Posts tagged ‘articles’

The Purpose Of Life…?

By Bruce Tallman.

The purpose of life, at least if you are a believer, is to live a life pleasing to God. Life is made up of many great and small decisions, and therefore you naturally want all your decisions to be in sync with God’s will. However, how does one discern what God’s will is?

The method for “discernment of spirits” which I outlined in a previous article is a sub-category of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s method for “discernment of God’s will in general.” So let’s look at this broader method.

To discern God’s will in general, start with some basic principles. God wants you to know what God’s will is, but God does not force his will on anyone. Thus, the first thing you need to do is to pray that God will reveal what God’s will is to you.

Ignatius noted that there are three modes of discerning God’s will: the gut, heart, and head modes. He also wrote that, before you begin to work through these modes, try to narrow things down to two options. Read more…


The Holiness Of Remorse

O God, you will not scorn….
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me (Psalm 51).

On the scripture  (Jonah 3:1-10) that the people of Nineveh took an honest look at their sinfulness and repented. But did they repent merely to avoid God’s punishment? Or did they actually feel remorse?

When we seek forgiveness only because we feel guilty, we’re repenting for selfish reasons. We’re protecting ourselves from the punishment of God and the disapproval of others. The central focus of our repentance is ourselves.

On the other hand, when we feel remorse, it’s because we care about our relationship with God and we care about those who’ve been affected by our sin. We’re alarmed by the damage we’ve caused. What matters most to us is that others are hurting. We feel deep regret that someone is suffering because of what we’ve done. Read more…

4th Sunday of Advent 2017 – Obedience As We Wait

The whole season of Advent is one of anticipation, of eager awaiting of Jesus Christ, the Messiah who brings hope, peace, joy and salvation to all mankind. Like the Israelites in Babylon exiled from Jerusalem in the first reading, on earth we are all waiting for our heavenly homeland feeling many a time, lost, abandoned and disillusioned.

The savior of all, whom the prophets of the past spoke about in the second reading, has been born in utter simplicity as a baby, a human being, like us. The great and almighty Word of God, the Son of the Father, Jesus, has chosen to live among sinful and ungrateful humanity. From day one, Jesus was rejected and deprived of every place of shelter in his town and visited by “shepherds” who were despised outcasts (the “gypsies” or illegal immigrants of that time). If Jesus was born in similar conditions today, where would that be?

The word became flesh and dwelt among us precisely to be present in the miseries of the world. Jesus desires to bless every person and liberate all who are enslaved by fear, hatred, anger, loneliness, money, power, status, addictions, oppression, hopelessness, indifference, passivity in life, passions of the flesh, etc. Whether we are aware or not, we are often times enslaved to something or someone, and unable to live in the light, in grace and truth.

Are you willing to accept that Jesus can fulfill your life more than anything or anyone of this earth can? Or are you going to reject Him from entering fully into your life and cause him to sleep out in the cold again with nowhere to rest his head?

When we learn to anticipate Jesus’ coming fully into our lives with the right spirit, we will surely want to embrace rather than reject Him.

Blessed Christmas!

T’was The Night Before Christmas

According to legend, Clement Clarke Moore wrote his immortal poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, for his family on Christmas Eve 1822. He never intended that it be published, but a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem sometime later from Moore’s children. She copied it into her album, and submitted it to the editor of the Troy (New York) Sentinel where it made its first appearance in print on December 23, 1823. Soon, the poem began to be reprinted in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines, with the first appearance in a book in The New York Book of Poetry, edited by Charles Fenno Hoffman, in 1837.

It was not until 1844, however, that Moore himself acknowledged authorship in a volume of his poetry entitled Poems, published at the request of his children. One hundred and eighty years later it is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.


3rd Sunday of Advent 2017 – Salvation is Close

A deep sense of confidence and assurance radiates from the readings on this Third Sunday of Advent. Keeping in mind the great challenges experienced by the Jews in the first reading and the Christians in the second reading, Isaiah’s and Paul’s message of joy and hope sounds out of concord with their immediate circumstances. However, worrying and fretting can only take you so far. Their words have stood the test of time. Although written in different situations at different times, their message is rooted in the same loving God who has called us and will not fail us (1 Thes 5:24) because God has clothed us in garments of salvation and wrapped us in integrity (Is 61:10).

In knowing intimately the God they bear witness to and worship, Isaiah and Paul are not only able to speak confidently about God’s promise but also urge their communities to live with joy and hope knowing that they are God’s chosen people.

The question of identity also shines through in the readings. We see it taking shape in the Gospel when John the Baptist clears all doubts about who he is. His identity is an anchor. When asked, “Who are you?” He replies with conviction. He’s the forerunner,  the one sent to prepare the way for Christ’s coming. His reply moves us to anchor our own identities, in relation to Christ. Read more…

Coping with Loneliness at Christmas

by Rusty Wright

Feeling low this Christmas season? You’re not alone. Amid cheery songs, festive parties, gifts and good wishes, many lonely people are crying or dying on the inside. Maybe you’re one of them. I was.

During a horrible year, my wife of 20 years divorced me, my employer of 25 years fired me, and I had a cancer scare. As I drove home one night, lovely Christmas music came on the radio. Melancholy aching evidenced the deep pain of abandonment and loss that I was still processing.

No fun.

One widow recalled how she felt during the Christmas after her husband’s death: “Little mattered to me. I didn’t want to hear carols. I didn’t want to be cheered up. I didn’t want to look at perky Christmas cards. I wanted the same thing I’d wanted every day for eight months: the strength to force myself out of bed in the morning, to brush my teeth and to eat.”

One possible influence, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a form of depression the medical community doesn’t completely understand. The Mayo Clinic says genetics, age and body chemistry could be the culprits. Mayo recommends seeing your doctor if you feel down for days and have motivation problems. Symptoms can include changing sleep patterns and appetite, feeling hopeless, contemplating suicide, or seeking comfort in alcohol.

How can you cope with Christmas loneliness? Read more…

#ShortNews: Pope signals opposition to Trump plan for Jerusalem embassy

Speaking after his catechesis to the crowds in the Paul VI Hall during the weekly General Audience, the Pope said “my thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days”.

“At the same time, he continued, I would like to make a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions”.

Listen to the report by Philippa Hitchen and read more