Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Let nothing trouble you" By: C.C.

"Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing; God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices" (St. Teresa of Avila)

   St. Teresa of Avila did not share these words without also empathizing with the emotion of which they are written;she identifies with each of us. 
     It is by clinging to God despite the heaviness of our burdens that we can experience comfort and consolation from our Lord. Through faith we can endure all that comes. 
    "All things are passing; God never changes"
   In order for us to find full comfort in these words we must first have some understanding of our Lord as unchanging. We must acquire a deeper sense of who God truly is and where our greatest source of stability can be found. As we come to reflect on Scripture, the lives of the Saints, and even our own lives we can recognize the truth of this statement. We may come to find that as we spent time questioning God, wondering where He was, or longing for His comfort,  He was always right there with us. 
   Arguably in the midst of our difficulties we may often lose sight of His presence and give into our anxious feelings. St. Teresa of Avila reminds us of our need to constantly stay focused on our Lord through every circumstance.
     If God never changes and we understand Him to be constant and all loving, then we must not be troubled or frightened. It is through faith that we are able to be patient through the storms of life and through the things that may burden our hearts. Let us come to recognize that we are fulfilled by God alone and that with Him present in our lives we lack nothing. May we see His unchanging love as a comfort to us in everything. (C.C.)

"Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry"- Padre Pio

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A `Bushel Of Falsehood` & A Lesson From Archbishop Lynch. By:C.C.

"The Ecumenical Council of the Vatican is only known to the world in general from reports of newspaper correspondents. These reports are generally very unreliable, many totally false, others containing a grain of truth in a bushel of falsehood, and cannot be relied upon. These reports generally came back to us in Rome, and amused and often surprised us, as each bishop received the leading newspaper of his city. A weekly Toronto journal kept me posted in the news of the day here and brought me news from Rome that I was entirely ignorant of. The secular newspapers, as a rule, were what we term in opposition." (Archbishop John Joseph Lynch-Lecture at St. Michael's Cathedral Toronto, following the first Vatican Council)

    I have chosen to revisit these words from the first Archbishop of Toronto as I see them rather fitting in regards to what we are currently experiencing throughout much of the media coverage on the current Synod taking place in Rome. 
   Due to the nature of this Synod there is much being discussed that is hitting home with many people. There is a danger however when the information that one is reading and receiving is flawed. It is important to remember as  Fr. John Zuhlsdorf  reminds us that "there is a Synod and there is a Synod of the media". 
   Through revisiting this excerpt from a lecture given by Late Archbishop John Joseph Lynch at St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto -following his return from the first Vatican Council,  I could not help but be drawn to his eloquent words about newspaper reports concerning matters of Vatican events. These words from long ago echo today and offer some insight as to how one should treat secular and politically driven media reporting today.
   It is important to unearth these words from Bishop Lynch as I find that they affirm the fallibility and error in much of what we may read, hear, and receive today.  
   The immediate accessibility of information has allowed for a large number of articles, interviews, and video footage to surface about our Pope. This rapid sharing of news carries both positive and negative elements. It is important to approach information that we receive regarding the matters of our Holy Catholic Church with great discernment and understanding of our faith. 
   Many are often inclined to cling to the `grain of truth`within the `bushel of falsehood` as a result of personal agendas and many other varying reasons.        While seeking to know more about matters concerning the faith can be leading one closer to encountering the fullness of Truth, it can also damage and alter perceptions of  this Truth if what is being absorbed is flawed.. 
    The `grain of truth` that we may cling to amidst the `bushel of falsehood` may be a reflection of our own selfish desire and our unwillingness to surrender to The Complete Truth found in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;Truth that is unwavering and does not bend with the opinions, views, and wants of a majority, but remains fixed and concrete as when it was proclaimed by Christ. I do not desire to judge the opinions and values of others or to determine that their sentiments or desire for `change` is wrong, I am simply at peace with what has always been and remains consistently right  and just (C.C.)

More from Archbishop Lynch...

``The secular newspaper correspondents have published that Papal Infallibility means that the Pope is like unto God, Supreme, not subject to any error, and can make truth falsehood, and falsehood truth. I need hardly say that this definition is utterly false. Another journal says that Papal Infallibility means that the Pope is impeccable — cannot err — and that all his sayings and doings are infallible; that also is false. He is subject to human weaknesses, and confesses them, like every good child of the Church, and receives absolution and penance. An other writer says that the Pope can prophesy and invent a new religion as he pleases — well, that also is false. He receives no gift of prophesy by his election to the Popedom and can invent no new dogma or religion ; he can only pronounce that such and such truth has been always in the Church, and has been revealed to the Church by the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, according to the words of Christ, " I will send you another Paraclete who will teach you ALL truth — not truth, but ALL truth.`` (Archbishop John Joseph Lynch)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recognizing Grace. By: C.C.

     A challenge we encounter in striving toward holiness throughout our lives is the continual surrender to trust in God's goodness in the face of change and adversity.  The Saints of our Church, especially "The Little Flower", who we celebrate today models for us ways to incorporate this perpetual renewal of trust in God's loving providence by recognizing everything as grace.
   These words have always called my own lack of virtue into question as I dealt with the perceived reality of living in seemingly adverse situations, and at times failing to maintain regard for God's goodness.
     Our human condition exposes us to the reality of misfortune and suffering. There is loss and agony, there are pitfalls and shortcomings, there is adversity and tribulation. It is tempting to question and doubt the presence of God's goodness in these moments.It is by seeking Him through faith and remembering His promises to us that we can be consoled and open ourselves to recognizing the grace in everything. 
   We can praise God in all things by seeking the grace of each moment and circumstance. The numerous unmerited gifts of God that we do not earn by striving toward greatness, but receive through humble and lowly service to Christ provide all that we need.
  Our challenges and difficulties are filled with God's transforming grace. He does not cease to be present as we are never absent from His gaze, or from His love. Though we may often lose sight of His sight upon us we must faithfully and prayerfully endure everything that comes and rest trustingly in the presence of His loving grace. (CC) 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Discerning The Call to Love by: C.C.

“A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.” (Thomas Merton)
     To consider vocation one must first have the understanding that they have been created uniquely by our Lord for a purpose. There is a hunger today for advancements and for settling into many things that society deems to be definitive of what a  'successful person' is.      It is alluring and tempting to tread through life in pursuit of success, rather than genuine and authentic fulfillment that can only be experienced by the giving of one's control into the hands of a loving God. 
   Through faith and trust in God one can have a clearer sense of vocation and to where God is leading them. It is a surrender of self that brings forth the fulfillment of self in the way that God intended. One's vocation is rooted in the love of God and pursuing the path that enables them to live out this love in the most genuine and selfless way.  
   Discerning vocation can be rather daunting.There are many things that can travel through one's mind and heart as they seek to fulfill the plans that God has for them. Many can be so wrapped up in the persistent search for God's will that they actually miss the very important point of fully resting in Him and allowing His will to patiently unfold. The pursuit of God's will is above all a surrender of patience and trust.
  We do not chase, but cease our running and recognize that we have been sought after by a loving God who knows well the deepest desire of our heart. Trusting God is to trust His plans and to be assured that His providence will sustain us by providing the grace to live out the vocation to which we have been called. 
  Through faithful trust in God and the daily commitment to living out the call to love in our present circumstances, we can be lovingly led by the Holy Spirit to where we serve Christ best through our service in love toward others. - CC

    "In a society in which permanent commitments are not valued - and that applies to the priesthood and religious life as well as to marriage - it can take great spiritual strength, and is certainly counter-cultural, to renew each day a sacred lifelong commitment, trusting in the grace of God. That must be our path as Christians, and anything that tends (even unintentionally) to re-inforce a culture that undermines fidelity to sacred permanent commitments must be resisted" (Cardinal Collins)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Abandonment and Trust In God. By: C.C.

"Abandoning ourselves to God means renouncing your own plans and visions, leaving everything behind so that you can devote yourself totally to the Lord.  We are so full of our own plans and our own visions while God's will and God's plans are often different. Then God must frustrate our plans. However, the frustration of our plans is a blessing because they are being frustrated by the love that always wants what is good for us." ( Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer)
   Having faith in God is not limited to solely believing in His existence. We are constantly presented with opportunities to affirm our faith throughout life's moments by our cooperation and obedience to God through responding to the challenges that place our faith into question.
   Our faith in God pours into every avenue of our lives and into the most ordinary temporal things that we are faced with. To abandon ourselves to Him is to faithfully trust that God's plan and His vision for us exceeds what we can plot or fathom for ourselves.
    To have faith in God is to willingly cooperate with His grace in our lives and to endure with hope during moments of great difficulty. Tribulation is inevitable. Moments of struggle and trial can become filled with great meaning and recognized as grace if we renounce ourselves and our own will to that of our Lord.           
     How often we desire things for ourselves that we believe will lead us to great joy. How many times we map out our own idealistic timeline for things to happen and our lives to unfold according to our own vision. Our desire and our drive for success and happiness is a very healthy and good thing. To have great regard for our own well being is not something that is upsetting to God, however we are invited to place our complete trust and reliance upon our Lord who lovingly "always wants what is good for us". 
  When we become over confident in our own designs and feel as if we are in control of it all we will eventually experience the "frustration of our plans". These frustrations are indeed a blessing as Fr. Dajzcer reminds us, even if we do not recognize this in the moments of upset.        Our Lord well knows the desires of our heart and has placed them there for a purpose. Trusting in Him allows us to recognize that this purpose unfolds in God's time and only then will our desires be fulfilled in their proper place in accordance to what is best for us. (CC) 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

When 'The Good News' is Presented Badly. By:C.C.

"But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15)

  Our modern technological advancements and the embracing of media as a means of evangelization has given rise to the increase of sharing ones faith. In many ways this is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Yet, at times it seems that there is need for more silence, reflection, thought, and most importantly reverence before one can share the 'Good News' effectively. I have come across many wonderful blogs, tweets, Facebook shares, and other forms of social networking that primarily focus on sharing and reflecting the Catholic faith. I have sadly also come across the opposite. I say this with all reverence to Christ and void of judgement toward my brothers and sisters in faith. When 'The Good News' of our faith is poorly presented it does more to wound than heal. It does more to turn one away from Christ than to lead others toward Him. It does more for division than it does for unity. It does not reflect the love of our Lord and the 'hope' that is within. Rather, it highlights the virtue one is without and the time they truly need to spend with reverence in their heart for Christ as Lord.
  Today's Gospel highlights our need to be hidden in the heart of Christ, and reminds us that we are to be 'prepared to make defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you'. We must not read today's Gospel and isolate this one sentence but further our reading and see that we are called to do this with 'gentleness and reverence'. Charity must be at the root of our message or it is not rooted in Christ. There is not a lack of morality or sound doctrine and discipline by sharing and responding to others with gentleness and reverence. 
  Today we have an outpouring of instant communication. Absence of thought and quickness of speech. Technological advancements while able to contribute positively to our Catholic evangelization can also greatly wound and lead to confusion. If we claim to be a follower of Christ, if we claim to have faith, if we profess to be in communion with the Holy Catholic Church, then we are obligated, responsible, and accountable to build up and foster the fruits of what this means and cultivates in our lives. It is not about us and our feelings. It is about Christ and His Church.
  Let us place our energy and our voices first into the silence of prayer. Let us turn to our Lord , hear His voice and understand what it is He asks of us through our trusting obedience to Him and His will. If we disagree with someone let us pray first for them before we react. It is not about being `right` it is about our Lord seated at the `right hand of the Father` who is the judge of what is `right and just`.
   Let us not be victim of reacting before retaining, speaking before listening, and commenting before first comprehending. We can often realize in hindsight that if we first sought His sight and turned to our Lord with matters of faith, our concerns, and our confusions, we would gain clarity and understanding. To be a disciple of Christ and to strive to evangelize we must first be a student of silence and prayer. We must patiently endure and prayerfully wait upon the Lord. 
  The old question `What would Jesus do?` comes to mind to me today. If our Lord had to tweet, blog, and facebook..what would His page look like and what response would he offer to others when called to give account? (C.C.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Absence of Happiness and The Presence of Unending Joy. By :C.C.

"These things I have Spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)
"Joy suggests a more complete, ecstatic, consuming passion than mere happiness. In short, “happiness” can be described as an emotion, while “joy” is more properly related to a state of one’s being. By definition, happiness is a response to happenstance, contentment, good luck, prosperity, or good fortune.(Catholic Exchange)
    Our joy is limited because our gaze is set upon our desire for the fleeting reality of happiness. By keeping our eyes upon the visible and not entrusting ourselves entirely to Him who has made all that is visible and invisible,we can not attain a true sense of joy in our lives. To be joyful is to go beyond what is mere 'happenstance' and toward the Source of our true joy found in God alone. 
  It is a journey past emotions and things tangible. It is a calling outside of what can be merited and all that can be pursued. To find joy begins with acknowledging that we have first been pursued by an all loving God who has 'Spoken to us' ,that His joy may be within us so that we may experience fulfillment in this life'. In order that our joy may be full we must first become empty and make ourselves humble before God. Our Lord's commands to us are designed for the purpose of our joy. If our gaze is limited to the things of this world and our perception of joy rooted in our emotions, then we keep ourselves away from knowing true joy in this life. When we dismiss the path of virtue as one of destruction and embrace the inauthentic sensory pursuit of happiness we deny ourselves the genuine experience of joy as God wills for us.
  Even our moments of suffering and perceived trials are opportunities to affirm the presence of true joy. 'The state of one's being' can be inclined toward joy by seeking to remain rooted in our Lord. The enduring presence of joy in our life depends upon the endurance of our hope, our trust, and our love of God in all things. As our faith teaches us, “... true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or any human achievement…or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love.” In other words, temporal happiness is not enough to satisfy us; we long for the “joy of the Lord” (CCC 1720). Recognizing that God is our Creator and that we rely totally on Him is a “source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence” (CCC 301).