Roll up your sleeves {edited} & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part VI

Picking up where I left off last in this series, I mentioned we would next take a look at celibacy.  A simplified explanation of this would be to say when being ordained a Diocesan Priest must promise Obedience to the Bishop (and his successors), and a promise of Celibacy.  This does mean taking no wife, in times past it meant no physical relationship.

The history of these practices is centuries old, has changed multiple times over the years and frankly – focus’ far too much on “sex”.  It seems this practice is considered in order to have the Priest place all focus his relationship with God, for the good of all.

Considering all I have written thus far, we know have seen we know this is a man-made requirement, which as I have said has changed many, many times.  This would include a time period where there was married clergy who were told they could not have spousal relations. . . . Right.  Who comes up with these rules?

Here, I am going to look past those days.  Nod an acknowledgement to the lives in which   our current clergy are living and return to stating, it is time for the church to revoke  – across the board – mandatory celibacy.  Based on all of the reasons I have written, based on the reasons I have not detailed such as the child sexual abuse that has and does go on,  the hundreds of thousands of men who have in their quest to serve our Father had to live through this, one way or another, all being emotionally and spiritually scared in one way or another, admit it or not. 

I am going to suggest once again that you go back and read through what I have written, thus allowing me to make new points.

The obvious shortage of catholic clergy is a problem.  Rather than going on the attack and saying laity is living for worldly things consider that perhaps there is wisdom in what they know that you cannot see.  I believe in my heart and soul if this could be acknowledged, the consideration for a married clergy as taught by Jesus is something that can actually strengthen both our clergy our Priests and the laity  – bringing all of us closer to God as one, no divided.

What if it this were allowed – what do I see as happening?

I know there will be human beings who are happy and whole in our Father as taught by Him.  I know that His gifts of love and life are not being turned away from.

How is it taught, that a married couple is remain open to having children – but Priests are to refrain from?  I know I am not the only one who see’s how silly this both sounds – and looks.  I have read another reason being a Priest to remain is to be so closely tied to Jesus for the Eucharist – well, that is not historical, nor is it biblical.  Additionally – what did Jesus tell us?


Last Supper Discourses. 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.  4Where [I] am going you know the way.”* 5Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  7If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  8Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.  12Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

The Advocate. 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate  to be with you always, 14-20 17the Spirit of truth,  which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.  19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.  20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”  22Judas, not the Iscariot,  said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”  23Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

25“I have told you this while I am with you. 26The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. 27Peace  I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.  30I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, 31but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.


 19     In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 

20      On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

21     Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.

And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”


I am repeating this because it is important.  Here Jesus tells us when His life passes from the world that believers will know Him and see Him.  We know this now, Christians – He is in our Father, and we are In Jesus and Jesus is in us.  Everyone human who believes.

We are close to Him, we grow closer though His love.  Our Father created us – emotionally, spiritually – and physically to share this love.  Roll up your sleeves (edited) & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part III not to observe Ascetical Disciplines which include Celibacy Ancient teachings are relative today


The Roman Catholic church has taken many hits – justifiably so for its sexual scandals over the years.  Convents filled with infant skeletons, Clergy suicide (not often spoken of – very hard to research, though I have read about this in relation to the celibacy rule – rather than leave the church being told they were damned to hell, took their own life). God knows these things.  God knows of the child abuse.  Truly – how can one not consider the downswing of the church as God saying “wake up”.

What would a married clergy do for the church?  Allowing men to celebrate their lives in the way God gifted us with.  This does not detract in any way from one’s love or devotion to God.  Yes, there is a risk of a “scandalous” divorce – better that than a child being raped.  Better to be open and honest – and human.  Repeatable by all people.  So this shock and awe of scandal needs to be realized for the falseness that it is.

What would marriage offer a Priest? What it offers every other man – and more.  A helpmate, a partner in life to grow with in God, through life.  Family.  Emotional support and love – every human being deserves as is God-given!  Companionship, a close intimate relationship which challenges Him to grow both as a man, husband and Priest.  Someone to celebrate and to be celebrated though a mutual selfless loveThis Love is God-given – love.

The Pastor now Reverend that I wrote about last night, he and his wife (my friend’s sister does attend this church which is how I heard of it at the time which was within weeks of my shock at the summer retreat.  Their love of each other and family spills forth into their congregation.  People look up to them as role models . . . and that includes his honesty of thinking two weeks into his marriage that his wife wanted to leave him because she came home tired from work and wanted out of her work clothes.  These life experiences are living God and sharing God in life.  A kind reminder that we all have misunderstandings and can learn and grow stronger through them.

My grandparents, oh yes perhaps you think I  put them on a pedestal but in truth they were one of many families that live the same.  Taking responsibility for bringing their grandchildren to God, caring for the poor and widows (more people than you could imagine, and many freely mowed lawns upon granddads retirement!).  Supporting missionaries, active church members, pot luck suppers.  Protestant yes, good Godly role models.  Nana was always waiting in bed for granddad to finish “washing up” before bed, reading her bible which he would join her in.  I was often chased back to bed after being caught reading the “good-news” on the floor by my nightlight.

Married clergy would have an easy time-sharing this type of disciples in the home through homilies, talks with parishioners, group meals or a newsletter or funny story on Facebook.  Yes, this can happen from parishioners in general but you know what?  These life experiences also would help the clergy grow in Him.  After all, He is the One who gifted us with all, is He not?

What closer more intimate relationship could a human have than to be in one with another in God?  Again, God graces us with this love – Love and Joy are  Fruits of the Spirit, celibacy is not.  It’s not listed in the bible.  “.”

What about kids?  Well, here we may run into a few things.  A married couple is to remain open to children.  What happens within any house hold is between God and the couple.  The church approves of Natural Family planning,  no one is going to question a household with only two or three children.  The larger families?  It happens but if they are housed in a home with fewer bedrooms than they think they need, they need to figure out where to put the additional offspring.  Most of us have common sense.

The Catholic church is known for its assets.  It can squeeze some coins together for the overall good and well-being of man and church.  There are properties than can be sold to buy suitable homes for a clergy and family (protestants manage this and they are financially poor in comparison).  Why or how would anyone think that a parish would not be happy to bring in some extra groceries, etc. for the Pastors family?  Why would they not want to do this?  Come on guys…. come up with something else.  Poor excuse.

Education?  Well, the number of parochial schools is dwindling, people cannot afford them.  A public education is fine and I would hazard a guess that the parish religious education department stepped up and was all the stronger and better for it. 

Health insurance?  Really?  Yes, it is expensive however larger groups also pay less money.  If this is going to be one of the cards played – lets throw this back out on the table…

Parishes are shrinking, people are leaving the church, we are told there is a Priest shortage… 

Allow the clergy to marry, have stronger – growing parishes.  Learn new things and love in new ways.  There is a lot more to offer people as a whole when one is able to embrace their entire being, as God gifted us.  Additional clergy also offers more hands to share the work.

I know the idea seems out there to some clergy, not so out there to others.  The fact is clergy are men, placed on earth by God.  Basic human rights to live as God intended by his design not human concept.  Revoke the celibacy requirement for all clergy.  What is anyone really and truly afraid of?  I have read bishops say them men will all go girl crazy – really?  Please, give me a break.  Dignified Priests are not tom cats and should be treated with the respect they deserve, anyone suggesting they all run out the door from the pulpit to chase the first female they see is probably… guilty of that thought.

Some thought and planning would have to take place – of course, but this is not rocket science.  It is – life.  Teaching Courtship not dating (something I discuss with my faith formation class, that clearly they have had no example of).  We’re talking about two adults who want to be committed for life together in God, in the church.  They would be intelligent people, no?

A marriage in God is the union of three.  A married couple selflessly give to each other and in the case of returning God’s gifts allows for a stronger church through this selflessness, witness and example.

It is past time for the church to move forward with change.  It is ridiculous (yes – it really is) to allow a married converted Priesthood and not allow current Priests to marry but force them to leave the Roman Catholic church (many serve other denominations, many remain, some are active in their parishes with their wives, some teach at parochial schools (locally they do!). 

Stop preaching family without celebrating family.  There is no reason to allow one over the other to marry.  It’s all crossing i’s and dotting t’s.

God our Father – already made this clear.  He created human beings for loving, intimate relationships.

One more thing – this mornings reading of Genesis included this “

* [3:16] Toil…pain: the punishment affects the woman directly by increasing the toil and pain of having children. He shall rule over you: the punishment also affects the woman’s relationship with her husband. A tension is set up in which her urge (either sexual urge or, more generally, dependence for sustenance) is for her husband but he rules over her. But see Sg 7:11.  (Foot notes on usccb website – NABRE bible)

Song of Solmen  (Sg) 7:11

11 I belong to my lover,

his yearning is for me.

wedding-pictures-wedding-photos-silver-wedding-rings-pictures-qqq5vA-clipart.jpg

 

Roll up your sleeves & open your mind ~ Reflections on rebuilding the church Part IV

“We have tremendous potential for many more ordinations to the priesthood. I have seen many fine men who would make excellent priests and who have felt the stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood, and many young women drawn to consecrated life. What is often lacking is encouragement from family and friends – and even from priests – to pursue this calling. Parents in particular will want to remember that, not only for themselves but for their children, the depth of true joy and fulfillment in life comes from one thing only – doing God’s will – and not from material things or from following the same path in life as everyone else.”

I respectfully offer the following thoughts on this . . .

We may be  asked  to remember to do God’s will.  The very real truth in this lay in my last article, and biblical quotations with dialogue.  I have also provided much more reasoning as to why it is not God’s will to have a celibate clergy.  It is not about material things, it is truly about the spiritual gifts and life our Father offers to all of us.

I understand it may be very difficult for a Celibate Religious man to comprehend where I am coming from (where indeed the majority of Catholics are coming from) all those fine things that are spoken of marriage and family and man & woman in God, are His will?

I would suggest here, reading or revisiting my article “Whoever humbles himself like this child” .  These are life experiences, gifts from God, that a celibate clergy is not allowed by the church.  It is hard for people to understand this.  It is painful for me to know this.  His gifts, the closeness to Him, our relationship with and in Him. 

It is not that we do not desire our sons and daughters to be men and women of God, it is very much that we wish them to have the full gifts He offers to us, the gift of helpmate for life. 


“People laugh when I tell them about one lady who was very persistent that I send a priest to her parish. Finally, I said, “Ma’am, I am celibate. I don’t make priests. You and your husband do – your sons, grandsons and nephews. So please give me some priests to send.”
I am deeply troubled when I hear of young men who are interested in the priesthood, but whose parents (even churchgoing parents) are doing everything to discourage them. I would not want such a thing on my conscience.”

I respectfully submit that the reason people laugh is because they cannot believe the words coming out of your mouth.  I know that hurt, (and I am sorry!) but it is true.  It’s not funny, people do not find it funny – we do not find it funny that one would reply to a woman that it is the job of she and her husband to breed and produce males and convince them to live celibate lives which are against the teachings of Jesus Christ, God the father and the Holy Spirit within (most parents). 

I will repeat (I know you may be tired of hearing this but it is true) Celibacy is a requirement by a religious organization. 

Our Father has gifted us with Intellect, emotion, bodies, spirit for marriage with another human being.  Your choice not to have children is not our choice, nor is it a choice we would push upon anyone – it is not for the good of people

One may be deeply troubled, suggesting anyone discouraging a young person from a celibate life as a bad thing to have upon our conscience.  Why would parents encourage their children to forgo a life of family and love, for an institution.  Don’t tell me this is all about God – it is not.  It is not.  Reread everything I have written.  God does not ask for a celibate clergy “.”.  My God is loving, kind and gifts us with so much.  He is not a God that takes the very life out of a human.


Repeating – I know, if you’ve been reading everything I have written, you know there is more than this too!

Genesis 2:18-25

18  The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. 19 So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.20The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.

21 So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, 23the man said:

This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.


“What can you do? Please be on the lookout in your own family or among parishioners, friends and neighbors for men who would make good priests, deacons or religious brothers, and women who would make good religious sisters. Pray for them (this comes first, as Jesus commanded). Then, when the Spirit provides the opportunity – and I am confident he will, if you are praying – tell that person: “I see qualities in you that I admire in a good priest/sister. Have you ever thought of that option for your life?” This is a compliment, and although the young person may not be able to respond immediately, he or she will surely remember the moment and ponder it privately. It has been shown that a good number of our young people do think about a religious vocation, but no one ever says anything or encourages them, and so they do not pursue it.”

Respectfully suggesting that really is not the right thing to do.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have been told how religious I am and how I should be a nun.  No offense to anyone – and I do live a chaste life, but I am not about to promise my life to a church.  I offer myself and my life to my Father.  This is what Jesus commanded of us.

I witnessed an elderly gentleman in my parish speak to a young man in church back in October.  He used wording very similar to what the Bishop suggests, one  morning mass before Mass.  The young man was attending Mass at 6:30AM in a nearby city, then coming to our town for mass at 8:00AM.  This was not because he is spiritually tied to our Father, or religious.  I have spoken to the young man several times.  The young fellow is under psychiatric care and was diagnosed bi-polar but having issue with his meds.  He was out of work, tried to go back to work but was unable to pull it together.  I know he was out of work for at least eight weeks at the time.

Suggesting a religious life to someone you do not know intimately is probably a bad idea.  Additionally, some of us still pray and hope that God will bless us with that special love.

Michael.

I have brought Michael up before, tonight I am going to share more of this experience.

After my Annulment was finalized and I volunteered to return to teaching Faith Formation (CCD I attended that now perhaps infamous Summer Retreat on Catholicism.

At this retreat, we had discussion time.  A young man, around the age of my youngest son said he was discerning the Priesthood.  I sat there and said nothing, listening.  He was putting a lot of thought into the Celibacy Requirement imposed on Catholic men choosing to serve Christ.  Someone brought up that there were married Roman Catholic Priests, here in our state in fact.  What???  I think this is one of the best kept secrets by the church. 

The young man asked “How could a Priest take care of a parishioner who called with an emergency at 1 o’clock in the morning take care of his family?”  It was very interesting to me to look at the faces in the room most of whom were women (there were also a couple of men) who work at some level for the church, or volunteered as the young men assisting the program were.  Someone spoke up and said what my heart and soul were shouting “You take care of your parishioner, then you go back home and to bed with your wife”.  I felt terribly guilty for a long time because I did not offer the same response, some months later I was able to speak again with  the young man.

After this experience, I found myself reading what I could turn up and talking to others about celibacy, married priests – and learned about how many priest have left the alter.  Once a Priest always a Priest, just as once a baptized Catholic, always a Catholic (even if you are practicing the Jewish faith).

I was invited one Sunday, some time after the program ended – to have lunch with some of the group participants who lived locally.  I did ask and brought along my elder gal who was my side kick on Sunday afternoons (with the exception of the retreat – too long and boring for her, she is in her late 80’s now).  Here, at lunch was Michael.  We as a group were able to talk more to him about his discernment and I encouraged him to get more facts before he leapt.  The leader of the program  seems so hot to push young fellows into becoming Priests.

Michael was surprised to learn that a Priest can and will be moved at the whim of a Bishop without their own choice.  He had the same parish priest for so many years (and being young) assumed it would be his “Home”.  He thought he could pick a local parish.  He “kind of” romanticized the idea of being a Priest.  I am still appalled and perhaps annoyed that the man, who knew better did not share the information with the young man.  We talked more about the married Priests and all (but that man) said there is no reason a Priest cannot be married other than it is their rule.

I have pointed out here, on my web-page that it is not biblical or the will of God to have a celibate clergy.

The last I knew Michael was seeing a young lady, I am not sure what he decided.  If he is at seminary, still contemplating a life as Priest or has moved on in other ways in his life.  I am however grateful that God answered my prayer and offered me an opportunity to sit and talk to Michael a little more, to ensure he would really contemplate any decision.

My next article will discuss some reasons Priests do leave the alter, including some information and quotes from them.  Very humble men.  I think it is important to look at and for the church to really consider these men – who chose to accept the gift of love God offered to them.  They should not have been brushed aside.  How the church knows this loss, knows they will loose more for the same reason is really on them.  Making remarks to married persons that it is our job to breed Priests…. well, that is how it tends to come across.

Let’s look at why the Priests leave next, quotes from former parishioners and all  – for those who are up for it, not for all.

Please use your judgement.

Reflections -The Power of God’s Promise

Grace, as defined here by St. Peter is the Divine power of God bestowed upon everything that makes for life and devotion, through knowledge of God himself. Our Christian life and ability to live that life to the fullest is through the gift of Grace from God, He shares His divine nature with us.


2Peter 1:2-7

Greeting.

1Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ:

2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.

4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge

6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,7 devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.


 

The more we seek Him, the closer to Him we are, and the further from sins of the world.

He aids us in this by helping us to supplement our faith with virtue (goodness).

With goodness we gain Knowledge (of Fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22-23) “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”

index

This knowledge compels us forward with the desire to learn more.

With our knowledge moderation/self-control so that we can bring order to unhealthy habits (my lack of menu and exercise schedule require self-control) temperance. The term, self-control can tend to scare some people off or make them concerned that make you think you can’t enjoy life. There is a difference between mindless eating or desiring a loving relationship keep your thoughts in check.  With moderation/self-control we gain endurance.

As our knowledge and faith in God grows deeper still, which naturally brings us to be more devout in our faith. Our devotion to God and one another, brings about mutual affection with love,  sometimes a more mutual love as that can be a progression of Gods gifts.

So here we learn how the Grace of God, is truly a blessing in the lives of Christians and how the fruits of the spirit work together in bring us to new a better places but for our asking, and at times His prodding.

With all things religious, we must work to gain knowledge of what is being taught. We may not agree with something today, that tomorrow a new light may be shed upon that will allow us to learn something new, see something new. Alternately – that can work in reverse. Somethings we think we know or understand, we in fact truly need to spend time on our knees and contemplate. It is both part of being human and a gift that we have knowledge and faith in God and he teaches all of us to grow.

Originally Published 2016

The Carpenters Son? Mary’s Son? ~ The Begotten One. (revised)

This mornings gospel reading from the book of Mark was a reminder to me of the differences in how things are interpreted and how those interpretations affect the lives of so many people following church leaders.

The divine office readings that I follow are from a free source that utilizes the Jerusalem Bible.

Here I read:

Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


In my morning email I receive the daily mass readings from the USCCB – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  It can be really interesting to see the difference between the two readings -but today’s are very clear.  They are almost exactly the same.


Mark 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.


Here in the book of Mark we learn Jesus was indeed a carpenter (and a Rabbi – husband? “Master” refer to previous writings, I will link back here when I have time). Do you see how  Jesus himself managed a working career (carpenter/craftsman) with being a Rabbi?  Most probably also a husband “Master”? 

Jesus was born a human.  This is referenced in scripture.  i.e. Jerusalem Bible (my divine office reading)  Acts 2:32  God raised this man Jesus to life,  Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law – to meet the conditions of the law, everything I have read indicates Jesus was born human.  We really, really have to look at the fact that that throughout the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we are all children of God.  Jesus was the “begotten” – “chosen” one.  This is one of those believable facts that tie into what I have written toward the end of this article.  These biblical facts are what teach people about Jesus, our Father, the Holy Spirit and salvation.  Pure, Simple.  No embellishments needed.  ~ This is how we bring others to God.

You have to be really open to looking at this and that is not easy for many.  We are raised, taught and indoctrinated with certain beliefs.  The Spirit will guide you to see truths.


St. John 14:15-21 The Advocate.

What does Jesus tell us here?

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth,which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 2Judas, not the Iscariot said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him,Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“will keep my word” > The Gospel

Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him > As Christians – we do!

The divine is within all.  Those of us who believe in and love Jesus will find It’s our job to find it, share it – and help it grow.


Reading the notes on the USCCB website for the New American Bible, Revised Edition version of the bible, we learn that this is the only Gospel that refers to Jesus as a carpenter.  Historically speaking it would make sense, He would have learned the trade from His earthly father Joseph.

“”* [6:3] Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have “the carpenter’s son,” as in Mt 13:55.”” (Footnote Mark 6:3)

If we compare this verse from St. Mark 6:3

“”Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.””

        …  to the same story in St. Mathew 13:55

St. Mathew 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

It seems to me that both verses state Jesus is a carpenter, St. Mark refers to Him as the son of Mary (a possible nod to Him being the son of God…?) but… in St. Mathew it is written as “the carpenter’s son” (Joseph), occupations handed down through generations.

Do we also learn that He had siblings?

Reading the notes on the USCCB website, further on we read;

“” The brother of James…Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v. 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5.   The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.“”

Researching the topic of Mary’s lifelong virginity (not something I grew up hearing as a Protestant, not something most Catholics I have spoken to know of – or believe) this was not a teaching early on but something written about over the years. 

*Note: some may not approve of my terminology i.e. “made love” but I feel it is important to drive home the teachings of marriage, love and family life.  I could say consummate, I could say intercourse – but a married couple?  Blessed by God? Make love.

There are stories written that are not biblical.  I have not put a lot of thought into why anyone felt Mary – a married woman would have to remain a virgin for life.  She was married – making love is a natural part of family life.  A gift from God.  If Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage (legally would have had to – no?) would that not make them more of an attainable role model for families?  He was the step-father of Jesus, why would they not have more children?  Why  would they not partake in marital love making?  Actually, isn’t that required in a sacramental marriage, as well as no contraception – but openness to receiving more children?

Perhaps those Catholics educated in a Catholic school system, indoctrinated (“teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically“) ?  know, and believe in her perpetual virginity.

I can’t say whether they believe it or not.  Considering my limited research on the belief of the Eucharist (now an article) being the body and blood of Jesus,  I am going to hazard a most (American Catholics) don’t believe it.

Why is important? 

Why am I daring discuss this? 

This is part of my view from the bottom up.  It is what I see, what I know and what I feel. 

People walk away from what they do not believe

The church has grown so complex people cannot even follow along.  Like an old fashioned game of “Operator” or “Telephone”.  That is not necessary.  That is very much is not in tune with the teachings of Jesus, is it?

Looking at things like this is important when one considers the decline in the Roman Catholic church and I believe Christianity as a whole. 

In this day and age, as I have previously noted people are able to read more easily, research, study and discern.

When we have the simplicity, the purity of the Holy Gospel and even the readings I have studied so far (a lot more to go) of St. Paul –  there are those that challenge the life of Jesus Christ.  That number multiples now, most especially among young adults and our youth because so much of what the church teaches takes those simple, pure – beautiful teachings and embellishes upon them. 

There was no need to all of the additional stories or sightings or personal visitations.  Why would there be?  We have been taught all we need to know in the bible.  Simple.  Pure.  Believable.

I have brought up in the past that Mother Mary’s parents – Sts Anne and Joaquin are not biblical.  They are not.  They are referred to as “Catholic legend” on the Catholics online website.  References are given to them being brought up in unauthenticated writings. 

There again is not reason to even hear of them but to further add ? credence to Mother Mary’s virtue because Catholic teaching teaches that Mary too was born of immaculate conception – meaning Mary was conceived and born to a virgin St. Anne.  That is the “Immaculate Conception” that was made dogma in the Roman Catholic church in 1854.  1854.  Yes.  Not all that long ago

Most Catholics I have spoken to think the Immaculate Conception was when Jesus was conceived.  Interesting, is it not – that Mary is still held in high esteem, requiring no additional story or background. 

Many Catholics believe Mary made love to her husband Joseph after the birth of Jesus.  His siblings are mentioned in the bible.  It seems many don’t know or believe an immaculate conception was necessary for her to be held in high esteem as the Mother of Jesus.

I was a Catholic for many years before I myself heard these teachings of Mary.  Many people today pray to Mary, though it is clearly written in the bible that Jesus Christ is the only intercessor with our Father.  Doesn’t that put a bit of a wedge between children of God and their father?  Why?  He is always with us – why try to hide that fact?  We do not need anyone to intervene for us.  He is our loving Father and He has time for each and every one of us.  He is Life.

If one steps back and looks at this – is it really that hard to see why people in this millennium walk away, no longer believing the teachings of the church?  To many, these teachings seem far fetched.  Over complicated.

 The teachings of Jesus –  simple, pure gospel of Jesus.

St John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, Whoever loves me will keep my word,

Here too, in this reading (both versions) Jesus is referring to His own house/home.  Something too often contested in the church – but Biblically correct.

Less is more.  Isn’t it? 

I understand it may be easy to look at what I have said and “write it off”.  You can’t.  Not really.  Not when it comes to being a true disciple of Jesus. 

One must seriously examine why people are leaving the church, many going to other Christian churches (maybe they are right?), though we know Christianity as a whole is shrinking.

Many are leaving religion all together. 

How many – are completely walking away from Jesus and our Father?

This isn’t just about good seeds or bad seeds – this is about replanting and fertilizer. 

Looking at things carefully is prudent and looking at ways to approach some of these things, openly has the possibility to retain, and draw children of God – to Him.

Santa Claus is a legend.  It seems even on Catholic websites there are teachings (more than one) that slips into that category.  Is this fixable?  Without saying “it’s a mystery” which is how my children were answered – as millions have been, when questioning teachings.

I don’t believe in a defeatist attitude, that is not godly.  However, many things need to start changing and they need to start changing today in order to save the church – and grow Christianity. This is about God.  Not ego’s, not Catholicism per say.  This is about the teachings of Jesus Christ – the reason we Christians, are Christian.  Standing back and looking at things, I can begin to see why other Christian denominations state – emphatically, that Catholics are not Christian.  We need brave clergy, Bishops to stand up and make changes.  I am not so sure a basically elderly, celibate clergy is going to emotionally and spiritually deal with the changes that need to be made in order to really stabilize and grow the church.  Painful words, with loving intention.  It is asking a tremendous amount from  men who have given up life that God never intended them to give up. It is in life experiences that we experience God.   It requires them to begin to live life in a new way, new eyes, new growing hearts, expanding souls – and living, earning real life experience.  It is asking a lot.

God first.  Always.  Living the Gospel.

 

Christ and His Commandments

The first section is a short Reading from this evenings divine office, I am adding in the first two verses

1John 2:1-2

1 My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

1 John 2:3-6

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, ‘I know him’, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
In the book of 1John we are reminded that Jesus is the intercessor, our advocate with our Father.  He has atoned for our sins – we can saygreatestcommandment “I know Him” but if we are not following His commandments, we are not honoring His gift on the Cross then we are liars.  We are to be obedient to our Father.  We are to to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, love our Father with all of our heart, mind and soul.  Love one another as ourselves.  Realizing I think, that we are one in Him. Carrying out our lives in this way, working for the good of all in God.

The Greatest Commandment

St. Mark 12:28-30

28One of the scribes,i when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

29 Jesus replied,“The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30bYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j

Turning ourselves over to God is a lot more than going to church on Sunday. It requires; patience, understanding, compassion, forgiveness and love – of ourselves. We are going to work through all of those emotions when we truly open our hearts and souls to God.

Jesus brings us to God – once we get there, it is our job to fully accept and allow God into our hearts, soul, mind and body. He is there now, inside of your being but for you to allow Him to grow. Nurture and Nourish your soul. Take some time to read about prayer and how to best go about it for yourself. Study your Bible.

St. Mark 12:31-34

31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

Do you love yourself? Do you think positive things about yourself, your intellect, appearance, actions?

Do you believe God loves you?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

God is part of us, as we are His children. The more we allow ourselves to grow in Him, the more He grows within our souls. Yes – we are walking around with God in us. Do you respect that?

When we love ourselves, we are loving God in part too. When we realize this we are better able to really love everyone that we encounter, not just our family or friends – we learn to be more patient in kind to the harried mom in front of us at the check out who’s baby is crying and two year old is pulling on her arm. Our love radiate can radiate out in a oneness with another. How would we like to be treated if dealing with crying kids? Smile at that mom, why not engage the two year old so mom can focus on the baby for a few minutes?

Or the new waiter at for favorite pizza place, its his first night and he spills water all over the table (and a bit on your leg)? Now he is scared of loosing a new job, after spilling water. Can you help the waiter clean up the spilled water and share a time when you made a mess with a glass (who – had – not?) – maybe slip him an extra dollar tip.

When your husband (wife) comes in late from work, on your anniversary with not so much as an “I Love You”, you feel crushed – right? Reach inside and pull out some of that good love and see how well that plays out for you. The husband who may be short on money, is short on time? Totally stressed about something (work? and ill parent?) that he did not have his focus on your marriage, but was a million miles away, would he really want to hurt you?

This one is more difficult, it really hurts to feel forgotten by your love.  Your spouse is deep in your heart and soul. Take a few minutes alone, perhaps in the bathroom (it works) and have a few minutes with our Father. Ask our Lord for help and guidance. How the evening plays out is in your hands. Give him some space, let him talk. Then maybe walk over and give HIM a big hug, tell him you love him as much today as you did 8 years ago when you married him. His may be rendered speechless, but he will feel that love and that is what life is all about.

Love God, love and nurture your relationship with him as well as everyone you touch.

Love another as you would love yourself.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness.

One simple word that can evoke a wide range of emotions, for both the “offender” and the “forgiver”.

Christians know we are required by God to forgive, or face God in our inability to extend forgiveness. (continued below)

From the Gospel reading:

Matthew 18:21-35

“Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.”
– Then Jesus told this Parable;

” ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’”

We all have times in which we find it difficult to forgive. What child wants to say “okay, I forgive you for breaking my favorite toy?” Right. Or, how about the husband to the wife “oh, geez, ummm you threw away my favorite sweat-shirt because it had a tear in the hem?” Yup. Those are the easy ones too, aren’t they?

What about the big things? The ones that tear you to your soul, leaving your heart wide open, bleeding? There are so many things that hurt us this way, a drunk driver causing a car accident that paralyzes your mother, backing into the driveway and accidentally running over napping Fido, who is old and deaf.  Spoken words that cut like a knife and wound your soul.

We all have things.

Every one of us.

They leave deep scars.

My own range from having a mother who didn’t want me, who had no trouble telling someone, with me just a few feet away that “I would have aborted her if it was legal”, she was emotionally detached from at least two of her three children. – My ex-husband who abused me emotionally, mentally and physically for many years, leaving scars both literal and figurative. What do you do with that?

Forgive. Jesus tells us to Forgive. My mother, was easiest. I cannot relate to her in any way shape or form. I pity her for the upbringing she had, her inability to bond or grasp what love is. I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, because there are times that it does hurt but – I have forgiven. I also have no contact with her any longer. Sometimes that decision must be made and my choice was very well thought out, including with the help of professionals. I’ve done my work.

My ex-husband? Not so much. Forgive him? What – are you kidding? I couldn’t even stand to realize the hell I had lived in for so long that I allowed myself and my kids to do (oh…. good timing here, forgiveness of self! – we cannot forget that). Well, I did learn to forgive him and it remains the most difficult act of forgiving that I have ever done. I prayed about it for quite a while (I mean months, maybe even a year or two). One day, someone suggested rather than pray how to forgive him, to pray for him. What a concept!

I did. I prayed for him. I wasn’t happy about that idea at all, why should I do something “good” for him anyway? At this point I was still terrified that he would find me one night and kill me, “stab you to death while laughing staring into your eyes, as I watched the life fade from them” (oh yes, he said that and a good deal of other things).

My love for Jesus Christ called me to forgive him, to pray for him, so I forced myself to overlook my self centered dislike, fright – and pray for him. He is the father of my sons and they to date are the biggest gift God has graced me with. I prayed. I cried and I prayed. I prayed – and one day, I smiled because I was able to let go and forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean you say the words to someone. In fact, I doubt I ever would even have to opportunity to do this with my mother or my ex-husband. In my heart and soul though, I forgive them. I feel sorry for them. They were both incapable of loving me as I should have been loved. In the ways most daughters are loved by their mothers and wives are loved and treasured by their husbands, people who love and protect them at all cost.

I never had fear of God’s wrath if I did not forgive these two people because my love for Him knew He understands my heart and how I was treated. In time my heart began to heal, it had to or I would allow those terrible emotions to follow me and into my own relationships for the rest of my life.

One thing I do know about myself. I am an awesome mom. I love my boys to the moon and back. I’ve loved other kids too, that’s what moms like me do. My kids love me very much, they come to me for an ear to listen, advice, love (to give and receive) and … they bring others to me. Always have. Always will. One day, by the grace of God, I may also have that loving relationship in my life, which I could not have, if I had not learned to forgive. My heart would have hardened and become bitter.

If there is someone who is or has been in your life that you need to forgive, pray for them. In time, you will be able to forgive – and – you will heal ♥ By the Grace of God.

Originally published 2016

A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion

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I really enjoy this portrayal of Jesus. Just a regular guy. A man of flesh and blood. He was born in a time long, long ago to loving parents here on earth, that nurtured and raised Him into the man who Loved God with all of His heart and Soul. Who was chosen by our Lord, God to save literally billions of human beings from themselves.

Jesus at the age of twelve, in Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary for the Passover festival, as an adolescent traveling with a large group was not missed for two or three days, when His parents realized Jesus was missing from the group they returned to Jerusalem. He stayed behind to be found in the temple studying with teachers.

Luke 2: 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*

Our Lord, God brought Jesus to us.  With Him, a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Jesus – brought our Loving Heavenly Father to us, and through Our Father we are  gifted with  the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you can take a few minutes to visualize what the life of Jesus may have been like, the parts we don’t read about. Regardless of your relationship status, you can relate. A young man? An older gentleman? Woman, teenage girl. Wife, grandparent, husband, single person. We all know children, young men, teenagers – men. Jesus was human. What was His unwritten/unseen life like? These details of His life on earth don’t seem necessary to His overall mission, which is in essence, to bring peace and goodness to the world, to bring others to our Heavenly Father. I think though, it is critical to realize Jesus was a man. His lessons are those we can all live by.

This may sound like an oversimplification, and religiously speaking, it really is, but that is the synopsis or perhaps Spark-note version.

I readily admit, I am reading, studying and learning more about the Holy Bible and Catholic teachings which do conflict (at times). I suppose that’s where the “Cafeteria Catholic” comes in. I read other (Catholic) religious and spiritual writings and I encourage everyone to take some time doing the same. Just as living through life physically is a journey, so must our spiritual self travel to learn and grow.

The following reading is from today’s Divine Office Reading 3/23/16.

Mid-morning reading 1 Timothy 2:4-6
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I do put a lot of thought into what I write. I do practice Lectio Divena. Roman Catholic Priest do act as mediators – which is against God? I had to return to this verse this morning.

His belief in our Lord, God the Father was so strong, He was so deeply filled with the Holy Spirit that He gave His life to bring us to Him. Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: greatestcommandment“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The price he paid for the sin, of billions of humans – was His life. I think, in a way as a mother considering the man child Jesus, the child, teenager, man – Jesus Christ and understanding that He really was just like you or I in human flesh, with wants, needs, desires. He had human relationships, but He was chosen by God; “John 3:1616For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

I will note, this is the first bible verse I memorized as a child. This version “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that he who believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” The background reading I have done on this reading/translation, has deeper meaning and value (to me) today than it did as a child. I have found this translations to mean spiritually more than the Catholic Bible translation, and more than the face value written in this paragraph.

I will reference this link What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son? (not Catholic, but I was researching something from my childhood), which in truth gives a much deeper meaning to the Jesus we all know and hear about. We know He was chosen, but having a better understanding of the original wording/translation puts so much more meaning (and “common sense”) into this phrase. No longer is Jesus, God’s only son, or only a son of God. He is the chosen one, chosen by God, and as we know we are all children of God.

Jesus was God‘s begotten one. His unique human child with Holy Spirit on earth, brought forward for the purpose to bring us to Him. Upon the Crucifixion and resurrection we see the Trinity in full, God the Father, God the Son together in the Holy Spirit.

(4/29/16) In a recent Mass, an elderly Priest was rather upset. He insisted that Jesus WAS God. There are various readings in the bible too that refer to Jesus as human in form on earth prior to the resurrection.

(5/9/17) 1Peter 3:18  “18For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.g”

* [3:18] Suffered: very many ancient manuscripts and versions read “died.” Put to death in the flesh: affirms that Jesus truly died as a human being. Brought to life in the spirit: that is, in the new and transformed existence freed from the limitations and weaknesses of natural human life (cf. 1 Cor 15:45).  NAB (USCCB)

Today (4.29.16) DO Readings include:


Mid-morning reading (Terce)Acts 2:32,36

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.

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