Tag Archives: Bible

Righteousness – A Word Study

Just finished reading Chapters 3 and 4 of Matthew’s Gospel.  There is so much there that it would take pages to discuss.  It is about His baptism by John and His temptation in the desert.  Satan was tempting Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.  He wants Him to embrace an earthly and political mission and thus subvert from His real mission of suffering and dying for our salvation.

Unlike us, Jesus could not have sinned at any time during His earthly life.  His “temptations” were entirely the suggestions of the devil and had nothing to do with any kind of inner struggle or disordered desire of a fallen nature.  We, of course, experience temptation because of our fallen nature.  However, just because He couldn’t sin, doesn’t mean that He didn’t show us how the devil should be treated when he comes around with his “suggestions.”

According to St. John Chrysostom, Jesus gives us a perfect example of Christian obedience.  Earthly life is our wilderness.  Our goal is to get to the “land” of heaven.  This life is like a probationary period for us.  God wills that we  overcome temptations (from the world, the flesh, and the devil) through the practice of penance and obedience to God’s word.   We must desire Christ’s humility.  And this is how we can increase the gift of righteousness:  penance, obedience, and humility.

Righteousness is a gift from God.  The word itself is used 7 times in Matthew and 85 times in the rest of the New Testament.  Christ first gives us this gift in Baptism when we are restored in our relationship as an adopted son or daughter of God.  It always means (from the Greek) the uprightness and faithfulness of God and His people.  It is part of the unique covenant vocabulary that runs throughout the old and new testaments.  God’s righteousness is because He is holy and is revealed as He takes care of Israel.  Now, He has demonstrated His righteousness through the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus wants us to be righteous, like He and His Father, are righteous.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”  Jn 4: 7-8, 10

And, I might add, fill you with righteousness.

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Filed under Almsgiving, Catholic, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, James, Jesus, Lent, New Testament

Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. (Gn 3: 19)

About three years ago, my husband and I began to read the Gospels, (out loud) two chapters at a time, on Ash Wednesday.  We found that by doing so we could read all four Gospels by Holy Saturday.  The first time, we continued after Easter and read until the end of the NT.  Then we began the New Testament again and read it through 2 chapters a night.  Then, we began to read the Old Testament, the same way.  We are only to the end of Wisdom, so we have set it aside and began the Gospels again tonight.

Everyone else reads other books for their spiritual reading during Lent.  We just stick with the Gospels.  Doing so, we have had great Lents for the past three years.

So after dinner tonight, we began.  Matthew Chapters 1 and 2.  What is Jesus’ ancestry and where was He born?  I especially like the verses about St. Joseph dreaming of angels.  He was such a man of faith!  That we would have just a bit of his faith and humility, we too could dream of angels.

Finally, today’s liturgy is an invitation to penance.  The predominant thought of the day should be that while physical penance is okay, we need spiritual penance–humility, recognition of our faults, a steadfast heart, and the reformation of our lives.  The Lord wants us to be converted to Him with all our hearts, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.  He wants us to “rend our hearts; not just our garments.”

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil.  As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  (Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday-Evening Prayer)

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Filed under 40 Days for Life, Fasting, Gospel, Jesus, Lent, Liturgy of the Hours, New Testament, Old Testament, Sacred Scripture

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit of God

Ephesians 4: 29-32 is both invitation and warning.  It invites us to avoid sin and all occasions of sin.  It warns us that the Person of the Holy Spirit will be insulted by our sin.

St. Paul gives us a list to follow especially where it concerns destructive and devisive speech.  He tell us to put away all

  • Bitterness
  • Wrath
  • Anger
  • Malice
  • Clamor
  • and Slander

We are to

  • be Kind to one another
  • be Tenderhearted
  • be Forgiving

Remembering the words of our Savior in the Our Father, we thank God for His mercy towards us by showing mercy to others.  Forgiveness!

St. Paul wants “no evil talk” coming out of our mouths.  Whatever we speak should be “edifying” that “it may impart grace to those who hear.”

He also alludes to Is 63:10 where the Prophet recalls how the Exodus generation of Israel grieved the Holy Spirit by grumbling against the Lord and Moses.

Heaven help us!  When I read what passes for discourse today in the age of Facebook and Twitter, I’m reminded that we, too, are a perverse generation, grumbling against the Lord, and grieving the Holy Spirit by our lack of charity and forgiveness.

We need the Holy Spirit to actually intercede for us.  Pray with me these intercessions from the Liturgy of the Hours’ morning prayer for today.  “Lord, pour out your mercy upon us.”

Christ, Rising Sun, warm us with your rays, and restrain us from every evil impulse.

Keep guard over our thoughts, words, and actions, and make us pleasing in your sight this day.

Turn your gaze from our sinfulness, and cleanse us from our iniquities.

Through your cross and resurrection, fill us with the consolation of the Spirit.

 

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Filed under Catholic, Charity, Exodus, Holy Spirit, Liturgy of the Hours

The Fig Tree

“Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.  When they put forth their buds, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things coming to pass, know that the kingdom of God is near.”  Luke 21: 29-31

The Advent season in an invitation to sanctity.  Yes, we wait “with joyful hope for the coming of our Savior.”  We have hopeful expectations that He will come again in all His glory.  We even look for signs like Jesus told us in Luke’s gospel.  We pour over the signs of our times and wonder if the end is near.  Some of us long for the end of the world with a longing that is so deep in our soul that we fear we will die from the longing.  We ask with the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?”

There were two meanings in the Gospel on Sunday.  Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Then, He turned to His second coming.  He gives us a reason to be glad for it.  “Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  Luke 21: 28

Finally, He exhorts us to sanctity.  We have to face the fact that only by being holy as the Father is holy will we enter into heaven.  He is the fountain of life and grace; of strength and holiness.  He has already merited everything that serves for our sanctification; His gifts are unnumbered, yet we can not become saints unless we co-operate with Him.

Sanctity is the fullness of grace.  Jesus wills this for all of us.  Then, why are so few of us saints?  Why am I not a saint?

Sanctity is not obtained by our accomplishments or the number of gifts we have received from God.  Rather it is in the degree of sanctifying grace and charity to which our souls have attained by cooperating with His many invitations, inspirations and actual graces.  The gifts of Baptism and the Holy Spirit and all the sacraments should have already increased our treasure trove of grace.  And, yet, we remain slothful, prideful, and stingy.

It didn’t escape my attention that Luke’s chapter 21 begins with the Widow’s mite–extreme charity from extreme poverty.  What a lesson for us to begin this Advent season.  If we are to prove to Jesus that we are sincere about becoming holy, we need to, with His help, be very, very generous.  We need to overcome our selfishness and attachment to things no matter what it costs us.  We need to say a resounding “yes” to Him even when we would rather let our “hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life.”  Luke 21″ 34  We must not grow lazy in our pursuit of sanctity.

“O Jesus, never allow me to oppose and hinder Your actions in my soul.  Pursue me with Your grace until I give myself entirely to you.”

Have a blessed Advent.  Pursue sainthood with fervor!

 

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Insanity plus Idiocy equals Sodomite “Marriage”

Just because Bruce Jenner says he is a woman; just because I say that I am a teacup Chihuahua; and just because 5 senile men on the Supreme Court say that two homosexuals can live together, have sex and call it marriage, doesn’t make it so.

I’m not that concerned that these old and stupid Justices shredded the Constitution to find a faux right for sodomite marriage.  The Constitution has been in the shredder for over a century.  A Constitution is only as good as the people it governs.  Since we have been sliding to perdition for a long, long time, America is no longer a moral or virtuous country.  Hence, the Constitution is not worth the paper upon that it is written.  I know this is a cliche but let’s face it, folks.  Look around you.  There’s not much cause for celebrating the good old USA.  (The discussion going on in our house for the coming weekend, is if we will fly the flag.  But, I digress.)

We got the government we deserve.  I’m reminded of Israel clamoring for a king to rule over them when God and His prophets should have been enough.  And God gave them Saul.  Except for a few notable exceptions like David, these kings did what was evil in God’s sight, and it was all downhill to the exile to Babylon.  Then, it became one pagan ruler after another.  America is not much different.  Our “chastisement” or “exile” is coming and it will not be pretty.  Usually, when an empire or kingdom falls it is taken over by an “ism” of some sort.  Facism in the form of Communism or even Islam, anyone?

Make no mistake about it.  We, Christians, will be persecuted.  It is only a matter of when and how.  The homosexual agenda has NEVER been about equality or marriage.  It has always been about silencing those voices who will not accept this abomination as natural.  Are you prepared?  It might be going to jail, “re-education” camps, mental institutions, or maybe even martyrdom.

When my daughter called on Friday to discuss the decision with me, I told her what I planned on doing.  First, I’m not afraid.  I know that Jesus saw all of this from the cross!  I trust Him.  Second, I will continue to read my Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Third, I will avail myself of the Sacramental graces of frequent Confession and Communion.  Eucharistic adoration is a good thing, too.  Fourth, I will pray and fast.  Some demons can’t be subdued any other way.  Finally, I will pray the Rosary daily and the Memorare often throughout the day.  It’s time for all of us to get serious about being saints!

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to they protection, implored they help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.  To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.  Amen.”

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Filed under Adoration, Dignitas personae, Fasting, Holiness, homosexual, Jesus, sodomite marriage

A Reasonable Hope?

Just finished watching Wolf Hall and am contemplating the eternal fate of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. This is in light of the Reverend Robert Barron’s, now famous, statement that we can “have a reasonable hope that all are saved (no one goes to hell.)”

Henry was an adulterer, a murderer, and an apostate.   Historians say he wanted to be Catholic just not a Papist. However, whether or not he intended to do so, he founded the Church of England on divorce and murder. Thomas Cromwell, the King’s trusted adviser, who was partial to Protestantism, most notably Lutheranism, carried out Henry’s nefarious plans. These included the murder of Anne Boleyn, her brother, and two of her household servants, because Henry “wanted” Jane Seymour and Cromwell wanted more power. He was also responsible for the deaths of John Fisher and Thomas More because they were “Papists.” Thomas Cromwell deeply despised the Catholic Church and Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More were his way at getting back at that Church. According to 1 John 3: 14-15, “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

I think it’s pretty unreasonable that people like Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell were saved if that means they are not in hell with Judas. (Jesus, Scriptures-both old and new- the Apostles, and the early Church fathers all tell us that Judas is in hell.) I know. I know. I shouldn’t judge individual souls. However, the only people that we can be sure are in heaven are those that the Church has officially called Saints.

In order for someone to go to hell, it is necessary to willfully turn away from God and be unrepentant and persistent in sin until the end. In light of scriptures and Jesus’ teachings about the existence of hell, why would we ever have a reasonable hope that hell is empty, except for Satan, his minions, and Judas?

I would also think it unreasonable that anyone who rejects God, denies Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life can get into heaven. Of course, when the Apostles asked Jesus, “then who can be saved?” He responded that with God all things are possible. Do Satanists, witches, pagans, people who sin against the Holy Spirit ( a sin that can’t be forgiven in this world or the next, according to Jesus,) and those who despair and have no hope, reasonable or unreasonable; do they all go to heaven?

It would appear that I have so many questions and so few answers that my head is about to explode. I guess I’ll have to heed St. Paul and work out my salvation with fear and trembling and hope in the promises of my Savior. And that is the only hope that I feel is  very, very reasonable!

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What’s the Difference?

There was a little dust-up about a Michael Voris video that I shared called “Do Non-Catholics Go to Heaven?” I thought it was an interesting take on the question especially since we have been hearing so many unorthodox things from priests like the good Reverend R. Barron that we can have a reasonable hope that no one goes to hell.

In my immediate family that includes brothers, sister, their children, and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren—all who were baptized in the Catholic faith—there are only a handful that still attend Mass and believe in their faith and this handful includes my husband and myself.

This hurts me in my soul, because, as we believe, and that video pointed out, in order to get into heaven one has to be in the state of grace (no unrepentant, un-forgiven mortal sins) when one dies. Of course, there is an act of perfect contrition but I am going to say that an act of perfect contrition is probably beyond my feeble attempts because of pride so I need the Sacrament of Reconciliation or as those of us, who aren’t PC, call it, Confession; Just like I need all the sacraments that Jesus gave us as a means to sanctifying grace which we all need to get into heaven. Only the Catholic Church has these sacraments instituted by Christ to give grace. To me, it’s simple to say that I want everything I can have in my arsenal to get to heaven when I die.

I also believe that with God all things are possible so I pray each day for all of my family to return to the faith of their baptism and for some of my grandchildren to actually be baptized. Do I say anything to them personally about my fears? Do I tell them that I cry tears over their apostasy? No, I just love them where they are and pray for their reversion. Of course, I make no apologies for my Catholic Faith and don’t compromise my faith for their sake, so, of course, there are liable to be a few “dust-ups” when I post something that is hard for them to read or hear.

So, a good Protestant friend asked “what is the difference between a faithful Catholic and a faithful Christian?” I’m not sure she is serious about it or if it was meant as a “gotcha” question, so I’m not sure if I will answer it or not. I’ll probably find out first why she asked the question. However, there are some things that I will say.

We believe in Purgatory. We believe that there is a place where we have to be refined like gold in order to enter heaven and be in a Holy God’s presence. Now, no one can judge the individual soul just like I don’t judge my family’s individual souls, however I have a real problem with assuming that all my Protestant brothers and sisters are automatically with Jesus when they die. Sorry, we can only know who is in heaven when the Church has declared them saints. So I continue to pray for them as if they weren’t and are in Purgatory instead. My husband always kids me about how much I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I tell him that I am building an army of saints in heaven to pray for me so that I might avoid Purgatory all together.

We believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We believe that it isn’t only Scripture (Sola Scriptura) but Scripture and Apostolic Tradition passed down from the Apostles to the Catholic Church. We believe that faith without works is dead. No Sola Fides for us. We take to heart Matthew 25 and the Sermon on the Mount. We want to be numbered among those who gave our Lord drink when He was thirsty, food when He was hungry, visited Him when He was in prison. . .you know the rest. No, our works don’t “save us.”   We boast in Christ and Him crucified just like Paul but we also believe like James, show me your works and I will show you your faith.

These are just some of the differences between a Protestant Christian and a Catholic Christian.

However with great blessings come great responsibilities! I believe that it will go worse for Catholics who had the faith and fell from it than those who never had the faith to begin with. That is why I pray for all my family to return to the One True Faith before they die.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

May all the Faithful Departed through the Mercy of God, rest in peace!

 

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