Posted in FRANCISCAN, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The WORD

19 February 2018 – Monday of the First Week of Lent

19 February 2018 – Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18, Psalms 19:8-10, 15, Matthew 25:31-46

Levitus 19:1-2 – And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.
Matthew 25:34-36 – Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’monday of the first week of lent - 19 feb 2018

We are definitely off now.   Lent has really begun.
It begins with a programme for us, proposed by God Himself!
Deeper holiness, more evident godliness is the aim of Lent for us and for whole Church.
Ultimately, the litmus test of our faith is in how we respond to those in need:  the hungry, the lonely, the stranger, the sick and the prisoner.   We could add to this list – those who are survivors of abuse, refugees looking for a place of safety and many who so despair in finding work.
God identifies with all these so powerfully.   What we do or neglect to do for those in need is our response to God.
Sometimes we may feel a sense of ‘compassion fatigue’ – the whole world seems to be such a huge mess and there is so much need all around us.   How, where do we begin?   It may just feel easier to close our eyes to it.   And too, we may experience fear for our own safety.
But despite these obstacles, God is challenging us.   Often there are simple things that can make a big difference – a smile, a word of conversation and encouragement, soup delivered to a family in need, a visit to an elderly neighbour.   If we try it, because God is God, we shall find that we receive far more than we give!   Be not afraid, for I am with you! “The Lord will overshadow you and you will find refuge under his wings” (Communion Antiphon for today).

Can I slow down enough today to be fully present to someone in need – even just with a smile and a little chat?
What is my biggest obstacle in reaching out to others?
What grace do I most need from God?

(Excerpt Fr Nicholas King SJ – The Lenten Journey to Easter & The Long Journey to the Resurrection)

Prayer to do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery, the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire, what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow in the footprints of
Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone, may we make our way to You,
Most High, Who live and rule in perfect Trinity and simple Unity
and are glorified God all-powerful, forever and ever.
Amen.
(From “A Letter to the Entire Order”)

almighty eternal just and merciful god - st francis - 19 sept 2018

 

Advertisements
Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Thought for the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

It was at Clongowes that his life of prayer and penance began to be noticed.   He ate the plainest of food.   Staff who looked after rooms said his bed was untouched and he slept on the floor.   He was always seen in the chapel praying until late and rising early to do so again.   At times, he hardly seemed to notice the world around him.   But if he was hard on himself, he was never so on others.   Despite his brilliant mind and academic achievements it was his holiness that was recognised.   Many revered him as a saint.   He prayed constantly – he walked with God continually – he listened to Him and he found Him and God worked through him.   Many who were in need of spiritual or physical healing flocked to him and asked his prayers – and strange things happened.   The power of God seemed to work through him and many were cured.

But there was another dimension.   Apart from his work as teacher, spiritual father and retreat director, Father Sullivan was a familiar figure amongst the sick and the needy for miles around Clongowes.   He visited them on foot or on an old battered bicycle.   On these home visits to the poor, he brought them small luxuries, including a bit of tobacco, tea and sugar, as well as oranges and apples.   In time, there was an ever-widening circle of others, whom he visited in hospitals and consoled by letter, or who came to him from almost every county in Ireland to ask the intercession of his prayers in their illness and misfortunes.   He constantly heard confessions in the church attached to the college. People came by bicycle, by horse or donkey and cart, or arranged a lift in a car for a sick person.   In later years, it was a common sight to see several vehicles waiting outside the door, in which invalids had been brought to receive his blessing.

Neither weather nor distance seemed to be major obstacles.   Once Fr Sullivan walked fourteen miles there and fourteen miles back to pray with and to bless a sick person.   His bicycle brought him on longer journeys, including visits to Dublin and back.   In his threadbare clothes and his aged and patched boots, he was a familiar sight on the roads around Clongowes and further afield.

Fr Sullivan’s prayers restored people to health, cured their pain, relieved them of psychological problems.   His compassion and reverence for the person was often observed.   He would draw very close to them, when even medical staff found their condition near nauseating.   There have been hundreds of testimonies attributing various healings to him during his life and a number of those are seen as miracles and have been verified as such, which has led to his beatification.

Cardinal Amato, at the Beatification ceremony, also referred to an incident when Fr John, on one of his customary visits to the sick, encountered a priest already in the cottage visiting.   “The pastor asked him to leave, fearing a dangerous opponent in the ministry. Upon his brusque command, Fr Sullivan knelt down and asked forgiveness.   The pastor was profoundly moved.”  The profound humility of Bl John reaches out now still to us all.   May we constantly pray for his intercession that God may grace us with this greatest of all virtues, humility!

PRAYER for the CANONISATION of Blessed JOHN SULLIVAN (1861-1933)

O God, who honour those who honour You,
make sacred the memory of Your servant,
John Sullivan,
by granting through his intercession
the petition we now make
……………………………………….
[bring to mind your intention]
Hasten the day when his name will be numbered
among those of Your saints.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Bl John, pray for us!bl john sullivan pray for us no 2- 19 feb 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

“Any friend of the poor, is a friend of God.”any friend of the poor is a friend of god - bl john sullivan - 19 feb 2018

“Take life in instalments.
This one day now.
At least let this be a good day.
Be always beginning.”

Blessed John Sullivan (1861-1933)take life in instalments - bl john sullivan 19 feb 2018

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

One Minute Reflection – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours...Mark 11:24mark 11 24

REFLECTION – “In prayer,don’t mind the scaffolding.   Get at God.”in prayer, dont mind the scaffolding, get at god - bl john sullivan - 19 feb 2018

PRAYER – God of mercy, teach us to live as You have ordained.   Help us to follow Your commandments with courage and steadfast devotion.   Let our Saviour be our master, help us to learn from Him, the ways of prayer in silence.  Fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may learn how to pray.   Grant blessed Trinity, that by the prayers of Blessed John Sullivan, who so clearly gave himself totally in prayer, we may grow in holiness.  Through Jesus our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever.   Amenbl john sullivan pray for us - 19 feb 2018

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, LENT, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Our Morning Offering – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933) and Monday of the First Week of Lent – a Penitential Prayer from St Ignatius

Pardon Me, O my God
St Ignatius Loyola S.J.
(1491-1556)

Pardon me,
O perfections of my God,
for having preferred imperfect
and evil inclinations to Thee!
Pardon me,
O justice of my God,
for having outraged Thee by my sins.
Pardon me,
O holiness of my God,
for having so long stained
Thy sight’s purity, by my sins.
Pardon me,
O mercy of my God,
for having despised so long
Thy mercy’s voice.
In deep sorrow and contrition,
I cast myself at Thy feet.
Have mercy on me.
Amenpardon me o my god - st iggy - 19 feb 2018

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 February – Blessed John Sullivan S.J. (1861-1933)

Saint of the Day – 19 February – Blessed John Sullivan S.J. (1861-1933) – Priest, Religious, Lawyer, Teacher, Writer, Miracle Worker, Apostle of Charity. Patronages – Ecumenism, teachers.   Blessed John (8 May 1861 – 19 February 1933) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Jesuits.   Sullivan was known for his life of deep spiritual reflection and personal sacrifice;  he is recognised for his dedicated work with the poor and afflicted and spent much of his time walking and riding his bike to visit those who were troubled or ill in the villages around Clongowes Wood College school where he taught from 1907 until his death.HEADER BEAUTIFUL

From the 1920s onwards there were people who testified to his healing power despite the fact that he never claimed credit or causation for himself from these reported cases.  Father Sullivan was known for his friendliness, his amiable nature was coupled with a somewhat shy temperament but one willing to aid those who needed it most.   He was noted for his strong faith and for leading multiple penances on himself such as eating little.

Sullivan had long been admired during his life and was known as a man of inspirational holiness which prompted for calls for his beatification;  the cause later opened and would culminate on 7 November 2014 after Pope Francis confirmed his heroic virtue and named him as Venerable.   The same pope approved a miraculous healing credited to his intercession on 26 April 2016.   His beatification, the first ever to take place Ireland, took place in Dublin on 13 May 2017 and was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato.Beatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo Amato-ecumenicalsnip - bl john - 13 may 2071 beatification poster

Childhood and education
John Sullivan was born in mid-1861 at 41 Eccles Street in the old Dublin.   He was born as the last of five children to Sir Edward Sullivan (10.07.1822–13.04.1885) – member of the Church of Ireland and a successful barrister who would later become the Lord Chancellor of Ireland – and Elizabeth Josephine Bailey (1823–27.01.1898) – a Roman Catholic from a prominent land-owning household in Passage West.   Sullivan was raised as a Protestant and was baptised in the local Church of Ireland parish of Saint George on Temple Street on 15 July 1861.   One sister was Annie Sullivan (1852-25.01.1918) and a brother was William (23.02.1860–07.07.1937).   The girls were raised as Catholics while the sons were raised as Protestants.   The first child was Annie and then came Edward, Robert and William.

In late 1861 the household relocated to 32 Fitzwilliam Place in Dublin.   In 1873 he was sent to the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen with his brother William.   In 1877 his brother Robert (1853–77) drowned after a boating accident in Killiney Bay along with Constance Exham who was the daughter of a family friend.

After his time at the Portora Royal School he followed in his father’s footsteps and went to Trinity College from 1879 where he studied classics.   He was awarded the Gold Medal in Classics in 1885 and he studied for the English Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London.   During this period he travelled across Europe and spent time taking walking tours in Macedonia and Greece as well as Asia Minor.   He spent several months in one of the Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos and even contemplated entering it as a monk.   He travelled through Southern Italy en route home but was forced to prolong his stay there due to contracting smallpox.

Upon his father’s death in 1885 he came into a comfortable inheritance.   He was a frequent visitor to the Hospice of the Dying at Harold’s Cross where he brought comfort and companionship in addition to small tokens of food and drink as well as clothing to those ill people.   Even after he became a teacher at Clongowes Wood College he continued these small luxuries to the poor including a bit of tobacco while also providing them with tea and sugar as well as oranges and apples.   His brother novices remember him for his small kindnesses extended to his classmates.BL JOHN SULLIVAN IN HIS TWENTIES - MY SNIP

Conversion and priesthood
Sullivan was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 21 December 1896 in a celebration that the Jesuit priest Michael Gavin presided over at Farm Street Church Mayfair in central London.   His family had expressed their great surprise upon his decision to convert to the Catholic faith.   He commenced his Jesuit novitiate on 7 September 1900 at Saint Stanislaus College at Tullabeg.   On completion of his novitiate around 1901 he was sent for his philosophical studies – until 1904 – to Saint Mary’s Hall in Stonyhurst.   In 1904 – once he concluded his studies – he went to Milltown Park in Dublin for his theological studies and the Archbishop of Dublin William Walsh later ordained Sullivan as a Jesuit priest in the chapel at Milltown Park on 28 July 1907.   He said his first Mass at the convent of the Irish Sisters of Charity at Mount Saint Anne’s in Milltown.fr-doyle-and-sullivan

Sullivan soon after took up a teaching position at Clongowes Wood College which was an all-male boarding school the Jesuits managed near Clane.   From 25 July 1919 until 20 May 1924 he served as the rector of the Juniorate and Retreat House at Rathfarnham Castle on the outskirts of Dublin.   Sullivan then returned to teaching at Clongowes Wood College after this.   Sullivan was untiring in his attention to the sick and he would travel miles to make a sick call which was often on foot but also riding a battered bike.   On one occasion a workman by chance passed the chapel at the school at 2:00 am to see Sullivan in deep prayer on his knees.   Each Holy Thursday, he spent five or six hours kneeling before the altar.

Illness and death
In February 1933 he began suffering severe abdominal pains and so was transferred on 17 February from the college to Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home in Lower Leeson Street in Dublin while asking for his breviary to be brought to him.  Sullivan died at 11:00 pm on 19 February 1933 with his brother Sir William Sullivan at his side;  an old friend who was present at his death said: “He died well”.   He was buried in Clongowes Wood Cemetery.   In 1960 his remains were exhumed and transferred to Saint Francis Xavier Church on Upper Gardiner Street.

Beatification
In 1944 his name was placed on the list that the Jesuit postulator Carlo Micinelli had set up in relation to prospective sainthood causes that could be opened;  opening the process saw him titled as a Servant of God.   The informative process that opened in 1953 saw the accumulation of witness testimonies and documentation being gathered and this process was completed in September 1960.   The Congregation for the Causes of Saints were given the evidence and validated the informative process in acceptance in 1969 prior to theologians approving his spiritual writings in 1972.   On 22 February 2000 the C.C.S. issued the official “nihil obstat” to the cause which acted as a formal introduction to the cause and approval of its continuation.

In June 2002 another process was held in Dublin to collate further evidence and the findings of this particular tribunal were forwarded to the C.C.S. who validated it on 18 October 2002.   In 2004 the postulation submitted the Positio dossier to the C.C.S. for inspection with their consulting theologians approving its contents on 19 November 2013;  the C.C.S. later approved this on 16 October 2014.

On 7 November 2014 he was named as Venerable after Pope Francis – himself a Jesuit – approved a decree acknowledging the heroic virtue of the late priest’s life based on the cardinal and theological virtues.   Sullivan’s beatification depended on the approval of a miracle that was an unexplainable healing after his death;  one such case was investigated in Ireland and it received C.C.S. validation on 10 February 2006.   The C.C.S. approved this miracle on 19 April 2016 after the medical experts and theologians approved it.   The pontiff – on 26 April 2016 – approved a miracle attributed to the late priest’s intercession and thus approved his beatification to take place.   The miracle approved was the 1954 healing of a cancerous tumor on the neck of the Dublin woman Delia Farnham.

The beatification was celebrated in Dublin at the Saint Francis Xavier Church on 13 May 2017.   He was also the first person to ever be beatified in Ireland.Beatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo Amato-ecumenicalBeatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo AmatoBeatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017

The current postulator for this cause is the Jesuit priest Anton Witwer.   The current vice-postulator is the Jesuit priest Conor Harper.

Devotions and legacies
There is a constant demand for blessings with his vow crucifix which is kept in the Saint Francis Xavier Church where his remains are located in the Sacred Heart Chapel.  There is a special Mass celebrated in that church once each month dedicated to him and there is also an annual Mass to celebrate his life at the same church celebrated close to the commemoration of his 1933 death.   The people of Kildare created their own monument to the late priest in Clane close to Clongowes Wood College.Coffin - bl john sullivan - ireland - snipmy snip - bl john sullivan

Sullivan had been a Protestant until he reached middle age though that church was an important aspect to his life.   On 8 May 1983 the retired Church of Ireland Archbishop George Simms gave the address at a memorial service to honour Sullivan’s life and work which was held in Saint Georges Church on Temple Street.   The Catholic Auxiliary Bishop James Kavanagh attended and bought with him a text from Pope John Paul II reading:  “His Holiness asks you to convey his cordial greetings to all present. In communion of prayer he gives thanks to Almighty God for the extraordinary gifts bestowed on Father Sullivan during his life and for the spirit of mutual understanding, reconciliation and goodwill which his memory enkindles between various christian communities in Ireland today”.

Venerable_JS_0

Miracles during his lifetime
There have been miracles reported during Sullivan’s life such as the two mentioned below:

The cure of Michael Collins (b. 1925) – nephew of the famed Michael Collins – from infantile paralysis.  The child awoke one night in October 1928 in extreme distress and the summoned doctor diagnosed him with infantile paralysis.   Mrs Collins drove to the school seeking out Sullivan’s assistance;  Sullivan promised to say a Mass but also rode his bike to their home where he touched the child’s leg and prayed over him for two hours.
The cure of Miss Kitty Garry (aged ten at the time) from TB;  he blessed her and the ailment left her after a month.artwork - bl john

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 19 February

Bl Alvarez of Cordova
St Auxibius
St Baoithin
St Barbatus of Benevento
St Beatus
St Belina
St Boniface of Lausanne
St Conon of Alexandria
St Conrad of Piacenza
Bl Elizabeth of Mantua
St Gabinus
St George of Lodeve

Bl John Sullivan S.J. (1861-1933)

Bl Józef Zaplata
St Lucia Yi Zhenmei
St Mansuetus of Milan
St Odran
St Proclus of Bisignano
St Quodvultdeus
St Valerius of Antibes
St Zambdas of Jerusalem

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, LENT, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, The WORD

18 February – The First Sunday of Lent, Year B

18 February – The First Sunday of Lent, Year B

Genesis 9:8-15, Psalms 25:4-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15

Mark 1:15 – “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Psalm 25:4 – Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy pathsthe first sunday of lent - 18 feb 2018

Lent is a kind of desert.   A time set apart to pray with greater focus and intensity.
A time to fast from what distracts us from what is most important – that good news!
When the outside noise is quietened, we are more in touch with the inner pulls that are going on inside of us.
It is not always a comfortable space to be!
We are used to be anaesthetised to the tugs of the Holy Spirit calling us to something new, something more and often we struggle to be free from the attachment to things, we would prefer them staying just as they are, thank you.

But now we seek to emerge, like Jesus, from our desert time of Lent, strengthened and renewed.
We have a new energy and courage to respond to whatever God is asking of us in this moment of our lives.
Part of that time is to spend true moments, as Jesus did, listening to the Father.   We must create some desert space.
Is there a time we can safeguard each day for prayer?
Can we reduce the clutter of too much external stimulation from TV, social media, so that we can tune into what God is saying, what the Holy Spirit is wanting us to notice?

Be sure to find that “desert time and space” each day.
What are those inner concerns, questions, worries with which the Spirit is driving you into that desert this Lent?
Imagine yourself with Jesus in the desert.   Enter into conversation with Him.
Fr Nicholas King SJ – Long Journey to the Resurrection

Christus.   Behold a matter that is deeply displeasing to Me, namely, how few there are who recognise the value of time, the time that I lend to men for doing penance, for increasing the grace given them, for acquiring heavenly glory.   Lo, the acceptable yet irrevocable time, passes and no one is considering it in his heart;   the days of salvation are slipping by and no one makes the occasion of their flight a reason for using well what can never return.

But you, as far as you are able, flee the things of time, such as acquaintanceship, speech-making and occupations of small profit and because the days are evil, redeem the time that should be given rather to Me and to your soul than to others.   Is My proposition hard and difficult?   Observe how much time is given up to the body for food and sleep, to conversation, banquets and the rest, so that you cannot give ever so small a portion to God, to your soul, to eternity!   Alas, how prodigal men are of time when it is a question of serving vanity, how sparing of it when it is a case of occupying themselves with His business to whom all time is owed.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths…Psalm 25:4

Keep me, O God, from pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, word and deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things.
Make us grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses
and make us straight-forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realise
that it is the little things in life that create differences;
that in the big things we are all as one.
And, O Lord God,
Let us not forget to be kind.
Amen

Mary Stuart’s Prayer (Mary Queen of Scots) 

keep me o god, from pettiness - mary stuart's prayer - first sun of lent - 18 feb 2018

Posted in LENT, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 18 February – The First Sunday of Lent Year B

Sunday Reflection – 18 February – The First Sunday of Lent Year B

Beyond the daily life of the believer, the Eucharist extends its action to the whole cosmos.
As Teilhard de Chardin wrote:
“When He (Christ) says through the priest “This is my body”, His words go well beyond the piece of bread over which they are pronounced:  they effect the birth of the whole Mystical Body.
Beyond the transubstantiated Host, the priestly action extends to the cosmos itself.”

Every Eucharist is a “Mass on the world.”

This vision inspired a prayer of Teilhard de Chardin that we can make our own, each time we participate in the Mass and even when we cannot participate:

“On the altar of the whole earth
I offer You, Lord,
the work and the toil of the world….
All that will grow in the world
in the course of this day,
all that will decline in it
and all that will die in it…
Receive, Lord,
this total Host that Creation
presents to You,
drawn and moved by You,
at the dawn of a new day.”

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM (Preacher to the Papal Household) “This is My Body”beyond the daily life of the - fr raneiro cantalamessa - 18 feb 2018 sunday reflection

Posted in ART DEI, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

Thought for the Day – 18 February – The Memorial of Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico O.P. (1387-1455)

One of the greatest Christian artists is Giovanni Fiesole, better known to the world as Blessed Fra Angelico, the “Angelic Brother.”   Fra Angelico is a patron saint for Catholic artists.   His style of painting beautifully bridges the iconographic and gothic traditions. Giorgio Vasari, author of “Lives of the Artists,” referred to Angelico as a “rare and perfect talent.”

Very little of his writings have survived the centuries but one phrase still resonates, more than 400 years after his death. “He who does Christ’s work, must stay with Christ always.”

Saint Paul, in his letter to the Galatians said something similar.   “I live; yet now, it is not I, but truly Christ, who lives in me. And though I live now in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and who delivered himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

What does it mean when Paul tells us it is no longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him?   What does it mean to stay with Christ always?

In Paul’s time it was believed that the only way to have a right relationship with God was to follow the law, the Ten Commandments and all the thousands of rules that derive from them.   But Paul rejected this idea and preached that the only road to justification, to having that right relationship with God, is through faith in Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to simply “follow the rules” and stay out of trouble.   If that is all we do then we are trying to achieve heaven by our own merits.   God wants more from us than that.   God invites us into a relationship of friends and family, a relationship of love.   This type of relationship is a living, dynamic one.   To love Christ and to want to be near Him is to be crucified with Him.

It means standing up for the Truth even when it is unpopular.   It means finding time to pray.   It means that we stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus.   And it means that when we fail, we humbly confess our sins as we would apologise to a friend we have hurt, so that that relationship can be restored.   It means that we must reflect Christ to the whole world, so that when people look at us they do not see us, they see Christ.

For the Artist this means we must deeply consider our vocation, St John Paul described it as a vocation of beauty.   Do we work to bring beauty to the world?   Do we use our gifts to lift peoples hearts and minds to God?   Does our work reflect His splendour and bring hope and joy to our brothers and sisters?   This does not mean that every artist must confine themselves to religious art but it does mean that we may be called to sacrifice lucrative opportunities. or turn away from work that does not suit our vocation.   But in the end that is what it means to live for Christ and not for ourselves.   (Deacon Lawrence Klimecki – Speaker, Writer, Artist)

Blessed Fra Angelico, pray for us!

bl-fra-angelco-pray-for-us-18 feb 2017-no 2