[Word of God] Covenant with Abraham

Until then,

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[Word of God] A Vision of God in the Temple

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[Word of God] 1 Cor 12:4-11

1 Cor 12:4-11

Until then,

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The Word of God: Ti 2:11-14; 3: 4-7; Called Through Baptism

The Word of God: Ti 2:11-14; 3: 4-7; Called Through Baptism

Until then,

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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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Who’s watching you?

This week has been an interesting week.  Last week’s topic, that I discussed with the kids in the catechism classes, went over what the Catholic faith believes, who we believe in, why we believe, and where we get our information from.  These are topics that I will discuss in the future.  Today I would like to talk about why we believe.  If you tuned in last week, I also touched upon this topic, but after a week of people asking this question, Why do you believe?; I felt compelled to pose this question, Who’s watching you?

In the year 2012, if one is questioned on their beliefs, a conversation amongst a group can be done peacefully and respectfully.  Everyone has a variation on their belief.  I like and appreciate that we can do this.  We are not persecuted for our beliefs.  We are not ridiculed for our beliefs.  We can believe in whatever we wish for we have Freedom of Religion.

As individuals we support our religion because we have faith.  What is faith?

Definition of FAITH according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty

b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2
a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

on faith

: without question [took everything he said on faith]

What phrases stand out to you?  The phrases that stand out to me are “firm belief in something for which there is no proof … complete trust and …without question.
The same can be said for someone without faith, or someone who questions their faith.  Does their faith exist?  According to the definition, no.  A person without faith, a person who does not believe, can not be faithful.  
Regardless of whether or not you believe in a religion, it can not be denied that people are watching you.  Our friends reflect upon our actions and our beliefs every day.   Our children look up to us. People watch us.  What are we showing them?

Those closest to me know, that over the last five years, I have embraced my faith.  It is not that my faith was lacking before, but I hadn’t done a good job of walking the Christian path.  I was in a state of being.  Over time I realized that just being was not taking my life in the direction I envisioned or wished for myself.  It was not until I decided to partake in the sacrament of Reconciliation that my path changed course.  

In the Catholic faith, there are seven Sacraments.  The sacrament of Reconciliation is also referred to as Penance.  One reviews their prior actions in reflection against the ten commandments.  If your actions go against God, they are referred to as sins.  This reflection period is a time to acknowledge what you have done to go against God in your actions.  These sins are confessed to a priest.   The priest will offer guidance and direction on your actions.  The priest will then ask if one is sorry for sinning against God.  If you are, then one’s sins are forgiven by absolution which can only be given by an authorized priest.  

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, one receive God’s unconditional forgiveness.  I found that during this process I have also strengthened my ability to forgive myself.  I had never forgiven myself in the past.  This for me was huge.  In life we are hardest on ourselves.

If I forgive myself and acknowledge my sins and try my hardest to sin no more, I find it much easier and more likely to make choices that keep me in line with God’s law.  I find it easier to want to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  WWJD?  You might have seen this a number of times, it stands for What would Jesus do?  I find I use this phrase when I am trying to make a decision on something difficult.  I ask this question because my actions are watched by God.

God is watching.  Whether or not you believe in that statement, it does not change the fact that someone is watching you.  Somewhere down the line, your actions may impact someone you know…and someone you might never meet.  How can I impact someone I have never met?  I’m happy that you asked.  The Skit Guys will help us out with this.

 

 
 
Do you know who is watching you?   On this Soulful Sunday, I leave you with this thought to marinate this week along with one of today’s readings.
 
 
Heb 4:14-16                     [Jesus Our High Priest]
 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the high priest who shares all our weaknesses, except sin.  His mercy comes to all who seek it.
 
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
 
Brothers and Sisters,
Since we have a great priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.  So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
-The word of the Lord.
-Thanks be to God.
 
 Until then,

photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc

Our hardships are our lessons to share with others

When I was in high school I was very aware of the many invisible things that could effect a teenager.  There were days that I felt I was just going through the motions, but I had hope that one day things would be, different.  I was extremely fortunate that I had great friends to distract me.  However, I was great at hiding the things that ailed me.  I can recall clearly one day in AP History, my teacher asking  me if I was OK, that he’d noticed I was looking fragile.  I admitted that I had lost weight but I blamed it on my busy schedule, you know all the extra running around.  I learned to smile, even though sometimes I wanted to cry.  I had broken my relationship with God when my grandparents passed away within months of each other.  I questioned how a mighty God could take away our loved ones and put us through trying times.  One of the things that also helped was a journal with a good and old friend of mine that shared a similar way of life.  You think you’re alone but if you’re lucky you find out you’re not.

I’m reminiscent today because of Daphine Glenn Robinson’s short story, Invisible Girl: The Suicide Journal.  Melissa, the owner of the journal, has a different story than mine.  We’re both familiar with the screaming, the slamming, the occasional scene of violence and the uncontrollable tears.  As I began reading, I had to put it down several times.  Its hard, when you think you’ve forgotten a memory, to only hear or read something that brings it rushing back.  Once I reminded myself of where I was now, no where near where I was at 15, I couldn’t put the book down.  Her story unfolds quickly, and you feel like you’re right there with her.  Pleading with her to have faith.  Faith that things do get better.  But more importantly, faith in God.  He never gives us anything we cannot handle.  Our hardships are our lessons to share with others.  This is what Invisible Girl does.

If I didn’t have that friend in high school, to journal back and forth with, to share my woes; I wish I had read this book then.  Out of all the hundreds of books I read in my youth as a child, I wish I had it to read then.  Unfortunately the topics of this book are not the casual topics you’d bring up at a party or at the cafeteria table.  The topics are raw and leave you feeling unnerved.  Nonetheless it is a topic that should be discussed, must be discussed, because it is realSomewhere someone is experiencing it right now. 

These past few weeks I have been teaching Catechism.  If we do not see something, does it exist?  Yes.  This is what we call faith.  We believe because of faith.  “We can know God in a much deeper way by means of faith.  In a much deeper way because in this instance it is God himself who tells us who he is, what he has done, what he has given us, what he promises, what he teaches, what pleases him, what he wants from us. … Through faith God revels himself, allows himself to be known, and manifests himself.  Furthermore, God does this because he wants to and because he loves us.  God speaks to us in order to tell us what he is like and to tell us how we should be; and since he speaks to us, he tells us his Word, the Word of God.”…Carlos Miguel Buela, Catechism for Youth.

I ask you on this Soulful Sunday to be mindful of your friends.  Sometimes they might be going through an ordeal they can’t speak of, either out of fear or because its not something you bring up in casual conversation.  All you can do is make sure they know that you are there for them, that you love them and that God loves them to.

The Word of God, yes, on that note I leave you a reading from today’s Holy Mass to let it marinate the rest of the week.

Heb 4: 12-13                          [God’s Living Word]

God’s word is penetrating and sharp.  Nothing is hidden from God, and all must render an account to him.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and Sisters:

Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to who we must render an account.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

Let it marinate!

Until then,

PS: To find out more works of Daphine please visit her:

Daphine Glenn Robinson 

Author, Freelance Writer