Sunday, June 30, 2013

"HERE I AM LORD"

I detest these little ads, but five seconds and you will be enjoying one of my favorite hymns. GBU †††





LEARN ABOUT MARIJA PAVLOVIC-LUNETTI APPARITIONS


Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti

Marija in May 2011. 
Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me

Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti (born April 1st 1965) receives the Virgin Mary’s monthly message to the world, given on the 25th day of each month. This has been the case since January 25th 1987. For almost three years before that Marija also received the Virgin’s weekly message which was given each Thursday to build up the parish and the parishioners of Medjugorje to become a great light for the world.

When the apparitions began, Marija was timid and shy. This has changed and now she comes across as outspoken and more extrovert. Quite remarkably her level of intelligence has also increased since the onset of the apparitions: In her early teens Marija had to repeat a year in school whereas a scientific investigation in 1998 showed her intelligence to be above average.

Marija during her apparition in Lignano, Italy, in May 2011.
Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me

In spite of her almost self-eradicating attitude during the early years of the apparitions, she still impressed many people who met her by her serenity and deeply spiritual nature. She still does to this day. For more than ten years before her marriage in September 1993 Marija contemplated to become a nun, a vocation she might have undertaken if she had not been adviced by Mother Superiors  that a life as a nun might also imply for her to keep silent about the messages she receives from the Virgin.
When Marija was in her mid-20s the Virgin Mary gave her the gift of speaking fluent Italian, a skill that developed from one day to the next. Shortly afterwards she met Paolo Lunetti, today her husband and father of her four sons. Marija and her family live part-time in Milano and part-time in Medjugorje where she is quite often speaking to the pilgrims.

Her special prayer mission, entrusted to her by the Virgin, is to pray for priests, nuns and the souls in Purgatory.

THE VIRGIN MARY'S MESSAGE GIVEN ON JUNE 25, 2013

Dear Ones, I have just received the information regarding Marija Leonetti's pilgrimage to Caritas beginning tomorrow, July 1, 2013 through July 5, 2013.  I am now trying to figure out how I can attend each day's FULL day of prayers and the apparitions of the Holy Mother.  Consecration by the Queen of Peace will be on July 4, 2013 at Caritas.  For more information, go to mej.com. God bless you and I hope I will see some of my friends in Christ when I make this pilgrimage to Caritas in Shelby County, Alabama (where I live, so it won't be far, but cars by the hundreds line the Hwy.43 leading to Caritas.)  I know that if I go, my life will be changed forever; I want it and I thirst for it. I need to be consecrated by our Blessed Mother.

God bless you †††
Abbey

The Virgin Mary’s message given on June 25th 2013
“Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that He can give you His peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer – open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

REALLY???? THEY WALK AMONG US!

Is this the most stupid thing ever published in an American newspaper or what?

To Understand the mind of this woman be sure to read the whole 'letter to the editor', including her definition of a natural born citizen!

From the Carteret County News-Times

(Editor's note: The following Letter to the Editor, published in the Jan. 23 edition, has gone viral on the Web after a reader linked it to a Fox News Facebook page. It had received more than 4,000 comments and been shared more than 12,000 times by Tuesday morning
 
http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/424798_530231810331738_412393013_n.jpg

We have now discovered something with
less intelligence than a moon rock. I am
now dumber for having read it. When
you're done, Share it. Cause no one
deserves to suffer thru this libidiocy alone.
God help us...

"Life’s tough … it’s even
tougher if you’re stupid.”
-John Wayne
 

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

Thanks to my sister in Christ, Bryn, for sending this to me. And now, I'd like to share it with you all.

A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

by Jeff Foxworthy:

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

What a country!

How about we give God a reason to continue blessing America!

Amen (thank you Jeff)
A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots
by Jeff Foxworthy:

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and ...remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

What a country!

How about we give God a reason to continue blessing America!

Amen

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

32 YEARS OF MEDJUGORJE

32 Years of Medjugorje


Today, June 25, 2013, as the parish of Medjugorje celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the apparitions, Our Lady appeared to the visionary Marija and delivered the following message for the world:  
“Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that He can give you His peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer – open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Today, Our Lady also appeared to the visionary Ivanka, as she has been doing every year on this date since Ivanka received the 10th secret. The apparition today took place at Ivanka's home, but Our Lady did not give a message.

Last night, June 24, which is the anniversary of the day that the children first saw Our Lady (but did not talk to her), the visionary Ivan experienced an apparition. It took place on Apparition Hill, the same place where Mary first appeared 32 years ago.

Appearing last night at around 10 pm, Our Lady delivered the following message:
"Dear children, I come to you with joy and with a joyful desire I call you today: Accept my messages and live my messages. Dear children, with you I wish to realize my plans with the world, with the Church. In a special way today I call you: renew my messages, live my messages. In the beginning I presented myself as the Queen of Peace. Also today in a special way I call you to pray for peace, for peace in the human heart, peace in your hearts, for peace comes from your heart. Dear children, the Mother prays for all of you, the Mother loves you with all her motherly love and presents you all to her Son. Dear children, today I want to say thank you: thank you for welcoming me, and because you will continue to accept my messages and live them."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

POSITIVE THOUGHTS - RELATIONSHIPS

Posted: 23 Jun 2013 05:56 AM PDT

  1. Some relationships will be blessings, others will serve as lessons.– Either way, never regret knowing someone.  Everyone you encounter  teaches you something important.  Some people will test you, some will  use you, and some will teach you; but most importantly some will bring  out the best in you.
  2. When times get tough, some people will leave you. – When you are up in life, your friends get to know who you are.  When  you are down in life, you get to know who your true friends are.  There  will be lots of people around when times are easy, but take note of who  remains in your life when times get tough, especially the people who  sacrifice the resources they have in their life to help you improve  yours when you need it most. These people are your real friends. 
  3. Life is full of fake people. – Sometimes the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun.  It’s so easy to believe someone when they TELL you exactly what you want to hear.  But when a person  SHOWS you who they really are, believe them the first time.  Some people are only nice for their own convenience – the type of people who only  call when they need something or come around when it’s beneficial to  them.  Not everyone has your best interests at heart.  But sometimes you have to be tricked and mislead by the wrong lovers and friends once or  twice in your life in order to find and  appreciate your soul mate and real friends when they arrive.
  4. People can easily be insincere with their words.  – When someone truly loves you, they don’t have to say a word.  You will  be able to tell simply by the way they treat you over the long-term.   Remember, actions speak much louder than words.  A person can say sorry a thousand times, and say “I love you” as much as they want.  But if  they’re not going to prove that the things they say are true, then  they’re not worth listening to.  Because if they can’t show it, their  words are not sincere.
  5. The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.– Don’t settle to just be someone’s downtime, spare time, part time, or sometime.  If they can’t be there for you all of the time, especially  when you need them most, then they’re not worth your time.  
  6. Harsh words can hurt a person more than physical pain.– Taste your own words before you spit them out.  Words hurt and scar  more than you think, so THINK before you speak.  And remember, what you  say about others also says a whole lot about YOU.
  7. A mistake is an accident.  Cheating and lying are not mistakes.– They are intentional choices.  Stop hiding behind the words “mistake” and “sorry” and stop putting up with those who do.
  8. Excessive jealousy doesn’t tell someone how much you love them.– It tells them how much you dislike yourself.  And no amount of love,  or promises, or proof from them will ever be enough to make you feel  better.  For those broken pieces you carry, are pieces you must mend for yourself. 
  9. When people get nasty with you, it’s usually best to walk away.– When someone treats you like dirt, don’t pay attention and don’t take it personally.  They’re saying nothing about you and a lot about  themselves.  And no matter what they do or say, never drop down to their level and sling dirt back.  Just know you’re better than that and walk  away.
  10. People will treat you the way you let them treat you.– You can’t control them, but you can control what you tolerate.   Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negative  people.  Doing so does not mean you hate them, it simply means you  respect yourself.  
  11. One of the most difficult tasks in life is removing someone from your heart. – But remember, no relationship is a waste of time.  The wrong ones teach you the lessons that prepare you for the right ones.
  12. Resentment hurts you, not them. – Whisper a small  prayer of gratitude for the people who have stuck by your side, and send a prayer of good will for those who didn’t.  For should these people  hear your prayers, those who have been there will know how much you  appreciate them, and those who left will know that you appreciate your  own happiness enough to not let resentment destroy your capacity to live with a compassionate heart.
  13. Silence and a half smile can hide a lot of pain from the world.– Pay close attention to those you care about.  Sometimes when a friend says, “I’m okay,” they need you to look them in the eyes, hug them  tight, and reply, “I know you’re not.”
  14. True love comes when manipulation stops. – True  love comes when you care more about who the other person really is than  about who you think they should become, when you dare to reveal yourself honestly, and when you dare to be open and vulnerable.  It takes two to create a sincere environment where this is possible.  If you haven’t  found true love yet, don’t settle.  There is someone out there who will  share true love with you, even if it’s not the person you were initially hoping for.  
  15. Even the best relationships don’t last forever. – Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they  need, or something they thought was meant to be.  People don’t live  forever.  Appreciate what you have, who loves you and who cares for  you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you.  And remember, just because something doesn’t  last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.
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By Marc and Angel Hack Life

Friday, June 21, 2013

WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO ....

You all know that I'm devout Catholic.  I am also an avid music listener.  I thought about this song a while before deciding to post it.  In a way, it makes me think of how things may be in the future if we (the world) don't pull our heads out of the sand and look to Jesus Christ as our salvation.  This video makes me think of how it might be in the end of days.  If you're heart does not belong to Jesus Christ, he's waiting for you, so what are YOU waiting for?


WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

Sent to me by one of my most loving and supportive Sisters in Christ. It's always been a favorite and no one does it like Louis! Enjoy ♥


MEDICAL SCHOOL (ADULT HUMOR)


MEDICAL SCHOOL EXAM: When I was young my intent was to go to medical school, but I was confused by the entrance exam.The deciding question was, "Re-arrange the letters  P N E S I  to spell out an important part of the human body that is more useful when erect."
 
Those who spelled SPINE became doctors.
 
The rest are in Congress.

THIS DAY'S .....


The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.
  
Oswald Chambers
This Day's Verse
 
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;, The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
  
Song of Songs 2:11-13
The King James Version
This Day's Smile
 
The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

Thomas Moore

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

Every time you are tempted to react to the same old circumstances in the same old way, ask yourself, “Do I want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?”  

  1. True happiness comes from within, not from someone else.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy.
  2. Don’t choose the one who is beautiful to the world, choose the one who makes your world beautiful.
  3. If you feel like your ship is sinking, it might be a good time to throw out the stuff that’s been weighing it down.  Let go of people who bring you down, and surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you.
  4. Just because it didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.
  5. Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Don’t expect others to read your mind, and don’t play games with their heads and hearts.  Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out.  Half-truths are no better than lies.  And don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words.
  6. Lies help no one in the long run.  So… 1) Don’t say “I love you” if you don’t mean it. 2) Don’t say “I understand” if you have no clue. 3) Don’t say “I’m sorry” if you’re not. 4) Be honest with yourself and your loved ones.
  7. Tell the truth, or eventually someone will tell it for you.
  8. Good relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work to be together.
  9. Falling in love is not a choice.  To stay in love is.
  10. Love doesn’t hurt.  Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts.
  11. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option but a priority.  Loyalty is everything.
  12. A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences.
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PRAYERS FOR PRIESTS

PRAYERS FOR PRIESTS

Depiction of the Sacrament of Holy Orders from the 1920's courtesy of Wikipedia

Why say prayers for priests? Because, as St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, once said “After God, the priest is everything.” (He also once referred to the priest “the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth.”)

In administering the sacraments (which only they can do) and serving us, priests act, as we say, in persona Christi (that is to say, in the person of Christ), with our Lord working through their presence.

(As a quick reminder, the sacraments are seven outward signs Christ instituted to give us grace, a supernatural gift from God to enable us to grow in goodness and holiness. These are: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The links given here refer to Chapters from the Catechism of the Catholic Church where you can read more about each one.)

As Father John Hardon, S.J., once said, “praying and offering God sacrifices for the priesthood are indispensably important,” because “there is no Catholic Church without the priesthood.”

After reading the lurid headlines of priests’ scandals over the past few years it is easy to become disillusioned in our faith because of the grave sins of a few and spiritual tepidity of others in the clergy. Yet that is the last thing we should do!

Remember if you have some difficulty with a parish priest that, although he may act in the person of Christ, he’s still a human being with all the faults and foibles we all have. So next time Father So-And-So is acting like a so-and-so, remember to pray for Him.

This first of our prayers for priests touches on this:
O Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Christ, and for love of Him Who is the eternal High-priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop's hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.
O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.
But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed or helped me and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly (your priest’s name here). O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen. Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us; obtain for us many and holy priests. Amen.
In admirable support for his “Brother Priests,” as he called them, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a “Year for Priests” from June 19, 2009-June 19th 2010, in a letter to them.

In a subsequent homily, he asked for many prayers for priests and for an increase of vocations to the priesthood, reminding his audience that “the priest is a man totally belonging to the Lord, because it is God himself who calls him and who establishes him in his apostolic service. And precisely being totally of God, he is totally of mankind, for all people.”

(Speaking of our Holy Father, in addition to these prayers here we also have a separate page of prayers for the Pope. We also have a page of prayers for vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life as well.)

Indeed, angels may watch over us and guide us but it is only our priests and bishops who can give us the sacraments, the foundations of Christ’s Church and our faith. The prayer above reminds us in part of just how much priests do for us!

The second of our prayers for priests refers, as in the first, to Christ as being the Eternal High Priest, one who offered up His life to His Heavenly Father for our salvation in His Passion and continues to offer Himself up for us at Mass, in an “unbloody” manner:
O Jesus, Eternal Priest, look down with love upon Thy priests. Fill them with burning zeal for the conversion of sinners. Keep them within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart. Keep unstained their anointed hands. which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips purpled with Thy precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts sealed with the sublime marks of Thy glorious Priesthood. Let Thy holy love protect them from the world's contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister on earth be one day their ioy and consolation in heaven. Amen.
A few words are in order here concerning two of the sacraments we may receive on a regular basis, the Eucharist and Penance:

In instituting the Catholic priesthood, Christ gave his apostles, and those whom they would appoint to subsequently appoint others, the power to summon Him down upon the altar, in body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist at Mass. None of us in the laity can do this. Neither can the ministers among our Christian brethren of other denominations!

Only an ordained priest or bishop, consecrated though the Sacrament of Holy Orders (illustrated in the picture above) can perform this vital, sacred task! As St. John Vianney expressed it so movingly, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when the priest says the words of consecration “Our Lord comes down from heaven at his voice and shuts Himself up in a little Host,” (the wafer that then becomes the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ)!

Christ also gave priests the power to forgive sinsin His name in the sacrament of Penance after His resurrection, when he told his disciples “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:22-23).

Our Holy Father once referred to this most powerful sacrament as “an extraordinary source of serenity and peace.” He also stated in his letter mentioned earlier that “priests ought never to be resigned to empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the faithful to this sacrament.”

Grace is what counts here: grace given us by the priests in the person of Christ in the all the sacraments. Let us all pray that our priests be inspired by the Holy Spirit to radiate Christ’s grace and, thus, His love for us, so that we might do the same for each other!

St. John Vianney once called the priesthood “the love of the heart of Jesus.” Keep Jesus close to your heart as well, and to seek out his grace in prayer and in the sacraments. And remember who He has chosen to give them to us: his priests!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PRAYER FOR GRACE IN SICKNESS

A PRAYER FOR GRACE IN SICKNESS

Picture courtesy of iStockphoto.com

It has been said that Christ is closest to us in our suffering. This prayer for grace in sickness can help you cope during those times when you need to feel our Lord’s presence most!
Dear Lord, by allowing me to experience this affliction, so that I may share in your suffering on the cross for sin, you take a sublime chance that I might either draw closer to you for comfort, or turn away from you in my misery. O my Savior, grant me that precious grace to offer up my pain, as you did in Your Passion, to atone for sin. Help me to imitate your patience and to turn my complaints into offerings for my sins or for those of others, as you see fit. In this time of distress and pain, I ask, I seek, and I knock, for the grace of endurance, perseverance, and above all, trustful submission to Your Divine will, for my good and your glory.
This might seem like a tall order, particularly when you are undergoing a great deal of pain. We might admire those who carry their crosses gracefully. We might even feel grateful for a particular cross if we emerge stronger after bearing it, once the ordeal is over!

But how often do we embrace our crosses during sickness? You might have heard it said that God will only send us the crosses we can bear. Yet, especially during a serious illness, that cross seems to be made of lead, not wood, as it crushes down on us.

When we turn away from God then, we risk turning fragile moments into brittle ones. We lose the opportunity to bear our pain with love for Him as He bore His suffering out of love for us on the Cross. We lose the grace of trusting in Him to see us through our ordeal and to help us get to Heaven.

What we need to pray for most, as implied in this prayer above, is a patient, persevering trust in God to do the right thing for us if we seek to follow His will, no matter what the circumstances.

The degree to which we are receptive to God’s graces is the degree to which we will be given more! You might have heard the popular expression “Let Go and Let God.” Let Jesus help you carry your crosses in prayer!

"HIGH HOPES" - Pink Floyd




"High Hopes"

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun

Along the Long Road and on down the Causeway
Do they still meet there by the Cut

There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps
Running before time took our dreams away
Leaving the myriad small creatures trying to tie us to the ground
To a life consumed by slow decay

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The nights of wonder

Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide

At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed of world

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river

Forever and ever

TODAY'S VERSE FROM HEARTLIGHT

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 6:38

~*~

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

God is the God of all grace! (1 Pet. 5:10) He loves to give, bless, and empower. One of God's chosen ways to do these three things is through us; he wants us to be conduits of his blessing. Like the faithful stewards in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25), when we are faithful in generously and faithfully using what he has given us to administer, he blesses us with more to use to help others and bring him glory. As we give, share, and bless, God continues to supply us with more than we can imagine! (see 2 Cor. 9:6-11 & Eph. 3:20-21)

Prayer...

Father, open my heart and help me be a more generous person. I want to use the many blessings and resources, which you have entrusted to me, to bless others and bring you glory. Please give me courage to not be afraid to use what you have given me in ways that are bold and extravagant in your service. I know that when my heart is pure and I share your grace, I will never be able to out give you! In Jesus' name I thank you. Amen.

-Phil Ware
 

THIS DAY'S . . .

 
    
    
This Day's Thought


 
Confusion and impotence are the inevitable results when the wisdom and resources of the world are substituted for the presence and power of the Spirit.
  
Samuel Chadwick
This Day's Verse
 
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."  "Come," he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"   Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"  And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
  
Matthew 14:22-33
The New International Version

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

IGNITIUM

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 02:30 PM PDT
Reverence (noun): a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration. 
Reverence has always been a topic of discussion for me and a friend, especially where the Mass is concerned. I think that if it were up to us, we would do a Mass every day in Latin and ad orientem, which is when the priest faces away from the parishioners. We have this fascination with the old ways, believing that it was a more reverent way of saying the Mass. Of course, from time to time, parishes will celebrate Mass this way; it hasn’t been abolished or banned.

The reason that we want this kind of Mass is because of our idea about what it represents: that the Mass is not about you, the parishioner, but about the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what He has given us: the Bread of Life. I heard a homily once where the priest told us about a time when he tried to explain the Mass to a non-Catholic. He had a difficult time explaining in layman’s terms, so finally he said: “It’s Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday all wrapped in one.”

Yes.

Holy Thursday was the Last Supper and the first Mass. Good Friday was the Sacrifice. Easter Sunday is the Resurrection. All of this is re-presented in the Mass. Of course, I could break down the Mass and go on and on about it, but I won’t. Instead, I ask what would it be like if we treated every Mass like we did the Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday? Catholics turn themselves inside out over those consecutive four days, and rightly so. So what if we turned ourselves out for the one hour a week that we’re obligated to attend Mass? What if people kept Sunday mornings as reverent as they do the Triduum and Easter? What kind of transformation would that mean for our hearts?

If one truly participates in Lent, Holy Week, and finally Easter, there is definitely a feeding of the flames for our souls. But how often does the energy die down over the following weeks, like a New Year’s Resolution gone wrong? How often do we wonder, why can’t I get that energy back?

That is why the Mass is there. That is why the Apostles celebrated the Mass every day, even after Christ had left. One: he told them to. “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). Two: they knew that it was necessary for their spiritual growth and the growth of their followers. In Acts, we read about how, every day, they “broke bread” (Acts2:42).

Over the years, the order of the Mass was brushed up to give us what we have today. We first have the Liturgy of the Word, where we hear three readings from the Bible, giving us the story of redemption and God’s teachings. They give us a model of how to live our lives (John 13:15). Then we have the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where our souls are fed with the Bread of Life, and bringing grace inside of us.

If we treated every Mass we attended as if we were partaking in the Triduum again, the Mass would mean more to us. The fire in our souls would keep burning.

Also, if we were to view the Mass as something as reverent as we do the Triduum and Easter, we would prepare for it as we should. We would examine our consciences for mortal sin. We would make sure we were cleaned up and dressed appropriately. We would pray and fast some before, to allow us to reflect on what we are going to be an audience of. If we had some role to play during the Mass: choir, extraordinary minister, altar server, lector, etc, we would give nothing but our best to the task.

This has been on my mind, not only because my friend and I keep talking about it, but because I know that sometimes I do not treat the Mass as I should. I attend Daily Mass often, but the downside is that some days I am callous towards it. I have to remind myself just what exactly is going on here. I have to remind myself that this is the Triduum and Easter wrapped up in one presentation.

Then there is what comes after Mass. We step out of an anachronistic realm and into the 21st Century. We become technocrats with busy lives. We try to keep up with the one hundred and one things going on in our lives and maybe feel a little guilty after the week has gone by and we’re back in Mass the following Sunday and we realize that we haven’t given God much thought throughout the week. We think about all the times we should have said “thank you, God for this”, or “I trust you Lord, for that.”
The Triduum plays it up to remind us that we are a part of something grander than the world around us. Just as the Apostles were revived into ministry at the sight of the risen Lord, we should be as well when we come into the presence of the risen Lord within the Eucharist at Mass.

THIS DAY'S . . .








 
    
    
This Day's Thought

 
You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of Love.
  
Henry Drummond
This Day's Verse
 
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,
  
Titus 3:5
The King James Version

Monday, June 17, 2013

THIS DAY'S . . .



Certain thoughts are prayers.  There are certain moments when, whatever the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
  
Victor Hugo
This Day's Verse
 
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
  
Psalm 27: 1
The New King James Version
This Day's Smile
 
The problem with spending your life climbing up the ladder is that you will go right past Jesus, for he's coming down.

John Ortberg

Saturday, June 15, 2013

PRAYERS FOR THE POPE

PRAYERS FOR THE POPE

Picture of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI ,during Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, copyright 2008 by Chris Castagnoli for www.ourcatholicprayers.com

Did our Holy Father’s visit to the United States inspire you? Prayers for the pope help us to remember the importance of praying for him as he prays for us! During his visit, chronicled here, Pope Benedict XVI called prayer “hope in action.” He pointed out on one occasion that time spent in prayer is never wasted!

In our prayers for the pope, such as this one below, we can ask our Heavenly Father to help guide our Holy Father to be a worthy Vicar of Christ (His “representative”) as he tends to the spiritual needs of over one billion Catholics worldwide.
O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all Your faithful people, mercifully look upon Your servant [name of Pope], whom You have chosen as the chief Shepherd to preside over Your Church. We beg You to help him edify, both by word and example, those over whom he has charge, that he may reach everlasting life together with the flock entrusted to him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer ties in nicely with the Gospels. Just as our Lord called St. Peter the rock on which He would build His Church (Matt 16:18-19) so too did he instruct him before His ascension into Heaven to “feed my sheep” (John 21:17). He chose Peter to be in charge of his flock, his Church. According to scripture and Church history, as documented in part here, our Holy Father is indeed the successor to St. Peter!

As such, Pope Benedict must guide the Catholic Church in conformity with what is called the magisterium. This is the teaching authority of our faith, as handed down to us from our Lord and His Apostles to the Early Church Fathers, and to other theologians and religious as well over the centuries.
In light of Benedict’s awesome responsibilities as an administrator, teacher, and ambassador for our faith worldwide, the following two prayers for the pope seem most appropriate.
Almighty and Everlasting God, have mercy on Your servant [name of Pope], our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Your loving kindness, in the way of eternal salvation, that with Your help he may ever desire that which is pleasing to You and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus, shelter our Holy Father the Pope under the protection of Your Sacred Heart. Be his light, his strength and his consolation.
Speaking of strength, didn’t Christ remind us in the Gospels that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27)? Certainly our Holy Father has sought that level of holiness!
Although Pope Benedict is a formidable theologian, and author of numerous books, articles, and two wonderful encyclicals, his genuine humility and good nature won him many admirers on his visit here, even among our non-Catholic Christian brethren.

He inspired us to follow his example in showing Christ’s love and in being, as he put it “a people of joy, heralds of the unfailing hope (cf. Rom 5:5) born of faith in God’s word, and trust in his promises.”
As an example of his humility, Pope Benedict referred to himself as the end of his homily at the Mass he celebrated for priests, deacons, and members of religious orders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 19, 2008 as “the poor successor of Saint Peter.” (The pictures above and below were taken by a Cathedral volunteer on our staff who was fortunate enough to be in attendance there!)

Our Holy Father then continued, “I will try to do all that is possible to be a worthy successor of the great Apostle [Peter], who also was a man with faults and sins, but remained in the end the rock for the Church.”

He movingly acknowledged his need for assistance in fulfilling his formidable divine duties as head of the Catholic Church today by concluding “It is also your prayers and your love which give me the certainty that the Lord will help me in this my ministry. I am therefore deeply grateful for your love and for your prayers.”

Note also that in addition to these prayers above, it is always good to pray for our Holy Father’s intentions during a morning offering or perhaps during the Rosary. (The Apostleship of Prayer lists his intentions for each month on their website.) In all our prayers for the pope, let us pray that the Holy Spirit gives him the guidance he needs as he tends to his flock, our Church!

Picture of our Holy father, Pope Benedict XVI after Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, copyright 2008 by Chris Castagnoli for www.ourcatholicprayers.com

PRAYER FOR MEDICAL TESTS

A PRAYER FOR MEDICAL TESTS

Picture courtesy of iStockphoto.com

This prayer for medical tests can help you receive our Lord’s graces when you might need them most: in a time of great uncertainty when you might be tempted to see only darkness around you

Dear Lord, as my loved ones and I await the results of medical tests about my affliction, let us offer you our anxieties for our good and your glory. Calm us in our worries, knowing these don’t add wisdom but rather stress to this situation. Enlighten us, though the power of your Spirit, to make wise decisions as to treatment. Help us not to turn away from You in these fragile, painful moments, but rather towards you for grace and strength.
Comfort us in seeking you now as we place all our concerns in your loving hands as we say “Thy Will Be Done.”
We ask ourselves when scheduling an MRI or CAT scan (or some other such procedure) for ourselves or others “what will the outcome be? How will this affect my family or friends?” Those who live alone without such a support group probably wonder, “How will I manage if this is serious?”

It has been said that God is closest to us in our sufferings and wishes to be the most help to us then. As St. Padre Pio once wrote to someone in pain “You suffer, but believe that Jesus Himself suffers in you and for you.” Yet, while some may indeed turn to Christ in this situation, perhaps for the first time in a while, others may push Him away.

Still, Jesus wishes to help us through this time of anxiety about the future. The Divine Physician can give us His Divine Anesthetic, His grace, if we are open to receiving it through prayer. It might not take away all pain and worry, but His grace can certainly make troubles more bearable. St. Alphonsus Liguori once wrote that he who bears his cross with patience lightens its weight.

Our prayer for medical tests can help you remember that our Lord wishes us to have His peace even in uncertain times. When did He say these words “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you…do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27)? At the Last Supper, with His arrest and death were imminent.

Jesus was no stranger to anxiety. At Gethsemane, only a few hours later, He experienced enough dread over His upcoming Passion to sweat drops of blood! Yet, He prayed then, “Father, if you are willing, take this chalice away from me. Yet truly, let not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

In the midst of your worries, offer them up to Christ on the cross. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests once wrote that “The Cross gave peace to the world; and it must bring peace to our hearts.”

Remember that anxiety can feed on itself as well. Keep in mind Jesus' famous advice in His Sermon on the Mount when He told His listeners not to worry about tomorrow as it would take care of itself (Matt 6:34).

We hope this prayer for medical tests, and others like it, can help relieve your stress. Our Lord is there with you in the midst of it and, as St. Padre Pio once said, He’ll “extend his hand to steady you.”

Keep in mind these inspiring words from St. Paul as well: “Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6).

Friday, June 14, 2013

DEEP THOUGHTS .....

I never know what to expect when I awaken each morning.  I try and try to return to my slumber because I just don't want to face the day.  It usually fails and I drag myself up, drag myself to make my bed, and then drag my self to my favorite thing of the morning, my Keurig coffee maker.  I make a double in a large cup.  I no longer turn on Headline News; it's too dreary and I'm depressed enough.  All I want is a respite, better yet, a happy ending.

 I walk around my day, doing errands, doing nothing, and all the while, prayers come softly from my lips.  My tear ducts have a magical dam that stops them from falling into a salty nothingness.  My lifelong affliction with "worry" has reared its ugly head and is constant, ever day.  I have periods in my days where I do not think of the one who worries me most.  And then, there it is; that thought of love, longing and missing.

When one has had a lifetime trait, one that has been there since I was a toddler, how does one change it?  

I have prayed to my God, to Jesus Christ, prayers asking the Holy Mother to interceded for me and to protect my children and grandchildren.  I pray for mending and healing; I simply pray "help me".

I read much on The Church and my Faith.  I read and absorb positive scriptures and quotes.  They are only fleeting in the moments it takes to read them.  Why can I not take them into my heart and keep them there before "worry" shoves them out?

My therapist says to pray for the Graces of Strength and Patience, and so I do.

I have no doubt that God has me in this abysmal place for His purpose.  If we are Christian to the very core of our souls, then we are instruments of His Peace.  O God, make me an instrument of your peace, and in doing so, bring peace to me. Amen.

I have many plans made for the near future that are going to be, I know, loads of fun with family, in a place away from my sanctuary - my home.

My Guardian Angel, Barnard, has been with me, along with a silent angel, for quite some time. For months I have caught his smokey essence in my peripheral vision, only to turn and look and find nothing.  I know this sounds unbelievable to some, but he has begun to give me a soft, single whistle which is very clear to my ears.  I turn and whistle back in acknowledgment.  He is playful, good company, and protective.  In his playful times, I will drop things while cooking or putting away dishes over and over and over, until I finally say, "Barnard, I love you so much. Thank you for being with me, but I don't feel like playing.  I need to finish this."   And thus, his presence goes silent, but he is still there.

I am not shamed to say that, when I was dusting furniture recently, I began singing.  I do this a lot.  Sometimes its a theme that everyone knows, like "Daisy Daisy", but instead, I put my own words of "Dear God, Dear Jesus, give me your answer true. I'm half-crazy over my love for you."  Or I sing my mantra which comes from one of the Psalms sung at Mass:  "Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble; Be with me, Lord, I pray", and it goes on and on until I feel better.

I pray outside, A  LOT!  I have a lovely covered patio, with palms and flowers, and trees all around beyond the perimeter of my home.  I hold my hands out and look to the sky as I pray.  A breeze with flow and I wonder, "is it He who answers me?"  I look to the sky talking to "Mother" and wishing I could see her face, but know that I am not so worthy.  HOWEVER, praying outside where there is a huge array of voices of birds singing, the rustling of the leaves from the breeze, the little barking dog somewhere nearby, and I say, "THIS! YOU CREATED ALL THIS!"

I look at a little ant crawling across the concrete and I think, "God, you made him and where does he fall in the so-called 'food-chain'?"  We have the most beautiful little lizards that come every year and their little bodies turn the color of whatever they might happen to be walking upon.  And then there are the wood bees who love to eat into the support beams of the upstairs deck.  My husband gets so irritated.  Funny thing, he came outside the other day with a caulking gun.  He squished caulk into a hold and apparently trapped a wood bee.  He felt pretty high and mighty that he'd conquered the little thing; but, the next day when I walked out to the patio, I saw a scattered pile of caulking on the patio beneath the hole he had closed.  I had to laugh.  But when he came home, he said, "those little suckers even ate through my caulking", and I'm dying with laughter because this tiny little bee got the best of my tall man.

Back to my Faith, I'm doing something wrong.  I only need ask, give it to Him and then forget about it.  Why am I not able to do this?  Do I believe I must beg day after day to the Almighty Father to "please" answer my prayer.  In my mind, I know that once is enough.  I have knocked, and He has opened the door.  All I have to do is walk through it.  I am standing on the threshold and trying with all my might to take that one step, the one that will change my life forever and for the better.

I won't stop trying; I won't give up or give in.  Satan is all around me and I banish him daily in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!  Things have changed a lot around my household, so I think between the Holy Water from Medjugorje that was a gift to me over 25 years ago and my "In the name of Jesus Christ, Satan get behind me" and "Leave this house, Jesus lives here!", perhaps he's not as intent as he was and has moved on.  Yes he has moved on, but he moved on to one of my most precious family.

I'm fighting a very difficult battle.  Yes, I'm a survivor because I have lived one helluva life, but I need the big guys for this.

In summary, if you're reading this, I ask that you stop for five seconds and speak that banishment of the evil one on my behalf and for the sake of my family member.  I want them to be well again, and as long as that evil devil is in their head, they will be sick.

I'm so tired, but God never gives one more than one can handle, right?  RIGHT!

God bless you all and the peace of the Lord, Jesus Christ be with you!

Lovingly,
Abbey

GENTLE SHEPHERD PRAYER

Gentle Shepherd


Slide Image


Jesus, gentle Shepherd,

Bless Thy lamb to-day;

Keep me in Thy footsteps,

Never let me stray.

Guard me through the daytime.

Every hour, I pray;

Keep my feet from straying

WHICH ARCHANGEL ARE YOU?

I was perusing inspiration on the internet and happened upon this website. I'm not finished reading there, but I wanted to post the link to this interest and fun "test" to see Which Archangel Are You.  Go ahead an take the test and let me know your results, please!

Here is my result:

You are Michael, Archangel of the South.

You are the only angel identified as an archangel in the New Testament Bible, the strong and brave leader of all other archangels. In the Christian faith, you are best known for wielding a sword and conquering the serpent during the battle in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-12); in the Jewish faith, you are best known as the patron of Israel. Courageous, authoritative, and fearless, you are passionate about protecting others and helping them overcome temptation. Those who seek constant vigilance and encouragement to follow laws look to you as their patron. You share an archangel feast day with Gabriel and Raphael on September 29.

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WAS JAMES, NOT PETER, THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH AFTER JESUS

(This is long but it's a good read, Abbey ♥)
 
by Jimmy Akin Sunday, June 09, 2013

http://www.ncregister.com/images/sized/images/uploads/james-255x360.jpg

Was St. James the Just the leader of the early Church--or was St. Peter?

Some claim that it was James, not Peter, who was the leader of the early Church after the time of Christ.

What evidence can they provide for this claim?

And what evidence is there against it?

Which James?

"James" was a common name in first century Judea, and there were several men named James who are mentioned in the New Testament.

Unfortunately, precisely how many Jameses there are many is not clear.

They are described different ways, and it is not clear whether a James described in one passage is the same as the James mentioned in another.

The James who assumed a prominent leadership role in the Jerusalem church after the time of Christ is known as “the brother of the Lord.”

This James is sometimes identified with James the son of Alphaeus, who is also identified with James “the Less.”

However, Benedict XVI noted:

Among experts, the question of the identity of these two figures with the same name, James son of Alphaeus and James "the brother of the Lord", is disputed [General Audience, Jun. 28, 2006].

Regardless of how this issue is to be settled, there is one James in the New Testament who is clearly not the one in question—James the son of Zebedee, because he was martyred quickly (Acts 12:1-2).

Advocates of the “James not Peter” viewpoint have two major texts that they can appeal to, and neither is very good.

The Galatians 2 Argument

The first is Galatians 2:11-12, where Paul writes:

But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.

This has been taken to display a certain deference on Peter’s part to James.

But James isn’t even there. Peter’s not deferring to him but to the sensibilities of men associated with him (“the circumcision party”).

What’s the explanation for this?

The most logical one is not that James is the man in charge but that Peter is simply trying to keep peace between different groups within the Church.
That is, itself, something leaders often have to do.

Furthermore, the fact that, in Galatians, Paul uses Peter as a test case for the authority of his gospel strongly suggests that Peter is the leader.

Paul wants to show that his gospel is above any man, and using the top man as a test case is an excellent way to show that.

The Acts 15 Argument

The second major passage is Acts 15, where the Jerusalem council is held.

This council is presented as having the following stages:

1.     There is “much debate” (v. 7a).
2.     Peter gets up and says, “you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (v. 7b). He points out that God accepted the gentiles without the Law of Moses and so it should not be imposed on them now (v. 8-11).
3.     Barnabas and Paul relate the signs and wonders God has been doing through them as they preached to the gentile (vv. 12).
4.     James says, “Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (v. 14), he cites a corresponding Old Testament proof text (vv. 15-18), endorses the idea of not imposing the Mosaic Law on the gentiles (v. 19), and goes on to make several proposals to keep Jewish Christians from being scandalized by the behavior of gentiles,  because “from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach him” (v. 21).

This text does not show that James was more authoritative than Peter, for several reasons:

·      Peter, along with Barnabas, Paul, and James, are viewed together as the debate closers. It is “after much debate” that Peter speaks. He initiates the process of closing the debate and coming to a conclusion.

·      Peter reminds people of his unique role in how the question was originally settled.

·      James also refers to how the question was originally settled through Peter.

·      James makes his comments about not scandalizing Jewish believers as a pastoral way of implementing a decision that he, Peter, and Barnabas and Paul are all in agreement on.

The thing Luke is here concerned to stress for us is that all four of these figures are in agreement. That’s his main message.

Some have tried to claim a special authority for James because, in some translations, he says, in verse 19, “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God.”

The fact he uses the phrase “my judgment” is taken to imply that he is acting as a judge, as the final authority, but this is far too much to hang on this single word (Greek, krino), which also means, “I think.”

Indeed, even in English, saying, “In my judgment we ought to do this . . .” in no way implies that the one expressing this view is a judge, much less the final authority on the matter.

If these two arguments are weak, what other evidence is there on the question?

James in Acts

Let’s stick with the book of Acts for the moment.

How often is James mentioned by name in it?

Four times max.

He’s unambiguously mentioned in 12:17, 15:13, and 21:18.

If he is to be identified with James the son of Alphaeus then he’s also mentioned in 1:13.

How does that compare to Peter?

Peter in Acts

By comparison, Peter is mentioned by name 55 times under the name “Peter,” four times under the name “Simon,” and once under the name “Simeon.”
What does that suggest about who was the more prominent leader?

There is a plausible objection to this, which is that Paul is mentioned by name in Acts 124 times under the name “Paul,” and he’s mentioned 23 times under the name “Saul.”

Would that mean that Paul as an even more authoritative leader than Peter?
This objection also has a plausible rejoinder. In fact, it has two of them.

The Story of Paul

The first is that Luke is a travelling companion of Paul, and he’s writing substantially about their experiences together.

In particular, he’s writing to explain how Paul got to Rome, where he was under house arrest at the time the book was apparently finished (Acts 28:30-31).

Basically everything from chapter 13 on is the story of Paul, as told by one of his companions.

This means that Paul will have a more prominent role in the book of Acts than he did in the early Christian community as a whole.

Luke is leaving out virtually any discussion of the other apostles—with the exception of Peter.

So why is Peter the exception?

The Role of Peter

The second rejoinder is that it’s not simply a matter of numbers. You also have to look at Peter’s role in the stories where he appears.

At best, you have a single story lending weak support for the idea that James held the more prominent role.

But we have multiple stories unmistakably showing Peter’s leadership role.
These occur in the first 12 chapters of the book, before the Paul narrative begins.

·        
Peter is the one who calls for Judas Iscariot to be replaced, leading to the election of the Apostle Matthias (Acts 1:15-26).
·         Peter is the one who preaches the sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40).
·         Peter is the one who heals a lame man and, when this attracts the attention of the crowd, he is the one who preaches to them (Acts 3:1-26).
·         When they are called before the Jewish authorities, Peter is the one who gives the speech in their defense (Acts 4:8-12).
·         Peter is the one who confronts Annanias and Sapphira about their lie (Acts 5:3-9).
·         The people of Jerusalem place the sick in the streets so that Peter's shadow might fall on them (Acts 5:15).
·         When the apostles are imprisoned as a group, miraculously freed, and then appear before the authorities, Peter speaks for them, saying that they must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29-32).
·         Peter confronts Simon Magus (Acts 8:20-23).
·         Peter heals the paralyzed Aeneas (Acts 9:32-34).
·         Peter raises Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:37-41).
·         At God’s behest, Peter admits the first gentiles to the Church (Acts 10-11).
·         And Peter (unlike James son of Zebedee) is miraculously delivered from prison and martyrdom (Acts 12:1-18).

In some of these events, Peter’s leadership role is shown when he speaks on behalf of the apostles--or for the Christian community in general. This happens when he gives the sermon on Pentecost or when he represents the apostles before the authorities.

This unique leadership role is also shown when he calls for Judas's replacement.
Outsiders recognize Peter’s unique role, and they place the sick on the streets so that Peter's shadow might fall on them.

Some of these events are miracles that could have been performed by other apostles, but the concentration of them here reveals Peter's special prominence.
Throughout Acts, the other members of the Twelve are barely mentioned.

A few people who were not members of the Twelve, like Stephen and Philip, have stories devoted to them, but none of the other members of the Twelve have their own stories. They’re only mentioned in passing.

Peter is clearly the focus.

If the book stopped here, and did not include the extended travel narratives of St. Paul, it might have been called the Acts of Peter rather than the Acts of the Apostles.

What Role Did James Have?

In saying this, we are not claiming that James did not have a prominent role in the early Church.

Indeed, he did! But what role was it?

The early Church Fathers speak of him as having been the first bishop of Jerusalem.

Thus Eusebius records:

Then James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem [Ecclesiastical History II:1:2].

There is no reason to doubt that James functioned as bishop of Jerusalem.
Was James also an apostle?

James the Apostle?

It’s possible that he was. In Galatians, Paul writes:

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother [1:18-19].

In this passage, St. Paul appears to rank our James alongside the other apostles.
This would certainly be the case if James “the brother of the Lord” is to be identified with James the son of Alphaeus, who is clearly an apostle, being found in the lists of the twelve apostles in the Gospels and Acts.

Even if James was not among the Twelve, this would not mean that he didn’t function as an apostle, for there were apostles who were not members of the Twelve—such as Barnabas and St. Paul himself (Acts 14:14).

It thus seems clear that James functioned both as an apostle (if not a member of the Twelve) and as bishop of Jerusalem.

He also appears to have been an especially influential individual, as Jewish Christians used him as a point of reference for centuries.

But did that make him head of the universal Church in Jesus’ absence?

No
It does not.

The Gospels suggest that “the brothers of the Lord” were not believers in him during his life (Mark 3:21), and that would seem to include our James, if he is not to be identified with James son of Alphaeus.

If he is to be identified with James son of Alphaeus, then he is clearly a “third-rank” apostle.

If you study the lists of the apostles found in the Gospels and Acts, they are all divided into three groups of four names.

Peter heads the first list in every case, and James the son of Alphaeus heads the third list in every case.

This establishes Peter as a first rank apostle and James son of Alphaeus as a third rank apostle.

Thus, however one reads the data, Peter has a more prominent rank than James.
After all, it was to Peter that Jesus said:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it [Mt. 16:18].

He did not say this to James.