Tuesday, June 2, 2020

What does apostolic mean for the common person

We are going to cover three areas what it means to be a Christian as common person or is a more fancier the "laity".

  • Apostleship
  • Vocation
  • Action in the secular world

Apostleship can refer to different meanings such as an holding a position but for most part refers to “one sent”. What are we sent to do? According to “Apostolicam Actuositatem” from Second Vatican Council, its the duty of teaching, sanctifying and mission. Of course the successors of the Apostles which are the bishops and through his ordained priests and other clergy do have a primary role in this but laity are not excluded.
Before we can “be sent” we need to have that relationship and understanding of who are being sent from and that is discipleship or first being a disciple. A disciple is a key mandate from Jesus. The Greek word for disciple is “mathetes” which came from “manthanein” meaning to learn. The English word comes from latin word “discipulus” which is defined that learning is a process. So with both of these meanings combined and if we are true followers of Christ, we are committed to a lifelong process of learning more about God.
Once we are committed to this process of learning more, it is then we can serve our Lord Jesus Kingdom which is the Holy Catholic Church; that is to be sent and go out to share what we continue to learn more about God. Keep in mind we are not just talking about theology or brainy stuff, we are talking about also relationship, as stated from Second Vatican:
Since Christ, sent by the Father, is the source and origin of the whole apostolate of the Church, the success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity's living union with Christ, in keeping with the Lord's words, "He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is nourished by spiritual aids which are common to all the faithful, especially active participation in the sacred liturgy.(5) These are to be used by the laity in such a way that while correctly fulfilling their secular duties in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate union with Christ from their life but rather performing their work according to God's will they grow in that union. In this way the laity must make progress in holiness in a happy and ready spirit, trying prudently and patiently to overcome difficulties.(6) Neither family concerns nor other secular affairs should be irrelevant to their spiritual life, in keeping with the words of the Apostle, "What-ever you do in word or work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17).
So in other words, “talk the talk...walk the walk”. It is important that our relationship with God is through prayer and keeping up with “faith, hope and charity”. It is then we can truly practice apostleship in a glorified way and for God's will , and not for our glory or our will. So through the church, there are many apostleship activities and Legion of Mary is one of these ways where we go out to evangelize and conservation of saving souls through door to door, bible studies, leading in prayer, faith formation, and youth groups, etc.

Vocation also can mean different things but basically it's utilizing our gifts or talents that is given to each of us so to lead us to a specific purpose in life. That purpose links to the two greatest commandments Jesus reminded and taught us “Love our God with all my heart, soul and mind and love my neighbor as myself”. So in following these commandments we strive for holiness and mission to others in this world.
The Second Vatican also states: For the Christian vocation by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate. No part of the structure of a living body is merely passive but has a share in the functions as well as life of the body: so, too, in the body of Christ, which is the Church, "the whole body . . . in keeping with the proper activity of each part, derives its increase from its own internal development" (Eph. 4:16).

So for us what does this means. As St. Paul noted in 1 Corithians 12:5-7”There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;there are different forms of service but the same Lord;there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. “ .
So vocations can be different for everyone and also be layered but the same goal, love and serve God. For example a person can follow the vocation of marriage by keeping the marriage bond and within that marriage their vocation is having a large family, raise children as disciples of God and good citizens as a “domestic church” or their could be a married couple unable to have children but utilize their love and service to the church and others with more charity as their vocation. Same is with a single person deciding to be a priest or nun but within their vocation of celibacy they can serve a parish, serve the poor, teach or be a missionary as their sub vocation. All act differently in some way but have the same nature, similar to how the Trinity is.

Action in the secular is fairly simple, it's just simply “doing” or “fulfilling” what was noted earlier in terms of apostleship and vocation. However, it's doing it in a environment that is outside our box. It's one thing and fulfilling your apostleship and vocation with a parish, it's another to do say in your work place, school, grocery store, and other secular public events. It's a challenge and takes grace, which is why we can't do it alone and why we need to go to mass weekly on Sunday, where we are feed with the Word of God and the Eucharist, and then follow the priest or deacons words end of the mass “go forth or go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”.

Actually all of these points are documented in detail and fairly clear to understand from Second Vatican Council document, just google “Apostolicam Actuositatem” which is “Decree of Apostolate of the Laity” . Keep in mind Frank Duff was one of the few laity to be an observer in Second Vatican Council.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A fool for God

Been a while since last post, however, since recently coming out of contemplative retreat over the weekend. I have come to realize I need to a more of a fool for God then trying to be this person I'm not meant to be. 

When reading and reflecting some books I read during that retreat, one from a Jesuit priest about 5 spiritual pillars and the other from St. Therese the little child; it's been revealed to me by being more little and excepting the weaknesses I have, only then I can reach by grace of God the highest desire, and some how sustain or jump back and forth to be in that level of love and follow the beatitudes.

I know it will be a battle, and just looking out how KD got injured recently during latest NBA final's game, can't help to wonder how a player like KD took the risk to play for rest of the team and then went down hard as he did, not knowing now what his future playing days could be. I hope and pray his injury is not a serious one, but the whole point is when you risk putting it on the line, it can be hard and suffering involved.

Eventually their will be consolation and then you see how God can touch you during those tough moments, and only then God will know your heart and bring you in more to him and give you that healing.

Lord, may I also put it all on the line for you, may I risk my own ego desires to instead be a fool for you.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Grace is a gift from God

It's stated in CCC  grace is a habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love

There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying and actual.  Sanctifying grace stays in our soul and what make the soul holy and supernatural life.   

Actual grace is like a supernatural push or encouragement and does not live in the soul.  

Both of these helps us to elevate you above your regular nature, otherwise our souls are in its natural state which isn't by default not fit for heaven. Grace elevates nature , our intellects are given new power of faith.

This is why  supernatural life is also referenced sanctifying grace because we need it to get to heaven, and if our soul have sanctifying grace we will go to heaven unless we need to purify ourselves  in purgatory first.  

If it does not dwell in our soul due to mortal sin, then we are dead spiritually. Mortal means death and mortal sins kill of our supernatural life, so sin is like saying "No" to God and sanctifying grace is saying "Yes" to God. If we physically die from earth with no grace, we are forever separated from God which is hell, which is only caused by us to be that way.

God keeps giving you divine pulses or pushes along the way in our life, such as using the sacrament of penance ore reconciliation while venial sins weaken us to eventually fall to mortal sin, however venial sin does nto destroy our supernatural life itself.

To regain supernatural life, you have to receive actual graces from God, think of them as helping graces, actual graces enable the soul to perform a supernatural act.

Our protestant brothers deny this because since sanctifying grace implies a real transformation of the soul, they deny real transformation takes place.  They believe God doesn't actually  wipe away our sins or our souls become spotless and holy in themselves, but instead remain corrupted, sinful and that God throws a cloak over them and then treat it spotless, while knowing all the while they're not.

As Catholics we believe our souls really are cleansed by infusion of supernatural life.  St. Paul speaks of thsi from 2 Cor 5:17 about "a new creation, then noted in Eph 4:24 "created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness"

Protestants also have a misunderstanding of Justification as it is only a forensic or legal declaration by God that the sinner is now justified, meaning your soul is in the same state as it was before but eligible for heaven. This is legal fiction because how can God say you are justified knowing you a sinner in not really justified but only under the cloak of Christ righteousness. 

So when God declares you justified , he make you justified. Any justification that is not woven together with sanctification is no justification at all.

The Bible teaches on justification when Paul indicates that there is real transformation that occurs in justification and that is not just a change in legal status, this is defined in Romans 6:7.  There is confusion in this passage "For a dead person has been absolved from sin.", in other revisions it say's "free from sin", The term in Greek "dikaioo" is the word for being justified, yet the context indicates sanctification, which is why every standard revision renders the word free instead of justified. So this shows in Paul's mind justification involves real transformation, in other words really being free from sin and not just a change of status.

Also sanctification and justification is not a one time even, but an ongoing process according to scripture, so it can be lost but recovered again as noted above through grace, however Fundamentalists go on to say that losing ground on sanctification will not effect your justification. Calvin taught that absolute impossibility of losing justification, Luther said it could but only lost only through sin of unbelief., in other words if you reject Jesus Christ your savior.  However we believe it can be lost in mortal sin. So we must continually seek God's grace, continually respond to the actual graces God is working within us and remember its a gift from God.

From the "Essential Catholic Survival Guide" Catholic Answers

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

When to speak

We need to look the silence of Jesus, for thirty years Jesus lived a life of silence.  He was known locally solely from his work he did with his step father Joseph.  During his three years of public life we see how at times he retreats in prayer, to be alone with his Father, or when he performed his miracles without fanfare.

Then their is the silence before his enemies, that is those who were against him but he still loves them during his passion.  Saint Jerome comments: our Savior, because of his mercy had redeemed the world, allows himself to be led to his death like a lamb without a word of complaint or self-defiance.

We also see him silent when people yelled for Barabas or when Pilate asked "Do you not hear how many things testify against you? But Jesus gave him no answer and Pilate wondered greatly.

The silence of God in the face of human passions before the sins which are committed every day by humanity, is not a silence of anger but a silence of full patience. Christ silence during his earthly life represents interior strength and sense of purpose.

Those who complain continually about their misfortunes or bad luck should look to Lord's example or when we feel compelled to explain or excuse our actions and waiting anxiously for approval, should take not of Christ. Vanity will  have us say things which should have been kept locked in the soul. Exclaimed from the prophet of Isiah, the Holy Spirit advises us that our fortitude is grounded in silence and in hope

To speak when its necessary , is with charity and fortitude , that is when we don't remain silent.  There can be silence that collaborates with lying ,cowardice or of keeping comfort and fear of complicating ones life.  The word of Jesus is full of authority as he faced injustice and abuse from the scribes and pharisees

"you hypocrites, For you devour widows houses and for pretense you make long prayers" Matt 23:14

Saint John the Baptist teaches us to say everything that must be said so we too may cry in the wilderness, and not worry of the consequences. If each Christian were to speak with conformity with Faith, we could change the world.  We can't be silent in the face of crimes like abortion , degradation of marriage, or when someone attacks the Pope or Blessed Mother, if we are silent in these things, we could be collaborating with evil because  others may see our silence with consent.

Through our Baptism we have the grace to give us courage to be silent, but when to be not silent to defend our faith, we must pray for this grace

Based From Fr, Francis Fernandez Book Chapter 45

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Silence leads us Closer to God

Today, life is constant communication and noise, from media, social media, smart phones, email, texts, work oncall we constantly are being distracted and not for only our well being and time with those we love but more importantly it can take us away from God.

What is the importance of silence and taking breaking from distractions when we can, and find a way to put effort into it.

Fr. Francis Fernandez notes: "We have to learn to come closer to Our Lord through mental prayer,recollection and contemplation.  Look at Mary , she always recollected and that is how we should learn to be. The Virgin ponders and meditates, she understood that interior spirit of recollection which enables her to evaluate and keep her heart all the happenings of her life, big or small Prayer always enriches us - even in that silent dialogue before the tabernacle in which we do not use any words. It is enough to watch and feel ourselves watched.

Dietrich Von Hildebrand states the importance of contemplation and recollection, and how to work on it

"For man in his fallen state, the process sanctification - of transformation in Christ - is dependent on a systematic effort towards a moral formation of self and is thus inseperable from s set of ends and means"

God presence the "vacare et videre" to rest and see that effects a regeneration of our souls, enabling us to realize the further elements of contemplation. Not unless we again and again pause to take breath, abounding ourselves to contemplation, can we escape the danger of losing oursleves in the peripheral and of allowing deeper meaning of our life be swamped.

The act of recollecting oneself requires a rudiment of contemplation, in this respect recollection is a preamble to contemplation, contemplation  is the restful immersion of self as apposed to purposeful tension (example day to day work). Recollection is not limited to moments of contemplation, it may continue to be present while we are active. We live in uninterrupted tension, never ceasing to be concerned about what is next to be settled and many of us no longer know any alternative to work except recreation and amusement.

First we should consecrate every day a certain space of time to inward prayer., we must guard from performing the inner prayer as though we are dispatching a business among others, assimilating it to the  rhythm of current tasks.  - loose the spasm of activity and dominate your conscious toward superior realm of ultimate being. Inward prayer is the out most antithesis to all tense activity., we cannot practice fruitfully our faith unless we succeed in extracting ourselves from the rythem of affairs

Silence is of great help to recollecting ourselves, it is why is plays a powerful role in monastic life.. Silence fulfills an important function in mental regeneration.  Silence alone evokes that inward calm which is a prerequisite of recollection.  by silence we do not mean have a mere outward abstaining from speech, coupled with its mental continuance. We must also cultivate an inward stillness. Not only silence but solitude is requisite for concentration.  Moments of solitude that the intensity of this spiritual contact will build itself up and bud in the depths of our soul.

Once we accomplish the mode of silence and solitude., the we can recollect and contemplate ; by virtue of recollection alone we can reduce everything to the common denominator to Christ and make it possible for us to keep awake in ourselves the basic attitude of charity, ignite melting fire of Jesus love and nourishes simplicity.

Unless we cultivate a recollected mode of life and recognize the primacy of contemplation, we remain essentially unfit for receiving the holy imprint of Chirst
Contemplative rhythm of of life is a process of transformation in Christ.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What is the Trinity

Trinity reflection from book "Faith Explained" Chapter 3 from  Leo J. Trese

There is a limit to what the human mind can reason for God in revealing to us the truth about himself.  Be content with simply telling us what the truth is. There are three divine Persons - Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit . there is only one divine nature but there are three divine persons

When we try to think of God as three Persons possessing one and the same nature, we find ourselves battling our heads

Is is why we call such truths that the blessed trinity a mystery of faith.  We believe it is so because God say it is so

Theologians do of course cast some light upon the mystery for us. They explain that the distinction between the three Persons in God is based upon the relationship that exists between three Persons  There is a difference between our knowledge and God’s knowledge of himself. It is of the very nature of God to exist. The only real definition we can give God is to “ he is who is” like to Moses “ I am who am”

God sees of himself.  God the Father is God knowing himself 

God the Son is the expression of God knowledge of himself. Son is the expression of God knowledge of himself thus the second Person of the blessed trinity,  the son of God precisely because from all eternity he is generated he is begotten in the divine mind of the father. Also the silent word he perfectly express himself, whom we call God the Son. He is also called the word of God because he is the mental word in which the divine mind gives utterance to the thought of himself

Nature of God must be a living love and infinitely intense living love which flows externally from father and Son is he whom we call the Holy Spirit.

In Summary

  • God  the father God knowing himself 
  • God the Son is the expression of Gods knowledge of himself
  • God the Holy Spirit is the result of Gods love for himself 

Example of Trinity in best possible human reasoning:

Lets use a full length mirror. You see there an image of yourself, a living image but it is just an reflection in the glass.  There would no be two of you, there would be just one you, one human nature.  There would be two persons but only one mind and one will, sharing the same knowledge and same thoughts. The self-love is natural to an intelligent being, there would flow between you and your image an ardeen love. This love would be a third person standing between you and your image.

Even if these remarks or example don't help, we should not get frustrated when dealing this mystery of faith. However one error must guard, must not think God the Father came first, God the Son  or Holy Spirit later. All three equally eternal, equally timeless with God's nature and also God the Son and Holy Spirit are not in anyway subordinate to God the Father.

We can attribute individual divine Persons certain works such as God the Father for work of creation or the generator, the Son of God's work to make know the truth on earth for all of us and heal. and finally Holy Spirit works of sanctification of souls

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Who is God

Who is god - Nobody

The philosophers express it by saying, “Every efect must have a cause”. There must be someone who always existed, someone who never had a beginning. There is such a someone whom we call God

No one made God. He always was and he will always be. He is the supreme being. The very word “supreme” means above all others. If there were two equally powerful gods side by side, then neither can be supreme.

There is but one God and he is spirit. Philosophers distinguish two kinds of substances: spiritual subtances and physical substances.

Physical subtances has different parts (example air with nitrogen, which then made of molecules, contain atoms, , then neutrons and so forth)

Spiritual substance has no parts and can never be broken up, corrupted or divided. Its a simple substance. And that is why spiritual substance is immortal. There is three classes of the spiritual substance, they are

Human Souls

For human souls when they get dis-united from the body at death will still function and we will love more freely and contain all the memories and knowledge we have gained on earth, we will still be “me” but with the body gone. That is until the end of time we will be re-united with our body.

With God there is no limits of an kind, no limit in direction.We usually say God is good but should really say God is goodnes. God is wisdom. Mene and angels may be said be enternal in so far as they never die, but they had a beginning and are subject to change, not God because he is absolute.

So why does God allow evil and sufering in the world. Both came in the consiquence of mans sin in both physical and morally. God does not keep stepping to snatch back the gift of freedom and free will he gave us. Evil is mans idea.

However God is all mercifull, as long as we repent

The perfections of God