Praying in Christ

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For all the challenge silence presents in prayer, it teaches us that prayer is essentially God’s gift.Prayer is the gift of the Spirit which Jesus pours out in our hearts. The Spirit does not just draw us into companionship with Jesus. As we learn from St Paul (Romans 8), the Spirit is also central to Jesus’ own relationship to the Father, and so prayer in the Spirit also expresses our union with Christ as members of his Body, able to turn to the Father and say, as Jesus said, Abba, Father. And in this way, we discover the completeness of the union to which we are called in Jesus Christ, by our baptism which makes us members of his Body in more than just a metaphorical sense. For in the prayerful movement of the Spirit we come to share in the loving exchange of life that unites the Father and the Son. This is not a permanently comforting or peaceful state; it is often disorientating. For as responsible agents we need to be de-centered and re-centered on him, and not on ourselves. In prayer we discover ourselves, our consciousness, will, and love rediscovered as received from him.This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human

This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human created ness, what I called our Godwardness at the start of this book. Rather, it is the discovery that this orientation and inwardness has a particular shape and structure, which is defined for us by our knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the knowledge of the Father we have through faith in him. To use a modern expression, Jesus ‘frames’ and ‘models’ a completely new style of Godwardness, in which we pray to God not as a reality over against us at a distance, but one in whom we discover ourselves sharing a new life, the life of Christ himself. This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship

This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship of Jesus-a Sonship he shares with us in the power of the Holy Spirit.We make this our own by our faith in him, our hope and love.in Christ, we grow to our full stature in the image and likeness of God (Eph. 3.8-19).

This Excerpt is taken from the book: Some-Outstanding Women of India. Order Now!!!

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Why attend Mass on Sunday?

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In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday.”On the first day of the week, we met to break bread” (Acts 20:7),

But the early Christians did not participate in “the breaking of bread” as a matter of obligation.Their Sunday observances consisted more in keeping the day holy by avoiding sin than in taking part in a religious service or abstaining from physical work.A second-century writer, Justin Marty says:”If there is any perjuror or thief among you, let him mend his ways….in this way he will have kept a true and peaceful Sabbath of God.”

In 321 Emperor Constantine promulgated laws prohibiting public work on Sunday.From the Council of Laodicea (370) came the first Church law prescribing workshop and abstaining from physical work in order to keep the Lord’s day holy.The Council of Orleans also dealt with the same subject.

Since the mass is the highest act of homage to God, it naturally becomes the central act of worship on Sunday.Embodying the tradition of Sunday Mass, the old Code of Canon Law laid down as an obligation incumbent on the faithful that they should attend Mass and abstain from servile work on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

On this subject of the Sunday obligation Vatican II says:”By an apostolic tradition which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection, the Church celebrates the paschal mystery every eighth day: with good reason this, then, bears the name of the Lord’s day or the day of the Lord.For on this day Christ’s faithful should come together into one place so that, by hearing the word of God and taking part in the Eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, the resurrection and the glorification of the Lord Jesus”

The Revised Code of Canon law states:”On Sundays and other days of obligation, the faithful are obligated to assist at Mass.They are also to obtain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the due relaxation of mind and body” (Canon 1247).

One should attend Mass on Sunday not because of the law prescribing it, but because of the reason for which there is a law.The law points out to us a grave obligation, that of setting apart at least one day in the week, in keeping with the Old Testament tradition, to offer worship to God.

There are two main reasons for the Mass obligation on Sunday.

  1. The Mass being the renewal of the offering of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is the highest act of worship man can offer to God.It is the highest form of adoration, propitiation, and Thanksgiving .hence the Mass is the most appropriate means of offering worship to God on the Lord’s day.
  2.  Moreover, a man by his very nature, that is, in the way God has made him, is dependent on fellow-men and, for his part, has obligations towards them.He should worship God, therefore, not only as an individual but also as a member of society, as a social being.this aspect of worship to is fulfilled when the faithful”come together into one place” to attend Mass.The Mass thus become a communal act of worship where one joins with other in offering worship.

The Sunday mass is, therefore, a grave obligation binding on all the faithful unless prevented by a legitimate reason, such as illness, a great distance from the church, and unavoidable official duties.

This excerpt is taken from the book: 50 Questions about Catholicism.  Order your Copy now!!!

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Why Do Catholics Say The Rosary?

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Repeating the same prayer or formula many times is a practice in some religions.It is thought that repetition makes the prayer more effective.The idea of repetition prevails in the use of mantrams and tantric formulae.

Among Christians too there arose from the early Middle Ages the practice of repeating especially the Lord’s Prayer.The Irish monks, who came as missionaries to the European continent, required that the lay brothers in their monasteries should say fifty psalm or fifty Our Father for a deceased monk.The practice of reciting Our Father instead of the psalm was taken up by the laity too.The fifty Our Father became the ‘psalter of the Laity’.To count the prayers, a string of beads were used, from which originated the custom of Rosary beads.

There is the story that in a vision the Blessed Virgin revealed the Rosary to St Dominic (1170-1221), founder of the Friars preachers or Dominicans.However, it was by a gradual process that the Rosary, as we know it now, took shape

Following the pattern of recitation of fifty Our Fathers, there evolved towards the end of the 12th century the corresponding to the 150 psalms of the Old Testament Psalter.In the early part of the 15th century, a Carthusians, Dominic of Prussia, helped to popularize the recitation of Kalkar, divided the Hail Marys into decades, inserting an Our Father at the commencement of each decade.Meditation on the mysteries, while reciting the Hall Marys, was a feature added to the psalter.A book of 1483 by a Dominican, Our Dear Lady’s Psalter, speaks of fifteen mysteries.

Finally the Rosary, as now being used, was officially established in the Church by Pope St Plus V (1566-1572) by his bull of 1569.It was two years later, on 7 October 1571, that the Christian forces of the Holy League, under the command of the Spanish admiral, Don John of Austria, gained a decisive victory over the Turks at the battle of Lepanto, a victory ascribed to the power of the Rosary.The Feast of the Holy Rosary, on 7 October, was instituted as a feast of the universal Church by Pope Clement XI (1667-1669).

The Rosary is a simple, practical and devotional form of prayer to Our Lady that has evolved from Christian throughout the Catholic world.It combines both vocal and mental reflects on the divine mysteries.

Of saints who had a great regard for the Rosary and sought to popularize it, mention may be made of St Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716).His book The Secret of the Rosary is well known.

It is significant that both at Lourdes and Fatima Our Lady appeared with the Rosary and particularly at Fatima urged the pious recitation of it.In this way, she reveals her predilection for this particular type of prayer and sets the seal, as it were, on what had spontaneously originated from the piety of the faithful.

 

This excerpt is taken from the book: 50 Questions about Catholicism.

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Why is there a Collection at mass?

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The custom of sending a plate round after the General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful) at Mass to collect the monetary contribution of the Faithful is not just for the purpose of obtaining funds for the expenses of the clergy.Its origin comes from very spiritual motives.

Bread and wines were the elements used by Christ when he instituted the Holy Eucharist.In the early Church, after the General Intercessions, bread and

wines were brought to the altar.these were offered to God as an element to be set apart for the sacrifice, in keeping with the general practice of dedicating to God what was to be used for his service.

It used to be the Practice in early times for the people to bring with them to Mass bread and wines produced in their own field, the fruit of their own labour and toil, which therefore could be regarded as something of themselves, as implied by the prayer said by the priest when offering the bread and wine:” which earth has given and human hands have made.” Moreover, as a staple food, bread and wine were thus a symbolic life.the offering of bread and wine was thus a symbolic way by which those Christ offered in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

The Early Roman document gives details of the ceremonial of bringing the bread and wine to the altar and the celebrant receiving them and offering them to God.Of the bread and wine thus offered, the quality needed for the sacrifice was taken and the rest kept for the poor.

After the 10thcentury, the practice of offering bread and wine by the people gradually ceased.St Peter Damian, of the 11th century (1007-1072) expressly mentions that people gave money instead of bread and wine. The symbolism, however, remained the same.It was obviously because bringing the bread and wine to the church was impractical and cumbersome that it was given up and replaced by the more convenient offering of money.

It should be remembered however that the collection of the contribution of money at Mass replaces and represents the former offering of bread and wine which had a deep spiritual meaning.

 

This excerpt is taken from the book: 50 Questions about Catholicism.

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Why Do Catholic Use Holy Water?

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Both Christians and non-Christians use water for religious purpose.there is a belief among Hindus that the water of the Ganges has the virtue of purifying one of sin.we read in the Gospel that John the Baptist baptized fellow-Jews and Christ himself in the waters of the Jordan.Lourdes water is used by Catholics, praying for curses.The water of some wells attached to saint’s shrines in similarly used, such as the water of St Winifred’s Well at Holywell in Wales.

It has been a tradition in the Catholic Church to bless and use objects of nature to obtain heavenly favor and protection.There is the traditional blessing of candles on the feast of the Presentation os ashes on Ash Wednesday, of palms on Palm Sunday, and holy oils at the chrism Mass on Holy Thursday.But, water is an object blessed and used more often. The water over which the Church’s blessing has been pronounced is popularly known as’Holy water”.It is ‘holy’ because of the Church’s prayer attached to it.

Holy water can be blessed by a priest anytime.There is a provision in the Liturgy of the Mass for the blessing of holy water and the sprinkling of the faithful with it at the beginning of Sunday Mass, in which case the penitential rite can be omitted.

Holy water is a ‘sacramental’ by which is meant that, like other blessed objects, it is a sign of the effects to be obtained through the Church’s intercession.It achieves its effect by the prayers of the Church.As in other sacramentals, its efficacy depends on the dispositions of the use and God’s will>it does not produce an effect automatically, by any power inherent in it, as charms and amulets are expected to do.

The use of Holy water as well as other blessed objects is a form of silent prayers by which the user joins with the Church in her benedictory prayer.The use of the object is moreover an expression of our faith in God and our trust and confidence in Him. It is also a token of our faith in the efficacy of the prayer of the Church.

Corresponding to holy water there is a Buddhism ‘pirit’ water.This is water over which one or more of the Pali suttas (sermons) of the Sutta Pitaka (Buddhist scriptures) have been chanted by bhikkhus, as in the case of pirit thread.The efficacy of the water or thread is believed to come from the words recited.If the words themselves have such power, then we come into the realm of magic.It has been said in fact, concerning pirit, that “certainly there is a magical belief in its efficacy”(N.D Wijesekera, The people of Ceylon,2nd ed,p.219, footnote.

There is absolutely nothing magical in the use of Holy water or other sacramentals.Their use in a way of appeal to God for Help, a form of prayer, and their effect in-dependents onGod’ss will.

 

This excerpt is taken from the book: 50 Questions about Catholicism. For more information about the book: Click me!!!

 

Jesus and Jerusalem

Rarely did Jesus set foot in Jerusalem, so perhaps we can assume that he didn’t care much for the big city. He had grown up in a small town and spent most of his life in Nazareth. During his ministry, he hiked the hills of Galilee, Judea, Perea, and Samaria.

 

Jerusalem, of course, was the hub of national political, religious, cultural, and social life. It also served as the focal point of the Roman occupation. Religion and politics constantly erupted into furious conflicts in Jerusalem.

During his early Judean ministry, Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem and granted Nicodemus a nighttime interview (John 2:12-3:21). Two years later he returned and offered himself as the water of life during the Feast of Tabernacles. lie encountered trouble with the Pharisees, healed a blind and said he was the good shepherd. Then he withdrew. En route back to Jerusalem, he healed a blind man near

En route back to Jerusalem, he healed a blind man near Jericho and brought salvation to Zacchaeus (Luke 18:35-19: He made his headquarters in Bethany, from where he entered Jerusalem to the wild acclamations of the cr With loud voices they broke into shouts because they had seen his mighty works, for which they praised God. collective enthusiasm reflected heightened Messianic throughout Israel (19:28-38). Jesus had said that his and his works gave ample evidence that he had come to God (John 14:8-11). Voicing the hopes of Psalms 113-18, these people the city and pilgrims from Galilee accepted Jesus as envoy. When the Pharisees tried to rain on their praise Jesus rebuked them and said the stones could praise necessary (Luke 19:39-40).

Voicing the hopes of Psalms 113-18, these people the city and pilgrims from Galilee accepted Jesus as envoy. When the Pharisees tried to rain on their praise Jesus rebuked them and said the stones could praise necessary (Luke 19:39-40).Later the sight of Jerusalem caused Jesus to

Later the sight of Jerusalem caused Jesus to weep,(vv. 41-42). He had shed silent tears at the grave of Lazarus. Here the word means loud wailing and sobbing, like the weeping of the widow of Nain and the mourners in the house of Jairus. Jesus was profoundly affected by what could have been. Because the city failed to grasp what God was doing in the person of Jesus, it would suffer horrendous destruction in AD 70. For the second

For the second time, Jesus drove merchants and money changers from the temple (vv. 45-46). He continued to teach every day with such effectiveness that the people all hung on his words. This drove the religious leaders of various parties together, along with the civic leaders, determined to throttle him.

Jesus, the God-man, fully merited Jerusalem’s praise, and the city fully deserved his judgment. Nevertheless, it hurts us to see him weeping so profusely because of the city’s spiritual blindness. How remarkable and challenging is this combination of attributes in our Savior!

This Excerpt is taken from the book: 10 Minutes a Day With Jesus. For more information about the book : Click Me!!!

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Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez experienced a terrible loss at the tender age of 6—the family home and a small attached store were gutted in a fire. Left with hardly any means of sustenance whatsoever, the young family had no option but to move in with Carlos’ maternal grandparents.

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Providence thus brought the youngster under the strong influence of his deeply devout grandmother, an influence that, coupled with Carlos’ reception of Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion, would infuse him with a life-long love for the Eucharist.

As an Altar server, he began to experience the riches of the faith through the sacred liturgy of the Church.

Early on in high school, he experienced the first symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as “ulcerative colitis”, a severe gastro-intestinal disorder that caused him much suffering, even hindering his pursuit of a university degree.

 

Nevertheless, a voracious reader, he retained both his commitment to Christ and the Church, and to his interests which ranged from art to philosophy, and from science to religion.

 

Using articles on liturgical subjects, which he himself translated and edited, Carlos began publishing Liturgy and Christian Culture, organized a Liturgy Circle and formed the Te Deum Laudamus Choir besides organizing Christian Life Days for students. Carlos was wont to say, “Vivimos para esanoche!” i.e., “We live for the night of the Resurrection!”

In 1963 he was diagnosed with advanced terminal rectal cancer and soon passed on to his eternal reward, aged barely 45 and was beatified in 2001.

Reflection: “The center of Liturgical life is the Mass, from which flow the Seven Channels of grace, the sacraments. The liturgy is the life of the Spirit of Christ” (Blessed James Alberione).

 

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How Jesus started small and we should too!

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Cartoon image of Jesus Christ, with long brown hair, beard and mustache, wearing a white robe and brown sandals, as well as a red sash, kneels down to pray, both eyes closed in concentration, hands together in a praying position

“The Kingdom of God is like  mustard seed” – Matthew 13:31 

Today approximately two billion people, almost one third of the planet, in scores of countries throughout the world, call themselves Christian. Yet when Jesus began his ministry, he started with only twelve men, handpicked one and two at a time.
Jesus demonstrated that great achievements often come from humble beginnings. Like nature, where the largest trees sometimes grow from the smallest seeds, there is no correlation between your ultimate success and the limited resources you may have when you start. There are many examples of modest beginnings among history’s giants.
Remember the biblical story of David and Goliath? A young shepherd-boy defeated the Philistine giant with a simple slingshot of a stone. He went on to become a great king. Centuries later, thirteen little colonies declared their independence from the mighty British Empire and eventually became the United States of America = the world’s only mega-power. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and currently the world’s richest man, dropped out of college to write a program for one computer at a time when virtually no one owned a  PC. Fellow billionaire Michael Dell, founder of the world’s largest computer manufacturer, also started his business while in college with little more than $1,000 and a classified ad in the newspaper.

 
Jesus did not have a huge army or vast treasury. He was not well known and traveled within a relatively small geographic area. Yet, Jesus ultimately changed the world. He simply used the resources available to him at the moment. Jesus understood that sometimes “less is more.” This is one of the many paradoxes of success. Size doesn’t matter.

 
There are many advantages to starting small. For one, starting with little more than a dream, you have to hone your idea to such a degree that it “lights a fire” in the minds of others. Those whom you attract when you are small, you know, are loyal and committed. Also, you are strengthened by faith. The obstacles you face, like David battling Goliath, strengthen your character and define your brand. Finally, because your resources may be meager in the beginning, you are forced to be creative in ways you never thought possible. Hidden opportunities, untapped and ready to be discovered, lie waiting for you.
Wherever you are in your life, right now is the perfect time for you to begin to fulfill your mission and purpose. Starting small is an advantage to you if you are willing to let go of your preconceived notions of how you will accomplish your dream. One person can change the world with nothing more than an idea which time has come. That person can be you!

This Excerpt is taken from the book: The 99 Success Secrets of Jesus – How to Create Miracles in Your Life” by Don Daniel Ortiz. To order this book, please click here : Buy Now

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What did Jesus mean when he said “This is my Body, this is my Blood”

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We can now draw the practical conclusions of this doctrine for our daily lives. If at the consecration we too address our brethren with the words, “Take, eat, this is my body; take, drink, this is my blood,” we must know what “body” and “blood” mean, so as to know what we are offering. What did Jesus mean to give us at the Last Supper when lie said, “This is my body?”

In the Bible the word “body” doesn’t indicate a component or part of a human being which, united to the other components, the soul and the spirit, forms the complete person. Our way of reasoning is influenced by Greek culture which, in fact, divided man in three parts: body, soul and spirit. In biblical terminology, and therefore in that used by Jesus and Paul, “body” indicates the whole human being in so far as it lives its life in a body, in a corporeal and mortal condition. In his Gospel, John uses the word “flesh” instead of “body” (“if you don’t eat the flesh of the Son of man ….”) and it is obvious that this word in the sixth chapter of the Gospel means the same as in the first chapter where John says “the Word became flesh,” and that is, human.

The word “body” indicates, therefore, the whole of life. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus left us the gift of his whole life, from the first moment of the incarnation to the very end, including all that had made up his life: silence, sweat, hardship, prayer, struggle, joy, humiliation …. Then Jesus also said: “This is my blood.” What else does he give us with his blood if he has already given us all his life by giving us his body? He adds death!

Having given us his life, he now gives us its most precious part — his death. In the Bible the term “blood” doesn’t indicate a part of the body, and therefore a part of a part of a person; it indicates a happening, death. If blood is the seat of life as was thought at that time (cf. Gen 9:4), the shedding of it is the plastic sign of death. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

The I Eucharist is the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord, that is of the life and death of the Lord! And what do we ourselves offer when we offer our bodies and blood with Jesus at Mass? We offer what Jesus offered: life and death. By “body” we offer all that actually constitutes our physical life: time, health, energy, ability, sentiments, perhaps just a smile, that only a spirit living in a body can give and which is so precious at times. By “blood”, we express the offering of our death; not necessarily our final death, or martyrdom for Christ or our brethren. Death means also all that right now prepares and anticipates our death: humiliations, failures, sickness that cripples us, limits due to age or health, everything that “mortifies” us.

Because of the Eucharist there is no such thing as a “useless life” in the world. No one should say: “What use is my life? What am I doing in this world?” You are in the world for the most sublime of reasons, to be a living sacrifice, to be Eucharist with Jesus.

This Excerpt is taken from the book : The Eucharist Our Sanctification by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. For more information about the book : Click Me!

Only Some Parents Care to Parent Their Children

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You will be either honoured or dishonoured by what your children eventually turn out to be in life. Therefore, consciously prepare them ensuring that they are raised in stature and wisdom—in favour with God and in favour with men.
Dhanesh is a teenager with a strong character and a refined demeanour. Always considerate and thoughtful of others, this devout boy spared no effort to come to the aid of the needy. No wonder the boy has carved a special niche for himself in my heart. He came out with flying colours in his Standard X Board exams.
It was his 17th birthday and I went over to his house wish him in person. Of course I was quick to extend a note of congratulations to his parents for their exemplary upbringing of their child.

Over lunch, Ulahannan chettan’, Dhanesh’s father, revealed, “Father, it is Jeevan’s birthday, too, today. Obviously he was referring to Jeevan their neighbour and a classmate of Dhanesh. A pall of gloom suddenly fell over his face. And he sighed, saying, “Some parents foster the growth of their children, nurturing and strengthening them. But alas! Some others forget this divine task entrusted to them in marriage. Their children somehow grow up on their own, but the consequences are often disastrous.”

At 16, Jeevan had turned out to be a juvenile delinquent! The police nabbed him in a hooch deal—a non-bailable offence. The remark made by Ulahannan chettan is food for thought. Yes, some parents are negligent and irresponsible in relation to bringing up their wards who then grow up in accordance with the rules of nature.

In fact, there is no difference between the biological ages of Dhanesh and Jeevan. Both the boys have completed sixteen years of age and are going on seventeen irrespective of the fact that one is in school and the other in jail. Their birthdays also fall on the same day. No difference absolutely! Then what and where lies the difficulty? Saint Luke says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men (2:52).” Well, God the incarnate Son grew both in body and in wisdom gaining favour with God the Father and with the people.

Two kinds of growth in two different zones, that is, growth in wisdom and growth in body/stature, winning the approval of both his Father and the people of this world!

This Excerpt is taken from the book  ‘The Gospel of Parenting’ by Father Jimmy Poochakkatt. For more information on the book, click here!