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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 Archbishop Alban GOODIER SJ, LAPSED Catholics, MINI SERIES, PRAYER WARRIORS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SACRAMENTS

Thought for the Day – 16 May – “The Lost Catholic”

Thought for the Day – 16 May – Thursday of the Fourth week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 13:16–20

Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ (1869-1939)

“The Lost Catholic”
Part One

1.   Introduction
No-one who has once realised what it is to be a Catholic can feel anything but sadness for one who has lost the Catholic faith, who once was a Catholic and is now a Catholic no more, no matter what may have been the reason.

It is sad enough to know so many who, through no fault of their own, have not the Catholic faith, whose forefathers lost it for them and deprived them of their inheritance, who do not know and have never known, all that it means.

But one who has once known it and has lost it, who has been argued or cajoled out of it, whose life has led him to drop it, who has been careless and let it go, who has surrendered it for something else, those who know and love such a one, know also that he has lost, thrown away, something for which nothing else can compensate, something more dear than life itself.

Let, then, such a one not be surprised if those who love him are troubled and sad about him; they cannot help it.   They long to give him back what he has lost, they spare no pains that he may be as he was before, they look on that reward as worth all the labour and suffering it may entail.

2. The Catholic no more

Who are they and how has it all come about?

First, there are the children:

who have never learnt to appreciate the value or beauty of their inheritance;

or whose parents have set them a sorry example and so spoilt them;

or who have learnt their religion as a schoolroom lesson only and it has withered;

or who have never seen that it mattered much one way or the other.

Second, there are young boys and girls:

who have been deluded by the prospect of a happy and free life before them.

or who have lived among godless companions and through shame, through human respect, through banter, through a

little coaxing, through temptation, perhaps through sin, have become as they;

or who have been carried away by their surroundings and the faith of their childhood has been ignored or forgotten,

and finally rejected.

Third, there are young men and women:

whose study and, reading, it may be, in the days when they were not yet mature, nor able to form a proper judgement,

has led them to wonder, to doubt, at last to be dissatisfied and turn away;

or who have come under some influence stronger than themselves and they have surrendered;

some unbelieving teacher or friend, whose arguments they could not answer;

some man or woman whom they have loved and who has made them sacrifice their faith for that love some companion who has led them on, till they have lost the reality for the shadow;

or who have found the practice of the faith a hindrance to their ambition in life, to promotion, to association with those who would help them, to the use of such means as their faith will not allow.

Fourth, there are the grown-up:

who are married and who find the laws of their faith concerning married life a burden;

or who, having once, slipped away, or having been away so long, are unable to bring themselves back, and prefer to

remain where they are;

or who have been antagonised by some opposition, by some scandal, by some regulation, which they have resented.

Fifth, and last, among all these classes, among young and old, there are those,

whom, in a proud and passionate moment, self-will has mastered and they have said:

‘I will not serve; or whom this world with its false fascination has mastered and they have said:   ‘I will have here my ‘reward; or whom sin and passion have conquered and they hardened conscience and said:  ‘I will be free, I will have my own way, I will do my own pleasure.

to be continued…/

Let us Pray:

For the Return of Lapsed Catholics to the Sacraments
By Ven Servant of God Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000)

Almighty Father,
You desire not the death of the sinner
but that he may be converted and live.
Pour out upon us Your mercy
and hear the prayers of Your servants.
Soften the hearts of Your children who have strayed,
from the true path, which You established for their salvation.
They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics
and pursue the pleasures of the world.
Grant that they may quickly return
to the practice of every Christian virtue,
so that their lives may shine
with the integrity of faith,
the fervour of piety
and the ardour of charity.
Restore them to Your sacraments
and the life of Your grace,
through the merits
of the most precious blood of Your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amenprayer for the return of lapsed catholics to the sacraments - ven sof john a hardon sj 16 may 2019 part one.jpg