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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DEPRESSION

Depression is a disease that afflicts most people on earth sooner or later. It is a combination of feelings comprised of hopelessness, abandonment, confusion, brain-pain, and sorrow. There is also the feeling that one is out of sync with everyone else on the planet who seem to all be enjoying themselves. And finally there is the feeling that this depression will never end, so then death becomes preferable to life. This is why people commit suicide.

Depression is usually triggered by a significant life event, like the death of a loved one, a financial crisis, or when a spouse or significant other suddenly leaves you high and dry for another person. Or it can be a gradual thing, where you keep plugging away at life and feel like no one appreciates you or the sacrifices you make for them.

A life of serious sin can also cause depression, because there is always a huge payback from satan for every ounce of pleasure that one derives from sin. Committing serious sin over and over again is like running up a huge debt on your credit card; eventually, it has to be paid back, even if your sin is forgiven in the confessional (see Indulgences). In the author's case, the going rate for payback was about 10 pounds of pain for every ounce of pleasure!

Some of the clues that someone is in severe depression are when there is an unusual negative change of personality, loss of appetite, not caring about things that used to delight them, giving personal items away to others, crying spells, excessive sick leave from work, not joining in conversations, inability to start and/or complete simple tasks, not wanting to be seen in public, etc.

The first thing one should do when depression hits is to get professional counseling, fast. Talking it out with others also helps. A professional may prescribe medication as well.

But there is also a spiritual side to depression as well. The human is a combination of mind, body, AND spirit, with all 3 being interconnected somehow. The truly wise person will attack depression from a biblical standpoint as well.

Jesus said:
"My soul is sorrowful, even unto death…" He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. (Matthew 26:38; Luke 22:44)
So just know that Jesus went through this as well, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knows exactly what it feels like, so when you go through this agony of depression, you can unite your suffering to that of His, and that is a good thing.

Why does this happen? No one knows for sure, but since we know that God is our loving Father and is always looking out for our best LONG-TERM interests (heaven, that is), then we have to assume that this short term pain here on earth is for our long term gain in heaven. Sometimes, in order to get into our heart, He has to break it first, due to our pride and our self-love. And even though it hurts like hell, there is a silver lining to suffering depression:

In the Old Testament, God said:

"This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and broken man who trembles at my word… the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains." (Isaiah 66:2; Psalm 69:34).

It would seem from the above verse that one’s prayers become more efficacious when one is suffering greatly. After all, the prayer of the good thief on the cross was heard and answered right away by Jesus.

Jesus says in
Matthew 10:38 “and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Now this doesn’t mean that we should impale ourselves on another cross like they do in the Phillipines during Lent; rather, it means we have to suffer in this life for the Kingdom.

Paul even says in
Colossians 1:24: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
So Paul says that his suffering is for the sake of the body of Christ, the church. Those who choose to follow Jesus are only fooling themselves if they think that following Christ leads to health, wealth, and happiness in this life; rather it leads to eternal bliss in heaven AFTER this life is over. Saints live austere lives, doing for others, as suffering servants of Christ – They don’t live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

And we also have this from the Word of God, from Sirach 30:21-25:
"Do not give yourself over to sorrow, and do not afflict yourself deliberately. Gladness of heart is the life of man, and the rejoicing of a man is length of days. Delight your soul and comfort your heart, and remove sorrow far from you, for sorrow has destroyed many, and there is no profit in it. Jealousy and anger shorten life, and anxiety brings on old age too soon. A man of cheerful and good heart will give heed to the food he eats."
So we see here that sorrow has destroyed a lot of people over the ages, and anxiety causes old age to happen faster than it normally would. And the kind of food one eats is also important.

Some of the saints have addressed this issue as well. The Blessed Mother told Bernadette at Lourdes that she would never be happy in this life, only in the next. St. Bartolo Longo was a satanist who suffered mind delusions as a result. When he finally got his act together, he started to promote the Holy Rosary every chance he got, and was eventually saved. St. John of the Cross wrote about the Dark Night of the Soul, where spiritual dryness during prayer and doubts about one’s salvation happen. He said that this is very common to the saints, because it is the Lord’s way of drawing them closer to him.

After all, it’s easy to love someone when you get lots of good feelings and help from them; it’s quite harder to love someone when you don’t. But that’s the real test of love, isn’t it? Sacrificial love is sacrificing yourself for someone when they don’t appreciate you or you don’t feel anything emotionally from them. And that is EXACTLY what Jesus felt on the cross – He sacrificed Himself mightily for us, who, for the most part, don’t appreciate it in the way we should.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (Psalm 51:19)
Even the Holy Blessed Mother Teresa went through this dark night of the soul, for about 50 years as a matter of fact –
The place of God in my soul is blank. There is no God in me. When the pain of longing is so great—I just long & long for God… and then it is that I feel He does not want me—He is not there—God does not want me.” Mother Teresa
And last, but certainly not least, we have this gem concerning depression from St. Faustina’s Diary (the Divine Mercy Diary):
Once, a certain priest (Father Sopocko) asked me to pray for him. I promised to pray, and asked for a mortification. When I received permission for a certain mortification, I felt a great desire to give up all the graces that God's goodness would intend for me that day in favor of that priest, and I asked the Lord Jesus to deign to bestow on me all the sufferings and afflictions, both exterior and spiritual, that the priest would have had to suffer during that day.

God partially answered my request and, at once, all sorts of difficulties and adversities sprang up out of nowhere, so much so that one of the sisters remarked out loud that the Lord Jesus must have a hand in this because everyone was trying Sister Faustina. The charges made were so groundless that what some sisters put forward, others denied, while I offered all this in silence on behalf of the priest.

But that was not all; I began to experience interior sufferings. First, I was seized by depression and aversion towards the sisters, then a kind of uncertainty began to trouble me. I could not recollect myself during prayer, and various things would take hold of my mind. When, tired out, I entered the chapel, a strange pain seized my soul, and I began to weep softly
.
Then I heard in my soul a voice, saying,

“My daughter, why are you weeping? After all, you yourself offered to undertake these sufferings. Know that what you have taken upon yourself for that soul is only a small portion. He is suffering much more.” And I asked the Lord, "Why are You treating him like that?" The Lord answered me that it was for the triple crown meant for him: that of virginity, the priesthood and martyrdom. At that moment, a great joy flooded my soul at the sight of the great glory that is going to be his in heaven. Right away I said the Te Deum for this special grace of God; namely, of learning how God treats those He intends to have close to himself. Thus, all sufferings are nothing in comparison with what awaits us in heaven.
Here we see from St. Faustina that her depression was a share in the good Father’s suffering, and that the glory awaiting the priest in heaven far outweighed any suffering here on earth.

So what should one do if depressed? Get professional counseling. Take prescribed medication if needed. Talk it out with trusted friends. Start exercising regularly.

One great suggestion from Father Corapi is to repeat the words at the bottom of the Divine Mercy picture of Jesus:

JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU

And repeat that phrase over and over and over again. The sacred name of Jesus (God Saves) has great healing power. And besides that, if you are under spiritual attack, the enemy will flee at the sound of the name of Jesus.

There is also a biblical method of healing that God gives us as well.

And totally commit your life to Jesus Christ AND His Church – Go to confession frequently, go to daily Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as possible, say your rosary every day, keep blessed objects and holy water in your house, wear a blessed Miraculous Medal around your neck, go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular frequent schedule, READ YOUR BIBLE and study it the Catholic way, start helping out the less fortunate with your time, talent, and treasure, and STOP SINNING as much as possible.

Sin invites the devil into your life, and gives him a foothold over your future. And once he has that foothold, he is like Velcro – He sticks around and is hard to get rid of. The devil’s compensation for sin is depression, because he knows this leads to suicide. So get with the program, and use this time in your life….for your life!

13 comments:

Tortoise said...

Jesus Is in the Darkness with You

You may discover that the shadows and tempests of depression alter the way you look at God and the way you believe God looks at you. When you pray you may be unable to sit still or to keep your mind focused for more than a few moments.

Everything may appear to be a huge gaping hole of silence, all so useless. God may seem to be mocking your attempts to pray. I know people who have gone three, five, ten years without "praying," though they were faithful to setting time aside for prayer regardless of its seeming uselessness.

In the haunting darkness where all communication had gone silent, they found loneliness, boredom, frustration, anger. Were they praying? Yes.

Mrs. A said...

This was very good, timely, and insightful. It struck a chord with me.

I have had depressions longing for death in the past. I asked Jesus for help and He helped me.

I just don't handle well when I have to serve people who don't appreciate me. I shudder at the idea and I avoid working for them as much as possible. I still help when they need it though. But, I don't believe enabling them to walk all over me in unthankfulness is beneficial for them or the Kingdom or for me. It stirs me to rage & even hatred. Even Jesus sometimes hid from some people.

When that happens I pray and ask God to hide me and remove those feelings. Sometimes I have to ask one of the Pastors or the prayer team to pray too.

On many occasion now, when life overwhelms me I imagine myself in Heaven already and feel I am there at Jesus feet or singing praises in his heavenly choir or resting under His warm, loving, presence(Colosians3:2,3).

St John's wart and eating right and exercise and proper sleep helps me too.

Anonymous said...

Prayer against Depression

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.


by Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Mrs. A said...

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."(2Cor.7:10)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". (Psalms139:23,24)

Michael Gormley said...

3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. (Isaiah 53: 3-4)

Mrs. A said...

I want to cry so bad but I can't. I need to. There is nowhere to cry.

Mrs. A said...

Phillipians 2:5-13

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.


See that verse 13 is important because that's where we misunderstand each other allot I think.

It is God that helps Christians to do the things we should.

Michael Gormley said...

See that verse 13 is important because that's where we misunderstand each other allot I think.

In what respect, Mrs A?

Mrs. A said...

Some people have made it sound like you guys don't really believe grace is a free gift. I can't really explain good I'm tired. You know what people say. Is it true you guys try to still deserve it when he gives it freely?

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Mrs A,

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED

To be saved, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

However, that's not all. Sacred Scripture clearly shows other things you must also do to be saved:

You must endure to the end. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13.

You must accept the Cross (suffering). Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.

You must be baptized with water. Mark 16:16, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:20-21.

You must be a member in God's true church. Acts 2:47.

You must confess your sins. James 5:16, I John 1:9.

You must keep the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:19-20, Matthew 7:21.

You must heed the words of St. Peter, the first Pope. Acts 11:13-14, Acts 15:7.

You must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. John 6:51-58, I Corinthians 10:16, I Corinthians 11:23-29.

Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. CCC 1996, John 1:12-18, John 17:3, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The only Church that meets all the requirements of Salvation is the Holy Catholic Church.

Mrs. A said...

I heard that Jesus was speaking only to the Jews in the four gospels. The Jews wanted to know how they could have eternal life - before the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I didn't think that Jesus's strict rules were necessarily for us gentiles because we were going to be saved by Jesus's righteous life, as well as any Christian Jews.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I did study your "What you must do to be saved" out today and underlined all the scriptures here in my Bible. I did feel something unusual in my spirit as I read it??? It was like adrenaline.

Michael Gormley said...

I did feel something unusual in my spirit as I read it??? It was like adrenaline.

Keep up the "good work," Mrs A; don't be twarted by 8the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:8-11)

Mrs. A said...

Thanks :)