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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Umbrella of Christianity

I came across this term about a year ago reading material that had been written by Pope Benedict XVI.  I recommend his writings and many Catholics have been long term readers of his publications.  When he described this umbrella it rang true:  our world is truly blessed and is encompassed by God's love and Jesus' presence here on earth.  Evidence of God's plan being worked each day is found in the heroic acts of our government and law enforcement, our healthcare professionals, our families and our friends. 

Recent acts of violence have caused all of us to pause and wonder where such evil could have come from.  By focusing on shootings and other tragedies, even the weather, we lose sight of many realities, even the environment in which Jesus came and rose from the dead because he loved us.  The ancient world was not convenient, food not plentiful, and communication was virtually nil not to mention educational opportunities for the masses.  The government was oppressive, seemingly growing pains for the society which has culminated (in the Western World) in what we now so readily take for granted.

After Jesus resurrection, his apostles witnessed the plan of God and began putting it into action.  Since then the teachings of Jesus and that of the bible as a whole, along with the inspired traditions of the Church, have guided us to a very high level of cooperation, love of neighbor, and altruism (relative to other centuries).  Yes unbelievable acts of evil and crimes can and do occur.  And large segments of the population will be apathetic, apostate, atheistic.  But Jesus is calling us to faith in God and to act on this.  We have a very hard task as Christians, but I am thankful that the umbrella of Christianity is above, shielding me from much of what man's fallen nature is capable of.  God has truly blessed us all.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is God present in my Sunday Mass?

I have presumed to ask this question and to discuss it because of its importance to me.  How do I arrive at the answer (which one would assume will be yes, but can I be persuasive in this topic)?  The fact is, I don't look forward to going to Sunday Mass.  I have tried to become enthusiastic.  I tried printing the readings ahead.  I have started this blog, over a year ago. I have studied a few lectures from an on-line seminary.  I have attended small Catholic group sessions.  All of these efforts have been extremely fruitful to my spiritual development.  So why don't I look forward to Sunday Mass?

I think I want God to be present at Mass.  I want my soul and spirit to be spoken to.  I want to feel enthused, connected, loved and protected.  My part of the bargain: showing up.  God's part:  inspire me.

Well, I am learning that God's part of the bargain doesn't depend on my showing up.  He promises to be present, wherever 2 or more are gathered in his name.  There He is.  He doesn't require red satin stoles, gold chalices, marble, brass, candlesticks or pipe organs.  He merely requires us to be present in his name.

I am grateful for my faith because it has strengthened me on many occasions and been a great comfort.  Through my faith, I have tried to do God's will in my interactions with others.  God's obligation to us was fulfilled three times, first in man's creation.  The second time was the covenant of Moses.  And finally with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

My feelings about Mass reflect where I am and who I am.  I am not a leader (yet!).  I am not together, or with it.  In fact, I am tired.  But when I step foot in church today to attend Mass, I will give glory to God.  I will thank him for what he has done for me.  I am so blessed.  Because God has a plan for my local priest, for my parishoners, and for me, I will pray that all of us, together, will praise God's name and do his will.   I will partake of the sacraments.  And I will open my life for God to do his work through me.  That will be my pledge.  May I make a difference in my church family for the glory of God!  AMEN.