Monday, May 18, 2015

Mystery of the Trinity

Friends of Faith:

I think Ascension and Pentecost rival Easter and Christmas as Holy days – or maybe I should say I realize that it is as necessary to celebrate them in order to fulfill the Christian Church’s very existence and God’s gift of eternal life for each of us.

Jesus’ birth, death and rising give us the promise of eternal life. His ascension into Heaven and his sending of the Hoy Spirit guides us to the fulfillment of that very life. Without any part we would have lost a piece of a puzzle without which we could not be completed.  They are the fulfillment of the mystery of the Holy and Divine Trinity.

Just as Jesus took care of us, we are called to take care of others—to care more about each other than ourselves, to live not to gratify me, but to gratify and support each other.

“Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. Gal 5:16-25

Our human nature makes us sinful, and yet through God’s infinite grace and mercy he gives us the example of Jesus and the guidance of the Spirit to complete us. He knew even in creating us in his likeness that we would need both example and gift so that we could eventually come back to Him—the example of selfishly serving each other through the grace and gifts of the Spirit.

“But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5: 16-25

Wow—can’t we as Christians see these faults in others, aka society (in law, in politics, in the culture.) And I don’t have to look very deeply into myself to see my own faults. No one person or culture is “exempt” from the temptations. All of us at some time or another have failed to keep our tempers, have told a lie or have done something that is more about what’s good for me than about what’s good for society as a whole.

It’s not a "judgment" to look around and realize our faults and the faults of others, it is more of a review of what is and what should be, of determining right from wrong, good from evil, of how we should change our daily lives to help others and to help others learn the truth. (We cannot however judge God’s mercy, forgiveness or condemnation.)This is the Spirit working within us, allowing us to evangelize and live our Christian faith, values and morals as an example to others.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” Gal 5: 16-25

The Holy Spirit is what guides us to discern what is from God and what the temptations of the world are that lead us away from God. The reward of the fruits of the Spirit may be given to us personally or because of our example the entire Christian community may grow when it sees how our faith helps us to overcome the sacrifice and sufferings of daily life.

I think the Saints (apostles and modern day disciples like Dorothy Day, JPII and Mother Theresa) are most “rewarded” when we follow their example and study their lives—when we strive to learn and live as they themselves did by living with less and giving more of our time, talents and treasures to others.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

We are called to live in the Trinity, in the reception of the Spirit, in the mystery of living and dying through faith by protecting and treating with dignity every life (born and unborn) (legal and illegal) (sinner and saint).

God’s law cannot be enforced politically—rather we must each strive to live not for ourselves but for the common good of others.

Renew in us our faith,


Monday, May 4, 2015

Remain in Me

Friends of Faith:

Simply put: Remain close to Jesus.

“Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”” Jn 15: 1-8
After Jesus was born, died and rose he commissioned the apostles to form the Church and elected Peter to lead it as the first pope. Apostolically the Church has continued despite many dissensions and divisions brought on by the sin of human nature. The sin of greed which cause some to want to keep the Church to themselves; the sin of selfishness which may cause someone to make themselves greater than God; the sin of pride which cause some to form their own church; and/or the sin of anger and hatred which cause some to leave or deny the Church.

Yet the Church remains as do its many followers. And we are constantly being pruned (reminded that we are sinners and granted mercy); and asked to bear fruit by being evangelists for Jesus Christ by learning and spreading His truth in word and deed.
Do we constantly seek the wisdom to learn and understand His truth and teachings so that we remain attached to the solid branches of Christ? Do we allow him to lead and prune us so that we too can bear good fruit?  

By my baptism I have been attached to the vine and I continue to grow despite my own sinfulness which could distance me from the roots of my faith. In those times and times of suffering I have the choice to wither, or to remain in Him, so that I may come back even stronger and hopefully bear His fruit by my witness for Him.
Heavenly Father: The trunk, Your tree, the Church, is far reaching. May I remain attached and with You always. Help me to remain strong in my faith, constantly growing, so that I may bear fruit for You. Thank You for allowing me Your forgiveness and healing so that I may be pruned by You. And when I grow weak, in times of suffering or stress, help me to remain in You so that I may be strengthened by the nurturing roots (grace) of Your life. Amen.

My hope is that you are next to me and joined with me in His Church to bear fruit, or that you are the next fruit which will be born and joined so that together we will remain with Him.