Archive for category Sharing the Life of Christ

A little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

A structure of sin or social sin is first described by Blessed John Paul II in #36 of his 1987 Encyclical, “On Social Concern.”   He introduces the concept that an accumulation of personal sin creates social structures and norms that trivialize and depend on continuing this sin in the lives of countless succeeding individuals.  These structures of sin are exceptionally difficult to remove.  Created by individual sin, they can only be removed through personal acts of virtue and these are born from a pursuit of personal holiness.

 

The culture of America, as we now know it, is very dependent on people’s reliance on contraception, sterilization, and surgical abortion.  Fear of over-extending oneself in family size leads many to disregard or reject altogether the notion of God’s Providential care for those who honor and obey His laws.  The consequences of losing sight of God include the malady of a people who have now lost sight of the value of man.  This concept was also first advanced by Blessed John Paul II.

 

The “imperfect” person is not only seen as without value, but is actually not to be tolerated by many in our society.  This attitude, encouraged by our medical, legal and political communities, put a sense of stigma or blame on parents for bringing such “imperfect” people to term and birth.  In the precise cases where the greatness of a people who value all people for whom they are, we now find America failing severely with fatal consequences for truly countless numbers of human persons.  It is common knowledge that 90% of persons diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are surgically aborted in the womb.  Parents who stand-up to these betrayals from those in these professional fields who maintain the structures of sin will soon enough contend with family, friends and strangers who see selfishness in the parents fulfillment of their God given calling and duty in preserving the life of their child.

 

One couple, Lacey and Chritian Buchanan, are among those of us who are “imperfect” and they saw the perfection of God in their child and have grown in their sharing of divine love for him and others.  Children really do teach us and give us the opportunity to practice love for another person.  This couple’s story is shared with us via youtube.com.  We can be grateful for their practice of virtue over fear.  Please take the time to see and read the sub-titles of this video, because it is worth it.  Let’s keep in our prayers all parents with such trust in God’s wisdom and Divine Providence.  And let’s pray there are as many such parents as there are persons conceived because we all know everyone but God is a little bit imperfect.

The Buchanan’s original youtube.com link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWCbkyR0cy0

Their posting and contact information include the following:

Published on Mar  9, 2012

This is my plea to anyone considering abortion. Rethink your decision, no matter the circumstances. I am so glad I chose life!
The Buchanans can be reached via blog (http://christianbuchanan.blogspot.com/) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lacey-a…).
Music: Fernando Ortega “Give Me Jesus”; Chris Tomlin “How Great is Our God”

Who is the Preborn Christ?

This ministry is committed to developing and promoting devotion to the Preborn Christ and it begins with answering the question:  Who is the Preborn Christ?

 

In obvious terms, the Preborn Christ is Jesus during His nine months in the womb of His mother, Mary.  This time in the womb is often related to His Incarnation as a whole.  Yet the experience Jesus had within the womb is not pondered as the intimate source for prayer and meditation that it truly is.  As scripture concurs, with the account of “The Visitation (when Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth), we are told that Elizabeth’s baby, St. John the Baptist, acknowledged Him and “leapt with joy.”

 

Also, in order to explore more deeply whom the Preborn Christ is, we must consider the Sacrament of Baptism – both its purpose and effect.  Sin has orphaned us and death will orphan many of us.  It is through Baptism that we are adopted by God as our Father.    This adoption also makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus and of each other.  This is emphasized by Jesus when He instructed us to pray to God as He does, “Our Father, who art in heaven….”

 

However, Christ does not stop there.  As temples of the Holy Spirit not built by human hands, Jesus has sent us His Holy Spirit to reside within us. We are bound together with the same spirit, and as the many we form a single body of Christ.  Jesus is Christ’s head and we are Christ’s body.  We, the body of Christ, share in the divine life of Jesus and the Holy Trinity, and in the tri-fold mission of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king.  If we live and die in the Lord, then we are co-heirs of the Kingdom as the body of Christ with Jesus as our head.  It is through His people, living The Way that the Incarnation of Christ is on-going.

Who is the Preborn Christ?

He is Jesus and us.  As Caryll Houselander cites in The Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross, it is the salvation of each of us for we are each destined to be ‘another Christ’ in this world.  Houselander continues, “Jesus is not content in living a human life, He lives every human life.”  His call for each of us to be ‘another Christ’ in this world is what He meant in His Great Commission, “…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.“Matthew 28:19

In Christ, Nothing is Futile

The American Culture in 2013 is a terribly confusing period with many distractions and even more unhealthy, and even evil temptations abound.  It is not difficult to be overwhelmed with the expectations and demands of such a technologically advanced and socially digressing culture.  All too often a relationship with Jesus, or God, is lost in the shuffle of life.  Even worse, there are those who have abandoned God with the claim that either the Church is in the way or that God has abandoned them.  Unfortunately, what replaces a trust in Divine Providence, God’s goodness to us always within a divine plan for our salvation, is replaced with a sense of futility of life and a creeping despair  and hopelessness.

It is not only okay to feel confused and overwhelmed with disordered passions.  These conditions are especially understandable when you consider that these are among the consequences of sin since Original Sin.  The point to not lose sight of is that you don’t act on those passions.  Even our confusion and disordered tugs serve God’s purpose if but recognized and accepted without a sinful response.  It may be more important for such a  one to offer a simple prayer of waiting on the Lord.  In His time He will make clear the next move He wants made.

St. Paul addressed these exact concerns when writing his letter to the Romans.  “…for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, Jesus Christ, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Romans 8:20-21

In short, we were created through Jesus Christ for Jesus Christ.  We have the purpose to know, love and serve God in this world and share His happiness in eternal life.  Living such a life is not futile, but gives us the freedom to be happy.

 

Man Becomes Temple and Body

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is well documented in the Bible, many events recorded can become lost despite their extraordinary importance to Christ’s action and message.  One finds one such an occurrence described in all three of the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the tearing of the temple veil.[1]

 

The veil the three refer to is the veil within the Holy of Holies of the Temple.  The Holy of Holies was the holiest space within the Temple and contained the  Ark of the Covenant that held the two sets of tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written, Aaron’s rod, a jar of Massa and a copy of the Torah.  With heavy, tall veils, the Holy of Holies was separated from the rest of the Temple.  Comprised of two chambers, one chamber preceded the final chamber containing the Ark.  Only the high priest of the year could enter the Holy of Holies and only on the Day of Atonement.  It is in the Holy of Holies that the Priest would offer sacrifice for the sins of the community committed over the previous year.  It is in the Holy of Holies that Zechariah learned that his elderly wife would conceive a child, John the Baptist.  It was also where Zechariah expressed doubt that his elderly wife could conceive.   In answer to his doubt, Zechariah then lost his voice until John the Baptist was born and Presented in the Temple when he was named as John.

 

No other place equaled the Holy of Holies in holiness.  This space received the greatest of reverence by the Jewish people.   Just of the Ark alone, a soldier of David’s died instantly upon an unauthorized touching of the Ark when he made the effort to prevent the Ark’s fall to the ground.  There was simply no place that received such high reverence as the Holy of Holies.

 

It is with such an understanding that we can begin to recognize the sense of alarm and maybe even scandal that this veil of the Holy of Holies tore by itself from top to bottom at the same time that Jesus, the condemned blasphemer, died.

 

Some scholars have suggested that this tearing of the veil was an omen of the Temple’s destruction by the Romans in 60 AD.  Rev. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy, a Melkite priest of the Catholic Church, espouses that the torn veil is God’s manner of opening the graces of the Holy of Holies to the whole world.  It serves a s a symbol that the Temple is no longer needed as God is and Man are now reconciled.  Man, each man and woman, are each now Temple to Our Lord.  The Holy Spirit and Jesus want to dwell within each man and woman and for each to share in the body and divine life of God.  We are each Temple who can carry God within and through His Way we serve as members of Christ’s body with Jesus as our head.

 

Rev. McCarthy cites further that such an understanding makes it very clear that each human person, as Temple of the Lord and as member of the Body of Christ, is due at least as much reverence as the Holy of Holies received.  Any spiritual, verbal or physical attack on another person is desecration of God’s Temple and must be taken as that serious.



T  Matthew 27:51;  Mark 15:38; and Luke 23:45

 

Every Day Can Be Independence Day

Update (July 6, 2013): For those interested in calling on Rachel’s Vineyard, it is an international organization with retreats scheduled the world over throughout the year.  Their contact information is as follows:

Website: www.rachelsvineyard.org

Toll-free retreat information: 877 HOPE 4 ME   (877-467-3463)

National Helpline for Abortion Recovery: 866-482-LIFE   (866-482-5433)

Office Location:

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries 808 N. Henderson Road 2nd Floor King of Prussia, PA  19406

(610) 354-0555 (office) (610) 354-0311 (fax)

 

Previous (July 4, 2013): On this Fourth of July,  we celebrate America’s Independence Day and the God-given freedoms we enjoy in this country.    There are most certainly strains and struggles with respect to these freedoms enjoyed.  Much of the struggles stem from disagreement over the source of such freedoms the people enjoy.  Are these freedoms privileges extended by the state to the individual or are they created by God as part of the inherent dignity of the individual and the rule of natural law?  Men fight and die for each cause, but for the human person to soar under peace his dignity under God’s freedom must be affirmed and protected.

As essential as political freedoms are to  people, so is freedom from sin and its cursed consequences.  Every day holds the potential of being Independence from sin day.  Refuge under the protection of God and His ways is a first defense, forgiveness and healing from other’s sins can serve as another front defense, and repentance for our own sins is another required defense.

Our forgiveness for another’s sins is rarely possible without seeking healing and strength from the Lord.  He died bearing the sins of others and He is ready to take the burden of other’s sins from us.  Our forgiveness is a sharing in Divine life and power of the Divine.  Not always easily done and often without a greater reward than freeing oneself from the debilitation from another.  Yet, we can take solace that our treasure in heaven is building and our formation as a person of God is strengthened.

We can all  seek contriteness and repentance for our sins with the sure knowledge that God will forgive all repented sin.  For certainty in absolution, Jesus gave His Church and His priests the authority to administer the Sacrament of Penance.  The United States Constitution may assure one of a free tongue, hands or feet, but only the Sacrament of Penance can assure one of the freedom of one’s soul.

 

If you have not been to the Sacrament of Penance for some time, please consider attending soon.  The formula for beginning a confession to a priest is, “Bless me father, fo r I have sinned.  It has been ________ since my last confession.  Since then my sins have been…”  Know that priests are ready to hear anything and Christ is more than ready to forgive that of which you repent.

 

Healing is a close cousin of penance for sin as many of our needs for healing are associated with sins committed and suffered by its victims.  Also, sin is not the only source of harm.  All life has its losses and wounds over time.  One such loss that can leave a life-long wound and a confession may not be needed, or sufficient alone, is an unresolved pregnancy loss.  A healing is never further than a prayer away, but not always the full healing sought.

 

One place where such healing for unresolved pregnancy losses have been so successfully achieved is through encounters with Jesus Christ through the Scriptures, the other person, and the Sacraments is a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat.  If you have or someone you know has  suffered such a  loss, consider calling on and attending one of their weekend retreats.  Such weekends have  been Lazarus events for so many.  If you need it: Why not for yourself?

Each of these methods toward Independence Day helps to cleanse this Temple of our being that frees us to be the Temple for where the Preborn Christ may rest and grow, taking consolation from your willingness to take notice of His needs and our willingness to serve Him.   And so further our relationship with Him deepens in intimacy as we come to know, understand better, and share in His difficult life.  In return, He will give you His rest.

The Power of the Preborn

It is correctly said that babies are defenseless, and they are.  Yet it is wrong to conclude that babies are powerless.   In their weakness and dependency they can exert considerable power over those who rightly see the true value of a person, even if  this person is presently incapable of tending to one’s own needs.  Parents and guardians have changed and reordered their entire lives so as to tend to the needs of a baby.   That is real power.

 

This power over others possessed by the baby does not begin upon birth, but begins upon conception, the presence of the zygote – a single cell, human person.  The mother is the one most immediately influenced by this power.  Once aware of this new person’s presence, she will begin to make changes in response.  Tragically, in America more than 25% of all pregnancies end in a mother-elected surgical abortion.  For those who embrace motherhood and accept this new person, changes abound.  It may begin with morning sickness, more sleep, eating more, putting on weight, and purchasing new clothing to accommodate the growing size of this mother and child body-sharing experience.  The changes will also include new responsibilities, a re-ordering of both a day’s schedule and the home furnishings in anticipation of the child’s birth.

 

Once on a retreat, the retreat master posed two questions to the assembly: 1) How does Christ come to you?  2) How does He change you?  These are  two, very good questions for the Christian to ponder.  These two questions can assist a Christian to break-out from the rote of obedience to the tenants of religion and liturgy to the intimacy of a relationship with Jesus Christ Himself.   Like the mother who first realizes she is carrying a new person within, the Christian must begin to focus on the Christ who comes.  In what form does He come?  In what ways must the life of the Christian be re-ordered to accommodate the dependencies of the presence of Christ?  Is the Christian prepared to appear to others as pregnant with Christ?  As the present Christ stretches the Christian beyond comfort zones, is one prepared to let Christ take the lead?  These are the substance of a relationship between the Christian and the Christ Who is borne.

Spiritual Adoption Leads us to Divine Life

Saint Gregory of Nyssa once wrote: “Man, as a being, is of no account; he is dust, grass, vanity. But once he is adopted by the God of the universe as a son, he becomes part of the family of that Being, whose excellence and greatness no one can see, hear or understand. What words, thoughts or flight of the spirit can praise the superabundance of this grace? Man surpasses his nature: mortal, he becomes immortal; perishable, he becomes imperishable; fleeting, he becomes eternal; human, he becomes divine”.

The importance of our adoption by the Father through the Sacrament of Baptism can not be overstated. It is our salvation, the hope and means of eternal life for each of us. This is made possible and certain for the faithful by means of Jesus sharing our human life through His assuming human flesh in the womb of Mary and beginning as a single cell person. Jesus claims solidarity with us all and shares the Divine life of the Trinity with each of us.

Who is the Preborn Christ?

Third in a Three-Part Series

Any one of us who are Baptized may find it difficult to believe that we are truly adopted by God the Father as his children. It is reasonable to ask for proof of this dimension of Baptism. This proof that one reasonably asks for is cited in Scripture as available to each of us. “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child.” Gal 4:6-7

How do we ourselves hear our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”?  The process is much the same for each of us, silence, prayer, listening, and waiting. Find a quiet place to sit, maybe in church. While in this quiet place, wait while listening for God. Ponder the Scripture that calls us to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 Each of us is capable of hearing Him if we are willing to set so much in our life aside for say thirty minutes a day. While sitting, wait and listen. Offer to God the prayer, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 Ponder this scripture and what it means that God is willing and wants to speak to each of us. God wants to hear us speak to him. God wants a relationship with each of us. God is truly present and close to each of us.
One final point for this writing, we must be ready to hear what He has to say to us, even if it is something we may not want to hear. We are to take counsel and courage in our Baptismal adoption by God as his children, his beloved sons and daughters. We are to, in the words of Christ Himself, “Be not afraid.” Luke 2:10 and 12:4.  Truly realizing the fullness of our adoption will give us the courage to do as he asks, to share in Christ’s life.

Who is the Preborn Christ

Second in a Three-Part Series

Again, who is the Preborn Christ?

He is Jesus and us.  As Caryll Houselander cites in The Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross, it is the salvation of each of us for we are each destined to be ‘another Christ’ in this world. Houselander continues, “Jesus is not content in living a human life, He lives every human life.” His call for each of us to be ‘another Christ’ in this world is what He meant in His Great Commission, “…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.“  Matthew 28:19

Devotion to the Preborn Christ is devotion to Jesus, who “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews” 13:8 It is a devotion recognizing Jesus as The Way for each of us, for as we live The Way, we each become a member of The Life in the Body of Christ and realize our salvation. .

Who is the Preborn Christ?

First of a Three-Part Series

This ministry is committed to developing and promoting devotion to the Preborn Christ and it begins with answering the question: Who is the Preborn Christ?

In obvious terms, the Preborn Christ is Jesus during His nine months in the womb of His mother, Mary. This time in the womb, is often related to His Incarnation as a whole. Yet the experience Jesus had within the womb is not often pondered as the intimate source for prayer and meditation that it truly is. As scripture concurs, with the account of “The Visitation” (when Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth), we are told that Elizabeth’s baby, St. John the Baptist, acknowledged Him and “leapt with joy” within the womb.

Also, in order to explore more deeply who the Preborn Christ is, we must consider the Sacrament of Baptism – both its purpose and effect. Sin has orphaned us and death will orphan many of us. It is through Baptism that we are adopted by God as our Father. This adoption also makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus and of each other. This is emphasized by Jesus when He instructed us to pray to God as He does, “Our Father, who art in heaven….”

However, Christ does not stop there. As temples of the Holy Spirit not built by human hands, Jesus has sent us His Holy Spirit to reside within us. We are bound together with this same Spirit and the many of us form a single body of Christ. Jesus is Christ’s head and we are Christ’s body. We, the body of Christ, share in the divine life of Jesus and the Holy Trinity, and in the tri-fold mission of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king. If we live and die in the Lord, then we are co-heirs of the Kingdom as the body of Christ with Jesus as our head. It is through His people, living The Way, that the Incarnation of Christ is on-going.