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Archive for the ‘Rediscovering Catholicism’ Category

Jan 25

A few things that stood out for me tonight, from the Rediscovering Catholicism book that’s been promoted in the parishes around here:

We become what we Celebrate

“We should always take time to check and adjust the compass that guides us. To do this we must ask ourselves soul-searching questions, and courageously seek the answers.

 ‘What are we celebrating?” is one such question, because you an be certain that we are becoming whatever it is that we are celebrating. We must ask this question of ourselves, our church, our nation and of our culture. And we would be wise to listen attentively to the answers, because these answers will utter prophetic truths about the future. We become what we celebrate.

 Walk into a teen’s room: what occupies the places of prominence? Posters of rock idols and movie stars who, for the most part, live lives unworthy of emulation; magazines filled with articles that subtly and not so subtly undermine the dignity of the human person and the values of our faith; ipods and cds filled with music that redefines love as something selfish and sensual; and video games that too often celebrate violence, depersonalize the human person, and stifle the individuality and creativity that define a person’s unique path towards God. We become what we celebrate, that teenager will become a cloned conglomerate of the people and things he or she is celebrating.”

This was actually encouraging for me, because I am trying to be more disciplined and I know in my spirit I celebrate when the routine goes well. So then with time, according to this, I will indeed become more disciplined.

The Solution – Holiness.

“The problems are many, the solution is solitary. Personal holiness is the answer to every problem. In every situation in my life, in every problem, in every difficulty, I know that if I allow the values and principles of the Gospel to guide me, it will turn out for the best. It will not always turn out as I wish – but I will be a better person for having lived the Gospel in that situation, and because of that, my future will be richer.

 Holiness is simply the application of the values, principles, and spirit of the gospel to the circumstances of our everyday lives, one moment at a time.

In every age, there are a small number of men and women who are prepared to turn their backs on popular culture and personal gain to embrace heroically the life Jesus outlines in the Gospels. These people fashion Catholicism into a lifestyle, they listen attentively to the voice of God in their lives, and they passionately pursue their adventure of salvation. As a result, they capture the attention and imaginations of everyone who crosses their path. Paradoxically, the modern world tends to pity these people, because it believes they are missing out on something. Never feel sorry for them. These men and women are the happiest people who ever lived. They are the heroes of Christianity; they are the saints.

(Exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly)

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Ever since I learned this about the patron Saint of our church, I can’t get it out of my head.

Saint John Vianney

“During the first few weeks he spent time visiting each of the sixty families in his parish. He would talk to them about every aspect of life. What he was really doing was making a moral assessment of his parish. He found that the people’s spiritual lives were in great need of restoration. They cared little for the church having been seduced by the pleasures common to every age…

The new cure understood the meaning and value of the words ‘ This kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting”. Father Vianney began a one-man campaign of prayer and fasting, offering all his sacrifices to God for the conversion of the people in his parish.

Many considered his penances too severe. He slept on the floor, went for days without food, and for several years ate nothing but a boiled potato each day. But the graces borne from his sacrifices brought clarity to his mind, and they flooded his soul and the souls of his parishioners with abundant grace.

The cure preached boldly and without reservation about the evils of his community. . . The people reacted violently at first, but in time, the cure’s prayer, fasting and the example he set began to reap a tremendous harvest.”

These words have stuck with me because they spoke VOLUMES to me.

(Exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly)

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Jan 28

When I find pearls of spiritual wisdom I long to share them with others. These exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly. I found them helpful, and so I share them with you.  (All emphasis is mine)

Work:

The Authentic life is compatible with any honest human activity. All honest work can be transformed into prayer. You can transform your work into prayer one hour at a time, one task at a time. . . Offer the actions of your life to God as a prayer,( whether you are washing dishes, studying for an exam, relaxing…) and by your inner intention you will transform ordinary daily activities into the noblest tasks. By doing so, you will elevate tedious tasks to spiritual exercises that draw you nearer to God. This is how modern men and women in the midst of busy lives can seek and find intimacy with God.

Your daily tasks have spiritual value. You don’t just work for money. When you work hard and pay attention to the details of your job, you cooperate with God as he transforms your soul. (p75)

Holiness:

In a world of rapid and constant change, it is what is unchanging that allows us to make sense of change.

The universal call to holiness is unchanging. The north star of the spiritual life is this call to holiness. It leads unfailingly to Jesus, who is, “the Way, the Truth and the Life’, even when He seems distant or unknown. It is vital we discover this great spiritual north star, so that in times of confusion or decision we can ask ourselves, ‘ how is this situation an invitation to grow in holiness?

[–Holiness brings us to life. It refines every human ability. Holiness doesn’t dampen our emotions, it elevates them. Those who respond to God’s call to holiness are the most joyful people in history. They have a richer, more abundant experience of life, and they love more deeply than most people can ever imagine. They enjoy life, all of life. Even in the midst of suffering they are able to maintain a peace and joy that are independent of the happenings and circumstances surrounding them. Holiness doesn’t stifle us, it sets us free.–]

My experience of people and life continually teaches me that those who have no central purpose in their lives fall easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self-pity. I have also learned that those living authentic lives are not looking over some hill or around the next corner to some elusive future happiness. They simply try to be all they can be, here and now, and that brings with it a happiness all it’s own.

True Worship:

Whenever Jesus did something extraordinary, the people of that village wanted  to put him up on a pedestal and make him a king. At those moments, he always left the town or region he was in. Why? Because Jesus didn’t want people to fall down  helplessly before him and worship him. He was, of course, worthy of worship, but he wanted the highest form of worship: Jesus wanted people to imitate him. He didn’t come to solve all our problems, he came to show us the way. He came to show us that when we cooperate with God and with each other we become vessels of light and love.

(Exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly)

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