Tag Archive: charity

Pentecost: Holy Spirit


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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.
V. Lord, send forth your Spirit, and we shall be re-created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.   O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, does instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that we may be responsive to His inspirations and may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, through Christ Our Lord. Amen

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When we say, “God” we either think of God the Father, as in creation, or we think of Jesus, the Son, His life, death and the example He gave to us, on how to live. However, it seems like we, mankind, relegate the Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit, to the side lines. It is as though He is a bit player in a one-act play. He is hardly noticed, and rarely thought of. We really must re-think what our beliefs are about the Trinity. Reams have been written about the existence of God, the Trinity of three persons in one God, and the relationships between the three. This is not the place to begin a dissertation on the Trinity.

Suffice it to say, “There is only one God”. To God we associate the creation of life, the world, and everything that exists or has existed. We also associate to God the redemption of the world, in the person of the Christ. And then we say, the Spirit of God, what does this mean? The Father and Son, Creator and Redeemer, both co-exist from all eternity. The Father does not exist before the Son, nor the Son, before the Father. And the love, the wisdom that exists between the two, is so perfect that it, too, is Divine. The Sanctifier is no bit player, but the power, the energy that flows from God to mankind. If we seek understanding, we seek the Holy Spirit. If we seek patience, or self-control, or gentleness, or any quality we see as being necessary in us to fulfill our mission in life, then we seek the Holy Spirit. The Creator has given us life. The Redeemer has shown us what we must do. The Sanctifier is the One who will guide us, instruct us, and aid us on bringing our lives into the realm of true living.

Whether we realize it or not, when we say, “God help me”, we are imploring the Holy Spirit to aid us. Devotion to the Holy Spirit is paramount for all of us, if we are to grow in the love of Jesus Christ. If we are to cope with the problems of this world, if we are to strive to grow in our love of others, if we are to understand our own short comings, then it is to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, we must turn. He is there waiting for each of us to implore His assistance, His guidance. But we must ask.

Grow to love the following prayer. Memorize and meaningfully pray it often throughout your day. It really cries out to God, to help us be the person that He intends us to be:

Come Holy Spirit enlighten my heart to see the things which are of God;
Come Holy Spirit, into my mind that I may know the things that are of God;
Come Holy Spirit into my soul that I belong only to God;
Sanctify all that I think, say and do, that all will be for the glory of God. Amen.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Are We Moving To Or Away From Pentecost
2) Head Or Gut- Brain Or Heart
3) Our Demons
4) Peace Vs. Fear
5) Peace and Beauty

A Time For Love

a time to love

We are a week into Lent. This is a holy time for all of us. It is during this time that we can take a good look at ourselves. Look and see what we are doing, and what we are capable of doing. This time of forty days, a holy time, is our opportunity to watch with Him and pray with Him.

Try not to look at Lent as what am I giving up? What should I not eat? What should I not do? Or even, it may seem strange, who will I help?  If we choose to give up something, or perform some action for Lent, that is fine, but it doesn’t end there. The money that we keep, the time that we gain, is NOT the end, is NOT the purpose of the “sacrifice”. Rather, what will I do with this extra time? Be ready to give that money saved to someone who you come upon that needs it, who will benefit by it. There is nothing magical in the sacrifice, itself. There is a purpose in it. The purpose is something that you will figure out for yourself. Let me explain.

All of us wish to lead good lives. All wish to be better people; all wish to love Christ more deeply. Lent is a time for us to fall more deeply in love with Jesus. This falling in love with Jesus is not accomplished by doing without, as if we are going to prove to Jesus that we love Him, by what we give, or the pain we are willing to endure. We can say, “Lord, I love you” until we are blue in the face, but what does that really prove. Even a parrot can be taught to say that over and over again.  Use Lent to build your love with Jesus. There was a song, many years ago, “To know him is to love him”. During this Lent, get to know Him better. Read the New Testament. Talk to Him in your personal prayer. Tell Him what you are feeling, what you are experiencing. Talk to Him as you would a close friend. And then listen in your heart for his response. We will get to know Him and in that knowing we will love Him. That love will spill out into actions, actions that will become obvious because of our love for Jesus.  In John 13: 35, we hear, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” It is by loving Him.

Our singular purpose in life is to love our God, to love Jesus. Everything else is a distraction from that one objective. We don’t love Jesus to be noticed by others. We don’t love Him to feel better about ourselves. We don’t even love Him so that our sins are forgiven. We love Him, solely, because He is Goodness, itself, because love begets love. So, our love for Jesus spills out into actions towards others. We cannot plan whom we will help as though it were a military objective. We can see a need, and out of love for Jesus, we can try to do our best in satisfying that need. We don’t look at the person, their worthiness, their cleanliness, their likeability and then decide if we can help them or not. We look at Jesus, the source of all love, and allow His love to guide us in our actions.

Thoughts on Pope’s Resignation

pope benedict

A friend of mine sent me an email, with some comments made by a Bob Betterton. If you wish to see his remarks, go to Betterton on Pope Gregory XVI Resignation. This is the reply I sent to my friend’s email.

I never heard of Bob Betterton, so I “Googled” his bio. He attended two colleges, LeMoyne and Fordham, both Jesuit institutions.In one of his books he speaks about going from a compliant catholic, to a curious catholic and now as a practicing critical catholic. I assume we are hearing the critical catholic, now. His statement of “Dear All” speaks a lot. In those two words, we are hearing a pronouncement from the master. (I personally think the Mr. Betterton has an extremely high opinion of himself.) But that is neither hear nor there.

I could be wrong, but it seems that everyone who has a contrary opinion comes out of Jesuit institutions. I suspect that the philosophy of that organization is to teach people to ALWAYS be critical of what is said. In and of itself, that is good. What is bad is that not everyone who is critical has the … wholesomeness??… (not sure that is the correct word) to provide positive counter thoughts. So much for my “argumentum ad hominem”. I will address his statements rather than attack the man.

I think , (I could be wrong, admittedly), that a plot against the church is being depicted. Maybe my head is buried in the sand, but I cannot help but think  that Mr. Betterton must have been privy to some secret conversation. Was he in a Roman wine cellar and overheard a conversation? Who does he know that presented this information to him? In short, where are his FACTS? Speculation is…. speculation!! And that is specious, at best. He sees ghosts and goblins. He expects dire consequences. His own words, “This is one of the most diabolical, Machiavellian, tyrannical, unconscionable and disgraceful plots in history”. Why would this be considered a plot? If perpetuating Benedict XVI’s philosophy is a plot then he, obviously, doesn’t like what has been going on in the church for the last 8 or 9 years..Having another pope with the same mind-set as Benedict the XVI would be devastating to Mr. Betterton. He, obviously wants more change. Why? What areas does he not like? Where is he most re-active? Unfortunately, I don’t know that much about him.

What I feel is that more and more of the people who have our ear, are presenting THEMSELVES.What has happened to hope? Where has trust in God, gone? Jesus said in reference to His church, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Apparently, Mr. Betterton feels that Jesus gave a timeline to those words. Does he think that the church will now flounder and fall? Does he think that this is the time? I feel that the 80 year old, Mr. Betterton, himself, is running out of time and wishes to have some impact on the church that he loves. (my observation, no factual content, deductions that I am making.)

My opinion: The world, the church is going through some very, very difficult times. No one feels comfortable in what is going on. No one person has the answer. The one person that could make a change has already come and been crucified. He did, however, give us the blueprint for conducting our lives. He has shown us how to live, “I am the way…” He was telling us how to live, what to do in times such as these. Pray. Pray for the people who rule. Pray for the countries in turmoil. Pray for the cities and towns we live in. Pray for our families. Prayer: “A lifting up of our hearts and minds to God”. …to Jesus. If  we truly pray (not just words, but our feelings, our convictions) then we will be loving that which we pray for. To live as a Catholic Christian we must believe in God. We must trust God. We must love God and one another. Faith, Hope and Charity…but the greatest of these is charity.

Yours in Christ

The Gospel in Tuesday’s Mass pulled no punches. Jesus is talking to the crowds and His disciples. He tells them that whatever the Scribes and Pharisees tell them to do, they should do. Observe and practice whatever they tell you, for they are speaking from the words of Moses. He goes on and cautions them, however, don’t do what they do”. For what they preach, they do not practice.

This is the same Jesus who earlier was trying to point out to these same Scribes and the Pharisees their evil ways. He did this through parables, through examples. He did whatever He could to teach them and gently but firmly wake them up. The timeframe is shortly before the Passover and His death. Jesus cannot try to convince them anymore. Time is running out. Time is of the essence. Now all of His efforts must be directed at the people, the followers of the Judaic Law. He wants to point out to them that the words (the 10 Commandments) handed down by Moses should, and must, still be observed. The words spoken by the Scribes and Pharisees are true. But these same leaders do not observe the very things they preach. Don’t do what they do, don’t imitate their actions.

And today, don’t look around you, to see who falls into that category. Don’t look to see which priests, preachers, or leaders don’t seem to practice what they preach. Don’t be scandalized when people come up short in your estimation, for we are all alike. Look within. We know what we should do. We know what is expected of us. We feel, down deep within us, the tug at our hearts when we know we are really not moving in the direction we should be. And yet, we will be the first to say what others should and should not do. We will be the first to observe that, that person needs a haircut. She is looking for trouble. They should be doing this or that. They need to be more concerned about others. Whoa!!! Stop right there. How do we know what others are about? How do we know what they should do? How did we come to this knowledge of their motives, their limitations?  The Pharisees were very good at observing the faults and limitations of others. And so, Jesus tells them and us, not to be like the Pharisees.

It is difficult to assess ourselves. In order to do that, we have to be observant of our actions, and truly critical of our motives. Excuses for what we do, must be non-existent. In the glare of a bright light (our earnest seeking of God’s truths), that is the only way we can ascertain what our true motives are. And yet, after all this, the best that we can come up with is, “I am a sinner, Lord”. For in that moment of recognition, of affirmation, we lay ourselves bare, stripped of all pretenses. It is at that precise moment, that the only thing we have is our trust in God.

Trust in God, that seems like such an easy solution. But, is it? To trust Him and say, “You are in charge and I accept that”, that is no small feat. But that is exactly what God is looking for in us. He doesn’t want to hear how clever we are, nor, how much wealth we have, nor how many electronic trinkets we have. Our lives of serving others’ needs, of giving people our time, of praying for those who are suffering, these are what God is looking for in His people, His creations. If we recognize the brotherhood that we share with everyone, and live accordingly, then we are doing not what someone tells us to do, but what God wants us to do.

The Least of These

Whose Face Do You Put Here?

For the last three or four days, the phase “…the least of these…” has been running through my head. I know I just heard it somewhere, but I can’t remember where or when. I know that it is in reference to Jesus’ words about whatever we do for even the least of our brothers, we do to Him. So, I used the Concordance-1 to find the phrase in the Bible. There the king (Jesus) speaks to his subjects and tells them when he was hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or sick, or imprisoned they provided for his needs. And they asked him, when did we do this for you? His reply was, “…as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”-2

The more I thought about this phrase, the more I was inclined to write about it here. Jesus cannot assert nor be any clearer on what we must do to follow Him. This one phrase sums up Christianity. If we really love Jesus, then we MUST love one another. He didn’t say it would be nice if we did. He didn’t say when we have the time to focus on someone else’s needs. He simply said, if we do these things for anyone else, we do them to Him. Not just kings, or our boss, or people we look up to, but we must be mindful and caring to everyone.

If this doesn’t thump our foreheads, and exclaim to us, “wake up”. Nothing does. He said, “I am the Way”. He is now pointing out the Way for us. I can write this, and you can read this, and we all can say, “yeah, ok” and continue to live our unchanging lives. We sometimes run around in circles, like a dog chasing his tail, trying to find out what we can be doing, to grow in our love for Christ. Well, He has told us. We can stop chasing our tails and start following His way of love. Love others as we love ourselves. Be mindful of others’ needs as we are mindful of our own.

When we see someone who causes us to tense up, to feel uneasy, (I am not talking about scared uneasy), to feel annoyance or disgust, we must realize we are looking at Jesus. If we start making excuses as to why it is right to tense up, to feel uneasy, to feel that annoyance or disgust then we are making excuses why it is ok to not love Christ.

To say this so bluntly, in such a matter-of-fact fashion is harsh. I know that, and so do you. We cannot expect to be perfect, nor arrive there any time in our lifetime. Perfection, sought by imperfect beings, is not possible. But small acts of kindness, of love, of concern, of awareness of other people’s needs, should be done by you and me. Maybe that sentence should read, “But small acts of kindness, of love, of concern, of awareness of everybody else’s needs, must be done by you and me.” We don’t have the luxury to pick and choose for whom we will care, or love. Jesus has the face of every person we meet and know.

So, there it is. We must love everybody. Do we start today? I doubt it very much. If we could love everybody, just by saying it, we would all be wearing haloes or there would be an “S” “t.” in front of our name. But, we can start trying today. We can start with just one person. When you reach the end of this article, close your eyes; think of the people who you find it difficult to get along with. Think about their lives, their suffering, and their problems. Realize that they are no different from you. They also have problems of which, you are totally unaware. See yourself in them. Don’t think of what you would do, if you were in their shoes. But rather, think of how you would feel, facing their problems. Would you be able to smile? Or Laugh? All of us are struggling in this world, while standing in holes that make it difficult for us to see out of. How good it is when someone extends their hand to assist a fellow human being out of their hole. See how the Christians love one another…

-1 http://www.drbo.org/
-2 Matt 25:40