Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to behave in these end times

St. John the Evangelist’s Vision of Heaven by Alonso Cano
(Wikimedia Commons). No matter what times we live in,
our basic duty as Christians remains the same.

Another friend on Facebook this weekend was bemoaning all the struggles in the world right now. I say another, because this happens often. Something is wrong with the world and many of us sense it.

The other night I watched an interview with the journalist who introduced Edward Snowdon to the world. When she spoke of how the government was watching her every move, trying to force her to reveal her sources, I was eerily reminded of the fight for religious liberty. Priests are being subpoenaed to break the seal of Confession. Pastors in Houston have had their sermons subpoenaed. The Bill of Rights is crumbling.

Isis is beheading Christians in the Middle East. The last week saw terrorist attacks in the US and Canada. There’s an Ebola epidemic, great moral decay, and the scandal over the relatio from the Synod on the Family.

Are we living in the end times?

Are these the end times?

This answer is unequivocally yes.
Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at ‘the last hour.’ ‘Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.'” (CCC 670)
The end times began 2000 years ago.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The gift of suffering

By Melanie Jean Juneau

File:Andrea Mantegna - Christ as the Suffering Redeemer - Google Art Project.jpg
Christ as the Suffering Redeemer by Mantegna
(Wikimedia Commons)

“God loves us, so He makes us the gift of suffering.

Through suffering, we release our hold on the toys of this world, and know our true good lies in another world.

We’re like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men.

The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect.

The suffering in this world is not the failure of God’s love for us;it is that love in action.

For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial is no more than the shadlowlands.

Real life has not begun yet.” (“Shadowlands,” p. 1)

I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not suffered, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice, ”Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.”

Continue reading at Melanie's blog, joyofnine9.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swept up by the Spirit, Journey of Transformation by Gary Garner

By Nancy Ward

Art: The Ideal by Louis Janmot

“I have lived two vastly different lives—one spent exalting materialism and filled with spiritual darkness, the other spent exalting Jesus the Lord and filled with light and hope.” Because Gary’s conversion was so “life and death,” he sees it that way for everyone.

He recounts how the Spirit plainly revealed some of the traps he and his family narrowly avoided. He credits angels, signposts and appointed helpers, “pinpoints of light in the darkness, placed there for us to discover and to show us the way—without them we couldn’t possibly have made it to where we are now. There is hardly an hour that I don’t feel an urgency toward others of the impending dangers and perils that await them, much like someone who barely avoided a collapsing bridge.”

His journey of transformation eventually brought him from his agnostic-pro-Catholic religious view into the Catholic Church by way of the charismatic renewal. His conversion began with a voice telling him to buckle his seatbelt, saving his life. Then Fr. Walt, a young, motorcycle-riding priest invited him and his wife Nancy to a parish prayer meeting. The people shared their Spirit-led encounters with unbelievable praise reports. They spoke as if the Holy Spirit was telling them what to do and enabling them to do it.

In Swept Up by the Spirit, Gary tells story after story of how he opened everything in this life to the Holy Spirit who indeed did tell him what to do and enabled him to do it. Much of his leadings from “the Voice” involved ministries with groups of Protestant and Catholic men praying and evangelizing together in street ministry in rough neighborhoods or at abortion clinics. Often this involved marches with a handful or hundreds of people singing and carrying large crosses, or praying behind bars or gambling houses. He prayed with strangers for physical healings, deliverance and conversion.“It was only after I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me out there that I could begin to be effective at all,” he says of his sidewalk ministry at Planned Parenthood.

Read more about Gary's journey of transformation on JOYAlive.net  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From mystical premonition to contemplation

By David Torkington


Sometime ago I was speaking about what I called Mystical premonition or touches of God when one of the audience asked “Are we talking about something that is a particularly Christian experience, or does everyone experience God’s touch?”

“It’s for everyone,” I replied emphatically. “God loves everyone, not just Christians, but Christians do respond in a unique way.” Let me explain what I mean. Long before he became a saint, when he was still a pagan, St Augustine experienced those ‘touches of God’. In writing about the way he reacted to them in his Confessions he gives us a perfect example of how we should react too, in order to deepen our spiritual life.

From his Confessions: -

“When first I knew you, you lifted me up so that I might see that there was something to see, but that I was not yet the man to see it. And you beat back the weakness of my gaze, blazing upon me too strongly, and I was shaken with love and with dread. You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness. You breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath, and do now pant for you. I tasted you, and now hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I have burned for your peace. So I set about finding a way to gain the strength that was necessary for enjoying you. And I could not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who was calling unto me and saying, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’.”

Continue reading at David Torkington.

Monday, October 13, 2014

7 Advantageous reasons to wait upon the Lord

By Elizabeth Reardon

First, let’s admit that very few of us, including myself, ever truly want to wait for anything. We search desperately for the shortest line at the store, GPS the quickest route to our destination, and watch with noses pressed against the oven for the cupcakes to be ready. Oh, who am I kidding , we drive by the nearest bakery or donut shop and wha-la it’s ready! While our patience for waiting has various limits, there is usually a point to where we cry out, (paraphrasing here), “You have got to be kidding me!” Yet, God has given us so many numerous, and advantageous reasons why we should do just that…wait…and trust upon the Lord.  

Here are my top 7 that highlighted the week!
1. “The LORD is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him” Lamentations 3:25
 While my mornings begin in seeking God through prayer, and reflection..there are ample detours and the need to trust God throughout the day. Not the least of which are in actuality, real roadblocks, that this summer lead me away from the way home through a busy touristy area. This adds an unpredictability to the completion of my errands and, as I was discovering, a heaping tablespoon of frustration. Prompting me to ask myself, what could I be doing instead? TRUST. Be aware that God is there too, in my impatience, in this busy world around me. Now, as I close my eyes I can see the smile given by the young couple in beaconing them across the street, and feel the breeze off the ocean. I can hear the questioning voices of the kids on summer vacation with their parents..and God telling me that this too is a part of the day He has for me.

Read the other six at Elizabeth's blog Theologyisaverb.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The blood machine

By Caroline

I don’t remember the official medical name of the blood machine, but it was softly ticking like a clock keeping time for an event no one wants to be a part of.

This was the fourth time I’d seen Mr J on my pastoral care visits to the hospital this year and he is a very special person; always willing to share a smile despite the cancer that is eating away at his body and blood. He never fails to invite me to sit down and I always do because he teaches me about suffering with joy, he teaches me to take my eyes off myself, he teaches me to trust Jesus more and I never fail to tear up as soon as my feet touch the threshold of the doorway on my way to the next patient.
I’m so happy to see you Mr J, only….not here. We both smiled as I took his hand.

Yes, he said, here I am again. They blew out my veins on my last visit which started this whole latest trauma…water in my blood.

Pull up that darn chair, he quipped.
As I did, he defied the pain I’m sure he felt as he lifted his right arm black and blue from many attempts to access his veins bound by embedded tubes so impeccably taped in place, it’s hard to imagine they could ever come out; he took from his bed-table…a beautiful boxed cross. It had a ruby red jewel at the top.

Continue reading at Caroline's blog Bell of the Wanderer.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Honest prayer

By Melanie Jean Juneau

Real prayer
Is not a mental exercise, a game.
Honest prayer
Opens our core, our heart to the Almighty,
The Creator of the universe.
Such prayer is necessarily humble because
He is God and we are not.
No room for pride;
He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Continue reading at Melanie's blog joyofnine9.