Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
email:torontocatholicwitness@rogers.com

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Hope: Why I am a Christian

Faith, hope and charity are a tripartite concept presented by St. Paul. Isaiah speaks of hope; indeed the Scriptures are replete with commentary replete to hope. We are therefore to hope in the Lord, to unite it with Faith and charity.

How can one hope? What is hope for me? Well, it is the hope that there is eternal life, that I will be on the right side of judgement. It also is, an intellectual decision. made - hopefully - as an act of Faith, yet also reasonable; logical....

... the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life... This is my faith, this is my joy...

Faith is not an emotional act alone - as Luther believed - our hearts are to be informed by our minds, as St. Thomas advised. Enough, in a way, of this intellectualizing.... and yet, hope cannot be detached from thought. 

I hope in Jesus, and I hope in the Church. To love Jesus is to love the Church. To love the Church is to love Jesus. I have written on scandal and public sin that has degraded my Mother, the Church. The Church, it would seem has been reduced to a political party, with careerism, corruption etc. Does it lessen my hope? No, it does not. Otherwise, I would have left the Church long ago.  If discerning hope and truth was determined by the quality of persons then the Catholic Church is not a very pleasant place. Catholics do not help each other; they - based on observation and experience - excel in talk but very little action. This is exemplified in parish life. Perhaps your parish is different: lucky you. If you are ill, unemployed, suffering, isolated - don't look to Catholics for a hand up. You probably won't get one.  

Putting faith into action is not a high agenda item. Catharsis, feeling good, psychological self-caressing, pious mirror gazing - all these seem to be agenda items for the contemporary Catholic. Read St. Theresa - has much changed since then?

Now, if I am experiencing this - and many of you are: what do we hope in? What do I hope in? I hope in Jesus, because he too experienced the same thing, yet in a manner that was infinitely more intense and painful. God, rejected by his own people, God, mocked and degraded by his own people, God, tortured and murdered by his own people... "Father, forgive them, for they known not what they do..." 

Do we known what we are doing? Do you? We can certainly wonder based on your - and my actions. Yes, I too am guilt of the above things. Well, we have time to change. 

And yet, I remain in the Church because She is my Mother. She may be ill, stinking from her open wounds, but because She is the Vessel of Christ's truth, I shall not leave her. Perderasts, sodomites, careerists, petty gossips, backbiters, heretics, modernists, schismatics... will not chase me out, nor do they lessen my hope. I hope for their repentance. Do these people anger me? Yes, they do. Do I wish them evil? No, I do not. 

This draws me to the recent happenings in Rome and how we can draw hope from it. What could our Holy Father be thinking? Our previous Holy Father? I am sure they hope in Christ.  We too should hope in Christ with Pope Francis. Consider the words of advise of Benedict: 

...the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

If I hope, try to hope - let us hope together

A very serious suggestion: Prayers for Pope Francis

I would invite you to offer up some prayers and penances for the intentions of our Holy Father. Is someone annoying you - forget it! Don't you want to meet them in Paradise?  You can't, if you have hate in your heart. It may be a little thing like this that contributes to the changing of hearts, and the increase of hope. 

I invite you to post in the combox your intention of a spiritual offering for our Holy Father. I offer up my frustrations annoyances and daily difficulties joyfully (please God) for his intentions. If we hope we will have faith, we will have charity. They simply cannot be separated...

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

[All quotes, Final Address, Pope Benedict XVI]

Recommended reading: SPE SALVI 

2 comments:

Freyr said...

Thank you for writing on this very important subject. While there is nothing we can do about the situation in the curia, these things have their effects in our own backyard. The discouragement and loss of faith on the part of people we run into in our own lives is something we can deal with by offering our own witness.

Steve Finnell said...

THE LORD'S CHURCH

What are the things that do not make you a member of the body of Christ?

What are the requirements for membership in the Lord's church?

THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE YOU A MEMBER OF THE LORD'S CHURCH.

1. Simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God does not grant you membership in the Lord's church.

Mark 5:1-12 .....7..."What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?....12 The demons implored Him....

Demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, however, that does not give them membership in the Lord's church. Legion was not part of the body of Christ.

2. Sprinkling infants with water does not make them part of the body of Christ. Sprinkling unbelieving babies is not an act that adds them to the Lord's church.

Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....

Only believers who have been baptized are added to the Lord's church. Babies are not capable of believing.

3. Joining denominations, such as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, etc. does not grant you membership into the Lord's church. Joining a denomination cannot save anyone. You cannot join the Lord's church.

Acts 2:47...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The requirement for being added to the Lord's church is not joining a denomination. The Lord only adds the saved to the church. The church is the body of Christ.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH?

The apostle Peter said, on the Day of Pentecost, " Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40)

Who was saved? Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day were added about three thousand souls.

Three thousands souls were added to the Lord's church on the Day of Pentecost. Why were they added to the body of Christ?
They received Peter's message and were immersed in water.(baptized).

Peter's message: (Acts 2:22-38) They were taught that Jesus was the Christ. That Jesus was Lord. That God raised Jesus from the dead. They were told to repent and be baptized so their sins could be forgiven and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Those who believed Peter's message, and repented and were baptized, were added to the body of Christ by the Lord Himself. (Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

MEN BECOME SAVED THE SAME WAY TODAY AS THEY DID ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST.

HOW TO BECOME ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH.

1. FAITH: John 3:16, Mark 16:16
2. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
3. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19
4. BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:27.


ONLY THE LORD ADDS YOU TO HIS CHURCH!


YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com