Posted tagged ‘salvation’

SEXAGESIMA SENSATIONS

February 24, 2019

All kinds of “sensations”  on this Sexagesima Sunday.

First of a mild remorse because I have missed so many “dates” on the liturgical calendar.  ( It’s that calendar that propels us through the year, on towards a deeper understanding of God — and our souls, and our own soul’s  destiny.)   I’ve written about them all in past years,  but that doesn’t take care of the present.

So we are in the third Sunday of that set of Sundays which gently prepare us for the more sober time of  Lent.   (Lent should not take us by surprise – )   Septuagesima,  Sexagesima,  Quinquagesima;   “seven,”  “six,” and “five,” Sundays before Easter.

So, remorse,  I let you down.

Next ‘sensation”  is one of pain. Lots of pain.  I do NOT have back trouble, and I have little comprehension of those who go around with groans, and sighs, cries,  grimaces and crippled  movements because of their back pain.

I comprehend now.  I hurt my back on Friday while lying on Son’s couch.    I am pet-sitting for him,  the pets were off to their own nap times,  and I turned on local late afternoon news – and promptly fell asleep, which is odd, because I don’t sleep in the daytime very often.

I woke up to the sensation of being stared at.  Intense staring!

Staring 380

I have no idea why they were watching me like that, but even after I opened my eyes, said “Hi, guys,”   the staring continued.  I grabbed my nearby camera and attempted to get up –   and their eyes got bigger.  (Maybe I said something then as the pain struck.)

Though it subsided somewhat on the next day,  on the next day when I as at Son’s house again,  I reached into the pantry for something and hurt that place again,  even more.   Wow.

(What can a  couch  do  to a nice, strong lady?)

Well, that’s all I can say about that.   Except I’m glad I live alone so no one witnesses my “groans, and sighs and cries and grimaces.”      I’ll get better quickly.  After all,  I do NOT have back trouble.

 

wind

Third sensation of this Sexagesima day:   Overwhelming forces of Nature going on outside my house today.    The winds are literally roaring through the trees,  howling around objects, and whistling through the sides of  windows that are apparently not sealed shut.   Outside,  the tall trees around my house are swaying,  each dancing their own dance according to their size and strength and their place inside the wind gusts.  52 m.p.h.  gusts right now, but the weather service promises even  stronger gusts later today.

It’s fun,  but there is that sensation of being “under siege.”   It’s supposed to continue until 7:00 A.M.  tomorrow,  by which time we will probably have the sensation of Silence – our power will be out.

(Storms of winter, followed in less than a month by Spring.   Storms of this life,  followed very soon by the next life,   hopefully of  eternal Spring for us.)

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Sensations all around us, all the time; physical and mental and spiritual sensations,  should we but choose to listen.

I’ll atone for my previous negligence by writing a little about the Sexagesima Readings all  this week,  but I want to start with the Epistle Reading,  epistle being “letter,”  and this epistle being written by St. Paul,  recounting the many “sensations” he willingly endured for the sake of getting the message out there. *

He writes  —  and yet just reading it doesn’t do him justice.  We need someone to explain and to reveal the depths of what Paul is saying to us,  so I’ll turn to St. John Chrysostom —

He (St. Paul)  endured shipwreck,  so that he might stay the shipwreck of the world.  (Yes, we are a shipwrecked world,  going under, being destroyed — that’s how God sees us.)

He says: “A day and a night he passed in the deep  (the deep waters of the Mediterranean,  having been literally shipwrecked himself),  so that he might draw up the world from the deep of error.

He was in weariness that he might refresh the weary  (and strengthen us along the way).

He endured smiting  that he might heal those who have been smitten by the devil (and yet, sometimes the “blows” of the devil seem so easy, so attractive . .  .Paul writes so that we would want to be healed.)

He passed his time in prison so that he might lead forth into the Light those that have been in the darkness of prison.

He was beaten with rods, so that he might bring them under the “rod and staff” of Christ (“thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me, Psalms  22 {23} ) .

He was in the wilderness, so that he might take them out of their wilderness (the person who is apart from God).

He endured hunger and thirst, so that he might deliver them from a more grievous hunger.

He experienced “nakedness” so that he might clothe their unseemliness with the robe of Christ.

He was set upon by mobs so that he could extricate them from the besetment of fiends.

He burned so that he might quench the burning darts of the devil.

He experienced constant journeyings so that he  might stop our wanderings and  show the way that leads to heaven for us

 

That was St. Paul,  recounting all the trials he willingly endured in this life, to get the message out to us.

“He who has ears to hear let him hear…”  Jesus said.

Humans are body-and-soul creatures,  all sensations go together and communicate back and forth between the physical and the spiritual realms.   We stand in the middle, belonging to  both.

There is a kind of “life” and “death” in both realms, and it’s the soberness of Lent that allows us to contemplate these two things more fully.

No matter what happened to St. Paul, and the other Apostles, and to many, many of those early Christians,  they understood what really mattered;  and that is the life of our own soul, that must be fed and nourished and worked for.

“Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling,”  St. Paul also says.

 

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Found in the Bible in the book of II Corinthians,  chapters 11 and 12);  that is Paul’s second letter to the Christians of Corinth.

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POLITICIANS, PRIESTS, AND BILLY GRAHAM

March 5, 2018

It’s always dismaying to read (or write) about “the state of the Church” — and especially on a Sunday.

Since giving up many of the teachings, traditions, and now even doctrines of 2,000 year-old Christianity,  the Modernized Church has weakened, stumbled, fell, skinned its knees, dirtied its face, and is  limping along towards further trouble.

How far along has this process gone?   All the way, I’d say.    Recently, in a church near me,   a priest was acting like a politician and gave a sermon that instructed the people on gun control, border walls, and racism.    Whatever you think of these Hot Button Leftist Talking Points,   most people would instinctively know that this is not what sermons should be about,  nor is it the role of the priest to act as a politician.

Don’t Leftists believe in “separation of church and state”?    (That’s a mild jab from me, with a smile.)

Before I go back to What Happened Next in that church,   here is what the role of a priest traditionally is,  Church teaching from St. John Eudes:

The priest is an evangelist and an apostle whose
chief work is to preach publicly and privately,
by word and example, the Gospel of Jesus
Christ; to continue and perpetuate the functions
that the apostles were commissioned to perform
and to practise the virtues that they practised  
His duty is to make them worthy to possess in eternity
the very kingdom of the Sovereign Monarch of
the world.
In a word, the priest embodies a world of grace
and benediction for the entire Church, but
especially for that portion which God has called
him to govern and guide.

 

The words were printed in the Scottish newsletter*, so that’s why the spelling of some words is different. This portion is just a small part of the saint’s teaching about priests,  but it’s an example of how far from secular politics is the duty of any Roman Catholic priest.

The duty of a priest is the things of God.  However in the local church that I began to write about, the words of that priest were so emotionally incendiary (patterned after the reporting presented by our entertainment-news media:  arouse the people!!),  so arousing, that a man got up in the back of the church and shouted out  his disapproval to the priest and then left the building.

Now, according to reports,  the word “panicked”  was used at least three times.   The people in the church “panicked”  because of the shouts (of the man who had quickly left) and police were called, reports were made, etc., etc.

So –  divisive politics strikes close to home.    I wonder about that scene.    I wonder about our society that has produced people so easily “panicked,”  whatever that meant.   I wonder about the psychological soundness of people with weakened faith (maybe through no fault of their own – living in such a changed Modernized church) –

Opposed to this scene is the teaching of the Church:     For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (II Timothy 1:7)       

As much as I’d like to comment on that verse,   it brings me to Billy Graham, whose biography I saw tonight in a documentary, which happened to be on TV after NASCAR!  (Happily for me.)

However many ways you can look at the man, Billy Graham had greatness and he was important to a wide variety of Americans.     His words changed lives.      As I listened to this documentary,  I was struck by how firmly he stuck to his message:

1.   Every man, deep down is longing for something; he has a hole to be filled:   “Everyone is born with a God-shaped hole in his heart.”   “The heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”  (St. Augustine)    Or listen  to Blaise Pascal about the abyss in our hearts:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)

2.   From there Billy Graham goes on to state that  not only do we all feel an emptiness,  but we also know, deep down, that we are sinners.

3.   God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for us, to “take away”  our sins, to give us new life, and to create a soul worthy of Heaven, sharing in his divine life.
Period.

4.    “If you want to have peace with God, come forward . . .”    in those big crusade auditoriums.     Don’t misunderstand me,  I’m being respectful.

With God (the Third Person of the Trinity) living in you,  you have  increasing faith, which leads to peace and spiritual health, strength, and a sound mind.

I think that factors in somehow to wondering about a “panicked”  congregation whose emotions were so stoked that a shout from the back of the room led to  fear for personal safety.

Fear does not come from God.   (Direct quote from Malachi Martin!)

But “Panic”  comes from the god Pan, according to the Greeks.   In other words,  from evil entities in enmity with God and man, all flourishing in a time of a weakened Church.

  _____________________________________________________

 

There are some priests who strive to resemble St. Eudes’  description as partially quoted above.    All is not lost.    The priest I see each week reminds us frequently that it’s his job to  help us live holy lives –   he’s rather young, he works hard at it, even to the detriment of his own health, as I’m observing.        Just thought he deserves some praise.

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.*  CatholicTruthScotland

 

 

 

 

 

THE OLD LADY &THE MASTER PASTOR

November 22, 2017

Yeah, well, this time maybe I am the “Old Lady.”

But here is the “Master Pastor’ —

Sheen and blackboard

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen,  for whom not too long ago all of America — just everybody — stopped what they were doing on a Sunday evening,  turned on the television,  and watched and listened to this man,  Protestant, Catholic,  non-believer alike.

Whatever you may or may not believe in,   one cannot deny his God-given gift for speaking truth,  right to the point,  succinctly, and with good humor.

I was writing yesterday’s post in a spirit of self-mockery,  because I was observing myself, and while I was trying to “enjoy”  a bad mood,  every time I passed my refrigerator,   I’d see the newspaper article taped up there of “Alice Smith,”  the old, old lady who has such a wonderful, optimistic attitude,  and who at 92 years old loves her job as a burger flipper in a nearby McDonald’s.

Thus ruining my really good bad mood.

tundra

I’m good at deep dark Scandinavian-strength funks.  My whole family is.     I’ll bet she isn’t!

So late in the evening,  at the end of my dark, gloomy day,  I picked up a few books and meandered randomly through them.    One is called “Simple Truths.”    By guess who –  Bishop Sheen.   I don’t usually like books that are “just” series of short quotations,  but that’s about all I was in the mood for.

. . .   Found my bookmark,  and the first thing I read was this:

    The astronomer doesn’t give up his science just because he doesn’t find a new planet every day.  The poet doesn’t give up poetry because he cannot write brilliant verses every day.     But the ideal of science and the ideal of  poetry remain.     So,  virtue, faith, and the abiding resolve to save one’s soul remain,  even when one does not “feel”  like saving one’s soul.

     Ideals must never be left to the stomach or the glands.  They reside in the will.   Hence, the Divine Truth reminds us that “he who perseveres to the end will be saved.”

Feelings.   Feels come and go;  they are up and down;  they make us like or dislike something;   feelings give birth to our opinions.

Feelings are alongside our daily activities,  generated by many factors, some we don’t even know about.   But human life –  humans – are made to  live from their Intellect which corresponds to objective reality informed by  our five senses.    Our intellectual activity is made to conform to objective reality, and next comes our will, at the command of our intellect.

Our well-being comes to a skidding halt when we put feelings and opinions in command of our decisions.   We short-circuit our  main purpose in life.

Which is?     Why were you born?      Something else Bishop Sheen taught,  from the catechism:  Why were you born?  To know, love, and serve God in this life,  and to be happy with him forever in the next.      This is the “resolve to save our souls”  that Bishop Sheen spoke about.

going to Heaven

Ask any old lady, Mrs. Smith or me (when I catch up to her age):      “Are you thankful for a good, long life?”    The answer will be:    “It wasn’t long!”   


The next life will be “long.”   Not this one.     Bishop Sheen would say now is the opportunity to see to the health and life of our souls, now is the time to save our souls.  Our “ideal” is salvation.

Feelings be damned.

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THE RESTRAINING HAND OF “NUNCA MAS! ”

October 10, 2013

Last time I wrote about the “restraining hand”  that governments and citizens are both subject to in public life; that is, the restraining hand of universal moral law.   If it’s not there,  the power of government increases until there is only the law of barbarism – “might makes right,” and our Rulers can command us, now, even to violate our faith and our consciences.   Barbarism in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm.

SAMSUNG

Today I pay homage to a restraining hand in my own life.   It is the feast day of St. Francis de Borgia, a saint who teaches, commands, and governs by the example of his personal and public life.

St Francis Borgia, sttingBorn to a distinguished noble family in Spain, Francis was a good man, intelligent, self-disciplined, well-educated, devout, and highly esteemed for his honesty and devotion to duty.   He danced and sang and wrote music and loved poetry and sports competitions.      I can identify with this man!

Through it all he endeavored to serve Christ well.  He was severe on himself in prayer and penance and aiding the poor and the unemployed in his region. Those who owned land and large estates governed their own households well, keeping in mind the welfare of their descendants, but they were also obliged – by Christian duty – to care for those nearby who were without material advantage.

The people loved him and trusted him.

Queen Isabella bl wh

This was the 16th century.  Ferdinand and Isabella were king and queen.     When the beloved and beautiful Queen Isabella died, the royal family gave to Francis the sad and solemn honor of accompanying her body to Grenada, to the royal burial place.   The purpose was to guard the body and assure that it is she who is really being buried.

Imagine this.   It’s sunny Spain.   A journey of many days for the dead body.   And then – Francis had the “honor”  of looking into the coffin and verifying that it is the body of the queen.

At Grenada, no one could even enter the room where the coffin was placed.   The odor of physical decay was overpowering and sickening.  But Francis had to do his duty.

He approached.  He opened.  He peeked.  But he couldn’t identify the horrifying mess that was the face of his queen.   He verified only on his honor that he had never stopped guarding the coffin.

And he was changed.   “Nunca mas!”  he said.  “Nunca mas servir a senor que se me pueda morir!”

The horrifying realization that gave rise to this exclamation makes me shudder, deep down, where I understand this;  I understand this turning away from “serving a master which leads only to  death.”

From then on,  more single-mindedly, more fervently, he intensified the care of his own soul.   The things of this world, the things that matter here, all end in death and horrifying putrefaction.   All things here…come to this end.

I hear his words:  Nunca mas!  (No more!  Never again!)    Deep down,  where I understand this,  I know it’s time for me to “grow up”  and get serious about serving the Master who offers everlasting Life and Beauty and Health and Joy.

Francis is an acknowledged saint now.   He served his Lord Jesus Christ who died for us all to give us Life and so that death and decay will not be our final end.

Francis served Our Lord  with a joyful, but sober and vigorous devotion.

It is his example which keeps pulling me back to the Path of Life.   His words remind me to act wisely.   He is a “heavy hand” on my shoulder, sometimes,  but i am grateful because  that which remains of him, proves that the lesson he learned is a real one:

SAMSUNG

Thank you to a kind Christian friend who gave me this tangible piece of St. Francis’s life, a relic from something he doesn’t need anymore,  a third order relic, in the tiny little circle, which speaks to me as soberly as “Nunca mas!”