Posts

Showing posts with the label salvation

Jesus Didn’t Stay Dead

Image
We relive events from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday in close to real time.

Our Lord was arrested Thursday night. The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod had questioned Jesus by Friday morning....

...By Friday evening, Jesus was dead....

(More at A Catholic Citizen in America)

Am I Weak Enough to Be a Christian?

Image
feature image by Yongsung Kim

Most of us rate our success in living out our Christianity by a worldly set of standards. Even those who select candidates for the priesthood look for strengths, not weaknesses.  They look for good grades in philosophy and theology classes, confidence in social situations, efficient managerial skills, financial acumen, flair as a public speaker, and psychological stability. Perhaps a better yardstick for assessing potential success as a priest or as a member of the priesthood of the faithful is how weak a person is. Have they experienced confusion and doubt? Have they been broken and lived through depression and anxiety? Have they tasted failure and defeat? Do they realise their tendency to sin? continue

God Saved Me From Myself

Image
Christian spirituality, inner transformation, and contemplation are not at all what I first imagined them to be. I initially began the inner journey striving, depending on my discipline and willpower.
JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN, l failed miserably. Striving to transform spiritually into a person of Love and Light is sort of like an ant straining and trying to turn himself into a human. Like my Irish grandmother used to say,”You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” When I admitted defeat, God had an opportunity to save me from myselfcontinue

How To Win the War Against Sin

Image
Every human being is basically blind to their own faults and sin. There are many reasons we cannot seem to die to self and enjoy communion with God – psychological reasons, inherited sin, pride, the tendency to control and other self-defeating behaviours. However, I think the biggest barrier to receiving the Love of God is egocentricity; we are centred on ourselves, on our own efforts to perfect ourselves instead of admitting defeat, taking our eyes off our own efforts, and allowing Christ to work out His salvation in our hearts.

continue reading

Another Easter

Image
There have been only three to six major events so far, depending on how you count them: the creation of this universe; humanity's creation and fall; and our Lord's arrival, execution, and resurrection.

There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.

Cosmic Scale
I'm a Catholic, so I take Sacred Scripture very seriously,1 including this:
"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day."
(Genesis 1:31) We've known that God's creation was big and old, and been impressed, for a long time:
"1 Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it."
(Deuteronomy 10:14)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)

"3 Raise your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; Though the heavens grow thin like smoke, the earth…

The Messiah We Need

Image
Tiberius was Rome's absentee emperor around the time the Han Dynasty was getting back to business-as-usual, after Wang Mang's brief takeover. I mentioned him before: Wang Mang, I mean. (December 27, 2015)

Meanwhile, Phaedrus was retelling Aesop's Fables in Latin, and Pontius Pīlātus was prefect of the Roman Province of Judea.

That part of the world had been under Roman control since the Battle of Philippi, Armenia wasn't a Roman province yet, but it wasn't the force it had been during Tigranes' reign, and that's another topic.

Tigranes, Tiberius, and Wang Mang, were well-known folks in their day;1 at least in their homelands. Two millennia later, not so much.

Pontius Pīlātus is another matter. He's mentioned each year around this time, when something like 2,000,000,000 folks pay at least fleeting attention to a Nazarene's progress from top-of-the-polls celebrity to executed corpse.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

It Started With the Magi

Image
Some folks, like the magi and shepherds, were happy about our Lord's birth. King Herod, not so much. Today's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, talks about this mixed reaction.

Two millennia later, I'm on the same page as the shepherds and wise men. I think our Lord's birth is cause for rejoicing. (Matthew 2:10Luke 2:20)

"Only the Beginning of a Great Procession" "For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history...."
("Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Homily of Benedict XVI," (January 6, 2013)) Today is Epiphany Sunday, when the wise men arrive at the nativity scene in our living room, and we remember Matthew's account of the magi. As usual, there's quite a bit going on....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Advent: Another Year of the Long Watch

Image
Today's Gospel reading starts on the second verse of this excerpt:
" 'But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.

"It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.

"Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.

"May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.

"What I say to you, I say to all: "Watch!" ' "
(Mark 13:32-37) More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Victory and Standing Orders

Image
I've watched, and enjoyed, disaster movies like Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and Deep Impact (1998). It's been a few years since Harold Camping's high-profile predictions, and I'll get back to that....

...I'm a Christian, and a Catholic, so I take the Bible, Sacred Scripture very seriously: including Mark 13:32-37.

My Lord didn't know when this creation will be wrapped up, but made it clear that we were on standby alert in the meantime. That was about two millennia back now, the orders haven't changed, and every few years someone pops up with another 'end times' prediction....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

No More Striving

Image
No more striving.
No more work. Strong words, Commands actually. The words reverberate in my mind Over and over, Like a mantra. A Divine mantra. A Holy reminder to let God work in my core self, Unhindered by my meddling. This work of transforming Is a Holy work I just get in the way READ MORE>

Get Out of the Way

Image
When we give up striving and trying to save ourselves with our own efforts,
when we finally  get out of His way,
God has a chance to save us from ourselves.
.
Sometimes God waits till we are almost drowning,
exhausted by our own efforts to save ourselves 
because He knows that this is the only time
we will accept salvation on HIS terms.

read more>

Predestination — Free Will from God's Point of View

Image
Samuel Clemens may have taken God seriously: but not his era's version of Christianity.

His "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" include Huck's reactions to well-intentioned religious instruction by the Widow Douglas — and "pretty ornery preaching."
"It was pretty ornery preaching—all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don't know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet."
("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Chapter XVIII, Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens (1885))Called by God
If I thought predestination meant that God had decided ahead of time whether I was heading for Heaven or Hell, I might feel hopeless or self-righteous. Robert Burns' Holy Willie dramatizes what can happen when someone think…

Where Do I Stand This Night?

Image
It is Holy Thursday. Tonight, churches around the entire globe will wait in  prayerful vigil, with lights dimmed, all images covered with the congregation in respectful, sombre silence. The Church is remembering the end of Jesus’s public life as a teacher and healer and walking with Him as He begins His most important work, the work of salvation in His passion, death and resurrection. Yet today’s Gospel takes us back to the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry. He has just emerged from the desert, filled by the power of the Holy Spirit, astonishing crowds with His words. As He stands on the podium in the synagogue to read from the book of Isiah, repeating the Old Testament reading which we have just heard minutes before, Jesus summarizes His entire ministry in a few short verses. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and …

Living Like a Worker Ant

Image
I have often thought that much of our life resembles the life of an ant, a worker ant, not the queen. Ants scurry about, eyes trained on the ground in front of them, hauling loads of food that are bigger than they are. They are completely oblivious to the world around them, fixated solely their own tiny society. Often this narrow viewpoint leads to disastrous results, with whole colonies wiped out of existence when the macrocosm surrounding them crashes into their little world. Unfortunately, it is impossible to communicate with an ant, or to warn an ant of danger. Any offer of help frightens them because an ant perceives anything that intrudes into their microcosm as a threat. I cannot help an ant because I cannot communicate with him. I have often thought that much our life resembles the life of an ant. I run around busy with tasks, keeping my nose to the proverbial grindstone, oblivious to the realities of the rest of human society never mind the universe.  When nature or the Spiri…

You CAN Help Jesus Save Souls

Image
Surprised?
An important part of our Christian duty is to fulfill our mandate to help Jesus save our brothers and sisters. Our Father gave His children a very important part to play in the redemption of their brothers and sisters.
History is filled with amazing stories of conversion, where Jesus Christ uses the prayers of God’s children and applies them to what Christians call a “change of heart”. It’s true, I believe, that God gives every soul many chances to turn away from sin and accept His love for them.  So, why do some souls reject God’s attempts at drawing them to Himself? We are responsible, because we are not giving God what He needs to convert all the souls that reject Him.  The more we pray for conversions, the more Jesus can do to help lost souls. Christians are called by Jesus to help their brothers and sisters in many different ways. But none are as important as helping Jesus save souls; for this is the “bottom line” of a soul’s eternal existence. Do you accept your Christian r…

The Creativeness of Death

Image
I rarely dream, but last night I dreamt that I was worried that a room in a house might be on fire. The room belonged to someone I worried about a lot, who had been perplexing me. I was worried he would burn the whole house down. Instead, someone showed me what was really going on inside. There was a large cylinder filled with liquid. Sparks were coming out of it, like electricity, which had only looked like fire. Inside, there was an animated skeleton at a workbench building other skeletons out of bones.
Usually in dreams, it helps to look at a "first feeling" and a "first association" in order to find out how the dream may speak to us. My first feeling was awe and happy surprise in the cleverness and originality. Also, relief that the "fire" was contained and no danger. My first association was of the "culture of death." Seems such a paradox- creative activity as the dead create more dead. Yet, this is what goes on in the majorit…

Chicken Little

Image
I had an odd response to the 2012 presidential election: I stopped watching the news.
I also stopped reading the news on the Internet.
In fact, not a single television show appealed to me and the blackened screen simply became a piece of ubiquitous furniture in the center of the room. At that point I had already abandoned social media such as Facebook and Twitter so I was left with a decent amount of time on my hands.
My work as a Catholic publisher took on a new meaning. I was working on Jennifer Frank’s fiction title He Shall Be Peace and I found myself praying for it every moment of my work day. My desire to get solid, entertaining, faith-filled books into the hands of the lay faithful became an obsession.
As did my own desire to read.
My appetite for books was ravenous. In the month and a half following the election I read well over a dozen books. I read the entire Book of Revelation (Navarre Bible Study version) as well as the entire Gospel of Matthew (Navarre Bible Study version). E…

Ghosts, Psychics and Demons

Image
A demons whole job is to trick you.  There whole existence is to deceive you into breaking the law of God and being with them in all eternity in Hell and Damnation.  We, as children of God need to be "wise as serpents and gentle as doves."  As such we must ALWAYS be on the lookout for the demons deceptions, for the evil one never sleeps. 
When we die, there is the judgement.  We are taken before the throne of God and our life is presented to our Lord, our good and our bad.  And as we have served in life, so shall we serve after death.  For God is always good, and out of His love for us He will give us our hearts desires, so if our heart is evil then hell and the devil shall be our reward.  And if our hearts desire has been God and His goodness in our life, Our God, the Creator of the Universe shall be our reward.  For eye has not seen nor the mind perceived what God has in store for those that truly love Him.
There are a lot of shows now on ghosts, ghost hunters and "psyc…