It TRUELY is He

The true presence of Our Lord in the blessed sacrament, it is true. Truth. Him in the fullest sense of the meaning. Here is one wee point that backs it up a bit…

I have been told by non catholic Christians that the breaking of the bread at the last supper- Eucharist in the mass- is just a symbol, a way to remember our Lord. But I disagree. His words are so clear.
‘I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you.’ John 6:53
‘For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.’ John 6:55

So Jesus gives this teaching. Heavy. Flip heavy as. Now I suggest to you that if Jesus was saying that we need to symbolically/metaphorically eat His flesh than yea it’s still a bit weird but it’s not that hard to receive as a teaching. But if he TRUELY meant ‘eat my flesh’, than yes, this is a ridiculously hard teaching to take. The only time in the gospels where disciples left Jesus because of a teaching is at this point.
‘After this, many of His disciples left Him and stopped going with Him.’ John 6:66 -take note of the reference number, also the only reference in the whole bible that is 666-commonly known as the devils number.

It is a huge call to walk away. The disciples had given everything they had to follow Jesus- land, animals, money, even left their family’s. So at this teaching they stop following Jesus, even though they have nothing to return to. Big call.

So I encourage you not to take His teaching on eating His flesh lightly. Ponder it. None of his followers took it lightly, they were either all in or all out. No fence sitters.

I pray you will take the heart and mind of St. Peter as his reply was….
‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy one of God.’ John 6:68

That’s a proclamation of the truth.

Bless The Lord oh my soul
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Cheers for your help, Mother Church!

Ever wanted to pray but haven’t been able to find the words? Mother Church is here to help! The Divine Office or Prayer of the Church  is prayed by Catholics everywhere, and especially in religious communities. It is prayed using the psalms, scripture and other prayers seven times each day. And it’s awesomely ancient (like St Benedict in the 6th Century ancient)!42-16702588

Anyone can pray it, have a go today! (PS you don’t have to pray all seven hours of course)

Check out www.universalis.com or divineoffice.org where the office is available online 

ecumenism

Proud to be Catholic or Prideful to be Catholic?

Admittedly, more often than not I have found myself falling into the later category. Prideful to be Catholic in the sense that I possess the fullness of the truth and non-Catholic Christians do not!

From the Catechism:

819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth”273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.”274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”276

Christ is the Truth and He lays His life down for the Church. The Catholic Church certainly posseses the fullness of the truth (received from Christ) and only in Christ can I enter into His Church. I, on an exclusively personal level, certainly do not have the fullness of the truth. I, in fact, do not have alot. I am lazy, negative, and often times iritable. Thus, “He must increase; I must decrease” [Jn 3:30]. Christ who IS the way the TRUTH and the life must INCREASE, and I must decrease.

Neither I or non-Catholic Christians possess the fullness of the truth. Pope Francis writes about Ecumnism in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Guadium:

Article 244:

We must never forget that we are pilgrims journeying alongside one another. This means that we must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God’s face. Trusting others is an art and peace is an art. Jesus told us: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt 5:9). In taking up this task, also among ourselves, we fulfil the ancient prophecy: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares” (Is 2:4).

I am proud to be Catholic. Hopefully my vessel is big enough to receive all that Christ offers me through the Catholic Church.

 

Blog angel

Be my Angel.

Blog angel

A young woman came to me recently, talking about her frustration with a boy who she was involved with. She told me about how he was hot/cold, hid things from her, and generally didn’t treat her in the way that she deserved. When I asked why she was sticking around, she replied,

“I want to help him. He’s got a lot of issues. But he really trusts me, he says I’m one of the only people who’s as nice to him as I am.”

Girls seem to have a strange attraction to the concept of being someone’s saviour. I have been in several relationships where the boys have been troubled and I have tried being their angel, flying in and rescuing them. And every time, it has backfired. Every time, all that’s happened is that instead of me carrying them to heaven, they’ve slowly, without me even noticing, dragged me down to hell.

Do not be mislead: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Cor 15:33 

It has taken me a long time to realize that I can’t fix anyone. No matter what their problem is, I can not fix them. Take a drinking problem for instance. I might be able to help the person by saying, “Don’t drink and I’ll date you” and so it seems like they’re fixed because you’ve given them the motivation to change. But what happens when they want something? They know a really easy way to manipulate you is to say ‘Do it or I will drink.’ But what happens when you fight? They know a really easy way of getting revenge is to get drunk. What happens when you step out of the picture? They aren’t fixed, they’ll go back to drinking because the reason for them not doing it has left.
Truly, the only way someone can change or be fixed is to be motivated themselves, simply because they genuinely want to be better. And they need supernatural help, not us fragile little humans. Of course, we can support and encourage them, but we can not be the reason they change. Only their own motivation, and help from God, can cure addictions.

And yet, despite knowing this, sometimes I feel as though prayer is useless. Sending up thoughts into the vast, unresponsive universe. But I persevere, because I’m stubborn, don’t have a better option, and trust that God is listening. And once in a while, when I’m at a complete low point in my spiritual life, He reminds me that prayer works.

I was recently prayed over for healing from an incurable medical condition by my spiritual mentor. When she had finished praying, a ‘deal’ I had made with God about a year earlier came to mind.

“God, if you cure this person of their 15 year addiction, I will have this physical pain for my whole life without being cured.”

My mentor explained that while she understood my intentions, I had effectively placed a curse upon myself which meant that I would never be healed. She was right – I hadn’t purposely ‘struck’ a deal with God as such, I just made the offer to God as a way of letting him know just how precious the other person was to me, and how much I wanted them to be free from the addiction which was crippling their life.
So, my mentor and I prayed together, and I ‘took back’ the promise I had made to God, and apologized for underestimating His divine power. I acknowledged that He able and willing to heal both myself and the person with the addiction.

A few nights ago, I had coffee with that person, and they happened to mention that their addiction had recently been broken. I unashamedly made a fool of myself in the busy coffee shop by being EXTREMELY excited when they told me that the date their addiction had stopped was the same date as when I prayed and asked with faith, for God to cure their addiction.

I am not an angel – God is the only cure.

God bless,

praisethroughthestorm +

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina (latin for Divine reading) is a sure way to grow in faith, hope and love, as it gives us direct contact with God in faith. I will post a link at the end of this article to show how it is traditionally done, but essentially it is reading the Word of God and meditating on it, with the hope that it will lead us to silent contemplation… like Mary. The Word of God is given to us as a food for our Christian life, a food that will nourish and sustain us as we grow, a food that will give us strength to run the race with Christ, but ultimately a food that will make us thirst for Him more. A great way to pray with the scriptures is to read the daily readings that the Church gives us in mass (whether we can make it or not) and to spend some time in silence reflecting on what God wants to say to us. He always speaks to us in the scriptures (for the Word of God is alive and active), but we must listen and therefore we must take time each day to be with Him and listen to Him. And while the Word of God is for everyone, each time we read it we must pay close attention because Jesus speaks to us personally, as a friend (John 15:15) and wants to draw us closer to Himself. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us enter this time with silent hearts, ready to receive all that God wants to give us.

Below is a link to EWTN readings of the day and a link to Lectio Divina

http://www.ewtn.com/daily-readings/

http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/what-lectio-divina

I recommend starting with 10mins each time…yes it will be difficult at first…and maybe moving up to 20 or 30mins after a while. But there are no time constraints with God, if you can only find 5mins, you can still be nourished. We should always enter prayer in adoration (accepting to depend totally on God) which helps us worship in spirit and truth and then enter into the Word of God. When we are healthy in our body we get hungry often, so if we are to be healthy in our Christian life we must be hungry for the Word of God, which will lead us to hunger more for Jesus in the Eucharist.

Jesus please give us this hunger,

Mary please teach us to pray, so that we may receive your Son.

shield

SHIELD, Joss Whedon and Sacrifice

Last Sunday, the season finale of Marvel: Agents of SHIELD screened on NZ television. If you haven’t heard of it, Agents of Shield is the TV spin-off of The Avengers and its related films (known as the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ – MCU). The show avoided starring any of the superheroes like Thor, Iron Man or Captain America, and instead focuses on a team of seemingly-normal secret agents in the wake of the events that take place after each film.
From here on in: watch out for AoS Season 1 spoilers!

Jemma Simmons & Leo Fitz: nerdy-but-lovable

Jemma Simmons & Leo Fitz: nerdy-but-lovable

When watching the season finale, I was struck by the strong themes of sacrifice that ran through the episode  – and in fact, the entire season. You could almost sum up the season’s overarching theme with this sentence: Sacrifice yourself for others, work as team, and you will achieve great things. The final confrontation between the heroes and the villain tops this theme off, but I think the most powerful portrayal of it is about two-thirds of the way through the episode. Two nerdy-but-lovable characters – ‘Fitz’ and ‘Simmons’ – are trapped in a sealed box underwater, but figure out a way to escape. The catch is, there’s only enough oxygen for one of them to make it to the surface:

Something I think particularly powerful in the scene above is the relative calm of Fitz as he sacrifices himself for the one he loves. It’s as though, in the moment of sacrifice and seeing death before him, he realises that this moment is where he is truly himself, truly able to express and give who he really is. Because that’s what sacrifice does: it makes us the most ‘us’ that we can be. It’s this wonderful paradox, that only by giving ourselves can we find ourselves. Why?

Because, as a favourite philosopher of mine says, “Calvary is the rule, not the exception.”

Before His death, Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38, NRSV) Doing the will of the Father is the entire reason for Jesus becoming man. What Christ did on the cross by His sacrifice and self-emptying was where He fulfilled His purpose and most perfectly revealed who He is.
In the same way, by sacrificing ourselves and emptying ourselves of our own will, we become entirely receptive to God’s will – and we are created to do God’s will. Therefore, sacrifice is the path to fulfilling my purpose, to being the most ‘me’ me that I can be!

sacrifice will of god

"Marvel's The Avengers" - Los Angeles Premiere - ArrivalsAfter watching the episode, I jumped online to look at discussion and articles on the series. I was surprised to find an article at talkbacker.com (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the Paradox of Whedonism) that also speaks about the sacrifice in this season finale. The writer even suggests that this theme is a common one of Joss Whedon (see picture to right), the creator of the show and director the Avengers film. But what shocked me is the pessimistic view of sacrifice that this article had. Here are some lines from the article which sum up this point (emphasis added):

When a writer fills a page, he does so with the utmost intentionality. There are any number of ways to resolve a conflict, redeem a character, and/or demonstrate heroism. That Whedon’s execution of these events almost always climaxes in death, despair, and sacrifice highlights a core of negativity that is at odds with the layers of positivity it is wrapped in. [...]
That Whedon crafted these moments in the manner in which we witnessed shows that it doesn’t matter to him how much a person grows and becomes good, to be truly good he must abdicate the self. [...]
Yes, people are generally good and should be loved and protected, but why portray them as such complex creatures if you’re ultimately going to define them by something so simple?

This shows, I think, the perspective of much of today’s world. Self-sacrifice is seen as not only negative but as an overly-simplistic way of life, like a child who draws a person then colours them one solid colour. Cute, perhaps, but foolish. It is no wonder that we struggle to evangelise these people! Our Good News is one of “death, despair, and sacrifice” which asks us to be simple and even child-like – they can’t understand it, they don’t want it!

photo-baby-laughing-22Our challenge in today’s age of pleasure, stimulation and self-seeking is to find how to communicate the sacrifice of the Christian life as appealing. We must always preach Christ crucified; but our evangelisation also needs to always be highlighted by the joy and freedom that comes from this child-like way of life. Maybe you could be the next (Christian) Joss Whedon, and you’ll fill your media with recognition of the redemption and fulfillment that comes from self-sacrifice.

And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ.
- Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi

Mother and Father of mine.

motherchurchmotherofmine

In my life I have been blessed with an endless amount of good and holy women. The first woman I knew to bring me a true knowledge of a motherly heart is my own mother, who held me in her own womb for nine months, (and a bit – I was fashionably late) endured child pains, waited and cared for me long before I began my journey home. As I have grown, I have been loved for no other reason than the fact that she believes my soul deserves nothing less, and so I was loved fearlessly, abundantly, and courageously. It was she who nurtured my being to rapidly reveal me the world beyond, as she taught me to have a raw love for my Father, to our God the Father, and then to various forms of reliable and just authority. Over time, she has enhanced my understanding of the hierarchy of the universe and its order.

But it was not on her own. In Genevieve Kineke’s The Authentic Catholic Woman, she writes “Motherhood and Fatherhood are entwined and essential to each other. Without Fatherhood a woman is not a mother.” How essential both roles play in the livelihood of a child, I’m sure you are all aware of this, and the ever eroding importance of this in our society. However, it cannot be stressed enough. When I look at my mother, I cannot think of her without my father, and vice versa. In the sacrament of marriage they have been united in love, by our Mother church and in Christ, so that they might go forth and multiply to make disciples. When I see the love my parents have for each other I cannot measure it, it is beyond limits. The love each other simply and wonderfully. All through my life, as I move to their room they are utterly simple with what they have. Their room is almost bare. Growing up their room was always open, I was always able to run freely into their bed should I have woken from a bad dream or thought. My mother would wake upon just hearing my feet hit the floor to run from my room, “My darling, what is the matter?” I was always welcomed by her. As I visited their room a week ago, I soon realised that they had given it all to us. They were not worried with what they were to wear, or what they possessed, but incredibly worried with how we were loved.

My parents worked hand in hand to raise me, each bearing different roles. As a mother, Genevieve encourages, it is important that a woman has the ability to bring out the beauty of all souls, to foster their capacity to love and to receive love in return. A thoughtful woman might also have the ability to attain motherly detail in remembering certain likes of a child, but such details go so much further than just mere food and clothing, as they allow each personal encounter to be one of grace and charity. A mother should also know that the fruitfulness born from one thoughtful gesture of love knows no bounds, for God has the ability to multiply it beyond our imagination.

So this has deviated from what I thought would be a post concerning the love of a mother, to a musing of the importance of men and women in this world. Nevertheless, I challenge you men, how are you fostering the femininity of the women around you? Women, are you challenging the men around you to truly be men?

Women, whatever your vocation, you are each called to live lives of virtue and motherly affection. Men, whatever your vocation, you are each called to live lives that uphold the dignity of the woman.

“When a culture of ladies arises, a culture of gentlemen will follow” – Jason Evert.

In Christ, through Mary,

ohappyfault