ONE God; One Faith; two -priesthoods by Patrick Miron

ONE God; One Faith; two -priesthoods

by Patrick Miron

 

Not too long ago I was invited to assist a Catholic Answers Forum contact with a new “Christian” site he was having difficulty proving our faith to. I won’t mention the name of it, as many “Christians” there seemed to have missed the primary bible-teaching that Christ was LOVE. The attacks on me personally were frequent; ill-informed, and loaded with a great personal-degree of widely scattered hatred.

While in this site though several of the attackers took the position that they were “PRIEST”; by implication, every-bit as empowered as were the Apostles and today’s Catholic Priest; {by the “catholic definition.}

I knew the reply & the difference, but trying to explain it to fanatical-self identified- “Christians” didn’t seem like the most prudent course of action.

Because these “Christians”; {without Love can anyone truly be termed a “Christian?” I think not. At least not rightly so.} Many of whom seem to have been exporting other people’s hatred; without personal {prayerful} reflection; and clearly being personally uniformed. …. I was reminded of the great need for US to pray regularly for them.

I hasten to point out though that I am in daily contact with many non-Catholic-Christians who would put a great many Catholics to shame in their beliefs, personal piety, and deep love of Jesus and the shared-practice of their faiths. And what a JOY this is.

While there is a sense; and even biblical evidence that we “all – are- priest”; the bible never teaches that we are of the same –priesthood. Indeed the evidence is clear that there are two distinct priesthoods. One of the God-chosen; Ordained and anointed; and then the priesthood of the rest of us.

Exod.28:[1] “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests — Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abi’hu, Elea’zar and Ith’amar.

Exod.29:[28] It shall be for Aaron and his sons as a perpetual due from the people of Israel, for it is the priests’ portion to be offered by the people of Israel from their peace offerings; it is their offering to the LORD. …. [44] I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests.

Num.15:[25] And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; because it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.

Num.16: [40] to be a reminder to the people of Israel, so that no one who is not a priest, who is not of the descendants of Aaron, should draw near to burn incense before the LORD, lest he become as Korah and as his company — as the LORD said to Elea’zar through Moses.

2Chr.23 [6] Let no one enter the house of the LORD except the priests and ministering Levites; they may enter, for they are holy, but all the people shall keep the charge of the LORD.

Mark.1:[44] and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”

Heb.7: [11] Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levit’ical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz’edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?

Acts: 23  [5] And Paul said: I knew not, brethren, that he is the high priest. For it is written: Thou shalt not speak evil of the prince of thy people.

Heb. 5: 1-5 “[1] For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: [2] Who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. [3] And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. [4] Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.  …

Heb, 7: 11-2611] If then perfection was by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchisedech, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? [12] For the priesthood being translated, it is necessary that a translation also be made of the law. [13] For he, of whom these things are spoken, is of another tribe, of which no one attended on the altar. [14] For it is evident that our Lord sprung out of Juda: in which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. [15]And it is yet far more evident: if according to the similitude of Melchisedech there ariseth another priest, …. [16] Who is made not according to the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an indissoluble life[17] For he testifieth: Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech. [18] There is indeed a setting aside of the former commandment, because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof: [19](For the law brought nothing to perfection,) but a bringing in of a better hope, by which we draw nigh to God. [20] And inasmuch as it is not without an oath, (for the others indeed were made priests without an oath; [21] But this with an oath, by him that said unto him: The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent, Thou art a priest forever.) [22] By so much is Jesus made a surety of a better testament. [23] And the others indeed were made many priests, because by reason of death they were not suffered to continue: [24] But this, for that he continueth forever, hath an everlasting priesthood, [25] Whereby he is able also to save forever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us.

DOUAY EXPLANATION: [23] “Many priests”: The apostle notes this difference between the high priests of the law, and our high priest Jesus Christ; that they being removed by death, made way for their successors; whereas our Lord Jesus is a priest for ever, and hath no successor; but liveth and concurreth for ever with his ministers, the priests of the new testament, in all their functions. Also, that no one priest of the law, nor all of them together, could offer that absolute sacrifice of everlasting redemption, which our one high priest Jesus Christ has offered once, and for ever.

DOUAY EXPLANATION:[25] “Make intercession”: Christ, as man, continually maketh intercession for us, by re-presenting his passion to his Father.

Heb. 8:3 [3] For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that he also should have something to offer.

Heb. 10:21-23 “21] and a high priest over the house of God: [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water. [23] Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised),

1Pet.2: [9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. {By OUR Live’s examples.}

Haydock’s Commentary: Verse 9
“You are….a purchased people, whom Christ purchased, bought and redeemed with the price of his precious blood. — That you may declare his (4) virtues; i.e. the excellencies and perfections of God, who hath called you, and now made you his people, which you were not, at least in this matter before, neither you that were Jews, nor especially you that were Gentiles.”

Rev.5: [10] and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.”

Haydock’s Commentary Verse 10
“And hast made us to our God, &c. See 1 Peter ii. 5, 9. (Witham) — All Christians may justly be styled kings and priests of God, by the spiritual empire they possess over their passions and the world; and by the continual offering they make on the altar of their hearts, by means of the prayers they daily offer up to God. (Origen) — Thus they say, we shall reign on the earth by the empire we shall exercise over our passions; and by the union we shall have with Jesus Christ and his Church, triumph over all who have persecuted us. (Estius; Andræas.)”

John.15:
“[16] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”

 

There is also another type of priesthood in the New Testament, besides the aforementioned ministerial priesthood. And that is the priesthood of the baptized. That’s right, each one of us who are baptized are priests!  But not ministerial priests.  Rather, the sacrifice we offer to God daily is OURSELVES!  Our daily sacrifices we make for our family and friends is what we offer to God, and it is united to the sacrificial priesthood of the priests and to the eternal high priesthood of Jesus Christ at each and every Mass!

Romans 6:3-6: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

1Pet.1:15-16 but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;  since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 2:4-9:Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” and “A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall”; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to doBut you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

 

Let’s take a closer look at certain words in the New Testament. For instance, the word “presbyter,” or “elder” in some translations. “Presbyter” is the English version of the Greek word “presbuteros,” and means “Priest.”

Presbyters are NOT Presbyterians!  That branch of Christianity didn’t get invented by man until the 16th Century.  These priests in the New Testament were ordained by the laying on of hands with prophetic utterances, which the bible talks about in

1 Timothy 4:14:  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.

James 5:14-15: Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;   and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Another word in the New Testament that Paul mentions is the word “reconciliation.”

2 Corinthians 5;18-19: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Here we see that priests like Paul have the ministry of reconciliation, or the forgiveness of sins done in Christ’s name. This sacramental power was first granted to the apostles by Jesus Christ himself in

John 20:21-23: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”   And when he had said this, he breathed ON THEM whose sins YOU forgive are forgiven; if YOU retain the sins of any, they are retained.

There is no place in the entire New Testament that says we should confess our sins directly to God, like some people mistakenly think. There are numerous instances of people confessing their sins to God’s ministers, however:

Matthew 3:6: and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:5: And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Acts.19:18: Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.

1 Timothy 6:12:  Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

James 5:16:  Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

But what about the concept of priests offering sacrifice for the sins of the people, like the Old Testament priests did? Where is THAT in the New Testament?

Well, we need look no farther than that famous event in the Gospels called “The Last Supper,” more appropriately named “The First Eucharist.”  The Jewish Passover meal is to be celebrated forever, according to Exodus 12:24.  The Passover LITURGY, or Rite, saved the firstborn children of the Israelites from death. This liturgy consisted of slaughtering an unblemished lamb, putting its blood over their door outside, and eating the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Jesus Christ celebrated this Passover liturgy right before He died, changing forever its meaning. NOW, Jesus is the sacrificed spotless lamb that is to be sacrificed and consumed in the form of unleavened bread, now known as the Communion Host. NOW we are saved from the death of sin, rather than from physical death like our ancestors the Israelites in Egypt.

He told His apostles to “Do THIS in His remembrance,” thus ordaining them forever as his priests.  So many people miss the word “THIS” and mistakenly translate the word “remembrance” into the word “symbolic.” The word “THIS” means “THIS is my body which IS given for you, and  “THIS cup which is poured out for you IS the new covenant in my blood.”  We know from the Passover celebration of the Jews that each generation sees itself as participating in the original passover celebration and exodus from Egypt. 

There are other New Testament passages which indicate that the apostles were the first priests. The washing of the feet of the apostles in John 13:5 recalls the Old Testament dictate that priests had to wash their feet as well, in Exodus 30:19; Jesus reminding the Pharisees that his apostles could pluck grain and eat it on the Sabbath, while telling the story of David and his priests eating the Bread of the Presence (why tell this story if Jesus is not comparing David’s priests to  his apostles, who  are also exempt from the strict dictates of the law?) in Matthew 12, are other references to the New Testament Priesthood.

The priesthood of the laity, or baptized, is a complementary priesthood to the ministerial priesthood. The priesthood of the laity is like the body of Christ, whereas the ministerial priesthood is like the head of Christ. In the Mass, the body of Christ is united with its head, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

From the New Translation of the Mass:

Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

From the Blog of Father  John Zuhlsdorf

The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium 10 defined that the priesthood given in baptism is a true participation in the priesthood of Christ, but that it differs qualitatively from the ministerial priesthood conferred by the sacrament of Holy OrdersThe ordained don’t merely receive more priesthood.  They receive a priesthood different from that which they already had from baptism.

 These two modes of priesthood, distinct but sharing a common source, relate to each other as a single person’s head does with the body.

In the Council’s the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests we read that, by Holy Orders, priests are configured in their being to Christ the Priest so that they are able to act in the person of Christ who is the Head of the Body, the Church (cf.Presbyterorum ordinis 2). Priests are ordained for their own sake (to help them save their own souls by doing God’s will) and for all the faithful (who must be directed to God through teaching, governance and sanctification).

Priests offer gifts and sacrifice to God for the people (cf. Hebrews 5).

  • Lay people, with the priesthood of the baptized, are the vanguard of the Church’s mission in the world.

Priests, set apart by ordination, concern themselves mainly with that which is sacred.

  • Lay people are primarily concerned with the secular.
  • Priests form and inform, nourish and strengthen, heal and guide lay people for their indispensable work.

 

  • Lay people do what no priest can: through deeds and words they bring Christ to every sphere of daily life in the world.

St. Augustine of Hippo (d 430), speaking of his role as bishop, described his relationship with his flock in the best way when he said, “I am a bishop for you, but a Christian with you” (s. 46.2).

Were ten thousand baptized men, women and children to pronounce the words of consecration over their bread and wine, the offerings would remain bread and wine.  One priest, alone or with a congregation, by God’s power changes the people’s bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  The baptized unite their way of offering sacrifice to his way.” AMEN! END QUOTES 

Patrick

Faith issues & answers by Patrick

{From a popular Catholic FORUM} Responses by Patrick

 “Please help

Ok. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a catholic anymore, but I’m trying to figure out why it’s so hard for me to believe in something I was taught from a very early age and even studied fervently for a while. I’m going to list a few of the problems I have with Catholicism and even religion in general“.

Ok, let’s give it a try!

  1. Why is Mass necessary? Now before I start getting bible passages, especially, “keep holy the Sabbath…” I’m questioning religion in general, not simply why I need to go to mass. If God created me with a sense of humor, the ability to do work, someone who’s generally not a very boring guy; why would he want or even make it necessary to sit for an hour in a church reciting monotonous prayers and terrible church music.

Taking you at your wish: I’ll simply share the Official position of the CC without backup references. Should you like them, just let me know.

 What was it Christ did for three years of His Ministry?  He taught by word and example. That task is precisely what has been passed on to the Apostles and His Church. It’s critical to understand that it Remains every bit as much Christ Church today as on the day that he founded it and out Peter in charge.

 One does not simply absorb naturally the Teachings of Christ necessary for Ones Salvation. That is one of the two reasons [ignoring for the moment the 1st. And 2nd. Commandments which requires it]; which is the primary ministry of the CC given to it specifically by Christ Himself. The second reason is to access the fountain of sacramental Grace; that living in a secular world makes an absolute necessity to take advantage of in-order-to stay in the “State of Grace” [w/o unconfessed; unforgiven Mortal sins]; also necessary for Ones salvation.

In other words, why is sitting in mass better than taking an hour out of my Sunday to do something good for someone else (grant it i generally don’t, but for arguments sake).
Because being where God REALLY is, remains far better Spiritually than where you choose to meet God. A relationship with God CAN ONLY COME ON HIS TERMS. You have to meet God FIRST on His terms to have even a slight chance of Him meeting you on yours. Either God is in charge or you are; cannot be both ways!

  1. Faith?? I’m a man of science. I’m in med school right now and, although I can be an idiot at times, I generally consider myself an intelligent person. I’ve seen, experienced and studied things that leave little doubt in my mind that there is SOMETHING out there, whether it be a God or just a “cosmic goodness”. BUT, if we’re talking about the God I learned about in grammar school, why is faith necessary?

You supply part of the answer yourself:  even as a scientist you have discovered things you can’t, and some you NEVER will understand. Yet the existence of these realities; and there complexity ought to make any reasonable; truthful and logical person come to the conclusion you reached. The answer lies in the FACT that everything that touches God; and everything God touches has an element of LOVE attached to it. Love my friend requires absolutely and in every instance: a Mind; an Intellect, and a FREEWILL [and a soul as the animator of all life forms… even though humanities is far more complex than that.] The kicker here is that while everyone [humanity ONLY] has these attributes which can be demonstrated but not quantified; BECAUSE they are SPIRITUAL THINGS [which must come from other Spiritual-Things], means that what I choose to call GOD does exist and is GOOD.

Why doesn’t God reveal himself like he supposedly did 2000 years ago and give proof to this religion. Now the problem is I’ve learned a lot about catholicism, and the more I learned the harder it was for me to believe in it’s teachings.

He has, does and shall continue to until the end of time. GOOGLE “Eucharistic Miracles.” I can provide tons of evidence, none of which it seems your willing to accept at this point?

There is a lot of arguments for why faith is necessary that make a lot of sense while you’re talking about it but not so much when you actually think on it. Would making His existence a known fact, rather than a possibility, really change the way things are. I

Yes it would! Why?

 There are books on this topic; but I’ll try in a few words to at least wet your appetite for truth. Consider as a scientist: There are BILLIONS of planets, stars and galaxies; but only ONE HAS BEEN PROVEN [not speculative unproven opinions] to be able to support life. That being Planet Earth. On Planet earth with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVING THINGS; Only One; humanity can be shown to have the Spiritual gifts of a mind, intellect, FREEWILL and a soul. WHY? Again there are extensive writtings on the subject. But logic precludes even the slightest possibility of coincidence; or luck being the cause. Because of the complexity and power of these attributes; even skeptics ought to agree, that THERE HAS TO BE A PRECISE REASON FOR THIS HAPPENSTANCE. The reason friend is that only humanity can love and thank there CREATOR for all the Blessings bestowed on us; past; present and future. Only humanity can Love God in return and THANK GOD!

understand the test of faith, the journey, or whatever you want to call it, but it honestly seems like a joke. In reality it seems like a sick test on His part. Kind of like a “now you see me now you don’t, but you have to believe in me anyway”. And as cliche as it is for me to say, has blindly believing in anything so fully really ever been a great idea? doubting Thomas was given proof after the crucifixion. Why am I wrong to want my own proof?

It’s no-more of a joke than any scientific endeavor. Both seek truth and support of the truth. As for getting your own truth… In what way are you more worthy of this [possible but unlikely event taking place] than the hundreds of thousands; beginning with all of the Apostles except John whom they tried to boil alive; but God persevered him; who gave there very life’s belief of this God; the Eucharist and what the CC teaches. God asked them [DEMANDED] from them Faith; so why should He NOT expect it from you. Do some research of Catholic Martyrs and Eucharistic Miracles, and you’ll see that they FOUND Faith; which by the way is a GIFT FROM GOD ALONE.

  1. Biggest thing for me: Why is Catholicism more “right” than other forms of christianity and religions. Jehovah witnesses. maybe. if i remember correctly. Which ever religion it is, there is a some book that was written by a man who claimed was inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, this faith is wrong because….isn’t that what 4 guys from the catholic church said as well (New Testament). So what’s that about?

Finally an easy question: The Key’s to heaven ALL rest with Peter and the CC; the Only Church; Only Faith and Only New Covenant. The NT has over 100 reference to Only One Church… and that is all the world had for the first thousands years A.D. …. This is historically provable.

4. This may be pushing the line for this website, but i’m honestly interested and wondering. Like i said i was Catholic, i still go to mass occasionally with my girlfriend, and i’m trying to find a reason to believe again. so, Jesus. The foundation of christianity, the son of God. Everything we know about the man comes from the teachings of the aforementioned 4 guys who were “inspired by the Holy Spirit”.

Not so! All twelve [Paul included] Apostles gave there lives literally for Christ, His Church and the New Faith based on the New Covenant in Christ Blood. Again search Early Fathers on “faith.”  The evidence is indisputable even by scientific standards.

I know that there are some other records of the existence of A Jesus, and other religions recognize him as at least a prophet, but what we are taught and believe comes from the gospels. Today, the Church uses science to prove/disprove miracles. There wasn’t a lot of science back then to prove/disprove anything

So friend: first cause; physical laws of Nature; why a created universe; why humanity ALONE can love [provable] not speculation for the sake of supporting unbelief. Supported by secular historians; and testimonies of early fathers and early saints mean nothing? I have pulmonary hypertension: The doctors can prove that I Do have it; but can’t explain how or why. [Believe me every test known to man has been tried]….

So why does humanity in 2011 ALONE have the ability to Love; and to rationally choose good or evil?

  1. Why the secrecy?? I read something about the writings of the pope are locked up for 70ish years before anyone can look at them. The vatican archives: if there is something you’re looking for you have to request that exact volume if you can even get that, there is no browsing or entrance.

Baloney! Type Encyclicals or “Apostolic Letters” and you’ll get hit’s a whole lot oder that you and I will ever Be; including all of them by Pope Joun Paul II and our present Pope; Benedict: do the search on EWTN’s  Document Library and you’ll even be able to read them.

  1. Evolution. I don’t know what the official belief is now, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that it happened.

The Official position of the CC is that one can hold the truths of evolution so long as God as Creator is given credit and acknowledged for: First Cause; the Universe; and being in complete control of what science unfolds and evolutionary truth.

This can happen in a manner of weeks, so you can imagine what can happen in a manner of millions of years. I bring this up to highlight how much the Catholic church changes it’s beliefs. at one point science was sorcery and the work of the devil. now, the Catholic church uses it in many settings. evolution was scientists trying to prove that God doesn’t exist (which it doesn’t), but if it hasn’t already, it will admit that this is what occurred soon in the future. If the Catholic church was the sole authority on our beliefs of Jesus and God 2000 years ago, what does that say about us now with all the changes made.

My dear friend you suffer from a common malignant unbelief based on a lack of right and factual position. There are ONLY TWO broad topics of Church Teachings that are proof-written by God Himself: One is all issues of religious-Faith belief and practice Two: All matters of Morals and Morality. ONLY on these two issues can the CC not be in error [absolutely impossibility]. On any and every other topic and issue; She [the CC] because she has long been a center of intellectual endeavor; and has played such a dominate role in education over the centuries; can nevertheless be wrong. Mother church has no assurance of inerrancy outside of the TWO topics as explained above.  The fact that She has been wrong on scientific issues; in no way permit’s the argument that She therefore could be wrong also on Faith or Moral Issues. Such is an impossibility; because God Himself assures such is the TRUTH. This too is historically provable.

 May our GOD, guide your life-path my friend,

Patrick

I never heard back from this person, so as is MY norm; I just left it in the Hands of GOD the Holy Spirit.

FYI: I OFFER a totally free of all cost; a pretty complete course in our Catholic Faith; BUILDING BLOCKS OF OUR CATHOLIC FAITH… which is now in its 9th year for anyone wishing to really learn what we believe and WHY and HOW we can believe and practice what we do.

 

One Lesson is E-mailed each week

 

My E-Mail is: patrickmiron66@hotmail.com

 

I ALSO answer all Faith related questions personally {I’m retired}.

 

May God Guide OUR Paths,

Patrick

 

 

 

 

 

Why Catholics Treat Mary Like a Queen: re-blogged

Why Catholics Treat Mary Like a Queen
 
Ever since the early Church, Christians also have honored Mary as Queen. In sacred art she often appears with a crown on her head. Prayers and hymns venerate her as enthroned in heaven, reigning with her Son. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is the queen in Christ’s kingdom.

But why do Catholics treat Mary like a queen?

This early Christian practice is actually rooted in Scripture—in the biblical tradition of the queen mother. In ancient Israel and other ancient Near Eastern kingdoms, it was not the king’s wife who reigned as queen, but the king’s mother. Most kings back then had many wives. King Solomon, for example, unfortunately had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The queenship couldn’t be given to one thousand women. But each king only had one mother, and the queenship was bestowed on her.

The office of the queen mother was not just some honorific, figurehead position. She had real royal authority. As a member of the royal court, the queen mother sat on a throne, wore a crown, and shared in the king’s authority to lead (see 2 Kings 24:12; Jer 13:18–20). Most of all, she also served as an advocate for the people. Citizens of the kingdom would bring their petitions to the queen mother, knowing that she would present them to her royal son.

We can see the queen mother’s intercessory role in the way the Bible contrasts the wife of the king and the king’s mother. In 1 Kings 1, for example, we read about a woman named Bathsheba who is the wife of King David. When she wants to visit her royal husband’s chamber, she has to bow down before him and pay him homage (see 1 Kings 1:16–17, 31).

But in the next chapter of the Bible, Bathsheba is treated very differently. King David has died, and now Bathsheba’s son, Solomon, is reigning as king. That makes Bathsheba the queen mother. As queen mother, when she enters the royal chamber to visit her kingly son, she doesn’t have to stand up and bow down before him. The opposite occurs. King Solomon stands up and bows down before her, honoring her as queen mother. He even orders a throne to be brought in for her to sit upon, and that throne is placed at his right hand, which in the Bible is the position of authority (see 1 Kings 2:19). Most interestingly, we see Bathsheba bringing the king a petition from one of the citizens of the kingdom. Solomon says to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you” (1 Kings 2:20)—demonstrating how the queen mother’s intercessory role normally worked.

This scriptural queen mother background sheds light on why Catholics honor Mary as queen and why they bring petitions to her. As the mother of the King, Jesus Christ, Mary would be seen from a biblical perspective as the queen mother. And as queen mother, she serves as an advocate for the people. That’s one reason why Catholics seek her intercession, trusting that she, like the queen mothers of old, will present our needs to her royal Son, Jesus.  END QUOTES

 

This article is based on Edward Sri’s book Love Unveiled: The Catholic Faith Explained (Ignatius Press)

Pentecost and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit by REGIS NICOLL: Re-blogged

Pentecost and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

REGIS NICOLL

Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church with the coming of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of Jesus’s promise to his disciples.

Yet, few doctrines of the Church are as misunderstood as that of the Holy Spirit. I suspect this is partly due to the fuzzy image connoted by a name that conjures up notions of wraiths, mysterious life-forces, and formless impersonal beings which incline us to think of the Holy Spirit as “it” rather than “him.”

There’s also the matter of instruction. Although we give the Holy Spirit a nod in our slogans, mission statements, and church talk, he is largely ignored in our teaching. In my long Christian life, over a number of denominations, I recall hearing only one sermon devoted to the comprehensive ministry of the Spirit.

He Creates


For folks who think of the Holy Spirit only as a New Testament gift to believers, his involvement throughout the Old Testament can come as a surprise.

In the opening verses of Genesis, the Holy Spirit is seen “hovering over the waters” of the unformed earth. When Elohim (the Hebrew plural name, in form, for God) said, “Let us make man in our image,” he was referring to the triune partnership of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Job’s friend, Elihu, confirms the Spirit’s creative role in his counsel to Job: “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

From Creation to the Incarnation, the scriptures tell of the Spirit descending upon individuals who are tagged for some divine task: defeat a pagan foe, lead a rebellious nation, or speak a prophetic word. In contrast to the “indwelling” of believers in the Church Age, the Spirit’s “ondwelling” was temporary and selective.

But whether by “ondwelling” or “indwelling,” the Holy Spirit empowers humans to accomplish things that are humanly impossible, thus giving witness to the God “who is.”

He Inspires

The second letter of Peter is addressed to a church that was scattered, suffering, and swaying under the influence of heresies. To encourage the believers and help shore up their faith, Peter reminded them of the apostles’ accounts of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection; eyewitness accounts detailing the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies.

Peter went on to explain the Source of the prophetic accuracy: “No prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the biblical narrative contains dozens of prophesies fulfilled in precise detail centuries after they had been predicted and recorded.

He Gifts
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul introduces the concept “spiritual gifts,” writing: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

Notice the Trinitarian partnership: spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit, in service of the Son, according to the sovereign purposes of the Father.

Paul goes on to say, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (Between this letter and Romans chapter 12, Paul lists 15 spiritual gifts, including things like wisdom, knowledge, serving, giving, prophesy, teaching, and mercy.) Also notice, that it’s not a question of whether a believer has a gift. It’s a question of what gift or gifts he has, and in what measure.

Although everyone has some capacity for each gift—with a number of them, like mercy, giving, and serving related to spiritual fruits that every Christian needs to cultivate—it is our primary gift that determines our spiritual role within the Church, whether as a member of the clergy or lay “helper.”

The gifts imparted by the Spirit support the roles established by the Son for the God-sized task of kingdom-building.

He Teaches and Convicts

With the Cross looming before him, Jesus spent his last hours on earth preparing his disciples for his departure. He promised not to leave them as orphans—he would send the Spirit to teach them and remind them of all they had been taught.

The good news, though it didn’t register at the time, was that unlike the pre-resurrected Lord whose company and wisdom they could enjoy only when he was physically present with them, the Spirit, unencumbered by the limitations of a material body, would reside in them, all of them, as an ever-present Teacher, Comforter, and Equipper.

 

What’s more, the Spirit’s ministry would extend to non-believers, as well. “He will testify about me,” Jesus told them, and “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” In fact, without the ministry of the Holy Spirit belief “unto salvation” is not possible. As Paul explained, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

He “Ondwells,” Indwells, and Fills

As mentioned earlier, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon ordinary individuals to accomplish extraordinary things: Bezalel to craft the tabernacle, Samson to defeat the Philistines, Gideon to defeat the Midianites, and David to take over the kingship of Israel, just to name a few. In each case, the “ondwelling” was a transitory visitation upon a selected individual for specific assignment.

After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit began to indwell people—collectively, the Church, and individually, the heart of every believer. Unlike ondwelling, the Spirit’s indwelling is permanent. Consider the case of the early Corinthian church.

If ever a church was characterized by sinful strife and immorality, it was that of Corinth. Immoral behavior, and complacence towards it, had reached the point to where an open, incestuous relationship went unchallenged. Disputes between members were being aired in civil courts, rather than being resolved in the community of faith. The weekly assembly was becoming more of a bacchanalian banquet than a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. On top of that, the church was tolerating—maybe, even accepting (!)—some heretical teachings.

Yet, despite their woeful spiritual condition, Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are members of Christ’s body; a body that is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who resides in them, and whom they have received from God.

The lesson of Corinth is that while churches and their members are indwelt by the Spirit, they may not be filled with the Spirit. Indwelling is about the presence of the Spirit; filling is about his measure—that is, his influence and control—in a believer’s life.

Paul likens it to the control that alcohol has over an inebriated person: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Thus, while indwelling is a one-time gift at Baptism, filling is a recurring process necessary for spiritual growth and maturity.

The process is illustrated in the Acts church. A short while after their initial filling at Pentecost, the believers were “re-filled” after praying for boldness in proclaiming the gospel. And afterwards, boldly preaching they went to the most adversarial audience on earth.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, a tiny band of unlikely misfits, quailing after the execution of their leader, ignited a movement that changed the world forever. Not only did the Church they form grow into the largest institution on earth, it has had more culture-shaping influence than any man-made organization, ideology, or political system.

In his manifold ministries of creating, empowering, inspiring, teaching, convicting, gifting, indwelling, and filling, the Holy Spirit is an ever-active, omni-present witness to the God “who is.” END QUOTES

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a fresco of the Holy Trinity painted by Luca Rossetti da Orta in 1738.

 

Scripture Speaks: Pentecost Sunday

GAYLE SOMERS

 

On Resurrection Day, Jesus breathed on His disciples, a gesture odd in itself but packed with meaning for our celebration of Pentecost today.

Gospel (Read Jn 20:19-23)

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus surprised the disciples “on the evening of that first day of the week” by appearing in their midst without using a door (locked “for fear of the Jews”).  We wonder if He had to calm them down a bit, because He said, twice, “Peace be with you.” We can imagine how startled they were. He showed them His wounds, in case they thought He was a ghost.  Then, Jesus gave the apostles an astonishing commission: “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”  What had begun three years earlier with a call to “Follow Me” (Mt 4:19) culminated in a sending out.  Their work was to be a continuation of the divine apostleship of Jesus (“apostle” means “one sent”; see Heb. 3:1).

If we have paid attention to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ companionship with these men, we have seen clear indications that He intended to give the apostles authority to build His Church and do His work.  We are impressed by the scope of their mission but not really surprised by it. However, after announcing His directive to them, Jesus steps out of the expected with an action that can only be described as strange:  “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Don’t let familiarity with this verse rob it of its shock value.  Why on earth did Jesus breathe on His apostles?

 

To understand this moment, so different from anything we’ve yet seen in any Gospel account, we have to go back to the beginning, to the first time divinity breathed on humanity.

At Creation, “the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Gen 2:7).  There is no clearer image than this of God’s desire to impart His own life into man, who is made in His image and likeness.  Adam and Eve’s fall into sin robbed them (and us) of their inheritance as God’s children, but the entire story of salvation reveals God’s plan to restore and renew His life in us.  So vivid is this image of God’s breath in man that it appears again at the time of the prophet, Ezekiel.  God’s people, Israel, were in exile in Babylon; they had been ravaged by their enemies as punishment for their covenant unfaithfulness.  They represent all of us who are spiritually dead and entirely helpless.  However, in His unrelenting determination to restore His people, God says to Ezekiel (whom He called “son of man”):  “’Son of man, can these bones live?’  And I answered, ‘O LORD God, Thou knowest.’  Again He said, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD…Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live…and you shall know that I am the LORD’” (Ez 36:3-6).

When we know this Old Testament history, Jesus breathing on the apostles on Resurrection Day no longer seems so odd, does it?  In this gesture, He begins the divinization of man, always God’s intention for His children.  The renewal of humanity begins, once again, with the breath of God.  For the apostles, this unique action enabled them to truly be Jesus’ continuing presence on earth.  They will forgive or retain sins, an action reserved for Divinity. What about the rest of us?  Will the breath of God blow on us, too?  The other readings will help answer this question.

{INSERTED BY PJM….. John 20:19-23 “ [19] Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.  [21] He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost[23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. “ … This IS THEE Breath of Life; it is God’s gift to man humble enough to advantage it; it IS sin-forgiveness GOD’S WAY. END Insert}

Possible response: Father, thank You for loving us enough to share Your own breath with us—a marvel beyond description.

First Reading (Read Acts 2:1-11)

At His Ascension, Jesus told the apostles not to start on their mission of making disciples of all nations until they received “power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).  This helps us see that Jesus’ action of breathing on them on Resurrection Day was an initiation into the Holy Spirit, not the fullness they were meant to have.  For that, Jesus had them wait for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, nine days later.  Pentecost originally had been a harvest festival in the Jewish liturgical calendar; gradually it also became associated with a memorial celebration of God’s giving of the Law to His people at Mt. Sinai, when they had been delivered from slavery in Egypt.  The Law, or Torah, gave the people a way of life that would distinguish them from all other peoples on earth.  To seal the covenant, God actually came down on top of Mt.  Sinai, manifested in fire, smoke, thunder, an earthquake, and the loud sound of a trumpet (see Ex 19:16-19).  It was quite the fireworks show!

We need to know this history, because it helps us understand why Jesus waited until Pentecost to send the Holy Spirit on His Church.  Drawing on all the parallels with God’s visit to Mt. Sinai, the Jews gathered there in Jerusalem that day could comprehend this action as the “harvest” of God’s people, ready now, because of Jesus’ accomplished work, to receive God’s new Law of Love, to be written not on stone tablets but in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit.  Just as God’s descent on Sinai meant the formation of Israel as a nation, the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost meant the formation of Jews and Gentiles into the Church, the new Israel.

Of course, the events on Pentecost evoke the deep symbolism of wind and fire throughout the Old Testament, not just at the Mt. Sinai covenant.  At Creation, “the wind” of God (literally, God’s “breath”) hovered over the waters of the earth, ready to do God’s bidding as He brought forth life (Gen 1:2).  The “wind” of God also blew apart the waters of the Red Sea so God’s people could escape from their enemies, the Egyptians.  As for fire, recall that God first appeared to Moses, the deliverer of His people, in a fiery bush.  Also, the people had to follow a pillar of fire to make their way home to the Promised Land.

The more we know of the imagery representing God in the Old Testament, the more we understand the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as an explosion of fulfilled promises!  See that the tongues of fire rested over each of the apostles.  They will now be God’s presence in His Church, leading His people on their journey home to heaven.  To this day, the bishops of the Church, who are successors of these apostles, wear hats (mitres) in the shape of a flame of fire.  They are marked out as our pillars of fire, leading us on our pilgrim journey home to heaven.

 

What about the effects of all this amazing action?  The apostles were miraculously able to communicate the Gospel in the foreign tongues of the Jews assembled there.  All male Jews were required to make a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for this feast; that explains why “there were devout Jews from every nation” there.  This immediately evokes the history of Babel (see Gen 11:1-9).  There human pride made a grab at heaven by building a tower up to God.  The solidarity of men (made possible by one language) was perverted to accomplish an evil end.  God broke it by confusing the one language into many.  Now, in the fullness of time, God grants the human solidarity for which man longs (because he is made for that) but which he cannot naturally achieve.  The Holy Spirit creates supernatural solidarity, represented here by all men being able to hear, in their own language, the mighty works of God.  This time, God reaches down to man rather than man trying to climb up to God.

So, now that we understand something of the background of Pentecost, we can ask whether all the rest of us who aren’t apostles will also have a share in this breath of God.  The answer is YES.  In verses not included in today’s reading, Peter answers the “what about us?” question:  “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:28).  Jesus wants to breathe on all of us and thus renew the face of the earth.

Possible response: Lord Jesus, may Your Church

always live in the joy of Pentecost, in awe of Your power and presence.

Psalm (Read Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34)

Today’s psalm celebrates the life-giving power of God’s Spirit.  Written long before the Day of Pentecost, it nevertheless summarizes both the past and the future.  “If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust” (Ps 104:29) reminds us of the Fall, at the beginning of man’s story.  Disobedience led to death:  “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19b).  “When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30) describes our celebration today. The world, weary in sin, is in dire need of refreshment and renewal.  Maybe we are, too.  The psalm response is the perfect

 Pentecost prayer:  “Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings.  Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13)

The Gospel showed us God’s desire to once again breathe His life into man.  The Book of Acts showed us that the gift of God’s breath, the Holy Spirit, entered the stream of human history on the Day of Pentecost, producing miraculous results.  In the epistle, St. Paul gives us a theological reflection on the meaning of all this history.  He explains that none of us can confess Jesus as Lord without the Holy Spirit.  Our Christian faith is, itself, a work of God’s breath, the Spirit, in us.  That Spirit gives to believers a wide variety of spiritual gifts, creating diversity of service in His Church.  However, because it is “the same God” Who produces this diversity, we are “one body.”  St. Paul’s emphasis here is on the unity created by the Holy Spirit. Let’s consider this for a moment.

Unity is the distinguishing characteristic of the Trinity—three Persons in One.  Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is hard-wired for unity, for communion with both God and others.  Sin shattered this unity (recall the immediate fracture of Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and each other in the Garden).  Babel showed us that when men actually cobble together unity, their pride bends them towards a perverse use of it.

God’s descent on Mt. Sinai was for the purpose of forming one nation for Himself out of many tribes.  He gave them one way to worship and one law to live by.  In time, that nation fractured, and a large part of it completely disappeared.  Men cannot create unity for themselves, although their hearts long for it. Fittingly, unity in His Church was the one thing for which Jesus prayed as He faced His Passion:  “I…pray…that they may all be one…so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (Jn 17:20-21).

On Pentecost, God sent His breath to create supernatural unity.  It was experienced immediately among the first converts, and it is a constant manifestation of God’s breath in His Church, 2000 years later.  The life of Jesus in us, the Holy Spirit, holds us in His one Body.  Unity at last—alleluia!

Possible response: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I rebel against unity—wanting my own way, isolating myself.  Let Your Spirit lead me to the unity for which my heart longs. END QUOTES

By Gayle Somers

Gayle Somers is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix and has been writing and leading parish Bible studies since 1996. She is the author of three bible studies, Galatians: A New Kind of Freedom Defended (Basilica Press), Genesis: God and His Creation and Genesis: God and His Family (Emmaus Road Publishing). Gayle and her husband Gary reside in Phoenix and have three grown children.

A BRIEF QUOTE FROM ANOTHER ARTICLE ON THE SAME TOPIC:

“Whoever thirsts, let him come to me,

and let him drink who believes in me.

As the Scripture says,

‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water’”

Translated this way, it is clearly Jesus’ heart that flows with rivers of living water.  I think this division of the clauses makes better contextual, narrative sense as well as theological sense.

Jesus’ Scriptural “quote” here is a paraphrase and summary of the vision of Ezekiel 47 and other passages from the prophets that foresee a supernatural river coming forth from the New Temple.  The Church sees in Pentecost the definitive realization of this vision.  The River of the Spirit is the water of baptism, which conveys the Spirit to believers (Acts 2:38).

In John 19:34 we see the blood and water flowing from the side of Christ.  Christ’s body is the New Temple.  At festival time, the old Temple flowed with blood and water, as the blood of animal sacrifice mixed with purification water spilled out of a pipe underneath the Temple and ran down to join the brook in the Kidron valley.  This is a symbolic fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in John 7:37-39, but also a sign of the sacraments (Eucharistic blood and Baptismal water) that flow from the Body of Christ (the Church) as a kind of River of Life bearing the Holy Spirit through time and space to the whole human family, whoever is willing to come to the waters.

The Catholic Church offers eternal life for free to all who will come receive the Spirit of God from Jesus.  It’s the best deal around. END QUOTES

The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, illustrated

 Tom Hoopes | May 18, 2018

Having a visual image for each of the gifts helps remember what they are and how they work.

The readings for this Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, tell the story of the dramatic way the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles and Mary.

But the Holy Spirit comes to each of us in less dramatic ways: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, bestowed on us in Baptism, are crucial to the Christian life.

The gifts can be hard to understand and difficult to tell apart. Here is how I remember them.

1: Think of Wisdom like the anointing.

Wisdom is the gift of “relishing what is right” — to be wise is to know God not just with our minds, but with our hearts.

In other words, Wisdom comes from knowing God not like a student — but like family. We can know him that way because that’s what we are.

When we are anointed at Baptism and Vonfirmation — sealed with the Holy Spirit —  we are incorporated into a new family with God as our Father, Jesus Christ as our brother, and the Holy Spirit as our bond of love with all the saints.

As we enter this family, priests anoint both our hearts (the chest of an infant being baptized) and minds (our foreheads at Confirmation) — a beautiful sign of true Wisdom.

2: Think of Understanding like the tongues of fire.

Many have had the experience of reading Scripture and seeing a word suddenly leap off the page. You had never noticed it there in that Gospel story before, but suddenly it makes a new sense of the whole thing.

You can illustrate that with a lightbulb above someone’s head — or you can do it the way the First Reading does: “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.”

These are the insights that the Holy Spirit’s gift of Understanding gives — not just in Scripture but throughout our lives.

3: Think of Counsel by thinking of Peter on Pentecost morning.

Counsel is the gift that allows us to see the will of God clearly.

In the first reading for Pentecost, we hear how speakers of several languages were all able to understand the Galilean apostles.

On Easter Sunday we heard the message they were listening to: St. Peter speaking with boldness, decisiveness, but also attractiveness, about Jesus.

He doesn’t condemn, insult or talk down to the people because of their weakness; he challenges them and calls them to greatness, each in their own language.

The Holy Spirit’s gift of Counsel gives each of us the clarity to see what God’s will is, and breaks down the barriers to articulating it.

4: Think of Fortitude like the strong driving wind.

Fortitude means courage, but the Holy Spirit does not simply make us brave; he gives us the courage that comes from trusting in God’s strength.

In today’s first reading, the coming of the Holy Spirit is described this way: “Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house.”

Fortitude is a strong driving wind for your soul; a wind at your back that gives you confidence to face the end of your race, knowing that your efforts are being pushed along by an unseen power.

5: Think of Knowledge like the dove.

The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove, and that has a very specific meaning in Scripture. In Noah’s Ark, the dove was the bird that went out over the waters and found dry land, bringing hope.

The Holy Spirit’s gift of Knowledge works the same way for us — he brings us a God’s-eye view of the information we take in.

Jesus says “When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.”

6: Think of Piety like living water.

Discouragement is a major threat against leading a holy life. We can easily look at the call of Christ, then look at our lives, and give up.

The Gospel for the vigil of Pentecost tells the story of Jesus standing up and exclaiming, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

“He said this in reference to the Spirit,” adds John — the Spirit’s gift of Piety, like water, refreshes and revivifies our spiritual life.

7: Think of Fear of the Lord like the pillar of cloud.

At various key points in the Old Testament — the Red Sea, Mount Sinai, and elsewhere — God’s presence among his people is indicated by a pillar of cloud.

But it isn’t a dark cloud: It’s a cloud of light. It is a sign of the awesome mystery of almighty God.

We should think of God with the same reverence and awe that the pillar of cloud must have given as the Israelites looked on. Fear of the Lord makes that possible.

Pray for these gifts. “The Spirit,” says Paul, “comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” END QUOTES

On the World’s Most Beautiful Sermon  BY FR. JAMES V. SCHALL, SJ:re-blogged 

On the World’s Most Beautiful Sermon

I.

A sermon is an essay or a treatise that is spoken. Classical sermons of Newman, or some of the great French preachers, could last for hours. Great Protestant divines were known for long and powerfully delivered sermons. We live in a world in which any sermon over eight minutes is considered an imposition on the ability of modern man to hold his attention that long. But a good sermon is no doubt a work of art. It is designed to move hearts, souls, and minds. Spoken words can do this, especially words that arise from the sources of revelation.

My candidate for the world’s most beautiful sermon, however, comes to me via Joseph Pieper’s little book with the catching title: Only the Lover Sings (Ignatius Press). This title is the English translation of a phrase in Augustine’s Sermon #34—Cantare, amantis est. This sermon is the second reading in the Breviary for Tuesday of the Third Week after Easter. It is a sermon about singing. It begins, indeed, as many good sermons do, with a passage from Scripture, here from Psalm 149:1: “Sing to the Lord a new song; his praise is in the assembly of the saints.” Singing implies an assembly not only of singers but of listeners.

Augustine tells us that we are to begin a new song as new men who have learned a new way. The new song, the new testament, the new law, and the new man belong together. The new song contains a new note that could not have been sung before. Something new had first to be given to us, something we could not conjure up by ourselves. A song, Augustine tells us, is a “thing of joy”. Joy, for its part, is not something that we seek. It is, as Pieper put it, a “by-product” of doing what ought to be done. No doubt something happens to words when they are sung. The very listening can be a joy, a delight.

It is here where Augustine adds that “more profoundly” to sing is “a thing of love.” To enter a new life, a new way, will thus result in learning a new song—we think of the Pange lingua and the Salve Regina. Love, for its part, is not self-seeking. Properly speaking, love is to will the good of another. It does not mean that we recognize no good in ourselves. The love of friend or neighbor is the second commandment. It too flows from God’s preserving love for what is not Himself.

Any love of another sooner or later confronts the fact that the one loved is also loved first by God with a greater love than we can offer. God’s love is what constitutes the initial bringing into being of both the lover and the beloved. This is why it is possible to love God by loving our neighbor. The “good” of another does not mean that the other self-defines his good. It means rather that an objective good constitutes the being of the one loved, a good that includes the other’s virtues.

This realization is why we can love even our enemies, and those who hate us. In them remains that good of being in which they were created. Even the being of the fallen angels and the damned remains good. Hell is constituted ultimately by our self-rejection of the good in which we were created, as it was intended to fructify in the love of God and our neighbor, not solely in ourselves.

II.

Everyone, even the lost and the damned, loves something. “The question is what to love.” The Psalms do not tell us “not to love.” They are concerned with what to lovemidst the myriads of things known and available to us. They look to love’s object. Augustine then asks a remarkable question: “How can we choose unless we are first chosen?” We do not just sit out there in the universe. We are chosen to be there. Our very power of choice itself comes to us by the gift of our being what we are. Our faculties of mind, will, and sensing are themselves given to us. We do not design or create them. We find them already there for our use.

“We cannot love unless someone has loved us first.” The implications of this fact are profound. We exist indeed because of a man and a woman who are our father and mother. In the right order of things, each human being should be the gift that arises out of a marital love that, as such, did not foresee what was to come of that marital relationship. Parents know that children are possible. They have no idea that this child that turns out to be you, or me, is the one that will come to be in their care. A goodly part of human existence consists in repairing the damage when this initial relationship of proper marital love is flawed. This repair itself requires “a greater love.” Thus, Augustine cites John’s “We love him because he has first loved us.” We only know what love is by ourselves being loved. We did not invent it. We experienced it.

“The source of man’s love for God can only be found in the fact that God loved him first.” If we could love God on our own power, so to speak, we would ourselves already be God, which is clearly not the case. The whole theology of creation and its purpose is already contained in this one passage. The world was created in order that other intelligent beings, that were not God, could be invited to participate in God’s inner life. Both the ultimate object of our love, and its source, is God. This is why, in the discussions of freedom, we find that no created thing satisfies us. This realization is the source of Augustine’s famous passage in the Confessions about our restless hearts finding no final rest in anything that is not God. Augustine understood that anything that was, by nature, restless, was intended to find a place of rest—“in Thee”, as he put it.

III.

God has “given himself as the object of our love.” But knowing the “object” of our love is not enough. We must realize that its “source” is also this same God, who gives us a power beyond our nature. Indeed, we were, from the beginning, intended to achieve an end higher than our natural being. We are, by nature, “supernatural” beings, as Aquinas put it. No “natural” human beings have ever existed. All human beings have been created and destined to live the eternal life of the Godhead through the workings of Christ’s redemption. “This love is not something we generate by ourselves.” It comes “through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” In our very creation, we are already given more than our nature can expect.

We read in John’s Gospel that “God is love.” This truth is not something we think up by ourselves. It must first be explained to us by Him who knows. “Which of us would dare to pronounce the words of Scripture: God is love?” Augustine asks. The only person who could speak this truth would be one who knows what dwelling “in God” meant. “God offers to us a short route to the possession of himself.” It is up to us to take it. Our lives then are in large part realizing that we are already loved by a divine love that invites us to recognize its source, a source already within us by creation and grace.

We are to “listen” to the Holy Spirit who speaks through Christ. You are singing, and singing clearly, the Lord tells the new man. But a warning is added to remind us that illumination about what we are, our origins, is intended to alert us to our part of this love. “Be sure that your life does not contradict your words.” How do we go about singing this new song? “The answer is that his praises are in the assembly of the saints.” What does this mean? Praise “is in the singers themselves. If you desire to praise him, then live what you express. Live good lives, and you yourselves will be his praise.”

“Only the lover sings.” Love is to will the good of another. Joy is a by-product. A song is a thing of joy. “Our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” There is no one who does not love something. How can we choose unless we are first chosen? We cannot love unless someone has loved us first. Sing a new song to the Lord. Cantare, amantis est.

Fr. James V. Schall, SJAbout Fr. James V. Schall, SJ
Fr. James Schall, SJ, is professor emeritus of political science at Georgetown University, is retired, and in residence at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California.

The Afterlife by David Carlin another re-blogged thing to think about

The Afterlife

David Carlin

I suppose the great majority of people who have ever lived have believed in life after death in some form or other.  It may not have been a happy life after death they believed in.  For instance, Christians and others have believed in an absolutely miserable place where many of us (but not all) will be punished for our sins.  Homeric Greeks believed in a dark underworld where almost everybody will go: not a place of punishment but simply a place where the spirits of the dead reside after their earthly lives end.  The shade of Achilles gives Odysseus some idea of the misery of Hades by telling him, “I’d rather be a servant in the house of the poorest man on earth than be a king in the underworld.”

Christians used to believe that some of us (the bad ones) will go to hell while others among us (the good ones) will go to heaven.  But in modern America, as far as I can tell, not many people believe in hell. I often read newspaper obituaries that say something like this: “On Wednesday of this week Mr. John Doe, a longtime resident of this city, went to be with Jesus.”  I never read anything that says, “On Monday of this week Mary Roe, a local woman who was no better than she had to be, went to live with Satan and other evil spirits.”

And those who believe in hell don’t think it is densely populated.  Hitler and Stalin may be there, and perhaps Charles Manson and Attila the Hun.  But not many others.  Americans seem to be mostly universalists.  We find it hard to believe that God, a really nice guy, could be so hard-hearted as to condemn anybody to an eternity of punishment.

I have sometimes thought that if, when I die and approach the seat of judgment, I learn that Hitler and Stalin have gained entry to Paradise thanks to the infinite mercy of God, I will shout “not fair!” and refuse to pass through the heavenly gates.  I like it that God is merciful, but I don’t want him to be that merciful.

In our skeptical age, many people do not believe in life after death.  When you’re dead, they contend, you’re dead. That’s the end of the story.  But how can this be?  How can they dissent from the ancient and almost-universal opinion of their fellow human beings that our souls (or ghosts) live on after bodily death?

One reason they offer to justify their disbelief is that this world, the world of material objects, of atoms and molecules and stars and planets, is the only world there is; and if you’re dead in this one and only world, you no longer exist.  This seems to me a preposterous belief.  Of the billions and billions and billions of possible worlds, why should only one actually exist, the one we happen to live in?  That our universe is the only one, that there are no other universes either material or nonmaterial – can anything be more improbable?

Another reason offered by those who disbelieve in life after death is that such a belief is merely wishful thinking.  We would, of course, like to think that we ourselves live after death, and even more we’d like to think that our friends and family members live after death. And we’d like to think that Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley live after death.  Such wishes are only natural, like the wish to win the lottery.  But they are only wishes.  No more than that.

But wishes often come true.  I have wished to have food to eat, a house to live in, a wife to live with, money in my bank account – and many more things.  And these wishes have come true.  Why shouldn’t my wish for life after death also be realized?

The strongest argument against survival, it seems to me, is that the dead never get in touch with us.  Over the years I myself have lost many persons who were very dear to me: my grandparents, my mother and father, my sister, and some of my very best friends. But not one of them has ever contacted me after death.  Wouldn’t they get in touch with me to assure me that they are okay?  Wouldn’t they from time to time offer me advice and guidance? Wouldn’t they try to push me in the direction of good or hinder me when I was drifting in the direction of evil?

Who can be sure, however, they are not doing this?  Below the level of our conscious minds, we have unconscious minds. And below the level of my personal unconscious there may be (as William James once suggested) an impersonal unconscious.  My dead family and friends may not be “talking” to me at the level of my conscious mind, but why can’t they be “talking” to me at the level of the unconscious mind?

Many other things happen at the level of unconscious mind.  Not just Freudian fears and wishes, but all sorts of creativity – artistic, scientific, mathematical, political, commercial.  I read the other day that Mark Twain, in his belief that a novel would write itself (so to speak), took long intermissions in his writing of Huckleberry Finn.  Finally, his creative unconscious gave birth to a literary classic.

If one’s unconscious mind can write poetry, paint pictures, solve scientific and mathematical puzzles, etc., why can’t it be the place where we receive messages from the great beyond?  For that matter, why can’t God Himself talk to us in our unconscious?

I’m fully aware that this is a dangerous hypothesis.  For madmen and fanatics have often imagined that they hear voices. All the same, the hypothesis may be true.  Perhaps we really do hear voices – including, quite possibly, the voice of God.  At all events, I don’t know how to rule the hypothesis out.  God and other spirits may be closer than we think. END QUOTES

I’ll File this under “MIND FOOD” or MAYBE “Fool mind” ????

May God Guide our Life path,

Patrick

Perpetual Adoration, the closest thing to walking with Jesus  Philip Kosloski: re-blogged

 

Perpetual Adoration, the closest thing to walking with Jesus

 Philip Kosloski

It is a deeply personal type of prayer many saints recommend.

The term sounds rather strange and archaic, but “Perpetual Adoration” refers to one of the greatest gifts God has given humanity.

What is Perpetual Adoration?

Eucharistic Adoration is a deeply personal method of prayer that many saints have recommended over the past few centuries. It consists of visiting a church or small chapel to adore Jesus Christ, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. As Catholics we believe that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist” (CCC 1377).

Read more: Are you addicted to the noise of the world? Here’s one simple solution

This means that as long as the Sacred Host is intact and possesses the physical properties of bread, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, remain.

On account of this reality, the Church started using a tabernacle (typically a gold box) as a way to protect any consecrated hosts not consumed at Mass. (Read here to see why the word host is used in reference to the Eucharist). The Eucharistic hosts are typically stored in the tabernacle, which is marked out by a red lamp that stays lit as long as there are hosts within.

There arose in popularity during the 15th century a practice that placed a host not in the tabernacle, but in a gold receptacle called a “monstrance.” This device put the host on display in a clear piece of glass, surrounded by gold. Instead of being hidden away in the tabernacle, a host in the monstrance could be clearly seen and venerated by all.

The purpose of this practice centered on the desire of Christians to adore the King of Kings in the Sacred Host. Adoration provided an opportunity for Christians to have a “face-to-face conversation” with God, truly present in the Eucharist.

Soon enough there developed various religious orders and societies who took as their mission the Perpetual Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist. They placed the monstrance on an altar and took turns adoring Our Lord around the clock, ensuring that a person was accompanying the Blessed Sacrament every hour of the day. This practice has been taken up by the laity in what are now called “Perpetual Adoration Chapels,” greatly supported by Saint John Paul II.

Read more: Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect” of Eucharistic adoration?

In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II exhorted pastors to, “encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species.” He further said in an International Eucharistic Congress in Seville, “I hope that this form of perpetual adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world.”

The practice of Eucharistic Adoration only makes sense in light of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist as the Real Presence of Jesus. Catholics believe that Jesus is truly there, in a special way not found anywhere else in the world. It is as if we were walking next to Jesus when he was on this earth.

A short story in the life of Saint Teresa of Avila perfectly summarizes the reasoning behind Eucharistic Adoration. One day Saint Teresa heard someone say, “If only I had lived at the time of Jesus … If only I had seen Jesus … If only I had talked with Jesus.” She responded, “But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?”

With the availability of Perpetual Adoration, we can spend time — any time, any day — with Jesus.

If you are curious about Perpetual Adoration, check out this directory of Perpetual Adoration Chapels in the United States and visit one today!

 

This is how miracles are approved by the Church  Philip Kosloski: re-blogged |

 

This is how miracles are approved by the Church

 Philip Kosloski

Darrell Miller | CC BY-NC 2.0

The St. Roch Shrine, where believers leave crutches in thanksgiving for miraculous cures

The Church is careful to declare only certain events as miraculous.

Humans have always been fascinated with miracles. In every age there have occurred events that can not be explained through natural reasoning and which are seen as divine in origin.

Being a Christian entails a belief in the miraculous. Jesus’ entire life was full of miracles, from his virginal conception to his resurrection and ascension.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the importance of miracles for the Christian believer: “the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability ‘are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all’; they are ‘motives of credibility’ (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is ‘by no means a blind impulse of the mind.’” (CCC 156)

In other words, miracles are real and they confirm for us the reality of the supernatural and reassure us of the existence of God.

However, the Church doesn’t believe everything that is difficult to explain by science is a miracle. She has a strict procedure that examines each event and determines if it indeed was of “supernatural origin.”

Miracles are described by St. Thomas Aquinas as “those things … which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things.” This means that a miracle must have hard evidence that it did not follow the rules of nature.

One of the most common type of miracles is the sudden healing of someone. According to Michael O’Neill, “For the cure to be considered miraculous, the disease must be serious and impossible (or at least very difficult) to cure by human means and not be in a stage at which it is liable to disappear shortly by itself. No medical treatment must have been given, or it must be certain that the treatment given has no reference to the cure. The healing must be spontaneous, complete and permanent.”

In all cases the local bishop is the first authority to investigate a miracle. He creates a board of medical professionals to evaluate the event and then they report to him their results.

In most cases the event is not verified as a miracle. For example, “the Lourdes Medical Commission, while documenting over 8,000 extraordinary cures, has only validated [70] of them.”

Read more: French bishop proclaims 70th healing in Lourdes a miracle

This type of skepticism is employed in every type of miracle examined by the Church. Whether it be an apparition of the Blessed Mother or a Eucharistic miracle, a team of scientists investigate the event to determine if it follows the rules of nature, or if it is impossible to explain outside of a supernatural cause.

Yet, despite this strict procedure, miracles are proclaimed on a regular basis. For almost each beatification and canonization the existence of miracles are a primary requirement, clearly showing the power of God through the intercession of an individual.

This confirms the interest God has in our affairs and his willingness to help us in our time of need. He is not a distant “god of the clouds,” but a loving God who is present among us and keeps us and all creation in existence.

In a certain sense, every day is a miracle and all of creation proclaims the power and glory of God. END QUOTES

 

Christ in Us Through the Rosary ROMANO GUARDINI: re-blogged {emphasis MINE}

Christ in Us Through the Rosary

ROMANO GUARDINI

 To linger in the domain of Mary is a divinely great thing. One does not ask about the utility of truly noble things, because they have their meaning within themselves. So it is of infinite meaning to draw a deep breath of this purity, to be secure in the peace of this union with God.

With this we come back to what we said in the beginning. Man needs a place of holy tranquility that the breath of God pervades and where he meets the great figures of the Faith. This place is the inaccessibility of God Himself, which only Christ opens to man.

All prayer begins by man becoming silent — recollecting his scattered thoughts, feeling remorse at his trespasses, and directing his thoughts toward God. If man does all this, this place is thrown open, not only as a domain of spiritual tranquility and mental concentration, but as something that comes from God.

For this reason the Rosary is so important in times like ours — assuming, of course, that all slackness and exaggeration are done away with, and that it is used in its clear and original forcefulness. This is all the more important because the Rosary does not require any spe­cial preparation, and the petitioner does not need to generate thoughts of which he is not capable at the moment or at any other time. Rather, he steps into a well-ordered world, meets familiar images, and finds roads that lead him to the essential.

The Christian heart has always known Mary as the essence of compassion and love, to whom men can turn with particular and unreserved confidence. This is ex­pressed so well by the intimate name that was given her from the beginning: the name of mother. When Chris­tian hearts begin to beat, they know that Mary is theirs because she is the mother of Christ. The same maternal mystery in her surrounds Christ, “the firstborn among many brethren,” and us. Christians have at all times carried their petitions to Mary with the conviction that they were doing right.

There is something stupendous in the profusion of human petitions that find expression in the Hail Mary: that she may intercede for us “now and at the hour of our death.” There is no naming of details. Every human need is included, and we all employ the same words to portray our misery.

{INSERTED HERE BY PJM}

Hail Mary, [Lk. 1:28]

Full of Grace [Lk. 1:28]

The Lord is with thee [Lk 1:27]

Blessed are you among all women [Lk 1:42]

And Blessed in the fruit of your womb: Jesus [Lk. 1;42]

Holy Mary [Lk.1: 28]

Mother of God 1:35

Pray for us sinners [our catholic petition]

Now and at the hour of our death

Amen” [I BELIEVE!]

Romans 12: 2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. “ End insertion pjm

 To this we must add something else. To say the Rosary correctly is not easy, and I must ask the reader not to dwell on single words but to strive to find their right meaning.

The Apostle Paul speaks in his letters again and again of an ultimate mystery of Christian existence: namely, that Christ dwells “in us.” “It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me,” he says in his message to the Galatians. He exhorts us to be faithful and vigilant, “until Christ is formed in you.” He sees the significance of Christian growth in “the deep knowledge of the Son of God, to perfect manhood, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ,” and in “becoming conformed to the image of His Son, that He should be the firstborn among many brethren.”

This, in the first place, is an expression of the unity of faith and the communion of grace, just as one may say of a person that a venerated model lives in him. But there is more significance to this, more from a human standpoint: namely, a communion that surpasses the joint indwelling of grace and mercy, of conviction and loyal allegiance; a participation in the reality of Christ that cannot be felt deeply enough. There is more significance also in the eyes of God; and we only rightly value the meaning of these words if we seek to understand what they mean to God.

God loves man. We say and hear this again and again. But it seems that this message is not always understood in its whole gravity. For it means not only that God is kindly disposed to man, that He pardons his sins, gives him the strength to lead a virtuous life, and leads him toward that likeness to God which is the meaning of creation. Surely all of this must not be treated with disdain. It should be enough and more than enough, and, anyway, it would be senseless in this case to lay such things on a scale. But we see that it is not enough when we use the measurements that God Himself has placed in our hands: namely, what He has done for His love’s sake.

God has taken the task of atoning for our sins upon Himself; in the human nature which He assumed, He became man, remained man, and keeps the human form eternally. We must put an end to the attitude of taking it for granted when we hear and accept all this.

Here must be found a motive in action that concerns God Himself, and we can only express it by saying that His love must have meant fate for Him from the beginning. The word is uncommon, but I do not find a better one; so I must ask the reader to try and understand what is meant by it.

This same God has loved man from the start, and loved him in divine truth. So man’s commissions and omissions are not consummated “beneath” God, so to speak, and pursued by Him with the eyes of affection but still as something that does not concern Him. Loving man, God has in a way allowed man’s fate to touch His heart. He has united His honor — the honor of a loving Creator — with the salvation of His creature in such a manner that whatever happens there is God.

Here begins the self-investment of the honor of a loving Creator of which we spoke before. It continues when it is said of man that he was created in God’s image, for this means that God has placed the honor of His own image into man; and as His motive was love, it further means that He is now united with this man in a manner that cannot be compared to a loving union on the human plane. This self-investment grows deeper and more inexorable with the advent of God into the course of sacred history, with the covenant He formed with man, and with the revelation of His holy truth and decrees — up to the event of the Incarnation, a deed that burst asunder all and every earthly scale.

This article is adapted from a chapter in The Rosary of Our Lady.

To be of real importance to Him is a gift God gave to man. It is the beginning of His love. There must be a mysterious longing for man in God. In the eyes of the infinite Eternal, in the eyes of the Lord who is and possesses all, man must be very precious, and God wants to have a share of him.

This is the mystery to which the spiritual masters refer when they speak of God’s birth in man. God not only strives to be man’s helper and guardian, as He is with all that has being, but to have a share in his existence, to enter it, transfer Himself into it, to become the Son of Man. This happened, once and for all, in the Incarnation of the Son of God. Christ’s life is the essential and substantial fulfillment of God’s love expressed to man.

No one is dispensable, for every one exists only once, and God loves man so much that He wants to renew the mystery of the Incarnation in every one of us. To become a true believer means to receive the risen Christ within us. To live the life of faith is to make room for Him, so that He may express Himself and grow within oneself.

Faith is finally fulfilled when Christ penetrates a man’s being and becomes his one and all. The life of Christ is the theme that is given and carried out in every man anew. More and more Christ enters into his life, and God in Christ; evermore man’s human side is led across to Christ, and through Christ to God.

In this manner the new man is created, in whom the Lord lives again, in whom God sates His love. Through this, man becomes what God wants him to be. The Rosary conforms to this mystery. What happened in Mary does not concern us at a holy distance, but fashions for us the unique, unattainable, and yet primal form of what should take place in the life of every Christian: the “taking shape” of the eternal Son of God in the life of the man of faith.

When that man meets the figures that make up the cast of the Rosary, he comes close to the primal form of this proceeding, and the hidden spark in him is ignited. Not consciously, so that he desires this and does that; but by seeing and pausing, by praising and imploring in the surroundings of Mary, the mystery of a Christian life is roused and awakened. It is called forth, it breathes, it grows, and it expands. To this creature becomes His own fate.

Again, one might object that no creature by virtue of his own power can have any significance in the eyes of God, least of all man who sins and becomes God’s contradiction. One might object that God’s love can find no worthy object, being a consummate motive in itself. That is very true! No creature can, of his own power, draw down God’s love upon himself, because the creature has nothing to offer of his own. Whatever he has and is, he has from God. But he has it very truly from Him — and that establishes its validity before Him. Otherwise, what could it mean that God Himself, looking at His work of creation, declared with mounting emphasis that all He had made was “good.” It was indeed “good”; in fact, it was “very good” in His eyes. END QUOTES {MY emphasis PJM}

Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from a chapter in Fr. Guardini’s The Rosary of Our Lady which is available from Sophia Institute Press

My friends, I would ADD that saying the Rosary is a GREAT pious prayer for all Christians. It begins with the CREED; then the Lord’s Prayer; then 3 Hail Mary’s {solidly Biblical as evidenced above}, then the Prayer to the Blessed Trinity. So ALL of these prayers except for the Catholic Creed have great Spiritual merit to ALL Christians. {PJM} May I suggest you reread John 19:25-27 … Mary by Christ generous act is the Spiritual Mother of all humanity.