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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

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The other day my mom said “I hope there is no dust in heaven.”  To that I said, isn’t heaven supposed to be perfect?  How can there be dust in heaven if heaven is perfect?  Plus we don’t know how heaven is physically.  Aren’t we outside of our bodies in heaven?  Aren’t we in heaven in spirit only?  I don’t know.  What are your thoughts on heaven?

Right now due to circumstances I am living with my parents apart from my husband.  I don’t want to be but maybe that is best for me and for us for now.  Kevin and I are rebuilding.  I think it is good that I am able to spend time with my parents, especially my mom since she is having trouble with her health.  This also gives me time to focus on me and I think I need that for now.  It is so hard being apart from Kevin.  Somehow this is part of God’s plan and I am trusting Him but this is so hard.

I have tried to keep up on what happened at the recent Synod on the Family but I need to read up on it a bit.  I am waiting for the English version of the final synod report to be released.

A friend suggested that I read James in the Bible so I have started reading James.  In chapter 1 James talks about having perseverance when going through trials.  Even in trials we are called to trust in God and have faith.  We need to lean on God in these tough times.

I have started my own jewelry shop on Etsy.  I am excited and will be posting more items to sell soon.

Have a blessed Sunday!

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Secularism reduces all things to matter and removes God from the equation.  When Satan tempts us and we give in we separate ourselves from God.  There is a bit of the enduring influence of Satan in every person who follows in the example of The Original Sin, by their own will ascribing what they deem to be good and evil.  Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent.  They failed to follow God’s only command, to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Instead of trusting in God’s will Adam and Eve gave into temptation.  When they disobeyed God’s will, bit into the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge they used their wills to decide what was right and wrong. Adam and Eve’s actions showed that they thought they knew better than God.  People today who ignore God’s will and believe it is their prerogative to decide with their own will what is good and bad are following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve.

Father Barron directly quoted an infamous passage in the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey – “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”, words specifically attributed to Justice Anthony Kennedy,  citing it as a perfect example of persons trying to play God in determining what is ethical or unethical according to their own will.  Does liberty give us the right to do wrongs? Evil?  Participate in moral relativism? Going by the quote above it is reasonable to extrapolate that it is acceptable for each of us to try everything regardless of whether it is moral or immoral just so we are able to experience it, so we are able to feel it.  According to Justice Kennedy his concept of liberty would give us the right to try theft, assault, or murder just to find out what it is like. Huh?  Using our conscience we should be able to know that some things are obviously wrong so there would be no need to experience that which would harm our soul.  It is unethical to harm others in the name of liberty.

After Adam and Eve sinned they felt shame.  In addition to feeling shame it makes sense that they would also feel uncomfortable and exposed. When each of us sins we feel exposed and uncomfortable.  That little voice inside each of us tells us that we did something wrong.  The voice inside then tells us to correct the wrong.  The voice also tells us to avoid committing the same sin in the future.  When Adam and Eve felt uncomfortable and exposed this let them know that they had sinned. We experience the same thing.

 

 

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I found this in a PDF and am passing it on. 

St. John Chrysostom on Keeping a Fast

We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this
good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over
and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel
to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and
makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman
sharpens his sickle; and the traveler boldly undertakes a
long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for
the contest.
So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of
spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons;
and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as
sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of
extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out on the
journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for
the contest.
For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor,
and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveler.
Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on
therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed
the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a
wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict
naked. If a soldier, it behooves thee to stand in the battle
line armed at all points.
How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and
yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I
will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou
hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual armour, and
thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares,
for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the
spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with
demons.
Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to
offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is
wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as
on no side to receive a deadly blow.
Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of
godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair
plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a
husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The
husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the
fruits. He too himself practiced this art. Therefore writing
to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos
watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle,
which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by

fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards
heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and
journey on.
And how mayst thou be able to do these things? By
subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For
when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of
gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of
inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.
Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast
become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a
groundwork and instructor in all these things.
I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep,
but of real fasting; not merely abstinence from meats; but
from sins too.
For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to
deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according
to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not
crowned unless he strive lawfully.” To the end then, that
when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we
forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand
how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct
this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but
afterwards when down empty, and destitute of the fruit of
fasting.
The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in
preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou
mayst learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other
duties follow with it. The Ninevites fasted, and won the
favour of God. The Jews fasted too, and profited nothing,
nay they departed with blame.

Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who
do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the
laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run
uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting
contend with a shadow. Fasting is a medicine; but a
medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes
frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him who
employs it.
For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it
should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the
temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the
country, and the season of the year; and the
corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars;
any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that
have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing,
such exactness is required on our part, much more ought
we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal

the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into
every particular with the utmost accuracy.
I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,
but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting
consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing
from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only
to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially
disparages it.

Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said
by what kind of works?

If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!

If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!

If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not!

If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear,
and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our
bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful
spectacles.

Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves
rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy
themselves with strange beauties.

For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is
unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the
whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it
adorns fasting.

For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain
from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to
touch even what is forbidden.

Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by
means of the eyes.

Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in
refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou
shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

 

Fasting is about more than food.  Fasting is about saying no to that which will harm our souls.  Fasting is about doing good works and reconciling relationships.  Lent is a time to grow in our faith. 

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A leading Catholic architect named Duncan G. Stroik is making the case for bringing back traditional church design.  Are there any churches today that have been built in modern times which can be considered objectively beautiful? Does the inside of these modern constructed churches “contribute to an atmosphere of transcendence”?  When Catholic churches are built today do you think the architecture should return to traditional church design?  Does the Catholic Church need an art revival? Do these churches draw in the sacred?  Could restoring traditional church design help spread the Gospel and contribute to conversions?

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Christmas, as we know, celebrates the fact that the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us. Today’s solemn feast of Epiphany then celebrates how the God, who came to live among us, revealed or manifested Himself (cf. second reading). Particularly, today’s gospel reading narrates the story of how the Son of God was revealed to the gentile wise men, and therefore, to the rest of mankind as the new born King who had come to save the whole world.

In the gospel story, we have three groups of people: (a) King Herod and his associates, (b) the chief priests and the scribes and then (c) the wise men. The first group, Herod and his associates, simply did not like the idea of the birth of a new born king, and so they immediately planned to eliminate the child Jesus. Today, we still have ‘herodians’. These are people who discredit Jesus Christ or Christianity through books, movies or other forms of propaganda. Other modern day ‘herodians’ are those involved in occult practices or those who persecute Christians.

Then, we have the second group of chief priests and scribes. They knew the Scriptures and could indicate the exact place of birth of the Christ, whose coming they were expecting; but they showed no interest in looking for Him, when He was born. Today, many people are like the chief priests and scribes of old. In the first place, we have pastors who keenly study the Scriptures in order to preach powerful sermons, but their ultimate interest is not in Jesus or the salvation of souls, but in the money they can earn from their efforts. Secondly, we have professors or scholars of Scriptures, who after decades of studies now doubt that Jesus ever lived on this earth; or even if He ever lived, then Jesus was a mere powerful prophet, but not the Son of God. Thirdly, some of the chief priests and scribes of today are those Christians who after advancing in their professions or prospering in their businesses begin to show little or no interest in Jesus or Christian living. The fourth type of modern chief priests and scribes are those who are hearers but not doers of the Word of God; and many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, can identify with this final type of the second group.

Beloved, today’s message is intended to urge us to become part of the third group of wise men, women and children; or if we are already part of this group to encourage us to sustain our membership of it by God’s grace. Guided by a star, the wise men looked for the new born king, Jesus, in order to worship Him. They eventually saw the child Jesus with the mother, and they prostrated in worship. Can you imagine those elderly wise men prostrating before an infant (after all they were not Jews and they were not expecting the coming of any Messiah)? In addition, can you imagine that after the sacrifices of their long, tedious and risky journey, the wise men offered the child Jesus gifts of precious gold, frankincense and myrrh? These wise men represented true Christians of today. Modern wise men and women are guided not by a physical star in the sky, but by the invisible Holy Spirit from heaven, who attracts not so much the sight of human beings, but our hearts. He directs our hearts to journey in faith to worship Jesus Christ, not in a fixed place (Bethlehem), but ‘in spirit and in truth’ (Jn. 4:23). And we are to offer Jesus, not only our gold (treasure), but our precious hearts as well; not only frankincense, but also our lives of priestly holiness; and not myrrh (for Christ is already risen from the dead), but our lives as living sacrifices of praise (Rom. 12:1-2).

PRAYER: I pray that throughout 2014, we will not be counted among the ‘herodians’, chief priests and scribes, amen; that we would rather be counted among the wise who, filled with the star of heaven, the Holy Spirit, will ever more seek Jesus Christ, and worship Him in spirit and in truth! Amen!

By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis
http://frlouis.com/

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