Five Steps for Giving Your Mind to Christ ED BROOM, OMV

Five Steps for Giving Your Mind to Christ

  1. ED BROOM, OMV

Saint Teresa of Avila stated that the mind is the Loca de la casathe madwoman of the house! Meaning? It is very difficult to control our thought world, most especially our imagination. Despite the difficulty of the challenge, still we must put forth the most noble of efforts!

Our Dynamic Thought Life

There is a dynamic in the human person, the way the Creator constructed us! And this is the way it unfolds. What goes into our eyes, ascends to our mind; from the mind it is archived in the memory. From the memory, the image can easily descend into the emotions. Then from the emotions into the heart. From the heart a decision is made that transforms into an action. If the action is good, then it is virtuous; if bad, then vicious or sinful. Many repeated actions form the person’s character—either a virtuous person or a bad person. Then finally the person’s eternal destiny is determined—either condemnation or salvation.

How then can we work on cultivating a rich, deep, noble thought life? All of us should accept the challenge because the formation of our character, and the influence that we have on others, depends largely on the cultivation of our mind, our thought life.

St Paul and the Mind

The great Apostle to the Gentiles, Saint Paul, makes reference to the mind on various occasions. He says that we should have a fresh way of thinking and not conform our mind and thoughts to those of the world. Still more, this fiery missionary saint who loved Jesus so much asserted: “Put on the mind of Christ!”  Then Saint Paul stated: “You have the mind of Christ…” And of course he said: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

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Therefore, this being the case, how then can we cultivate one of the most noble gifts that God has bestowed upon us? The following are certain practices that we hope will be helpful in the battle to give your mind to the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, Jesus the Lord.  May Jesus as King reign over your whole being and that, of course, means your mind too!

  1. Watch What Goes In 

First of all, we should all make a concerted as well as constant effort to control what goes into ourselves, especially our mind. By way of analogy, none of us would purposely shovel into our mouth garbage from the street—unheard of! Nonetheless, we can very easily give ourselves liberty to view with our eyes the ignoble, the profane, the crude, the obscene, the sinful.

Therefore, a primary step in controlling our thought world is to control our visual world; what we take into ourselves comes through the gateway of the senses. This proverb rings so true: The thought is the father of the deed. In other words, we carry out in action what has already been conceived in our minds through what we have previously seen. Every day we should be exceedingly vigilant over those wandering eyes that can get us into so much trouble! Not only does curiosity kill the cat, but worse yet, the curiosity of King David led to adultery and the murdering of an innocent man.

  1. Find Good, Solid Reading

In such a fast-paced modern electronic world, many have lost the habit of spending quality time in silence, immersing themselves in the world of the most noble ideas by reading! We can start to cultivate a very noble mind by reading the classics.

In the spiritual life there is a plethora, an immense and vast sea of good literature. Just to mention a few: The Bible—the Word of God, the lives of the saints (God’s heroes), the writings of the saints, the writings of Saint Pope John Paul II, the Fathers of the Church, and the Doctors of the Church, including Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and of course, it is always good to nourish our mind by reading a good book on the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Suggestion: Our Lady of Fatima by Thomas Walsh). As stated earlier, noble thoughts will be translated into actions, character, and one’s eternal destiny!

  1. Good Friends, Good Conversations

Many of the saints formed the habit of establishing good, solid friendships. Good friends maintain good, vibrant, noble, enriching, and stimulating conversations. This we see in the lives of the saints. You are called to be a saint and part of the labor is the cultivation of your mind! Why not follow the exhortation of Saint Paul: “Put on the mind of Christ… you have the mind of Christ!” The Bible says that a true friend is a treasure of infinite value. Good friends help each other mutually to keep on track by keeping their thoughts focused on Christ.

  1. The Most Holy Eucharist

It is indeed true that when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we receive the total Christ. This of course includes receiving the mind of Christ! Upon receiving Jesus, we should humbly implore the Lord Jesus to purify our mind of all useless thoughts, lift our mind to all that is most pure and noble, and beg Him for the grace to have our thoughts lifted on high to the most noble realm—the Kingdom of God!

  1. Pray the Psalms

It is so true that we become like those with whom we associate. Now if you can get into the habit of spending some time with Jesus, who is truly present in the most Blessed Sacrament, then He will gradually transform you. Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who was faithful to his daily Holy Hour for more than 50 years, called this The Hour of Power.

If we spend quality time in the presence of a good person, even a saint, then there is a transformation; so much the more, if we spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Open your Bible and pray the Psalm of the Good Shepherd: “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want…” (Psalm 23)

May the Good Shepherd, and Our Lady the Mother of the Good Shepherd, attain for you the renewal of your mind, the renewal of your thought processes, the renewal of your affections, the renewal of your heart, and the renewal of your entire life! May it be said of you by the end of your life: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who thinks and lives in me!”

 

By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and the author of Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary and From Humdrum to Holy. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom’s Blog

How the Catacombs Teach Us to Live Without Fear MICHELE CHRONISTER

How the Catacombs Teach Us to Live Without Fear

MICHELE CHRONISTER

When I accompanied my husband on a recent work trip to Italy, his task was to visit archeological sites related to the early Church. Of course, that included the catacombs.

A Procession in the Catacomb of Callistus by Alberto Pisa.

There are several catacombs in Rome, but among the most famous are the Catacombs of San Callisto (also called the Catacomb of Callixtus). Approximately half a million early Christians were buried in these catacombs, layered in four different underground levels (most of which are closed to the public). The catacombs are so extensive that they can only be viewed with a guide.

Although early Christians gathered to pray in the catacombs, their primary purpose was for burial. These burials were necessary because visiting the remains of your loved ones was a risky business, and many saints were martyred (and later buried) at the catacombs.

Many famous saints were buried in the catacombs at first. Most of these popular saints can be found in churches. However, there were even more unknown saints buried in the catacombs. These were ordinary men and women who sacrificed everything to follow Christ.

 

Visiting the Catacombs as a Catholic

Although many visit the catacombs out of curiosity, the catacombs can also be a place of pilgrimage (even on an ordinary tour). As I walked through the winding, dark tunnels of the catacombs, I was cognizant of the fact that I was walking in the footsteps of my brothers and sisters in Christ. The men and women who were buried here were ordinary Christians, just like us.

This was especially made real for me when our guide pointed to a tiny slot in the wall. She explained that it was where a child had been buried. As she explained the ways that the Christians marked the tombs (with shells and lamps) so that they could re-visit the burial places of their loved one, I thought of the mother who must have come to visit this tomb. I thought of how much she must have ached with longing for that child. On my chest, in a baby carrier, I was carrying my youngest daughter (who was napping), and I held her closer at the thought. I have my own little gravesite that I visit, the grave of my third child, Gabriel. Gabriel is buried in a Catholic cemetery, and his remains were commended to the earth by our pastor, using the prayers of the Church. Whenever I visit him, I ache for him and long for the final resurrection. So, too, did this poor mother. When she visited the catacombs, she clung to the same hope that I cling to.

I realized that the men and women who visited these catacombs were not much different than you or me – with one important exception. They knew that going to the catacombs to bury their loved ones or tend to their graves could result in their own martyrdom. They did it anyway. That kind of reverence for the human body, that kind of deep desire to entrust the remains of a loved one to consecrated ground, could only come from an ardent faith in the resurrection of the body. These men and women believed what Christ had taught them. They lived in hope of the final resurrection.

St. Cecilia’s Faith

St. Cecelia, patron saint of musicians, was originally buried in the catacombs (following her martyrdom). There is a statue of her in the place where she was once buried and on the walls are ancient frescoes depicting this saint.

But St. Cecilia is now buried in the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome. Her remains are in a chapel under the church (they are located directly below where the altar is). On the level of the church, there is a striking statue of Cecilia under the altar (this statue is the one that the statue in the catacombs is modeled after).

When you visit the chapel where Cecilia is buried, an inscription tells you that she is not buried alone. In the tomb with her is her husband. He was not a Christian at the time of their marriage, but her incredible faith in Christ converted him, too. He honored her vow of virginity and supported her in her faith. In fact, her husband was one of the men who risked his own life to bury Christians in the catacombs. He was eventually martyred, too.

The afternoon that we visited that church, we were walking around with a priest friend of ours. He agreed to hear my confession, and we knelt in a side chapel in the church of St. Cecilia for confession.

Afterwards, I knelt at the altar rail to say my penance and gaze at the statue of St. Cecilia. Suddenly, I was struck with a deep, deep sense of peace. For just a moment, I could see with clarity that the faith of St. Cecilia was real. After visiting the catacombs and now visiting Cecilia, I realized that our Catholic faith is worth living for. It is worth suffering for. It is even worth dying for.

I am often afraid. I have anxiety, which makes me worry about many, many things. I am afraid to face my fears. I am afraid of the future.

But as I gazed at Cecilia’s tomb and recalled the catacombs, I knew that God really was in control. For just a moment, I glimpsed with clarity that our faith is true and that if we cling to it, then nothing can conquer us – not even death itself.

Do not be afraid. Christ has conquered the world.  

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By Michele Chronister

Michele Chronister is a wife, and mother to three little girls and one little one in heaven. She received her BA and MA in theology from the University of Notre Dame (’09 and ’11). She is the author of a number of books, including Handbook for Adaptive Catechesis, the co-author of Faith Beginnings – Family Nurturing from Birth Through Preschool, editor of the book Rosaries Aren’t Just for Teething, as well as an assortment of Catholic children’s books. In addition to writing, she also homeschools her daughters, and is the social media manager for the Office of Natural Family Planning in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. When her oldest was a baby, she realized that their family life had taken on a sort of monastic rhythm – eat, pray, play, sleep. Prompted by this, she started the blog My Domestic Monastery (www.mydomesticmonastery.com), where she shares inspiration for families wanting to grow in holiness.