Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

THE IDEOLOGY OF JESUS

by Rich A. Rosendahl.

We all submit to social norms — some are helpful, some are unhelpful and even hateful.

Often, the social norms we adhere to are rooted in ideologies that have developed over time and are connected to an affinity group that we may be part of.

In other words, we are following them because people like us follow them.

For example, I am a white guy who grew up in a small town in the Midwest with a culturally Christian and conservative background.

These are just a couple of examples of potential attributes from my formative years that could affect the affinity group and subsequent social norms that I adhere to for the balance of my life.

Jesus, on the other hand, seemed to have zero concern for social norms or ideologies of those who he was supposed to be like — his affinity group. When he went against these norms he was often challenged or ridiculed and eventually even killed for his approach and ideology.

But none of that stopped him from having what sometimes seemed like a big F*** You attitude when people tried to pressure him to conform to their social norms.

So what was this ideology of his? It was the ideology of Love.
To this day, we fight the concept of Loving others, often to the death. Our affinity groups lead toward division, mistrust, and misunderstanding. While we are busy trying to conform to the social norms that make us part of our group, even if unintentionally, others are doing the same.

This creates gaps between us and others that sometimes seem insurmountable, because Loving others feels like a rejection of our own affinity group.

But the ideology of Love — the ideology of Jesus — rejects and resists the pressure to conform to social norms and affinity groups altogether by revealing the humanity that we share, the friendships that are accessible, and the remarkable things we can achieve together.

The ideology of Jesus makes room for us to be unique, including the helpful social norms we adhere to, even as it removes the need to feel threatened or fearful of the those who are uniquely different than us.

Right now, there seems to be a hell-of-a-lot of influential religious and political leaders jockeying for us to follow their ideologies — often trying to leverage what should be our affinity group to pressure us into the social norms that fit their agenda.

In the midst of all of this, I am reminded that there was a leader that came before all of them who rejected these concepts altogether, showing us how to do the same and revealing the ideology of Love.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

SADNESS

Of Sadness and Sorrow.

S. Paul says that "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (1) So we see that sorrow may be good or bad according to the several results it produces in us.

And indeed there are more bad than good results arising from it, for the only good ones are mercy and repentance; whereas there are six evil results, namely, anguish, sloth, indignation, jealousy, envy and impatience.

The Wise Man says that "sorrow hath killed many, and there is no profit therein," (2) and that because for the two good streams which flow from the spring of sadness, there are these six which are downright evil.

The Enemy makes use of sadness to try good men with his temptations:--just as he tries to make bad men merry in their sin, so he seeks to make the good sorrowful amid their works of piety; and while making sin attractive so as to draw men to it, he strives to turn them from holiness by making it disagreeable. The Evil One delights in sadness and melancholy, because they are his own characteristics. He will be in sadness and sorrow through all Eternity, and he would fain have all others the same.
The "sorrow of the world" disturbs the heart, plunges it into anxiety, stirs up unreasonable fears, disgusts it with prayer, overwhelms and stupefies the brain, deprives the soul of wisdom, judgment, resolution and courage, weakening all its powers; in a word, it is like a hard winter, blasting all the earth's beauty, and numbing all animal life; for it deprives the soul of sweetness and power in every faculty.

Should you, my daughter, ever be attacked by this evil spirit of sadness, make use of the following remedies. "Is any among you afflicted?" says S. James, "let him pray." (3) Prayer is a sovereign remedy, it lifts the mind to God, Who is our only Joy and Consolation.

But when you pray let your words and affections, whether interior or exterior, all tend to love and trust in God. "O God of Mercy, most Loving Lord, Sweet Savior, Lord of my heart, my Joy, my Hope, my Beloved, my Bridegroom."

Vigorously resist all tendencies to melancholy, and although all you do may seem to be done coldly, wearily and indifferently, do not give in. The Enemy strives to make us languid in doing good by depression, but when he sees that we do not cease our efforts to work, and that those efforts become all the more earnest by reason of their being made in resistance to him, he leaves off troubling us.

Make use of hymns and spiritual songs; they have often frustrated the Evil One in his operations, as was the case when the evil spirit which possessed Saul was driven forth by music and psalmody.

It is well also to occupy yourself in external works, and that with as much variety as may lead us to divert the mind from the subject which oppresses it, and to cheer and kindle it, for depression generally makes us dry and cold.

Use external acts of fervor, even though they are tasteless at the time; embrace your crucifix, clasp it to your breast, kiss the Feet and Hands of your Dear Lord, raise hands and eyes to Heaven, and cry out to God in loving, trustful ejaculations: "My Beloved is mine, and I am His. (4)

A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved, He shall lie within my breast. Mine eyes long sore for Thy Word, O when wilt Thou comfort me! (5) O Jesus, be Thou my Savior, and my soul shall live. Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ?" (6) etc.

Moderate bodily discipline is useful in resisting depression, because it rouses the mind from dwelling on itself; and frequent Communion is specially valuable; the Bread of Life strengthens the heart and gladdens the spirits.

Lay bare all the feelings, thoughts and longings which are the result of your depression to your confessor or director, in all humility and faithfulness; seek the society of spiritually-minded people, and frequent such as far as possible while you are suffering.

And, finally, resign yourself into God's Hands, endeavoring to bear this harassing depression patiently, as a just punishment for past idle mirth. Above all, never doubt but that, after He has tried you sufficiently, God will deliver you from the trial.

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1. 2 Cor. vii. 10.

2. "Multos enim occidit tristitia, et non est utilitas in illa." Ecclus. xxx. 25.

3. S. James v. 13.

4. Cant. ii. 16.

5. Ps. cxix. 82.

6. Rom. viii 35.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

THE AMAZING POWER OF GRATITUDE IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:18

Saint Ignatius of Loyola makes the following powerful and evocative statements about the harm lack of gratitude causes in the spiritual life. He says:

“It seems to me, in light of the divine Goodness, …that ingratitude is one of the things most worthy of detestation before our Creator and Lord, and before all creatures capable of divine and everlasting glory, out of all the evil and sins which can be imagined.

For it is the failure to recognize the good things, the graces, and the gifts received. As such, it is the cause, beginning, and origin of all evil and sins” (cited and referenced in Consoling the Heart of Jesus, page 421).

Another Saint and Doctor of the Church, Therese of Lisieux, has this to say about gratitude:

“What most attracts God’s grace is gratitude, because if we thank him for a gift, he is touched and hastens to give us ten more, and if we thank him again with the same enthusiasm, what an incalculable multiplication of graces! I have experienced this; try it yourself and you will see! My gratitude for everything he gives me is limitless, and I prove it to him in a thousand ways” (The Way of Trust And Love, p.111)
As Father Timothy Gallagher explains, Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s basic attitude toward God was one of deep gratitude. “For Ignatius then, the consciously chosen remembrance of God’s gifts is not just a moment in a spiritual day or simply a devout practice…. It is the heart itself of the way he understands God and relates to God.

The only God he ever knew from the first moment of his conversion was the God who constantly bestows gifts of grace upon us, revealing through these gifts the infinite love with which we are loved” (The Examen Prayer, p.58).

Here is a beautiful quote from one of Saint Ignatius’ early disciples (Father Diego Lainez, S.J.) which touches upon Saint Ignatius’ profound gratitude for God and His creation:

“At night Ignatius would go up on the roof of the house, with the sky there up above him. He would sit quietly, absolutely quietly. He would take his hat off and look up for a long time at the sky.

Then he would fall to his knees, bowing profoundly to God….And the tears would begin to flow down his cheeks like a stream….” (The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, page 17).

Saint Ignatius (pictured below), truly one of the great masters of the spiritual life, recommends that we end each day with a prayer of thanksgiving to God in gratitude for the gifts and graces we have received from God throughout the day. This can be done in a very simple, two-step process (perhaps as you are lying in bed to go to sleep):

1. Close your eyes and become aware of the love with which God is looking upon you. Do this for a minute or two to place yourself in the presence of God (Gallagher, p.25).

2. In your mind review your day and note the gifts and graces God has given you, and give profound thanks to God for them (Gallagher, p. 25).

Here then, with this “Examen” prayer, you are ending your day on a very profound note of gratitude to God. Father Jacques Philippe says this about gratitude: “Here we touch on… one of the secrets of the spiritual life that also is one of the laws of happiness.

The more we cultivate gratitude and thanksgiving, the more open our hearts are to God’s action, so that we can receive life from God and be transformed and enlarged. By contrast, if we bury ourselves in discontent, permanent dissatisfaction, then our hearts close themselves insidiously against life, against

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

Monday, June 26, 2017

WHY DO PROTESTANTS ATTACK JESUS CHRIST

Why do Non-Non-Catholic Christians Attack Jesus?

And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Now Jesus did say Church and not churches didn't He? So He founded a single Church and none other, right? And what about the gates of hell not prevailing against it? That means His Church will last to the end of the world, doesn't it?
Matthew 28:19-20, "Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

Hmmm, this is a second time that Jesus said His Church would last forever and He would be with it every day in every century until the end of time. He said that around 2000 years ago so it is obvious that His ONE and ONLY Church is still with us today. Remember, that was His promise.

Many Protestants have told me that the Catholic Church fell into apostasy at some unknown time after the last Apostle died and of course they can never tell me when, or provide me with a genuine historical document of proof. So what they really said to me is that Jesus was a liar for His promises of His perpetual Church.

1John 5:10, "He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son."

Jesus would never lie to us, He couldn't. Remember, He IS God and God cannot lie. However protestants can. Just start counting their lies in this page.

Please note that when I use the word 'protestant' from this point on, I refer to all who call themselves 'Christian' but are not in the one Church that Jesus Christ founded in about 29-30 A.D..

Hebrews 6:18, "That by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, we who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us." This is more biblical proof that Jesus Christ could not lie.

Acts 5:38-39, "And now, therefore, I say to you: Refrain from these men and let them alone. FOR IF THIS COUNCIL OR THIS WORK BE OF MEN, IT WILL COME TO NAUGHT: BUT IF IT BE OF GOD, YOU CANNOT OVERTHROW IT, LEST PERHAPS YOU BE FOUND EVEN TO FIGHT AGAINST GOD. And they consented to him."

WOW! Those two verses fit protestantism to a 'T'. They have been trying to overthrow the Catholic Church for almost 500 years, from 1520 when Martin Luther broke from the Catholic Church and formed the first protestant denomination, and right to this day.

Oh and by the way read all you can about Luther and you will find in 1520 and many years before and after that time, the Catholic Church was mentioned by name many times. So it was still here in Luthers time almost 1500 years after it was founded by Jesus Christ.

The Body of Christ:

Gee whiz look at these verses:

Ephesians 1:22-23 "and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, WHICH IS HIS BODY, the fullness of him who fills all in all."

So the Church that Jesus Christ founded that will last forever is really and truly His Body. Do Protestants believe those verses? Apparently not since they are always attacking His body, His one and only Catholic Church.

Did you ever think of how many people who attack the Body of Christ will be taken to Heaven? Read on for much more that proves that it is the Catholic Church that is the Body of Christ and NONE OTHER.

Judaism:

John 4:7-9, "There came a woman of Samar'ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar'ia? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans."

Jesus was a Jew, right?

Judaism had only one temple for all and it was located in Jerusalem, so many Jews had to travel long distances to worship there.

Long distances in those days could be 70 miles or more, a hardship for the Jews but they did it. Things changed drastically for that situation since Jesus established a world wide 'universal' Church.

The Universal Church:

Acts 1:7-8, He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Local) and in all Judea and Sama'ria (Expanding out) and to the end of the earth (World Wide, 'Universal')."

There you have it. His Church is not confined to one city where the people had to go long distances to worship. Instead He is bringing His Church to the people all over the whole world in time, making it 'Universal'.

Acts 9:31, "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Sama'ria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied."

So His Church, now being built up as it is spreading out, had a second person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit comforting it. Did you notice in the first three words of that verse it says 'So THE church', singular?

Take a look at Revelation chapters 2 and 3. All of those churches listed are examples of the expansion made by the Apostles and their followers of the one Church that Jesus Christ founded. They had gone long distances establishing more Churches farther away towards becoming 'Universal'.

THOSE CHURCHES ARE NOT PROTESTANT CHURCHES AS PROTESTANTS WOULD LIKE US TO BELIEVE. The word protest-ant did not even come into being until 1529, about 1500 years after the Catholic Church was founded.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

THE GOOD LIFE

by Monsignor Charles Murphy

The question of defining more accurately what the good life is has become especially acute. In her helpful book, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline in Leisure, Juliet Schor documents how American households find themselves locked into an insidious cycle of work and spend.

Households go into debt to buy products they do not need and then work longer than they want in order to keep up with the payments. She makes the telling observation that "shopping is the chief cultural activity in the United States."

In 2005 the University of California, Los Angeles, published the results of a four-year study on how the modern American family lives. It disclosed four disturbing trends: loss of frequent, significant contact among family members, less and less unstructured time, mounting clutter in the home and constant flux in daily activity.

Regarding the ever-increasing amounts of clutter, the study observed that the typical American family owns more than most Egyptian pharaohs in their heyday. The world has never seen consumption like this on such a scale.

The good life should allow people to work at things that are personally satisfying and expressive of themselves. In his encyclical on the subject, Laborum Exercens, Pope John Paul calls this the "subjective" value of work. The good life should include also a certain leisure for, as Josef Pieper wrote, leisure is the basis of human culture.

There should be opportunities to contribute to the common good as well as to pursue personal happiness. There should be time for family and friends, for worship and prayer. There also should be a certain asceticism to include a rediscovery of the benefits of fasting.

Fasting is part of the Gospel. It helps us to focus on the nourishment that can only come from God. It encourages good health and enhances our enjoyment of the good things of life, freeing us from a certain deadness in spirit.

A re-emphasis on fasting may not only put us in touch again with a gospel ideal but also increase our ecological awareness as we sparingly use scarce earthly resources. Fasting in the modern world can have a strong social justice meaning.

It is becoming increasingly clear that our obsession with the automobile and our over-dependence upon limited world oil resources is fostering great political and economic instabilities throughout the globe. Increased energy efficiency and less energy gluttony must become part of our public policy for global survival.

Thomas Merton in his Thoughts in Solitude raises the specter of the desertification of life on this planet. The desert, he writes, once was a privileged place for the encounter with God because there humanity could find nothing to exploit.

"Yet look at deserts today. What are they?" He says they have become testing grounds for bombs as well as the locations for glittering towns "through whose veins money runs like artificial blood." "The desert moves everywhere. Everywhere is desert," Merton concludes.

Pope Benedict XVI in the homily given at his Mass on inauguration as pope also raised the spectre of the deserts that are growing on the planet, deserts that are both spiritual and material.

The pope said that is cannot be a matter of unconcern that so many of our contemporaries are living in the desert. "There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment...

These external deserts are growing", he asserted, "because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth's treasures no longer serve to build God's garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction".

Monsignor Charles Murphy P.A., S.T.D., serves as director of the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, Former rector of the North American College, Vatican City. He is the author of several books including At Home on Earth: Foundations for a Catholic Ethic of the Environment (New York: Crossroad, 1989).