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Monday, October 27, 2014

From Ignatian Spritual Exercises

First Principle and Foundation

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.

Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.

Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.

Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.

Some Thoughts Today

Very recently, I have become aware (physically aware) of the cross I trace over my body each time I make the Sign of the Cross.  Several months ago I began to make a conscious, mental effort to make the Sign of the Cross slowly and purposefully, considering each time that I am signing myself with The Cross.  And now I am physically aware of that sign being present each time I make it.

This morning, the words which I pray daily: "Lord, open my lips," hit me.  This is what I have been asking, that people do not see me but rather see through me to Christ; that when I speak, I speak words that come from the Lord.  And here it has been, in prayer each day ... why have I only noticed it today?

Today's Gospel spoke of the woman cured by Jesus, who had been 18 years "crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect."  Isn't that what sin does to us?  It cripples us, and we are unable to stand erect until we accept the healing offered to us (absolution in sacramental confession)?  I was certainly "crippled by a spirit" during the 20 years I turned away from God.  I can only stand erect now by and through His Grace. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If the Church is a Field Hospital

From my good friend, Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP:

21 October 2014

If the Church is a Field Hospital. . .

1. A severely wounded solider is brought to the Field Hospital. The doctor pokes his injuries with a stick and declares, "These wounds are self-inflicted. You can't be admitted to this hospital until you are completely healed."

2. Another severely wounded solider is brought to the Field Hospital. The doctor begins life-saving treatment. The solider blurts out, "STOP! I don't want to be healed! I want to be affirmed in my woundedness. Just accept my injuries and welcome me as I am!"

3. Yet another solider is rushed to the Field Hospital. The doctor and the soldier agree that he is OK in his woundedness and let him stay in the hospital just as he is. . .wounds and all.

4. One last wounded soldier is carried into the Field Hospital.  The doctor immediately begins treating his wounds. The solider says, "Thanks, doc. I can't heal up w/o your help."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Faith Formation, Commandments 2 & 3

October 20, 2014  St Francis Parish Faith Formation Group 

V:  O God, come to my assistance
R:  Lord, make haste to help me.
V:  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia. 

AH 461  Holy God We Praise Thy Name
Psalm 123 (124)
Our help is in the name of the Lord

V:  Our help is in the name of the Lord. 

If the Lord had not been with us
(so let Israel sing),
If the Lord had not been with us
when men rose up against us,
they might have skinned us alive,
such was their anger.
The waters could have drowned us,
the torrent poured over us,
the foaming waters poured over us.
Blessed be the Lord, who saved us
from being torn to pieces by their teeth.
We have escaped, like a bird
from the snare of the fowler.
The snare was broken,
and we escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. 

(Together) Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen. 

V:  Our help is in the name of the Lord. 

The Second Commandment 

Exodus 20:7  - forbids irreverent use of the Divine Name, especially in legal contexts (oaths); also, to inject the divine name into foul, hateful, or blasphemous speech is to abuse it and to offend the lord who bears it.
1.       Why is a name so important that God devoted one of the 10 Commandments to it?
2.       What is the meaning of vain?
3.       How is God’s name taken in vain?
a.       Blasphemy
b.      Oaths (false and foolish)
c.       Perjury
d.      Cursing
4.        How do we take God’s name justly?
a.        Oaths
b.      To sanctify
c.       To expel our adversary
d.      To confess God’s name
e.      To defend ourselves
To make our works complete 

The Third Commandment 

Exodus 20:8-11 – requires a Sabbath (also applies to Holy Days of Obligation) rest for households and herds; as a memorial of  the world’s creation and of Israel’s redemption.  So important, that it is repeated 6 times throughout Exodus. 
1.        Why the shift from Sabbath to Sunday?
2.       What are the reasons for this commandment? 
3.       What is meant by the “Sunday Obligation?”
4.       How do we keep the Sabbath holy?  (what does “holy” mean?)
a.        What should we avoid?
1)      Servile work
2)      Sin
3)      Idleness
b.      What should we do?
1)      Offer sacrifice
2)      Hear God’s word
3)      Contemplate divine things
4)      Eternal rest
5)      Sunday is traditionally dedicated by Christian piety to good works (CCC 2186)



Friday, October 10, 2014

Excellent Homily

A homily by Lawrence Lew, OP:

HOMILY for 27th Fri per annum (II)
Gal 3:7-14 ; Ps 110 ; Luke 11:15-26

Does all this talk of demons and Satan and unclean spirits trouble you? Whenever I have given talks about angels, people seem more fascinated by demons, and the last time I gave a talk about the Devil, I think the group of young working professionals in Oxford became quite worried – it was all they could talk about at the pub afterwards! And yet, we have nothing to fear or worry about if we just recall Christ’s words to us in yesterday’s Gospel. It ended with this promise: “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13) It is this promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, he who is called in today’s Gospel “the finger of God” (Lk 11:20) and “One Stronger than he” (Lk 11:22), that leads us into today’s Gospel passage. And so, we can read it without worry or fear if we recall Jesus’ promise.
But do we ask our loving Father to give us the Spirit? Or maybe, more than our fear for the unclean spirits, we fear the disruption to our lives that the Holy Spirit might bring? It’s stiking, isn’t it, that the palace guarded by the strong man, that is, the devil, has its “goods [ ] in peace”. And again, the unclean spirit returns to a house “swept and put in order” (Lk 11:25). But the peace and order that Jesus refers to here is not a good kind – it is complacency. Here, Jesus depicts a soul that is comfortable but also, it would seem, uninhabited. It is possible that through life we acquire certain habits and ways of thinking; we become comfortable with our behaviour and our attitudes so that we barely question them; we are at peace with our venial sins and content with a sinful world. We may not be bad people, but we’ve just become quite comfortable with being mediocre, lukewarm. “We’re only human”, we say and we’re quite satisfied with that excuse. And yet, in the book of the Apocalypse, the Spirit says to those who are “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth”! (3:16) The Holy Spirit will not dwell in lukewarm souls; unclean spirits do. So, let us ask our heavenly Father to give us the Holy Spirit!
However, a warning: If we ask God to send the Holy Spirit into our lives and we mean this, then we are asking for our lives to become a lot less comfortable. There will be some disturbance, a struggle against our sinful habits, a fight against our former ways of behaving, a rebellion against the popular assumptions of our contemporary secular society. For the Holy Spirit brings the flaming ardour of God’s love to heat us up and change our lives, and the Holy Spirit comes as a rushing wind to stir things up and to disturb our sleeping consciences. But the Holy Spirit also comes to dwell in us as our Counsellor so that we begin to see things as God does and love what he loves. But his voice is ever so quiet and can only be heart in stillness and silent prayer. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us as our Advocate so that he defends us against the attacks of the Devil and keeps the unclean spirits evicted. But we have to co-operate with him and be vigilant, examining our consciences daily and going to Confession regularly. And the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us as our Helper. So we need not fear, but let us ask for his help, ask for God’s grace by praying to our heavenly Father and saying: “Lord, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts”. Amen.

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