Saturday, December 29, 2018

Heeding the Call




Becoming fishers of men is a spiritual calling we must embrace as Christians.  With such a calling we’ll be awarded the crowns of saints.  These are the gifts by which we can rally unbelievers for Christ.  In having the right spirit – one with timeless principles, is a call from God.  But this faith comes gradually.  Thomas Aquinas (12251274), an Italian Dominican friar and Catholic priest said, “We can’t have full knowledge all at once.  We must start by believing; then afterward we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.”  It takes time to develop this gift.  However we’ve to apply ourselves to be consistent, and watchful in bearing good fruit. 

God’s Initiative

Euripides (480 BC406 BC), a tragedian of classical Athens wrote, “Wealth stays with us a little moment if at all: only our characters are steadfast, not our gold.”  With persistence we’ll be able to have a bird’s eye view about what God wants us to do.  As Christians we’ll be able to energize our churches through faith.  It’s the Holy Spirit who anoints us to carry on his work.  With enlightenment we become steadfast in reaching out to men, women, and children.  These are the pathways when we’re called to be faithful.  The Holy Spirit guides us, and brings unbelievers into his fold.

Our Mission

As believers we’ve a mission to serve humanity by being quick to listen, and be guided by the Holy Spirit.  George Bernard Shaw (18561950), an Irish playwright said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”  Christians love the food which proceeds from the mouth of God.  By this gift they have fervor, and walk in the Spirit.  In Christ they spread the Gospel by becoming spirit-filled evangelists.

Service to Others

Ramakrishna (18361886), an Indian mystic wrote, “God is everywhere but He is most manifest in man.  So serve man as God.  That is as good as worshiping God.”  With such service comes fulfillment.  Believers must remember to be people-oriented, and treat others with respect.  With God’s joy let us show happiness when we reach out to the poor in spirit.  We’ll have a spirit of unity with Jesus Christ.  By loving God’s people we’ll have a religious awakening.

As Christians we ought to motivate ourselves in doing good.  Andrew Carnegie (18351919), a Scottish American industrialist said, “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive are their other talents.”  To be in Christ is to discover we’re the best there is.  For as Christians we no longer work under our own strength, but are guided by the Holy Spirit.  This Spirit teaches us all things.  Believers will know how to act, what to do, where to go, and what to say through this same Spirit.

Our mission will always be to win souls for the Lord.  We’ll be like fishermen casting our nets into the seas, rivers, and streams of the world.  Amazingly as we walk on the banks of the shores, climb hills and mountains, run through meandering landscapes we’ll be catching men, women, and children, who heed the call of Christ, their Savior.            

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Works of Mercy




In A.D. 29, with five loaves Christ’s disciples were reminded of the feeding of five-thousand; seven loaves, the four-thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers they took up (Mt 16:9-10; Mk 8:1-21).  This shows that nothing is impossible with God.  Gifts of feeding though could take many forms.  A Russian businessman and politician Roman Abramovich (b. 1966) said, “But charity is a very complicated thing.  It’s important to find an area where you can really help and you can feel the results.  Charity is not like feeding pigeons in the square.  It is a process that requires professional management.”  Unlike Jesus’ miracles the task of feeding thousands is great.  In our churches there will have to be much planning and organization to accomplish such feats.

Chores of People

People have to do a variety of chores to live effectively.  Gisele Bündchen (b. 1980), a Brazilian fashion model, and actress wrote, “I’m not a potato sack; I’ve never sat on my couch.  If I’m home, I’m cleaning, feeding my dogs, doing stuff.  Life is too precious to waste time.”  But some feel they have to keep busy to accomplish their tasks.  There are corporations promoting themselves to consumers as accomplishing tasks effectively.  A political activist and attorney Ralph Nader (b. 1934) wrote, “For almost seventy years the life insurance industry has been a smug sacred cow feeding the public a steady line of sacred bull.”  Nader was rather skeptical about the promises these companies made to their clients.  They might be selling benefits that aren’t exactly true.

It could all be about the environment where we work.  Some say we must select the right standards to meet our growing demands of consumption.  An author Napoleon Hill (18831970) said, “We begin to see, therefore, the importance of selecting our environment is the mental feeding ground out of which the food that goes into our mind is extracted.”  In having great expectations these may lead to wise choices.  Alternatively when bad ones are made they are counterproductive.

Giving & Achieving

Yet, they are those who believe what people put into their work they get back in return.  It’s therefore necessary to plant the right seeds in the ground.  Thomas Szasz (19202012), an academic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst wrote, “The proverb warns that ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you from feeding yourself.’”  Concerned with oneself is necessary to think about feeding others, especially the poor and destitute.

A social activist and Catholic convert Dorothy Day (18971980) said, “Together with the Works of Mercy, feeding, clothing and sheltering our brothers, we must indoctrinate.”  Works of mercy must be the means to an end, in letting people know that Christ is the answer.  By living to do the work of Jesus Christ we’ll be greatly blessed.  

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Peaceful Minds




Fruits of faithfulness grow with patience.  To be blessed with these gifts believers will find joy in the hope of the Gospels.  In their lives they will bear witness of the Christian faith by communicating Christ’s teachings to others.  These are the nature of many devout Christians in our society.  Their seeds planted in gentle hearts sprout blossoms that bloom in the world.

Rick Pitino (b. 1952), a basketball coach said, “Humility is the true key to success.  Successful people lose their way at times.  They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success.  Humility halts that arrogance and self-indulging trap.  Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focus and hungry to continue the journey of success.”  People must resist being cocky, acting as if they know it all, and seeing themselves above the fray.  Instead they should share their special gifts in building others up.

Liberty & Love

At times we’ll have to face trials.  We’ve to learn to handle setbacks patiently.  Our reactions to the stresses of life are true testimonies of our faith.  By focusing on Jesus Christ you’ll notice the secret of how he prevailed against the scribes and Pharisees.  He’s our model for evangelism about how we must show our love, and persevere.  These attributes are necessary to live with hope.

Talib Kweli (b. 1975),a hip hop recording artist from New York wrote, “I think once you’re in the public eye, whether you’re a boss, a teacher or whatever you do, that you’re automatically in the position of role model.  You have people looking up at you, so whether you choose to accept it or not is a different question.”  That’s why as Christians we ought to walk by showing our caring ways.

Joy of Hearts

Helen Keller (18801968), an author, and political activist said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  People’s patience, faithfulness, and perseverance show such attributes that are contagious.  These gifts are often expressed by the simple things we do in this life.  To be exuberant we must act like athletic pilgrims showing peace and justice wherever we go.   

The Light of Joy

When the going is tough in situations God’s children will be at peace.  The apostles Peter and Paul told us about these truths in their calamities.  Their accounts should embolden our faith and renew our spirits.  These blessed ones are the bridges that enlighten our trust in the Holy Spirit.  But how can we live successfully?  Swami Sivananda (18631902), an Indian Hindu monk wrote, “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest acts.  This is the secret of success.”  Yet people still find some wishing to do big tasks when the simple ones go unnoticed.  We must therefore redefine the way we think in knowing our true priorities.  These gifts can be attained by prayers and discernment concerning what we’re called to do.  By so doing these good deeds we’ll discover the joys of peaceful minds.               

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Catalysts of Love




Let your heart express boundless love.  Kindle it with tenderness and affection.  Let your output be like that of a fiery furnace that’s perpetually burning.  Live a life full of love by reaching out to everyone – the rich and poor alike.  Allow love to become the joy of your heart, and you’ll be like a shining light in the midst of darkness.  Joseph Addison (1672 1719), an English poet, and essayist wrote, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”  So work for peace and love humanity. Let us beat our swords into plowshares.  

Indestructible Love

Your love is a pathway to hearts.  Capture its true essence and follow its goodness.  Be triumphant in your quest, by embracing, and kissing an indescribable love.  In so doing you’ll discover joy shining brightly like the sun in a clear blue sky.  In short you’ll be one of many lights in the world just like the saints.  Hosea Ballou (17711852), a Universalist theologian and clergyman wrote, “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.”  Now, do express this empathy when you are touched by love’s beauty. 

Beyond Love

Let true love beyond love, be your battle cry.  Seek out hearts willing to receive it.  By longing for a deeper fulfillment this is perfection setting one’s heart afire.  In such a relationship let us reach out to families, neighbors, and friends - even to the length, and breadth of the world.  This is when you’ll be bringing joy, peace, and delight to others.  This is the serenity people find in Jesus Christ.  A French soldier Ferdinand Foch (18511929) wrote, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”

Belief of Power

Love is a dynamic force that starts by warming hearts.  It’s replete with goodness and its fundamental tenets are found in the Gospels.  By faith readers of such works are able to know what it means to live in the Spirit.  A Bengali literary figure Rabindranath Tagore (18611941) said, “Faith is the bird that feels the light when dawn is still dark.”  This power of love stirs our imagination and guides us.  It reaches out triumphantly in our world turning everything into true bliss. These blessings raise our consciousness to elevated planes, like in loving Jesus Christ, who’s the Creator of this reality.  His sacrifice, death, resurrection, and ascension are glorious.  Christ showed his supernatural power as the foundation of salvation. 

It took Jesus’s humble act of submission to accomplish extraordinary feats.  Only through grace can we begin to appreciate his actions.  Inevitably, he’s the epitome of the power of love.  His was a clarion call to us to know these blessings, but still there are doubters about his saving grace.  Even one of his own disciples Thomas had to touch his wounds to believe.  Those of faith are able to express this superb love with the belief, “Love conquers all.” This faith-propelled belief is the catalyst of supreme love.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Many Faces of Love



The faces of love are many and sustain all things.  They unite people to live harmoniously.  Love is the greatest creative force with which we are endowed.  Loving others call for unblemished, pure, and sincere hearts.  With such expressions people are joyful when they light up, and express their faith.  An early Christian theologian and bishop St. Augustine (354 AD 430 AD) said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the rewards of this faith is to see what you believe.”

Evangelistic Love

Evangelistic love is one of friendship.  It’s in the light that shines brightly that fills hearts and souls.  It’s God’s deep love for us.  Christians projecting this love believe in this heavenly gift with all their hearts.  They know the full meaning of love.  Proselytizing saints become more mature as they grow in God’s grace.  As they encounter others a communion develops centered on Christ.  This comes mainly by helping the poor in our midst.  These yearning souls are blessed with new hearts in encountering the living Christ.   A Roman Catholic religious sister St. Teresa (19101971) wrote, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

Communicating Love

Let’s the devoted community, plan on loving in the right way in showing their care that reaches out to all.  This is greatest when there’s love in families, with our neighbors, friends, and those we greet on the highways, and byways of life.  It’s showing concern that comes by those we love.  Mahatma Gandhi (18691948), a leader of Indian Independence movement in British ruled India said, “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”

Love of Life

Oscar Wilde (18541900), an Irish author, and playwright wrote, “Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”  Self-love that doesn’t extend itself to others isn’t good.  Love ought to be steadfast in promoting what’s best in the world, by touching those unloved and isolated.  Let us love our brothers and sisters, showing them we really have their interests at heart. We experience this joy when our hearts burn in embracing the elderly and forgotten.   Our goals must be in professing this kind of love.  Morihei Ueshiba (18831969), a Japanese artist and founder of the martial art of aikido said, “Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout.”  These sprouts are special kinds of love.  Undoubtedly love’s true profundity can only be found through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Praise the Lord!



With God there’s unspeakable exultation.  Join the angelic chorus in praising him and raise your voices with all your might.  Be like thunder when you exclaim, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!”  Let these be the mightiest sounds you make.  Praise him in humility as the supreme ruler for his everlasting goodness of creation.  Do homage to the Almighty, who is the truth.  He alone is our merciful Father.  St. Augustine (354– 430 A.D.), an early Christian theologian and philosopher said, “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart.  Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”

Divine Happiness

Let your song be known before God’s throne.  Like the heavenly voices proclaim on earth your adoration of his holy name.  Praise him like roaring waters which are mighty and fervent.  Lift up your voices for the common good of mankind, by bringing this good news to all.  In touching God’s spotless face you’ll never tire in your quest for holiness.  

King Solomon (848 B.C.–796 B.C.), king of Israel and son of David wrote, “Kindness and faithfulness keep a king safe, through kindness his throne is made secure.”  Solomon in seeking happiness was considered one of the wisest men, who ever lived.

Fervency of Praise

Day and night, when people praise God miracles happen.  You must play music on harps, rejoicing in the Lamb, exalting his goodness, blessedness, and kindness.  Let your sounds flow forth and be sweetened with excellent melodies.  The Spirit of truth is sublimely present and your desire to do good never fades.

Steve Jobs (1955–2011), a pioneer of the personal computer revolution said, “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent.  Because this is our life.  Life is brief, and then you die, you know?  So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life.”  Jobs chose the computer and worked miracles with it.  Everyone though is able to accomplish a great deal just by praising the Creator of the Universe.

Exalted Praise

Exalting the Almighty calls for constant action. In praising him you'll be giving credence to the universe’s goodness, holiness, and highest good.  Plato (428/427 or 424/423 B.C.348/347 B.C.), a Greek philosopher and mathematician wrote, “Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  Whether through strings, chords, cymbals, drums, or human voices, let your sounds elevate you to God’s blessings.  These are simply amazing, and indescribable benefits people gain when praising our Lord.        

Monday, November 19, 2018

Agents of God's Glory




God is the ultimate for divine experiences.  It’s true that there are a number of charismatic leaders, but for them to make an impact on society they must be agents of the Living God.  Some of these leaders are anointed.  But to be truly authoritative is to be blessed with God’s abundance grace.  Some priests are such agents through their works and services.  The Old and New Testaments explain that those who are blessed are the rightful speakers of God.  Billy Graham (19182018), an evangelical Christian minister said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of the unselfish Christian service.  The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”  Graham did see those who have such an authoritative calling by the services they do.

Inspiration

Some Christians are touched by God’s power.  These experiences moved them to testify about the wonders of Christ.  These believers who have contemplative spirits attest to this truth.  They fight against strongholds of wickedness, and believe in prayer as a weapon of the Spirit.  Such people are generous, full of fervor, and have good spiritual gifts.

Jensen Ackles (b. 1978), an actor and director wrote, “What I enjoy most is the traveling to different places and meeting new people.  For me, it’s all about life experiences, and I’m very grateful that acting allows me so many interesting and fulfilling ones.”  Some people like Ackles are able to find  inspiration just by meeting people. 

Charismatic Prophets

In being charismatic prophets people achieve the spirit of ecstasy.  These individuals are known for their utterances, and lives inspired by God.  Their rewards are great.  To be such recipients, people ought to have the right spirit and be able to impact lives with the Word.  Elisabeth Kŭbler-Ross (19262004), a Swiss-American psychiatrist said, “I think that modern medicine has become like a prophet offering a life free of pain.  It is nonsense.  The only thing I know that truly heals people is unconditional love.”  Kŭbler-Ross’s recognition is that of being a true prophet with compassion. 

Albert Einstein (18791955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Some great minds are known for their spiritual beliefs.  These are those blessed with prophecy that influences believers, and non-believers alike.  Their sole objectives are to present God’s truth to everyone. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

O Eternal Light




The traits of experiences and inspiration are assuring gifts.  They are revealed within us by light.  With God’s divine power we’ll radiate love.  It’s ecstatic when we’re called angels of light.  Such love may begin as flickers, and explode into engulfing flames, reaching out to envelop others. 

God Enlightens

We shall say, “O eternal light, you have crowned us with your glory.”  Being agents of God we’re caught up in the spirit with his anointing.  We could then declare like Pope Francis (b. 1936), Bishop of Rome: “I believe in God – not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God.  There is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation.  Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator.  This is my Being.”   God’s presence enlightens our humble hearts and minds.  We’re therefore blessed with his charismatic anointing and magnificence.

Gift of Light

A gift of light will greet us in becoming authoritative speakers for God.  We reveal this truth when we proclaim the authoritative Word of God.  Like the Gospels we’re blessed with prophetic utterances and become like stars mirroring his light.  The world is alighted with our presence, and experiences our works.  This is the faith that's poured out for us to enjoy life.  Abraham Lincoln (18091865), president of the United States wrote, “I am bound to win, but I am bound to be true.  I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.  I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”  Lincoln didn’t really abandon his friends.  When they were wrong he was sure to correct them to see the light.

The Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts.  It’s the Spirit’s role to bring us out of darkness into light.  Lift up the Words of God and be blessed.  These are his light.  Have a bath with his delight by experiencing the wonders of his inspiration.  Light as love is meant to soothe our griefs, aches and pains.  As we undertake our earthly journey, it further illuminates our paths to righteousness.  This gift is what inspires us to do the things we do.  These seeds eventually blossom into magnificent trees bearing much fruit.  By serving others, walking according to his ways, we become agents of his salvation.  These are some images we must emulate by living dedicated Christian lives.

This eternal light transforms us into loving and caring human beings.  These are gifts at work within and among us.  Through us others will come to know God’s grace.  Like us they will come to rejoice in his salvation, serving God with their whole heart.  This is the nature of the glorious work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.        

Monday, November 5, 2018

Everlasting Light




God is our everlasting light, his glory has risen upon us, and our days of mourning will be ended.  Darkness will pass away and his true light will shine brightly.  His believers are the light of the world.  Those that walk in the light will not stumble, because everything becomes visible. An English poet, literary critic, and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17721834) wrote, “The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.”  What a way to regard our mothers as we think about the gifts of our Heavenly Father!    

Our Faith Walk

Many Christians tend to seek company in their faith walk.  Ideally we should have Jesus Christ as our first companion.  But when it comes to earthly beings friends will do.  Helen Keller (18801968), an author, political activist, and lecturer said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”  Darkness often means despondency.  Friends in the dark may be our desire to help those in need.  We show them the way of joy, peace, and love.  In these cases our friendships will be superb.  Yes, we could say like Aristotle Onassis (19061975), a Greek shipping magnate: “It is during the darkest moments we must focus to see the light.”  By seeing God’s glory in heavenly places is a gift of supreme light.

A Baptist minister, humanitarian, and leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. (19291968) said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”  Our Heavenly Father’s love is incredible, blessing, cleansing, and elevating us.

Light Up Lives

Light is an extraordinary motif.  In the Gospels Jesus Christ is referred to as the light of the world.  He drives away not only shadows, but the darkness that threatens to envelop us.  Demi Lovato (b. 1992), a singer, songwriter, and actress wrote, “No matter what you are going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may be hard to get to it, but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you will find a positive side of things.”  Her motto is: “Don’t let disappointments get you down.”  Put up with your experiences and see where they lead.  Not all are necessarily bad, but whatever they are these things may be for our own good.  As Jesus Christ and the apostles taught that trials and tribulations are nothing more than tests.  They are meant to build up our character.  So when the storms of life are battering us down we’ll not fail, and be washed away into a sea of hopelessness.  But we must be like good seeds planted in fertile ground which when they spring up, blossom, and are able to withstand the strong winds of change.

God’s Gifts

Our lives must reflect the gifts God has prepared for us.  Some people capture this beauty in their demeanor.  A motivational speaker, writer, and consultant Denis Waitley (b. 1933) said, “A smile is the light of your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.”  Try embracing who and what you are.  Being baptized Christians we’re called to undertake our priestly duties on earth.  So we must spread joy with smiles and laughter.  These expressions tell others: “I’m a saved, alive, and enjoying life, even though I’m passing through the valley, and shadow of death.”  Such an approach to life has made Eleanor Roosevelt (18841962), a politician, diplomat, and first lady of the United States remarkable in recognizing, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  The gift of light dispels darkness.   Christ as the light in our lives brings peace, happiness, and fulfillment to our souls.        

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Eucharist's Evolution




In Johannes H. Emminghauss book entitled The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration, its celebration starts out as an ordinary meal which was enjoyed in the early Jewish culture.  This custom was meant to call to mind the Passover that was from the days of the Exodus when the Israelites were liberated from Egypt.  This story is clear as Pharaohs charioteers were pursuing them, God paved a way through the Red sea where the waters enveloped their pursuers who were attempting to intercept them.

In the Old Testament God explained how they must celebrate the remembrance of the Passover.  Every Jewish household had to slaughter a lamb and prepare in a special way.  They had to eat it when dressed just like when they were about to leave Egypt.  The doorposts of their homes were to be sprinkled with the animals blood, so that Gods judgment would pass over them, and they would be saved.  This rite was to be celebrated on every anniversary of their deliverance.  But over time changes were made to it because it had become too worldly.  It was therefore determined to have the Passover in a more suitable manner as a meal, giving praise, and thanksgiving to God, for their deliverance.

The New Testament Eucharist 

Emminghaus showed in the New Testament, the Eucharist was instituted as a memorial by Jesus Christ with his disciples, before he sacrificed his life on the cross at Calvary.  Christs salvation was to follow the customary Jewish tradition.  These meals however came to be abused, for although they were communal, guests like at Corinth overdid it, and there was often debauchery.  Thus, the Eucharist later celebrated at the end of a meal failed to measure up to the divine standards of the sacrament.

Soon it was proposed that the Eucharist should stand by itself.  Since partaking of the elements of bread and wine were rather brief, this celebration evolved into the formulation of a Mass with the Liturgical Word, hymns, and the offering of the bread of life - Christs flesh, and wine his blood.  Early in Christian history the Mass was formulated by Justin Martyr, the Greek Hippolytus, and passed down almost verbatim to the contemporary church.

Early churches were built to reflect the nature of the Mass.  Since Jerusalem was the focal point the congregation its priest faced the East.  The priests who presided at these ceremonies had their backs turned to the worshipers, but eventually this changed mainly because of the layout of some churches.  Now the priests face every direction - East, West, North, and South.  Many altars have now been shifted to central locations within parishes with the seating arrangements in concentric circles around them. 

In The Middle Ages

Through the Middle  Ages the liturgical season of Holy Week and Eastertide were especially popular, because they gave scope for the imagination.  The people celebrated Palm Sundays procession with singing, the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, the veneration of the cross on Holy Friday, with the unveiling of the cross.  The acclamations, reproaches, the Pascal Vigil, with the impressive lighting of the new fire, and the carrying of the “Light of Christ” into the dark church were greeted with joy.  The intense emotion, the blessing of the Easter candle, the baptismal water, and Easter day with its dramatic elements developed into Easter plays, with the apostles, holy women coming to the tomb, and so forth were highlights

But Emminghaus wrote the liturgy by the end of the Middle Ages and on the eve of the Council of Trent (15451563) was deficient for it failed to grasp its real nature.  There were abuses and one-sided popular piety, a decadent condition of the church as a whole, the great schism, selfish political interests, and social upheavals.  Gods word in the scripture was not being preached, rituals were hindering it, and this was not helping spiritual life.  These doctrinal controversies of the Reformation led to a new Roman Missal of Pope Pius V the Latin Rite being restored, greater centralization, and a return to “the primitive rule of prayer.”  Between 1570, the year of Pope Pius Vs calendar reform, 1914, one hundred and eleven new feast days were added, there were increased feasts for Doctors of the Church, and by 1959, there were thirty of these.

The 20th Century Liturgy

Since the 20th century the liturgy was being restored to a more profound theological grasp of its characteristics.  It was realized that it was a communal, salvific celebration of Gods people of the new covenant when the body was gathered in Jesus name with each member playing a distinct role.  This long break through was finally achieved at the Second Vatican Council that adapted new conditions of reforms. 

Desires for liturgical reforms went back to the time of the Enlightenment before and around 1800.  With these changes came better and more frequent sermons, led to the methodical catechists in the church and school.  It saw the use of the vernacular language, encouraged the faithful to take a knowledgeable “rational” part in the celebration, enriched the liturgy at the parish level, and reformed the administration of the sacraments.  It promoted the continuing education of the clergy through study, pastoral conferences, and periodicals.  People were now able to receive the Eucharist more frequently.  The age for first communion was lowered, and there was more active participation of the community in public worship.          

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Joy of Salvation




Hannah prayed because her heart was exulted in victory over her enemies.  Like her, God aids us in his work in the house of the Lord.  Our hearts rejoice in his salvation.  He counsels and instructs us and we shall not be moved.  Our souls rejoice for he shows us the path of life where there’s fullness of joy, and pleasure forevermore.  It’s for the righteous to rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him.  With the gifts of thanksgiving and praise we declare, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation” (Isa 12:2).

Enjoyment of Christ

A Prussian philosopher and diplomat Wilhelm von Humboldt (17671835), the founder of Humboldt University in Berlin wrote, “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”  To be spiritually attuned calls for a discerning mind and healthy body.  When people accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their lives he paves the way for this fulfillment.  To some even living in pain may still mean happiness in Christ.  Jean-Jacques Rosseau (17121778), a Francophone philosopher, and composer wrote, “I have always said and felt that true enjoyment cannot be described.”  This is the ultimate essence of life to be enjoyed.  When we discover heaven there will be nothing to compare it with. 

A pioneer, woodsman, and frontiersman Daniel Boone (17341820) said, “Felicity, the companion of content, is rather found in our own breasts than in the enjoyment of external things; and I firmly believe it requires but a little philosophy to make a man happy in whatever state he is.”  Knowing we’re saved and assured of salvation gives contentment.  It’s a great joy to experience salvation. 

DeWitt Clinton (17691828), a politician, naturalist, and former governor of New York wrote, “Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration.”  Clinton must have been thinking about a special kind of knowledge.  This could only be gained through the Holy Spirit who’s with us until the end of time. 

Divine Knowledge

It’s only by divine knowledge we’re truly successful.  An author and impresario Napoleon Hill (1883 1970) said, “Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which comes only to man who has found the work he likes best.”  One way of ascending to the mountaintop of success is by lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.  He knows our hearts and is undeniably the author of salvation. 

As for our motivation nothing assures our blessings more securely than having the gift of the Holy Spirit.  John C. Maxwell (b. 1947), an author and pastor reminded us: “Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit.”  Through the Holy Spirit we’re certain to learn of Christ’s gifts to us.  By his grace we’re renewed, fulfilled, and enlivened to do his work.  Serving in his mission is always a success.               

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Bread of Life



Jesus gave thanks, consecrated the bread and wine, and presented his body and blood as spiritual nourishment to his apostles, and for the salvation of all (Jn 6:53-58).  This Eucharist renews the same sacrifice Christ made upon the cross.  The ritual sacrifice under the Old Law was the sign of the covenant between God and his people.  In the New Testament the sacrifice achieves perfection through Christ.  This Eucharist is therefore celebrated as a memorial of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.  At the Mass Christ is present in this sacrament.  He offers his sacrifice in the union with the church; for this reason we call the Eucharist the sacrifice of the church.

The Eucharist is a Sacrament

The Eucharist is a sacrament because Christ offers himself to the Father in the Mass just as he did on the cross, but the offering is made through the actions of the priest.

What does the Eucharist do?

1.      unites the recipient to Christ,
2.      gives life - “a true food” (Jn 6:54),
3.      shares in the life of Christ – eternal life (Jn 6:58; Mt 5:23-24; Jn 3:19-24),
4.      builds up Christ’s mystical body – the church (1 Cor 10:16-17; Jn 17:2021), and
5.      serves as a heavenly banquet (1 Cor 11:26; Mt 26:29; Lk 14:16; 2 Pet 3:13).

Scott Hahn’s Catholic Bible Dictionary explains that the Eucharist is also known as the Lord’s Supper.  This is a Christian sacrament that honors the actions of Jesus at the last supper.  It is reported in all the Synoptic Gospels that Jesus took bread and blessed it (Mk 14:22-24).  This partaking of the Eucharist is called Holy Communion.  In Greek eucharistia means “thanksgiving” - the sacrament in which Christ is really present under the appearances of bread and wine.  Other names for the Eucharist are:  Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the table of the Lord, the breaking of the bread, the unbloody sacrifice, our daily bread, the most blessed sacrament, the sacrifice of praise, and agape.  But the Eucharist is also a sign of unity, a bond of charity, and a paschal banquet.
       

Monday, October 8, 2018

Thanksgiving in Salvation

Hannah prayed because her heart was exulted in victory over her enemies.  Like her, God aids us in his work in the house of the Lord.  Our hearts rejoice in his salvation.  He counsels and instructs us and we shall not be moved.  Our souls rejoice for he shows us the path of life where there’s fullness of joy, and pleasure forevermore.  It’s for the righteous to rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him.  With the gifts of thanksgiving and praise we declare, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation” (Isa 12:2).

Enjoyment of Christ

A Prussian philosopher and diplomat Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), the founder of Humboldt University in Berlin wrote, “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”  To be spiritually attuned calls for a discerning mind and healthy body.  When people accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their lives he paves the way for this fulfillment.  To some even living in pain may still mean happiness in Christ.  Jean-Jacques Rosseau (1712–1778), a Francophone philosopher, and composer wrote, “I have always said and felt that true enjoyment cannot be described.”  This is the ultimate essence of life to be enjoyed.  In heaven there will be nothing to compare it with. 

A pioneer, woodsman, and frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734–1820) said, “Felicity, the companion of content, is rather found in our own breasts than in the enjoyment of external things; and I firmly believe it requires but a little philosophy to make a man happy in whatever state he is.”  Knowing we’re saved and assured of salvation gives us contentment.  It’s a joy to experience salvation. 

DeWitt Clinton (1769–1828), a politician, naturalist, and former governor of New York wrote, “Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration.”  Clinton must have been thinking about a special kind of knowledge.  This could only be gained through the Holy Spirit who’s with us until the end of time. 

Divine Knowledge

It’s only by divine knowledge we’re truly successful.  An author and impresario Napoleon Hill (1883 –1970) said, “Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which comes only to man who has found the work he likes best.”  One way of ascending to the mountaintop of success is by lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.  He knows our hearts and is the author of salvation. 

As for our motivation nothing assures our blessings more securely than having the gift of the Holy Spirit.  John C. Maxwell (b. 1947), an author and pastor reminded us: “Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit.”  Through the Holy Spirit we’re certain to learn of Christ’s gifts to us.  By his grace we’re renewed, fulfilled, and enlivened to do his work.  This mission is always a success.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Faith



It’s for Christians to persevere in faithfulness.  With the free flow of information capturing our minds we mustn’t be swayed by the enticements of the world.  Instead, we ought to insist on learning the truth and communicating it to others.  Neither must we allow authentic evangelism to take a back seat in our lives.  Take the initiate by stepping up to the plate as spiritual leaders to lift people up.  This calls for embracing scriptural guidelines and treating them accordingly.  It’s necessary to have one’s finger on the pulse of a group we wish to persuade by doing what’s right.  John Quincy Adams (17671848), president of the United States stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  Such leaders are prominent in organizations and the ones recognized as guiding their flocks.

Being Set Free

People seeking freedom promote joy.  Our greatest evangelist is Jesus Christ.  He’s our Evangelist-in-Chief, who we imitate when campaigning against spiritual worldliness.  In doing God’s will we become “fishers of men” while we pursue our goals.  We rally others in persuading them to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Inevitably we have to be careful not to be enticed by the desires of the world.  Virgil (70 BC19 BC), an ancient Roman poet exhorted, “Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.”  Christians are warned to prepare themselves to face setbacks.  Life isn’t necessary going to be easy, but we should persevere.

Louis Farrakhan (b. 1933), a leader of the Nation of Islam said, “We are all gifted, but we have to discover the gift, uncover the gift, nurture and develop the gift and use it for the Glory of God and for the liberation struggle of our people.”  It’s uncertain what Farrakhan really means by “our people,” but it can well be all ordinary and unassuming individuals.  This is how we should free ourselves from the pulls and tugs of earthly desires, in discovering, and using our gifts the right way. 

Generate Hope

Buddha (563/480 BC 483/400 BC), the founder of Buddhism explained, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”  Spreading joy takes pure hearts to discover liberty.  We’ll surely find comfort in evangelizing when simplicity becomes the mantra.  This concept transforms, and generates hope in others.

Christians won’t have any hope weren’t it for the resurrection of Christ.  His after-life is self-generating and divine.  As we journey let’s do so in faith.  Let our walk become expressions of joy, for we’re blessed with remembrances of how great our Lord really is.  He has modeled for us the highest ethical standards.  Such blessings we must embrace because it’s only through his gifts we’re able to  motivate others.  Martin Luther (14831546), a German priest and professor of theology said, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”  In mysterious ways our future is inextricably linked to the resurrection which is found in God’s creation.  

                     

Friday, September 21, 2018

Practice Forgiveness



To be emancipated from evil is a great blessing.  This is when people are pardoned for their sins.  Amazingly this happens for those sins which are great or small, and with Christ that’s the end of the matter.  It’s however known that some who lack faith hold on to their guilt disbelieving our Lord has really forgiven them.  But God loves us even as sinners.  There’s no prejudice with him, and with repentance our guilt is washed away.

William Pollard (1828–1893), an English Quaker observed, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand.  The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”  Forgiveness for one’s sins is like that.  Although yesterday sins are forgiven people must repent today regardless how good they think they are. We continually sin and have to ask for forgiveness again and again.

Being Afflicted

In some way we all suffer.  This is natural since we live by the flesh.  Christians therefore always have to seek God’s mercy.  Their motivation for doing so is to receive forgiveness and Christ’s divine love.  With these gifts they are blessed by a living and forgiving God.  When relief comes we’re spiritually enriched. 

Emma Goldman (1869–1940), a Lithuanian-born anarchist wrote, “On rare occasions one does hear of a miraculous case of a married couple falling in love after marriage, but on close examination, it will be found that it is a mere adjustment to the inevitable.”  Is such love found after marriage? Imagine couples marrying in spite of knowing each other’s shortcomings.  Such individuals eventually find love which at first is elusive.

Not Worthy

We shouldn’t consider ourselves unworthy of pardon.  Why put on blinders and not receive this precious gift from Christ?  Our sins don’t matter, for regardless how desperate is our case we can still call on the Lord.  Even if we believe we’re utterly unworthy. We may even feel we’re the greatest sinners, and he’ll welcome us back.  Isn’t that amazing? 

George Herbert (1593–1633), a Welsh-born Anglican priest prayed, “Throw away thy rod, throw away thy wrath; O my God, take the gentle path.”  This was Herbert’s plea to God our Savior, and should be ours.  Christians are happier after receiving God’s forgiveness.

God’s Gifts

At points in our lives we may wallow in the dust.  However we must still be optimistic about our lives.  Being forgiven by God sustains our joy found only in Christ.  We ought to accept the gifts of God’s Kingdom through reconciliation.  It’s for people wishing to be emancipated from evil, finding grace, and being blessed with eternal bliss.

Jack Layton (19502011), a Canadian politician said, “My friends, love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And well change the world.”  That’s how believers ought to see forgiveness - its power, love, hope, and optimism.      

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blessed with Ecstatic Joy



Experiencing ecstatic joy is an extraordinary blessing.  This is when Christians ascend to the mountaintop of life.  Filled with happiness such individuals are on top of the world looking down at the beautiful valleys below.  They are gladdened by this glorious overview of the world.  Some saints in attaining this state are known for their humility.  These are heavenly and the endowed lights that have been honored by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Believers are assured that eventually they will experience this exalted state for eternity. 

De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum, Antitheta no. 9 (1623) translated by Gilbert Watts 1640 stated: “The voice of the people hath some divineness in it, else how should so many men agree to be of one mind?”  This mindset Christians gain in exalted states.  There are hills and valleys, but rest assured theres also ecstatic joy.

Joy of Freshness

People ought to do their best to be blessed by this kind of joy.  At best its also sacrificial as demonstrated by our greatest teacher Jesus Christ.  Saints have suffered martyrdom, but are greatly honored in their lives.  They have been awarded heavenly crowns of everlasting life for embracing lifes hardships in precious ways.  Through their actions people are healed and brought to see the light.   Throughout the ages these saints’ love has formed a bridge to mankind.  Thats why we enjoy reading about their great deeds. 

Living our lives in the footsteps of Jesus is a delightful testimony.  Its best to do so like his disciples by the way they lived in the world.  Our divine goals therefore must be to transform lives.  For theres supreme joy in heaven when one soul is won for the Lord.  A credo engraved in Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York stated, “The rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and … only the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”  What an inspiration for souls that are yearning to be set free!

Mother of Joy

Ecstasy is the Mother of Joy.  It brings gladness to hearts, minds, and souls by reaching out to others.  In these paths are abiding truths that endow our spirits in living to the fullest.  Its this epitome of goodness found in loving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  His teachings compel us to embrace the everlasting way.

In a 1609 Sonnet 33, William Shakespeare (15641616), Englands greatest playwright wrote:

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green.

With these beautiful lines Shakespeare captured the mountain-top experiences of nature.  These symbols are superb, full of light, and refreshing to our souls.  This Sonnet could be the way Christian missionaries view their earthly paradise.  Love is expressed in the protection of the environment which was graciously created by God.  This happiness is shown by how we live and relate to nature.  People often find this encouragement in the words of the Holy Bible.  Within its pages were able to taste these divine realities. 


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Worship the Light




People who love darkness rather than light are evil.  They see wickedness as sweet, but some however worship idols through ignorance.  The apostle Paul who was a blasphemer was at first antagonistic to Christians, but received the gift of mercy from God.  An influential French theologian John Calvin (15091564), a pastor during the Protestant revolution wrote, “Mans mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much that if man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain.”  Inevitably Calvin didnt think much about people’s thoughts.  They are deceptive and can lead us to live ungodly lives. 

A Meaningful Relationship

Whats important is for us to have a meaningful conversation with God.  Emraan Hashmi (b. 1979), an Indian film actor said, “My hectic work schedule does not often permit me time to visit temples, but my conversations with God dont depend on idol worship.  Inside my heart, I have developed and sustained a direct communication with Him.”  Hashmi was certain idol worship wasnt for him.  Still some people are caught up with idols of this world.  They are unaware their lives are ruled by earthly and dark desires.

Idols may become quite prominent in our lives. A Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés (14851547) wrote, “Thus they have an idol that they petition for victory in war; another for success in their labors, and for everything in which they seek or desire prosperity, they have their idols, which they honor and serve.”  Its bad enough when people dont realize they live and serve idols, but doing so consciously is rather harmful.  Being caught up in idolatry is no way to find one’s way back to God.

Idols as Gifts

Yet some idols may be gifts with social redeeming values.  Shakira (b. 1977), a Colombian singer and record producer explained, “My dad is a writer, and to see him always in front of a typewriter give me the aspiration to write.  He was my idol, my hero.  I wanted to be just like him.”  The personal traits of Shakiras father are worth emulating.  As a writer he motivated her.  Children dream of having parents who are an inspiration to them.

What you worship you become.  People may not all be blessed with good gifts, but some can be negative.  Leading British New Testament scholar N.T. Wright (b. 1948), an Anglican bishop was certain: “I’m not a Universalist, and the way I talk about final lost is this: People worship idols – money, whatever.  Their humaneness gets reshaped around the idol – you become like what you worship which is one of the basic spiritual laws.”  Often people are warned to be careful about money.  But still we cant do without it.  Some want more and more money, living for it, dying for it, and selling their souls for it.  Still we have the gift of money for food, shelter, and health reasons.  It may however become an idol if we arent careful.  When people fail to help the poor, sick, and indigent it becomes a problem.  Those who are money-lovers dont know when having enough is enough.  They keep hording and hording this treasure hoping it’ll bring them happiness.  But it doesn't.