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Thought for the Day – 22 May – The Christian in the World – You and Me!

Thought for the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me
that does not bear fruit and everyone that does,
he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2

The Christian in the World

An excerpt from A Letter to Diognetus

(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.   They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.   Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.   Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.   With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.    They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.   They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens.   Any country can be their homeland but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country  . Like others, they marry and have children but they do not expose them.   They share their meals but not their wives.   They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth but they are citizens of heaven.   Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men but all men persecute them.   Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death but raised to life again.   They live in poverty but enrich many, they are totally destitute but possess an abundance of everything.   They suffer dishonour but that is their glory.   They are defamed but vindicated.   A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference, their response to insult.   For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.   They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.   As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world but their religious life remains unseen.   The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.   Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.   It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.   The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.   As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.   Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself…Vatican.va

Prayer

Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to You.
Keep in the light of Your truth
all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department
of the Pontifical University of the Holy Crossdiogentus - the christian in the world - 22 may 2019.jpg

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The WILL of GOD

One Minute Reflection – 22 May – “Holiness is like a sculpture”

One Minute Reflection – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8 and the Memorial of St Rita of Cascia (1386-1457) and St Julia (5th Centrury) Martyr

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.   He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2

REFLECTION – “Holiness is like a sculpture.   Leonardo da Vinci defined sculpture as “the art of removing.”   The other arts consist in adding something – colour to the canvas in painting, stone on stone in architecture, note after note in music.
Only sculpture consists of removing, of taking away the pieces of marble that are in excess, so that the figure can emerge that one has in mind.   Christian perfection is also obtained like this, by removing and making useless pieces fall off, namely, desires, ambitions, projects, carnal tendencies that disperse us and do not let us finish anything.
One day, Michelangelo walking through a garden in Florence saw a block of marble in a corner protruding from the earth, half covered by grass and mud.   He stopped suddenly, as if he had seen someone and turning to friends, who were with him, exclaimed:  “An angel is imprisoned in that marble, I must get him out.”   And, armed with a chisel, he began to work on that block until the figure of a beautiful angel emerged.
God also looks at us and sees us this way – as shapeless blocks of stone.   He then says to Himself:  “Therein is hidden a new and beautiful creature that waits to come out to the light, more than that, the image of my own son Jesus Christ is hidden there, I want to bring it out!”   We are predestined to “be conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29).
Then, what does He do?   He takes the chisel, which is the cross and begins to work on us. He takes the pruning shears and begins to prune us.
We must not worry ourselves thinking of what terrible crosses He may send us! Normally, He does not add anything to what life presents us in terms of suffering, effort, tribulations.   He makes all these things serve for our purification.   He helps us to not waste them.”…Father Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM – Preacher to the Papal Householdjohn 15 1-2 i am the true vine - one day michelangelo - fr raneior cantalamessa 22 may 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us.   Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You.   When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You.   Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love.   St Rita of Cascia, you prayed so earnestly to give yourself totally to the Lord and suffer for Him, please pray for us, amen.st julia pray for us 22 may 2019st-rita-pray-for-us - 22 may 2017

Posted in QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, The GOOD SHEPHERD

Quote of the Day – 12 May – He knows us “by name”

Quote of the Day – 12 May – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year C, Gospel: John 10:27-30– “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday”

“What Jesus wants to say with these images is clear.
He knows His disciples (and, as God, all men),
He knows them “by name,” which, for the Bible,
means their innermost essence.
He loves them with a personal love
that treats each as if, they were the only one
who existed for Him.
Christ only knows how to count to one
and that one, is each of us.”

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM CAP
Preacher to the Pontifical Householdchrist only knows how to count to one - fr raneiro cantelamessa 12 may 2019 good shep sun.jpg

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on FAITH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 11 May – “Do you want to leave me too?”.

One Minute Reflection – 11 May – Saturday of the Third Week Easter, C, Gospel: John 6:60–69

“Do you want to leave me too?”...John 6:67

REFLECTION – “Jesus confronts His listeners, including His disciples, with an even more merciless decision, in the light of His promise of the Eucharist.   Because He refuses to back away, in the slightest, from His statements about the Eucharist, these words seems so ‘intolerable’ to his listeners, that they are faced with the toughest test of all.   Indeed, for His disciples, Jesus hones His assertions even more finely, when He predicts His ascent to the Father and claims that all His words are:  ‘Spirit and life.”
This draws a line among His disciples, a line that Jesus knew existed from the outset – it was already clear who would follow Him in faith and who would betray Him.
There could be no neutrality.
The account refers to ‘many disciples’ who excused themselves.   Judas is not the only one who does not believe.   Jesus is not concerned about numbers, hence He even confronts the twelve with the same choice:  “Do you want to leave me too?”   As spokesman for the small group of faithful ones, Peter gives voice to the word of faith, to the belief that Jesus is “the Holy One of God.”   Faith had brought him to a realisation and that realisation, made possible, the virtually blind faith needed for such a decision!”…Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)john 6 67 - do you want to leave me too - as spokesman for the small group - hans urs von balthasar 11 may 2019

PRAYER – Mould our minds and our hearts, we pray You Lord, by the union of Your Son and His Church.   As we belong to You, You joined us to Your Son to become one with Him.   May we always strive to live up to this union and may we make our lives, a constant sharing, in Christ’s death and Resurrection.   May His Mother give us her heart, to love Him as she does.   We make our prayer through Him and in Him and with Him, in the union of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.mary mother of god pray for us 11 may 2019

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 9 May – The Word!

Quote/s of the Day – 9 May – Thursday Third Week of Easter, C

“Catholicism is a matter
of the body and the senses,
as much as it is,
a matter of the mind,
precisely because,
the Word became flesh.”

Bishop Robert Barroncatholicism is a matter of - bishop robert barron 9 may 2019.jpg

“The Word is NOT a bible verse
BUT living, flesh and blood,
Jesus Christ!”

Fr Enrico V Parrythe word is not a bible verse - fr enrico 9 may 2019.jpg

Posted in EASTER, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS for our HOLY FATHER and all PRIESTS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 5 May – “…Lead you where you do not wish to go.”

Thought for the Day – 5 May – Third Sunday of Easter, Year C, Gospel: John 21:1–19

“…Lead you where you do not wish to go.”…John 21:18

The Gospel of the appearance of the Lord at the Sea of Tiberias, ends with the installation of Peter in his pastoral office.   Everything that precedes this, is preparatory -unsuccessful fishing, then the miraculous catch, after which Peter swims to the Lord and stands beside Him on the bedrock of eternity, while the rest of the Church brings her harvest to the two of them, at which point, Peter, himself, hauls the entire netfull ashore. Finally, the crucial question to Peter – “Do you love me more than these?” You, the Denier, do you love me more than the Beloved Disciple there, who stood under the Cross?   Made conscious of his guilt by means of the threefold question, Peter answers with a repentant first ‘Yes’ (since he can, by no means say No), undoubtedly, gaining the strength to do so from John (in the communion of saints).
Without this confession of greater love, the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for his sheep, could not entrust His flock to Peter’s pasturing.
For the office Jesus has received from the Father, is identical, with His own loving sacrifice of His life, for His sheep.
Ever since Jesus bestowed this office on Peter, this unity of love and office has been unconditionally required.   This unity is then sealed by the prediction of Peter’s crucifixion, the gift of completed discipleship.   The cross will be bound up with the papacy, from this point onward, even when it is given to unworthy popes.
The more seriously a pope takes his office, the heavier the weight of the cross, on his shoulder becomes.

Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar

Light of the Worldthe gospel of the appearance of the lord at the sea-card hans urs von balthasar 5 may 2019.jpg

Pray for Pope Francis, amen!

Prayer for Pope Francis

O God, shepherd and ruler of all the faithful,
look favourably on Your servant Francis,
whom You have set
at the head of Your Church as her shepherd;
Grant, we pray, that by word and example
he may be of service to those over whom he presides
so that, together with the flock entrusted to his care,
he may come to everlasting life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the
unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Amenprayer for pope francis - 5 may 2019.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 3 May – The Preaching of the Apostles

Thought for the Day – 3 May – The Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

The Preaching of the Apostles

Tertullian (c 155- c 240)
Priest, Father and Ancient Christian Writer

An excerpt from his On the Prescription of Heretics

Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared what He was, what He had been, how He was carrying out His Father’s will, what obligations He demanded of men.    This He did during His earthly life, either publicly to the crowds, or privately to His disciples.  Twelve of these He picked out, to be His special companions, appointed to teach the nations.

One of them fell from His place.   The remaining eleven were commanded by Christ, as He was leaving the earth to return to the Father after His resurrection, to go and teach the nations and to baptise them into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The apostles cast lots and added Matthias to their number, in place of Judas, as the twelfth apostle.   The authority for this action is to be found in a prophetic psalm of David.   After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit which had been promised to them, so that they could work miracles and proclaim the truth, they first bore witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and established churches throughout Judea.   They then went out into the whole world and proclaimed to the nations the same doctrinal faith.

They set up churches in every city.   Other churches received from them a living transplant of faith and the seed of doctrine and through this daily process of transplanting they became churches.   They therefore qualify as apostolic churches by being the offspring of churches that are apostolic.

Every family has to be traced back to its origins.   That is why we can say that all these great churches constitute that one original Church of the apostles, for it is from them that they all come.   They are all primitive, all apostolic, because they are all one.   They bear witness to this unity by the peace in which they all live, the brotherhood which is their name, the fellowship to which they are pledged.   The principle on which these associations are based is common tradition by which they share the same sacramental bond.

The only way in which we can prove what the apostles taught—that is to say, what Christ revealed to them — is through those same churches.   They were founded by the apostles themselves, who first preached to them by what is called the living voice and later by means of letters.

The Lord had said clearly in former times – I have many more things to tell you but you cannot endure them now.   But He went on to say – When the Spirit of truth comes, He will lead you into the whole truth.   Thus Christ shows us that the apostles had full knowledge of the truth, for He had promised that they would receive the whole truth through the Spirit of truth.   His promise was certainly fulfilled, since the Acts of the Apostles prove, that the Holy Spirit came down on them.

Saints James and Philip, Pray for us!sts-philip-and-james-pray-for-us-3-may-2017.jpg