Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Magnify the Greatness of God

Today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times."

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest (Lib. 1, 4: CCL 122, 25-26. 30)

 "Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her"
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race. [...]

For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Ambrogio da Fossano, il Bergognone. Visitation, 1501.Tempio Civico della Beata Vergine Incoronata, Lodi, Italy.

Holy Mary Mother of God

Monday, May 30, 2016

He Really Is Your Father, Even on Your Bad Days!

Remember who your Father is!

He Really Is Your Father, Even on Your Bad Days!

Rom 8:12-17 / Lk 13:10-17 At times life can lie heavily upon us, not only the troubles that make their way into every life, but also our own sins and failures. More than once St. Paul expressed his own frustrations with himself. On the one hand, he knew Jesus so well and knew what following …

The Real Presence


The Real Presence

Editor’s Note:  Today we make one of our rare exchanges in the order of the “Divine Intimacy” text.  In the old calendar, Corpus Christi used to be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.  The Church, in her great wisdom, upgraded this celebration from a feast to a solemnity and made it a Sunday celebration.  …

I am in the Father


I am in the Father

“I Am in the Father” Presence of God – O Jesus, grant that I may enter into the interior dispositions of Your soul, into its continual personal union with the Father. MEDITATION The intimate dispositions of Jesus toward God and His relations with Him are of the utmost importance to us. Jesus is the Son …

St. Joan of Arc, Feast Day

St. Joan of Arc, Feast Day:

Monday, May 30, 2016, Lived 1412-1431.

Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.

During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429.

Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed.

On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure. Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."

Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies.
Comment: "Joan of Arc is like a shooting star across the landscape of French and English history, amid the stories of the Church's saints and into our consciousness. Women identify with her; men admire her courage. She challenges us in fundamental ways. Despite the fact that more than 500 years have passed since she lived, her issues of mysticism, calling, identity, trust and betrayal, conflict and focus are our issues still." (Joan of Arc: God's Warrior, by Barbara Beckwith)

As she was being burned at the stake, Joan called on Jesus.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Our Journey to God Never Ends—Even For Saints


Our Journey to God Never Ends—Even For Saints:

When Catholics speak of conversion, we usually mean the journey of our hearts, minds, and souls to God—not an instantaneous experience, a sudden surge of faith and emotion, or a bolt of supernatural lightning that seals us forever as the elect. The idea of faith as a journey is well illustrated in the lives of …

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Part II:A

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Part II:A

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Part II:A

The secret to true happiness on earth

Secret of the Journey

Rejoice in the Lord Always – An Exhortation by St Augustine


Rejoice in the Lord Always – An Exhortation by St Augustine:

Rejoice in the Lord Always! * The Apostle tells us to rejoice, but in the Lord, not in the world. Whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, says Scripture, will be reckoned an enemy of God [cf James 4:4]. As a man cannot serve two masters, so one cannot rejoice both in the world …

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wait On Him

'Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him' - Psalm 37:7

Full Commitment Brings Passion

This article is about finding fulfillment in employment and career, but it could be applied to one's spiritual life as well.

by Matthew Monk

St. Philip Neri: The Humorous Side of Humility

Philip Neri

St. Philip Neri: The Humorous Side of Humility

We live in a world that takes itself too seriously. As it turns out, there is a saint to help us: St. Philip Neri. St. Philip Neri’s unique and comical approach to the spiritual life and the fostering of this virtue can help each one of us on our own journey to the Most Holy Trinity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Opening to the Holy Spirit


Opening to the Holy Spirit

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. So Jesus broke the chains of death, rose from the dead, threw open the stone at the tomb, sought His disciples who abandoned Him, and in today’s Gospel, He walked through closed doors just to bring them the Holy Spirit that He won for them, “Receive …

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Light Through the Centuries: St. Clare of Assisi

Image result for st clare and francis of assisi

A Light Through the Centuries: St. Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Assisi Clare was born in Assisi, Italy in about 1194 into a family of knights and nobles. At the age of eighteen, Clare became the first female follower of Saint Francis when she left her home on Palm Sunday night in 1212 in order to be consecrated as the handmaid …

God Will Be Seen by Men


God Will be Seen by Men

God Will be Seen by Men* There is one God, who by his word and wisdom created all things and set them in order. His Word is our Lord Jesus Christ, who in this last age became man among men to unite end and beginning, that is, man and God. The prophets, receiving the gift …

Radiance and Grace in the Trinity


Light, Radiance and Grace in the Trinity

Light, Radiance, and Grace are in the Trinity, and from the Trinity*   It will not be out of place to consider the ancient tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles and guarded by the fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, …

Sunday, May 22, 2016

St. Rita of Cascia


St. Rita of Cascia

In 1381, St. Rita was born in Spoleto, Italy, to elderly parents who were such examples of Christian charity that they were known as “Peacemakers of Jesus Christ.” As devout as they were, however, they seem to have been somewhat misguided when they insisted on St. Rita’s marriage, at the age of 12, to a …

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hail Mary Full of Grace

I Love this stained glass panel of Jesus and Mary!

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen

Pray and Praise

Is anyone among you suffering?
He should pray.
Is anyone in good spirits?
He should sing a song of praise."
(James: 5)

Friday, May 20, 2016

8 Ancient Christian Symbols and Their Hidden Meanings | ChurchPOP

8 Ancient Christian Symbols and Their Hidden Meanings | ChurchPOP

The Victory of Surrender – Part II of II


The Victory of Surrender – Part II of II

The Victory of Surrender Part II of II Christianity is full of paradoxes: “If you want to find yourself, you have to lose yourself . . . . The last will be first and the first will be last . . . .The greatest of all is the servant of all. . . .” The most important …

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Heart of God

The Heart of God

Mark Mallett

The Victory of Surrender - Part I of II


The Victory of Surrender – Part I of II

The Victory of Surrender Part I of II “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) No matter how noble our cause may be, how do we know if it’s really the Lord doing the building? This is a question that was painfully put to me recently. Last year, …

Divine Hope

“Divine hope is not like earthly hope. The latter is subject to disappointment, for however strong our se­curity, it can either be realized or not realized. Who is the fortunate person who has seen all his hopes ful­filled in this world? But the theological virtue of hope is not subject to disappointment; it gives us the holy, invincible certainty that we shall obtain what God has promised.” 
 ~ Luis M. Martinez, When God is Silent

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Catholics Are Romantic

Yes! We certainly are. We believe in Love and the greatest Love story ever created...the Divine Romance!

St. John I (Pope and Martyr)


St. John I (Pope and Martyr)

St. John I was a sixth-century pope and martyr. John was born in the Italian province of Tuscany, and was elected Bishop of Rome (that is, pope) in 523. The Mediterranean world was, by this time, divided into the Eastern and Western Empires, each having a separate emperor. Christianity was also divided (though not in …

Facing Summer Loneliness


Facing Summer Loneliness

Ah, summer. The sun, the poolside, pale ales, the crushing weight of existential loneliness… Yeah, not to be a downer, but summer isn’t all Australian Gold and beach volleyball for everyone. For many it’s actually a season of intense loneliness and isolation. All your friends are on vacation for weeks at a time, there’s nothing …

Don't Be a Squirrel

Image result for squirrel hiding acorns

Don't Be a Squirrel

Sir 35, 1-12 / Mk 10:28-31 There is something of the squirrel in all of us, gathering up things and 'squirreling' them away in assorted hiding places. There's something of the bird in us as well, scooping up all sorts of things at random to weave into its nest. Many objects end up in nests simply because …

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On the Breath of God

“Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around Him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honor. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself, but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God.” 
~ St. Hildegard

Spouse of the Holy Spirit – Divine Intimacy Meditation


Spouse of the Holy Spirit – Divine Intimacy Meditation:

Spouse of the Holy Spirit Presence of God – O Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, make me docile to His divine motions. MEDITATION “The Blessed Virgin Mary,” says St. Augustine, “was the only one who merited to be called the Mother and Spouse” of God. She became the Mother of God because she was …

Ten Ways to Open Up to the Holy Spirit


Ten Ways to Open Up to the Holy Spirit

The Gift of Gifts, the Paraclete, the Counselor and Consoler, Friend, Sanctifier, Third Person of the Blessed Trinity—all of these are different titles given to the Person of the Holy Spirit. In an earlier article we explained the power of the Holy Spirit to transform sinners into great saints—as we saw in the Apostles, and especially …

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pope Francis Homily for Pentecost Sunday

Pope Francis delivers his homily during Mass for Pentecost Sunday. - REUTERS

(Vatican Radio) Here is the full text of Pope Francis' homily for Pentecost Sunday 2016:

Pope Francis

Homily during Mass for Pentecost Sunday

“I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18).

The central purpose of Jesus' mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome, says: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship, which enables us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:14-15). Here we see our relationship renewed: the paternity of God is re-established in us thanks to the redemptive work of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father. The entire work of salvation is one of “re-generation”, in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen. In our own day also, we see various signs of our being orphans: in the interior loneliness which we feel even when we are surrounded by people, a loneliness which can become an existential sadness; in the attempt to be free of God, even if accompanied by a desire for his presence; in the all-too-common spiritual illiteracy which renders us incapable of prayer; in the difficulty in grasping the truth and reality of eternal life as that fullness of communion which begins on earth and reaches full flower after death; in the effort to see others as “brothers” and “sisters”, since we are children of the same Father; and other such signs. Being children of God runs contrary to all this and is our primordial vocation. We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA. But this filial relationship was ruined and required the sacrifice of God’s only-begotten Son in order to be restored. From the immense gift of love which is Jesus’ death on the cross, the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon humanity like a vast torrent of grace. Those who by faith are immersed into this mystery of regeneration are reborn to the fullness of filial life.

“I will not leave you orphans”. Today, on the feast of Pentecost, Jesus’ words remind us also of the maternal presence of Mary in the Upper Room. The Mother of Jesus is with the community of disciples gathered in prayer: she is the living remembrance of the Son and the living invocation of the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of the Church. We entrust to her intercession, in a particular way, all Christians, families and communities that at this moment are most in need of the Spirit, the Paraclete, the Defender and Comforter, the Spirit of truth, freedom and peace. The Spirit, as Saint Paul says, unites us to Christ: “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). Strengthening our relationship of belonging to the Lord Jesus, the Spirit enables us to enter into a new experience of fraternity. By means of our universal Brother – Jesus – we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father. And this changes everything! We can see each other as brothers and sisters whose differences can only increase our joy and wonder at sharing in this unique fatherhood and brotherhood.

Pentecost—You can Set the World on Fire

"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost) by Jean II Restout

Pentecost—You can Set the World on Fire

BXVI Homily on Solemnity of Pentecost 2010

Pentecost Sunday

Benedict XVI, Homily, Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost, Sunday, 23 May 2010

"In the solemn celebration of Pentecost we are invited to profess our faith in the presence and in the action of the Holy Spirit and to invoke his outpouring upon us, upon the Church and upon the whole world.

The Lord Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever" (Jn 14: 15-16). This prayer reaches its apex and its fulfilment on the Cross, where Christ's invocation is one with the total gift that he makes of himself, and thus his prayer becomes, so to speak, the very seal of his self-gift out of love of the Father and humanity. Invocation and donation of the Holy Spirit meet, they permeate each other, they become one reality. In reality, Jesus' prayers that of the Last Supper and that on the Cross form a single prayer that continues even in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus, in fact, always lives his intercessional priesthood on behalf of the people of God and humanity and so prays for all of us, asking the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And what does this new and powerful self-communication of God produce? Where there are divisions and estrangement the Paraclete creates unity and understanding. The Spirit triggers a process of reunification of the divided and dispersed parts of the human family. People, often reduced to individuals in competition or in conflict with each other, when touched by the Spirit of Christ open themselves to the experience of communion, which can involve them to such an extent as to make of them a new body, a new subject: the Church.

From this, dear brothers, derives a practical criterion for discerning Christian life: when a person or a community limits itself to its own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign that it has distanced itself from the Holy Spirit. The path of Christians and of the particular Churches must always coincide with the path of the one, catholic Church, and harmonize with it. This does not mean that the unity created by the Holy Spirit is a kind of egalitarianism. On the contrary, that is rather the model of Babel, or in other words, the imposition of a culture characterized by what we could define as "technical" unity. In fact, the Bible tells us (cf. Gen 11: 1-9) that in Babel everyone spoke the same language. At Pentecost, however, the Apostles speak different languages in such a way that everyone understands the message in his own tongue. The unity of the Spirit is manifest in the plurality of understanding. The Church is one and multiple by her nature, destined as she is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts."

Pentecost. Church of Teotokos Peribleptos, 14th century. Mistrà, Greece.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Come down, O love divine

"O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, 
O kindle it, Thy holy flame within. 
O let it freely burn, til earthly passions 
turn To dust and ashes in its flame; 
And let Thy glorious light shine on, 
And light my path and guide me to thy sight.
 Come down, O love divine..."

The Real Presence

"Matt. 26:26-28; Mark. 14:22,24; Luke 22;19-20; 1 Cor. 11:24-25 - Jesus says, this IS my body and blood. Jesus does not say, this is a symbol of my body and blood.
Matt. 26:26; Mark. 14:22; Luke 22:19-20 - the Greek phrase is "Touto estin to soma mou." This phraseology means "this is actually" or "this is really" my body and blood.
1 Cor. 11:24 - the same translation is used by Paul - "touto mou estin to soma." The statement is "this is really" my body and blood. Nowhere in Scripture does God ever declare something without making it so.
Matt. 26:26; Mark. 14:22; Luke 22:19 - to deny the 2,000 year-old Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, Protestants must argue that Jesus was really saying "this represents (not is) my body and blood." However, Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, had over 30 words for "represent," but Jesus did not use any of them. He used the Aramaic word for "estin" which means "is.""
(James Hooper) from new FB group "The Real Presence"

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday

May the 15th is the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday—the fiftieth and final day of Eastertime and a celebration of the birth of the New Covenant Church

The Theme of the Readings for Pentecost: The Gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son

(Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; I Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or (Cycle B) Galatians 5:16-25, or (Cycle C) Romans 9:8-17; Gospel of John 20:19-23 or (Cycle B) 15:26-27; 16:12-15 or (Cycle C) 14:15-16, 23b-26

The Old Covenant holy day of obligation known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot in Hebrew, or the Feast of Pentecost as it was known in Jesus’ time (from the Greek he pentekoste hermea meaning “the fiftieth day”), was a feast established by Yahweh in the covenant formation at Mt. Sinai. In the beginning of the great adventure at the crossroads of salvation history known as the Sinai Covenant, God ordained that Israel was to commemorate seven annual feasts in which the Israelites would relive the themes of mercy and redemption that were played out in the Exodus experience. Three of the seven annual feasts were to be “pilgrim feasts” in which every man of the covenant must present himself before Yahweh’s holy altar of sacrifice and were designated in Exodus 23:14-17, 34:18-23; Deuteronomy 16:16 and 2 Chronicles 8:13 as the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Weeks/Pentecost, and Shelters/Tabernacles.

According to Leviticus 23, of the seven annual God-ordained feasts only the harvest feasts of Firstfruits and Weeks/Pentecost were not given specific dates. The Feast of Firstfruits was to be celebrated on the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; it was to always fall on the first day of the week, our Sunday (Lev 23:9-14). Seven full weeks were to be counted from Firstfruits, and on the fiftieth day they were to celebrate the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, as the ancients counted with no zero-place value (Lev 23:15-16). Therefore, the Feast of Pentecost also fell on the first day of the week, our Sunday. The Feast of Firstfruits in 30 AD was the day Jesus arose from the dead as the “Firstfruits” of the resurrection of the dead destined for God’s storehouse of Heaven (Col 1:15). Christians continue to celebrate this designated “perpetual” (Lev 23:14) feast as Easter Sunday, and fifty days later (as the ancients counted without the concept of a zero-place value) was the first Christian Pentecost.

After the Resurrection, Jesus taught the Church for forty days until His Ascension (Acts 1:3). At His Ascension Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples to return to Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit: John baptized with water but, not many days from now, you are going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The Apostles and the disciples were obedient to Jesus’ command. They prayed together as one community for ten days until fifty days after Christ’s Resurrection, until the Sunday of the Jewish feast of Pentecost which commemorated the birth of the Old Covenant Church at Mt. Sinai. On the Feast of Pentecost, 30 AD, God the Holy Spirit baptized and indwelled the 120 New Covenant people of God praying in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, giving them the one language of the Gospel of salvation to unite all peoples of the world—undoing the confusion of tongues and the separation of peoples in the judgment of the Tower of Babel (Acts 1:13-15; 2:1-11; Gen 11:1-9).

For a more in-depth study of the readings for the Feast of Pentecost see:

Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2016

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle - Saturday, May 14, 2016

 Today’s Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051416.cfm 

 Lectio Divina: http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-st-matthias-apostle-jn-159-17 

 “Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” (Acts 1:26)

 Image: Saint Matthias Workshop of Simone Martini Circa 1317-1319

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Father Mitch is BAAAACK!

Such VERY Happy News from EWTN:  (I've really missed him!)

"He's back! Father #MitchPacwa came into the Network today. He tells us he is "up and around," although he still tires easily. He will be starting rehab AND (we saved the best for last) he will be back on the air next week! You can't keep a good man down!" #EWTN #Catholic

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Teachers of Love

"The fact that Christianity is a religion of love makes every evangelizer the teller of a love story, the singer of a love song. By example, as well as by words, evangelizers must be teachers of love.."
Saint John Paul the Great

Your Guardian Angel

Mary’s Hope – Divine Intimacy Meditation


Mary’s Hope – Divine Intimacy Meditation

Mary’s Hope Presence of God – O Mary, Mother of Good Hope, teach me the way of complete confidence in God. MEDITATION In the Magnificat, the canticle which burst forth from Mary’s heart when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, we find an expression which specially reveals Mary’s interior attitude. “My soul doth magnify the Lord …

Mary’s Faith – Divine Intimacy Meditation


Mary’s Faith – Divine Intimacy Meditation

Mary’s Faith Presence of God – O my Mother, show me how to have firm faith in God and how to entrust myself entirely to Him. MEDITATION Using St. Elizabeth’s words, the Church says in praise of Mary: “Blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee …

What To Do When You Lose Faith in Politics


What To Do When You Lose Faith in Politics

A few weeks ago I talked about how frustratingly hopeless it feels to be a Catholic citizen in the face of brazenly secular governments. This week I thought I’d try to look at what things we can do as Catholics to keep hope, and/or at least keep ourselves from falling into despair when it comes to …

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jesus High Priestly Prayer

The Gospel Reading for Wednesday May 11th, of the Seventh Week of Easter

John 17:1a, 11b-19 ~ Jesus’s High Priestly Prayer Part II
 (see Part I)

1a Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: ... 11b “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. 12 When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share in my joy completely. 14 I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. 16 They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

"We continue with Jesus’ prayer to God the Father for His disciples that began in 17:1 at the end of the Last Supper. In verse 11b, knowing the temptations the disciples will face to reject Him in favor of the world, Jesus prays that the disciples will be kept safe from those temptations and the contamination of the world. He prays that they will persevere, that they will remain true to the Father’s commandments, and that their bond to each other will be a unity that is a reflection of the oneness of the Most Holy Trinity (see Jn 10:30).

In verse 12 Jesus refers to having guarded and protected His disciples, keeping all of them except the one who was destined to be lost. The literal Greek translation is “except the son of perishing.” This Semitic expression, in the literal Greek text, is a play on the word “to perish” = “not one has perished except the son of perishing,” sometimes translated as “the son of perdition” as well as “the son of destruction.” It is a reference to the traitor Judas Iscariot.

Judas was a man from the Judean town of Kerioth. The surname “Iscariot” is literally “ish” (man) “Kerioth” (town of his origin). The betrayal of the Messiah was prophesized in Old Testament Scripture, as Jesus says in verse 12 (see Gen 3:15; Ps 41:9; 69:25 and Zec 11:12-13; also see reference to prophecy of his betrayal in Jn 6:64; Mt 27:3-10 and Acts 1:16-20). You may recall that during the Last Supper Jesus referred to Judas and quoted Psalms 41:9 in John 13:17-18. The literal Greek is, “He who eats bread with me lifts up against me his heel.” It is interesting that the “son of perishing” carries the name of Jesus’ tribe, the tribe of Judah or Yehuda. The Hebrew name Yehuda means “Yahweh’s people.” Isn’t it ironic that it was Yahweh’s people who rejected Him, with the exception of a faithful remnant who answered God’s call and remained faithful? It is also ironic that within the Apostles there was both a “true Judah” and a “false Judah”? The true Judah who believed in the Messiah was the Apostle Judas, son or brother of James, also called Thaddaeus or Jude to distinguish him from the other Judas (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:19; Lk 6:16; Acts 1:14), and the false Judah was the Judah from the town of Kerioth.

In verse 13 Jesus prayers to the Father, “But now I am coming to you.” As in verse 11, Jesus knows that His time on earth is limited and soon He will begin His walk to the altar of the Cross that is the necessary prelude to His Resurrection and Ascension. He petitions the Father to help Him prepare for the climax of His earthly ministry. He also asks the Father to preserve His disciples for the temptations and the sufferings they must endure through that experience, and later when His mission to save the world becomes theirs.

15 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.” In his commentary on the Gospel According to John, Fr. Raymond Brown writes, “The word ‘poneros’, “Evil One,” is capable of being translated as an abstract noun, “evil”; but on the analogy of 1 John 2:13-14, 3:12, a personal application to the devil is probably intended” (The Gospel According to John, page 761). Jesus is referring to Satan—the Evil One who is the prince of this world. Jesus will refer to this fallen angel as “the ruler/prince of this world” three times in St. John’s Gospel (Jn 12:31; 4:30; 6:11, also see 1 Jn 2:13-14 where St. John reminds us that “the whole world is under the Evil One”). Jesus’ petition in John 17:13-16 may be a parallel to Jesus’ seventh petition in the “The Lord’s Prayer” found in Matthew 6:13. In that last petition, Jesus literally prayed “free us from the Evil One” (see CCC 2850-511) which is more often, but less accurately, rendered “deliver us from evil.” Jesus won victory over Satan, “the evil one,” for all of us when He freely gave Himself up to death to give us His life (see CCC 2853).

Verse 15 generates a question we must ask ourselves: “Is it possible to belong both to the world and to Christ?” This is, of course, the great struggle, and the answer is “No!” In this discourse, Jesus has repeatedly made the distinction between belonging to God or to the world; there can be no compromise between the two. But God doesn’t want Christians out of the world in order to escape persecution and conflict—He wants the ungodly out! The Christian’s mission is to convert the world not to flee from it. Jesus is praying that Christians should NOT be taken out of the world. This is the consistent message of the Bible: God’s covenant people are destined to inherit all things on earth and in Heaven (see Prov 2:21-22 and 10:30).

In Hebrew the word for “salvation” is y’shuah. This word comes from the Hebrew root word yasha which means “to bring into a large, wide, open space.” Through God’s gift of salvation in Christ Jesus, that is exactly what Yahweh has prepared for mankind. His covenant people will inherit the entire new earthly creation (Psalm 37) which will be restored to them as the New Eden. This is the last vision of St. John in the Book of Revelation: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea” (Rev 21:1). It is what Jesus tells St. John in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making the whole of creation new.”

In verses 17-19 Jesus prays, “‘Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.’” In His prayer, Jesus petitions the Father to give His disciples five spiritual gifts:
1. Unity: “so that they may be one just as we are one” (vs 11).
2. Joy: “so that they may share in my joy completely” (vs 13).
3. Preservation: “that you keep them from the Evil One” (vs 15).
4. Holiness: “Consecrate them in the truth” (vs 17).
5. Consecrated mission: “… so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth” (vss 18b-19).

In verse 18 it is Jesus’ desire to send His disciples into the world to continue His mission to transform the world with the Gospel of salvation (Mt 28:19-20). In verses 17-19, the Greek word “hagiazo” means “consecrate, sanctify, or to make holy,” and the Greek word “aletheia” is the Greek word for “truth.” Notice that both words are repeated 3 times. This is another set of double threes that points to the theme of Jesus’ prayer. The word “hagiazo” indicates spiritual cleansing, but the word “aletheia” has power as in John 8:32: “truth will set you free.” So what is the active power of “truth” in John 17:17 to “consecrate them in the truth”? The Greek word translated “in” can also mean “by” and “for”; therefore, the answer is that “truth” is both the active force of the consecration as well as the sphere into which the believer is placed. In being consecrated by the Word, one is to be united with Christ, who is Himself the Truth: “I am the Way and the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6). It is Jesus’ prayer for His disciples then and for you today to live in His Truth and to be consecrated (made holy) by truth faith in your Savior and Redeemer who consecrated you with His very life."

Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2016

“Holy Father …. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.”

Living in God's Presence


Raise Your Heart to God in Aspirations

God in our thoughts, God in our hearts, God on our lips, loving awareness of God, affective presence of God — this will be our happy state once we have put into practice the different ways of living in God’s presence. Two acts, thinking of God and loving God, make up the exercise of the …

Our Mother – Divine Intimacy Meditation


Our Mother – Divine Intimacy Meditation

Our Mother Presence of God – O Mary, since you are really my Mother, make me your true and worthy child. MEDITATION When she consented to become the Mother of the Son of God, Mary bound herself by very close bonds not only to the person of Jesus, but also to His work. She knew …

Monday, May 9, 2016

Holy Spirit, Visit Me by Your Grace and Love

Day three Novena to the Holy Spirit from Discerning Hearts:

"Heavenly Father,
You have called me to be a member
of the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ,
and to be a temple of the Holy Spirit.
I ask You to give me these gifts of the Holy Spirit:
wisdom, that I may understand the follies of this world;
understanding, that I may grasp more fully
the meaning of my existence
and the purpose of all things in the world;
counsel, that I may always choose the proper way;
fortitude, that I may remain faithful to You
under the pressure of temptation.;
piety, that I may revere You in all I do, think or say;
fear of the Lord, that should the motive of love fail me,
I may quickly be awakened to the eternal consequences of my deeds.
Visit me by Your grace
and Your love
and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena…"