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Intentional reading

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‘How can we transmit a living, personal Catholic faith to future generations? By coming to know Jesus Christ, and following him as his disciples.

These are times of immense challenge and immense opportunity for the Catholic Church. Consider these statistics for the United States. Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing. Fully 10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics. The number of marriages celebrated in the Church decreased dramatically, by nearly 60 percent, between 1972 and 2010. Only 60 percent of Catholics believe in a personal God. If the Church is to reverse these trends, the evangelizers must first be evangelized-in other words, Catholics-in-the-pew must make a conscious choice to know and follow Jesus before they can draw others to him. This work of discipleship lies at the heart of Forming Intentional Disciples, a book designed to help Church leaders, parish staff and all Catholics transform parish life from within. Drawing upon her fifteen years of experience with the Catherine of Siena Institute, Sherry Weddell leads readers through steps that will help Catholics enter more deeply into a relationship with God and the river of apostolic creativity, charisms, and vocation that flow from that relationship for the sake of the Church and the world. Learn about the five thresholds of postmodern conversion, how to open a conversation about faith and belief, how to ask thought-provoking questions and establish an atmosphere of trust, when to tell the Great Story of Jesus, how to help someone respond to God’s call to intentional discipleship, and much more. And be prepared for conversion because when life at the parish level changes, the life of the whole Church will change.’ (Amazon review)

Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell is a startlingly honest book about the state of most Catholic parishes today. I recognized many truths and heard the reasons for them explained. However, it wasn’t the problems which intrigued me so much as the hopeful signs, the solutions, and the positive maxim, “Never accept a label in place of a story.”

Her five thresholds of conversion were even more compelling as they’re readily identifiable points along the spiritual journey where the Holy Spirit is actively at work and by careful listening pastors and other church workers can facilitate smooth transitions to full discipleship.

They are:

1.) Initial trust—a positive association with Jesus Christ, the Church, a Christian believer, or something identifiably Christian; not the same as active personal faith.

2.) Spiritual curiosity—intrigued by or desiring to know more about Jesus, his life, and his teachings or some aspect of the Christian faith.

3.) Spiritual openness—personal acknowledgement of openness to the possibility of personal and spiritual change. This is not a commitment to change.

4.) Spiritual seeking—moving from being essentially passive to actively seeking to know God.

5.) Intentional discipleship—the decision to follow Jesus in the midst of his Church as an obedient disciple and to reorder one’s life accordingly.

When I finished Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus I had to walk away from it awhile. It contains a lot of statistics as well as a fair number of new concepts. The numbers were rather dismal but the ideas were hopeful and helpful, both on an individual and a group level. Ms. Weddell doesn’t offer enough solutions to the problems. If you are looking for some big fancy program which is going to ‘fix’ our broken parishes, then her book will be a disappointment. I believe in Jesus and the Holy Spirit and in the power of Love, prayer, communication and personal testimony to change hearts and lives.

So for me, this book is about how do I become a fully functional disciple? Some of this will involve my own relationship with Jesus, some will concern my other primary relationships, and the rest will involve what I do with, for and in my parish. If you want to change the world, or just your country, parish or home, best to begin with yourself.

Guess what I’ve been reading about…

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……Discipleship with a capital D. I know I’m stating the obvious, but I’ve never really understood the real teaching in the above quotes until very recently. I am burning to make a difference. For and in Christ. My sights are moving further than the parameters of Church. Yes, I need to be fed at Mass at least once a week, but how am I going to share with others the beauty of Christianity? How am I going to encourage them into the fold of the Shepherd? I don’t know. I do know that God will use my unique gifts to reach out to others. Perhaps the gifts I’m yet to grow into.

I have to ‘be church’, be a Disciple of the Lord God in all that I am and do. I need to be the change that others will respond to when it is the time for them to hear the Message. The Call. Only in the Lord’s time though. Only in the Lord’s time. I may just be the little whisper that someone needs or the nudge for another in order for them to make an effort to get to know Jesus and the Hope He has to offer everyone.

I am reading Sherry Wedell’s ‘Forming Intentional Desciples’. The path to knowing and following Jesus. Makes for interesting reading.

Hope

“I plead with you—never ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” -St. Pope John Paul II

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On our knees….

Click this link :- An excellent explanation of the Eucharist

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Only when we begin

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St Peter and St Paul

mage: Juan Fernandez de Navarrete - St. Peter and St. Paul

mage: Juan Fernandez de Navarrete – St. Peter and St. Paul

Peter and Paul Icon

Peter and Paul Icon

St Peter

St Peter

St Paul

St Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctify me, Save me, Inebriate me…..

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I believe in one God…. in one Lord Jesus Christ….in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life

Mary and Martha Read the Gospel story at  http://biblia.com/books/esv/Lk10.38-42

Mary and Martha
Read the Gospel story at
http://biblia.com/books/esv/Lk10.38-42

This Trinity Sunday, we do well to remember the words of Christ to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). It is not our natural inclination to make a choice like Mary, to sit in rapt attention at the feet of Jesus.

Instead, we have Christian work that must be done, and such work may be good and helpful, but more often than not, we take the adoration and contemplation of God as Triune to be (at most) irrelevant to ‘real life’ or ‘real ministry’.

Yet the Lord Himself is urging us to choose the “better part,” which is found by quieting the noise in our soul, and to contemplate and adore God.

Only then can our hearts be reshaped and prepared for the secondary (and necessary) call to bear witness to the God we have come to know.

We can now see how, for Augustine (St Augustine), the contemplation of the Holy Trinity results in the change of a person’s heart. He posits that it is by the “eye of the mind” that one beholds the form of eternal truth, which is the form or standard by which all things are known. Such a “true knowledge of things” can be described as a word that is uttered in the innermost part of one’s being, which then manifests itself in the thoughts, acts, and speech of a person. However, the word that is uttered at the core of one’s soul is either directed toward the love of the “…creature or the creator, that is of changeable nature or unchangeable truth.”

Quoted from Patheos.– (highlighted text my own emphasis)

image@http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/august.htm Excellent information on St Augustine of Hippo

image@http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/august.htm
Excellent information on St Augustine of HippoTo be able to do the Lord’s work I must first sit at his feet and adore him, only then can I go out and serve him in my daily words and actions.

To be able to do the Lord’s work I must first sit at his feet and adore him, only then can I go out and serve Him daily through words and actions. Thank you Lord for the example of Mary and Martha! It is at Mass where we get the opportunity to quiet the noise in our soul, and to contemplate and adore God. It is at Mass that I strive most to be like Mary, sitting at the feet of our Lord Jesus, wanting to learn from Him; to hear the message He has for me and to take this with me through the busyness of the week ahead in order to share His message of love in all that I say and do.

image@facebook

image@facebook

It is at Mass every week where we recite the Creed as one and in unison to declare our faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday, also known as Holy Trinity Sunday, is celebrated a week after Pentecost in honour of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs—belief in the Holy Trinity. We can never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity, but we can sum it up in the following formula: God is three Persons in one Nature. The three Persons of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are all equally God, and They cannot be divided.

To stress the doctrine of the Trinity, other Fathers of the Church composed prayers and hymns that were recited in the Church’s liturgies and on Sundays as part of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church. Eventually, a special version of this office began to be celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, and the Church in England, at the request of St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170), was granted permission to celebrate Trinity Sunday. The celebration of Trinity Sunday was made universal by Pope John XXII (1316-34).

The Martyrdom of Thomas Beckett

The Martyrdom of Thomas Becket (118-1170)

I believe in on God, the Father almighty

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit

was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Pentecost: A Beautiful Illumination. Does your heart long for beauty?

On first sight of this painting, my heart skipped a beat and caught my breath for just a few moments. This has only ever happened to me once before, in Rome at the Northern Gate, at the church just inside the gate on the right hand side. It was there that we were blessed to join in the celebration of a Baptism.

There,  I came upon a painting of Our Lady at the Annunciation and its beauty brought me to tears in an instant. The shadow of the Divine was in that painting……..just as it is here in this one. I felt it at the core of my being.

I am an artist in waiting , painting and creating along the journey of Life. Searching for the Divine in the beauty of Christian art. This is one example of just one of those paintings. The exciting thing is that there is much beauty to discover and reflect upon. (This is one endeavour on my bucket list)

In her post, Elizabeth Scalia praises the merits of the little publication MAGNIFICAT. Not only does this reach out to adults but to children also. Take a peek at MAGNIFIKID . The slogan for the Magnifikid copy is encouraging: ‘To bring the Mass and prayer closer to the children’.

By Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress)

I first saw this beautiful painting and the reflection when visiting the blog CATHOLIC PURE AND SIMPLE

Illumination from Hours of the Usage of Rome, French School, 16th Century

Illumination from Hours of the Usage of Rome, French School, 16th Century

Sometimes the heart just longs for beauty. June’s cover of Magnificat Magazine took my breath away. That’s “Pentecost” an illumination from a book of Hours from the 16th Century, and this is what Pierre-Marie Dumont writes of it:

Shown at prayer, Mary intercedes for her “daughter” [the church] at the moment of her birth at Pentecost, just as she will constantly intercede for her to the end of time. Kneeling in the right foreground is Saint Peter, the first pope, wearing the mozetta in cloth of gold. Opposite him is Saint John, a handsome reddish-blond young man. In the middle ground, between Mary and Peter, stands Saint James. The first bishop of the Church, in the see of Jerusalem, he is recognizable by his ermine mozetta, symbol of the episcopacy. In a most stunning way, all are clad in white. For, at Pentecost, the Apostles underwent a kind of baptism. Like catechumens, they have cast off their old clothes to be robed anew in white. Through this divestiture and reclothing, the artist seeks to express a radical change in function and vocation; to receive this immaculate uniform is a royal, priestly and prophetic investiture. But further, the artist represents a gathering in the Upper Room where all are clothed in “dazzling white” (Luke 9:29) just as Christ at the Transfiguration…the miniaturist here offers us a vision of the glory of the Church, encapsulating at the same time both its divine origins as well as its fulfillment as the Body of Christ.

I love it. And for me the Magnificat is invaluable.

Remembering the brave D-Day Chaplains

British D-Day veteran, Fred Glover, one of 3000 WWII veterans marking the 70th anniversary of Normandy landings. Vatican Radio

Listen here to a Catholic chaplain as he talks about the D Day landings 70th anniversary.
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Chaplain saying mass aboard HMS Scylla, laying at anchor off the Normandy coast shortly after the D-Day invasion of France June 12, 1944.

(British Official Photo/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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Father John McGovern gives mass in France during World War II. (U.S. Army Signal Corps)

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Captain Callum Thompson, a Canadian chaplain, conducting a funeral service in the Normandy bridgehead, France, 16 July 1944. (Library and Archives Canada)

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The Seabees of the 111th Naval Construction Battalion give thanks on D-Day plus 12, 18 June 1944. Navy Chaplains have served around the world with Seabee battalions since their inception in 1942. Chaplains prayed and conducted regular services, using any available area including a ships deck, an apple orchard, a hand-cut hole in a Pacific-island jungle or a makeshift tent for a church. They will use a jeep, packing case or ammunition box for an altar, or a helmet for a yarmulke, the top of a mess kit for a paten or a canteen cup for a chalice. (U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Flickr)

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Father (Major) Edward J. Waters, Catholic Chaplain from Oswego, New York, conducts Divine Services on a pier for members of the first assault troops thrown against Hitler’s forces on the continent. Weymouth, England., 06/06/1944 (U.S. National Archives)