“Open wide … “

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Glorious Mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak of the wonderful works of God.” Acts 2:4,11.

Ever been to a doctor? Silly question, we all have. Well, on the off chance you can answer that question with a no don’t worry. I’ve been often enough that you’re covered. Doctor visits are all pretty much the same unless its an emergency. But if its just your normal run of the mill visit it keeps to a fairly constant pattern. You get weighed, you might get your height measured, they take your blood pressure, and then the doctor raps you across the knee with that little hammer (I remember one doctor pulling his hammer back, getting ready to strike, and the hammer head flew off.), he shines a light in your ears, takes a tongue depressor and says, “Say ahhhh.”

We have a Great Physician, don’t we? Its advisable to go to Him for regular checkups. But that’s another post. Right now we’ll just concentrate on our Great Physician and us saying ahhhh.

The believers there on that first day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, were filled with that same Spirit. The Spirit of God. What happened next? They began to tell others about the wonderful works of God, didn’t they? They opened their mouths and out poured the witness of God’s love for humanity. They had no choice. They were driven by that same love.

When my doctor tells me to say “Ahhhh” I don’t really have a lot of choice in the matter. If this relationship with my M.D. is going to work as it should I need to open my mouth. (My doctor has never had a problem getting me to open wide. His problem is getting me to shut it.) We have a relationship with the Greatest Physician. When we’re cooperative we don’t really have much choice in what comes next. Oh, I know people can always stifle God in their lives or turn away from Him. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about people who are willingly under His influence. What comes next? We open our mouths. We have to. There’s to much that’s good that we have to share. Just like those believers at Pentecost way back then.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … When you go to your doctor and he says to say ahhhh why would you keep your mouth shut? Why would we keep it shut when there is so much of God’s goodness to share?

Advertisements

The Fiftieth Day

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Glorious Mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

“When the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all gathered together in one place.” Acts 2:1.

The word Pentecost comes to us via Middle English, from Old English pentecosten, from the Late Latin pentecoste, from the Greek word pentēkostē, which literally means “fiftieth day”, from pentēkostos fiftieth, from pentēkonta fifty, from penta- + -konta (akin to Latin viginti twenty). Short version: Pentecost means fifty days.

Jesus had told his faithful few to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit and they did. Can you imagine what that must’ve been like? You’re told to wait. OK, wait for how long? A week? A month? Years? These people had not the slightest glimmer of an idea. But they waited anyway. Obedience.

From the Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 5: “The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. This is the virtue of those who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ; who, because of the holy service they have professed, and the fear of hell, and the glory of life everlasting, as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior, receive it as a divine command and cannot suffer any delay in executing it. Of these the Lord says, “As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me” (Ps. 17[18]:45). And again to teachers He says, “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16).” There’s some more to the chapter. You might like to Google it.

Obedience regardless. It takes a lot of faith and trust. It takes a lot of love to be willing to wait, not knowing for how long. What do you think it was like at the end of week one? Or after twenty seven days? Or on the thirty ninth? Did anyone murmur? Was there fear or discontent? Did faith waver? Did Peter want to get back to his nets and boat and just go fishing? Maybe some of this, maybe all of this, maybe none of this. Any answer we come up with regarding these people and what their thoughts or attitudes may have been probably tells us more about ourselves than it does them. But whatever may or may not have happened they waited anyway, didn’t they?

Sometimes we’re faced with a “something”, it doesn’t matter what it is so you can pick one, that requires us to wait. Its hard. A child on Christmas eve wants morning NOW so they can unwrap their gifts. It doesn’t matter how hard they want they still have to wait. And sometimes so do we. So there’s obedience and patience as well. Its not an easy combination to muster. But its going to be that way, the wait will be there no matter what, so we may as well take a shot at being obedient and patient.

If the folks back then had given up in disgust on, oh, lets say the forty ninth day, where would God’s Church be now? Where would we?

“Be you therefore also patient, and strengthen your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:8, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Don’t give up before the wait is over. The disciples waited and experienced the miracle of Pentecost. Don’t miss your miracle.

The Gift that keeps on giving …

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Glorious Mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.” Acts 2:4, Douay-Rheims.

And for the record nothing has changed. Nearly 2,000 years ago, on that first Pentecost Sunday, God sent His Holy Spirit to lead and guide the Body of Christ, His Church. ( “Church” singular, for those who miss that point.) Through all of the centuries after that day, the Church’s Birth Day, He has kept Her and guided Her. That means He has kept and guided us, you and me. And all of the “yous” and “mes” over all those centuries.

Paul said there would be a revolt. “Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition … ” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. And Arius, along with the antichrist doctrine concerning Christ and his being only a man with God in him (See 1 John 4:3.) was revealed for what he was. And God’s Church survived, stronger for the battle.

Governments, from Rome to Great Britain, France and Mexico, some of these governments governing peoples predominately Catholic, have falsely accused, persecuted both the priesthood and the laity, even putting many of God’s faithful to the sword, and with what result? The Church continues while earthly kingdoms crumble and turn into nothing more than chapters in a moldy history book. And in our day, just a few years ago, a Rosary crusade that began with three shepherd children in Portugal brought down the Soviet Union.

Satan uses media to foster lies, disseminate anti-Catholic propaganda, and so turns the masses against God and His people. For all that? People convert anyway.

Things don’t always look very promising. A shortage of priests, scandals, and more. Things are rarely as they seem. When things look bad?

“To thee have I lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven.” Psalm 123:1.

Just a thought … Think about this when things look bad. 2,000 years ago God sent His Spirit to guide and care for us. Nowhere are we told that He ever took that Spirit away.

We live a masterpiece of God … Wednesday, September 11

The Assumption of the Virgin The Descent of th...

The Descent of the Holy Spirit has created more than hearts afire for fine art. The real masterpiece lives, breaths, over one billion strong.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the One Who gives comfort and leads us (the Church) into all truth. Have you ever wondered what things would be like, what the Church would be like, if He hadn’t come? I suppose we could work up with all sorts of scenarios, some might even make good “B” movie plots and fodder for Saturday night made-for-TV sci-fi, but it would all be guess-work. Mostly. One thing is certain. The Church wouldn’t be what She is, and might not, probably wouldn’t, exist. If she did it would be hard to imagine her in a brides gown. But we don’t need to dwell on that or try to hard to figure it out. Playing “what if” has its applications. This is most likely not one of them. But just the thought, the idea, the “what if”, should give us pause. And in pausing should come the conviction that we, the Church, have much to be thankful for.

Today … St. Vincent of Leon was a Spanish abbot and martyr. The abbot of St. Claudius monastery in Leon, Spain, he was martyred by Arian Visigoths. There is some confusion as to the date of his death. Some lists state that he died about 630. Anyone not familiar with Arius or Arianism ought to do a Google and a little reading. This is what happens to faith and religion without the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit of Life the only option is death. St. Vincent has first hand knowledge of this via his martyrdom.

Acceptance … It’s the door to the heart through which the Holy Spirit enters. Acceptance. Acceptance of Him and of all the Truths He brings.

The willingness to receive … Saturday, August 24

Holy Spirit

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. “‘And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit‘ (Acts 2:3-4).They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles.” ~ St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

The people who received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were able to receive for two reasons. God’s willingness to give, and their willingness to accept. No gift can be received without acceptance. And to accept in this instance meant sacrifice on the part of the ones who received. They gave up self-will in preference to His Divine will. The results were, and are, changed lives. Nothing has changed. If we’ll set self aside He’ll give us of Himself. Lives will be changed for the better. Both ours and the lives of those around us. Some people hesitate in accepting a gift. They feel unworthy or they fear being placed in a position of “owing” the giver, of being indebted. God gives freely, there is no worry, or shouldn’t be, about being indebted to the One we belong to anyway. We’ve been indebted to Him since day one. And the unworthy? The more unworthy you are the more He desires to give Himself to you. The greater the need, the greater His love.

Today …


 

 

St. Bartholomew

St. Bartholomew, of the 1st. century. All that is known of him with certainty is that he is mentioned in the synoptic gospels and Acts as one of the twelve apostles. His name, a patronymic, means “son of Tolomai” and scholars believe he is the same as Nathanael mentioned in John, who says he is from Cana and that Jesus called him an “Israelite…incapable of deceit.” The Roman Martyrology says he preached in India and Greater Armenia, where he was flayed and beheaded by King Astyages. Tradition has the place as Abanopolis on the west coast of the Caspian Sea and that he also preached in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. The Gospel of Bartholomew is apocryphal and was condemned in the decree of Pseudo-Gelasius.

Consider … God is willing to give. The real question is: Are we willing to receive?

The “I want to be like Jesus” Rosary

Rosary...

Every Christian wants to be like Jesus. He is our Goal. To be like Him, to be with Him. Sometimes we look at ourselves and see how far away we are from our Goal. Sometimes it helps to remember the things we have in common with Jesus, even if they’re just little things. Knowing we have things in common with Him may not make us any more like Him but it does help make Him seem not so far away. He doesn’t want to be far away. He came here, lived with us, walked with us, ate with us, to be close to us. And we can be as close to Him now as our hearts will let us.

I want to be like Jesus …

1st Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. When it was known that I was on my way into the world there was an announcement too. I am like Jesus.

2nd Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. My mother went visiting, sharing me with others before I was ever born. I am like Jesus.

3rd Joyful Mystery, the Nativity. When I was born folks came to see me, and they were glad to see me. I am like Jesus.

4th Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. After I was born my parents were thankful to God for me. I am like Jesus.

5th Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. When I was little I’d hide away and no one would know where I was. I am like Jesus.

1st Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. I’ve prayed when my heart was heavy and felt like it was about to break. I am like Jesus.

2nd Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. I’ve been hurt by people. I am like Jesus.

3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. People have made fun of me and misused me. I am like Jesus.

4th Sorrowful Mystery, Carrying the Cross. I’ve fallen more than once under a burden to heavy for me to bear alone and God has sent me help. I am like Jesus.

5th Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. I’ll die someday and I’ve had my heart-broken. I am like Jesus.

1st. Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. When the priest baptized me I was born new in Jesus, raised up from the death of my sin, my own resurrection. I am like Jesus.

2nd Glorious Mystery, the Ascension. I am with Jesus in His Heart right now, there where He is, so in a way He has already taken me to Heaven. I am like Jesus.

3rd Glorious Mystery, the Decent of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended on Jesus, on His Church, and on me too when I was confirmed. I am like Jesus.

4th Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. Jesus’ Mother is in Heaven and she is my Mother so my Mother is in Heaven too. I am like Jesus.

5th Glorious Mystery, the Coronation. Jesus made our Mother Queen and that means she is His Queen and my Queen, she is our Queen. I am like Jesus.

I am human, God is my Father, Mary is my Mother, the Saints (living and dead) are my family, Christ’s Church is His Body and I am a part of all this. I want to be like Jesus. And in being like Jesus I need to remember those things we already have in common and prayerfully work on the rest.

Personal Pentecost … Saturday, July 20

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit changes us! …  Let us trust in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses. Commit yourselves to great ideals, to the most important things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals, my dear young people!” Pope Francis, April, 28, 2013.

You know, we, each of us, receive the Holy Spirit in a special and personal way at our Confirmation. The Spirit descends upon us and we are blessed with our own Pentecost. These things, His descent, our receiving, are the “givens” of Confirmation. The real question isn’t about what happens then, its about what happens next. Are we changed? Do we trust in God’s work? Do we believe that, with Him, we can do great things? Do we accept the joy He offers? Do we commit ourselves to great things or are we content with the mediocre? Pope Francis’ words, quoted above, ought to give us all reason to pause, to think, to question ourselves, and to pray. Pray for our own personal, ongoing Pentecost. 2,000 years ago the proof of Pentecost, the proof of having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, was changed lives. We might like to ask ourselves today about the manifestation of this Gift in our own lives, and what those lives offer proof of.

Today …

St. Elias

St. Elias

St. Elias was an Arab who was educated in an Egyptian monastery. He was driven from Egypt by monophysite Bishop Timothy the Cat of Alexandria for his Catholic orthodoxy. He went to Palestine, where he stayed for a time at St Euthymius’ laura, founded a monastery at Jericho, and was ordained. In 494 he was elected patriarch of Jerusalem. Although he had accepted Emperor Zeno‘s Henotikon of 482, which was condemned for its bias in favor of monophysitism, Elias remained loyal to Rome. In 512 the synod of Sidon supported Elias and his colleague, Bishop Flavian of Antioch, and the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon (451), though the synod had been summoned to denounce Chalcedon and to depose the two bishops, who strongly supported Chalcedon. Elias was exiled to Aila on the Red Sea in 513 when he refused to sign Emperor Anastasius I‘s formula supporting monophysitism and died there.

Think … Finally, may Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through Christ’s power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.” Pope John XXIII.

A New Pentecost … Wednesday, July 3

Small Passion: 35. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Prayer to the Holy Spirit by Pope John XXIII (1961; emphasis added): “Divine Spirit, renew your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost, and grant that the holy church, preserving unanimous and continuous prayer, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and also under the guidance of St. Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen.”

What happened on that first Pentecost? I mean, what REALLY happened? There are lots of ifs, ands, buts and details but I think that the real meat is easy to simplify. It boils down to just three things. #1, The Holy Spirit came upon Christ‘s Church as promised. #2, Given this strengthening influence from God the Church was made bold and proclaimed the Truth of God without fear of the consequences. #3, People were converted, people came to know Jesus personally. Pope John XXIII prayed for a new Pentecost. And that’s not about a rushing wind sound or tongues of fire or anything like that. It’s about God giving us the grace to be bold, and honest, enough to declare the Truth regardless. And if we do this, and prayer plus a willing heart is the key, we can know a Pentecost that will outshine even the first one. And if you doubt that remember this: With God? All things are possible.

Today …

St. Acestes

St. Acestes was a soldier assigned to escort St. Paul, the great Apostle, to his death. Acestes and two other soldiers were converted by Paul during their brief encounter. The three Romans, horrified by Paul’s execution, declared their faith before the onlookers and were promptly beheaded. Now here was Pentecost in miniature. Paul, filled with God’s Spirit, in spite of the circumstances, being an honest and open witness to the Truth that is Christ became a tool in God’s hands leading to conversions. Do you think St. Acestes understood what Pentecost was really all about? Maybe he would be a good prayer partner as we work towards a much-needed Pentecost for our day.

Pentecost … “But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words.” Acts 2:14. Peter spoke out, Pope John XXIII spoke up, and we’re going to speak … what?

The choice is yours and so is the opportunity … Saturday, June 15

Holy Spirit 33

The Holy Spirit calls. Our answer? That’s our choice.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. “Now they who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. Must’ve been some sermon, huh? Or maybe it wasn’t so much the sermon as it was the action of the Holy Spirit on willing hearts. “They who received his word.” We have to be open to God to really hear anything, don’t we? God calls to everybody one way or another. I’m not sure exactly how that works at times but then I’m not supposed to walk by sight but rather I’m supposed to walk by faith. We all are. So I have faith that God calls out to all people, each individual, at some point in our lives. I don’t need to know or understand anything else. What’s more important than any persons understanding, mine or yours, is the response of the one called. Because that response determines our eternity. Did you know that God has never sent not one human being to hell? Not one. We do that ourselves by way of our choices, and we all have choices. Now, we can SAY that we didn’t have any choice in any given matter but that doesn’t make it so, does it? The people there with Peter 2,000 years ago had a choice. Remember that it says “they who received”, which tells me there were some who rejected. It’s always up to us. We always have a choice. What we do with the opportunity, because that’s what a choice is, is altogether up to us.

Today …

St. Vitus

Legend has Vitus, the only son of a senator in Sicily, become a Christian when he was twelve. When his conversions and miracles became widely known to the administrator of Sicily, Valerian, he had Vitus brought before him, to shake his faith. He was unsuccessful, but Vitus with his tutor, Modestus, and servant, Crescentia, fled to Lucania and then to Rome, where he freed Emperor Diocletian‘s son of an evil spirit. When Vitus would not sacrifice to the gods, his cure was attributed to sorcery. He, Modestus, and Crescentia were subjected to various tortures from which they emerged unscathed, and were freed when during a storm, temples were destroyed and an angel guided them back to Lucania, where they eventually died. So much for the legend. What is fact is that their cult goes back centuries and that they were Christians who were martyred in Lucania. A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were translated to Saxony in 836. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and is the patron of epileptics, those afflicted with St. Vitus’ Dance (named after him}, dancers, and actors, and is a protector against storms.

Quote …  “You are the one who must choose your place.”  James Lane Allen

Published in: on June 15, 2013 at 4:58 am  Comments Off on The choice is yours and so is the opportunity … Saturday, June 15  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“It is Jesus Who stirs in you …” … Tuesday, June 4

Copia desde la Crucifixion dibujada hacia 1540...

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And bowing His head, He expired.” John 19:30 & Luke 23:46.

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”

This quote is from John Paul II. It’s hard to see all of these things if all we see on Calvary is a crucified criminal. But that’s not what He was, is it? In looking, in seeking, we see, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Truth. Here is God Almighty calling out to us. Peter said on Pentecost, ” … you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38b. Look at a Crucifix. What do you see? It’s the Holy Spirit that brings us, if we’re willing, to God. And that gift of the Holy Spirit? Look at a Crucifix. That’s Him, the Gift.

Today …

St. Petroc

Petroc was born in Wales, possibly the son of a Welsh king. He became a monk and with some of his friends, went to Ireland to study. They immigrated to Cornwall in England and settled at Lanwethinoc (Padstow). After thirty years there, he made a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem, at which time he is also reputed to have reached the Indian ocean where he lived for some time as a hermit on an island. He then returned to Cornwall, built a chapel at Little Petherick near Padstow, established a community of his followers, and then became a hermit at Bodmir Moor, where he again attracted followers and was known for his miracles. He died between Nanceventon and Lanwethinoc while visiting some of his disciples there. I have to admit that sometimes I pick a saint just because of the name. I saw “Petroc” and the first thing that came to mind was, “You are PETer and upon the ROCk I will build My Church.” What a cool name! And his life story, what do you think he saw when he looked at a Crucifix?

Quote … Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” ~ Pope John Paul II ~

Published in: on June 4, 2013 at 4:56 am  Comments Off on “It is Jesus Who stirs in you …” … Tuesday, June 4  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,