Archive for January, 2016

Doing The Will Of God

Doing The Will Of God

By Dr. James R. Miller
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10

Many people always quote this petition as if it meant only submission to some painful providence. They suppose it refers only to losing friends or money, or being sick or in trouble. But this is only a little part of its meaning. It is for the doing of God’s will, not the suffering of it, that we here pray.

It is a good deal easier to make prayers like this for others than for ourselves. We all think other people ought to do God’s will, and we do not find it a difficult prayer to make that they may do so. But what about ourselves? There is no other person in the world for whose life we are really and finally responsible but ourself. This prayer, then, if we offer it sincerely, is that we may do God’s will as it is done in heaven. We can pray it, therefore, only when we are ready for implicit, unquestioning obedience to the divine will the moment we know what that will is.

Then sometimes it is a passive doing that is required. God asks of us something that costs pain or sacrifice or earthly loss; when this is true our prayer may cut deeply into our own hearts. It may mean a giving up of some sweet joy, a losing of some precious friend, the sacrifice of some dear possession, the going in some way of thorns and tears. We should learn always to say the prayer, and then to hold our lives close to the line of the divine will, never rebelling nor murmuring, but sweetly doing whatever God gives us to do.

“He always wins who sides with God,
To him no chance is lost;
God’s will is sweetest to him when
It triumphs at his cost.

“Ill that He blesses is our good.
And unblest good is ill;
And all is right that seems most wrong,
If it be his sweet will.

from “The Vine”.
Advertisements

Saint Gregory The Great

saint GregorySt. Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of Gordianus, a wealthy senator, who later renounced the world and became one of the seven deacons of Rome. After he had acquired the usual thorough education, Emperor Justin the Younger appointed him, in 574, Chief Magistrate of Rome, though he was only thirty-four years of age. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.

Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is disputed.

Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.

An Anglican historian has written: “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.”

His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

Throughout the Middle Ages he was known as “the Father of Christian Worship” because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day. His contributions to the development of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, still in use in the Byzantine Rite, were so significant that he is generally recognized as its de facto author.

Gregory is a Doctor of the Church and one of the Latin Fathers. He is considered a saint in the Catholic Church,Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion, and some Lutheran churches. Immediately after his death, Gregory was canonized by popular acclaim. The Protestant reformer John Calvin admired Gregory and declared in his Institutes that Gregory was the last good pope. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.

“If HE asks much of you, it is because HE knows you can give much.”

“If HE asks much of you, it is because HE knows you can give much.” ~ St. John Paul II

*

984298r4ht34

#MoralStory: The Man, The Boy, And The Donkey

A Man and his son went to market with their Donkey. As they were walking a countryman passed and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey good for but riding?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey. Soon they passed a group of men and one said: “See that lazy Boy, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. Then they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son march along.”

The Man didn’t know what to do, so he placed his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and passers-by jeered and pointed at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your large son?”

The Man and Boy got down and didn’t know what to do. They thought and thought, until they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole with the donkey to their shoulders. They went on in the middle of the laughter of everyone who met them until they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, wiggling and moving around, caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge into the water and drowned.

We smile, but this story makes a good point: We can’t please everybody, and if we try we end up carrying a heavy burden. Well-meaning Christians may offer us advice, and much of it is valuable. But when we try to do everything other believers want us to do, we can easily become frustrated and confused. That’s why we need to remember that the One we must please above all others is Christ. We do that by obeying God’s Word. Carried any donkeys lately? You don’t have to if you’re trying to please Jesus.

*

the-man-the-boy-and-the-donkey

Age To Age

i-have-decided-to-follow-jesus

*

[Chorus:]

Age to age we will love you

Dawning light we will wake with you

Into night we will follow you

We will love you age to age

1. As the eagle flies to the heavens above

on wings of faith God will bear you up

2. As the lilies of the field neither toil nor spin

what splendor we find in the love God gives

3. Come, all you weary, for you are blessed

God will lighten your burden and give you rest

4. Lord, let my faith in you be revealed

Only say the word and I shall be healed

*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbjpnpxYSZM

#ShortNews: Pope changes liturgical norms to allow washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday

Pope Francis has altered the liturgical norms of the Catholic Church to allow the washing of women’s feet, as well as men’s, in the liturgy of Holy Thursday.

In a letter explaining the move, the Pontiff said that he had decided to make the change in order that the Holy Thursday liturgy “might express more fully the meaning of Jesus’ gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity.”

The Roman Missal had stipulated that men and boys should be selected from the congregation on Holy Thursday to have their feet washed by the celebrant. At the Pope’s instruction, the Congregation for Divine Worship has ordered a change in the wording of the Missal. In his accompanying letter the Pope explains that ‘from now on the Pastors of the Church may choose the participants in the rite from among all the members of the People of God.” He suggests that pastors should explain the change in the right to their people.

The formal requirement that only males should have their feet washed had been routinely ignored in many dioceses. Pope Francis himself has washed the feet of women and girls during Holy Thursday ceremonies in his pontificate.

The washing of feet recalls the gesture that Jesus made at the Last Supper, washing the feet of his apostles, who were all men. Advocates of the old rule had argued that in the Holy Thursday liturgy, which commemorates the institution of the priesthood, the selection of men underlined the role of the male priesthood.

http://www.visnews-en.blogspot.sg/2016/01/the-pope-decrees-that-not-only-men-may.html

#ShortNews: Joint Catholic-Orthodox statement on sanctity of life

Leading prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA have issued a joint statement on the sanctity of life.

“On January 22, Catholic and Orthodox Christians will once again stand in solidarity on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade,” the prelates stated. “As our communities firmly believe in the sanctity of life, the faithful—along with many people of other traditions and good will—lament the legal circumstances that facilitate abortion and the cultural phenomena that present abortion as the only choice for expectant mothers experiencing difficult conditions.”

They added:

We remind the world of our common teaching that life begins at the earliest moments of conception and that life, at all stages of its development, is sacred. We denounce the termination of a life as a response to unwanted pregnancies or as a method of overcoming social and economic challenges.

We embrace the mothers and the couples who, in spite of difficulties, choose to bring their pregnancy to term. At the same time, however, we invite those who may have undergone or facilitated an abortion to turn to Christ with contrite hearts, seeking to overcome their grief through His forgiveness, mercy and healing.

http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-010.cfm