What Easter Means to Me

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. ”  Luke 24:30-35

Today is Thursday after Easter Sunday. In the Middle East, it was a working Easter. That day being also the deadline for submission of month end reports, I struggled to keep my focus on the image of the risen Christ as I battle emails and phone calls, in between entering data to finish the tasks at hand. To top it all, my colleagues were on holiday and so my work load was multiplied like the bread to feed thousands.

By end of business hours, I was really exhausted but nonetheless, the Holy Spirit helped me through the day. So it happened that we were able to attend the 7pm Easter Mass. The smell of tires being burnt on the road leading to where Sacred Heart Church was located, dominated the festive atmosphere. That did not stop the hundreds who were inside the church compound to pray and praise God. And that was my Easter of 2015.

If the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a one day affair, I would really, really feel bad that a great number of hours on that day was taken up by my earthly duties. But as I continue to “follow” Jesus after He left the tomb, my eyes were opened.

Easter is our daily reminder that Jesus is alive and one day, we shall see His face when He comes again. My eyes were opened, that it is alright to fulfill our earthly duties when it glorifies God and the greater good comes out of it. My eyes were opened, that as we go about our daily lives, the Holy Spirit is ever present. Just like Jesus was, with Cleophas and his companion on their way to Emmaus.

Between life and death, we choose life. Easter is the life after Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross. We also died from our old selves during Lent and were renewed on Easter, forgiven of our sins when we repented sincerely. So therefore, let us celebrate Easter everyday so that the sacrifice of Jesus, the sign of His infinite and eternal love will ever be worth it.

Opinion: Be Courageous Prophets! Restore the Family as the Foundation of Society

REPOST

From:  Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 6/28/2010
  • Start at home, but do not stay there. Be courageous prophets.

    As our culture sinks deeper into a moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.  What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.” Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.” 

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

     WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Catholic Online) – “A society built on a family scale is the best guarantee against drifting off course into individualism or collectivism, because within the family the person is always at the center of attention as an end and never as a means… Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.”  (paragraph 213, 214, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)

    Perhaps you saw these stories this week:  A school board in Provincetown, MA approved a condom distribution policy where any student in the district can ask for condoms from the nurse, and be given an educational demonstration on how to use them properly.  There is no minimum age requirement or age limit.  1st graders are welcome to ask for condoms and be taught how to use them.  The policy also states that “the school district will not honor requests from parents that students not be allowed to receive condoms.”  That’s right.  Parents cannot object or exercise their rightful authority over their own minor children – even 1st graders.
     
    In Iowa, the high school kids in Shenandoah got instruction on graphic sexual acts from a Planned Parenthood representative during their state-mandated sex-ed class.  Students were shown how to do female exams, and with the aid of a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ, shown how to use a condom.

    The teens were also treated to a demonstration of the sex act in various different positions using stuffed animals, as well as photographs that some parents called “pornographic.”    When many parents – who, of course, had not been informed of the content of this sex-ed class – complained, the principal was reportedly “mortified” and apologized.  The superintendent said, “It’s a political hot potato.  It’s a religious hot potato.  It’s a parental hot potato.  It’s all these things that cause a crack in the system between society, parents, and schools, and we’re still required to do it.”

    In Texas, a 14 year-old girl has been arrested after giving birth in a friend’s apartment and then smothering her infant son with the amniotic sac.  She then put the child in a plastic bag and asked a neighbor to help get rid of the body, and the neighbor told police he put the baby in a large trash bin at the apartment complex.  They also threw away the linens, clothing and the bed.  The 14 year-old’s younger sister was the only one who knew of the pregnancy.  She also witnessed the birth – and death –  and told a school counselor what happened.  The police officer said, “Everybody’s parents work, they were unaware of what was going on.”

    The baby – that little person who was suffocated and then treated as garbage – is lost now to all but God, for by the time police learned of the death, the trash had been collected and taken to a landfill that they said was too big to search.

    No grave; no dignified resting place; just a mucky, rotting landfill.  And anyway, who really cares?  So what?  It’s not like he was a human being.

    We are in a moral and cultural freefall.  These three infuriating and somber stories are all symptomatic of the collapse of the family unit in our society.  In my own lifetime I have witnessed this collapse accelerate at an alarming rate.  But I don’t recall hearing alarm bells while I was growing up.  The adults I encountered were mostly indifferent, unaware, or otherwise enthusiastically indulging in the amoral home-wrecking they were inflicting on us.

    Clanging the alarm bell now seems a lot like crying out, “Iceburg!” after the Titanic already plowed into the thing.  We are sinking fast, and looking anywhere other than to God and His Church for rescue is a waste of time and life.  Just rearranging deck chairs…

    Allow me to be direct:  Divorce, remarriage, single parenting by design or default, shacking-up, abortion, babies manufactured and destroyed at will, the demand for same-sex “marriage” rights and parenting rights, and a culture that worships sex – all these things combined make for one very deadly potion that America’s been guzzling for decades.

    Being drunk and sick, we began abdicating our parental responsibilities and allowed public authorities to have more and more influence, more and more control, and now they simply run roughshod right over parents, particularly when it comes to sexual “education” and anti-God, politically-correct indoctrination.

    The icing on this disastrous cake has been too many years of far too many wishy-washy, weak-willed, confused, apathetic Catholics who are utterly ignorant of their faith and so put up little to no resistance against the destruction of the most vital component of our society:  the family.

    What is the cure for an aggressive public authority that usurps the authority of parents?  A community of strong, cohesive families who meet their moral, spiritual, educational and material obligations to their children.

    What is the cure for the life-hating era we live in, where girls barely past the onset of menstruation are having sex, becoming pregnant, and killing their own children?  The answer again, is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The cure is not government programs or entitlements or more mandates or restrictions.  The only cure is to return to an attitude of reverence for the foundation of our society:  the family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman.”  (Paragraph 211, CSDC)

    As our culture sinks deeper into this moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.

    What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.”

    “The Christian family is called therefore to be a sign of unity for the world and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the Kingdom and the peace of Christ, towards which the whole world is journeying.”  (paragraph 220, CSDC) “Christian families have then, in virtue of the sacrament received, a particular mission that makes them witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel of life.  This is a commitment which in society takes on the value of true and courageous prophecy.”  (paragraph 231, CSDC)

    No – timid, milquetoast Catholicism will not get the job done.  Our time is crying out for heroes of the faith to show themselves in every walk of life, in every nook and cranny of the public square, in every community.  For too long we have bought the lie that our faith must remain at home in private – no longer.  There can be no separation of faith and living!

    Be courageous prophets.  Our mission is to rescue and firmly reestablish the family according to God’s plan and design.  Start at home, but do not stay there.  Be courageous prophets.
    ————-
    Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
    – – –
    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    Novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

     

  • 5/14/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul.

    WASHINGTON,DC  (Catholic Online) – Catholic Online is pleased to offer the novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The novena officially begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday the 6th week of Easter and continues until Pentecost Sunday.

    The prayers for each day are printed below.  Please join us in praying this powerful prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and all God’s people, that we might be strengthened to carry on the work of the New Evangelization.

    Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us the fire of your love!

    A novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest form of all novenas. It was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

    ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

    PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You  and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

    *****

    FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

    The Holy Spirit

    Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin- Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

    Prayer

    Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

    The Gift of Fear

    The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

    Prayer

    Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

    Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

    The Gift of Piety

    The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

    The Gift of Fortitude

    By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

    The Gift of Knowledge

    The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

    The Gift of Understanding

    Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

    The Gift of Counsel

    The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

    The Gift of Wisdom

    Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

    Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

    The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

    The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

    Prayer

    Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts
    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    some kind of light

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18

    my daughter megan was compared by my mom with Christmas lights that blink and blink.  when she was younger, she had  a temper which she undoubtedly got from me.  fortunately she got the ‘flash’ type temper.  ’twas here, next second pfft, nada, gone. 

    i wish i could control my temper like that when i was younger.  like a switch, i could have just turned it off as quickly in a flick.   and so should the spanking too.  (if that caused my behind to be this plump,  something good came out of it somehow, ha-ha.)

    this is just to point out that as we grow older, the more subdued and considerate we become.  when as infants, we cry when we were hungry or wet,  no matter if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep.  or we smiled and giggled when we feel like it, even when there was no one around  to smile with us.  who cares?  as kids, we were carefree. no worries, no inhibitions.  walang pakialam sa mundo.  at walang kamalay-malay. we didn’t care what time of day, or night it was.  our parents took care of everything we need.

    when we matured as teenagers, tougher rules were implemented.  parents stared at the clocks longer. tick-tock, tick-tock.  “time to do this, time to do that”.   “you’re late again”.   darn! these were played on and on like broken records.  that’s the reason we couldn’t wait until college graduation was over.  when finally, we would be able to find decent jobs and meet financial bliss minus parental restrictions.  aaaahhh sweet freedom!  haha! or so we thought…

    we don’t realize it until later that as we went about to build careers and eventually settle down and raise kids of our own, that we were never  free afterall.  when we signed employment contracts, we were bound.  when we get married, we tied the knot.  and the marriage contract didn’t even have an expiration date.  and the power over our own life would remain a dream, because our sense of responsibility decides when to turn on and off our self-indulgence.  we will forever be prisoners of time, jobs and loved ones.  or on a grander scale, prisoners of our own organization, company or advocacies.  

    by prisoner here meant to be involuntarily restrained.  as adult human beings, it is an instinct to belong.  and to belong means that one exists no longer for himself alone, but for someone else or something that he puts higher importance to, at times even more than himself. this requires sacrifice and self-denial especially when one’s desires and comforts are set aside for the well-being of another.   

    when we stretch out our hands to be tied down or when we allow ourselves to be taken and girded to be carried to where we would not want to go, we are perceived to be prisoners by human standards. but when we conform to a higher spiritual order, the restraints become the most profound symbol of freedom.  chains are made of love instead of steel.  and the prison walls of  warm embrace, instead of concrete.  when we are finally freed from the bondage of our own selfishness, we finally taste freedom of the sweetest kind.

    Jesus stretched out his hands to be crucified.  He allowed himself to be girded by others and carried away to where we would not want to go, to Golgotha where His body and blood were sacrificed so that we may be all be free from the bondage of sin.  it was not about weakness.  but obedience.  and love.

    the fate of St. Peter was predicted to be like that of his Savior, only upside down.  though he “blinked” 3 times, when he denied Jesus, he freed himself from the anguish and shame by accepting his designated task on earth.  to be the rock upon which the Church would be built.  to be the shepherd of Jesus’ flock after His Ascension.

    wouldn’t it brighter, if instead of blinking lights, we would rather be spotlights?…ever radiant and focused where the hand of God sets us upon.

    things are not always what they seem

    “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat.  They were frightened but he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’

    Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:19-21

    things are not always what they seem. 

    when a husband prefers fishing on weekends, he hates to be with his family.  truth is, he just needs quiet time and a stress-reducing activity after a week of rush assignments and impossible deadlines.

    when the house is in turmoil, used dishes are in the sink and the baskets are overflowing with laundry, the wife is just plain lazy.   truth is, she is too ill to get out of bed.

    when a daughter forgets to text or call back, she doesn’t love her dad and mom anymore.  truth is, she is practically in a rush to get the subjects she needs to enrol for summer classes.

    when a son spends more time with the computer than with people, he is anti-social.  truth is, he is just plain bored or just wanted to reach out to family and friends and stay in touch.

    when we get old, it is the end.  truth is, it is the time when wisdom comes of age and the fullness of life blossoms.

    when your dream house is almost within your reach and still lose it, you are such a LOSER.  truth is, you don’t really need it.

    when there’s no cash in the bank, then all else is lost.  truth is, God provides us with what we need. 

    when all plans don’t push through, you’re such a failure.  truth is, God has better ideas.

    when you are all alone, no one really cares. truth is, God is always with us.

    truth is, things are not always what they seem.

    i don’t know if it was a serious case of pre-menopausal syndrome, but i’d been through a hell of a week.  i thought this, i thought that.  i feared this, i feared that. i worried about this, i worried about that.  what a waste of precious time!

    the past week really started great.  we were able to watch the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration live on tv.  the message was TRUST and PEACE. and bhoy and i felt so blessed to be able to take part in spirit with this special mass commemorating the golden jubilee of the National Shrine for the Divine Mercy* and the life of  St. Maria Faustina of Kowalska. 

    but as the week progressed, and the real world sucked me right back in,  i ran round and round again to look  for my happy old self from other people, places and things.  i looked for me in me.  but neither did i find me there.  i kept telling bhoy that i feel sad, and i didn’t even know why or where it all came from.  by midweek, i gave up and just let everything be. 

    there was one constant though, that i failed to see because i was extremely obsessed with my self-inflicted ordeal.  and that constant is GOD.  and i failed to absorb the message of the Divine Mercy.  TO TRUST IN JESUS, THE KING OF MERCY.

    like the apostles, i was frightened too.  but when i see Jesus and let him into my boat, i am sure i will find what i was looking for.  and realize that what i was looking for was always there afterall. 

    to borrow the words of St. Teresa of Avila “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.”

    as another week begins, my simple life goes on as it did before.  there’s really nothing to look for afterall.  everything that i need, God provides.  people to love, things to do and blessings to share.  even trials to make me strong.  what more can i ask for?   GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH.

    * for more details about the devotion to the Divine Mercy, please go to http://thedivinemercy.org

    Easter Sunday: The Risen Jesus is Our Hope

  • By Fr. James Farfaglia
  • 4/3/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.  

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CATHOLIC ONLINE) – The resurrection of Jesus is a reality beyond doubt.  The liturgical season of Easter fills us with immense joy and profound hope.  However, each time we contemplate the gospel passages detailing the resurrection of Jesus we are faced with a sense of strangeness.  The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him.  The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness.  He continually demonstrates his physical reality.  The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him.  Thomas is told to touch his wounds.  The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical.  He has truly risen. 

     The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ.  Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt.  Their response shows us that although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary; his physical reality is now different than before.  The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

     Repeatedly the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred.  The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed.  His life is different from what it once was.  His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space.  For this reason, he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires.  At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord’s physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.

     The clarity of the physical reality of the risen Jesus provides us with the certainty of the existence of the Lord and the veracity of everything that he has taught us.  The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. 

    Applied to our practical daily living, the reality of the Risen Jesus fills us with profound peace.  There is no need to worry or to fear.  He is truly with us.  With Jesus, we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise.  We enter into a new relationship with God when we really believe that God is as Jesus told us that he is.  We become absolutely sure of his love.  We become absolutely convinced that he is above all else a redeeming God.  The fear of suffering and death vanishes, for suffering and death means going to the one God who is the awesome God of love.  In reality, our life long journey is a journey to the eternal Easter in Heaven.

    When we truly believe, we enter into a new relationship with life itself.  When we make Jesus our way of life, life becomes new.  Life is clad with a new loveliness, a new light and a new strength. When we embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we develop a personal relationship with him, we realize that life does not end, it changes and it goes from incompletion to completion, from imperfection to perfection, from time to eternity.

     When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled with sin; we are freed from the loneliness of a life without meaning.  When we walk with Jesus and follow his way, life becomes so powerful that it cannot die but must find in death the transition to a higher life.

     The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes our entire journey to eternal life tangible, real, certain, and credible.  Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). Because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and ascended to the Father, we await with joyful hope his return in glory.

     Nevertheless, despite the victory of Jesus over death, the attack of evil continues. 

     The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is unique.  His death on Calvary completes and surpasses all the other sacrifices of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Christ´s reign is to be fulfilled with his Second Coming in glory.  Until that day occurs, Satan continues his attack even though he has been already conquered definitively by Christ´s sacrifice on Calvary (cf. CCC 671).

    In our own times, it is not hard to notice an ever-increasing presence of evil powers in the world.  The battle continues and it seems as if humanity is out of control. 

    The perversions of a world that has rejected the Savior of the world continues to carry much of humanity down the blind road of self-destruction.  The crisis of our age is rooted in the presumption that we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil without reference to God.

    The reality of the risen Jesus fills us with peace and consolation because he is truly with us.  His resurrection assures us of his final victory over evil.  The genuineness of Easter keeps us from worry, fear, and discouragement.  It sustains us in times of trial and it opens the heart to the expectation of eternal life.  However, this Easter should inspire us to be apostles of life because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. 

    “We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved.  We have been ransomed by the ´Author of life´ at the price of his precious blood.  Through the waters of Baptism we have been made a part of him, as branches which draw nourishment and fruitfulness from the one tree.  Interiorly renewed by grace of the Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life, we have become a people for life and we are called to act accordingly” (Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, #79.1)

    The culture of death makes itself manifest in numerous ways throughout our modern world.  Abortion, euthanasia, excessive use of capital punishment and continuous wars are a concern to us all.  However, of all of these terrible manifestations of the culture of death, abortion is the worse of them all.

    If we can destroy innocent human life inside of the womb of a mother, and this no longer shocks us or concerns us, then nothing else will ever shock us or gain our concern. 

    If a society can justify the killing of an innocent unborn child, then there is no limit as to what else a society can justify regarding any other person.

    This is why if we really desire to have respect for the sick, the elderly and the dying; if we really want to curb the incorrect use of capital punishment; and if we truly desire lasting peace throughout the world, the first thing that we must assure is the right to life of the unborn child.

    As long as abortion remains an unchecked course of action, violence and injustice will continue to submerge the world in a continual spiral of chaos. 

    The Church must not, and cannot remain silent. 

    The issue of abortion becomes obscured when it is lumped together on an equal basis with every other social issue that concerns us.  Wisdom allows us to make objective distinctions and carefully understand the causes and effects of sinful human behavior on society.

    Ideologies only polarize the Church and obscure the efficacy of its mission here on earth. 

    As we joyfully celebrate the bodily resurrection of the Risen Lord, let us renew our commitment to the cause of life and the building up of a new culture of life. 

    However, given the present intensity of the battle for life, many have become discouraged.  Many maybe tired of the battle. 

    My dear friends remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough” (Poesías 30).

    Abandon yourself into the loving hands of an awesome God that loves us unconditionally.  Allow yourself to be purified. Do not let yourself be consumed by anger, anxiety, frustration, discouragement or resentment.  Enter into the dark night of the spirit.  Do not be afraid.  Allow yourself to be a transparent witness of the God of life. 

    —–

    Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog calledIllegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book calledMan to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. He is a contributing writer to Catholic Online. 

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