Created with Sketch.
Evangelizing Catholic Culture with Father David Tickerhoof
13 minutes | 13 days ago
The Spirituality of Secular Humanism ~ Episode 36 Secular Humanism introduces a spirit and way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the supernatural. It renounces or ignores the presence, action, and the expectations of God in our human endeavors of life, pushing God out to the margins of life and removing his existence, awareness, and influence in our minds, and in the daily practical actions of our human choices and development. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. And so now we live in a spiritual fog, atmosphere, and social environment with many former Christian believers, who still identify with some degree of Christian affiliation, which affiliation makes no or little difference or impact in one’s practical daily human existence. Everything is focused or centered on the I or Me because I am totally in charge of my human life for the search of the truth. I effectively answer to no one about anything in the framework of my human life and relationships. Even though I need to be accountable for civic and social aspects of my life and relationships, God is not in the picture. In a sense, I have replaced God, revealed truths, and the supernatural with myself as the central meaning of life. One living this way of life embraces a lifestyle of a humanistic spirituality or religion. The new developments of science, modern society, and my personal achievements are more than sufficient to accomplish the human fulfillment of my existence, maturity, and ultimate happiness, so goes the refrain. Many different degrees of this spirit of secular humanism mix with other values of an individual’s convictions. In the end one can easily feel that there is really no need to worry about spiritual emptiness or what will happen to me when I leave my time on earth! Along with this thinking goes a spiritual darkness, which most are unaware, that opens the door of one’s human being to all sorts of negative and destructive possibilities. This range of experience may eventually include personal unraveling, demonic influences, and the loss of my integral dignity as a human person, and ultimately the loss of my soul. May we review a biblical story that illustrates this reality. Omri the King of Israel contracted a political marriage for his son Ahab with Jezebel the priestess daughter of the King of Phoenicia. She moved to Israel bringing her pagan religion with her. Most writers hold that she became the power behind the throne. Ahab and Jezebel ruled in Israel for twenty-two years. During that time Ahab with Jezebel almost wiped out the Covenant that God made with Israel, replacing it with the worship of Baal, the god of fertility, and Astarte the feminine counterpart. This pagan religion consisted of all possible types of sexual immorality as worship. The goal of this worship being child sacrifice. The people would burn their children in the fire before an image of Baal as a sacrifice to appease the gods and receive their blessings, which would be all aspects of materialism in addition to depraved sexual license. Ahab built a huge temple to the gods, plus many shrines throughout the land. In short Ahab and Jezebel fostered and replaced the worship of Yahweh with this pagan worship. The “religion” of Secularism Humanism in all its negative forms today is a modern replica of the ancient pagan worship of Baal in the time of Ahab and Jezebel. Case in point, over 60 million abortions in the United States since 1973, is not that child sacrifice? Our Country today has adopted the obvious patterns of the major sexual revolution which embraces confusing gender identity and numerous sexual values and practices which are clear violations of Christian morality. These attitudes and practices find their way into all walks of life. And to some sad degree also within the Church. These audacious practices are germinated in our adherence and attachment to the false god of materialism, which bears fruit in adopting a spirit of narcissism while adhering to a quasi-religious way of living a human life. This in a sense could be defined as a social secular humanistic religious approach to human living. Western Civilization and our own Nation is replete with these attitudes, values, and practices, which results in a very worrisome spiritual sickness within our society and also within the Church. The post Secular Humanism appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
18 minutes | 16 days ago
Historical Roots of Secular Humanism
Historical Roots of Secular Humanism ~ Episode 35 What are the roots of secular humanism? Where do they come from and why should they matter to Christians? Listen as Father David explains the roots and how this humanism has entered the lives of those even in the church. The stress and process of the current pandemic place many unexpected challenges in our lives that are not always easy to handle. Shutting down of churches, government mandates, confusing reports, fear of infection, and lastly our own personal faith responses to name just a few. We did not just arrive at this cultural dilemma recently; this societal breakdown has been coming for some time. What are some of the significant movements that have contributed to our current “state of affairs”? Roots of Secular Humanism What are the roots of Secular Humanism? It begins in Europe. In Europe, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a major movement emerged entitled the Enlightenment. This social event happened in strong reaction against the mandates, prescriptions, and controls of Christian belief systems, especially Catholicism. For some academic professionals, this was an honest attempt to search for the truth beyond the rules and regulations of current society. Acting against the societal faith norms in control, it eventually led to an abandonment of essential established ways of life producing a complicated ferment against the peaceful balance of the age. In short, it consisted of an aggressive attempt to separate the principles and values of humanism from their Christian foundations. This movement emphasized a purely scientific and rational approach to human realities and the truths of life. The Enlightenment held and promoted an exclusive approach to truth that did away with biblical revelation, supernatural beliefs, the Ten Commandments, and no need for God to live a moral, meaningful, truth-filled way of life. If God remained in the picture He was pushed off to the outer margins of existence. Of course, the Church soundly resisted this movement, sometimes violently. This movement impacted all the domains of human reality. Specifically, in the French Revolution, its aggressive momentum ignited the fire of violent rebellion against the Catholic Church. Bishops, Priests, religious, and many laypeople were brutely put to death. Even though several Popes and Church leaders proclaimed their errors this philosophy of life caught on significantly affecting the thinking and lifestyle of Europeans, and by the way made major inroads in the emerging way of life of many Americans. The European brand of the Enlightenment influential among the French tended to fuel the thinking and ideals of the Foundering Fathers of our Country, along with the ideas of Deism. The beginnings of the American ideals, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were encouraged by France who supported the Founding Fathers in their efforts to be free from English domination. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France. Benjamin Franklin made frequent lengthy visits to France. He was very comfortable with the more modern view of an enlightened life and personally espoused those principles in his lifestyle. Many of our Fathers really held the belief system of Deism, which is the core of the Unitarian faith. This religion holds to faith in unity in the One God, however, we are left to develop a humanistic spiritual or religious way of life without any or very little demands on the individual. One is pretty much free to carve out a good and moral life stance by humanistic efforts alone while placing our efforts in deciding our own truth about life or one’s self enlightened humanism. Thus, the principles and values of the Enlightenment and Deism infiltrated the spirit and reasoning of our Nation. Over a relativity short period of time, the spirit, principles, and values of enlightened human liberalism captured the social atmosphere, the thinking, and development of “the American Dream.” Wealth, and attitudes of comfort, affluence, scientific advancement, social, and economic control infused and infiltrated the American way of life. Over the last seventy years, these accepted and promoted realities have nurtured and matured in our society expanding and deepening among the peoples of our Country. All the while infiltrating the minds, hearts, and relationships of our citizens and our young people and subtlety producing a new religious or spiritual humanism called secularism humanism. Secular Humanism is a world view and way of life. It believes God is not necessary to be moral. As a spiritual state of being it presumes that human beings are capable of being ethical or moral without being religious or believing in a deity. Along with this is an understanding and conviction that secular humanism is a way of life that continually adapts searching for truth through science and human experience and various philosophies. It consists of a world view that is primarily concerned with the promotion of human welfare in this world. Secular humanism denies the subordination of human dignity and happiness to supernatural realities. It would reject religious faith and hold distrust in absolutes when they are religiously proposed, rejecting moral absolutes in any form. Our moral sense of which concluded in a blind alley leading to mental confusion. Secular humanism would lead to moral relativism, ethical bankruptcy, and religious indifference. In the later part of the 19th Century, secular humanism emerged in the world and specifically in the Church as a movement entitled Modernism. It was a strong effort to liberalize the “tight” laws, principles, and practices of Catholic life. The Popes of the time engaged in an aggressive effort to eliminate its influence from Catholic life. Pius X took a fearful shut down approach to this invasive cultural influence. Leo XIII who followed him in the Papacy was more open to defeat this cultural disintegration by opening the doors to evaluation, study, and constructive adaptation. This approach encouraged an intellectual reassessment of scripture, liturgical development, and a review of pastoral theological considerations. This was an honest attempt to curtail the negative effects of the Enlightenment and its brainchild modernistic secular humanism. Some would say that this effort would unintentionally open the door for its advancement in the 20th Century and its 21st Century maturation. For example, a case where a prominent official publicly referring to the grace of God while supporting and promoting the practice of abortion and the enterprises of Planned Parenthood. Roots of Secular Humanism started long ago. Years of study and planning transpired before Pope John XXIII announced the opening of Vatican II in 1961, which concluded in 1965. The Documents of the Council are a sound presentation of teaching designed to move the Church into a fresh authentic adaption of the Church in the modern world. The aftermath in the Church a major struggle. Pope Paul the VI did his best to steer the ship in a positive and fruitful direction, but the inroads of the Enlightenment and Modernism caused controversies so that this positive effort would not be the case. Eventually, confusion, reaction, and misrepresentations emerged, which we still suffer from today with even an increased intensity. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI firmly promoted a “hermeneutic of continuity” as a standard for the implementation of the authentic traditional teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is committed to the teaching and values of Vatican Council II. His approach appears to be on an emphasis to adapt the Council’s teaching to the areas in the Church and world where human life is taking place, and where justices are ignored, and the poor suffer the consequences. Therefore, without compromising authentic traditional Catholic teaching he attempts to move the Church where human life is happening. In this regard, he appears to be a supporter of meaningful and just socialism. Obviously, this approach is not going down well with some members of the Church led by some members of the hierarchy. This opposition has become an intense battle that has reached the position of a new scandal. It has become a complicated mess. This battle has some relationship to society’s struggle and adherence to the pseudo-spirituality and religiosity of contemporary secular humanism. Pope Francis’s hesitation to present clear Catholic moral teaching, especially in the areas of sexuality and family life is very upsetting to some sincere members of the Catholic Church. This concern needs significant attention. May we ourselves do a life review to discern if we have been influenced, adopted, or caved into some aspects of the religion and spirituality of secular humanism; even if we unintentionally ingested these discordant values to some degree into the ambient, environment, or culture of our American life. The post Historical Roots of Secular Humanism appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
12 minutes | 2 months ago
Christian Mysteries of Light
The Luminous Mysteries: Christian Mysteries of Light ~ Episode 32 What are the Christian mysteries of light? No, this isn’t some new-age ideal. This is actually meditation of the active life and ministries of Jesus Christ. It allows us to think about and contemplate the Lord’s work on earth. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Some spiritual writers identify the Mysteries of the Rosary as the compendium of the Gospel. Pope John Paul II identified five special events in the public ministry of Jesus as unique mysteries that involved Jesus as the light. He wrote an Apostolic Letter proclaiming these five events as additional mysteries of the Rosary. He believed these five mysteries called the Luminous Mysteries gave monumental evidence of Jesus as the light of the world, focusing on the active ministry of Jesus. Adding the luminous ministries would complete the other three sets or categories of the Rosary, which would then present all four as a unique completion of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian Ministries of Light The four sets of the mysteries of the Rosary are: The Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Luminous, and the Glorious Mysteries. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are called “mysterious of light” because they shed light on who Jesus Christ is. He brings light into the world and into each soul who believes. Christians understand the whole person of Jesus as light and the fulness of spiritual life; his mission one of light and life. Being light in the world Jesus brings us true freedom through spiritual transformation. Each of these Luminous mysteries emphasizes the unique aspect of the truth of who Jesus is during his public ministry. Each mystery reveals the Kingdom of God present in the person of Jesus who proclaims a call to conversion, and an invitation to enter the Kingdom of God. I will present in this podcast each individual mystery of light and a brief reflection on each one. The first Luminous Mystery is the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Jesus in and of himself did not need to go through the baptism of water for his salvation. However, he submitted to the baptism of John receiving the Holy Spirit for the sake of doing his mission. In another place, Jesus tells Nicodemus unless a person is baptized in water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God This fact is confirmed by the Father when a voice called out “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” John and those around saw the Spirit of God like a dove come down and enter Jesus. The second Mystery is the changing of the water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. When Mary, the mother of Jesus, realized the great embarrassment of the young bride and groom because they had run out of wine, she mentioned it to Jesus. He immediately put the whole event into a much greater context. That is the moment of inaugurating his divine mission! Mary told the servants to be obedient to what Jesus would tell them. Then Jesus told them to fill six water jars with water. He blessed them and the water was changed into wine. The head steward commended the couple because they had held the best wine until last. In this event, Jesus began his mission by revealing his divine nature and power, and his disciples began to believe in Him. We also might understand this event as the initial revelation of the mystery of the Eucharist. The third luminous mystery is the Proclamation and Establishment of the Kingdom of God by signs and wonders. This mystery entails all that Jesus said and did in his active ministry. He taught the message of salvation by announcing the teaching of the Gospel, and he confirmed his power and authority by signs and wonders and his victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness, which he would ratify by his own death and resurrection, and with the Father sending the Holy Spirit for all believers, calling them to life-giving repentance and conversion in order to experience the fulfillment of the life of the Kingdom. The fourth luminous mystery is the event of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the high mountain, and there the Transfiguration of Jesus occurred. He shined with tremendous divine splendor and his garments became as white as snow. Moses representing the law of the Covenant and Elijah representing the prophetic tradition appeared in conversation with Jesus about his death and resurrection. This prophetic experience highlighted par excellence the mystery of the glorious resurrection of Jesus. It announces Christ’s Resurrection, the final magnanimous victory of light over darkness, life over death, and the glorious promise of our own resurrection and the gift of eternal life. Again, at the conclusion the Father spoke in confirmation of the truth, “this is my beloved Son, listen to him.” The fifth luminous mystery is the institution of the Eucharist. This mystery reveals the permanence and fidelity of God’s love for all of humanity, but especially all believers. Christ, in sacrificial love offers his body and blood, testifying his eternal love for all. The sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery is a “now” revelation of the Kingdom present in the person of Jesus. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven…whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:54-59) In conclusion, the adding of the Luminous Mysteries to the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries makes the corpus of the major mysteries of Christ found in the Gospel more complete. In praying all four sets of the Rosary one opens their heart in order to experience the transforming graces of the major mysteries of Christ in the Gospel. The fruitful result which occurs is a very real and powerful transition from a good normative Christian life to a deep rich mystical union in the grace that loving reveals its own reward in living in union with Jesus through Mary. May we pray! We most humbly and graciously thank you Father for the deep heart-felt life of grace you have bestowed on us in living out our life in devotion and love for the spiritual gifts of grace and love which you genero32usly pour out on your beloved sons and daughters. May these precious rewards lead us to share willingly these possibilities with our brothers and sisters. We pray this prayer through the gentle heart of Mary in a grateful relationship to you our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. The post Christian Mysteries of Light appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
Grace of Renewal Workshop
The Grace of Renewal Workshop – Episode 31 This podcast will present the grace of renewal workshop. The suggested format that will relate to the Church’s Grace of Renewal. Since it is being proposed that for a full life of transformation, it is necessary to go beyond what we have recently traditionally known as the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Which is a wonderful program for receiving a new actualizing spiritual power of the Holy Spirit in one’s personal Christian life? This new format which is being proposed consists in the actualizing power of the Holy Spirit, the practice of the gifts or charisms of the Holy Spirit, experiencing the graces of the Paschal Mystery (the Cross, Death, Resurrection of the Lord Jesus), and the spiritual anointing of the Holy Spirit for carrying out the mission of building the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Grace of Renewal Workshop Considering a practical pastoral perspective, there are several ways to structure the format of this program. I will suggest two or three possibilities. For those who live a busy and involved life this approach may be helpful. 1) Participate in a day of recollection from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on a Saturday, which would include three or four presentations with discussion. Then have two successive week-nights with three talks and a time for praying as a group and individually for each person for the Church’ Grace of Renewal. 2) The second possibility would be to have two talks on a Friday night, three on the following Saturday, and hold on the following weekday night one session for preparing individuals, praying with the group, and individually for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. 3) Have the whole program recorded on CD or video which groups or individuals could borrow and listen to at home individually or as a group, and then gather for a night of prayer for healing and preparation to be prayed with for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. For sure there are other ways for structuring the format of this program. Please do not hesitate to suggest them to us. I would like to give you some idea about what this renewal program would consider. We would need to first look at the specific nature of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. How does this differ or build on other spiritual renewal efforts? This presentation would try to bring together other renewal programs. We would look specifically at Charismatic Renewal. We would – consider the graces flowing from Vatican Council II; specifically, why the Paschal Mystery is so important. We would need to consider the advantage of living a life of prayer, as the heart of love. The four types of conversion, forgiveness, and the healing of the whole person, the joy of sharing one’s life in some form of community (small merciful penitent fellowship groups). Doing the mercy mission of the Church as compassionate servants of mercy and missionary disciples gives us the desire to practice the virtues of sacrifice, repentance, atonement, and power centered intercession. There would be other good things as well. In addition to Catholics, Christians from other Christian backgrounds would be welcome. When individuals sign up for a workshop, we would give a more detailed explanation of what specific things would be done, and the title and nature of each presentation would be geared toward spiritual renewal and personal transformation. The following is a rough outline of several formats and topics. I am going to present the eight or nine topics that we would consider in the workshop. Living a life of prayer: Discovering the way of love. The spiritual gifts of the Spirit or charisms: The practical application of the Pentecostal Experience. The four types of conversion and the healing of the whole person (Ongoing conversion). The Charism of Crucified Mercy: The source and power of being a servant of Mercy. The role of the Sacraments as the foundation for transformation: a vision for the practice of a Catholic way of life. Doing the mission of the Gospel by building the Kingdom of God on earth: Evangelization and the proclamation of the Gospel. The challenge of servanthood by practicing the ministry of atonement and power-focused prayer and intercession. Receiving the Church’s Grace of Renewal by experiencing the gift of being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery. The importance of communal prayer and praise and being a part of a small group of faith sharing; participation in a merciful penitent fellowship group (optional). Suggested Format Model Making a Saturday day of recollection with four talks and discussion, followed by an evening talk the following week, and a second follow up evening talk the next week. At the first one-two, presentations would be given and at the second one preparation for and praying for individuals to be baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery. All presentations, with the exception of the prayer time, would be 30 minutes or less. Topics for a day of recollection model -The day of recollection: 1) Life of Prayer 2) On-going conversion and healing 3) Practical use of the spiritual gifts or charisms 4) Role of the Sacraments in spiritual transformation -First, follow up night session the week after the day of recollection 5) The invitation to be a servant of Mercy and an explanation of power focused prayer. 6) Doing the mission of the Church: Evangelization; living and proclaiming the Gospel. -The second follow up evening session; the second week after the day of recollection. 7)The importance of fraternal relationships. 8) Preparation for being “prayed with” for the renewal in the Spirit of the PM. May We Pray! Dear Lord, we deeply rejoice at all the beautiful graces you are giving to individuals to bring about spiritual renewal and personal transformation. We know that your gifts come from your deep love for us. May the programs we offer bring great peace, wisdom, and Joy to the hearts of all participants. Pour out these graces from the heart of Mary our spiritual Mother. Amen. The post Grace of Renewal Workshop appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
10 minutes | 4 months ago
Baptized in the Spirit
Being Baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery ~ Episode 30 Can those baptized in the spirit learn to share their faith? Yes! In designing a formation workshop, Fr. David shares the importance of building on the graces received in the Church through the renewal movements, especially the Charismatic renewal. The reason for this approach is that the basic features of the Charismatic Renewal are the essential building blocks of grace in relationship to the process of conversion and spiritual renewal in the human personality. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. These features can be identified as a deep personal relationship with the Lord, the development of a life of prayer, a hunger and desire to know and live in the Word of God, and a profound experience of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit. As basic and important as these elements are they are by no means the last word in regard to the complement of graces an individual needs for a complete and total renewal in the Holy Spirit identified as The Church’s Grace of Renewal. It is not a coincidence that the spiritual renewal movements in the Church occurred at the same time as the Vatican Council II. Pope Benedict was tireless in reminding everybody that the basic renewal and achievement of the Council was again placing the experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ in the heart and at the center of all Church life. The scripture in the Gospel of John chapter twenty, which recounts the appearance of the Risen Jesus to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room Easter Sunday night clearly illustrates this profound reality. The core elements of the Paschal Mystery are the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. Easter Sunday night Jesus appears in the splendor of the Resurrection, shows the disciples his wounds, and breathes on them the commissioning gift of the Holy Spirit. When an individual is being prayed with for, being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery, they are receiving the powers of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. A threefold experience of power which is one actualizing power of grace. There is much more here than what one thought that they were usually receiving when they were baptized in the Spirit in the Charismatic Renewal. The terminology used in the early days of the Charismatic Renewal was presented by well-meaning individuals who usually did not have a theology background. This powerful experience for the most part was identified as an experience of the Holy Spirit and the charisms. It was not clear that the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus was also a part of the mix. Many in their growth gradually moved to see that a profound experience of the Holy Spirit should lead to experiencing the power of the Cross and the Resurrection, but many did not. Therefore, fifty or sixty years later some are saying that it is necessary to build on the experience of the Baptism of the Spirit, and include the profound experience of the Cross and Resurrection; the essential parts of the Cross and Resurrection should be integrated in the prayer when praying for an individual or group for the Church’s Grace of Renewal. Being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery may be a more accurate way of identifying this powerful actual grace of renewal. The next podcast will provide a suggested outline for a workshop offered to people who desire a more powerful experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, or for being baptized in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery. May We Pray! Dear Father, we ask you and your beloved Son, Jesus to enlighten and guide us to design a program which will fill us with all the graces we need to experience the Church’ Grace of Renewal. We desire to be deeply infused with all the graces which can come to us in regard to a new life in the Spirit together with a complete experience of the power of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And may this beautiful mystery of love be given through the immaculate heart of our Mother Mary, who may lead us into the wonderful mystery of Divine transforming love. Amen The post Baptized in the Spirit appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
12 minutes | 4 months ago
Grace of Christian Renewal
The Grace of Christian Renewal ~ Episode 29 The grace of Christian renewal begins with faith in a living God. In the last podcast, I reviewed the initial development of the Charismatic Renewal and what has happened to the movement to this point. We surely want to thank God for the wonderful works of grace that have been available within this movement. Yet along with the Charismatic movement and other programmatic offerings of spiritual and pastoral renewal in the Church we need to ask ourselves the question, are these opportunities in and of themselves sufficient to bring about a mature or completed experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal? For the sake of this presentation I would like to answer, they are not! And if not, is there something we can consider that may move us forward in this consideration? The Christian Renewal begins with this book: This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Christian Renewal: What most did not seem to understand was the fact that this outpouring of special grace was simply the initial experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. The activity and special presence of the Holy Spirit was intended by the Lord to move into a full and complete experience of the glorified Lord by each individual Christian. In other words, much more was intended to happen after the initial experience and empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Which gifts are the practical application of the Pentecostal Experience in the daily life and activity of Christians? How might we identify the complete experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal? At times in the Charismatic Renewal, individuals tended to over concentrate on the Holy Spirit as the central reality of spiritual transformation. For sure that concentration is necessary, but if it becomes excessive or overdone other dimensions of the process of growth and transformation are neglected. When a person exercises a balanced approach to the grace of spiritual transformation three powers become one: The power and gifts of the Spirit, the power of the Cross of Jesus, and the power of the Resurrection. Therefore, the power of the Cross of Jesus and the beautiful splendid experience of the glory of the Resurrection comes into play in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit. For a mature and most effective experience of the life and power of grace involves a threefold power of the Spirit, the Cross, and the power of the Resurrection. This is what is meant by the Church’s Grace of Renewal. This is what Pope Benedict XVI Identified as the main message of the Second Vatican Council. Pastoral theology identifies this threefold experience as the Paschal Mystery, which includes the effects of the death, Resurrection, and the Pentecostal experience. When Jesus appeared in the splendor of his glorified state in the Upper Room on Easter Sunday night, he showed the disciples his wounds, and breathed on them to receive the power and commissioning of the Holy Spirit: “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, Peace be with you!” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I send you”, and when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn. 20:19-23) The Father and the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. After that momentous occasion when Jesus appeared on earth, it was no longer the historical Jesus before his resurrection. It was now the splendor and power of the glorious Jesus risen from the dead. He now radiated the glorious power of heavenly reality. Jesus still bore his wounds magnifying the mighty power of the Cross. And he was filled in a new manner with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. All the spiritual gifts were incarnated in the person of the risen glorious Son of God. At times in the Charismatic Renewal, individuals tended to over concentrate on the Holy Spirit as the central reality of spiritual transformation. For sure that concentration is necessary, but if it becomes excessive or overdone the other dimensions of the process of growth and transformation are neglected. When a person exercises a balanced approach to the grace of transformation, the power of the Cross of Jesus, and the beautiful experience of the glory of the Resurrection comes into play, in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit. For a mature and a most effective experience of the life and power of grace involves a threefold power of the Spirit, the Cross, and the Resurrection. This is what is meant by the Church’s Grace of Renewal. This is what Pope Benedict XVI identified as the main message of the Council. Pastoral theology identifies this threefold experience of grace as the Paschal Mystery, the effects of the Death, Resurrection, and the experience of the Power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. And we see this reality symbolized on the night of the Resurrection by Jesus, when he appeared in his splendid glorified state of being, showed the disciples his wounds, and breathed on them to receive the power and commissioning of the Holy Spirit. (Jn.20:19-23) Therefore, the conclusion is that it is necessary to develop a renewal program in a retreat or seminar atmosphere, which integrates all three renewing powers of grace and the charismatic gifts for individuals, who want to participant in a specifically designed program that will achieve the necessary objectives of the Church’s grace of spiritual renewal. May We Pray for Christian Renewal! Dear Lord, we are so grateful for the wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our life. In the Church, there are many brothers and sisters who are hungry for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that will bring sanctification and holiness in their human lives. We humbly seek your wisdom and understanding, which will help us serve our brothers and sisters in their journey of holiness and peace. We pray this prayer in the name of Jesus through the heart of his mother, Mary, the Mother of the Church. Amen. The post Grace of Christian Renewal appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
11 minutes | 4 months ago
What Happened to the Charismatic Renewal Episode 28 Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church in this country emerged right at the close of Vatican Council II in the years of 1966-67. Young leaders in East Lancing and Ann Arbor, Michigan and a few other places began holding prayer and praise gatherings, and some of the participants began experiencing the manifestation of the charismatic spiritual gifts. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. What Happened to Charismatic Renewal? To mention a few: praying in tongues, prophesy, healing, words of wisdom, etc. (1 Cor. 12: 4-9) They did not know what to call these spiritual gifts, so they consulted several theologians in the Church. They asked the leaders what was happening? The leaders related what was happening at the prayer meetings. The theologians responded that these manifestations were charisms. They suggested that the leaders call it the charismatic renewal. This suggestion may or may not have been a wise one, because right from the start it separated those who received the gifts from other believing Christians. This quickly caused a reaction and resistance by those who had not received the gifts. From time to time you would hear people say, “that is not my spirituality!” Over 50 years have passed since the beginning of this phenomenon, and many wonderful things have happened in the Church. Initially, prayer groups sprang up within the Church. Many individuals went through a short preparation program called a “Life in the Spirit” seminar, after which a person would be prayed with for an actual grace of empowerment called “the Baptism in the Spirit”. This experience for an individual usually brought forth a wonderful new experience of grace, empowerment, and refreshment; usually a transforming gift of love from the Holy Spirit where a huge difference happened in their spiritual life, in addition to the experience of some of the spiritual gifts. Significant activity and effects from this grace of renewal began in a person immediately. A personal relationship with Jesus became so real with many individuals, a new love for reading the Word of God, a noticeable and permanent enhancement of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit guiding and leading one in their daily personal life, and other blessings as well. The dynamism of this grace made major contributions in many aspects of relationships, services to the poor, and significant spiritual growth. Different types of new communities or associations developed for the purpose of providing various kinds of Christian service for others. Some of these new communities became identified as covenant communities, which made available growth and personal formation and supported members in living a fuller and richer way of life. The Renewal Movement developed many different types of mercy services and good Christian teaching for others. It also provided for various ministries and works of evangelization. It cannot be overstated how much personal good this movement and its fall out have had for many individuals and for abundant life in the Church. I can assure you that I would not be sitting here preparing this podcast if God in his goodness and mercy had not bestowed this wonderful grace of new life, spiritual refreshment, empowerment, and transformation on me in 1969. I am profoundly grateful that the Lord poured out this beautiful unmerited gift of grace upon me at the time of my deepest need; and I will praise and thank Him forever for his gracious mercy to me. From the early days of Charismatic Renewal until this very day many things have changed. Some prayer groups have died out for lack of interest or just disappeared. The early leaders who were young at the time never recruited new members and the young leaders are now in their late seventies and early eighties; the numbers in attendance have significantly depleted. Some people who received a meaningful spiritual renewal have gradually lost the strong impact they once experienced. The new social religion of Secular Humanism has caused many who began well to not be ending very well in the process of Christian maturity and a holy way of life. Secular Humanism has infiltrated all aspects of society, also many aspects of Church life. Generally, it could be defined as a way of understanding what it means to be a human being. It entails living a set of values that holds there is no need for God in our human life. It is necessary to push God out of the margins of human existence. We, humans, are independent and have no need of God or religion. It tends to be narcissistic and rigorously independent submitting to no one; yet leaving the human soul anxious, empty, lonely, and fearful. If we tried going back to the beginning of the Renewal attempting to recapture the grace and enthusiasm, we may find that effort impossible. So the question I leave with you is this: Where do we go from here, and how do we benefit and increase the wonderful things that God may want to do in us and for us in the days ahead? The next podcast will look at some possibilities that may be helpful! May we Pray! Father, we rejoice in your love and mercy. We know that you have a wonderful plan for the Church and for our personal lives. We truly hunger for your love and grace in order to know, love, and serve you in every way we can. We plead with full assurance for much more of your Holy Spirit and the precious gifts that you have in store for us in the days ahead. Together with Mary our Mother we humbly and peacefully beseech you abundantly for these rich treasures through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen The post Charismatic Renewal appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
9 minutes | 5 months ago
Some Values Vatican II
Some Values of Vatican II ~ Episodes 27 Many in the Catholic Church have no or little awareness of the key values of Vatican Council II. Rarely is it referred to in homilies or significantly proclaimed in religious education programs. I suppose we could say it is ignored by most Catholics. When an Ecumenical Council is officially held in the Church, it always ushers in a tremendous time of renewal and reform. Vatican Council II was no exception to that reality. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Vatican Council II presented a renewed vision of what it means to be the church. It shares in the joys and sufferings of the real world in which we live, and presented a new appreciation of the roles and worth of lay people in the Catholic Church; especially a deep regard for the role and place of family life. The Council promoted full and active participation which made it necessary to translate the Mass into local languages, which then fosters communication between the celebrant and the people. Yet we all have experienced this in many ways, and it also includes the continuation of the celebration of the Latin Mass. The teachings of the Council strongly encourages all Catholics to respond to the holiness of life in this age and to take up the call to be missionaries by evangelizing others to embrace the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to live their lives in the Kingdom of God here on earth. This is done not primarily by going to other lands, but to respond to evangelizing through the various vocations that they choose in their lives. We pray that the Church flourishes in all the nations of the world, but before all else in the family. It is the family which provides a strong spiritual life and foundation for each believer. The Council provides the opportunity to relate to other Christians and members of other Religions. It encourages a spirit of respect and dialogue. It most importantly encourages all roles and vocations in the Church to work together in ways that they did not in the past. This is not always easy to do, but through prayer and charity, many good things can come about. The recent Popes saw Vatican II as a chance for deep and personal renewal in a complex changing world. This resulted in reforms that would make the Church more accessible to others, for example, shared prayer and the Mass in English. However, a primary priority is to return the Church to its roots. This means a renewed appreciation for Scripture, which would make it more accommodating for others to join the Catholic Church. It also made it a significant priority to invite women to be more equally involved in decision making in the Church, and many other aspects of Church life. The Council has made many opportunities for spiritual and pastoral renewal for all members of the Church. And the Council declaring Mary the mother of Jesus as Mother of the Church, which gives Catholics an opportunity to share about this beautiful mystery, and why she is so important to us in light of the abundant and splendor of who she really is for us. And lastly, the foundation and the most important of all is what Pope Benedict declared when he stated that the most important message of the Council is to draw the whole Church into the experience of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and the full experience of the Pentecostal experience and the gifts of the Spirit. (Some of the above was taken from various presentations of Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans) May We Pray! Father, we pray in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, in order that we may be filled with the true spirit of Vatican Council II. May the sixteen Documents of the Council be for us the core and foundation of the ongoing spiritual renewal and reform which enables the Church to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. Amen. The post Some Values Vatican II appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
15 minutes | 6 months ago
Spiritual Warriors Episode 26 Warriors are focused and ready for battle. The same with spiritual warriors. In the midst, of difficulty in life, the Lord looks for generous individuals who are “spiritual warriors” who are willing to do penance in order that the Lord will more quickly show his healing mercy. We hesitate at this invitation because we are well-aware of our sin, imperfection, and our character weaknesses. Yet the truth is that the Lord loves to do good and perfect things with imperfect and weak people. We are also aware that we are living in a secular culture that is filled with secular humanism promoting itself as the new popular religion. This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Secular humanism can be generally defined as a system of faithlessness which really does not need God any longer, and conveniently pushes him out of one’s life and beyond the margins of human society. This reality is compounded by many who feel that they are victims and develop a negative pessimistic attitude about life and society. As a result, they tend to struggle with hopelessness and powerlessness, which makes them very hesitant to stand for truth. There are some who have retained a nominal identity as Christian, while practically practicing in their attitudes, choices, and decisions characteristics of the religion of secular humanism. Spiritual Warriors When the Lord gives individuals a beautiful gift of knowing him and a clarion call to change their lives, they wonder what is the best way that I can do this. There are a number of ways, however, one of the best and most effective is to accept the invitation to become a merciful penitent, and experience the transforming love of God, which leads to a tremendous amount of spiritual freedom, peace, and joy in one’s heart. The question that one may ask is what then are the fruits worthy of being a merciful penitent? “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 Jn. 2: 15-17) The early Church Fathers called this struggle to change “spiritual warfare” The converse to this is spiritual warriors! This challenging struggle in Christian history is one that practically takes place in our daily life against the world (in a negative sense), the flesh (the sinful part of our human nature), and the devil or Satan. We all experience this reality in our trials and tribulations daily. The first spiritual gift we all should pray for is the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits. This gift is the ability to know what temptations of darkness are coming from our weak human nature, the work and lure of sensual attraction in the world, and the direct interference of the devil in our lives. This gift and others serve the purpose of strengthening our hearts to be and practice being merciful penitents. To support this way of life we grow in the fruits worthy of penance. What are some of them in addition to the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits? The first fruit of being a penitent is to renounce and receive healing from resentments against any person, principles, or institutions we experience in our mind or heart. The second is the renunciation of our deep-seated fears of worthlessness, powerlessness, or experience of the non-acceptance of ourselves. And in joy and peace embracing ourselves as the person God created us to be. The third is setting aside any personal relationship that is seriously sinful or dysfunctional. And relying on the powerful grace of the Lord to gradually bring these gifts about in one’s life. There are others, however, this is enough for now. Therefore, we may ask what is the process that enables us to change as a merciful penitent? Pray daily! Pope Francis recently remarked that if a person does not pray, one has no room for the Holy Spirit in one’s life. A merciful penitent grows in compassionate love by offering their patient sufferings to the cross of Jesus, and thus reap a rich harvest of love, goodness, peace, joy, and degrees of spiritual freedom. Put on the armor of Christ and become Spiritual warriors today. The post Spiritual Warriors appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
15 minutes | 7 months ago
Living a Life of Prayer Episode 25 What is living a life of prayer? We read in the Scriptures, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn.15: 15-16) This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Living a Life of Prayer We find ourselves in a very difficult time today in the struggles that the Church is going through, and also in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. How do we handle these difficult situations: people dying early, millions losing their position of employment, escalating prices, restricted relations, and other restricting and painful situations? The real solution is to center our life in our current situations in the gift of prayer, which is the heart of living out the reality of our life. A while back I was viewing a You-tube video that spoke about a young Catholic teenager who was struggling with all the trials and temptations of living in our broken culture today. In frustration one night he went into his room closed the door and knelt on his knees and began to pray. In his personal life, he never developed or experienced a personal relationship with the Lord. He was used to the normal sacramental and devotional life of the Church. He was determined to continue this practice and hoped for something to happen interiorly. Eventually, he began to experience the presence and tenderness of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and of the Church. He felt as though she had put her arms around him. After a number of these prayer experiences, he went on to receive the Church’s Grace of the Renewal. From that point on he began to experience a deepening in his personal relationship with the Lord. He began to see some things in his life that needed to change. Cooperating with the inspirations the Lord was giving him he made significant changes. He went on to become a priest and now lives and serves in a religious community in the Church. The key to this reality is to center our life in prayer. Prayer in our life is something we should enjoy. It is certainly hard work at times there is no question about it! But as we grow in prayer, we experience the beautiful gift and intimate presence and love of God in our hearts. This gift draws us to appreciate who we are as a person and at the same time a beloved son or daughter of the Father. The prayer life we develop, of course, should take place according to our vocation, and the personal time we have in our lives. The heart of our prayer life is the experience we have in our hearts of the love of Jesus who calls us his friends. Most of us realize this reality to some degree in our minds, but it rarely seems to go deep into our hearts. People seem to realize this when I sometimes ask them this question. Do you realize that Jesus who is your friend really likes you? He really, really likes you as a person, the real-life person that you really are! He created you and knows you inside out, and he loves you deeply and intimately as your friend. Gradually as our life of prayer grows, he places more and more of his love in our hearts. Many people do not love themselves very much, and so they find it hard to accept this love of Jesus in their hearts as their friend. There are three things we need to consider when we reflect on the love of Jesus as our friend. This special gift of love has three interrelated aspects for us to experience. The first is conversion, the second is a conversation, and the third is communion. The goal of communion is a union! As we grow in these three realities the Spirit of God’s love gradually fills our heart with the fruitfulness of these truths. These three beautiful gifts are not something we bring about in our hearts by our own willful efforts alone. But they are three ways the Holy Spirit of Love works in our lives and in the very center of our hearts. The effects of these three graces we receive as we walk in our life of prayer constitute a dynamic relationship of God’s love in our heart, and brings about our relationship with Jesus, the Lord, as our special and intimate friend. Conversion is the process of transformation that enables us to make the changes in our lives that God may want, or that are obstacles that block God’s love from filling our hearts. These may be such things as conscience or willful sin, unresolved resentments past or present, and excessive attachments to persons, places or things. When we are sincerely willing to make the changes needed, the Spirit of God will work in us and gives us the grace and power to make the necessary changes. The young teenager began to see some of the things in his life that he needed to change in order that the gift and power of the Spirit would make a difference in his life. It took him a while to make those changes so that the Spirit could bring this love and intimate friendship of grace into his personal life. Conversation is the ability to dialogue with the Lord in our hearts where he speaks to us and we speak to him. The Spirit of God fills our inner faculties which God has given to us so that we are able to communicate in our mind and heart with the Lord through the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit working in our interior life. The young teenager learned how to have a conversation with the Lord as his friend, also with Mary his spiritual mother. In this process, he moved from making times for prayer to living a life of prayer, where he was able to witness and speak about the beautiful love that God placed in his heart. The third thing he experienced was Communion. The goal of communion is union. It was through this realization in which the young lad was able to set aside his fears and anxieties coming from his stress and struggles he experienced in trying to live a good and peaceful life. He began more to see through wisdom and understanding the great priority of allowing God to be the one who was doing so beautifully work in him. He found that as his heart grew in friendship with the Lord, he was able to experience spiritual freedom in his life. Communion points us to the goal of oneness and union in our relationship with God, “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, you are in me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” (Jn. 17:21-22) May We Pray! Father our hearts are thirsty for the living waters of Grace. And we hunger for deep and personal friendship with you. May the Spirit of the Lord fill us to overflowing with the Gospel of Grace. Fill our hearts more and more with your tender love and mercy, wherein the spiritual freedom we experience will flow from our deep personal intimate love which you place in our hearts, and in that love always seeking to glorify our beloved Father. We ask these graces with great confidence in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen The post Prayer Life appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
16 minutes | 7 months ago
Days Of Darkness
Days of Darkness Have you heard about the three days of darkness? About thirty- five years ago in spiritual renewal circles, a call went forth by some proclaiming that a period of three days of darkness was coming soon. This darkness was to be so thick that people would not be able to see well what was in front of them. When this event happened a period of enlightenment was to occur. This enlightenment was to be so profound that a person would see the sinfulness of their life in one moment. This experience would be a powerful call to repentance and conversion greater than one had ever experienced before. It was predicted that this was going to happen very soon. Individuals went out and purchased candles and food, expecting everyone to be sequestered for some time. The three days of darkness never happened! This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today. Recently a few videos appeared on YouTube again predicting a coming event of tremendous enlightenment, and the drastic consequences of unfaithfulness to God and the way he wants humans to live. No doubt surfacing because of the advent of the coronavirus and the ethical/moral conditions of the whole human community, at least in part. How should we respond to this situation? I am sure individuals have a goodly number of suggestions about these matters. Without attempting to exhaust all the possibilities, I would like to express my opinion as humbly as possible. The ideas I present in this “show” do not represent the opinions or policies of any of the communities or institutions to which I belong. The following are simply my beliefs about the matter. I realized that the human community would be stressfully and painfully dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for a long time to come. It is important to understand that this issue is a major matter among the whole human community. Its very life and existence before God and his plan and will for the future of all human beings is at stake. I did a quick survey of the major and a few minor prophets in the Old Testaments. What happened when the Hebrew nation was unfaithful and rebellious to the Covenant and promises that God gave to them because he loved them? When the Hebrew people were disobedient to the way of life He revealed and gave to the people, He would allow, (God does not directly will evil), other nations around them to punish and invade them. In other words, He permitted an extended time of severe purification on them. After many painful tribulations, the people would come to a clear understanding of how great their offenses were before God, and they would repent of their sins and unfaithfulness, and sincerely attempt to change. He would then pour out his abundant mercy upon them and their situation would be changed in a magnificent manner. You may want to check out chapters 55 to 66 in the Book of Isaiah. When I saw how consistent the Lord’s plan of conversion was for the people he loved, I was taken back at what was happening in the wake of the coronavirus. A similar or identical conversion pattern seems to be happening to us within the whole human community. This virus may have been made in a test tube, and probably was unintentionally released through experimental animals. Man’s sinful ingenuity apart from the Lord’s revealed plan, plus a multitude of moral and ethical violations worldwide in the universal human community, may have placed us under a time of major purification greater than any three days of darkness. I think what happened in the past in reference to “three days of darkness” many innocently gave a literal interpretation to the “three days.” However, these types of revelation should be understood to be in the category of “prophetic symbolism.” Even when presented by certain mystics or the Mother of the Lord. The exception to this is when a great “wonder of God”, a miracle, takes place; such as the Miracle of the Sun during the apparitions of Fatima, or other signs and wonders. These happenings and predictions are usually presented as prophesy, it is wise to appreciate the awareness that prophesies many times includes progressive or successive stages of fulfillment. So just a literal interpretation of a specific time or date may set us up for misguided predictions. In the spirit of Fatima, we are invited by the glorified Lord Jesus to share in his atonement by a ministry of reparation; uniting our sufferings and sacrifices with his own to atone for the sins of the world and the Church. As we do, they become a powerful source of grace. Pope Benedict XVI said that “the Cross of Christ is the goal and guide of history. The Cross both stands for and transforms human misery into the means of salvation. It is therefore a sign of hope.” So what can appear on the outside during this pandemic as a desolate time can actually be a powerful opportunity spiritually? (Ann Pozuc) In the years of 1961 to 1965 three powerful happenings took place in the Catholic Church. The first was the creation and completion of The Second Vatican Council. The second was a profound spiritual renewal entitled the Charismatic Renewal. And the third was a lengthy apparition of Mary the Mother of the Lord in Garabandal, Spain. All three of these events were initiated by the Lord during the same time frame. In this “show” I want to present the content of the messages presented to the visionaries, which relates to a series of prophetic messages. In summary, Mary proclaimed that a great chastisement would become on the world because the human community has abandoned faith in God and the ways he wants human beings to live. “The cup is filling up”, pray for those who are unwilling or have not changed their sinful ways of life, or those who do not know him. The world must change much or soon a great chastisement will come. She asked that individuals be holy, live good lives, pray often, and do much penance, make many sacrifices; make visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Ask for forgiveness, sacrifice more, and meditate on the passion of Christ and live the Paschal Mystery. The time is short and many clergies are on the path to perdition; the devil is working among many in the Catholic Church. Much change must take place! Is it possible that what we are currently experiencing in the world and the Church is at least a part of the darkness and chastisement, which Mary prophesied would take place? The Virgin’s messages at Medjugorje are consistent with the previous two. My first visit was in 1988 before the commercialization started. The apparitions had been moved from the church to a large room in the rectory. The crowd was pushing hard at the door. As soon as the door opened, I went across the front of the room instead of moving to the back. From this position, I was standing ten feet from the faces of the three visionaries, who were kneeling quietly with heads bowed in prayer. At six o’clock on the button their heads raised up and beautiful smiles appeared on their faces, recognizing someone for whom they had deep love and affection, their lips began to move in prayer. At that moment I became a believer! I had no doubt that we’re seeing Mary. The message: pray, sacrifice, fast, and do penance. For sure we need to come to a special period of enlightenment. The Lord sometimes uses a period of pain and suffering to give those he loves a “new spiritual awakening”. When this experience happens, it may inspire people to do sincere full-hearted repentance and penance. This is necessary in order that righteousness may be restored. This means making the necessary changes in our lives, which will bring from the Lord a period of wonderful and abundant mercy. There surely is hope for wonderful things ahead. Let hear from you, what do you think? May we pray! Dear Father, you have given the Human Community so many wonderful gifts and blessings, yet we have misused some of them in immoral and hurtful ways to others. Please forgive us and show us how to use your gifts for others in a merciful and compassionate way. Teach us to love the truth, which flows from your loving mercy and enlightenment, and give us the wisdom and courage to find ways to serve you and our brothers and sisters in all the world. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen. The post Days Of Darkness appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
18 minutes | 9 months ago
Penance and Spirituality
Penance and Spirituality – Episode 23 Do penance and spirituality go hand-in-hand? In this episode, Father David talks about the necessity of understanding that all hardships in life are worth learning from and ways to increase your love of all things holy. Look for Father David’s book Evangelizing Catholic Culture: A New Vision For A New Creation on Amazon here. Merciful Penitential Spirituality Introduction: As I begin preparation for this “show” or podcast presentation on the topic of “Penitential Spirituality”, my mind is full of the many things which the President of Franciscan University just presented to the University community regarding necessary action in relation to the coronavirus pandemic for a specific action. For example, the closing of all public Masses until a later date. This worldwide pandemic and its subsequent consequences are a major crisis for humanity. The impact is affecting everything in our way of life. This afternoon I spent a bit of time reviewing some of the major and minor Prophets words to the people when they had violated the Covenant by rebellion and social injustice. At some point, God seemed to say that it is enough! And he usually allowed major devastation to occur in the Nation. In other words, the people came under judgment! These were generally very painful and destructive periods in the life of the Nation. This chaos would last until the people realized their sin and commenced to do significant social and individual repentance. Yahweh would then forgive them, and then pour out his abundant mercy upon them. However, formal communal and individual public repentance had to come first. I cannot help wondering if the whole of present humanity has not come under God’s judgment because of the horrendous sins of the Nation and Humankind. What does scripture say about penance and spirituality? “I urge you therefore, brothers and sister, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern or know (what is the will of God, what is good, and pleasing and perfect. (Rom. 12:1-2) Turn back to the Lord and do penance (Lent). Doing penance is being renewed in mind, heart, and spirit. Penance is a wonderful and beautiful grace that brings the Father’s mercy and the transforming power of the Spirit of God into our minds and hearts. The beautiful graces of God’s abundant mercy are the first part of the story. However, the second part of the story is the experience of Divine love in our hearts, which enables us to generously to the power of the Cross of Jesus by our corporation and participation in this dynamic grace of this transforming union. By living a penitential life, we make up by our love, responding generously to all that God has done for us. Our goal in being merciful penitents is to live in Christ the life of the New Creation. It is all about a way of life called love. These tremendous graces generate an experience of Spirit-filled love and life-giving repentance as merciful penitents. We make up for what is lacking in the Body of Christ. The spirituality of being merciful penitents opens the door for us to treasure each suffering and trial in the present moment, thanking the Lord for what he places before us, and gives us the strength to enter into the sufferings of Jesus, because we are living in the Eternal perspective. Many times we see our sufferings vanishing, and only love remains in the soul. To unite our suffering to his means to enter his own dynamic of suffering love—sharing in his light, and, strength, and peace. It means to discover within us a new and abundant presence of God. To unite every suffering with Christ on the Cross means to become one with him and in him, instruments and unique gifts of saving love, by leading others whom we serve with his mercy into the Kingdom. For those called to a penitential way of life, there is a special gift of grace one is given called Crucified Love and Mercy, an empowered penitent in the New Creation—it consists of a penitent’s power, life, and wisdom for loving and serving others. These gifts of grace flow from the Father’s heart through the pierced Heart of Christ. These rivers of grace-filled mercy make us fruitful merciful penitents living in a time of spiritual renewal and reform. The post Penance and Spirituality appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
20 minutes | 9 months ago
The Seventh Word of Jesus
The Seventh Word of Jesus On The Cross ~ Episode 22 What is the seventh word of Jesus on the cross? Why is this important? Have you considered the last words Jesus said and applied them to our lives and perhaps what we go through daily in our struggles? Listen to this episode with Father David as he teaches us from his vast years of experience as a Catholic Priest. Look for Father David’s book Evangelizing Catholic Culture: A New Vision For A New Creation on Amazon here. The Seventh Word of Jesus Crucified “Father into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk.23:46). In St. Luke’s account of the last word of Jesus, as he surrendered his life to the Father, Luke mentions that darkness covered the whole world (eclipse of the sun). And the veil in front of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was ripped in two. In the Church’s tradition, the word used to describe this last or seventh word of Jesus on the Cross is Reunion. Even though he felt completely abandoned by the Father he knew the truth. The surrender of Jesus was total; his gift of himself as sacrificial love was complete even though his human body was annihilated. In the Book of Revelation we read, “Behold, I make all things new!” “All things have been accomplished!” (Rev.21:5) One of the last prayers at the end of the Last Supper lays out the goal for Jesus and for all of us, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, just as we are…And I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one as we are…” (Jn.17:11-26) The Paschal Mystery, which we are about to celebrate, is in a sense the very beginning of making “all things new” on earth. (Jn.20: 19-23) The consecrated gift of the sacrificial love of the Paschal Mystery is the divine/human, threefold power of Grace, given to us as a gift of love which, enables and brings about all dimensions of transformation. It seems that on Easter Sunday morning Jesus meets Mary Magdalene at the opening of the tomb. He asks her not to touch him because he has not yet ascended to the Father. It is a different situation on Easter Sunday night. He appears to those gathered in the Upper Room fully glorified. He shows them his hands, feet and the wound in the side. When they had time to accept this magnanimous reality, he commissioned them by breathing on them and saying “receive the Holy Spirit…(Jn.20:19-23) Easter Sunday night they receive the mystical power of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, the power of the glorified Resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit as the practical application of Jesus making all things new; the fullness of the Paschal Mystery. For example, some would say, the celebration of the Eucharist is the sacramental mystical participation in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Paschal Mystery. Application: I will mention a few possibilities, however, you may be inspired to discover your own: As a result of the coronavirus pandemic life is going to be very different; may we be weaned away from an excessive materialistic mind-set and lifestyle of living. May the leaders in the Church clarify in writing the accurate moral teaching about the troubling moral positions in relationship to technical, moral, and ethical positions emerging in this country. For example, euthanasia and related suicides. In my personal life what changes do I need to make for me to be more faithful to the Lord’s will? What are some of the ways that I can be kind, tender, and loving in my relationships to others? Behold I make all things New! The post The Seventh Word of Jesus appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
16 minutes | a year ago
Why Do Penance? with Father David Tickerhoof ~ Episode 21 Why should we do sacrifice and penance? In this episode, we look at the ways we can sacrifice and how the Lord uses this in our lives to bring us closer to Him in our faith and spiritual growth. Micky Cohen was a mob leader on the west coast. Several of his henchmen went to a Billy Graham revival, and they made a major conversion and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Micky was very interested in being a Christian and had several meetings with Billy. However, in the end, he did not convert. When his henchman questioned him about this resistance, he responded “ What is wrong with being a Christian gangster? He was not able to see that unrepented sin was a major obstacle to being a Christian. Father David is the author – Evangelizing Catholic Culture: New Vision for The New Creation available here. On Pentecost when many people heard all the noise and commotion down at the Upper Room, they came and saw all the signs and wonders, and they wanted to receive these gifts? They asked the disciples what should we do? Peter answered: “repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts: 2:38). The gift of forgiveness is a powerful grace freely given, and it consists of a wonderful experience of grace, which brings the goodness of the Father’s mercy and the transforming life of God into our minds and hearts. When we put faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ we receive the gift of salvation. However, this is not the end of the story of the goodness of Divine love and mercy. We are also expected to respond to this gift, by our cooperation and participation in the sacrificial love of Jesus to the Father. We do this by doing penance for our sins and expressing gratitude in a love offering for all that God has done for us. Jesus did indeed die for all; therefore all have died. “He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 15). “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come…be reconciled to God.” (2Cor. 17-20) Generally speaking, all are called to do penance in their individual Christian life, but some people are called by Jesus to do more. Therefore, some are called to live a complete life-style as a penitent. The call and life of servants of mercy, missionary disciples of mercy, who receive the grace and its transforming power from the blood and water flowing from the pierced heart of Christ; the pierced heart of the Crucified One. The Father’s gift of mercy reveal’s his love and riches in the glory of his Son. This transforming gift of Crucified Mercy enables one to surrender himself in a process and journey of evangelical (Gospel) conversion for reconciliation and sanctification. These graces generate an experience of Spirit-filled and life-giving repentance, which enables one to enjoy a deep sense of gratitude, glory, and praise while embracing the Gospel mission of the Church, and leading others into the glorious life of the Kingdom as mercy-filled penitents. The post Penance appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
28 minutes | 2 years ago
Peace of Living God’s Will
The Peace of Living God’s Will Episode 20 The peace of living God’s will can be found in so many aspects of our life. A number of years back when I was stationed at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was serving as the Director of Christian Renewal and overseeing two small households in the Renewal Center. Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer. Peace of Living God’s Will can be found in duty. One of the women in the women’s household was a very capable women leader whose name is Sr. Ann Shields. She is now a part of the Sisterhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan and serves in the Ralph Martin Ministries. Sr. Ann was asked by Fr. Michael Scanlan to pick up women at the Pittsburgh Airport, whose name was Mother Theresa of Calcutta. A benefactor at the University, a personal friend of Mother Theresa, asked her if she would come to the Graduation and receive the Poverello Medal. A medal of honor in the spirit of the poor man of Assisi, Francis. It is a medal given each year to a person who has made major contributions to the service of the poor. Sr. Ann herself has in public told this story. The peace of living God’s will is available for everyone. Everything went well at the airport and they were on their way back to the University and crossing over the bridge from Weirton, West Virginia to Steubenville, Ohio. At that time all the steel mills were producing at full tilt, and the Ohio Valley was saturated with heavy air pollution. It seems that Sr. Ann was a little embarrassed and mentioned how unjust it was to pour out all this air pollution on the community. Mother Theresa response was something like, I really wouldn’t know because God hasn’t called or asked me to take responsibility for that! When we are looking to discern and know God’s practical will in our lives we very much need to know two things: First, the goal of knowing God’s will is to give greater honor and glory to God. The second is to know what God has given me responsibility for in my life and what he has not! In a tumultuous time in society when many individuals take self-appointed responsibility for many things and make negative judgments almost about everything, those of us who are concerned about discerning God’s practical will in our lives need to refrain from that thinking and behavior, “Through the mercy of God offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice, pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your minds, so that you know God’s will, what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3. There are many things big and little that we need to consult the Lord about! The big things: vocation, who should be my friends, who do I want to spend the rest of my life with? What is the vision and goals of our family life, what educational opportunities should we seek for our children? Do we want to homeschool the children? job, what career path should I choose, professional training, where I live, what kind of car should I buy, finances, when should I retire etc. Little daily things, yet very important: What are my priorities? Spending time with the kids, frequent prayer time, vacation, amount of sports activities for the kids, support relationships, exercise, nutrition, special time with my husband or wife, etc. There are many choices of an ongoing nature which we will need to make as time moves forward. However, the fundamental underlying reality is this: If I do not have a continual personal relationship with God in which I daily walk in communication, how is it possible to do discernment and know God’s personal will in my life? The servant of the Lord needs to try and keep watch over his actions, interior as well as exterior, always being careful and working toward and maintaining “purity of heart.” One should seek to maintain peace of mind and heart, in attempting to always know the gracious will of God, saying within oneself: “Oh Lord what do you will me to do now? Will it please you if I do this or that? For the Lord himself speaks through interior inspiration to a person’s heart, “saying do this or leave that undone. When one feels that the Lord wills or permits him to do anything, one should speak in this way, the Lord does this in me and through me. But if one perceives that this particular thing does not please the Lord, he should immediately deny himself or herself and should leave the thing undone, however small it may seem, see Blosius the Venerable, Magnificat, vol. 20, n. 3, May 2018, pp. 369-370. The peace of living God’s will depends on our attitude. It is good if we have an open and peaceful attitude in seeking God’s will in our daily life. It is important to be willing to choose what God wants even if it is not what I want. A loving heart desires above all to please the Lord, and listen carefully to God’s guidance and direction. When we choose in faith what God wants, we may feel drawn to an option and we just know with a peaceful certitude this is what God wants. You will feel it when it happens! Some articles on discerning God’s will mention two states of the inner person: consolation and desolation. I actually think it is a little more involved than that. Peace of living God’s will is sometimes hidden. I find it useful to identify three states of the inner life or soul: revelation, consolation, and desolation. Why is that? Because we are speaking about a beautiful dynamic relationship where the Lord and the person are working together to seek and discover the truth of God’s will in very practical circumstances. Revelation is knowing how to receive and understand all the tender and merciful ways in which God communicates with a person. This requires a personal knowledge and loving relationship with the Lord. The consolation is the second state. This would consist of an inner peace where the soul experiences the blessing of the Lord. You know it when you feel it! The third state is a desolation, which can be characterized by a certain sadness, a lack of the experience of heavenly love and grace, spiritual dryness. Sometimes a feeling of a spiritual emptiness and disturbance. It is good to peacefully be attentive as to what state of spiritual experience one is going through. Sometimes there can be a subtle shifting back and forth. The important thing is to look for a consistency. If desolation seems to be around too long ask the Lord to remove what is causing this gentle sometimes painful darkness. Sometimes it is the Lord who is allowing it because he wants us to grow in trusting him in faith no matter what! The inner action of these three spiritual feeling states is a normal way the person relates to the inner mystery of grace and the action of the Lord and the Spirit in the inner person. For example, discerning the will of God in relationship to deciding to leave one job and take another. Be patient and look for recurring patterns. Consolation and desolation are a normal part of the spiritual life, and in fact, they come and go interiorly all the time. Our decisions and choices are not just based on feelings but on revealed and reasonable truth communicated to us by the Lord. And seeking the good advice of others. The good Lord does speak to our interior being and to our mind. These states of our human beingness are very useful in discerning God’s practical will for our life. When God reveals his will we just know it. He built us as humans to be in a knowing relationship with him. If we need further confirmation about our decision about what job the Lord wants us to take, we may turn to a more analytical approach. An analytical approach should be used when it is helpful, or when you are seeking confirmation of decisions you want to make because you believe this is what God’s will in now in this particular situation. I am leaving my superintendent position in Lake Andes, and I am going to accept the offer I have received for the same position in Plankinton. All my prayer, advice, and considerations have pointed significantly to make this change. I see it as God’s will for me and my family at this time in my life. The pay is about the same, this, is where my family has lived for years, and I feel called to serve the folks in that surrounding community. And besides that, I will have more time to take care of the cattle that I have on my property. However, I want to be sure, and I don’t want to hurt the folks in Lake Andes, they have been good to me, and very supportive of my family. This decision is going to help me and my family give greater glory to God. Tonight my wife and I have set aside a couple of hours to do this discernment, and seek to give greater glory to God in our service here, but again I want to be sure this is what God’s will is for me and my family at this time. Some say that when you are evaluating the strengths and weakness of a situation, and we are going to use the pros and cons analytical method, It is good to write the pros first and then the cons. However, when we are doing discernment, we are seeking first the glory of God and serving him faithfully, we may want to write the cons first and then the pros. The following is a suggested method which has worked for us in determining God’s will in other situations. We did this a number of years back when we moved from Chicago to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Boy! It worked for us like a charm; we had no doubt about our move here. Tonight we will get the kids settled and retire to the study, and each spends about 15 or 20 minutes thanking and praising the Lord for all the good he has brought into our lives. With the Bible and notebook in hand, we will seek first the Word inviting the Lord to give us any Scriptures which may assist us in seeking his
33 minutes | 2 years ago
Joy In Living God’s Will
Joy in Living In God’s Will Episode 19 The joy in living God’s will is right before us and we often miss it in our daily lives. Before we look at the practical tools of discerning God’s will in a given situation, I think it can be useful to develop an awareness or atmosphere of worldliness in contemporary society. Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer. A list of worldly practices or issues which project a negative spirit of worldliness. Within the context of our affluent society, some of us may carry a deep-seated attitude of entitlement. It could go something like this: When I want something I need to get it! I deserve it, and I want it Now! And I should be able to do whatever it takes to get it. After all, we live in a land of freedom and I should be able to get what I want when I want it, even if some people are inconvenienced a little by my action. Why should I sacrifice and serve others? After all, it takes everything I have, and I am too busy to spend time worrying about other people’s situations. Some of my friends think I am narcissistic because I always look to my needs first. The Joy in Living God’s Will escapes so many! Here are some real examples: We live in an anxious worrisome stress filled society, and some of us are so busy because we have so many things and projects to accomplish. Down deep inside I feel that unless I do all these things I won’t feel happy. A teacher who cares for me asked me the other day why my sense of self-worth is so low! When I get down I just go to the store and buy something. My husband makes plenty of money, and I just feel so compelled to buy so many things. I love nice things and my family always encouraged me to frequently spend and buy many things. My husband kids me about being so compulsively materialistic. The other day uncle John and aunt Maureen showed up from the coast. What a huge expensive camper they have; they just spend months traveling all over the place. We were having a beer last night and John told me that his pastor was disappointed when he refused to undertake some church responsibilities for mercy work. He said I told him,“I can’t take on those services and still enjoy my recreational pursuits. Thanks for picking me up Pete. Boy, I need a good workout! Harriet blew up at me last night. She said that she was fed up with my incessant worrisome attention about little details about my life. She said I am so perfectionistic about little details in my life, that I never spend quality time with the two boys, which, in her mind is much more important than the little things I get involved in. Boy, my friends at the club are reality irritated at the pastor. He gave a homily where he mentioned that this country is so addicted to sports that it has reached the point where it has become a false god, or at least obsessive idol worship. My kids feel that they need to participate in all the sports at school. Do you realize how hectic that is for our family? When I try to limit it, they cry and complain that other kids parents let them do this, and they fear they will be rejected and pushed out of the circle of popularity. Sports is a good thing and has many positive features in its activities. However, it seems that in this country it has become an inordinate preoccupation. All year long some go from one sport to another. It becomes the main manner of socializing, and for some, it has become a necessary escape from the pain of modern life, and the distressing conflicts in contemporary society. It can lead to a significant disorder in the relationships and the well-being of family life. It seems for some it has reached the level of an idol or false god. For some, it has replaced the priority of worship of God on the Lord’s Day, and the good of rest and being with those we love the most. The joy in living God’s will can be found with several keys: Here is a key way of determining where I find the temptations to give in to the negative spirit of the world in my daily life: Where are my excessive and inordinate attachments in my life? Is it food, sex, physical exercise, excessive need for comfort and protection, compulsive need to be loved and accepted by others, hidden seeking of approval from others, inordinate fear of rejection, power and control over others, inordinate personal relationships, excessive use of I phones, androids, iPads and other technologies, workaholism, inordinate need to accomplish, acquiring excessive possessions, living a life of false pretensions and undealt with addictions, erroneous religious practice and attachment to rigid religious structure without highlighting a personal love and knowledge of God, etc. All of these things can contribute to or be containers of a spirit of worldliness. And these challenges directly pertains to knowing and following God’s will in my daily life. Returning to the preparation Jesus gave to his disciples at the Last Supper. Just as Jesus prepared and pre-planned for his disciples by way of sending them the Holy Spirit, who will teach them all truth and give to them the strength to be the chosen, called, committed, and faithful against the spirit of the world. And to ensure the disciples that they will have all that is needed to fulfill their mission as they establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They will be empowered with the Spirit and given the wisdom, gifts, and skills the active dynamic presence of Jesus in the world. No small task! The preplanning of Jesus includes us. We are humbled and privileged to participate in the same empowerment and gifts which sustained the Apostles. Therefore, we are called daily to do the will of God as active agents in renewing the life of the Gospel in the Church, in our families, and in all the situations of our human life, all the decisions, choices, and behaviors. The joy in living God’s will is shown at the wedding feast of Cana. It is one thing to hear this taught or preached, but it is another thing to learn how to do it! What is the next step in this process to make doing the will of God a practical thing in our life? It seems we should cut to the chase in this matter. Early in the ministry of Jesus Mary tells the servants to do what Jesus tells them. They did and the water was changed into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. Therefore, this gives us the basic principle of action, do what Jesus tells us! How do I know what he is telling me? There are some things about doing the will of God which are not hard to understand. But how do I know it is the will of God? What is it like to listen to the Lord and discern what to do? It seems to me it is easy to make mistakes in this attempt, that possibility makes me nervous. How do I know it is the Lord who is speaking to me? I have always tended to rely on myself in making decisions rather than on God. I was brought up that way. Sometimes I know what God wants, but when and how should I put it into action? There are many questions for sure, let’s get started to try and get as much clarity in this matter as possible. As we begin the practical considerations of doing God’s will, it is good to remember that the principle of grace always invites us to make good changes in our life. It is a known principle in the life of grace that God gives sufficient grace for whatever he asks us to do. In view of the original sin of humankind, both personal and social, we tend to our sin and weakness and discover that to do the good is always a struggle. This encounter with the world, the flesh, and the devil the early Church Fathers called spiritual warfare. The psalmist reminds us that our call is to surrender to God and he will do everything for us. May we turn from evil, learn to do God’s will; the Lord will strengthen us if we obey him. “ If you trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live in the land and be secure. If you find your delight in the Lord he will grant your heart’s desire…commit your life to the Lord, trust in him and he will act so that your justice breaks forth like the light, your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait in patience…Then turn away from evil and do good and you shall have a home forever; for the Lord loves justice and will never forsake his friends”, see Psalm 37: 3-7a. The areas in our life where it is relatively easy to know God’s will: All Christians know where to go and what to do to find and know what is God’s will and where it is revealed for them. Every Christian needs to be born again from above by water and the Holy Spirit. This experience initiates us into what we know to be life and union with God unto salvation. God reveals himself in a special way through the Old Testament Covenant to the Israelite People. God revealed the natural law as the way he wanted humankind to live. The Old Testament Covenant given to a special people is called the Ten Commandments. Jesus makes it very clear that he did not come to set aside the Old Testament Covenant, but he came to bring it to fulfillment in the New Testament Covenant in his very person through faith in him. The New Testament reveals what Jesus taught and did in his ministry, And his wonderful life culminated in the Paschal Mystery; his Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and confirmed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Here in lies the vast majority of God’s will for all the Christian People. In our present day and age, it is manifested in various churches and communities. If you really want to know God’s will for your life pray and read the Word of God, both the Old and New Testament. And become very familiar with the authentic teaching of the Christian community within which you were baptized and have made the necessary commitments. Given this reality which is a goo
24 minutes | 2 years ago
God’s Will While Living The Gospel
God’s Will While Living The Gospel Podcast 18 How can we find God’s will while living the gospel? Often when a member of a family receives a threatening or fatal medical diagnosis. The tendency in this situation, especially for the individual, is to devote themselves to putting everything in order. They may update their will, re-deed their property, even preplan their funeral. All of this is to ensure that their loved ones are well taken care of once they are gone. Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer. Finding God’s will while living The Gospel can be seen in the last supper. At the Last Supper Jesus does the same with his disciples. In his preplanning to physically leave them, he tells them the following things to remember and do: He tells them to remain in him, if they don’t they will not produce fruit because apart from him they can do nothing. If they remain in him they can ask for what they want and it will be done for them. If they keep the commandments they will remain in his love, especially the great commandment of loving God and loving one another. He tells them that they are his friends and he has given them everything the Father has given him… “I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them the word and the world hated them.” Then he tells them the world is going to hate them because they do not belong to the world. “because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may be consecrated in truth”, see Jn. 17: 11-19. God’s will while living the Gospel… God’s will while living the Gospel shows up in the consecration in this scripture means being set aside for the purposes of being a sacrificial love offering through suffering and death. Hatred here means to resist, plot against, persecute and kill. And they will do this because they do not know him or the Father. The world will hate them without cause. When this happens they will remember that he prepared them and told them that this would happen. However, he will send them the Holy Spirit and he will guide them and teach them all truth. He told them to take courage because he has conquered the world. They are told by him to remain committed, courageous, and merciful in the face of adversity, struggle, trial, suffering, and persecution. In this consecration, for the sake of the truth of the Gospel, his disciples will discover the will of the Father. I was speaking to a close friend a short while ago and he, reflecting on the state of the world at the present time, referring to the mayhem in our post-modern world, he said that the world has become a very dangerous place to live. Many people undoubtedly are perceiving these same realities. The question one may hear occasionally is, why is God allowing these things to take place? How does this situation reflect on the consideration of God’s will in our daily life? When we look at the world around us and take the time to reflect on the beautiful and wonderful world of creation, we can’t help to be deeply moved by the glorious wonder of God’s creating love. And the truth that we partner with God in the unfolding of his creative love. How many gifts the good Lord has given us. We all have received many tremendous blessings both spiritual and temporal. Just in the recent years the many new discoveries in medicine and the rapid development of modern technologies. Original, personal, and social sin has deeply marred the beautiful world of creation which is an expression of God’s gracious love for us. This is the world of reality in which we live. To counteract the broken reality of sin in the world, God’s plan is fulfilled in his beloved Son, Jesus, our Lord, and Savior. “We know that no one begotten by God commits sin, rather, God protects the one begotten by him, and so the evil one cannot touch him. We know that we belong to God, While the whole world is under the evil one. We know too, that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to recognize the One who is true. And we are in the One who is true, for we are in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life”, see I Jn, 5: 18-20. “Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticement for the eye, the life of empty show—all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever”, see 1 Jn. 2:15. What does it mean to leave go of the worldliness of modern reality and do God’s will in all things, especially and primarily in my daily life? If we give up our worldly way of life and begin to follow the ways of the Holy Spirit we surrender our own isolated way of life, our own isolated determination of our human life. We then take on the supernatural likeness of Christ and imitate the life of Christ, living a life in the Holy Spirit who lives in us and is united to us. Then our nature is transformed so that we are no longer merely human beings, but also sons and daughters of the Father, spiritual human beings by reason of the share we have received in the divine nature. This makes us all one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are one in mind and holiness, we are one through our communion in the sacred flesh of Christ and our sharing in the one Holy Spirit, see St. Cyril of Alexandria, Liturgy of the Hours, vol II, p. 873. It is easily seen in the Scripture, that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell. He so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. “As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another. 2 Cor. 3: 18. And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” What does it mean to leave the world of modern reality and seriously look to change some things in our modern and post-modern life? The goal is being free from “the negative spirit of this world”, as we live our good and wonderful human life in this material world created in God’s love. The key goal is the seeking and doing the will of God. It is probably one of the most ignored and neglected understanding of the truth of God’s will in our Christian growth. “Through the mercy of God, offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your mind, in order to know what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3 How can we know God’s will in our lives, if we don’t directly relate to attitudes, choices, decisions, behaviors, in the practical situations of our daily life? “Just as the truth is in Jesus, “that you should put away the old self of the former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth”, see Eph. 4: 21-24. A fresh new spiritual way of thinking! Do we run the risk of mistaken opinions, disagreement’s, and criticism from others? Absolutely! Nevertheless, we really need to cut to the chase here. Can we identify the attitudes and the system of negative values which characterize modern thinking and acting? Which things are opposed to the revelation of God and his most precious will for those he loves? For the sake of honoring God and loving our brothers and sisters, we should humbly try! The first step in this attempt is to identify some of the idols, false gods, and then look at some of the attitudes and behaviors which are antithetical or hostile to God and his will. And follow and obey what he wants for the nations of the world, and specifically for family life in the Church, and for each individual living in the world of our time. Of course, it would be impossible to cover everything that may need to be mentioned, but I will attempt to identify some things that may stimulate some specific considerations for us. It would also be helpful if you think about some things that may easily come to you which I won’t be mentioning. These things may point out some areas in your own life which may need some attention in regard to, leaving the world. The Lord may give you some wisdom and understanding in growing in spiritual freedom as you attempt to do the Fathers will in your life, and in the lives for whom you may have some responsibility. Identifying some idols and false gods in our society: St. Pope John Paul II came to the United States a decent number of times even before he became Pope. He really loved the American people and recognized the potential for American Christians to make a tremendous impact on the international scene in terms of proclaiming the Gospel and living by those values. One time a group of Americans were complaining about all the bad stuff on TV, and asked what should we do? His simple answer was, turn it off. He also took the time to warn American Christians that democracy without a religious base could easily become a new Totalitarianism, which he knew well because of his personal experience in the European situations. These situations characterized a negative philosophical nihilism, a meaningless and emptiness of life without God, violent destruction of peoples, and two world wars. The leaders of this movement abandoned God and designed new false gods of atheisti
35 minutes | 2 years ago
Growing Spiritually Serving Others
Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend. Tools for Growing Spiritually Serving Others Episode #17 In this episode, we will explore ways to grow spiritually and serving others. Show Notes: Tools for Growth in Serving Others In the First Letter of John, the writer speaks of the anointing we who are baptized have from Christ. “But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you have knowledge…As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you everything and is true and not false, just as it taught you, remain in him.” (1 Jn.2: 20-27) The “anointing” referred to here is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the baptized, source of wisdom and understanding. The Jerusalem Catechizes, presented in the Liturgy on the Octave of Easter Friday also speaks about the anointing with the Holy Spirit. “When we were baptized into Christ and clothed ourselves in him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God. Having destined us to be his adopted sons and daughters, God gave us a likeness to Christ in his glory, and living as we do in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones.” When he said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us…But we too have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing, we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life. This year we are now in the midst of celebrating the great season of the Pascal Mystery. It is the heart and core of the life and power of our Christian life. As Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, during the Vatican Council II, the Paschal Mystery is the heart and center of the Council’s teaching, and as such is the heart and core of a Christian’s life. How should we view this very clear teaching in relationship to the Church’s Grace of Renewal? In the spiritual renewal movements, the approach is usually a seminar which prepares one to be prayed for “a new empowerment of the Holy Spirit.” There is plenty of evidence of the wonderful things that happen for a person who has had this experience, and if one feels drawn in that direction of renewal, seeking to receive an empowerment of the Holy Spirit, a new special grace of spiritual refreshment, I highly encourage it. However, I am proposing a different approach to a similar reality, which I have called the spiritual experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. The basic scriptural reference that I suggest is the Easter Sunday night experience of the disciples gathered in the upper room, recorded in St. John’s Gospel (Jn.20: 19-23). The heart and core of this approach is the full gamut of the Paschal Mystery, which includes the sending of the Spirit by the Father and Jesus. Certainly, we would need a preparation program including a series of teachings. The prayer of spiritual anointing and commissioning at its conclusion could be termed, the Baptism of the Spirit in the Paschal Mystery. The starting point of the threefold empowerment of the Resurrection, the Cross, and the Spirit would be the experience of the Glorified Risen Lord and Savior. It would also certainly include the empowerment of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts. It is with this understanding in which I am presenting four opportunities to provide for others some tools for growth. In a previous reflective teaching, I presented some tools that focused on spiritual growth for individuals. Now in this teaching, I want to present a few tools that focus on group opportunities for others who may be seeking a relational program that is ongoing and growth producing in holiness of life. This reflective podcast teaching is going to concentrate on four opportunities which the podcast sponsors or supports for serving the spiritual growth of other brothers and sisters. In outreach, to others, this teaching is going to review the possibilities of serving a person or a group of individuals, who may want to be in relationship with others for the ways and means of spiritual growth and/or service to others. These four opportunities are ways of doing Evangelization. The first tool which we want to consider is Power Focused Intercession. This means of growth, healing, and empowerment for others is looked at in some of the other podcast presentations. (The Path to Spiritual Freedom) Some of us may feel a real disconnect when we pray for others, or In the “Universal Prayers of the Faithful,” when it is hard to connect with the petitions. So we may settle for a dry cerebral or a disconnected prayer. We don’t seem to have a dynamic connection with the individual or group we are praying for. This doesn’t mean that our intellectual prayer recitations for others are not blessed by God, they are! But what we want to try and do is proclaim and promote that we can have a connected grace-filled experience when we pray for others, which comes from our hearts and is experientially based. Where real change and miraculous results in the lives for whom we pray are happening. Recognizing that in this approach we are exercising the beautiful truth that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and Jesus wants to give to us an invitation to join him in ministering a powerful happening in grace for the benefit of others. The key is in knowing how to connect up with the powerful working of the glorified Lord’s grace for the specific needs of an individual or group. The simple formula: I am sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you. I take limitless responsibility for all that has happened to you! Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. Now before we are tempted to begin a rationalization that finds some difficulties, let’s take a look at how this formula is prayed in a direct union with the Lord himself. We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, by virtue of our water Baptism. We are in a dynamic personal relationship with the glorified Lord Jesus and one another. We are all the Body of Christ. This truth is the foundational truth in which we begin our intercession for another person or group. The night of the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, who had already ascended to the right hand of the Father appears and says, Peace be with you! (Shalom!) It is done! I have accomplished it all! It is over and done with! Jesus gives the disciples and us the full experience of the Paschal Mystery. He breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit…”, and commissions them to do also with others what he has accomplished and gives to them, and he will do it in them! In Romans chapter 8 it says, that both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us. When we express our sorrow for the person we are praying for, we immediately leave our mere human desire and place ourselves in the heavenly plane; in total union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have just entered the supernatural realm. We then picture the person or group we are praying for and we enter into union with our glorified Lord and all that this means in light of that event, the Lord does the actual intercession, reparation, atonement prayer in which we are with him for he has accomplished it all! So when we take limitless responsibility we are doing so in union with the Lord. So we should never take on the negative or destructive attitudes of the one we are praying for. So as we say, “please forgive me” it is the Lord who is acting in power. When we say I love you we are doing so truly with our human ability but now joined with the love of the Lord for that person. In this is the power we have of sharing in a miraculous power of love to change and heal another human being. And when we say “I thank You” we are “divinely” acting to affirm and identify the full purpose in which God has created that person. This prayer of “power focused prayer” is a ministry and mystery of Love! When this procedure is a Spirit-led Experience and performed primarily with the heart, one will actually feel the powerful presence of the Lord working in a mysterious manner. Now, this is so good! When one does this prayer of cleansing, the individual will also feel the cleansing and healing going on in oneself. Therefore, while we are doing this mission of love for another person, the Lord is doing a work of tender healing and cleansing in the one praying. “Two sides of the same coin” The way to really learn the experiential truth of all this is by practice, practice, practice! The more we do this the more we are drawn into the power and the more we experience the cleansing power in our own life. Unbound Ministry: An approach to healing and deliverance that fits well in Catholic Life: The approach to healing and deliverance which seems to fit best in the ambient of the Catholic Church is the ministry developed by Neal and Janet Lozano entitled “Unbound Ministry.” It follows a similar approach to the general basics of praying with individuals for healing and deliverance. However, its uniqueness consists in the fact that the ministry operates from a position of “non-confrontational deliverance,” and the recipient of the ministry does the renunciation and takes personal authority of the specific aspects of personal evil. It uses common sense and the exercise of practical wisdom, which does not permit one to fight with evil spirits, but ministers truth in love to the recipient. In short, it is a ministry of evangelization, which provides deliverance from personal evil, and also aids the recipient in receiving spiritual healing and the gift of genuine freedom. Essentially it involves the “five keys to spiritual freedom”: The first key is to stand in the experience and truth of faith and practice l
28 minutes | 3 years ago
Daily Spiritual Growth Tools
Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend. Daily Spiritual Growth Tools Episode 16 Some tools for Daily Spiritual Growth “Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness is born of truth. (Ephesians 4: 23-24) Over the last 50 years or so I have met a good number of sincere and well-meaning people who genuinely desire to grow and mature as a Christian. A high percentage of these individuals have experienced significant times of profound graces of conversion, but for various reasons seemed unable to follow through with the necessary activity to grow in the gift of living life in the kingdom of God. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is traveling from town to town preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Many had come from the surrounding town’s and a large crowd had gathered. Jesus spoke in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold. After he said this, he called out “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.” Later, when his disciples asked Jesus about the parable, he said to them.” This is the meaning of the parable: “The seed is the word of God, Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground, are those who when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, bear fruit through perseverance…take care then how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Lk. 8: 4-18) Living faithfully the way of life I have committed myself to live as a Christian. For some this will be living a “Catholic Way of Life”, for others it will be living according to the requirements of the Denomination or Christian group to which I belong. These commitments are fulfilled specifically in light of the permanent vocation which I have chosen for my personal life. The Christian life is not the life of “a lone ranger”, but a life in community. As I grow in faithfulness to these commitments, I receive an abundance of opportunities to grow in holiness and maturity. The development of a frequent or daily personal prayer time. Please review the podcast reflection entitled, “A Frequent Personal Prayer Time”. The goal of the Christian is not just to have a frequent personal prayer time. The goal is to live a life of prayer. The key to this reality is to have an ever growing personal relationship of love with Jesus. For the Christian, this experience is lived in relationship with the Father who draws us to live in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many written materials for practical advice designed to establish this objective. A frequent reading for prayerful study of The Word of God. Almost all the Church Fathers and current writers in the Christian life give strong encouragement for a frequent reading of Scripture, both the Old and New Testament. Our life lived in a Holistic Contemplative Spiritual Journey bears abundant fruit, in light of the fact that each one of us is called to be holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Our beloved Father calls each of his children to be formed as sons and daughters by the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The method that best accomplishes this objective is called “Lectio Divina”. In this practice, one takes a short Biblical story or selection from Scripture, reads it slowly and meditatively, and then spends a period of time in conversation, communication, and the experience of communion with our Lord. Realizing it essentially involves being in the presence of the Lord, and listening to how and what he speaks to us! Designing a Spiritual Growth Plan for my life. The Spiritual Growth Plan is a flexible tool which assists one in growing in the spiritual life and aids in the development of personal maturity. This plan relates to keeping my priorities in good order. For example, I may be spending an inordinate amount of time, on say point number five which is serving in building the Kingdom of the Lord or church work. However, I may be spending very little time with my children. A spiritual plan helps me become aware of this neglect and aids me in making the necessary adjustment in my priorities. The key issue that I may want to ask myself is this, am I generally experiencing a balance in my growth in holiness, my responsibilities, and human maturity? The aim here is to develop a flexible, adjustable, plan that fits my situation, and which I frequently and honestly evaluate. It is important in designing a spiritual growth plan that I am very specific, direct, honest, and patient with myself. I realize that I can keep this personal plan private if I choose. A Model Is my relationship with God, my number one priority, in a good place at this time in my life? Do I have a decent prayer time identified in my schedule? Do I frequently use Scripture, and open to use other meaningful devotions? Am I disciplined in my life, and practice the responsible virtue of “self-control”; avoiding inordinate excesses? Are my personal relationships going well? Am I faithful to my church commitments? Do I spend the right amount of time with my key relationships? Do I participate in a bi-weekly or monthly small group which is supportive and life-giving? Is my work and service relationships in a good place, and in a consistent balance? Am I free from frequent negative or sinful communication with others? Am I wise in choosing good friends who are supportive of me in my way of life? Am I willing to do the necessary study, using all the contemporary technologies at hand, which will joyfully and peacefully assist my personal growth, and demonstrate a generous service and cooperation with others? Am I avoiding spiritual narcissism (excessive preoccupation with spiritual matters) by concentrating on good solid communication at work, in my professional life, service projects, and ministry? Am I generous in serving others by sharing my faith, doing mercy work, and choosing good projects according to my gifts and talents? Am I also willing to do service which will stretch me in ways in which I feel uncomfortable when I am asked? Again being reasonable is the key: Do I take the time for exercise, recreation, good opportunities with others? Am I responsible to take good care of my health, nutritional eating is the modern way of fasting, get the necessary rest, and take the “down time” when I need it and do I enjoy my social opportunities and vacations times? Community and Interconnection. This consideration involves the gift and sacredness of being human. When God created me as a human he gifted me with the joy of intimacy, the happiness of sharing, and the pain of sacrificial love. These values embody the second great commandment: Love in action is the continuous discernment between truth and compassion. Speaking the truth without compassion is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as possible violence. Acting compassionately without truth is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as enabling, allowing others to continue their own destructive patterns. Each life situation will ask me to discern what kind of action I must take in order to do the most loving thing—and my action will not be without personal cost. When in doubt, I must err on the side of compassion. (Matthew 12: 1-8; James 2: 13 – Mercy triumphs over judgment). (Fr. Bernie Tickerhoof) May We Pray! Lord, I pray that you would give me the resolve and strength to design a spiritual growth plan that is a simple, flexible, concise and effective. I desire to use everything which will help me grow in Christian holiness and equip with the means to generously serve those you have brought into my life. I know Jesus, that holiness is wholeness, and I ask you with the help of the Holy Spirit to inspire me to move forward in a sincere and generous effort to become the best servant of mercy that I can be. I pray this prayer in your name, Jesus. Amen. The post Daily Spiritual Growth Tools appeared first on Ultimate Christian Podcast Radio Network.
28 minutes | 3 years ago
Sharing Christian Faith
Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend. Sharing Christian Faith Episode 15 Practical Ways for Sharing One’s Faith Sharing Christian faith isn’t always easy. There are a number of ways to do evangelization. One could participate in a program for preparing individuals to practice evangelization such as Christ-Life or Alpha. It is also possible to go through a training program in order to do “street evangelization” or one-on-one personal evangelization. Even some of the current ministries of healing focus on doing evangelization. How does sharing your Christian faith work in your life? However, this presentation is concerned with doing evangelization using the method of personal faith sharing in small groups, which can also be applied to personal relationship based evangelization. Therefore, we need to know what specific content of our personal witness and the method that we use when we are sharing. For example, several years ago two piolets were flying a commercial plane from somewhere on the east coast to the Minneapolis airport. They flew 150 miles past the airport and were immediately fired. How did this happen? The newspaper reported after the inquiry, that they were joking with one another and messing with their personal computers. They missed the vector, a signal that comes from the airport of destination to the airplane that guides the plane to the right airport. When we do evangelization or faith-sharing in small groups we need to know what approach we use, and what content we should share in order to make this opportunity effective and fruitful for the recipient(s) for whom one is giving their personal witness. From the viewpoint of sharing one’s faith in a small group, it important to understand that if we are going to share our personal faith we need to personally experience what we believe, live it, and understand what we are about to share. It is also important to be attentive to where the others in the group are coming from. Our first consideration is to try and make sure that we have a balanced understanding of the model of Church within which we will approach the sharing of the Good News of the Gospel. In reflecting on this matter in my own life I did a little study of the models of the Church, a book written by Cardinal Avery Dulles, a well know Jesuit theologian who died several years ago. I specifically consulted a summary of these models of the Church written by Chris Castaldo in regard to the expanded edition written in 2002. This section of the recording may be a little heavy, so listening to this part several times may be a good idea. Since we are currently moving in the Church from the position of seeing evangelization to be giving a good example only to doing various forms of faith sharing and personally witnessing to the Resurrection of Jesus, we need to consider the various models of viewing the Church, some are more conducive to personal evangelization and faith sharing than others. The first model, Church as Institution, defines the Church primarily in terms of its visible structures, especially the rights and powers of its officers. It is called a hierarchical form of Church government and emphasizes its nature as a visible and palpable community. As instruments of God’s sacraments, the priesthood opens and shuts the valves of divine grace, and is rooted in the apostolic life passed down by Christ’s disciples. The strength of the institutional model is in its public, visible manifestations of solidarity. It presents a tangible communion of faith. The weakness of this model is that it may become rigid, doctrinaire, and conformist. Cardinal Dulles explains that this model must not be primarily because of its nature; structures are subordinate to persons and life. The church as Mystical Communion: According to this model, the church consists of faithful men and women who are bound together by their participation in God’s Spirit through the living glorified Christ. The nature of this unity is not institutional but “Spirit-filled”, communal, and personal. The goal of this model is a spiritual or supernatural one. The church aims to lead its members into communion with the divine. It is a communion of persons, primarily interior but also expressed by external bonds of creed, worship, and ecclesiastical fellowship. The bond of unity, in this model, consists of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the external bonds are also important. The Church as Sacrament: This model brings the others closer together, retaining structure while also promoting dynamic spiritual life. Accordingly, the church as a sacrament is a sign and transmitter of God’s grace to the world. As an embodiment of the grace that it signifies, the Church exists as the presence of God to the nations. Another important element of this model highlights and affirms that the sacraments are communal realities and not individual transactions. Nobody baptizes, absolves, or anoints himself. It is unthinkable for the Eucharist to be celebrated in solitude. The reality of grace corresponds to human nature and is relational. A man comes into the world as a member of a family, a race, a people. He comes to maturity through an encounter with others. Sacraments, therefore have a relational nature. They take place in the mutual interaction that invites the people to achieve a spiritual breakthrough that they could not achieve in isolation. A sacrament, therefore, is a socially constituted or communal symbol of the presence of grace coming to fulfillment. This is the strength of this model. The weakness is that it has little warranty in Scripture and in the early tradition of the Church, and could lead to a sterile practice and almost an isolated and narcissistic form of contemplation by a few. The Church as Herald: The herald model related to the proclamation. The herald model differs from the others in that it makes the ‘word’ primary and the ‘sacrament’ secondary. It sees the Church as gathered and formed by the word of God. The mission of the Church is to proclaim that which it has heard, believed, and been commissioned to proclaim. This model looks upon the Church as a herald—one who received an official message from the commission to pass it on. The heart of this model of Church is the activity of calling its members to renewal and reform. The strength of this model is its emphasis on the message of the gospel and the pursuit of the Great Commission (evangelization). Its weakness is that it can often be devoid of incarnational service (mercy work). This can result in appearing merely as ideas without tangible reality. This is especially obvious when it focuses too exclusively on the witness to the neglect of action. It may become too reluctant to give human effort to establish a better human society in this life. The Church as Servant: The servant model asserts that the Church should consider itself a part of the total human family, sharing the same concerns as the rest of men. Following in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord, the Suffering Servant. The Church announces the coming of the Kingdom not only in word, through preaching, and proclamation, but more particularly in work, in her ministry of reconciliation, of binding up wounds, suffering service, or healing. The Lord was the man for others, and so must the Church be the community for others. The weakness of the servant model is that it can get so caught up in “this world activity” that is would compromise the biblical deposit of faith which Christians are called to guard. I recall a Sister who was preparing about 20 young enthusiastic college girls for a mission trip. After a great deal of training, she said to them, now we must look at the Christian motivation behind all this, and they said, “what do we need to do that for”? Integrating the models: Each model offers insights and positive contributions to our understanding of the Church. When the most genuinely biblical qualities are preserved from each model and integrated together, we realize a more balanced vision of the Church. Each of them (the five models) brings out certain and important qualities. The institutional model makes it clear that the Church must be a structured community and it must remain the kind of community Christ founded. Such a community would have to include a pastoral office equipped with authority to preside over the worship of the community as such to prescribe the limits of tolerable dissent, and to represent the community in an official way. The mystical community model is evident that the Church must be united to God by grace and that in the strength of that grace its members must be lovingly united to one another. The sacramental model brings home the idea that the Church in its most visible aspects—especially in its community prayer and worship—be a sign of the continuing vitality of the grace of Christ and for the hope of the redemption that he promises. The proclaiming model points out the necessity for the Church to continue to herald the Gospel and to move men to put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The servant model points up the urgency of making the Church contribute to the transformation of the secular life of man, and of impregnating human society as a whole with the values of the Kingdom of God. The sacramental model is the most comprehensive because of its ease in integrating the best elements in the other four models. The goal here is to experience a balancing integration of all five models in order that various groups, big and small, become communities of disciples of Jesus inspired with a missionary spirit. Here is a little test: A number of years ago I participated in an evangelization training program. After three days of class and group discussions, the members of the p
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2020