JESUS IN SCRIPTURE IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD

As we approach the birth of Our Lord, I am beginning a series of posts entitled JESUS IN SCRIPTURE that will continue throughout 2018. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Jesus,” according to St. Jerome, Biblical Scholar in 4th century who translated Bible into Latin. (Latin Vulgate)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it… JOHN 1:1-12

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God…

REFLECTION:
He was in the beginning…Jesus is the Word made flesh…the Word Incarnate….God becomes man…Through Him comes Life….And this Life is the Light of the World ….the world is dark since the Fall…darkness cannot keep out the Light….those who choose Light become children of the Light….and testify to the Light…and become children of God…all in heaven and on earth await in anticipation for the Incarnation…the word made flesh…how do I await my Savior and Lord….

INTRODUCTION TO JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY

Not much is known about Jesus’ child hood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood in his home town of Nazareth. We do know the Holy family were all devout Jews honoring and worshiping God according to Jewish practices, especially holy days like Passover, Feast of tabernacles, Pentecost and the like.

Mary and Joseph would have provided for their family in traditional roles of feeding and caring for their child. In his human nature Jesus would be learning and not taking any “divine” short cuts as he assisted his earthly adopted father, Joseph, in his carpentry trade.

We know from before and after Jesus began his public ministry he was a devout man of prayer and worship and a student of scripture. Not only did Jesus grow in earthly wisdom but his intimacy with His Father grew spiritually as he prepared to fulfill his heavenly Father’s mission.

Jesus’s coming on the public scene is foretold by John the Baptist, a distant cousin of Jesus who leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Now they meet once again. While Jesus has no need of baptism of repentance for he has no sin to repent, he presents himself to John and says, “Let it be for now.” Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan foreshadows the baptism of water and Spirit that later will cleanse men of their sins. “Behold the Lamb of God!”

JESUS BEGINS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY

MARK 1:1-11 THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins…

(JOHN 1:26-32) The next day John (the) Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”… (MATTHEW 3:14-17) After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened…the Spirit of God descended like a dove… And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

REFLECTION:
John proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….John prepares the way for the Christ….Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who will sacrifice himself for us that our sins may be forgiven…repent and believe in the Gospel…the sinless one takes on the sins of the world…the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus, full of grace….The Father affirms…”This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased…
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SEVEN DEADLY SINS CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING

 

INTRODUCTION
Recently, I posted blog on the existence of the devil and hell because so often in today’s world these facts are ignored or dismissed by otherwise practicing Christians and their pastors. I have already taken up the notion in past posts of “once saved always saved’ as nonsense. We are all called to daily conversion. If we deny we are sinners then too we deny Jesus Christ because there would be no need of a Savior.

The Church has always taught the reality of the devil, and the possibility of being eternally damned along with him as a result of the spiritual warfare he wages against us. It is absolutely disastrous to deny or ignore the devil’s existence. Satan hates each one of us personally, and is always plotting and working against us, seeking our eternal damnation. .

The devil studies us very carefully, taking note of our strengths and weaknesses, our habits and inclinations. He shrewdly chooses the particular temptations best suited to overcome us, all the while striving to work behind the scenes without us suspecting anything. It is our duty to guard against this threat and use the spiritual weapons and defenses the Lord provides us through His Church.

The Church speaks of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” which are anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth or laziness. Every human being is weak or easily tempted in at least one of these areas, so these are usually the focus of the devil’s attacks.
COMMENTARY SEVEN DEADLY SINS
ANGER (WRATH)
The devil wants us to nurse grudges and refuse to forgive other people, to become impatient with their failings, to overreact to the things about them that annoy us.
MEEKNESS – Where the sin of wrath is about quick temper and unnecessary vengeance, the virtue of meekness focuses on patiently seeking appropriate resolution to conflicts, and on the ability to forgive and show mercy.

ENVY
Satan tries to use the sin of envy against us by getting us to compare ourselves with others, to adopt an “entitlement mentality,” and to consider ourselves better than those around us.
KINDNESS (CHARITY) – is the virtue which counters the sin of envy. Envy is in contradiction to God’s law of love. It manifests itself in our unhappiness at someone else’s success or good fortune. Conversely, kindness and brotherly love manifests itself in the unprejudiced, compassionate and charitable concern for others.

GLUTTONY
We Americans compared to most people are very self indulgent. The devil has found gluttony to be a fertile field for his evil seeds. He tempts us to overdo life’s legitimate pleasures, to disdain or reject sacrifice and self-control, and to ignore other people’s poverty or suffering.
TEMPERANCE – The virtue of temperance or abstinence counters the sin of gluttony. To be gluttonous is to over-indulge. On the opposite hand, the virtue of temperance is centered on self-control and moderation.

GREED
Satan tempts us to want more money and possessions, more technology and convenience, and more luxury and leisure—when we should instead be concerned with storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven.
GENEROSITY – is the virtue that is counter to greed, the sin of immoderate desire for earthly things. Generosity focuses on appropriate concern for earthly things and a willingness to give freely and share with others from our blessings and abundance.

LUST
Lust is a particularly fertile field for the devil’s seeds. Satan is constantly tempting us to misuse sex, to glorify and expose our bodies, and to treat other people as objects for our own pleasure.
CHASTITY – Chastity is the counter-virtue to the sin of lust. Chastity embraces moral wholesomeness and purity, and in both thought and action treats God’s gift of sexuality with due reverence and respect.

PRIDE
Pride is the sin which transformed Lucifer, the greatest of all the angels into the hideous creature of Satan.
Misery loves company and so the devil delights in using this sin against us. He wants us to think, “I’m superior to others, I know what’s best for me, and no one is going to tell me how to live my life”—causing us to reject the God-given authority and saving power of the Church.
HUMILITY – Humility is the virtue that counters pride. Pride is a sin based on undue and inappropriate appreciation of one’s self worth. Conversely, the virtue of humility is about modest behavior, selflessness and the giving of respect. “It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”. – St. Augustine

SLOTH
Sloth is the desire for ease. Sloth, as a capital sin, refers to laziness in matters of Faith. The slothful person is unwilling to put out the effort to take advantage of the means of salvation, prayer, sacraments, almsgiving etc. Satan wants us to settle for being good enough—for that may eventually allow him to turn us against God.
DILIGENCE (PERSEVERANCE) is the virtue which acts as a counter to the sin of sloth.. Diligence combats laziness and encourages appropriately zealous attitudes toward living and sharing the Faith.
CONCLUSION FIGHTING BACK
The devil in his wiles uses many methods to snare us into one of the seven capital sins, such as poisoning relationships especially in families, distracting us with life concerns, too busy to notice God or call upon Him, inflating our egos so as to feel superior and want more attention, power, wealth, sex, our idols today. Above all Satan does not want us to worship or obey God.

How do we fight back these seeds of destruction! The most potent weed-killer against Satan’s evil seeds of spiritual destruction is humility. The more we humble ourselves, the more God’s grace can be at work within us, helping us overcome our faults and grow in holiness.

What spiritual fertilizer is available to us? First, the Sacrament of Reconciliation to clean up, wash up our souls and receive nourishment for the future. We wash our cars afterall…The devil is getting no foothold in my soul and when he tries again we are going to wash him out again and again….

Sunday Mass and worthy reception of Holy Communion is essential. By receiving Jesus, and loving Him in our heart on earth, He will be no stranger when we get to heaven. Throw in a daily Mass or two as well. Other valuable tools are reading the Bible, start with the Gospels, don’t try to read the Bible from beginning to end. It wasn’t intended to be read that way, set aside prayer time, seeking God’s guidance in all our decisions, learning more about our Catholic faith, submitting to the authority of the Church on moral and religious issues, praying for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in purgatory,

When we pray for others we are expressing the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We acknowledge God’s goodness and mercy and accept His sovereignty and Divine Providence. The devil is out there but as Jesus told us over and over again, there is nothing to fear.

God’s grace is sufficient for us. How do we know; God told us it was, “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times* I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (St. Paul)
2 Corinithians 12:9.

 

 

ALL SAINTS DAY CATHOLIC FEAST

 

ALL SAINTS DAY NOVEMBER 1

We have two major feasts this week in our Church which reminds us of what we profess in the Apostles Creed. as a dogma of our Faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit. the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

We too are part of that “Communion of Saints.” We are “the pilgrim Church” on earth still making our way back home, striving to become saints. We are sometimes called the “Church Militant,” because we continue to struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.

Another part of the Communion of Saints are the holy souls in purgatory, not yet purified and perfected, but will one day enter heaven. We believe that God in his mercy purifies them and purges them of their sins and their effects so they may worthily enter into the presence of the all Holy God.

This purgation of sins and its effects is the reason we call the souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. It is painful in Purgatory just as it is here on earth when God breaks us from our addictions and willfulness. The souls in Purgatory also suffer because they are separated from full communion with God.

The Particular feast that calls attention to their plight is the Feast of All Souls celebrated on November 2. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but can pray for us. So it is extremely important to pray for them that they soon may be purified and perfected. They pray for us now and will intercede for us when they get to heaven.

Finally, there is a group of saints already in heaven, already experiencing the Beatific Vision. All Saints day, a Holy Day of obligation in many parts of the world, is celebrated on November 1. We call these saints, the “Church Triumphant.” The communion of saints is truly God’s family. This should give us great encouragement. We are vast in numbers, too many to comprehend.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin… let us run the race, before us, with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith who for the joy, set before Him, endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history. From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us.
On All Saints Day we remember all those—famous or obscure—who are part of the “communion of saints Canonized Saints in heaven, souls in purgatory destined for heaven, and living saints among us. Retelling the stories of saints grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be. Pray to the saints in heaven and purgatory to intercede for us.

Living saints among us could be our own family members. It could be that special family member that prays for all the other members. It could be a family member that not only taught us the faith but lived and modeled the faith, we practice today. On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us to Jesus.  Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become. It is not easy but then is anything worthwhile easy.
Those saints in heaven were just like us in so many ways. Read their stories if you don’t believe me. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities.

They were sinners just like the rest of us. They struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, to aim higher.

Who is a saint? A saint is blessed. Where do we find those blessings in Scripture? In Matthew 5, of course. Saints worked hard to become what Jesus called them to be in the Sermon on the Mount: To be poor in spirit. To be meek. To be merciful. To make peace. This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. It’s a tall order. And it is nothing less than a call to greatness.

In truth, blessed par excellence is only found in Jesus. Indeed Jesus was truly poor in spirit, the afflicted one, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker, and the one persecuted for the sake of justice.

We too, can participate in this blessedness in the measure we accept Jesus and follow him, everyone according to their own state in life. With Jesus the impossible becomes possible. Remember his apostles asking Jesus who then can be saved and Jesus’ reply, “Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). With Jesus’ help, only with His help, we are able to become “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God. In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?

Perhaps, this week look up in book or on the internet a saint to reflect on, pray to intercede for you for some special grace that will bring you into closer relationship with Our Lord. One other suggestion, you may thank a living “saint” for being a model and inspiration for you and also thank God for putting that person in your life!

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord God, you are glorified in your saints. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. Around your throne, the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praises forever. With their great company and all the angels in heaven, we, too, praise your glory, now and forever. Amen.
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JOY OF THE GOSPEL REFLECTIONS

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM

NOTE: The number before paragraphs in Joy of Gospel references indicate the paragraph number in actual document.

POPE FRANCIS INVITES US INTO THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. I invite all Christians everywhere at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”

 

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,

I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes clear that God always takes the intiative in seeking his lost sheep by any means necessary. No one is excluded or left behind. God knows our need for Him and His nourishment. So we too as disciples and missionaries must not dismiss anyone or judge anyone unworthy of our engagement.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
180 Jesus’ mission is to inaugurate the kingdom of his Father; he commands his disciples to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand ” Matthew. 10:7

24 “The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that he has loved us first.”We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. The Joy of the Gospel is for all people no one can be excluded. People are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, “Give them something to eat”. Mark 6:37″

92 “We must not avoid others or exclude anyone from our mission. We are all in same boat and headed to same port. Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in gifts of each, which belong to all.”

113 “No one is saved by himself or herself, individually or by his or her own efforts. Jesus did not tell the apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. He told them to go and make disciples of all nations.” Mt.28:19

REFLECTION
Pope Francis warns us there are many enemies and obstacles to living the Gospel and spreading the Good News to others. To be on our guard and prepare for the spiritual warfare we encounter daily with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We live in parallel universe this temporal world and a spirit filled eternity.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
64 “We are living in an information driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data all treated as being of equal importance and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment.”

263 “Every period of history is marked by the presence of human weakness, self-absorption, complacency and selfishness, to say nothing of the concupiscence which preys upon us all.”

79 “Pastoral workers often fall prey to the times. Some fall into pastoral acedia or spiritual torpor (lethargy) by taking on unreasonable projects instead of what they reasonably can accomplish. Others just because they just can’t wait, patience is not a virtue in this society of instant gratification.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes suggestions on how preachers and evangelists should prepare for their missions. You cannot give what you yourself don’t possess. Read the bible, pray over the Bible, ask yourselves what God is saying to me today and how do I respond today!

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
145 “Preparation for preaching needs a prolonged time for preparation, a time for study, prayer, and reflection. Whoever wants to preach must first let the Word of God move him deeply and become incarnate in his daily life. One will then be communicating to others what one has contemplated and prayed about.

150 To evangelize is to make the kingdom of God present in our world. “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew. 6:33 Preparation requires the Love of God and like every true disciple say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” I Sam. 3:9

164 First and foremost on lips of catechists is the proclamation, “Jesus Christ loves you, he gave his life to save you and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis reiterates Jesus’ love for the poor and most vulnerable and how in imitation of Jesus as disciples we are to make the vulnerable our priority in our ministry. Jesus loved the poor and performed many miracles of physical and spiritual healing. No one was too far gone in Jesus’ eyes to walk away. He engaged everyone, bolstered their faith and encouraged them to repent and sin no more

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
197 God’s heart has a special place for the poor so much so that he himself became poor, born in a manger in the midst of animals. When he began to preach the kingdom, crowds of the dispossessed followed him.

198 Inspired by this life of Christ, the Church has always understood a special form of primacy of the poor in exercise of Christian Charity. The poor have much to share with us. They know the sufferings of Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. We are called to find Christ in them and to lend our voices to their causes.

213 Jesus identifies especially with the little ones, the vulnerable. As Christians we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. Among the vulnerable to whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us.

213 Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable in any situation and in every stage of development. Every violation of the personal dignity is an offense against the creator of that individual.

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis encourages us not to shy away from our mission because of difficulties. He preaches that hope will bring about the desired changes even if we ourselves do not see the results.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
275 Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. If we think things are never going to change we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. A true missionary knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes wih him, and works with him. A person, who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain, and in love will convince nobody.

278 Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing here and there and in different ways like “the small seed which grows into the great tree.” (Mt. 13:31) and like the “good seed that grows amid the weeds.” (Mt. 13:24) and can always pleasantly surprise us. Jesus did not rise in vain.

279 Let us be assured that none of our acts of love will be lost nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. Sometimes it seems our acts are fruitless but don’t believe it. None will be lost; no effort is meaningless; no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force giving life according to God’s holy will. The Holy Spirit works His will where He wills, even across the globe.

GOOD NEWS, BELIEVE!
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HELL EXISTS AND SO DOES THE DEVIL

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
and do thou, O heavenly hosts,
by the power of God, thrust into hell satan
and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.
Amen.

After the Fall, our first parents passed on the effects of Original Sin that I addressed in a September post. Our human nature was weakened by the effect of Concupiscence, a tendency towards sinning. Man’s passions are no longer ruled by right reason. Because of concupiscence we are inclined towards anything our imagination paints as pleasurable without regards for what is good for us by God’s design.

God gave us free will but that does not mean we are free to sin. Let me explain. While human freedom is a good, human freedom is not in itself an absolute. We are not free to do “evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

We become enslaved to the Ruler of this world, Satan. As Satan tempted our first parents in the garden he continues to prompt us to see evil as good and darkness as light. The devil exists and is lonely as he roams this world for company.

Ever since my post on Fatima warnings, I have been thinking about the devil and how many succumb as the Blessed Mother warned at Fatima. In my reflections I remembered the classic, “Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. In this novel, senior devil, Screwtape, mentors a beginner, Wormwood, an enthusiastic little devil but Screwtape cautions him to be subtle and not call any attention to himself.

The devil loves denial of his existence. Screwtape advises Wormwood, “Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping your “Patient” from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong and courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future”

THE DEVIL EXISTS IN SCRIPTURE
Satan’s downfall was promised in Genesis 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” Satan is defeated through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through the preaching of the gospel and personal faith in Christ, we as Paul says in Ephesians are being delivered from Satan’s grasp and granted eternal life, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins But God, who is rich in mercy, and the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God… (Ephesians 2:1-10)

In the Book of Job,” The LORD asks Satan if he has noticed his servant Job “There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil”. But Satan accuses God that’s what Satan means, accuser, of protecting Job of being generous with His gifts to Job. Take them away and see what happens. God says okay as you will, God replies,“Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.”

Satan is neither humble nor submissive to God. He challenges God, thinking that afflicting Job will result in Job’s desertion from the ranks of those who worship God. Unwittingly, Satan serves God’s purpose. Satan’s efforts produced the opposite of what he hoped to achieve resulting only in deepening Job’s faith and brought greater blessings to Job. Job’s final condition is far better than his first. In the end, Satan learns nothing and only continues in his fruitless rebellion.

Our Lord Jesus Christ made frequent references to the activity and influence of Satan throughout His ministry, Jesus, himself, underwent the temptations and wiles of the devil in the desert after His Baptism in the Jordon. The Evil one accuses Jesus of failing to act like God’s Son by not using his divine power to give Himself bread to eat and trust in the Father to save Him from a fall from a high precipice.(Luke 4:1-13)
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #391-395
The power of Satan is not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature…Satan’s action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”
CONSEQUENCES TO OUR FAITH
A lack of a belief in the Devil, sin, or hell makes it very awkward for us at the Easter Liturgy when asked by the priest in renewing our baptismal vows, Do you reject Satan and all his works…some may shake their heads and ask who is that ? we don’t believe in that anymore…Deny the Devil and Hell at your own risk!

As St. Peter the first Pope said in his first letter,“Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”

Denial of the devil, sin, and hell is also a denial of our Savior. Why would we need a Savior? We rob the cross from any meaning and Jesus is a fool who died on the cross for no good reason. No, there is a devil and Jesus told us so on many occasions and Jesus doesn’t lie. In the Last Judgment discourse, Jesus says, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25)

The vast majority of Catholics in America over 80% reject the Church teaching on the devil and hell. This is just fine with the devil! If he is rejected then it is easy to reject Jesus as well and His Father.too!

If you feel that things are spinning out of control in our world and in our Church today, you’re right. Be assured, we have not arrived at this place in history by accident. There is an intelligent evil being behind all of this work, bent on our destruction and the destruction of our Lord’s Catholic Church. There is truly an active evil person (Satan) working every day to destroy us.

This evil has gone unchecked by Faithful Catholics as well as the Church’s hierarchy for too long. Tell me, when was the last time you heard a homily on Satan? Why have most parishes dropped the prayer to St. Michael at the end of Mass as we prayed in the 50s and 60s? Are we not in danger anymore or has Satan done such a complete job of pulling the wool over our eyes!

We must stand up for the Doctrine the Church has wonderfully taught for over 2,000 years and practice it wholeheartedly. Knowledge of the Faith is absolutely crucial for any spiritual growth; we can’t witness what we don’t know. We need to get back on our knees and beg God to deliver us from the sinful evil of this current generation, and protect the Church Jesus founded, from infiltration of the world, the flesh, and the devil!
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FATIMA 100 YEARS MIRACLE OF THE SUN

On the one hundredth anniversary of the last public apparition of our Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima we honor her with reflections, prayers, and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate heart of Mary our Mother.  Besides our natural mothers we have a heavenly Mother who Jesus gave to us to accompany us on our perilous path home to Him and all the angels and saints in heaven.

MIRACLE OF THE SUN
One hundred years ago on October 13, 1917, Our Lady Of Fatima made her last public appearance with a great miracle, the miracle of the sun. A great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia, Lucia shouted, “Look at the sun!” – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen. Then the immense disk began to “dance.”

The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky. Its light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors. After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd. All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried. The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.

In the apparition of July 13, 1917 Our Lady warned the three children — Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy — that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father”, and that Russia would be His chosen instrument of chastisement. “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”
FATIMA WARNINGS IF PEOPLE REFUSE TO CONVERT
Here are just a few of the warnings of Fatima if people did not get their act together and turn themselves back to God their Creator who knows what is best for His creatures. There will be wars. We have already had two World Wars with others pending. There are today wars in more than 50 nations. Nations will be annihilated, no more Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia as in past centuries. There will be hunger, drought, starvation, see Sudan and Chad. Persecution of the Church, an assassination on Pope John Paul II, Christians killed and persecuted in many countries.

In a 1957 interview, Sr. Lucia, elaborated more on Persecution of the Church by adding the diminishment of the shepherding of the Church. Of course this was before the pedophile priest scandal broke and before Vatican II unintended consequences. In regards the devil, the devil found the easiest way to seize souls was to undermine those consecrated to God, especially priests and bishops leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders which makes them easy prey for the devil.

One of God’s harshest chastisements is when he permits his people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests in name only. Our God is a loving God who seeks each one of us whether He must use the “carrot or stick” to get our attention. God cries out through his prophet Jerimiah, “Return, rebellious children and I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently!” Jeremiah 3:14-15

Now, in the 1950s, there was little indication that there would be this massive falling away of the clergy. There was little indication we would be deprived of good, solid Catholic leadership, which would result in confusion and a falling away among a great number of the Catholic Faithful.
VATICAN II UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
For the last 50 years since Vatican II, the Church Christ founded, has floundered from the very top with questions of objective Truth and relativity. The great tragedy is that we are in a unique point in history wherein a staggering number of Catholic churchmen, who occupy places of responsibility in the Church have fallen victim to the error of Modernism, the belief that some aspects of Catholic doctrine can change over time. All Catholics are bound to believe that dogma does not change, that we have to believe Catholic truth “in the same meaning and in the same explanation” as it has always been taught.

Many post-Vatican II reforms, which tend to “water down” the Church’s teaching, have been made in order to please the world, particularly our Protestant brethren. These post-Vatican II reforms include the abandonment of a distinctive religious habit for nuns, brothers and priests, a softening of the “offensive” teachings on artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality, and the increasing involvement of the Church in socialist “causes.”

Devotions were down played especially to The Blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of having a Vatican II document on the Blessed Virgin alone, some bishops thought that the text should be included as part of another document, because this would help foster ecumenical dialogue with “the separated brethren” and also would help provide “an antidote to devotional excesses”.
THE FAITHFUL FIGHTS BACK
Keep doing your devotions, praying to saints, the rosary, First Fridays, First Saturdays, Divine Mercy Chaplet, even bury that statue of St. Joseph when you are putting your house up for sale. Why not? We need all the help we can get.

Live the Fatima Message of daily Rosary, Five First Saturdays of Reparation, offering daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice.“Encourage our clergy and hold them accountable; tell them you need to be fed Jesus’ word.

Do all in our power to promote the “TRUTH.” In this world, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each person must not only save his own soul but also help all the souls that God has placed on our path.

Fatima calls us to conversion, a daily turning away from sin. Pray the rosary daily for other souls, as the Blessed mother requested, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Are we doing our part???

There is a cacophony of voices calling out to you; there are a thousand influences pulling you this way and that. What’s the one necessary thing? It is to listen to the voice of Jesus as he tells you of his love and as he tells you who you are.” Bishop Robert Barron

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WHY ROMAN CATHOLIC

I was asked recently why I have the adjective Roman (Latin Rite) before Catholic in my website stillromancatholicafteralltheseyears.com and in my blog. There are several rites in communion with Rome such as Maronites, that never separated and others that did but have reunited with Rome such as Byzantine, Copts, and Chaldeans. .
WHY I AM A PRACTICING ROMAN CATHOLIC
I was Baptized and raised by parents in the Roman Catholic Church and although I questioned many things and drifted here and there, I always came back because I never found any Truth out there that would better serve me in becoming the best man I could be. As a boy I learned my Latin to serve as an altar boy. Of course now the Mass is said in the vernacular.

Sure, like any free thinking American I questioned the Commandments and other Church Teaching but that was because I had the notion these were restrictions and I resisted like any “red blooded American”. As I matured in my faith development I realized the commandments were not prohibitions at all but the best self help book on the market for living well and happy.

God was not asking me to give up anything that was good for me. Let’s just take a few examples, How about worshipping God our Creator. What’s nuts about that. If I throw that out it isn’t long before I think I am in charge and I am not. Here’s another one, do not kill or do violence in actions or words. Who am I to harm someone. I don’t want anyone to harm me!

And lastly, do not commit adultery. Well, how is that working our for the sexually active outside of marriage crowd, Divorce, fractured families, sexually transmitted disease, etc. Sin has consequences. To deny that is to deny reality.!

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your GodDeuteronomy 11:26″

Jesus founded His Church on St. Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”Matthew 16:18-19 As Jesus’ vicar/prime minister, St. Peter established the Mother Church in Rome in 42 A.D. All other Christian denominations over the centuries have their roots in the Church Jesus founded.

If God has revealed Himself to man and He has, man must be able to know with assurance where that revelation lies. In other words, man needs to know without error what the books of the Bible are. There must be an authority which will make that decision.

The canon of the Bible was established by the Roman Catholic Church definitively at the Council of Trent in 1556. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. There was no canon in the early Church because there was no Bible.

There were many Ecumenical Councils that worked on developing the Canon of God’s revealed word. The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, which produced a list of books similar to today’s canon was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon. So you see any additions and omissions by other denomination were all made in the Canon established by the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics do read the Bible and hold the Bible in high esteem.

Is the Bible enough? Well it depends whether you want to ignore Scripture references such as these:  In His Last Supper discourse Jesus told the apostles,” I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” John 16:12-13.

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me” John 15:26 The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost Sunday and a Church was born. After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples were filled with courage and faith. They went out into the streets and proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ fearlessly in Truth and the Holy Spirit.

I love my Church warts and all. It isn’t perfect. Though divinely instituted, it is humanly constituted. I thank God for the Magisterium of the Church. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church into all truth. “The Holy Spirit teaches the Church “all things,” bringing to mind everything that Christ first taught His apostles” ( John 14:26). “He who receives you receives me” (Mt. 10:40). Chosen by Christ, they exercise the Church’s Magisterium or teaching office. Christ sends His apostles and their successors as the Father sent Him “with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18). I place my trust in the Holy Spirit not man.

God’s plan includes sacraments dispensed by His Church. Sacraments are an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Baptism restores us to a share in God’s life. Confirmation strengthens our faith and assist us in being faithful witnesses. Sacrament of Reconciliation heals our soul when we have sinned against God and neighbor. The Eucharist shares Divine Life in intimate way on earth, the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine.

Matrimony: the sacramental binding covenant between a baptized man and woman in which they agree to eternal fidelity to each other and commit to being God’s partners in the creation of new life. Holy Orders continues Jesus’ Apostolic Mission today. This sacrament confers on a man the power of consecrating the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ and of remitting and retaining sins.” Anointing of the sick: the sacrament in which the sick are anointed with holy oil and given the spiritual aid and strength to return to spiritual and bodily health, including, if needed, the remission of sins For more on Catholic Sacraments see Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The seven sacraments touch all the stages of Christian life. The sacraments give birth, contribute to spiritual growth, and promote health (spiritual and physical) and they prepare the Christian at the end of his life’s journey to cross over from physical life to eternal life.
WHY ROMAN CATHOLIC IS IN TITLE OF MY WEBSITE
I want readers to know my blog is orthodox and in full communion with the Church of St. Peter. There are so many denominations out there that have catholic in their names that it is confusing. There are even groups out there that call themselves Catholics for Choice. This is not a Catholic organization but a pro abortion advocacy group.

Saint Stanislaus formerly a Catholic Parish in Archdiocese of St. Louis is no longer in communion with the church of Rome and call themselves a Kostka Polish Catholic Parish. Another local church that goes by name Catholic but is not in Communion with Rome is Sts. Clare and Francis of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion,

Finally, there are “cafeteria catholics” who pick and chooses what Catholic teaching they want to believe. Catholics are not free to choose which teachings on faith and morals to obey.

While God can save whoever He wills the best aids, I believe, are within the Roman Catholic Church for happiness and excellence of living. There are no restrictions harmful to mankind in Roman Catholic Church teaching.
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THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE THE LITTLE FLOWER

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Thy Merciful Love. I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen

ST. THERESE OF LISEUX THE LITTLE FLOWER
FEAST DAY OCTOBER 1

PROLOGUE
This year October 1 falls on a Sunday and Sunday liturgy takes precedent over feast days but I did not want anyone to miss out celebrating one of our greatest saints. Her autobiography Story of a Soul is one of the most popular spiritual books ever written and I recommend it to everyone.

With this blog, we honor her and thank her for not only telling us about God’s boundless Mercy but showing us by action what it means to turn ourselves over to that “furnace of mercy” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, allowing us, in trust, to be consumed by God’s Mercy.

BACKGROUND

On September 30th, 1897, a young Carmelite nun living in France succumbed to the effects of tuberculosis, dying in obscurity, known only to her sisters in religious life. Like many Carmelite nuns before her, Therese’s death should have meant the culmination of a life of obscurity and faithfulness. Yet, this particular Carmelite nun would prove different in this respect because of a spiritual diary she had kept at the insistence of her Superiors.

 

Within years of her death, the spiritual diary and autobiography (Story of a Soul) of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, would captivate the Church. Miracles attributed to her intercession began to be reported.

 

In just a few decades after her death, the image of Therese of Lisieux would be immediately recognizable in the Catholic world. Canonization would soon follow. At the hundred year anniversary of her death, Pope John Paul II declared formally this obscure cloistered Carmelite nun to be one of the Doctors of the Church, a title given to only a privileged few of the Church’s saints.

THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

Thérèse worried constantly about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good; she wanted to be a SAINT. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. “I have always wanted to become a saint. God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint”.

A turning point in her thinking came during a trip with her Father. They stayed at a hotel with an elevator or lift as she called it, one of those new fangled inventions at that time. That lift persuaded her that she did not have to do all the heavy climbing to the arms of Jesus.

“… for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

Therese discovered through God’s grace that one does not have to journey to lands hostile to the Faith and suffer martyrdom to know what it means to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Opportunities to know and serve the Lord will find us wherever we are, and when they do, will we rise to the occasion to seek to serve the Lord?  All for the love of Jesus who gave His all to us; isn’t our all to Jesus in return only fitting?

Therese took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining…so that she was often given the worst leftovers.

 

At the heart of Therese’s understanding of the spiritual life is the principle that holiness can be appreciated and accomplished not only in the performance of mighty deeds but in a willing surrender to the purposes of God as we engage the seemingly ordinary experiences of life.

St. Therese’s “Little Way” is an inspiration to all. Therese realized that it was not possible on her own to be a great saint, although that is what she desired more than anything. She gave us “the elevator metaphor” of a God that would come down to her and lift her up to Him. “As I decrease, He increases!”

Matthew 18:3, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is hard to think of ourselves as we age, especially in our senior years, as children but Matthew 18:3 above says that we better act that way if we want to get into heaven. This, of course, refers to being child-like (wholly trusting) in our relationship with God our loving Father, not child-ish, which is a big difference.

Therese’s “little way” seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life. Thérèse’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appeals to thousands of Catholics and others who are trying to find holiness in ordinary lives.

St. Therese said before she died at age 24 that she wanted to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, and that she would let a shower of roses fall from Heaven. May St. Therese intercede for us and help us to be attentive to the presence of Christ in all the experiences of life.

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CATHOLIC MORALITY EFFECTS OF ORIGINAL SIN

PROLOGUE
All of my readers I assume want to go to heaven one day. That road is paved with many pot holes. NOT, the least of them is our own human condition. We the Church militant are called that because it is not an easy path. Take the narrow path; the broad path leads to destruction.

Some are already in heaven and we call that branch of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church Triumphant. Others, Church Suffering, are being purified in Purgatory so they can see God face to face.

But let’s get back to us still here on earth. What are some of the obstacles in the way of our destination. In a future blog I will talk about Satan. Yes, the devil. He does exist and is our strongest adversary. He even tempted Jesus in the dessert. Today’s blog will deal with Original Sin and our weakened human nature.

First we need to understand the human condition we are dealing with. Later, in this blog I will address ways we might bolster this human nature.

Some, may deny Original Sin but at their own peril. Concupiscence is an effect of original sin and a tendency towards sinning. Man’s passions are no longer ruled by right reason. It is a lack of our original integrity when everything was in harmony with God’s will and intent for human nature. Because of concupiscence we are inclined towards anything our imagination paints as pleasurable without regards for what is good for us by God’s design.

God gave us free will but that does not mean we are free to sin. Let me explain. While human freedom is a good, human freedom is not in itself an absolute. We are not free to do “evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

So we need to be on our toes to do good and avoid evil and not become slaves to sin. With that in mind it is good to recognize the human nature we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. We need to be alert and aware of our weaknesses and inclinations to sin.

The most important loss due to the Fall is the loss of sanctifying grace. Adam and Eve not only transmitted to the whole human race the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul, Our Baptism removed Original Sin and restored us in relationship to God but did NOT do away with the collateral effects of Original Sin.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Before original sin, man was in a state of “original justice” and blessed with preternatural gifts of infused knowledge, integrity, and immortality of the body. The original state of human nature of our first parents, Adam and Eve, was in possession of Sanctifying Grace and preternatural gifts.

Had Adam and Eve not sinned they would have passed this state of “original justice” down to their descendants. Before the Fall, man and woman freely participated in this state of integrity by receiving each other in mutual communion according to the eternal and permanent act of God’s will. Marital Bliss!

The preternatural gifts received by Adam and Eve include infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and immortality of the body. Adam and Eve received these free gifts not just for themselves but to be passed on to the whole and entire human race. After Adam and Eve committed “original sin,” they lost “original justice” and the preternatural gifts for the entire human race.

Their loss affected the kind of human nature they could pass on to their descendants. They could only pass on a human nature in a fallen state, one deprived of original holiness and integrity. Adam and Eve’s descendants are subject to ignorance and endure suffering and death.

The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body and its desires is now shattered. The descendents now struggle with disordered desires and passions (concupiscence.) While concupiscence is not in itself a sin, it is a tendency or strong attraction to sin. Original justice has now turned into the state of Original Sin.

What to do to reign in this human condition we inherited from our first parents! Along with Scripture there are many great spiritual books by gifted authors that will help us keep on the right path.

My advice is this: Make a commitment to follow Jesus in good times and bad times, Say often the prayer, Jesus I Trust in You and mean it.

Do a regular examination of conscience thank God for the successes and asking His mercy for our failures. Take advantage regularly, at least once a month, the Sacrament of Reconciliation even if you repeat the same sins over and over again at least you will be discovering areas that need work and improvement. Some day your sins may change and you will have new areas to address.

Try a daily rosary, morning and evening prayers and Masses on other days than Sunday. Attitude is what it is all about and commitment to Jesus that you renew all the time. Each day is opportunity for Conversion a turning back to Jesus. Remember Jesus will never ask more from you than you can give. Now, you may not want to give but that is not Jesus’ problem, it’s ours. If you are too comfortable in this secular world, ask yourself how come.

PRAY PRAY PRAY!

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WHOSE LIVES MATTER???

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

This week we saw another protest on the news regarding a white policeman shooting a black suspect, in St. Louis this time. As I watched mostly a peaceful protest, I noticed signs again stating in bold manner that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

This got me to thinking what does this mean. Literally, it seems to mean that black lives matter. But why state the obvious! All human life matters. It is a gift from God no matter the packaging. Do people of color have to assert this redundancy in placards because there are still some who don’t get it?!

Is it because there have been so many incidents of black suspects killed by white police officers or is it something more? Are white policemen always wrong who use deadly force with a black suspect? Of course not, but is deadly force the only option?

If I was black and I am not, there certainly would be many reasons for me to be suspicious whether my life was worth less than other lives. There is certainly a history of racism in our country. Our Country’s economy was built on the slave trade. Our Constitution has no article forbidding slavery.

In the most recent Presidential election there were many inferences that America would be great again if it retained its pale white color. Recently, racism raised its ugly head in a very bold manner in Charlottesville that increased racial tensions even more in our communities.

Racism is always wrong. Judging and dismissing anyone because they are a different race from us is always wrong. But I also find it ironic that Clergy who claim to be Christian often preach and support and sometimes even incite their congregations to break the law. I am not speaking here of peaceful sit-ins but threats and intimidation like “there will be blood in the streets” if this or that verdict doesn’t come down as we want.

Also, hate mongers who call themselves Christians in the pew at Church services on Saturday/Sunday and the  preach hate the rest of the week, are NOT Christian! A Christian by definition is a follower of Christ. In Matthew 25, Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me!”

What does least of my brethren mean? It means something different for everyone. The least of our brethren is whoever we consider not worthy of our love and compassion. We are called to love as God loves. Step back next time you are tempted to resentment, hate, vengeance at your adversary and imagine that God loves that adversary the same as He loves you. God has only one way of loving.

 

God loves the prisoner on death row, the baby in the womb, the gay hair stylist, the poor, the ignorant, those of every race and creed even the terrorist who was not born a terrorist. Here, I have to emphasize that this does not mean we have to approve of any and all behavior. In fact, as I have said in past blogs, we not only have the right but the duty to call out behavior that is just plain wrong according to God’s laws despite what man made laws say, i.e. abortion.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us…. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him…If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” I John 4:11-21

THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE,
BY OUR LOVE!

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