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4/30/13 10:49 P

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thank you

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IAM_HIS's Photo IAM_HIS Posts: 44,211
4/30/13 6:34 A

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Why I Kneel



April 30, 2013 by Heather King
Filed under Featured, Humility


Genuflect: late Latin genuflectere, from Latin genu, knee, and flectere, to bend. 1 a. to bend the knee. b. to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship.

Francis Kneeling Francisco de Zurbarán [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe first time I went to Mass, in trembling and fear, I was shocked to see people kneeling. In the middle of Los Angeles, in the middle of the day. I felt like I’d stumbled upon a group of folks sitting on the toilet, or having sex. Right out there in the open, for anyone who wandered in to see, they were asking for help. They were admitting that they didn’t know. They were saying “I adore you.”

I have a theory that prayer is the answer to itself. The very fact that we’re praying means we’re already receiving what our hearts long for. To open ourselves to reality. To move away from isolation and toward communion. To die to self-reliance and come alive in wonder and mystery. Acknowledging our vulnerability, we’re in solidarity with every other sick, suffering, broken person in the world. With our heads bowed, our ears are closer to our hearts. On our knees, we’re the same height as children.

I once stayed at a Catholic retreat house where something seemed off. Why was there no body on the cross? Why

had the Penitential Rite, the Intercessionary Prayers, the Responsorial Psalm—the Psalms!!!— been excised? The Mass had been sanitized and euthanized. The Mass had been emasculated. After awhile it dawned on me that at no time during Mass did the members of the community kneel: nary a genuflection before or after Mass; not during the Eucharistic Prayer or Agnus Dei (the chapel had no kneelers, so none of us could kneel except on the floor).

One afternoon I crept into the chapel, peered beneath the pews and spied the tiny holes on either end that had once held screws. Just as I’d suspected, they had taken out the kneelers. They had taken out the kneelers. This resistance to kneeling, in conjunction with the whole liturgically-diluted, inert atmosphere of the place, struck me as disturbing and even dangerous. What were we there for but to worship, to give thanks, to kneel before Someone greater than ourselves? What lover of Christ, before a re-presentation of the Crucifixion, would not instinctively be moved to assume a posture of grief, sorrow, awe, praise, trembling supplication? Where was the blood, the anxiety, the majesty, the sublime paradox, the resurrectional joy?
Agnus Dei Francisco de Zurbarán [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I’m the first to admit I sometimes over-react but I think this is a serious point. I’m weak but I’m not so delicate that I can’t understand that Christ, in agony on the cross, is a reflection of the human condition. I don’t need to be shielded from the knowledge that before the Resurrection comes a long, painful journey. I kneel because someone else consented to tell, live and die the truth. I kneel because for a long time I knelt before nothing but my own desperate self-centered desires and I lived in the fires of hell. I kneel to ask for help because I want to be able to welcome the next shipwrecked soul who stumbles, dazed and bleeding, onto shore.

I kneel because I know that someday—maybe today—I’m going to die.




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4/22/13 11:36 P

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thanks for sharing

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4/22/13 6:31 P

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Excellent and informative discussion of the meaning of fasting.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Chinese philosopher Laozi
IAM_HIS's Photo IAM_HIS Posts: 44,211
4/22/13 9:11 A

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Fasting: A Powerful Spiritual Tool
By Scott P. Richert

What Fasting Is:


Fasting, broadly speaking, is the voluntary avoidance of something that is good. When Catholics talk about fasting, we normally mean restricting the food that we eat. We can fast between meals, by not eating snacks, or we can engage in a complete fast by abstaining from all food. The English word breakfast, in fact, means the meal that breaks the fast.

While fasting takes the form of refraining from eating, it is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that we can concentrate on higher things.

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving - The Swiss Army Knife of the Spirit:


That is why fasting is usually mentioned along with prayer and almsgiving (or charity). By controlling the passions of the body, we free our souls for prayer. And by refraining from eating, we free up food or money that we can give to those less fortunate than ourselves. The three spiritual disciplines go hand in hand, and the Church calls us to practice all three together, especially during the season of Lent.

Lenten Fasting and Penance:


Lent, the 40 days before Easter Sunday, is a season of the Church calendar set aside for Christians to do penance in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Refraining from food can help us to bring our bodies under the control of our souls, but it is also a way of doing penance for past excesses. That is why the Church strongly recommends that Catholics fast during Lent.

Current Church Law Regarding Fasting:


The Church used to prescribe very rigorous rules for the Lenten fast (including abstinence from all meat and eating only one meal per day). The current rules, however, are much more lax. Catholics are only required to fast on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and on Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ was crucified. Anyone over the age of 18, but under the age of 60, should eat only one full meal on those days, although they can also have small amounts of food in the morning and the evening.

•What Are the Rules for Fasting and Abstinence in the Catholic Church?

Going Beyond What’s Required:
The Church continues to encourage individual Catholics to observe a stricter fast. Extreme fasting, however, can be physically harmful, so, as with all physical forms of penance and of spiritual discipline, you should consult with your priest before embarking on a very strict fast.


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4/17/13 7:48 A

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WHOA! What a meditation! Thank you, Sharon!!!
As always, God's timing is right on!
emoticon

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!


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4/17/13 12:12 A

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no thank you my friend

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4/16/13 8:56 A

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Thank you Dee

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4/15/13 11:29 P

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Amen thanks for sharing

DEE Southern New Jersey
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Faith makes all thing possible
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God is Good all the time. All the time GOD is good.

Let your life be like Angel Food Cake...sweet and Light---




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4/15/13 9:40 A

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My Faulty Imagination and the Infinite God
January 30, 2013 by Ariel McKinney



Many times, I unknowingly think about God’s fullness in incomplete terms. I forget just how glorious, rich, and deep His divinity is. Of Girl Praying - Roberto Ferruzzicourse, I know that He is so much greater than my heart could ever fathom, but since He appears to us in the New Testament as the Word Made Flesh, He always appears in my mind as Christ in his human likeness, rather than as Lord of all, with both human and divine wills and natures fused as one.

So as I tried to fall asleep last night, this realization hit me, and I suddenly shuddered at the thought of dying and standing before my God- who is not just a man, but the eternal, powerful, magnificent, perfect, creator of all things, in every generation, past, present and future. He is holding everything into existence at this very moment. He allows for every breeze, every breath, every moment to be as He wishes. With one word, He can terminate the cosmos as we know it. He doesn’t have to keep the universe spinning. Nor does He need us. We do not add to God’s fullness. Otherwise, God wouldn’t be, well, God. He would be dependent on something else for His existence, and therefore wouldn’t be able to be the creator of all, requiring our love for his own sustainment and power. Thus, since God is entirely full and happy in Himself, He creates and sustains out of complete love.

How little am I, entirely dependent on His hand to keep me existing here on this earth. I did not create myself. Nor did my parents. They did not give me a soul and breathe life into me. They were simply God’s instruments for my creation. Moreover, I did not choose to be born. God willed it, for the sole purpose of uniting me with Him so that I could be happy. How, then could I even dare think that I’m worthy enough to stand before Him and say that I did all that I could to love and serve Him on Earth! How many times I’ve failed Him- out of laziness, tiredness, sensuality and pride. I can’t even begin to imagine how penetrating his gaze will be when He looks at me. He won’t just see me as I am, but as He imagined and created me to be, regardless of if I met those expectations or not. He will see all that I accomplished, all that I built up and all that I destroyed. He will reveal His knowledge of all of my thoughts and desires, spoken and unspoken. With all of this in mind, how then can I neglect the awesome wonders of God’s divinity when I think about Him?

This kind of meditation doesn’t always penetrate my thoughts everyday when I sit in prayer. I can’t always imagine how glorious God is. It comes and goes. I wish I could hold on to this realization more often, and keep it always present in the front of my mind, so that I remember my purpose in life, and the blessings and love that I am continually given. So maybe it’s my lack of imagination. Maybe I pay attention too much to the every day grind and forget where I’m actually going. Perhaps I’ll try this week to really focus on this small revelation of mine and look at all of the aspects of my life differently, so that Christ in His divinity is more present and real in my heart. Even though I am faulty, because of His mercy and the sacraments of the Catholic Church, I look forward to how glorious and wonderful and loving God will be when I die, if I approach Him with trust, mercy and a heart full of passionate love for Him.


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4/15/13 9:38 A

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What is a charismatic Catholic?
April 15, 2013 by Fr. John Bartunek, LC


Q: Dear Father John, Could you help me understand what a charismatic Catholic is? When I Carlo Dolci - The Holy Family with God_the_Father_and_the_Holy_Spirit_-_WGA06
376 Wikimedia Commonsthink of putting charisms to work in our lives, as gifts from God, I think the apostles are charismatic. But what is this ‘charismatic movement’? It appears to hold some differences from old fashioned Catholicism. And again, thank you for The Better Part; it continues to bring breadth and depth to my relationship with Jesus.

A: I don’t think anyone could give you a single definition for “charismatic Catholic.” But within the panoply of movements and associations that find their home inside the Catholic Church, there is a fairly new one called the Catholic Charismatic Movement. This Movement has grown and spread within the Church, and with periodic papal encouragement, since 1967. I can point you to this website for plenty more to read about its nature, history, mission, and spirituality: http://iccrs.org/en/index.php/ccr/.

From a more general perspective, though, I can make a few observations about your concern regarding the relationship between new movements, like the Charismatic Renewal (but it’s not the only one), and what you refer to as “old-fashioned Catholicism.”

SEMPER REFORMANDA

An old medieval phrase describes the Church as “semper reformanda,” or “always in need of reform.” Welcoming, living and spreading the message of Jesus Christ are activities at the heart of the Church. But in this fallen world, those activities are not easy to do. In fact, a spiritual battle rages, and our spiritual enemies are tirelessly working against our growth and missionary progress. As St. Peter puts it: “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith” (1 Peter 5:8).

The Holy Spirit, as the real protagonist in the life of the Church, continually works to keep the Church young and vibrant in the face of the obstacles and challenges that this state of spiritual warfare engenders. He protects the Church’s sacramental ministry, its governing ministry, and its teaching ministry – these are the basic foundations of the life of the Church in every age.

NEW INSPIRATIONS

But the Holy Spirit also breathes new inspirations into members of the Church in different periods of its history. In accordance with the needs and opportunities of the various places and times in which Christians have to live and work, new charisms (spiritual gifts given primarily for the good of the body of believers) can be poured out by the Holy Spirit.

This was the origin of the monastic movement in the early centuries of Christianity. This gave rise to the mendicant orders (like the Franciscans and the Dominicans) in the Middle Ages. Likewise, all the vast and beautiful array of religious orders, missionary and apostolic associations, and ecclesial movements that have cropped up and keep cropping up are manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s constant renewal activity. New devotions and spiritualities are also part of this activity – like Devotion to the Sacred Heart when it began a period of expansion in the 1600 and 1700s, and Devotion to the Divine Mercy, which received a powerful impulse through St. Faustina in the early 20th century. The Church is “semper reformanda,” and the Holy Spirit is the director of that ongoing reform.

GROWING PAINS

Every time a new outpouring of the Spirit gives rise to something new in the Church, it also causes a kind of disruption. The monastic movement was new; it was different from “old-fashioned” Catholicism of the time. St. Francis and St. Dominic had to work hard to get their new Orders approved by the Church, because many people were suspicious that their new-fangled ideas were out of tune with ancient traditions. St. Teresa of Avila suffered terrible resistance when she was moved by the Holy Spirit to spearhead a reform of her Carmelite order (in her case, she wanted to go back to older traditions, and some of her contemporaries were against it).

And in our own day, many of the new ecclesial movements have had similar experiences: rough sailing as they find their way into the main stream of Catholic life. This is why the mere fact of something being new and different, in its forms or approaches to living out the faith, is not sufficient reason to discount it; the Holy Spirit can be extremely creative.

LITMUS TEST

On the other hand, not all movements of reform and renewal are driven by the Holy Spirit. Throughout history, many heresies and schisms have plagued the Church and wounded the Body of Christ under the auspices of reform.

The clearest sign of authenticity that we can look for, if we ever have any doubts, is obedience. If members of a new movement show consistent obedience and docility to legitimate Church authority, and especially if they receive official approval from that authority, we can be fairly certain that the Holy Spirit is with them. But if they don’t, we can rightly be suspicious. This is because the Holy Spirit will never contradict himself. He guides the normal governing and teaching ministries of the Church, so he will not at the same time inspire a new charism, a movement of renewal, that stubbornly contradicts those ministries.

Of course, just because a new movement or order enjoys official ecclesiastical approval doesn’t mean that all of its members will be saints. Not all Franciscans or Carmelites have been canonized, and some of them have even been heretical or caused scandal. But those individual cases don’t negate the action of the Holy Spirit in gifting the larger charism to the Church.

I hope this answer wasn’t a complete divergence from your original question. If it was, maybe some of our readers can give you something more satisfying than I did!

PS From Dan: The best book I have read on the Charismatic movement is by the current preacher of the Papal Household and his name is Fr. Cantalamessa. His book is called Sober Intoxication of the Spirit.







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4/13/13 10:33 P

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your welcome

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IAM_HIS's Photo IAM_HIS Posts: 44,211
4/12/13 11:58 P

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Thank you for this information!!

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4/12/13 10:39 P

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our church did Doctor Smalley

DEE Southern New Jersey
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4/12/13 3:00 A

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Dr. Smalley, his ministry is for counciling Christian Marriages. The Alexander House is for counseling Catholic Marriages.

Edited by: IAM_HIS at: 4/12/2013 (03:05)
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4/11/13 11:57 P

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didnt know about him have you hear of dr smalley

DEE Southern New Jersey
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Faith makes all thing possible
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God is Good all the time. All the time GOD is good.

Let your life be like Angel Food Cake...sweet and Light---




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4/11/13 9:00 A

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Do you know about the Alexander House?

Here is the website www.thealexanderhouse.org/

I sincerely hope you check it out. Marriage today needs lots of support and our personal commitment. This is a wonderful resource for all married couples.

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4/8/13 11:39 P

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thankyou

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Faith makes all thing possible
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God is Good all the time. All the time GOD is good.

Let your life be like Angel Food Cake...sweet and Light---




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4/8/13 2:02 P

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Thank you so very much for this Leah!! You blessed all of us today!

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4/8/13 11:18 A

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"Often we look for extraordinary and emotional encounters with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we think that unless we experience a special feeling or perceive a supernatural phenomenon, the Holy Spirit is not at work. Yet, Jesus shows us that the primary mode of operation followed by the Holy Spirit is the same one he followed in his Incarnation: he turns normal realities into vehicles of grace. The Holy Spirit acts in our lives powerfully through the sacraments of the Church, through the preaching and teaching of the Church’s ministers, and through our own prayer and reflection on the Scriptures. If we are ready to find the Holy Spirit in these ordinary channels that Christ has established, he will readily fill our lives with the extraordinary fruits of his action." Fr. John Bartunek, LC

This quote spoke volumes to me this morning... sometimes the daily-ness of life in general get to me...
Jesus turns NORMAL realities into vehicles of Grace!
Today I am going to look for those realities, and how He used them in my life.

Edited by: CATHOLICCORGI at: 4/8/2013 (11:20)
Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!


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4/5/13 11:54 P

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thank you

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4/5/13 4:00 A

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Speak Out Now: Pro-Lifers Must Oppose the HHS-Abortion Mandate
by William Saunders and Anna Franzonello | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/2/13 11:08 AM

Only one week remains to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opposing its anti-life mandate that forces private health insurance plans to cover drugs and devices with known life-ending mechanisms of action, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.

The comment period provides an important opportunity to directly address the Obama Administration about its decision to prioritize the abortion industry’s agenda at the expense of First Amendment guarantees.

Without a change to the so-called “HHS mandate,” pro-life options will be eliminated from the health insurance market. Your freedom of conscience will be compromised, unless you speak out now.

Many of you may be asking, “Didn’t I just submit a comment to HHS a few months ago?” The answer is yes, you did. (And thank you for that!) But it is important that you comment now because the Obama Administration has announced a “new” sham “accommodation.”

The silence of pro-life Americans will be counted as tacit consent to the Obama Administration’s latest iteration of its coercive, anti-life mandate.

Over at the AUL Action website, submitting a comment to HHS will take almost as little time and effort as changing your Facebook profile picture. And while social media has an important value, unlike a meme or a tweet, HHS is obligated to count, and consider, your comment.

Unfortunately, with only a week left to submit comments, pro-life Americans have been largely silent. To-date, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued in February 2013, which purportedly responds to the concerns of our previous comments, has received only 27,454 comments. That is little more than one-tenth of the comments submitted to last year’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

What percentage of the comments oppose the NPRM’s continued failure to protect the constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Conscience is unknowable. What is known is that the abortion industry has been lobbying its supporters to tell HHS to keep the coercive mandate.

It is critical that we do not give in to exhaustion and frustration, and allow our message to be overshadowed.

While HHS did not break-down the numbers of commenters in favor and against the suggestions of the ANPRM, it is safe to assume that opposition outweighed support. If the majority of commenters thought the ANPRM was a splendid idea, HHS would have said so. If the NPRM is lauded more than it is condemned, it is certain that HHS will report the divide.

The Obama Administration’s HHS may continue to not listen, and stick to its coercive policy. But they will certainly hear, and exploit, the silence of the pro-life movement.

It is time to speak out.


take action now: takeaction.aul.org/2013/03/defend-th
e-
freedom-of-conscience-tell-hhs-to-reR>scind-its-anti-life-mandate/


Edited by: IAM_HIS at: 4/5/2013 (04:02)
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4/4/13 9:08 P

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Thank you

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4/4/13 12:31 A

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Seven Spiritual Weapons

St. Catherine of Bologna was a woman who lived in the fifteenth century. In addition to the Sacraments, Prayer, and the Holy Intercession of the Saints like the Blessed Virgin Mary, she summarized for her sisters the seven spiritual weapons which she used to combat the flesh, the devil, and the allurements of the world.

They are summarized as follows:

1. The first weapon I call zeal, that is solicitude in doing good, since the Holy Scripture condemns those who are negligent and lukewarm in the way of God (Apocalypse 3.15-16).

2. The second weapon is mistrust of self, that is, to believe firmly and without doubt that one could never do anything good by oneself, as Christ Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15.5).

3.. The third weapon is to put one’s trust in God and for love of him to fiercely wage battle with great readiness of spirit against the devil and against the world and one’s own flesh which is given one in order that it might serve the spirit.

4. The fourth is the memory of the glorious pilgrimage of that immaculate lamb, Christ Jesus, and especially his most holy death and passion, keeping always before the eyes of our minds the presence of his most chaste and virginal humanity.

5. The fifth weapon is to remind oneself that we must die.

6. The sixth weapon is the memory of the goods of paradise which are prepared for those who lawfully struggle by abandoning all the vain pleasures of the present life in accord with the saying of the most holy doctor Saint Augustine that it is impossible to enjoy present goods and future ones too.

7. The seventh weapon with which we can conquer our enemies is the memory of Holy Scripture which we must carry in our hearts and from which, as from a most devoted mother, we must take counsel in the things we have to do.

For an in depth analysis of each of these, please read below.

[I] Of the First Weapon

(1) The first weapon I call zeal, that is solicitude in doing good, since the Holy Scripture condemns those who are negligent and lukewarm in the way of God (Apoc 3.15-16). The office of the Holy Spirit is to inspire in us good inspirations, while our duty is to accept them and put them into operation by waging continual violence against our sensuality which always invites us to what is contrary to what the spirit wills. (2) Therefore, it is necessary to resist it with true diligence and not to let the time granted to us pass by without acquiring the fruit of good works, as it is written: Whoever wishes to go up, let him rest not from thoughts, from speaking works and doing deeds, and always exerting himself in God but with discretion, so that when our adversary, like a wicked traitor, assails us from ambush, we can defend ourselves. (3) By “from ambush” I mean, when under the appearance of good he wishes to kill you, for there is as much danger in too much as in too little. And so I tell you “with discretion,” aware that this virtue establishes and perfects all the other virtues according to what was said by the glorious teacher of the ancient holy fathers, that is, St. Antonio of Vienna.(4) So it is proper for us to exercise with true discretion all the spiritual and temporal virtues. However, when the enemy sees that he cannot impede the servant of Christ from doing good, he will seek to entice her with doing too much. So exercise all the virtues in proper measure that the weapon of true and diligent discretion may be exercised by us for our salvation and for the praise of Christ. Amen.

[II] Of the Second Weapon

The second weapon is mistrust of self, that is, to believe firmly and without doubt that one could never do anything good by oneself, as Christ Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jo 15.5). Nor could one resist successfully the fury of the infernal enemies for their cunning wickedness. And if someone does confide in her own wisdom and will not do this, let her know for certain that by just judgment she will fall into great ruin and let her be aware that this enemy is more malicious than others even in this wickedness. (2) And therefore, the second weapon for fighting against this enemy tells one not to trust in oneself, and blessed is she who has this noble quality in herself. And to the extent that the person is in a greater state of virtue or exercises the office of prelate, the more her need for it. (3) I received this example from an old and very proven religious who said that when he was a prelate, whenever he was about to begin some task pertaining to his office of governing the monastery, if he did it according to his inclination, God most often allowed some anxiety or tribulation; and if on the contrary, he did it according to the counsel and inclination of the majority of his subjects, it always turned out well and often he found himself consoled. (4) Now, then, how could the subject, especially one newly entered into religion, have such presumption that she would want to live by her own lights and her foolish fervor and not rather by the counsel and will of her superior and mistress so that the virtue of holy humility might shine in her and the weapon of self-diffidence might be wielded by her. To the praise of Christ. Amen.

[III] Of The Third Weapon.

The third weapon is to put one’s trust in God and for love of him to fiercely wage battle with great readiness of spirit against the devil and against the world and one’s own flesh which is given one in order that it might serve the spirit. And as we stand triumphant with the feet of our affectivity on these enemies, we trust in God with firm hope that he will give us his grace abundantly, by which we will have complete victory over all our enemies and will know that he does not abandon those who hope in him. (2) Whenever the servant and spouse of Christ, by the permission of God, finds herself in a grave and dangerous storm, she cries from her heart toward heaven, saying: “God do not abandon me.” Then, however much she feared and doubted whether she was abandoned, she will be raised up by the divine and hidden mystery to the highest perfection with God. (3) We have an example of this in his only Son, when, at the point of a painful and bitter death, he cried out, saying: “Father, why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27.46). (4) This happened because the divine, united inseparably to him, really abandoned the human and sensitive part in his nature. This was the aim of justice, so that the painful obedience of Christ (Ro 5.19) would cancel the pleasure of the disobedience of our first father. (5) Returning to our theme, the servant of Christ does not fear abandonment whatever it might seem sometimes, for she knows that God our eternal Father will not allow this to happen just as he did not allow it to happen to his own Son. Even then, when she finds herself in great straits and tribulation, she will increase her trust in the divine aid, recalling the sweet promise that he made to us through the mouth of the prophet: “With him I am in tribulation; I will snatch him up and glorify him” (Ps 91.15). (6) Who would not want to be troubled in order to have so sweet and faithful a companion, who offers to be with his faithful in time of adversity? Here we have all the more cause to want more strongly to be troubled than consoled, and in this, to hold to firm hope; that is the third weapon we are to employ, entrusting ourselves to God. To the praise of Christ. Amen.
[IV] Of the Fourth Weapon.

(1) The fourth is the memory of the glorious pilgrimage of that immaculate lamb, Christ Jesus, and especially his most holy death and passion, keeping always before the eyes of our minds the presence of his most chaste and virginal humanity. This is the best means for winning each battle, and without it, we will not achieve victory over our enemies. Every other weapon will achieve little without this one which surpasses all the rest. (2) O most glorious passion and cure for all our wounds. O mother most faithful, who lead your children to the heavenly Father. O true and gentle refuge in all adversities. O supportive nurse who guide child-like minds to the heights of perfection. O refulgent mirror, who illumine those who look at you and recognize their deformities. O impenetrable shield who most smartly defend those who hide behind you. O manna37 suffused with every fulsome sweetness, you are the one who guards those who love you from every deadly poison. (3) O ladder most high who raise up to infinite goods those who fly upward upon you. O true and restorative hospice for pilgrim souls. O ever flowing font who provide drink for the thirsty who are inflamed for you. O abundant sea for those who row on you in their derelict boat. O sweet olive tree who stretch your branches through all the universe. O spouse, gentle to the soul which is always in love with you and does not look toward others. (4) And so exercise yourselves untiringly in this, dearest and kindest sisters and gaze upon yourselves in his radiant splendor so that, in this way, you can conserve the beauty of your souls. Truly this passion is that wise mistress who will lead you, beloved novices, to the beauty of all the virtues, and in this way, you will attain the mantle of victory. To the praise of Christ. Amen.

[V] Of the Fifth Weapon

(1) The fifth weapon is to remind oneself that we must die. This time is called the time of mercy in which God looks down day after day so that we can amend our lives from good to better. If we do not do this, we will have to render account, not only of the evils we have done, but also of the goods left undone by our negligence. And so Paul the glorious apostle spoke well: “Let us do good while we have time” (Gal 6.10). (2) So often think about death and always stand ready for it, for we know neither the day nor the hour when the most strict judge will command us to render account of the talent of good will granted to us so we could exercise it in praise of him and for the salvation of our soul and of our neighbors. (3) Novices should especially be on guard, as was said above, lest, out of excessive confidence in themselves, they trespass the rule imposed on them by their superiors and mistresses. They should devote all their effort to walking along that way which is marked for them regarding the regimen of body and soul. I say this because sometimes the enemy, with shrewd cunning, leads those who are only slightly instructed in the spiritual battle to think that they must soon die and that they will have little to show for themselves if they do not do further penance. (4) For this reason, the malignant one strives and studies to make them exceed the rule of true obedience which is without any doubt more meritorious than any penance they could do. So it is necessary to use with good judgment this weapon of recollection of our death, so that it can be utilized for the salvation of the soul and for the praise of Christ. Amen.

[VI] Of the Sixth Weapon.

(1) The sixth weapon is the memory of the goods of paradise which are prepared for those who lawfully struggle by abandoning all the vain pleasures of the present life in accord with the saying of the most holy doctor Saint Augustine that it is impossible to enjoy present goods and future ones too. (2) So, dear sisters, be content not to have in this world any pleasure or any beloved, and do not grow tired of denying your own will, remembering what our patriarch St. Francis said, that is, that the most excellent and greatest gift that God’s servant can receive from God in this world is to conquer himself by denying his own will. So he said: “So great is the good that I behold / that every wound is beloved by me,”38 in order to show how, through the memory of eternal things, he rejoiced in suffering evil. (3) And in confirmation of the joys which are prepared for you, dearest sisters, I will offer the following example: when I entered this present monastery, not long after I entered the present monastery, there entered a young woman who, after she was here for a little while, tired of doing good and regretted having abandoned the way of the world. And it happened that, being in that frame of mind, she went to make her confession to a very worthy servant of Christ to whom she said that she wanted to return to the world. (4) He was startled by this and responded: “Daughter, be careful what you are about to do for I have received a vision this night or rather early this morning which caused me to wonder a great deal because I did not know what it wished to signify.” She said: “Please tell me about it.” (5) And he said: “I was led to a beautiful feast where there were countless young ladies all over who were resplendent with indescribable beauty, and they were clothed with wondrous glory and had garlands of beautiful flowers on their heads. And thus adorned, they walked toward a young lady who evidently wished to walk in their company. And so with much jubilation and festive honor and glory, they drew up in front of her to receive her as she wished. (6) And when they were in front of her, she seemed to regret having come and turned around, and when that most noble company saw her do that, it seemed that all Romagna was sad. At that moment the vision disappeared. And then, returning to myself, I pondered what this vision was supposed to signify, but now I understand for sure that God has shown that to me by your coming. (7) For this reason, I beg you, daughter, that you not follow your current evil desire and temptation, but stand strong and persevere until the end, so that you can finally reach that noble feast and company which I saw, and rest eternally with these glorious virgins who await you.” (8) When she heard this, she resolved to stay with us, more from shame than anything else. But after a little time had passed, when it was observed that she did not carry herself in a religious way, she was sent back to her family and quickly came to the end of her life amid the vanities of the world. Thus was verified the vision of the servant of God, because, losing the crown of her virginity, she was justly deprived of rising up to the virginal province which the servant of Christ had seen. (9) So, beloved sisters, be strong and constant in persevering in doing good solely for the pure love of our Lord God and hope firmly in the goods of paradise so that you can finally reach them saying together with our seraphic St. Francis: “Those who are just await me until you reward me” (Ps 142.8). To the praise of Christ. Amen.

[VII] Of the Seventh Weapon.

(1) Of the seventh weapon I will elaborate more at length. I will do this in order to make clear a subtle trick played on one of the first sisters by the enemy of our salvation. This is the reason that I have been moved to write the present little book as a warning and instruction for all the novice sisters who are here at present or will follow in the future in this monastery, the salvation of whom, together with that of all rational creatures, I have so desired. With the frequent and daily demand of divine help it seemed to me that in a brief time I would lack the natural powers of my fragile body, so that even with great violence I could scarcely finish compiling this book. The great weakness caused me to tremble, not only in the hand, but also in the head and throughout my body. I would be content, for love of Christ Jesus, if instead, I finished the mortal path and the deadly deceits of the journey.(2) The seventh weapon with which we can conquer our enemies is the memory of Holy Scripture which we must carry in our hearts and from which, as from a most devoted mother, we must take counsel in the things we have to do. Thus we read of the most prudent and consecrated virgin St. Cecilia where it says: “She always bore the gospel of Christ hidden in her heart.”39 (3) And with this weapon, our savior Christ Jesus conquered and confounded the devil in the desert saying: “It is written” (Lk 4.1-13). Therefore, dearest sisters, let not the daily readings that you read in the choir and at table go without effect; and let the thoughts which you hear each day in the gospels and epistles at Mass be new letters sent to you by your heavenly spouse. And with great and fervent love put them in your breast, and when you have more time, think about them; do this especially when you are in your cell so that you can better and more securely embrace gently and chastely the things which they command you. (4) By doing this you will find yourselves continuously consoled because you will often receive news from the one whom you love above all else. O how sweet and gentle is the divine discourse of Christ Jesus in the soul of her who is truly enflamed by love of him! Is not the word Christ’s own sweet and mellifluous mouth the evangelical doctrine? Certainly it is, and so how attentively you should listen to it and taste it. (5) And here I put an end to the aforesaid weapons. But in this regard I beg you, dear sisters, that you learn to use them wisely and never be found without them so that you can better obtain the triumph of victory against your adversaries. And be on guard that you are not deceived by the mere appearance of good, for the devil sometimes appears in the appearance of Christ or of the virgin Mary or in the shape of an angel of a saint. Therefore, in every apparition that occurs, take up the weapon of Scripture which shows how the mother of Christ comported herself when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. She said to him: “What is this greeting?” (Lk 1.29). (7) Follow her example in every appearance and feeling, and you will want to test much better whether it is a good or a wicked spirit before you listen to him. Blessed is whoever does this. Also, it is not less necessary to keep a close guard on thoughts of the mind, since the devil sometimes puts good and holy thoughts in the mind to deceive it under the appearance of virtue, and after that, in order to show what it is, tries and assaults one strongly with the vice which is contrary to this virtue. This the enemy does in order to be able to entice the person into the ditch of desperation.


Edited by: IAM_HIS at: 4/4/2013 (08:18)
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The Church Gets Going (John 20:19-31)
April 3, 2013 by Fr. John Bartunek, LC


Christ who is God, supreme over all, has arranged to wash man clean of sin and to make our old nature new.”
- St. Hippolytus

John 20:19-31: In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’ Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe’. Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Christ the Lord We call St. Thomas the Apostle “doubting Thomas”; we may be off the mark in doing so. Jesus did not ask the other apostles to believe in his resurrection without showing them the wounds in his hands and sides. Thomas was merely demanding his rights as an apostle when he demanded the same privilege. And none of the others responded to the risen Christ with a faith as complete and firm as Thomas’: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas knew what this meant. He knew that if Christ has come back from the dead, then everything he said about himself, everything he claimed to be, was true. Jesus blessed him for his faith.


Our faith, and the faith of all Christians throughout the centuries, is built upon the solid foundation of the apostles’ testimony to the risen Christ, a testimony validated by twenty uninterrupted centuries of Church life, of saints and martyrs, of sacraments, Liturgy, and a college of bishops that links us directly, even physically, to that little group of frightened apostles who encountered the Risen One. Blessed indeed are we who have believed: although we have not seen Christ in the flesh, we have seen, experienced, and benefited from the undeniable work of his Spirit. In times of darkness and doubt, we know where to look to recover the light.

At the beginning of creation, “the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) When God created man and woman, he “formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” The word for “wind” in Hebrew (and in Greek, the language of the New Testament) is the same as the word for “breath” and “Spirit.” Thus, when St. John points out the detail of Jesus breathing on the disciples as he gives them the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the commission to carry on his work of evangelization, he is calling to mind the “wind” and the “breathing” of the first creation. The Fathers of the Church understood this first post-Resurrection appearance to the apostles as the start of a new creation. Jesus has won the forgiveness of sin, which marred the first creation, and dubs his apostles messengers and distributors of this forgiveness. As they spread it throughout the world and build up the Church, all mankind is to be renewed, elevated to a more sublime intimacy with God. As St. Paul put it, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Christ the Teacher Jesus Christ is the only Savior, the only Mediator between sinful, fallen mankind and the one God who can give them eternal life. He achieved his mediation by his loving obedience to God’s will even through humiliation, torture, and death on a cross. This obedience reversed the disobedience of Adam, and reestablished communion between God and men; it opened once again the flow of God’s grace. In his first appearance to the confused group of apostles on the first Easter, he teaches us how he wants that flow of grace to irrigate the human family: through the ministry of the Church guided by the Twelve Apostles. He bequeathed his peace to them; he sent them on a mission just as his Father had sent him; he breathed his Spirit into them; he transferred to them his divine power of absolving from sin, the very thing that obstructs our communion with God. Do we wish to find Easter joy, won for us at such a terrible price? We need only dip into the flowing fountain of God’s grace, which is his one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.

At the beginning of his Gospel, St. Matthew told us why Jesus came among us: “He will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) In this first meeting with his apostles after his atoning sacrifice on the cross, Christ eagerly begins the fulfillment of that mission. His first post-resurrection deed is to “breathe” on the Twelve, inaugurating as it were a new creation (God had “breathed” into Adam’s nostrils to give him life at the first creation), one that will rise up from the first creation that had been so disfigured by sin. And with that breath, he delegates to them his power to wipe sins away, to administer the forgiveness from sin that he won through his self-oblation on Calvary. Ever since, that ministry has been carried our through the sacrament of confession. How eager Christ was to grant this surpassing grace to his Church! How close it must be to his heart if it was one of the first things he did after coming back from the dead! If he cares about it that much, then so should we.

Often we look for extraordinary and emotional encounters with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we think that unless we experience a special feeling or perceive a supernatural phenomenon, the Holy Spirit is not at work. Yet, Jesus shows us that the primary mode of operation followed by the Holy Spirit is the same one he followed in his Incarnation: he turns normal realities into vehicles of grace. The Holy Spirit acts in our lives powerfully through the sacraments of the Church, through the preaching and teaching of the Church’s ministers, and through our own prayer and reflection on the Scriptures. If we are ready to find the Holy Spirit in these ordinary channels that Christ has established, he will readily fill our lives with the extraordinary fruits of his action.

Christ the Friend St. John tells us why he wrote his Gospel: he wants us to believe in Jesus Christ, so that we may “have life through his name.” Life. We cherish life, and yet we sense that there is more to it than the limited version we experience. Our hearts seem unsatisfied even by all that life offers us. We always want more. God made us like that. He made us thirsty for a happiness that only he can give, in order to make sure that we would seek him. Our life is a quest for Jesus Christ, a quest of which he is the author, the companion, and the end. He wants to give us what we most want; he asks only that we believe in him, that we trust and follow him.

Thomas: When Jesus turned to me and told me to touch his wounds, his eyes were merry. I had been stunned when he appeared, but then I felt ashamed when he made reference to my earlier comments. But his eyes were so bright, so inviting, that I stepped forward. He held out his hands, those same hands that had cured so many sick and crippled people, those strong, carpenter’s hands that had multiplied the loaves and commanded the sea. He held them out to me. They were pierced through, but he was smiling. I looked at them. They were wounded hands; I held them, and I felt the wounds. Then he took my left hand and brought it to his side. He was really there. The Lord had returned – the same Lord. It was no ghost, no vision. It was the Lord, the Teacher. And I looked back into his eyes, and it was as if I had seen him for the first time. That’s when I knew. I knew in an instant that it was true, that he was not simply a rabbi, a prophet, or a king. I knew that he was Yahweh himself. Yahweh himself had come to visit his people, to save them. I fell on my knees. I cried with joy. Emmanuel! Really, truly… The New Covenant had finally come.

Christ in My Life Why don’t I trust you more? If you were to let me see the wounds in your hands and feet and sides, would that be any more evidence than you have already given me of your greatness, your goodness, your presence, and the transforming power of your love? Lord Jesus, I want you to be in the center of my life. You are God, and you know my name, and you call to me. I want to hear you, Lord…

How passionately I should love your Church! It is your chosen instrument for reaching out and touching each one of your beloved brothers and sisters everywhere in the world. How would I have found you if it were not for your Church? Bless your Church, Lord. Make it grow, make it flourish; fill it with saints. Teach me to be a joyful, faithful child of the Church. To build it up right here, right now…

I have tasted the life you have in store for me. I know the difference you have made in my life. I know that I need your grace, and I know where to find it and how to cooperate with it: by seeking out and fulfilling your will. But what about all the people in the world who don’t know what a difference you can make, who don’t know where to find the grace they thirst for? Make me a channel of your peace




Edited by: IAM_HIS at: 4/4/2013 (08:04)
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Amen

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God is Good all the time. All the time GOD is good.

Let your life be like Angel Food Cake...sweet and Light---




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THE ANGELUS

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

This wonderful prayer evolved from a recitation of three Hail Mary’s following an evening bell around the 12th century to its present form (with morning and midday recitations) in the 16th century.

When prayed in a group setting a leader recites the verses and everyone recites both the responses and the Hail Mary’s in between each verse, as shown above.

Although the Angelus has been traditionally said three times daily, at 6 am, noon and 6 pm, you can pray it at anytime! It is still accompanied by the ringing of a bell (the Angelus bell) in some places such as Vatican City and parts of Germany and Ireland. The Regina Coeli prayer (which may also be sung as a hymn) replaces the Angelus during the Easter season.

The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico, courtesy of Wikipedia The Angelus reminds us of the Annunciation (shown in this famous rendition at left by Fra Angelico), when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with great, (if somewhat startling), news! As we read in Chapter One of Luke’s Gospel, (Luke 1:26-38) God wished Mary, truly a model of humility, to be the mother of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!

His desire for her brings to mind the line from Matthew’s gospel: “Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12).

Mary was the perfect choice. She had been born without the stain of original sin, as defined by the Church’s dogma of the Immaculate Conception. (Note that the Immaculate Conception relates to Mary’s conception, not our Lord’s.)

When Mary calls herself the handmaid, the servant, of the Lord, in the Angelus (from Luke 1:38) it is with inspiring humility and sincerity. How many politicians do we see today who talk a good game about service but basically just want to set up their own little fiefdoms and raid the public cookie jar? Or how many other insincere displays of humility do we see on TV or in our daily lives?

Mary’s humility was genuine. As St. Alphonsus de Liquori notes in his classic work The Glories of Mary, “her only desire was that her Creator, the giver of every good thing, should be praised and blessed.”

She thought of herself first and foremost as God’s servant, seeking glory not for herself but rather for Him. In so doing, she became, as St. Augustine put it rather poetically, a “heavenly ladder, by which God came into the world,” descending from heaven to earth, to become flesh in her womb.

Mary was happy to have God work through her. As she expressed it most famously in the canticle the Magnificat, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46-47). St. Paul echoed this wonderful sentiment when he wrote that “he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17).

The Angelus pays tribute to a crucial aspect of Mary’s role in the Incarnation, when it quotes from Luke’s Gospel “be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38). This wonderful event could not have happened without her consent, without what is known as her fiat. By saying “yes” to God in allowing herself to become His mother, she showed us the ultimate example of trust in our Creator!

Do you think that having that kind of faith is too daunting a task? Think about the ways in which God calls each of in our daily lives. Do we say “yes” when Christ wants to work through us in showing His love to others? Or when He asks us to be graceful in trying situations? Prayer and meditation on God’s Word in scripture can help us to do His will.

Speaking of God’s word, the Angelus completes its short summary of the Incarnation with the moving reference to our Lord from John’s Gospel: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). As we read in the letter to the Hebrews, Christ was like us in all things but without sin (Heb 4:15). St. Bernard noted that our Lord came to show us His love so that He might then experience ours.

The lines that follow about being made worthy of the promises of Christ are also found in the Rosary and tie in well with what follows: an appeal for God’s grace to help us in our pilgrimage of faith.

Jesus loved us enough to die for us so that we might live with Him eternally! When we pray the Angelus with humility and love, we are emulating Mary’s faith in His goodness. We are blessed in that we can ask both God and His Blessed Mother for their assistance on our journey towards Eternal Life!


Edited by: IAM_HIS at: 4/1/2013 (06:08)
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