Posted in CANON LAW, CCC, MINI SERIES, PAPAL ENCYLICALS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Mini Series – THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH – First Precept

Mini Series – THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

These “precepts” are the most important laws of the Catholic Church.   They are meant for each of us.   Through her precepts the Church, our loving Mother and teacher, puts before our minds the minimum participation which is necessary to maintain our Catholic identity.

Recalling Our Lord’s words that the wise man “built his house upon the rock” (Matt 7:24), we can ask ourselves this Lent how far we are built on the rock of Christ, who is present in his Church and active in her life-giving sacraments, how firmly rooted we are in the community of faith which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-13).

The Precepts of the Church are to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Nos. 2042-2043.

First Precept:

“You shall attend Mass on Sundays

and Holy Days of Obligation and Rest from Servile Labour.”the precept of the church - first precept - 18 feb 2019

From the earliest times the Christians celebrated the Eucharist on the Day of the Lord’s resurrection (see Acts 20:7).   It is no surprise that the vision of St John in the book of Revelation, a vision deeply linked to the Christian liturgy, occurred “on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).

St Justin Martyr (100-165), one of the first Church Fathers, wrote in about 150 AD:   “on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place …”.

He goes on to explain the reading of the Scriptures and the consecration of the bread and wine and concludes:  “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God … made the world and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.”   Christians understood that, now, the Old Testament commandant to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8) applied to Sunday rather than the Jewish Saturday.

It was also clear to Christians that, developing the tradition of the Jews, the Christian sabbath calls for rest from our usual occupations, “to abstain from those labours and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body.”  (Code of Canon Law 1247).

The Catechism challenges us also when it adds:  “Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week.” (CCC 2186)
Sunday is rightly a time for recreation, yet a Catholic must prioritise the Sunday Mass for the simple reason that God himself must be given first place.

The precept to be present at Mass on Sundays (or Saturday evening) is non-negotiable for Catholics – it is a “grave” obligation (CCC 2181).   If it happens that we fail to observe it through negligence or without a serious reason, we should confess it in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion again.
If, on the other hand, we did have a sufficient reason not to be present, for instance we were ill, had to stay at home to look after young children, or were a great distance from a church, or have no choice but to work on Sunday during Mass, then we’re not obliged BUT let us not ‘look for excuses’ and let us choose our work carefully and do all we can to make it known to our employers that we only need ONE HOUR per week – could we perhaps EXCHANGE our lunch- or off-times for this ONE HOLY HOUR ON SUNDAYS?!

We must further attend Mass on holy days of obligation that usually fall during the week, such as Christmas Day.

The precepts of Church are not regulations trying to catch us out but crucial reminders of what it means to be a Christian.   Saint John Paul II, in his encyclical letter on the Lord’s Day, wrote:

“Sunday is a day which is at the very heart of the Christian life.   From the beginning of my Pontificate, I have not ceased to repeat – ‘Do not be afraid!  Open, open wide the doors to Christ!’.   

In the same way, today I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday –

Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ!   Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that He may cast light upon it and give it direction. …

Time given to Christ is never time lost but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human.”

(Dies Domini 7)

 

time given to christ is never time lost but rather it is time gained - st john paul - 18 feb 2019 first precept.jpg

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Posted in CCC, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus, Disciples and Companions of the Apostle Paul and Bishops of the Catholic Church

“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.   Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”...Luke 10:2-3

REFLECTION – 1562 “Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through His apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in His consecration and mission and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry.”   43 “The function of the bishops’ ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfilment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.”...CCC 1562 The ordination of priests – co-workers of the bishops
Another observation concerns the willingness of these collaborators.   The sources concerning Timothy and Titus highlight their readiness to take on various offices that also often consisted in representing Paul in circumstances far from easy.   In a word, they teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, realising that this also entails a service to the Church herself.”…Pope Benedict XVI 13 December 2006luke 10 3 - go our way behold i send you out - ccc 1562 Christ whom the father hallowed 26 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saints Timothy and Titus with power to preach Your Word.   Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.sts-timothy-and-titus-pray-for-us-no-2-26-jan-2018.jpg

Posted in CCC, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY SPIRIT, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 12 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:15–26

One Minute Reflection – 12 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:15–26 – Friday of the Twenty-seventh week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Wilfrid (c 633-709)

But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…Luke 11:20

REFLECTION – “The finger:   “It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] casts out demons.” If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of God” (Ex 31,18), then the “letter from Christ” entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2Cor 3,3).   The hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” invokes the Holy Spirit as the “finger of the Father’s right hand.”…CCC 700but if it is by the finger luke 11 20 - the finger CCC700 - 12 oct 2018

Jesus reacted with firm and clear words, He did not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realising it, were falling into the gravest sin – denying and blaspheming against God’s Love which is present and active in Jesus.
And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the one unforgivable sin— as Jesus said — because it comes from closing the heart to God’s mercy which acts in Jesus….Pope Francis – Angelus, 10 June 2018and blasphemy the sin against the holy spirit - pope francis - 12 oct 2018

PRAYER – Almighty Father, let Your light so penetrate our minds, that we may walk always in that light and follow Your Son, the Way, the Truth and the Life.   Fill us with understanding and may the Holy Spirit guide us in love.   Allow the intercession of St Wilfrid who learnt of Your light and brought it to his land and taught his people, to help us all.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.st wilfrid pray for us - 12 oct 2018

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, CATHOLIC Quotes, CCC, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on ANGELS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 2 October – The Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

Thought for the Day – 2 October – The Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined.   Yet guardian angels are not only for children.   Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it.   Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief:  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Devotion to the angels is, at base, an expression of faith in God’s enduring love and providential care extended to each person day in and day out.

The Catholic Church believes there is a link among believers, angels and the God who made us all:   “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’   Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God” (CCC 336).

Holy Guardian Angels, Pray for us!guardian angels pray for us 2 oct 2018

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, CCC, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 29 September – Today’s Gospel: John 1:47–51 – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

One Minute Reflection – 29 September – Today’s Gospel: John 1:47–51 – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”…John 1:51

REFLECTION“I believe in one God…, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all that is, visible and invisible.”   The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith.   The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.   St Augustine says:  “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature.   If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’;  if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’:  from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.  ” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God.   Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10), they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20).   As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will:  they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendour of their glory bears witness (cf Dan 10:9).
Christ is the centre of the angelic world.   They are his angels:  “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him” (Mt 25:31).   They belong to Him because they were created through and for Him:  “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him,” (Col 1:16).   They belong to Him still more because He has made them messengers of His saving plan:  “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Heb 1:14).
Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan.”...Catechism of the Catholic Church #328-332you will see heaven opened and the angels - john 1 51 - angels have been present since creation ccc 328-332 - 29 sept 2018

PRAYER – God of all Wisdom, You direct the ministry of angels and of human beings. Grant that the angels who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil.  Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amenholy-archangels-pray-for-us 29 sept 2017

Posted in CCC, MORNING Prayers, The WORD, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

One Minute Reflection – 1 September – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30 and The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

One Minute Reflection – 1 September – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30 – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property….”…Matthew 25:14

REFLECTION – “The universal destination and the private ownership of goods – In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labour and enjoy their fruits (Gn 1:26-29). The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race.   However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge.   It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.   The right to private property… does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind, the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself” (Vatican II, GS 69).   The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.   Goods of production… oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number.   Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.”…Catechism of the Catholic Church § 2402-2405matthew 24 14 - for it will be as when a man going on a journey-the ownership of property ccc2402-2405 1 sept 2018

PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us by Your grace, to remain “good and faithful servants” so that we may use all You have bestowed upon us and left to our care, in the loving care of our neighbour and of Your gifts.   May Mary, the Mother of Your divine Son and our Mother, walk at our side and teach us to be true children and users of our talents and Your creation.   May we guard Your world with great wisdom.   Holy Mother of Montevergine, pray for us, that we may one day enter “into the joy of our Lord”.   We make our prayer, through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.our lady of montevergine pray for us - 1 sept 2018

Posted in CCC, MARTYRS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – The Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

Saint of the Day – The Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

Catechism of the Catholic Church
IV. The Spirit of Christ in the Fullness of Time
John, Precursor, Prophet and Baptist

719    John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”   In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets.   John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel;  he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming.   As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.”   In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.   “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptises with the Holy Spirit and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God…. Behold, the Lamb of God.”john-the-Baptist-carvilli

BENEDICT XVI
GENERAL AUDIENCE
Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 29 August 2012

This last Wednesday of the month of August is the liturgical Memorial of the martyrdom of St John the Baptist, the Precursor of Jesus.   In the Roman Calendar, he is the only saint whose birth and death, through martyrdom, are celebrated on the same day (in his case, 24 June).   Today’s Memorial commemoration dates back to the dedication of a crypt in Sebaste, Samaria, where his head had already been venerated since the middle of the fourth century.   The devotion later extended to Jerusalem, both in the Churches of the East and in Rome, with the title of the Beheading of St John the Baptist.   In the Roman Martyrology reference is made to a second discovery of the precious relic, translated for the occasion to the Church of San Silvestro in Campo Marzio, Rome.beheading Salome-with-the-head-of-St-john-the-Baptist

These small historical references help us to understand how ancient and deeply-rooted is the veneration of John the Baptist.   His role in relation to Jesus stands out clearly in the Gospels.   St Luke in particular recounts his birth, his life in the wilderness and his preaching, while in today’s Gospel St Mark tells us of his dramatic death.   John the Baptist began his preaching under the Emperor Tiberius in about 27-28 A.D. and the unambiguous invitation he addressed to the people, who flocked to listen to him, was to prepare the way to welcome the Lord, to straighten the crooked paths of their lives through a radical conversion of heart (cf. Lk 3:4).

However, John the Baptist did not limit himself to teaching repentance or conversion. Instead, in recognising Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who came to take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29), he had the profound humility to hold up Jesus as the One sent by God, drawing back so that he might take the lead and be heard and followed.   As his last act the Baptist witnessed with his blood to faithfulness to God’s commandments, without giving in or withdrawing, carrying out his mission to the very end.   In the 9th century the Venerable Bede says in one of his Homilies:  “St John gave his life for [Christ].   He was not ordered to deny Jesus Christ but was ordered to keep silent about the truth” (cf. Homily 23: CCL 122, 354).   And he did not keep silent about the truth and thus died for Christ who is the Truth.   Precisely for love of the truth he did not stoop to compromises and did not fear to address strong words to anyone who had strayed from God’s path.st_john

We see this great figure, this force in the Passion, in resistance to the powerful.   We wonder, what gave birth to this life, to this interiority so strong, so upright, so consistent, spent so totally for God in preparing the way for Jesus?   The answer is simple – it was born from the relationship with God, from prayer, which was the thread that guided him throughout his existence.   John was the divine gift for which his parents Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying for so many years (cf. Lk 1:13), a great gift, humanly impossible to hope for, because they were both advanced in years and Elizabeth was barren (cf. Lk 1:7), yet nothing is impossible to God (cf. Lk 1:36).   The announcement of this birth happened precisely in the place of prayer, in the temple of Jerusalem, indeed it happened when Zechariah had the great privilege of entering the holiest place in the temple to offer incense to the Lord (cf. Lk 1:8-20).   John the Baptist’s birth was also marked by prayer, the Benedictus, the hymn of joy, praise and thanksgiving which Zechariah raises to the Lord and which we recite every morning in Lauds, exalts God’s action in history and prophetically indicates the mission of their son John – to go before the Son of God made flesh to prepare His ways (cf. Lk 1:67-79).

The entire existence of the Forerunner of Jesus was nourished by his relationship with God, particularly the period he spent in desert regions (cf. Lk 1:80).   The desert regions are places of temptation but also where man acquires a sense of his own poverty because once deprived of material support and security, he understands that the only steadfast reference point is God Himself.   John the Baptist, however, is not only a man of prayer, in permanent contact with God but also a guide in this relationship.   The Evangelist Luke, recalling the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, the Our Father, notes that the request was formulated by the disciples in these words:  “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his own disciples” (cf. Lk 11:1).

Dear brothers and sisters, celebrating the martyrdom of St John the Baptist reminds us too, Christians of this time, that with love for Christ, for His words and for the Truth, we cannot stoop to compromises.   The Truth is Truth; there are no compromises.   Christian life demands, so to speak, the “martyrdom” of daily fidelity to the Gospel, the courage, that is, to let Christ grow within us and let Him be the One who guides our thought and our actions.   However, this can happen in our life only if we have a solid relationship with God.   Prayer is not time wasted, it does not take away time from our activities, even apostolic activities but exactly the opposite is true only if we are able to have a faithful, constant and trusting life of prayer will God Himself give us the ability and strength to live happily and serenely, to surmount difficulties and to witness courageously to Him.   St John the Baptist, intercede for us, that we may be ever able to preserve the primacy of God in our life.   Thank you.