At the moment I am reading the Old Testament of the Bible, because although I know some of the most popular stories I had never actually read through a lot of what was there. I’ll admit, it can be a bit of a grind at times when half the page is names of who was whose son, but there is so much good stuff in there and it has really been giving me a broader view and deeper understanding of the events of the New Testament.
The other night I read a passage that really hit me and I wanted to share this with you all today. You can read it here, but basically there is a man who was gathering firewood on the Sabbath, breaking the commandment that God had given to “Observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy“. The people weren’t sure what to do about this but the Lord told them that he must be stoned to death, so that is what the people did. Seems a bit harsh at first, right? He was just picking up some wood, surely they shouldn’t have killed him? But if we look at the context this is a guy who has been freed from slavery by God, seen many miracles and signs and knows just how powerful God is. Then God has given the Israelites a bunch of pretty important laws and made it clear that they needed to be followed, yet after all this the man decides he will go and disobey the Lord when everyone else is resting. He breaks one of God’s big rules just for a pile of sticks and is punished for this.
So what does it mean for us?
We live in a time after Jesus has come and paid the ultimate price for all of our sins. God loved us so much that he could not bear to spend an eternity without us due to our stupid choices, and in His great Mercy sent his only son to die on a cross so that we might live. In the Old Testament we see God’s people without this gift, they are cared for by God and he is hugely active in their society but because of the entrance of sin into the world they still disobey Him. There were a multitude of different animal sacrifices and offerings for different situations to seek God’s forgiveness, and yet through Jesus we are now able to approach God in our sinfulness for the forgiveness that has already been won for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This passage, for me, really brought home the significance of our sin. We disobey God, who has done so many great things and always works for our good.Our sin pulls us away from God, the most important thing in our lives, and so we should always strive to obey and follow Him yet we all fail and fall into sin. We deserve punishment for this and yet we find that in His Mercy, this punishment has been taken from us and already carried out through Jesus’s death on the cross. How great is that?! How awesome is our God, full of Mercy and completely in love with us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” -1 Peter 1:3
And the angel said to her,Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. – Luke 1:31-32
Today is the Feast Day of the St Luke the Evangelist. He is accredited for many things… from being a doctor, to writing the first Icon of Mary and Jesus… but the most important thing he ever did was to record (inspired and helped by the Holy Spirit) the life of Jesus and the Acts of the Apostles, which later became recognized as part of the Canon of scripture (the Word of God). In his Gospel he focuses in a special way on the beginning of Jesus life… from the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel, the birth of Jesus, the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and the presentation in the temple. It is important that we ponder these mysteries, because apart from John’s Gospel, they give us the greatest insight into the role of Mary as Mother, for Jesus and then for us to understand her as our Mother.
Here are three icons of St Luke that show him as Evangelist, Doctor and Iconographer
Since Luke tells us in the beginning of his Gospel that he heard the good news of Jesus from the eyewitnesses, we can be quite sure that he never met Jesus. He also tells us a lot about Mary and the early life of Jesus, which would indicate that he either talked with Mary or St John. It is much more likely that he met St John, who lived with Mary after Jesus death and came to know the secrets of Jesus’s infancy. We can ask St Luke (and especially St John) to help reveal to us the mysteries that they received from Mary… so that we can better understand her role as Mother.
St Luke’s Gospel is often seen as the Gospel for the poor, where Jesus has a great love and concern for the poor. It is not surprising then that he also tells us so much about Mary, who was the poorest of all creatures… the one who depended on God the most, who received everything the Father gave to her because she remained so poor and thirsty. It is in St Lukes Gospel that Simeon reveals to Mary that a sword will pierce her soul… like the piercing that Jesus receives on the cross…
He has also given us three very important canticles in the Divine office… which priests religious and laity pray daily… The Benedictus, The Magnificat and the Nunc Dimmitis.
Let us thank St Luke for his work and ponder the great mysteries that God has given to us through him…
Today, rather than posting some of my own thoughts or reflections, I want to share a brilliant new website called Restless Press, http://www.restlesspress.net. It’s brand-spanking new (only launched on October 1st!) and is already filled with great content. I’m going to share some of it here.
Restless Press aims to be a magazine style site, with great content from contributors around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific who are passionate about what they write and talk about.
Besides evangelisation, one of our goals is to develop and gain exposure for new Catholic media ‘down under’. Restless Press aims to increase the quality and voice of Catholic content creators.
Beating ‘Beauty’ to Be Beautiful
Sophie had been struggling with an eating disorder, and summer coming brought up raw emotions. She writes of the way God is helping her realise true beauty.
Finding a Full Carriage: Founding Faith Filled Fashion
This post comes from Therese Joyce, founder of the fashion label Songs of Solomon. Therese writes for us of the path God led her on to Songs of Solomon.
Small Moments for Me in Motherhood
Adele reflects on the importance of small moments for yourself, amongst the chaos that can be mothering small children.
The Challenge of Faith in the Face of ISIS
Lucy explores what Catholic Social Teaching says about the challenges of terrorism and what is going on in Iraq and Syria.
1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.
People say money is the root of all evil. I dear to say that in my eyes gossip is.
It turns friend against friend, loved one against love one, it creates and even further seperation between enemies.
In other words it casts out all love, and all opportunity for love, as love is willing the good of another- gossip is the polar opposite.
It penetrates every pocket of society, businesses, schools, universities, homes…. Seminarys, monistrys, parishes- no one is immune.
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
It’s tempting to get involved. Curiosity killed the cat, it also dragged many souls away from heaven.
We pray everyday ‘lead us not into temptation’ so be alert, when you hear a convo or your own voice heading towards the goss then steer in another direction.
Shock your mates! When they say ‘OH MY GOSH GUESS WHAT…. ‘insert name here’….DID!!!’ just say ‘no thank you.’
Say no to gossip.
Spread love not rumours.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Gossip is a sly one-BE ON YOUR GUARD!
bless The Lord oh my soul
I have been thinking a lot about Vocation for the last few weeks and I wanted to share with you all my new perspective on the whole thing.
Your vocation, is something you grow into and that grows in you, rather than a finishing line to be crossed or a peak to reach. We are continually seeking out and following our specific call to Holiness.
There seems to be an attitude out there, that I have been caught up in as well, that your vocation is like your career or your job. That it is a race to find out what to do and where to be.
In this sense your vocation is a definitive niche that you are on a quest to find and as soon as you do, bam! thats it. You’ve found it.
I think this is only partly helpful. We were all created with different strengths and abilities and it is true that we all have a niche, or a role to play in building God’s Kingdom on earth. But I think there is more to it than that. Finding ones vocation is an ongoing process, like maturity is not something you suddenly arrive at. Rather your vocation is something you grow into, or has been for me anyway.
I think in metaphor so this growth is best compared to a tree. The seed is often something you find both joy and peace in, something that God created in you that you are passionate about.
It starts small and your attention helps it grow.
Prayer is like water and sunshine, you need prayer to grow into your vocation. Prayer brings life.
My favourite part of the metaphor is that many trees growing proud and tall make a forest, where the trees are strong and their roots grow deep. At times living as a Christian means making the unpopular choice but in a forest there is strength in numbers.
For some people their ‘seed’ is flying, or cooking. For others it is making people laugh, building things with their bare hands, or writing music. And then there are different lifestyles that appeal, some people are more drawn to quiet and tranquil living, where others seek out company and chaos and crayons all over the walls. Some people love to learn and to teach, and some people are drawn to caring for others.
We all have a vocation to love as Christians. The Church calls this our ‘exalted vocation’ (YouCat #73). We are called Christians as a sign of this exalted, or higher, vocation to be Christ-like in the world. We are all called to Holiness, and our vocation is our specific call to Holinesss tailored to our nature. In other words everyone has a general vocation to love and a more specific calling that suits their character.
To find your vocation you need to find and pursue the desire God has placed in your heart for greatness- and with patience you fill find your niche.
City on a Hill