Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

First watch the clip of Governor Cuomo from New York:

Then watch Bishop Baron:

Read a bit of metaphysics by Aquinas if you like.

Appreciate how instructions to build a bike are written.

Understand that every moment of human existence is not merely a game about winning and losing.

Now read on.

I doubt that Cuomo is in the midst of a Christian existential crisis. Baron takes him on, but that is too easy for him.

The rest of us may tremble on the shaky theological ground underneath our own feet, though.

Surely we all can sympathize with and credit those who have suffered and recovered, as Cuomo does. His words are not a treatise on God as the prime cause, nor should what he said be held up to quibble with Aquinas. As fun or difficult as that is. He sends his words of comfort to citizens that cry out in despair. The intent I understand. Give credit to those who are feeling the pain of “social distancing” – the curve is going to flatten – and keep doing what you are doing.  Since he can chart man’s work in curves on graphs, the context has everything to do with data-driven curves and graphs. It was an encouraging speech.

The “What did God do?” question he provokes is not new. Our relative experience of a global crisis is new. We test each other and collect the data. I know of no test of God that could return data that looks like a curve.

There is no test of God during this pandemic, no data to chart. Man tests man. Man collects his own data, man interprets his own charts. What data does God collect when he tests himself, what would his chart look like?

In a crisis, our choice is not binary: faith or despair. God is with us in our suffering, yet he does not will suffering, despair, or death upon any of us. “How much did he do?” to keep us from suffering and death? Well, we are still here. So that is something.

Reminds me of when I joke with kids at school, “How many times has God saved your life? All of them.”

God is with us in our recovery, and he does will life, healing, recovery on us all. “How much did he do?” He is the source of life, the power to heal, and the desire to love. No one can put that in a graph either. My faith is that in the midst of our deepest darkness, God wills that there be light. When we are then bathed in his light, of course we give thanks to God. When we wish for healing, recovery, love; we are doing God’s will. When we wish for the end of suffering, disease, pain, and death; we are also doing the will of God.

The virus, remember, does not have this will.

God is not on the graph, God’s contributions were not included in the data collection. That’s fair. No credit to God in this graph today.

Where do you even begin to create a chart of God’s impact on our world? You can’t start God’s data at (0,0) – and where would you put the first dot for infinite love?

God and man are together in this fight. In faith one day we will say gloriously, “we did this together.”

Still looking for God’s data on the graph? Look up, way, way up. When we see light, after so much time in the dark, it does hurt the eyes, though.

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I want a Church that is poor and for the poor. People with nothing have so much to teach us. In their difficulties they experience the suffering Christ.

Scripture
Though he was rich, our Lord Jesus Christ became poor for your sakes, so that through his poverty you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

Prayer
This is Pope Francis’ dream, O God – that we let go of our attachment to material things and focus on those who have very little of this world’s goods. I am so attached to what I have that this prospect makes me nervous and afraid. I need to travel so far to get a new mindset, and for this I depend on “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He became poor to make me rich in ways beyond my understanding. Amen.

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Mary, Virgin and Mother; help us to bear radiant witness to generous faith, justice, and love of the poor; that the joy of the gospel may reach the ends of the earth.

Scripture

I am the Handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word. Luke 1:38

Prayer
Just as Pope Francis looks to Mary as an example of gospel living, so may I, gracious God. May she help me to bear “radiant witness” to my faith, to my practice of justice, and to my love and service for the poor. I want to say to you as Mary did: Be it done to me as you want it done. May I reflect the joy of the gospel in every aspect of my life. Amen.

Practice
I will pray often today: “I am at your service, O God; be it done to me as you will.”

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How can God be good, but allow bad things to happen? Fr. Mike Schmitz tackles one of the toughest questions religious believers must answer.

 

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There are many similarities and differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations. In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz narrows the differences down to one thing that really sets Catholicism apart from other Christian Churches: authoritative teaching.

 

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What is meant by the final purification? Understanding the Catholic notion of purgatory requires knowing the difference between a temporal consequence and an eternal consequence; this difference has nothing to do with damnation and salvation. Some people reject the idea of purgatory because they misunderstand its purpose. In this video, Fr. Mike explains why purgatory is needed and straightens out some of those misunderstandings.

To learn more about purgatory, check out these articles on Ascension’s Great Adventure Blog:

Furnace of Divine Love: The Biblical Roots of Purgatory (http://bit.ly/2pQQv80)
A Fiery Faith for All Souls (http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/souls/)

MORE FROM ASCENSION:

Ascension Press main website: http://ascensionpress.com
Ascension Presents website: http://ascensionpresents.com
The Great Adventure Blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog

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Did you know that in addition to the 10 commandments there are an additional 5 “Commandments of the Church”. But there used to be more, or less.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commandments_of_the_Church

Read about the history of the “Commandments of the Church” and write a short post emphasizing your understanding of the current commandments, make mention of any other details in the article you find relevant.

Bonus: see if you can find a source online that specifically lists the holy days of obligation in the Canadian Catholic Church. In Canada, only two holy days of obligation sometimes do not fall on a Sunday. What days are these?

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I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day He rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

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I believe in one 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.

Questions:

How can one God be three “persons” – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

How can Jesus be both God and human?

What is God’s kingdom like?

Think of one club, team or organization to which you presently belong. What is the purpose of this group? What is one requirement or belief of the group that helps all its members work toward a common goal?

Read Isaiah 49:15-16. What is the prophet attempting to tell us about God?

Read CCC #239. What does the Church say about God in this passage?

Read John 13:3-17. What does this passage tell us about Jesus and therefore about God?

When do you most feel the presence of Jesus in your life?

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“Make big things from small beginnings.”

First Read Titus.

Titus 1
Titus 2
Titus 3

 

The letter from Paul to Titus is very short and was written (around 66 AD) to a Church leader who did not become very famous. And yet a passage from this letter (Titus 2:11-14) is used every year at Christmas midnight Mass. Four little verses that are read at Mass begin with, “Beloved: The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires” (The Lectionary, p. 106).

The Christmas story itself has other examples of God making big things from small beginnings. Mary is just a young girl – a teenager – and she becomes the mother of God. Bethlehem is a tiny town, not very well known for anything, and it becomes the birthplace of our Messiah.

God is very good at making surprising things happen from humble beginnings. So don’t ever doubt the importance of whatever you do for God. Even if you think it is small, God can make very big things come from it.

Second, take note of specific passages that Paul offers as advice to Titus.

Consider these themes:
1. What makes a worthy church leader? (Titus 1:5-9)
2. What tips are offered for living the Christian life? (Titus 2:1-8)
3. How can people, in general, be good in every way? (Titus 3:1-11)

Finally, write your own letter to a trusted friend. Modernize it. Make it real, convincing, believable for the 21st century.

Consider these themes:
1. What advice could be offered to a teenager looking at their personal future as an adult citizen (or a leader) in Canadian society?
2. What advice could be offered to a teenager struggling with peer pressure and social media or struggling with the temptation of drugs and alcohol?
3. What advice could you offer a teenager who struggles with relating to adults in authority: teachers, parents, police, politicians, TAs, … referees?

Format your letter using the same business letter guidelines you have mastered in ELA 9. Use your own address and the address of a friend in class, (or invent a realistic looking address).

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