Putting Life Into Perspective with Father Ian Jeremiah

It’s Soulful Sunday here on My Pocketful Of Thoughts and it is only right to take a moment and give thanks for all the great things going on in our lives right now.  Let us also take this moment to recognize all the phenomenal men and women who have served our country.  We have much to be thankful for, yes?

Friday night I was reminded of a conference for the RCIA Congress, I had to attend for Saturday morning at 8 am. The event had completely slipped my mind.  I had made all these plans for Saturday morning and was thrown off a bit.  I am that person who needs to plan everything out in order to feel at peace with day.  I can handle changes but it takes a moment or two to adjust.

I woke up on Saturday morning, after a few hours of sleep, reluctant to start the day.  I admit that I had to drag myself there.  The day started with Mass, which I suggest if you do not do it now, start off your day with God.  When the alarm goes off in the morning, take a minute or two to say Thank You for all the things in your life now, that you’re thankful for.  Then there was a half hour-ish break to eat a pastry and a cup of coffee.  This was my first time attending the RCIA Congress and I haven’t explained what it is yet because at that point of the morning I myself was not sure what it was.  Have you ever been told you have to attending something that you’ve never heard of?  Do you not have some reluctance?  I do not like that about me, but I am human. So at this point I am thinking, Are we starting yet?  I looked around the room and saw a little over 100 people in attendance and I began to feel bad for taking up three seats with myself and my stuff. :/

9:15 am we started with prayer and were introduced to the day.  RCIA is an acronym that stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  It outlines the steps for the formation for one to receive instruction about the Christian religion.  It is the class I am teaching at my church.  So, yes, this was a good reason to be at this event.

My reluctance of the event melted away with the first speaker, Father Ian Jeremiah.  He captivated the audience with his stories of perspective on life and I could not stop taking notes.  He was hilarious in his presentation but more importantly his words stayed with me.  It is my wish to share them with you, not today but starting next week, My Pocketful of Thoughts will begin a short series titled Putting Life Into Perspective with Father Ian Jeremiah.

photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC via photopin cc

The one thing I will share with you today is that he reminded the group that we should take advantage of the Year of Faith.  The Year of Faith, which began on October 11th and will run until November 24, 2013, is a year especially dedicated to the profession of the faith, through readings of the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  While this is something I have been doing for the past couple of years, it feels a little different this year because I am going to be teaching this to others.  So no longer am I just taking it in, I have to also understand it and be able to explain it in a way that it is understood by others. 

The more I learn the more I want to share it with you.  I ask that you not be reluctant, like I was on Saturday morning, but that you be open and just take it in.  For a long time I was having an inner war with myself, I could not understand why I was so unhappy and angry.  I had so many things to be thankful for, but I never looked at it that way.  I kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m here, doing so much to better myself and I don’t understand why all these bad things happen to me‘.  It only seemed to bring more bad things.  After a long absence from church, I started to go again.  I sat quietly in the back pews and I just took it in.  Then one day it clicked.  It wasn’t right away.  It was over a year of going to Mass every Sunday.  When it clicked I decided I was ready to become Confirmed in the Catholic faith.  I studied for one year with Sister Alta Gracia.  So I want to share that with others, but especially you, that sometimes you have to just take it in.  Perhaps you’ll read something that will compel you to do the same and share.

I’ll leave you today with today’s second reading.

Heb 9:24-28                      [Christ’s Sacrifice for Sin]
Christ entered into heaven to appear before God, not for sacrifice again, but to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Christ will not die again but he will come to bring about salvation for those who wait for him.
 
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.  Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world.  But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgement, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

-The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Let it marinate.

Until then,
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We find the defendant …

How are you on this Soulful Sunday?  This week has proven itself to be a trying week.  It has reminded me how lucky I am to have such great people in my life who support me and keep me sane.  I want to take a second to say I am extremely grateful for my boyfriend, Danny for helping me with the renovation of my parent’s rental apartment.  I truly believe that God works through this man.  I hope that we all take a moment to be grateful for the people in our lives.  Please don’t forget to tell them.

This past Friday during Youth Group we watched a video created by Outside Da Box called Evidence.  It reminded me that being a Christian is so much more than going to church on Sundays or wearing a cross around my neck.  Being a true follower of Christ means that we live by his example.  Last week we chatted about what it means to have faith and a small part of what Catholics receive in Who’s watching you?  Today we’ll talk about what we must do.

First we have the Ten Commandments.  In the book of Exodus, in the Bible, Chapter 20 tells of us of Moses’ being given the ten commandments on Mount Sinai by God.

  1. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
  4. Honor your father and mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Next is the Five commandments of the Church.

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
  2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
  3. You shall receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
  4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
  5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

Lastly there are Fourteen works of mercy.

Spiritual:

  1. Counsel the doubtful.
  2. Instruct the ignorant.
  3. Admonish sinners.
  4. Comfort the afflicted.
  5. Forgive offenses.
  6. Bear wrongs patiently.
  7. Pray for the living and the dead.

Corporal:

  1. Feed the hungry.
  2. Give drink to the thirsty.
  3. Clothe the naked.
  4. Shelter the homeless.
  5. Visit the sick.
  6. Visit the imprisoned.
  7. Bury the dead.

Once upon a time, people were crucified and killed if they admitted to being followers of Jesus Christ.  In some countries this still exists.  I am fortunate to live in a country that has freedom of religion.  Regardless of what religion you are, if you were brought into trial for being a believer in your faith, would you be convicted.  This is what the video Evidence is about, a girl being put on trial for her belief.  It is a video to evoke an emotion in you.  To say that I am Catholic is one thing, but if someone observed me would I be found guilty?  Today I am not looking to give convictions.  I am not in charge of judgements.  I only ask that you reflect upon what you say and do, and if you were in a trial what would the verdict be.  We find the defendant __________.

I leave you with one of today’s readings to let it marinate for the rest of the week.

Jer 31: 7-9                                                   [God’s Deliverance]

Jermiah’s hymn opens with joy for God has bestowed salvation on his people.  He has delivered his people and will guide and bless them so none will go astray.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah

Thus says the Lord:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:

The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel.
Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with children;
they shall return as an immense throng.

They departed with tears, but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Let it marinate!

Until then,

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