Archive for August, 2011
When I first truly started my faith journey late last year, I decided to start a blog so that others could share my experiences, even the knowledge I’ve gained and anything new I learn from day to day. After all, the original blog I started when I was first introduced to blogging did pretty well. I now refer to it as my ‘secular’ blog because it contained nothing about my faith whatsoever. Amazingly enough, I have todate approximately 400,000 hits on that blog entitled ‘Living Life With A Passion’ even after I have stopped posting write-ups on it. I now occasionally upload photos to it only when I have the time. All my time is now spent updating this blog whenever I can because I believe it a kingdom building tool in which I can contribute to in my small way.
In the beginning I wondered if there was anyone even interested in sharing this journey with me, as it had kicked off to a very,very slow start. Now I have a promising 11,000 hits since it’s birth 11 months ago. My only aim is to evangelise and bring others to this truly wonderful faith of ours and to help fellow Catholics grow in faith, as I am constantly doing so myself.
Lately I found another way in which I could link this blog to a Facebook page. And I have done so not for personal glory, but in hopes of reaching out to a greater target audience. I feel that most busy people will not bother to click a direct link to a blog but may do so while looking through updates of their friends or pages they subscribe to on Facebook. Anyhow in order to get a direct link address on Facebook I will need 25 Likes. Right now I have only 3 but honestly it does not really matter, I just pray that I will be able to do my part in reaching out to more people through this media so that they too can experience God’s love for us. I know full well that it is God our Father who is the only one who can convert and strengthen hearts through His sanctifying grace.
So if you can please help spread the word………..
Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn
Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9
Today’s First Reading catches the prophet Jeremiah in a moment of weakness. His intimate lamentation contains some of the strongest language of doubt found in the Bible. Following God’s call, he feels abandoned. Preaching His Word has brought him only derision and .
But God does not deceive – and Jeremiah knows this. He tests the just (see Jeremiah 20:11-12), and disciplines His children through their sufferings and trials (see Hebrews 12:5-7).
What Jeremiah learns, Jesus states explicitly in today’s Gospel. To follow Him is to take up a cross, to deny yourself – your priorities, preferences, and comforts. It is to be willing to give it all up, even life itself, for the sake of His gospel. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we have to join ourselves to the passion of Christ, to offer our bodies – our whole beings – as living sacrifices to God.
By His cross, Jesus has shown us what Israel’s sacrifices of animals were meant to teach – that we owe to God all that we have.
God’s kindness is a greater good than life itself, as we sing in today’s Psalm. The only thanks we can offer is our spiritual worship – to give our lives to the service of His will (see Hebrews 10:3-11; Psalm 50:14,23).
Peter doesn’t yet get this in today’s Gospel. As it was for Jeremiah, the cross is a stumbling block for Peter (see 1 Corinthians 1:23). This too is our natural temptation – to refuse to believe that our sufferings play a necessary part in God’s plan.
That’s how people think, Jesus tells us today. But we are called to the renewal of our minds – to think as God thinks, to will what He wills.
In the Mass, we once again offer ourselves as perfect and pleasing sacrifices of praise (see Hebrews 13:15). We bless Him as we live, confident that we will find our lives in losing them, that with the riches of His banquet, our souls will be satisfied.
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Would you like me to list also the paths of repentance? They are numerous and quite varied, and all lead to heaven.
A first path of repentance is the condemnation of your own sins: Be the first to admit your sins and you will be justified. For this reason, too, the prophet wrote: I said: I will accuse myself of my sins to the Lord, and you forgave the wickedness of my heart. Therefore, you too should condemn your own sins; that will be enough reason for the Lord to forgive you, for a man who condemns his own sins is slower to commit them again. Rouse your conscience to accuse you within your own house, lest it become your accuser before the judgment seat of the Lord.
That, then, is one very good path of repentance. Another and no less valuable one is to put out of our minds the harm done us by our enemies, in order to master our anger, and to forgive our fellow servants’ sins against us. Then our own sins against the Lord will be forgiven us. Thus you have another way to atone for sin: For if you forgive your debtors, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
Do you want to know of a third path? It consists of prayer that is fervent, careful and comes from the heart.
If you want to hear of a fourth, I will mention almsgiving, whose power is great and far-reaching.
If, moreover, a man lives a modest, humble life, that, no less than the other things I have mentioned, takes sin away. Proof of this is the tax-collector who had no good deeds to mention, but offered his humility instead and was relieved of a heavy burden of sins.
Thus I have shown you five paths of repentance; condemnation of your own sins, forgiveness of our neighbor’s sins against us, prayer, almsgiving and humility.
Do not be idle, then, but walk daily in all these paths; they are easy, and you cannot plead your poverty. For, though you live out your life amid great need, you can always set aside your wrath, be humble, pray diligently and condemn your own sins; poverty is no hindrance. Poverty is not an obstacle to our carrying out the Lord’s bidding, even when it comes to that path of repentance which involves giving money (almsgiving, I mean). The widow proved that when she put her two mites into the box!
Now that we have learned how to heal these wounds of ours, let us apply the cures. Then, when we have regained genuine health, we can approach the holy table with confidence, go gloriously to meet Christ, the king of glory, and attain the eternal blessings through the grace, mercy and kindness of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
We all should spend sometime today and reflect on our faith. Why are those of us Catholic, still Catholic? And perhaps those from other denominations can reflect on why not Catholic? What is it that is keeping you away from the Catholic faith?
I absolutely know why I am Catholic and loving every little bit of it because I have the fullness of faith and am in communion with the one triune God!
Today’s Gospel especially shows us who it was that established our Church.
So I encourage you sisters and brothers in Christ, to share with all of us why you are Catholic here in the comments section? Those of you interested to know more about the Catholic faith and are in Singapore can contact me for a sit down and I will share with you all that I know. For those overseas, a good place to find answers will be at http://www.catholic.com/
God bless you all!
To define humility: Humility is a virtue by which one has a low opinion of one’s self because one knows one’s self well. This is the virtue that belongs to those who have set their hearts to climb and have gone from virtue to virtue, from step to step, until they have reached the highest peak of humility and have gazed upon truth from the watchtower of Zion. “For the lawgiver will give a blessing.” This means that he who gives the law is the same who gives the blessing; he who commands humility will lead safely to the truth. Who is the lawgiver? Who but the good and sweet Lord who gives a law to those who wander from the way? They wander from the way because they have gone astray from the truth. Will they then be deserted by our sweet Lord? No, the law that this good kind Lord gives them is the way of humility bu which they can return to the knowledge of the truth….
The Lord looks on the children of the human family with eyes of truth, that deceive not and cannot be deceived, to see if there is any who understands and seeks God. His place at the ladder’s top shows us that the knowledge of truth is to be found at the summit of humility.
Yes, the way of humility is a good way. It seeks for truth, it wins charity, it shares the fruits of wisdom. Just as the end of the Law is Christ, so the perfection of humility is the knowledge of truth. When Christ came he brought grace; when truth is known it brings love. To the humble it is known. “He gives his grace to the humble.”
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) is considered the last of the Fathers of the Church and is a Doctor of the Church.
by Saint Ambrose, bishop
The man Christ Jesus, the one mediator between God and men
Brother cannot redeem brother, but a man will redeem man. No one can give to God the ransom for himself nor the price of his soul’s redemption. Christ is saying: What have I to fear in the day of evil? What can do me harm if I do not need a redeemer but am myself the redeemer of all mankind? Shall I free others, yet tremble for myself? See, I shall make all things new, so as to surpass even the love and devotion of brothers. Where a brother, born of the womb, cannot redeem, suffering as he does from the infirmity of a common nature, yet a man will redeem, that man of whom it is written: The Lord will send them a man who will save them; the man who said of himself: You seek to kill me, a man who has spoken the truth to you.
He is a man, yet who will recognize him? Why will no one recognize him? Because, as there is one God, so there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. He alone will redeem man, showing love greater even than that of brothers. He poured out his blood for strangers, as no one is able to do for a brother. He did not spare his own body in redeeming us from sin, but gave himself as the redemption of all, and Paul the apostle is a true witness to him: I speak the truth and do not lie.
But why will this man be the only redeemer? Because no one can equal him in the love he showed in laying down his life for his own poor servants. Nor can anyone equal him in sinlessness, for all men are ruled by sin, and all are victims of the fall of the first Adam. He alone is chosen to redeem, for he alone cannot be subject to that age-old sin. So let us understand by “the man” the one who took upon himself the condition of man in order to crucify in his own flesh the sin of all, and to cancel by his own blood the debt owed by all: the Lord Jesus.
You may ask: How can we say that brother cannot redeem when the man we are discussing has said: I shall declare your name to my brothers? But it was not as our brother but as the man Christ Jesus, in whom God dwelt, that he forgave our sins. For it is written that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. God was in the man Christ Jesus, of whom alone it was said: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It was not, therefore, as a brother but as the Lord that he dwelt among us in the flesh.
Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn
‘Oh, the Depths!’
Isaiah 22:15, 19-23
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” Paul exclaims in today’s Epistle. Today’s Psalm, too, takes up the triumphant note of joy and thanksgiving. Why? Because in the Gospel, the heavenly Father reveals the mystery of His kingdom to Peter.
With Peter, we rejoice that Jesus is the anointed son promised to David, the one prophesied to build God’s temple and reign over an everlasting kingdom (see 2 Samuel 7).
What Jesus calls “my Church” is the kingdom promised to David’s son(see Isaiah 9:1-7). As we hear in today’s First Reading, Isaiah foretold that the keys to David’s kingdom would be given to a new master, who would rule as father to God’s people.
Jesus, the root and offspring of David, alone holds the kingdom’s keys (see Revelation 1:18; 3:7; 22:16). In giving those keys to Peter, Jesus fulfills that prophecy, establishing Peter – and all who succeed him – as holy father of His Church.
His Church, too, is the new house of God – the spiritual temple founded on the “rock” of Peter, and built up out of the living stones of individual believers (see 1 Peter 2:5).
Abraham was called “the rock” from which the children of Israel were hewn (see Isaiah 51:1-2). And Peter becomes the rock from which God raises up new children of God (see Matthew 3:9).
The word Jesus uses – “church” (ekklesia in Greek) – was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the “assembly” of God’s children after the exodus (see Deuteronomy 18:16; 31:30).
His Church is the “assembly of the firstborn” (see Hebrews 12:23; Exodus 4:23-24), established by Jesus’ exodus (see Luke 9:31). Like the Israelites, we are baptized in water, led by the Rock, and fed with spiritual food (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-5).
Gathered at His altar, in the presence of angels, we sing His praise and give thanks to His holy name.
This is the nucleus of our faith in the Assumption: we believe that Mary, like Christ her Son, overcame death and is already triumphant in heavenly glory, in the totality of her being,”in body and soul”..
The Mother of God is so deeply integrated into Christ’s Mystery that at the end of her earthly life she already participates with her whole self in her Son’s resurrection…
God knows and loves the whole of the human being, what we are. And God welcomes into his eternity what is developing and becoming now, in our life made up of suffering and love, of hope,joy and sorrow. The whole of man, the whole of his life, is taken by God and, purified in him, receives eternity…
I think this is a truth that should fill us with deep joy. Christianity does not proclaim merely some salvation of the soul in a vague afterlife in which all that is precious and dear to us in this world would be eliminated,but promises eternal life, “the life of the world to come.” Nothing that is precious and dear to us will fall into ruin; rather it will find fullness in God. Every hair of our head is counted, Jesus said one day (cf. Mt 10:30)…
In Mary taken up into heaven, who fully shares in the Resurrection of the Son, we contemplate the fulfillment of the human creature in accordance with “God’s world.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI wrote elsewhere that “precisely because Mary is with God and in God, she is close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is actually ‘within’ all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God.” Our Lady “knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness. She always listens to us and, being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in His goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother.”
The Blessed Mother’s birth into heaven generates in us “an ever new capacity to await God’s future” ( Blessed John Paul II)
This little prayer can be said daily and I urge you to join me in saying it…
“O St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and true spouse of the Virgin Mary,
pray for us and for the suffering and dying of today.”
Another Beautiful prayer to St Joseph
“O Holy Joseph, help each and every one of us,
especially at the hour of death.
Watch over our souls and our bodies and protect our families.
You know, O beloved Saint, that every day we and our brethren pray to you and that we shall never cease to pray for all those who are suffering and dying.
Grant us our warm prayers and grant that all who come to their aid may prosper, pour out blessings on their concerns and their families! Amen”
For membership or to obtain the Holy Cloak In Honor Of St Joseph click here
Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn
A Foreigner’s Faith
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Most of us are the foreigners, the non-Israelites, about whom today’s First Reading prophesies.
Coming to worship the God of Israel, we stand in the line of faith epitomized by the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. Calling to Jesus as Lord and Son of David, this foreigner shows her great faith in God’s covenant with Israel.
Jesus tests her faith three times. He refuses to answer her cry. Then, He tells her His mission is only to Israelites. Finally, he uses “dog,” an epithet used to disparage non-Israelites (see Matthew 7:6). Yet she persists, believing that He alone offers salvation.
In this family drama, we see fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy and the promise we sing of in today’s Psalm. In Jesus, God makes known among all the nations His way and His salvation (see John 14:6).
At the start of salvation history, God called Abraham (see Genesis 12:2). He chose his offspring, Israel, from all the nations on the face of the earth, to build His covenant kingdom (see Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Isaiah 41:8).
In God’s plan, Abraham was to be the father of many nations (see Romans 4:16-17). Israel was to be the firstborn of a worldwide family of God, made up of all who believe what the Canaanite professes – that Jesus is Lord (see Exodus 4:22-23; Romans 5:13-24).
Jesus came first to restore the kingdom to Israel (see Acts 1:6; 13:46). But His ultimate mission was the reconciliation of the world, as Paul declares in today’s Epistle.
In the Mass we join all peoples in doing Him homage. As Isaiah foretold, we come to His holy mountain, the heavenly Jerusalem, to offer sacrifice at His altar (see Hebrews 12:22-24,28). With the Canaanite, we take our place at the Master’s table, to be fed as His children.
A gift for you and your ministry and in hope this will help you and the parish grow into a deep and vigorous faith during the year ahead!
Click on the Picture or HERE to download
How often do we overlook the importance of prayer. Thinking to ourselves that God our Father has more important things on His hands then to listen to our ramblings, petitions, grievances etc.
In reality we should offer everything up to our Father in prayer. Our thanks, our praise, our all! This is our privilege to remain in communion with Him, to experience His love for us and to love Him with all our hearts.
As I grow in faith, I have come to realise that there is nothing too small or insignificant that I cannot talk to my Father about. If I am patient enough and truly listen with my heart he answers me in His time. At times even in an instant!
I have many such instances, however I offer now the most recent…. Today. While waiting for my kids to finish their swimming lesson, I decided to take out my Kindle to start on a new book. I had just finished reading ‘Rome sweet home a great book by the way of which I highly recommend. Anyhow I have a balance of about forty plus titles to choose from and wanted one which would be more appropriate for either this period of time or relevant for growing in my faith. So I offered it up in prayer asking for His guidance. I then scanned through the titles and chose ‘Mass revision’ by Jimmy Akin. Was it my own decision? Since I was aware the liturgy was changing shortly? I found my answer after reading the introduction. At the end of it was this:-
August 6, 2010
Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord.
For those who did not get it yet,today is the 6th of August 2011 Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord! Praise be God! Amen.
I sought and in a sense constantly seek spiritual direction. What questions do I ask my Spiritual Director when my Lord reveals the answers gradually before my meeting?
Perhaps I was not listening at the time of my dire need or quest for answers. Only in the silence of my heart do I truly listen.
Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn
1 Kings 19:9, 11-13
How do we find God in the storms and struggles of our lives, in the trials we encounter in trying to do His will?
God commands Elijah in today’s First Reading to stand on the mountain and await His passing by. And in the Gospel, Jesus makes the disciples set out across the waters to meet Him.
In each case, the Lord makes himself present amid frightening tumult – heavy winds and high waves, fire and earthquakes.
Elijah hides his face. Perhaps he remembers Moses, who met God on the same mountain, also amid fire, thunder, and smoke (see Deuteronomy 4:10-15; Exodus 19:17-19). God told Moses no one could see His face and live, and He sheltered Moses in the hollow of a rock, as He shelters Elijah in a cave (see Exodus 33:18-23).
The disciples, likewise, are too terrified to look on the face of God. Today’s Gospel is a revelation of Jesus’ divine identity. Only God treads across the crest of the sea (see Job 9:8) and rules the raging waters (see Psalm 89:9-10). And the words of assurance that Jesus speaks – “It is I” – are those God used to identify himself to Moses (see Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 43:10).
Even Peter is too overcome by fear to imitate his Lord. His fears, Jesus tells him, are a sign of his lack of faith. And so it often is with us. Our fears make us doubt, make it hard to see His glory dwelling in our midst.
Yet, we should know, as we sing in today’s Psalm, that His salvation is near to those who hope in Him. By faith we should know, as Paul asserts in today’s Epistle, that we are heirs to the promises made to His children, Israel.
We must trust that He whispers to us in the trials of our lives – that He who has called us to walk along the way of His steps, will save us whenever we begin to sink.
I had no love of scripture till now. It used to be too hard, confusing at times and time consuming.
Today I love it for it’s depth, the pure love it brings forth and the deep personal relationship it builds.
Although I may not be as passionate as my brethren, yet I find myself unfulfilled when talks or scripture sharing does not embrace fully all the dimensions, layers or depth the Word has to offer. Then again is it even possible at one seating?
“Every time the Cross I bear seems lighter and the joy of carrying it fills my heart, I seem to trip and fall and end up right where I began. The difference is that each time I draw closer to learning a little bit more on how not to fall.”
Lord I pray for your grace, help me to grow in my faith so that I may never forget that your yoke for me is easy and that you are always there to come to my aid should I need it. Amen
“Look to the Lord and be radiant”. Psalms 34:5
There will be a Eucharistic celebration and healing service on 6th of August, Saturday at the St. Anthony’s Auditorium at 7.15pm. Preacher Fr. Gerard Weerakoon. Come and receive God’s love and mercy. There will be potluck and fellowship after the event. All are welcome.
I have personally attended quite a few healing services and have witnessed that through His grace, love & by the healing powers of Jesus that all who have attended, had been touch in some way or another.
Come and experience Jesus, His love and mercy!
In tribulations God enriches his beloved souls with the greatest graces….The Lord sends them to us, not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us, we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated His son Jesus Christ, whose life upon this Earth was always full of tribulation…Tribulation opens the eyes which prosperity had kept shut…By tribulations we atone for the sins we have committed, much better than by voluntary works of penance. ”Be assured,” says Saint Augustine, “that God is a physician, and that tribulation is a salutary medicine”…The same saint rebukes the sinner who complains of God sending him tribulations. ”Why,” he says, “do you complain? What you suffer is a remedy, not a punishment”…By convincing us that God alone is able and willing to relieve us in our miseries, tribulations reminds us of him and compel us to have recourse to his mercy…Tribulations enable us to acquire great merits before God, by giving us opportunities of exercising the virtues of humilty, of patience, and of resignation to the divine will. The venerable John D’Avila used to say that a single blessed be God, in adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts of thanksgiving in prosperity. ”Take away,” says Saint Ambrose, “the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns”…The man whom the Lord afflicts in this life has a certain proof that he is dear to God….When we are surrounded on all sides with tribulations, and know not what to do, we must turn to God, who alone can console us…
We should turn to God, and pray to him, and never cease to pray till he hears us…We must keep our eyes continually raised to God, and must continue to implore his aid, until he is moved to compassion for our miseries. We must have great confidence in the heart of Jesus Christ, and ought not to imitate certain persons, who instantly lose courage because they do not feel that they are heard as soon as they begin to pray…When the favours which we ask are spiritual, or can be profitable to our souls, we should be certain of being heard, provided we persevere in prayer, and do not lose confidence…In tribulations, then, we should never cease to hope with confidence that the divine mercy will console us.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
+ 1787, a bishop, founded the Redemptorists.
He is a Doctor of the Church