life-style. We give evidence that we mean to reform. (Mt 3:8) We can help each other repent deeply by speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15), by prophetically proclaiming the two- edged sword of God's word which will judge the thoughts and reflections of our hearts. (Heb 4:12)


3. TRUE CONFESSIONS

"As long as I would not speak, my bones wasted away with my groaning all the day, and night. Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then . I said, 'I confess my faults to the Lord.' and You took away the guilt of my sin." (Psalms 32:3-5)

After the baptism of repentance, we are ready to confess out sins. But a great spiritual battle often rages when we decide to go to confession. The devil makes a goal-line stand to keep us from victory. He'll remind us of bad experiences in confession, get us worried about what the priest will say, and even try to make us paranoid about someone overhearing our confession. The Church permits confession behind a screen to allay some of these fears. We need to encourage one another as we fight in the spiritual warfare surrounding confession.

If the devil cannot intimidate, manipulate, or threaten us to prevent our confession, he will try to diminish its effectiveness. He will tempt us to confess our sins in only a general way so as to prevent us from taking full advantage of the possibilities that the baptism of repentance has opened. We should not be scrupulous about the exact details or number of our sins, but we are to express fully our experience of repentance and, as the Spirit leads, be specific and open about the details of our sins.


4. HEALING AND FREEDOM FROM GUILT

Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." (Psalm 51:4)

Few people will experience the fullness of forgiveness, unless God's people take up the ministry of reconciliation after penitents walk out of confession. Just because we're forgiven, it doesn't mean we know we're forgiven; and even if we know we're forgiven, it doesn't mean we're healed, it doesn't mean we're completely free of guilt. How many leave the confessional doubtful about being forgiven and not joining in the joy of heaven over repentant sinners? (see Lk 15:7, 10) How many leave the confessional hurting deeply? Confession, although it can bring some healing, does not of itself always bring total healing. The priest is not the whole body of Christ; he is only one member. Furthermore, priests, being human and sinful, make terrible blunders in the confessional. They need our help. They need to send penitents into the body of Christ to receive more healing, assurance of forgiveness, and freedom from guilt.

The devil accuses us night and day. (Rv 12:10) As we walk out of the confessional, the devil says: "It's not that easy. You're still no good. You're as 'dirty' as when you walked in here. If people ever knew what you did, you wouldn't have a friend in the world." We often don't see ourselves as God sees us and don't forgive ourselves. Our self-image may be distorted as we are hurting, ashamed, and guilt-ridden. God's people must rally to the ministry of reconciliation and bring healing to those who are forgiven, but still under attack. We should minister reconciliation, as the father of the prodigal son did. The prodigal son returned with the words: "I have sinned against God and against you (father); I no longer deserve to be called your son." (Lk 15:21) He confessed his sins, but he felt no good and not worthy to be called a son. The father immediately jumped to the ministry of reconciliation and healing and said: "Quick! Bring out he finest robe and put it on him. Help him respect and forgive himself. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Show him in tangible ways he is loved and respected, not a slave but a free man." We have many prodigal sons and daughters; we need many ministers of reconciliation to love, honor, and heal them.

5. CELEBRATION

But we had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found." (Luke 15:32)

The first time I heard the expression: "Let's celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation," I thought it a peculiar saying. Confession did not seem to be a celebration. Going into a dark closet and talking to somebody behind a screen -- what's to celebrate? And yet the Bible tells us that celebration is the fulfillment of the whole reconciliation process. As people emerge from the confessional, we should not only reach out with healing hands and embrace them, but we also join in the joyful praises of heaven over sinners who repent. We kill the fatted calf; we have a confession party. We put the final touch on life-changing confessions.

I have had confession parties with many families and groups. We go to church, pray together, and go to confession individually. Then we fellowship to celebrate God's forgiveness. Confession parties promote frequent confession since we all like to celebrate. They also give us God's attitude toward reconciliation.

GO TO CONFESSION
God has chosen you to read this pamphlet. It is no accident. God is calling you not only to go to confession but to begin a new and frequent reception of the sacrament -- at least monthly. Then after you've removed the plank from your own eye, you can remove the specks from others' eyes. (Mt 7:5) Invite others to confession. God is calling you to be a minister of reconciliation, to celebrate and rejoice over one sinner who repents. Say "yes" to His call.

Nihil obstat: Reverend John J. Jennings, November 19, 1985.
Imprimatur: † Most Reverend Bishop James H. Garland, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 21, 1985.

The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

LATER TODAY

I have some interesting things coming to the blog later today! Have a blessed Sabbath and we'll try and post later today or early tomorrow .......... all prayer requests are welcome!  God bless +++
 

Abbey

POPE BENEDICT'S XVI’s LESSON FOR US THIS LENT

IgnitumToday
Pope Benedict XVI’s Lesson for Us this Lent

February 16, 2013 AD
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Door

On Ash Wednesday, in the Gospel of the day, Jesus tells us: “But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. ” (Mt 6:6 ).

It is not enough to go into our room and pray; we also need to shut the door.

I think these words are especially meaningful in light of the recent abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. As I read secular media’s coverage of the event, I was struck by how completely wrong many journalists were getting it. Not only was there an abundance of examples of media just not getting the facts right, there was also a rationalization and de-spiritualization of what is clearly a spiritually significant event for many people. Attempting to understand anything Catholic, without a spiritual context, leaves much in the Church looking outdated, sexist, hopelessly bureaucratic, and well, just strange. Making the Church appear to be so is passed off as being “objective journalism,” and seems to be the order of the day, but is it really objective to depict a religion as everything but its religion?

In the face of this barrage of nonsense in the media world, I have been inspired by the example of Pope Benedict himself.

Elizabeth Scalia summed it up in one of the best sentences I have read in a while:

If John Paul went out like the sustained note of a grand organ, fading into silence, Benedict simply senses his tiredness and the hour, closes up his piano, and bids us adieu. Ratzinger, in the end, is still Ratzinger: he does his work, kisses it all up to the Holy Spirit and moves on, not particularly concerned about the peripheral yakking of man or media.


Benedict has been such a beautiful example of open engagement with the secular world, while staying securely rooted in God. This is the pope who quotes Nietzsche in his book about Jesus, and who does not hesitate to say it is morally better for a male prostitute to use a condom than not. As one journalist put it after his visit to Great Britain in 2010, this man “confounds his critics.” He is humble, he is frank, he is open, he says what he means, and he does not resort to talking in sound bites to avoid media distortion and misunderstanding. This is, after all, a man who read his resignation announcement in Latin.

So, with Benedict, inspired by the words of Jesus, I am closing the door this Lent. I am going into my inner room and spending this Lent with the Father, with the door shut. It’s not locked. I can still open it and communicate with, learn from, try to influence this world we live in, and allow the good in it to influence me. I’m still here, ready and willing to build bridges from my door to your door. But, for now, I am just going to follow the example of our soon to be retired pope.

I am shutting the door and chilling with Jesus. I do this for me, for others, and so that my engagement with the world can be firmly rooted in Christ.

This is, after all, what Lent is really about.
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Dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrection – in which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon history – I express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives.
                                                                                                                            - Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for Lent 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

IGNITUM TODAY: HUMILITY SPEAKS LOUDEST


IgnitumToday
Humility Speaks Loudest

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 05:00 AM PST
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”–Pope Benedict XVI, February 11, 2013

After the shock wore off about hearing the resignation of the Pope, I had to look around at the faithful and think that we have recovered nicely.  I was proud to see how the faithful stood behind the Holy Father’s decision.  We could not fully understand the decision, because we are in no position to grasp the magnitude of his role as the Vicar of Christ.  But, as loyal people do, we accepted his explanation because we believe in him and we have faith that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church as she has been guided for the past two millennia.  Now, we will wait for his resignation date and the time for conclave to begin.  Then, our prayers will increase even more as we look to the coming day of the next successor in the apostolic succession of Christ.

I think we were able to recover nicely because of the way Pope Benedict resigned.  His admission to the world was a humble one.  His words were the kind of honest that is painful and sad, but that is the best honest.  That is the kind of honest that leads to change in a good way, even if we don’t realize that we need it yet.  Pope Benedict has led us well over the years and no one was thinking that this was going to end so abruptly.  I count it as a blessing that it is not an abrupt passing of his life that is causing us to look to the next successor.

His reasons, though, for resigning were ones that only he would recognize.  Sure, we may recognize these signs ourselves as we age.  But when was the last time you thought: “Hey, the Pope should resign because he is getting too old?”  Maybe if you did, you then remembered Bl. John Paul II, and the kind of strength he displayed even as his health deteriorated.

That does not mean that Pope Benedict is not as strong as John Paul.  We all know that there are different strengths.  I saw a good message about that on the Facebook page of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist yesterday.  It said: “Pope John Paul II remained in office so that he might show us how to suffer and how to die.  Pope Benedict XVI is leaving the Papal Office so that he might show us how to live in humble honesty.”

This humble honesty is a great way to look at ourselves as we begin Lent.  What can we honestly say about ourselves that we can work on?  What are honest sacrifices we can make for Christ?  What can we honestly do more in our lives to express charity?  Pope Benedict has given us a great example of humility to witness.  Now, he will be exalted (a lot by the people) even though he did not exalt himself, as Scripture tells us.

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” –Matthew 23:12


When the world was in need of radical Christianity, the Holy Father delivered.  He stepped down from the Petrine ministry in order to strengthen it.  What can we step down from in order to strengthen our relationship with Christ?  What can we step down from in order to show others that we see a better path; a path laid out to our own eyes by the grace of the Lord.
It appears that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has brought more questions than answers.  But if we are not questioning anything, how can we grow?  If we cannot examine ourselves before God, how will we get closer to God?  The Holy Father became more dear to me when he announced his resignation, because he brought all these questions to the front of my mind.  I hope and pray for his peace and ask that all do the same.

God Bless!
Vivo Cristo Rey!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

THIS DAY'S THOUGHT AND VERSE

 
    
    
This Day's Thought


Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally.
  
Thomas Merton
This Day's Verse
 
For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.
  
Romans 5:2
The Living Bible