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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Discipleship and Our Three Vocations

GospelLK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
For background information consult 

Above in Luke Jesus gives us three disqualifying factors of discipleship.
  1. If we love ourselves or others more than we love Jesus
  2. If we don't carry our cross
  3. If we don't renounce our possessions
This reading seems tied into Jesus' command to pray, fast, and give alms (see above link)
The easiest one to see is the renunciation of our possessions or conquering of Lust of the Eyes - this one goes with giving alms.
The next one would be the love of ourselves and those closest to us, this would deal with the Lust of the Flesh - which is conquered by fasting. 
Finally, the Pride of Life is conquered by carrying our cross. Pride makes us want to do our own will, but as Jesus said before carrying His cross - not My will, but thy will be done. This pride can only be mastered through prayer.

IN BRIEF
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. - Cutting your ties from earthly relations so as to bind yourself to heavenly ones - through fasting
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.- Insisting on your own will in imitation of the Devil is only solved through prayer
In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” - We cannot serve two masters, both Christ and money/possessions. A time will come when we will be leaving our possessions anyway in death, so why let them tie us down to this world. Cut the strings to that our hearts and minds can possess heavenly treasures.

Some References to the Trinity?

I am totally speculating here. I would definitely NOT use these as in any apologetic argument. I am simply putting these here as a reminder for me to maybe later put them in my apologetic/catechetical/spiritual/application Bible.

EXAMPLE 1
As the spiritual leader in my home (not a very good one). I sometimes bless my children before bed as my father/mother blessed me;

"God bless you with a happy life, a happy death, and peace in mind."

Someone suggested that I use the prayer from Numbers 6:24-26 (RSV;SCE)

 The LORD bless you and keep you: 
 The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: 
 The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 

I noticed that it mentioned the LORD (Yahweh) three times. I wonder if this is a little reference to the Trinity?

I remembered what the Catechism of the Catholic Church said:
CCC 1078 Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word [Jesus is the WORD] and gift [The Holy Spirit is the Gift of the Father].

Then I noticed how in verse 25 it mentions the face of the LORD and I thought of course of Jesus's face. (It does mention his face again in 26 [countenance], so that kind of throws a wrench in the whole deal). But the triple reference made me think of the Trinity.

 The LORD [Father] bless you and keep you: 
 The LORD [Son] make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: 
 The LORD [Holy Spirit] lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 

EXAMPLE 2
While reading Genesis 1:27 I thought of something similar.

So God created man in his own image, 
in the image of God he created him; 
male and female he created them.

Why the triple reference to one event. Then I remembered the Catechism:
CCC 292 The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit,  inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative cooperation is clearly affirmed in the Church’s rule of faith: “There exists but one God … he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom,” “by the Son and the Spirit” who, so to speak, are “his hands.” Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.

So again, speculating...

So God [Father] created man in his own image, 
in the image of God he [Son] created him; 
male and female he[Holy Spirit] created them.

EXAMPLE 3

Mark 1:1-3
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face, 
who shall prepare your way; (Micah 3:1)
the voice of one crying in the wilderness: (Isaiah 40:3)
Prepare the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight—”

Again, speculating... but it does mention a road/path three times.

“Behold, I send my messenger [John the Baptist] before your face, 
who shall prepare your [Father] way(Micah 3:1)
the voice of one crying in the wilderness: (Isaiah 40:3)
Prepare the way of the Lord [Son] 
make his [Holy Spirit] paths straight—”

Done. Unless you have seen some others, I would be curious.

Genesis 3:21 - God Clothes Our First Parents and Us.

In Genesis 3:21 we read this:
And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. (RSV:SCE)

The setting of this event is The Garden of Eden. This is after they have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, realized that they were naked and then clothed themselves with fig leaves.

Just thinking this through a little, you never see any art-work of this event. God provides garments of skins. Where did he get them? Were they donated by some animal? Probably not.

It would seem that God himself provides the sacrifice (Genesis 22:7) and spills the blood of this animal in The Garden to cloth our first parents.

We now fast-forward to Our Dear Lord and see how this is taken up and fulfilled in Himself.

John 19:41 Now in the place where he [Jesus] was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.

Now I am sure that there is also some significance to Jesus sweating blood in the Garden of Olives and a hundred more connections but I am just pointing out this one.

St. Paul makes the next two connections:
Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

In conclusion, just as an animal was sacrificed in The Garden of Eden to clothe our first parents, so Christ is sacrificed in a garden to clothe us.

See also Romans 13:14 and Colossians 3:12

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Greatest Gift You Can Give For Christmas

Christmas is kind of funny because it is the only birthday where the person whose birthday we are celebrating doesn't get gifts. Are far as friends and relatives are concerned some people go into debt to get someone the ultimate gift.

But what is the greatest gift that you can give anyone ever? Consider that whatever you buy at the corner store, Walmart, or the BMW store will satisfy a person only for so long. That LEGO that you son NEEDS will only be pleasing for days or years. Is there anything that you can give someone that will help them forever. Yes.

WHAT MAKES SOMETHING THE ULTIMATE GIFT?

That which brings about the greatest happiness, even if it hurts. Let me give you an example: A person has a terrible disease and you pay for them to fly to a country where they can treat the problem and undergo multiple painful surgeries with the hope of being cured. YOU are the one who paid for the doctor to cut on them, and I bet they would thank you for the opportunity with the final result of being cured in mind. YET, you would hurt financially from the expenses, they would hurt physically and yet both would be rewarded; you with the satisfaction that helped your friend and they with the healing and the comfort of having such a good friend.

THE ULTIMATE GIFT!!!

That is you, being in a right relationship with God, and being a channel of grace for that person to help them get to heaven.

WHY IS THIS THE BEST GIFT?

Not only will you have a sure hope for heaven, but you will be a good example for whomever you meet and a place where people can come in contact with God. uncle Frank might have bought them a car, yes, but you with your prayers, good example, and counsel helped get them to see the face of God forever. I am not saying that Uncle Frank's car isn't important. It is important and thanks be to  God for that, but the car will probably need replacing someday. The blessing that you can be to someone can pave the road to eternity which will last forever.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

#1 Believe what God says. God went through the trouble of becoming man, dying for our sins, rising, and sending the Holy Spirit to start the Catholic Church to help you get to heaven. If you have trouble believing - beg God for the grace to believe. "God help me believe!"
#2 Get right with God. Go to Confession often (once a month at least, or every two weeks to be in line for any indulgence). Saying you are sorry is the first step in fixing any relationship.
#3 Do what God says - be concerned with pleasing God first. Your new girlfriend isn't the one who decides if you get into heaven or not. The world and world governments change laws all the time. Follow God's laws, those are the ones that matter first.
#4 Pray and talk to God. Don't have time? Prioritise. Put God before all else. Don't know what to say? Learn how to pray by praying the Psalms in the Bible or other good Catholic prayer books, or just talk to God like I am talking to you now. Just talk. But make sure you have some time for a little silence so you can listen as well.

HEY - My 4 points are like the 4 parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, Prayer.

Then you will be a blessing to everyone, especially to those whom you love; through your prayers, works, and joys.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gluttony Part 1

(A summary of Adolphe Tanquerey's section on gluttony in his book, The Spiritual Life) 

St. Gregory Said:
Unless we first tame the enemy dwelling within us (gluttony) we have not even stood up to engage in the spiritual combat. 

St. Paul said:
For many walk…that are enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction and whose god is their belly. Philippians 3:18, 19

A simple definition of gluttony is - eating for its own sake

Delight to excess in 4 ways
Eating when there is no need
Seeking delicacies
Gorging oneself with food
Eating with eagerness or greed (like an animal)

Gluttony is malicious because it makes:

The soul a slave to the body
Man like a brute animal
His intellectual life weak
His moral life weak
A path to voluptuous pleasure

Gluttony is grievous when:
A) we can’t fulfill our duties
Injury to health
Cause of useless expenses
Can’t provide for the family
Violate laws of fast and abstinence
B) the cause other grievous faults
Lust of other senses
Intemperance of speech

Gluttony is venial when you:
Overeat but not gravely
Overeating to show a friend you enjoy their food.

It is an obstacle to perfection because it causes:
A spirit of immortification
Weakened will
A development for love for sensual pleasure
A source of being too talkative

Some Remedies to overcome Gluttony
Principle – the pleasure of eating is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

Reason alone tells us that we should only eat what is necessary for the body but Faith tells us – pleasure of eating and drinking must be sanctified by three things:
  1. Purity of intention
  2. Moderation
  3. Mortification

A) Intention
Gratitude - we should give thanks for what we have received
Humility – we don’t deserve it because of our sins
Love – we renew our strength at the service of God and our neighbor's soul.

Whether you eat or drink…do all to the glory of God. – St. Paul

B) Moderation
Acquire strength needed to fulfill our duties in life
Avoid excess that might compromise health
Leave the table with sprightliness and vigor

C) Mortification
Eating something we dislike
Taking no meal without the element of mortification
Forego certain foods we like

NOTE - These are just little notes that I have started carrying with me to help avoid this sin.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Root of Every Heresy

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme." said Wittreich.

Reading Genesis 1-3, implied is the first heresy proposed by the devil, taught convincingly by Eve, and obeyed by Adam.

How did this come about and how does every heresy follow this pattern.

We begin with Adam who created first by God in Genesis 2 and given the commandment. 
Genesis 2:16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat:17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.
Only after this does God make eve from Adam's side. 
When we hear this commandment spoken by Eve to the serpent she says Genesis 3:3 "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die."

Now GOING BY THE TEXT ALONE (yet not sola scriptura), Adam was the only one who heard the commandment so it must have been he that spoke it to her. Adam is the first prophet. Yet, there is that added part "don't touch it even." Now here is not the place to get into the legitimacy of Adam adding to the rules that God set down. He very well may have had the authority to do that. Jesus told us to fast, but the Church says what days, how, and for how long and She can do that because Jesus gave her that authority. So let's say that Adam has that authority to put a type of (verbal) wall around the tree so as to ensure the safety. 

But look what happens, Eve begins listening to another voice (the devil's) and believes that the NEW message she is now receiving is true and the old one is false. She then becomes a prophet for the devil and begins preaching his message. We know this because Genesis 3:17 "And to Adam he[God] said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife," 
When was that? When did he listen to his wife? There is some conversation that is lost to us.
She does this because she thinks that the message is good. But by believing this message and rejecting the original one she is suggesting that Adam is in fact a false prophet who represents a false god. 

ALL OF THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME SOMEONE LEAVES THE CHURCH.
The Church is the legitimate authority given to us by Jesus through the Apostles and passed on by apostolic succession until our day. The members believe the message that the Church proposes for belief. Yet one day an outside voice suggests to someone. "the church is holding you back with xyz, if you follow me I will really free you and teach you the truth." 
So they leave and we can see by the fruit that it produces that it only leads to ruin and division.
Ecclesiastes says as much when it says there is nothing new under the sun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cool NEW Product! Church History Timeline Banner!!!

I have produced a HUGE banner of Catholic Church History. It is 5ft X 17ft. That is HUGE! Why would I want such a thing? The only reason you ask that question is because you have yet to see it.

I have it officially advertised here: catholictimelinebanner

So here is my schpeal, my talk, so to speak

What happens when you requestion the high school students to
"go stand in front of it."

How can you visibly represent that the Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic? A Catholic History Timeline Banner - that is how.
  • It is neatly divided into 13 sections for easy memorization of major time periods. 
  • It has all the major characters from every age and is appropriate to follow along with any Church history text. 
  • One of the problems with studying History is that you get lost in the details and forget the big picture. This is your solution to that problem. 
  • Each century includes an inspirational quote from someone from that time period.
  • Big beautiful pictures attract the eye from afar beckoning you to come closer and immerse yourself in the story of the Body of Christ; the Church. 
    Students actually looking at it.
So check out the website, give me a call, if you are local or afar we will make arrangements to get a better look at it. Then consider getting one for your home, school, church, library, or seminary. It is guaranteed to attract attention.

God love you.