Archive for February, 2011

Emmanuel Praise/Worship Session With Talk

Posted: February 27, 2011 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

Emmanuel

Date : 02 Mar 2011

Time : 8:00 pm

Topic : “Fasting & Almsgiving.” By Joseph Fernandez Of Gloria Patri Ministry.

Join us for the session followed by a potluck session at the end

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

February 27, 2011 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Do Not Be Anxious

Readings:
Isaiah 49:14–15
Psalm 62:2–3, 6–9
1 Corinthians 4:1–5
Matthew 6:24–24

We are by nature prone to be anxious and troubled about many things.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus confronts us with our most common fears. We are anxious mostly about how we will meet our material needs—for food and drink; for clothing; for security for tomorrow.
Yet in seeking security and comfort, we may unwittingly be handing ourselves over to servitude to “mammon,” Jesus warns. “Mammon” is an Aramaic word that refers to money or possessions.
Jesus is not condemning wealth. Nor is he saying that we shouldn’t work to earn our daily bread or to make provisions for our future.

It is a question of priorities and goals. What are we living for? Where is God in our lives?
Jesus insists that we need only to have faith in God and to trust in his Providence.
The readings this Sunday pose a challenge to us. Do we really believe that God cares for us, that he alone can provide for all our needs?

Do we believe that he loves us more than a mother loves the infant at her breast, as God himself promises in this week’s beautiful First Reading? Do we really trust that he is our rock and salvation, as we sing in the Psalm?
Jesus calls us to an intense realism about our lives. For all our worrying, none of us change the span of our days. None of us has anything that we have not received as a gift from God (see 1 Cor. 4:7).
St. Paul reminds us in the Epistle that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of every heart.
We cannot serve both God and mammon. We must choose one or the other. Our faith cannot be partial. We must put our confidence in him and not be shaken by anxiety.

Let us resolve today to seek his Kingdom and his holiness before all else—confident that we are beloved sons and daughters, and that our Father in heaven will never forsake us.

The unfathomable depths of God

Posted: February 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot

God is everywhere in his immensity, and everywhere close at hand. As he says of himself: I am a God close at hand, not a God far off. The God we seek is not one who dwells at a distance from us, for we have him present with us, if only we are worthy. He dwells in us as the soul in the body, if only we are sound members of his, if we are dead to sin. Then in very truth he dwells in us, the one who said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. If we are worthy of his presence with us, then in truth we are made alive by him as his living members. As the Apostle says: In him we live and move and have our being.

Who, I ask, will search out the Most High in his own being, for he is beyond words or understanding? Who will penetrate the secrets of God? Who will boast that he knows the infinite God, who fills all things, yet encompasses all things, who pervades all things, yet reaches beyond all things, who holds all things in his hand, yet escapes the grasp of all things? No one has ever seen him as he is. No one must then presume to search for the unsearchable things of God: his nature, the manner of his existence, his selfhood. These are beyond telling, beyond scrutiny, beyond investigation. With simplicity, but also with fortitude, only believe that this is how God is and this is how he will be, for God is incapable of change.

Who then is God? He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God. Do not look for any further answers concerning God. Those who want to understand the unfathomable depths of God must first consider the world of nature. Knowledge of the Trinity is rightly compared with the depth of the sea. Wisdom asks: Who will find out what is so very deep? As the depths of the sea are invisible to human sight, so the Godhead of the Trinity is found to be beyond the grasp of human understanding. If any one, I say, wants to know what he should believe he must not imagine that he understands better through speech than through belief; the knowledge of God that he seeks will be all the further off than it was before.

Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by the faith that comes from simplicity of heart, not from the learned speculations of the unrighteous. If you search by means of discussions for the God who cannot be defined in words, He will depart further from you than he was before. If you search for him by faith, wisdom will stand where wisdom lives, at the gates.Where wisdom is, wisdom will be seen, at least in part. But wisdom is also to some extent truly attained when the invisible God is the object of faith, in a way beyond our understanding, for we must believe in God, invisible as he is, though he is partially seen by a heart that is pure.

 

Meditation – The Foundation of Mental Prayer

Posted: February 24, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

Fr Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R.

If your spiritual life is to develop properly, you must learn how to meditate — the foundation of mental prayer. A great deal can be said about meditation, but we’ll have to limit ourselves to some basic points. I’d like to approach it by sharing something of my own experience.

When I first entered the seminary, I was already used to saying formal prayers, such as my morning and night prayers and some devotional prayers out of a little prayer booklet. But somehow, the idea of meditation seemed complicated. There was talk of different methods and steps in the meditation process. Even the meditation book from which a reflection was read daily to the community in the chapel listed “meditation points” to consider. I felt a bit apprehensive!

Nevertheless, after going to a few organized meditation periods, I realized that this basic form of mental prayer came quite naturally. There was nothing to be afraid of! I began by simply thinking about Jesus in the Gospels, about His words and actions, or about some important part of my Catholic faith, such as the Mass or God’s mercy. Then I found I wanted to talk to the Lord about what I was reflecting on.

In this way I came to realize that my thinking or reflecting (that’s the actual meditation) was leading me to new awareness and insights about Jesus and the truths of my Catholic faith. These insights, in turn, were stirring up various feelings within me (such feelings are called sentiments or affections). The more I meditated and came to new insights, the more I was led to speak with the Lord in my own words, having a loving conversation heart-to-Heart (mine with His). And that, quite simply, was mental prayer.

The Rosary and Stations of the Cross
In fact, I came to realize that I’d actually known for a long time what it is to meditate. For example, I’d done it for years whenever I prayed the Rosary. When reciting each of the fifteen decades, we meditate on one of the joyful, sorrowful, or glorious mysteries or significant events in the life of Jesus and His Blessed Mother.

As I constantly meditated on these mysteries, they became more meaningful for me. I began to see Jesus’ and Mary’s love in each mystery, and gradually realized they have that same love for me, too. By meditating, I was growing to know and love them more personally.

A similar thing was happening when I made the Stations of the Cross. Meditating on fourteen scenes from the passion and death of Our Lord, I experienced feelings (those sentiments or affections) of deeper gratitude to Jesus for all He suffered for me. There were feelings of deeper sorrow for my sins as well, since they caused Jesus to suffer so much. This, in turn, moved me to be more resolved, with the help of His grace, not to commit these sins again in the future.

Judging, then, from my own experience, I would say that many of us Catholics first learn to meditate by simply reciting the Rosary or making the Stations. As we seek to deepen this part of our mental prayer life, a few practical points about meditation and mental prayer may be helpful.

Formal Prayer vs. Mental Prayer
First, mental prayer (also called the prayer of the mind) usually develops naturally from formal prayer (or the prayer of the lips), as my own experience shows. A comparison between these two types of prayer can be useful. Recall St. John Damascene’s famous definition of prayer as “the raising of the mind and the heart to God.” In formal prayer, when we focus on the words of the prayer with our minds, the heart is then moved to love God with the sentiments contained in those words.

For example, if we recite an “Act of Faith,” the words prayed would logically stir up feelings or sentiments of faith in our hearts as we say something such as this: “God, You are all-knowing, and You reveal to us what we need to know and do to get to heaven. I believe in all that You have revealed to us! Please grant me a strong faith so that I will always believe what You teach us through Your Church.”

In mental prayer, however, the focus is not restricted by the words of a prayer formula. Rather, the focus of meditation is usually on a story, such as an event from the life of Jesus; or a teaching He gave, such as a parable; or something from the life of a saint, such as St. Thérèse; or something contained in a good spiritual book. My mind isn’t limited to the words, but moves through various details of the story or ideas contained in the teaching.

The mind, by reflecting on these details, can produce a far wider range of insights, which then stir more sentiments in the heart. The mind is freer to roam through this spiritual landscape. Thus the difference between formal prayer and the meditation of mental prayer is like the difference between reciting a poem, where each specific word is already given, and telling a story freely in your own words.

The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation as form of mental prayer has many benefits. One is a greater understanding and clarity regarding the teachings of our Catholic faith. By meditating, we go deeper into these realities and discover many valuable new insights that weren’t obvious at first sight.

St. John of the Cross used the image of mining for precious metals to describe this spiritual activity. If “there’s gold in them thar hills,” then the more you mine, the more you’ll find! The treasures of the Sacred Scriptures and other truths of our faith aren’t always obvious on the surface, but they’re limitless for those who bother to search for them.

Another benefit, as we’ve seen, is that our reflections stir up the vital sentiments of the heart so needed for loving and serving the Lord faithfully. These sentiments are really the most important fruit of mental prayer. They lead us to talk to God!

In fact, without these sentiments, we’d end up with a purely intellectual exercise, a mere reasoning process. Prayer requires talking with God, and that requires the sentiments.

In this regard, we should mention that beginners practicing mental prayer typically do much more reasoning or reflecting in the mind than speaking from the heart. But as time goes on, less reflection is needed to produce more sentiments. It’s like the growth of a human friendship.

When friends first meet, they need to ask lots of questions and share lots of facts about themselves to get to know each other better. After the friendship has grown, however, there are fewer questions but a deeper knowledge and more intense love for each other. In fact, when the reasoning in prayer becomes significantly less and the sentiments in the heart begin to predominate, it’s usually a sign that we’ve come to the third state or kind or prayer, called affective prayer (or the prayer of the heart).

Finally, the meditation of mental prayer helps us form the resolutions we need to grow in the love of God and our neighbor by a more conscious and consistent practice of the Christian virtues. Our meditations, in the light of the Holy Spirit and with the assistance of His grace, give us insights into how to apply the values of the Gospel, Church teachings, and the wisdom of the saints to our own daily lives. For all these reasons, the meditation that provides a foundation for mental prayer is a must for growth in Christian holiness!

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., is a priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, St. Felix Friary, 15 Trinity Plaza, Yonkers, NY 10701; 914-476-7279

Emmanuel Praise/Worship Session With Talk

Posted: February 20, 2011 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

Emmanuel

Date : 23rd Feb 2011

Time : 8:00 pm

Topic : “Setting The Right Frequency- God is communicating with you.” By Christian Chua from Church Of Christ The King Charismatic Group.  Christian is noted speaker in the Commercial Sector, he has used his oratorical gift to serve God and has much to share.

Join us for the session followed by a potluck session at the end

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

February 20, 2011 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 18, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

February 20, 2011 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Holy as God

Readings:
Leviticus 19:1–2, 17–18
Psalm 103:1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
1 Corinthians 3:16–23
Matthew 5:38–48

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as his beloved children (Eph. 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Rom. 12:21).

Jesus himself, in his Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside him. He offered his face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed his garments to be stripped from him. He marched as his enemies compelled him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him (see Matt. 26:53–54, 67; 27:28, 32; Luke 23:34).

In all this he showed himself to be the perfect Son of God. By his grace, and through our imitation of him, he promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves his enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Rom. 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Cor. 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of his Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in his holiness and perfection. So let us glorify him by our lives lived in his service, loving as he loves.

 

A Catholic on National Talk Radio

Posted: February 16, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

A Catholic on National Talk Radio | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

A scan on the radio dial at just about any time of the day will surface a handful of radio talk shows with hosts clamoring to be the voice of reason and to have the answers to solving problems of all types.

One host, however, is very confident that he truly does have something to offer as he unabashedly gives his Catholic take on today’s headline issues. His name is Allen Hunt, and his show, the Allen Hunt Show can be heard each weeknight on 150 stations across the nation.

His viewpoint wasn’t always Catholic, however. He recently sat down to talk about his conversion to the Catholic faith and how it has shaped his radio platform.
Tell me about your journey from Methodist pastor for 20 years to entering the Catholic Church.

I grew up in a culture of Methodist pastors. My uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather were all Methodist pastors. I didn’t know much about the Catholic Church when I was growing up. After I finished seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, I went on to do some graduate-level work at Yale University on early Christian history and the New Testament.

My first exposure to the Catholic Church came while I was there in New England. Much of it came from my friendship with a Dominican friar who was also in the graduate program. That was in the 1990s, and many seeds were planted then. In the next decade or so, God used a number of experiences to bring me home to the Church. I became Catholic on Jan. 6, 2008, on the feast of the Epiphany.
What finally brought you home?

There were three big things that led to me entering the Church. First was a growing sense of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. Secondly is what I call doctrine by democracy. In general, in the Protestant church, everything is up to a vote every few years. For instance, in the Methodist church, every four years we would get together to vote whether or not homosexual behavior is acceptable or not and whether it was time to ordain openly gay pastors.

The third area of reflection was Jesus’ prayer in John 17. There, Jesus pleads for unity in the body of Christ. The Protestant church has split into 33,000 different strands. What message does that fractioning send to the world? As well, how much this division must grieve God’s heart.

I am only one person, but am trying to repair some of that damage by coming home to the mother Church.
At the time of your decision to pursue the Catholic Church you were leading a megachurch in Atlanta. How did your congregation react to your decision?

I had stepped down from my role as senior pastor July 1, 2007, to go into full-time radio ministry. Once I had left the role of pastor, it gave me the freedom to explore and discover the faith.

By and large, most people were supportive of my decision. As is typical of many megachurches, a lot of the members are ex-Catholics. I got a lot of e-mails and phone calls from people who were asking, “What do you see that I don’t see?” There were only a handful of people who were hostile towards me. But after years of being a pastor, I was used to people being hostile towards me.

Tell me about the Allen Hunt Show.

We started the show in 2006 with just a few hours on Sunday afternoon. We didn’t plan on being on Christian or Catholic radio. The show began as a way to engage the mainstream on all the issues of life through the lens of faith.

We want to come at things with a moral compass and engage people of all walks of life. I am unapologetic and non-defensive on who I am, what I stand for and where I’m coming from. It is mainstream radio done for you by a very Catholic guy.
Is there an evangelization element to your program?

I share my Catholic faith, but I don’t promote it — and I think that is at the heart of the show. I am who I am, and I am comfortable with who I am. I want to engage people who agree or disagree with me in a grace-filled way, as opposed to bomb throwing, which seems to be the standard these days. 

I think a lot of people find it very heartening that there is someone like them on mainstream radio. Then there is another group of people who find this fact strange to them. And then there is a small, vocal group who can’t stand my faith, but they keep listening. As long as they are listening, I’m content with that. Let’s talk and have a civil conversation.
What’s the future for you and the program?

We need to continue to do what God wants us to do. I think what that means is to continue to engage the culture with a reasonable voice of faith. Our long-term goal is to be on over 300 stations each week, Monday through Friday.
What is your take on the debate on whether or not conservative talk radio was to blame for the Tuscon shooting, the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords?
Neither talk radio nor inflamed political rhetoric caused a mentally deranged young man to indiscriminately shoot people in Tucson any more than they caused the Virginia Tech massacre or even the silly Dunkin Donuts drive-through tirade last month regarding the lack of sprinkled donuts.
As you talk to America, day in and day out, what are two or three issues or themes that come up again and again? What is the temperament or the mood of the nation, so to speak?

In general, there is a self-confidence crisis in America. We have forgotten who we are. People are concerned and feel like we have lost something, even though they cannot always pinpoint what that is. Part of this is a natural response to a very long recession that has drained a lot of people’s passion and optimism. They worry we may never emerge from it. Part of this is a response to the lack of moral compass that we now routinely experience in our public life together, in our entertainment and even in our public schools.

Register correspondent Eddie O’Neill writes from Green Bay, Wisconsin.