THE WRATH OF GOD WHERE IS IT??? IT IS HERE NOW!!!

We live in an immoral world perhaps like never before. We sacrifice our young in the womb; we approve of same sex couples marrying, we have sexual harassment and sexual abuse, acknowledged but excused, a past president was impeached for lying about a sexual liaison outside his marriage, and current president bragging about his sexual predatory behavior Where is the wrath of God? I asked. How much can He take!

Didn’t God cleanse creation back in the days of Noah and start over? But maybe I was missing something. I turned to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans to find out more about the wrath of God. My answer came in the first chapter copied below.

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.

While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions, impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1:18

I also found this quote of Pope Benedict XVI in my research.

Anyone who begins to live and grow away from God, who lives away from what is good, is turning his life toward wrath. Whoever falls away from love is moving into negativity…. When God inflicts punishment, this is not punishment in the sense that God has, as it were, drawn up a system of fines and penalties….‘The punishment of God’ is in fact an expression for having missed the right road and then experiencing the consequences that follow from taking the wrong track and wandering away from the right way of living.” POPE BENEDICT XVI (CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER)

 

In summary then, God’s wrath does not mean that He is some out of control person throwing a temper tantrum. Rather, it is that God is holy and the unrepentant sinner cannot endure His holiness; the sinner experiences it as wrath. This wrath of God then is the revelation of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God and the holiness to which we are summoned. We are all sinners subject to this wrath.

They suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). Suppression of the truth is the sin that leads to every other sin. Those who wish to remain in their wickedness rationalize and excuse and ignore their God given conscience, the divine spark given at their creation.

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God, Moral conscience (CCC #1776-1778)

GOD’S WRATH IS PRESENT TODAY! God has been pushed to the margins, denied, ridiculed, mocked and suppressed by man made laws and moral relativists who make up their own truth.. .

Decades ago people began making their own independent decisions on sexual behavior apart from God’s plan of intimacy and procreation within the sanctity of marriage. For over 60 years now our decadent society has celebrated promiscuity, pornography, fornication, cohabitation, and contraception.

Through the use of contraception, we severed the connection between sex, procreation, and marriage. Enter the homosexual community and its demands for acceptance. The wider culture, now debased, darkened, and deeply confused, cannot comprehend the obvious: that homosexual acts are contrary to nature. This is what happens when God finally has to say to a culture, if you want sin you can have it—until it comes out of your ears!

We have become so collectively foolish and vain in our thinking and darkened in our intellect that as a culture we now “celebrate” homosexual acts, which Scripture rightly calls disordered. When sex, marriage, and family go into the shredder, an enormous number of social ills are set loose. We often fall into the trap of judging those who are imposing the acceptance of the homosexual agenda as a major root of the problem in this country. In reality, this is a fruit of the problems that led God to removing His blessings from us in the first place.

No, the sexual revolution led to weaker families, fewer children, abortion on demand, and the beginning of the end of a healthy and functioning society. Having made that bed, God turned us over and gave us the direct evidence of His handing us over to ourselves with the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality.

The more and more we send God the message that we really don’t care that He is an instrumental part of our lives and culture, the more likely He will be to eventually give us what we desire – as stupid as that desire may be.. We may be among the few that asks God to deliver us unfortunately it is more than our prayers it is also our actions, our witness to the truth, our defense of the TRUTH or do we sometimes go along to get along.

If the country as a whole continues to act in defiance by the way we act and the people we elect to represent us have no moral core then God will continue to allow us to live under our own decadent “wisdom.” May God help us all!

PRAY FOR YOURSELVES. PRAY FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR. PRAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY
REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.

CLOSING PRAYER
PSALM 119
Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong; they walk in his ways.

You have given them the command to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm in the observance of your statutes! Then I will not be ashamed

I will praise you with sincere heart as I study your righteous judgments. I will observe your statutes; do not leave me all alone.

I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your statutes I take delight; I will never forget your word.

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.

 

 

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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THE CROSS IS GOD’S LOVE FULLY REVEALED: A CAUSE FOR JOY

 

WE ADORE YOU O CHRIST, AND WE BLESS YOU

BECAUSE BY YOUR HOLY CROSS YOU HAVE REDEEMED THE WORLD

PROLOGUE FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS SEPTEMBER 14

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Triumph of the Cross), celebrated every year on September 14,  recalls two historical events: the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine, and the dedication of churches built by Constantine (335) on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, both the Jewish and Roman authorities in Jerusalem made efforts to obscure the Holy Sepulchre, Christ’s tomb, in the garden near the site of His crucifixion. The earth had been mounded up over the site, and pagan temples had been built on top of it.

According to tradition, Saint Helena, Mother of Emperor Constantine, nearing the end of her life, decided under divine inspiration to travel to Jerusalem in 326 to excavate the Holy Sepulchre and attempt to locate the True Cross.

In celebration of the discovery of the Holy Cross, Constantine ordered the construction of churches at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary. Those churches were dedicated on September 13 and 14, 335, and shortly thereafter the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated on September 14.

In a deeper sense, the feast also celebrates the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation. This instrument of torture, designed to degrade the worst of criminals, became the life-giving tree that reversed Adam’s Original Sin when he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

The cross reminds us of many things: salvation, redemption, hope,  atonement, forgiveness, love, mercy etc.  Catholic Christians display it in their homes.  They wear it on their person.  They make the sign of the cross before prayer and on entering their Church with the waters of Baptism.

At Mass, the same sacrifice offered on Calvary is offered in an “unbloody manner” as the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross on Calvary. When we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we do not simply unite ourselves to Christ; we nail ourselves to the Cross, dying with Christ so that we might truly rise with Him.  “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).

Theologians, classically, have tried to come to grips what the cross teaches us and how the cross saves us.   Christians believe that somehow we are washed clean in the blood of Jesus, that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and that we are saved through the cross. For this blog, I am more interested in what the cross teaches or reveals to us.

At Jesus’ death, the Temple veil before the “holy of holies” was split in two from top to bottom revealing the inner heart of God.  There is no longer a veil between us and God’s heart.  The cross of Jesus fully reveals what God looks like!

The cross of Jesus doesn’t just reveal God’s unconditional love for us; it also reveals that vulnerability is the path to intimacy.  What the cross tells us, more clearly than any other revelation, is that God is absolutely and utterly nonviolent.  He totally surrenders to us in love, draws us to Himself in this moment of vulnerability and sacrifice.

As God in His vulnerability draws us in, we can draw God into relationship by doing likewise.  When we become like little children, vulnerable, dependant, acknowledge that we are powerless, and turn our selves over to God’s holy will, “thy will be done” then God can come into that vulnerability, that weakness, and we can know it is not about us now but God.

God will not abandon us nor did He abandon His Son on the cross.  With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus acknowledged that He has remained faithful to the Father and trusts that all will be well.  On Easter, Jesus is raised in glory and sits today and forever at right hand of the Father.

When are so paralyzed by fear and overcome by darkness that we can no longer help ourselves, when we have reached the stage where we can no longer open the door to let light and life in, God can still come through our locked doors, stand inside our fear and paralysis, and breathe out peace.

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”John 20:19

Too often, people associate God with coercion, threat, guilt, and that He will somehow rise up and crush by force all that is evil.  That concept is the main reason why so many fear God, hate God, try to avoid God, or are disappointed in God.  God is not coercion, threat, guilt, nor the great avenger of evil and sin. Rather, God is love, light, truth, and beauty.  God is like a mother, gently trying to coax another step out of a young child learning to walk.

God didn’t spare Jesus from suffering.  That is one of the key revelations inside of the cross and most misunderstood. We are forever predicating our faith on a rescuing God, Have a genuine faith in Jesus, and you will be spared from life’s humiliations and pains! Have a genuine faith in Jesus, and prosperity will come your way! Believe in the resurrection, and rainbows will surround your life!  Really!!!  How many of you have found that to be true!

God is not ordinarily a rescuer. Why didn’t Jesus rush down to save Lazarus since he loved him? The answer to that question teaches a very important lesson about  God, and faith, namely, that God is not a God who ordinarily rescues us.   God is a Redeemer.  God absorbs (takes in) all the hate, bitterness, resentment, violence, and sins of this world.

Jesus never promised us rescue.  Rather, he promised that, in the end, there will be redemption, vindication, immunity from suffering, and eternal life. In the early, intermediate and late chapters of our lives, there will be the same kinds of humiliation, pain, and death that everyone else suffers. The cross and resurrection of Jesus reveal a redeeming, not a rescuing, God.

O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

EASTER VIGIL PROCLAMATION

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SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY PRAY FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

“PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.” – 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17

What is the extant of your prayers?  Do you pray for your personal needs, immediate family, close friends, and local community? What about the needs of others, complete strangers, enemies, and people in cities on the other side of the world? Do you pray for just the living, or do you also pray also for the dead—the souls in purgatory?

Prayer changes things. “pray without ceasing” doesn’t mean that we need to spend all day, every day, in a church praying the Rosary, and saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys. It means incorporating prayer into our everyday lives, such as conversations with God, Jesus, Mary, and the saints.

How can you and I, the busy people that we are, adopt a pray-without-ceasing lifestyle? It’s much easier than you think. One practical way is to offer up our daily tasks for others—both living and deceased—turning our mundane ordinary lives into a beautiful offering to God. Another way to adopt a pray-without-ceasing lifestyle is to treat every encounter with someone—at the grocery store, at work, or in your own home—as an opportunity to pray for that person.

Sitting in traffic on your way to work doesn’t seem as frustrating when you offer up your irritation for a loved one fighting cancer or battling an addiction.  When you hear a police car, ambulance, or fire truck siren, pray for anyone involved; When you pass a funeral home with a parking lot full of cars, pray for the soul of the deceased person, as well as that person’s family and friends;

When you do laundry, prepare a meal, take a shower, or go to bed at night, ask God to comfort those who don’t have clothes to wash, food to eat, running water to use, or a bed to sleep in; When you are impatient, frustrated, or going through a struggle in your life, pray for the poor souls in purgatory who are patiently, painfully awaiting their entrance into heaven.

There is nothing like prayer to get the Father’s attention.  Prayer changes things! Imagine meeting a family member, friend, or stranger in heaven and finding out it was your prayers for them on earth that helped them get through a rough time on earth or helped purify them in Purgatory for the final leg of their journey to heaven..

Praying for the dead is as ancient as the Jewish people and can be found in the Book of Maccabees in the Old Testament. “[Judas Maccabeus] turned to prayer beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out… He also took up a collection… and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably… Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (II Maccabees 12:39-46).

Each Eucharistic prayer at Mass has an invocation for the dead. It is customary to offer the last intercession of the prayers of the faithful for those who have passed away.. Prayer is a bond that unites the Communion of Saints of the living (Church Militant,) with the Communion of Saints of the faithful departed, (Church Suffering.) and the Church Triumphant who are already in heaven.

While it is appropriate to ask God for what we desire in life, it should not become the center of our prayer life.  We must cultivate praying for others. This will help us acquire the virtue of charity and combat the sins of pride and greed.  I believe those we pray for come back to us a hundred fold because that is the kind of God we have!.Never outdone in generosity!

“PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.”

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TOLERANCE IS NOT ONE OF THE CHRISTIAN VIRTUES

PROLOGUE

Back in 2015 I wrote a blog entitled “Gospel of Tolerance.  The purpose of that blog was to push back at secular laws and popular trends that were enveloping and intruding into our space as traditional Christians that hold certain God Made laws to be sacred to be followed by faithful Christians.

Enough was enough with their euphemisms, calling Euthanasia, Death with Dignity, Abortion, Women’s health care, and Same-Sex marriage, Marriage Equality. Also, judges spinning the phrase Gender Identity that would allow a biological man to use women showers and restrooms.

Some people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their Creator. They decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves…. When freedom is so twisted into a creature creating him/herself then necessarily the Maker himself is denied.

Tolerance has became a hatchet job to suppress opposing points of views.  It wasn’t we should all just get along to go along to get along.  You also had to approve and shut your mouths or face law suits.  Those who didn’t tow the line will be punished.

Obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end in itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil.”  It used to be that we could hate the sin and love the sinner, but the problem is now we’re not allowed to hate the sin anymore!

Today’s world says, we have to love the sin, celebrate the sin, and above all, stop calling it sin! Christians now find themselves in the sobering territory of the new Dark Ages, “…when evil is called good and darkness is … called light.”(Isaiah 5:20)

Under the “Gospel of Tolerance,” there is no freedom to disagree, no right to object. Well, here’s a radical piece of truth: tolerance is not listed among the Christian virtues.  Faith, Hope, Charity, justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance — these are Christian virtues.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 814-826

THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES

The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.

Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.” Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God…. The Lord Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.”…According to St. Paul, Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”If I have not charity,” says the Apostle Paul, “I am nothing.”

CARDINAL VIRTUES

Virtues are general character traits that provide inner sanctions on our particular motives, intentions and outward conduct. These moral virtues are attitudes, dispositions, and good habits that govern one’s actions, passions, and conduct according to right reason; and are acquired by human effort.  With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good.  It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.  The CARDINAL VIRTUES are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

Prudence, is the ability to govern and discipline oneself to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; Justice  is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. Temperance, is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

In today’s blog, I am going in a different direction with the ambiguous term, TOLERANCE. In the aftermath of the racist violence in Virginia, I heard and read again calls for tolerance like that is an answer.  Our Lord Jesus Christ called us to much higher standard, to “Love our enemies, do good to those that hate you etc.

Tolerance is not enough.  In fact, often when people have reached their personal limit of tolerance they act our in a very inappropriate way, sometimes violently, to the point of calling on someone to be assassinated as in the recent post by a Missouri legislator on her face book page.

When you can’t tolerate someone anymore, what do you do, kill that person???  Burn down their property???  Send hate mail through social media??? There has to be more at our core than tolerance which is bare minimum of getting along. I think of that pitiful cry from Rodney King, “Can’t we just get along?” Getting along to go along is no answer at all unless you are in an intolerable position like those incarcerated in prison.

Tolerance is weak, insipid, and a very dangerous way to live our relationships.  How many tolerate an abusive marriage until it ends in tragedy?  How long do you tolerate that crying baby before smothering it!  How long do you tolerate that rude driver before driving into the rear end of his car?

No, much more than tolerance is expected if we are to survive as a civilized society.  We must get back to our roots.  Our roots are in our Creator.  God is love.  He needs no one but out of love created this world with suns, moons, planets, animals, trees, plants and yes, people like you and me.

God has given us everything out of Love, even His own Son to save us from ourselves.  All He asks in return is for us to love Him and our neighbor who He loves as well.  Can we return love to the Father of all???  Or are we so stuck with what we like, what we want, that anything that doesn’t meet our standard must be opposed, crushed, and obliterated.

I will close with parable of weeds and wheat, Matthew 13:24-42

The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.

Then He dismissed the crowds and his disciples asked for the meaning of the parable:  He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world,  the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age,* and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned [up] with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 

LET GOD BE GOD!

TRUST IN GOD!

 

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM

NOT

THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD

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ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED???

PROLOGUE

Recently, I was having coffee with some of my friends and the sister of one of my friends was in town from San Diego so we invited her to join us. She had been raised Catholic like her brother but some time ago she left the Church for a non denominational fundamentalist church.

She seemed to be a very sincere Christian and follower of Christ, a teacher of Bible study in her own Church and certainly believed and practiced most of the teachings of Jesus, a very sincere and Christ like person,

I wasn’t interested in arguing Scripture or pressuring her to come back to the Catholic Church but rather curious why someone so devoted to Jesus, as she apparently was, would not take full advantage of all the aids in the Catholic Church to help us along the journey, namely the Sacraments.

Her explanation which included in part, her own interpretations of the founding of His Church on Peter, the first Pope, and scandals in the Catholic Church all mitigated against a need to be a practicing Catholic and that there were many direct sources of grace that were available to her as well.

This experience inspired me write this blog about how fortunate we are to be practicing Catholics in the Church Christ founded and avail ourselves ot the Sacraments Jesus has given us.  Jesus of course has risen and ascended into heaven but through Peter and His Church guided by the Holy Spirit, Jesus did not leave us “orphans.”

While we are all saved by Jesus, does that mean that all will be saved?  Of course not! What if I refuse and reject Jesus and His commandments?   Why is hell mentioned more often than heaven by Jesus?  Well, because Jesus knows not all will repent and turn to Him and accept His gift of forgiveness.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Many Non-catholic Christians believe that they are saved by making one single act of faith at one single point in time in their lives. Nowhere does Scripture say such a thing. As Catholics, however, we believe that salvation is a process which begins with our Baptism and continues throughout our lifetimes, just as the Bible teaches us. in Matthew 19:16-17, Jesus is asked directly what one must do to have eternal life. “…someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”

Did Jesus say, accept me into your heart once and that’s it? No! Jesus said to keep the commandments and you will have life.”If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Salvation is a process, just as Catholics believe, and just as the Bible clearly teaches.

Certainly, Catholics will not be the only ones saved and in heaven. No orthodox Catholic I know believes otherwise.  God wills that all be saved.  Our separated brethren who call themselves Christians do so rightly.   They follow Christ and His teachings but are not yet in full Communion with the Church He founded..

WHAT IS MEANT BY CHURCH?
Jesus instituted His Church, the spiritual Body of Christ and its physical counterpart, the Catholic Church. In truth, Jesus instituted one physical Catholic Church, a reflection of the spiritual Body of Christ. To affirm this truth, Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.” [Mt. 16:17-9]
THE FULLNESS OF THE MEANS OF SALVATION
‘…it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.'” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church # 816)

OUR SEPARATED BROTHERS AND SISTERS
 Speaking of the separation of our brothers and sisters… one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities that resulted from such separation’ and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers and sisters… All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers and sisters.”

(Catechism Of The Catholic Church# 818)

“Furthermore….many elements of sanctification and of truth 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. 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. Catechism Of The Catholic Church #819

On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Heavenly Father for the unity of His Church. He stated, “The glory that you have given Me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become completely one...” [Jn. 17:22-3]

THE SACRAMENTAL LIFE OF THE CHURCH

A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace”. The sacraments confer grace. They penetrate us with the life of Christ. They show Christ’s presence in all the key moments of life: birth, coming of age, …death.  They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.

Incorporated into the Church through Baptism, the faithful are destined by the baptismal character for the worship of the Christian religion; reborn as children of God they must confess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church. They are more perfectly bound to the Church by the sacrament of Confirmation, and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ.

Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with it. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God.

Those who approach the sacrament of Penance (also known as Reconciliation or Confession) obtain pardon from the mercy of God for the offence committed against Him and their neighbor. They are at the same time reconciled with the Church, Body of Christ, which they have wounded by their sins. By the sacred Anointing of the sick and the prayer of her priests, the whole Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord, asking that He may lighten their suffering and save them.

Those of the faithful who are consecrated by Holy Orders are appointed to feed the Church in Christ’s name with the word and the grace of God.  Those who choose the Sacrament of Matrimony signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and His Church, they help each other to attain holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children. The family is, so to speak, the domestic churc

In our modern world (often hostile to religion), religious families are extremely important centers of living faith. They are “domestic churches” in which the parents are the first heralds of faith (Second Vatican Council). The home is the first school of the Christian life where all learn love, repeated forgiveness, and prayerful worship.

KEEP OUR EYES ON THE PRIZE!  Then we will say with St. Paul in 2Timothy 4:7-9, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.[and persevered to the very end]”

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CORPORAL WORK OF MERCY BURY THE DEAD

PROLOGUE

CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (#2447 )

The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.  ”

 CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

This month I am wrapping up the Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy.  You may find all of them reviewed in past posts in the archives to the left of the home screen.  Those of you who are subscribers, you receive automatically my new posts in your email.  It may be in your spam folder so check there also.  You do not receive the complete blog, only a notification that one is posted and asks you to click on Read more to access the full blog. 

Every one of us has experienced the death of someone we love, whether it is a distant, elderly friend or the deep pain of losing a spouse or child. When possible, we certainly go in support at a wake or funeral of family members and friends.  Funerals also may be opportunities for family reconciliation if needed. Another act of mercy!

Burying the dead is the only of the Corporal Works of mercy not named in the parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25) It comes from the book of Tobit: “If I saw any of my nation dead, I buried him” (Tobit 1:17).  Through Christian burial, we celebrate the life of an individual and his hopeful return to God.

When the Church is present to a dying person, they absolve them from their sins, anoint their bodies, sealing them in holy oil for Christ, and give them Jesus in the Eucharist (Viaticum) for their journey home.  The Church sends them home with sweet assurance in the following prayer:

“Go forth Christian soul from this world in the name of God, the Almighty Father who created you.  In the name of Jesus, the Son of the Living God who suffered for you.  In the name of the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon you.   Go forth faithful Christian. 

May you live in peace this day.  May your home be with God, with Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, with Joseph and all the angels and saints.  May you return to your Creator who formed you from the dust of the earth.   May Holy Mary, the angels and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life.  May you see your Redeemer face to face.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1020)

Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times.  Through our prayers and actions during these times we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn.  Another thing to remember is it is in the weeks and months after the funeral when our support can mean the most.  A daily phone call or email just to let the grieving person know we care.

Standing at the gravesite of a loved one, recalls the dignity of each person and our yearning for our home in heaven. We may reflect on our own mortality and readiness to meet our Creator and Savior?

EPILOGUE

People who die untimely deaths may present special problems for us and others, especially if suicide is suspected.  First, we need to remember that in death as in life, we are all loved by God and God alone is our Judge.  It is important to “peel the onion,” and see what is really beneath the untimely deaths society tends to view so negatively Some may suffer with mental health issues or desperate life circumstances which sometimes result in suicide. “Judge not lest you be judged!” (Matthew 7:1-3)

Those with addictive behaviors which may have resulted in inappropriate or bizarre behavior during their life may be the result of genetic predisposition or exposure to difficult life circumstances. We need to recognize life’s complexities and set aside our biases, see people for who they are, a child of God who wills everyone’s salvation.

The Corporal Work of Mercy to “bury the dead” calls us to take action and support all who are facing death. We are called to help ease their suffering regardless of the circumstances.

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CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE TEACHING PART 2

Last week, I posted a blog Part I on Catholic Church teaching on Social Justice as found in Holy Scripture.

Let’s now take a look at some examples of Social Justice teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  and Papal Encyclicals.  Social Justice in Catholic Church teaching always has the COMMON GOOD at its core as found in Scriptures and in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Our Catholic tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The family is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.

We need to build on the good work already underway to ensure that every Catholic understands how the Gospel and church teaching call us to choose life, to serve the least among us, to hunger and thirst for justice, and to be peacemakers. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war.

Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.”  The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

As a practicing Catholic we must not be assimilated into a society that promotes the “culture of death” and worship pagan idols of sex, wealth, and power.  But rather be “leaven” for the world. We must pick up where Jesus left off in building the kingdom of God.

The fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching focus on the dignity and sacredness of each human person. (CCC 1928-1942, 2419-2449)  In other words, Catholic Social Justice teaching calls on us the “people of God” to minister to our neighbor’s needs, to speak out against injustice, and to work for peace.

What is a human being?  What is his role in the world?  Where is he headed?  How does he get there?  If a human being is not yet perfected, what will perfect him?  How does he become whole without division or estrangement?

Common Good is understood as the sum total of social conditions which allow people as groups or individuals to reach their ultimate fulfillment more fully and more easily.

CCC #1907 Common Good presupposes respect for each person.  It requires the social well being and development of everyone, including food, clothing, shelter, health care, work, education etc.  It requires peace and justice for security of a just order.  Authority should, by morally acceptable means, provide for the security of society and its members

CCC #1929 Social Justice can be obtained only by respecting the transcendental dignity of each human person.

CCC #1930 Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow naturally from this dignity.

CCC #1936 On coming into this world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life.  He needs others.  Talents and gifts are not distributed equally as expressed in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians chapter 12.

CCC #1937 These differences belong to God’s divine plan who wills that each receives what he needs from others and those endowed with particular talents share them with those who need them.  These differences encourage and sometimes oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods.

Now we will take a brief look at the history of social teaching of the Catholic Church in Papal Encyclicals and Vatican Council II.

Pope Leo’s Encyclical, Rerum Novarum, in 1891 is a classic in laying out Catholic Church Social Justice teaching.   It promoted human dignity through distribution of wealth.  Worker’s rights were inherent in human nature and not something chosen for them or bestowed on them by a gracious state.  People had the right to work, to organize, to own property, to receive a just wage to raise and support their families.  Rights were tied to corresponding duties such as workers should not riot and destroy property and employers should maintain an environment respecting the worker’s innate dignity.

In the papal encyclical, Mater et Magister (Christianity and Social Progress) Pope John XXIII in 1961 addresses the disparity between the rich and poor and between rich and poor nations.  How can we have more than we need when there are those with less they need?  Arms’ spending contributes to poverty.  There is a duty of wealthy industrialized Nations to help the poor non-industrialized nations such as the millions living in poverty in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) Vatican Council II 1965 explores Catholic Church teaching as it relates to the modern world.  It explores the great technological and social changes in light of Christ, Lord of History.  Our mission as his disciple is to animate and improve the world.  Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves neighbor to every person no matter who they are.  If we meet our neighbor in need we must come to their aid whether he is an aged person, an innocent in the womb, a refugee, a starving human being, or those abandoned in prison.

In Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) 1981, Pope John Paul II teaches value and dignity of human labor as an essential human right and responsibility.  Work is for man not Man for Work.  Work is a fulfillment of God’s commands in Genesis to Adam and Eve “to subdue the earth” and make family possible “be fruitful and multiply.”  Without work the essential unit of God’s divine plan, family, is thwarted.  Work is redemptive.  Man is a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross of daily work that he is called to accomplish.  Work is a means of sanctification and animates earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

Lord Jesus, Carpenter and King, supreme Sovereign of all men,

look with tender mercy upon the multitudes of our day

who bear the indignities of injustice everywhere.  

Raise up leaders in every land

dedicated to Your standards of order, equity, and justice.

Grant unto us,Lord Jesus, the grace 

to be worthy members of Your Mystical Body,

laboring unceasingly to fulfill our vocation

in the social apostolate of Your Church. 

May we hunger and thirst after justice always.  Amen.

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CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING: FORGIVE OTHERS THAT YOU MAY BE FORGIVEN

SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY FORGIVE ALL INJURIES

“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!”

Do I forgive injuries, real or perceived???  Have I forgiven those who have hurt or offended me or one of my loved ones?  Or do I hold on to old hatreds and grudges?

Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  So what we are saying, in effect, is “if I don’t forgive others, Lord, then don’t forgive me.”  That seems like a risk better not taken! 

Forgiveness is not the same as “forgetting that it ever happened”!  In reality, there are some things that we cannot forget,  just because the experience has embedded itself in our memory — but we can choose to forgive… to surrender that hurt, that painful memory over to Our Lord Jesus, to ask Him to help us to let go of that hurt and not to let it have power over us anymore.

Forgiveness is a gift from God not our own will power but a gift we should seek and embrace. When we forgive, we put the past behind us so that we can be truly present in the here and now instead of controlled by hurts of the past. But what if we continue to have negative feelings toward the person who hurt us?  It doesn’t matter!  Feelings are just that!,… feelings and nothing more…

Negative feelings are not sinful, unless we deliberately foster them and choose to feed them.  When our negative feelings emerge, and we pray for the person who hurt us, then our feelings will eventually begin to change and to heal. Forgiveness is an act of the will!

Forgiveness is often misunderstood.   Some may believe it diminishes the offense against them.  It does not!  Others may think it requires that you stay or resume a poisonous dysfunctional relationship.  It does not!  Still others may think it is a work they have to do all on their own.  IT IS NOT! Forgiveness is a work of God within us, whereby He acts to free us from the poisonous effects of bitterness and grief that often accompany the harm that was inflicted upon us.  Clinging to our hurt and anger, understandable though it may be, only harms us.  In calling us to forgive, God is offering us the gift to be free of a costly emotional state that robs us of our joy and strength.

Sometimes relationships are poisonous for both parties involved. Sometimes, because the other person has not or cannot repent (perhaps because of addictions or deep-seated drives), it is too dangerous to be close to him or her. Thus Scripture says, If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:18).

How is the forgiving of injuries a spiritual work of mercy? First of all, forgiving ourselves and others is a gift of mercy to us. Anger, hurt, and nursing grudges all sap us of strength. The gift of forgiveness relieves us of these burdens.  Our strength and energy can be directed to other, better things. We even sleep better!

Forgiving injuries is also a work of mercy to the one who has harmed us; it can restore to them a relationship with us that is important to them. It is a very great gift to offer mercy and pardon to one who has harmed us and seeks our forgiveness.  May we truly forgive our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, anyone who has ever hurt us, so that we will be fully open to receiving the forgiveness, Mercy and healing that Our Lord Jesus Christ wishes to pour out on us!

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LET US FORGIVE AS THE FATHER FORGIVES US!

REMBRANDT’S PRODIGAL SON

“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 

I am no longer worthy to be called your son;  

make me like one of your hired servants.’  

So he got up and went to his father”. Luke 15:17