The Spirit Within!!!

Fruits That Build A Strong Character!


Holy Spirit Prayer By St. Augustine
 by Jen Norton

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK III

Ant. 2 (Morning Prayer) “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meeknesses, and self-control; against such, there is no law.” 

Galatians 5:22-23 Modern English Version (MEV)

Dear brothers and sisters, I have three questions this week… three short questions that can change your life if you truly ponder them;

1.) “Do you take time to contemplate how you treat others around you?

2.) Do you see yourself as expressing love and joy?

3.) Are you a kind person?”


Small Mirror Twin
 by Graham Dean

Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, in essence, is a list that carefully describes the fruits of the Holy Spirit, making the case that distinguishes the spirit of the Gospel from the harsh interpretations of the letter of the Jewish law. Pauls argument is most specifically found in how he crafted the list found in (Galatians 5:22-23). I feel it somewhat interesting that he felt he needed to list the fruits or the attributes of a true follower of Christ Jesus. It is interesting because our civilization is not far removed from the historical – spiritually unstable Galatians who were hung up on legalism. They so desperately clung to their many laws which they depended upon to serve as their moral compass. That God-given / man- changed moral compass sadly had led them away from God, hardening their hearts, and souring their faith. The same could be said about all of us Americans as a collective in the eyes of the world today.  For we apparently have abandoned that God-given moral compass that made our nation stand above all others as a beacon of hope, for our actions are not the actions of love or gentleness to those who come asking for help and protection. We have not been joyful in our hearts rather just the opposite – our country is divided more than ever. Many Americans could be seen as kind but our country in the eyes of the world is viewed as anything but. Paul is describing through the carefully chosen words within his list the characteristics of the Holy Spirit complete with examples of how best to apply them. He is saying that our moral compass, (beliefs), and how we live them and express them need to match our actions and those actions need to match what’s being described on that list! See my brothers and sisters, God is vastly more powerful than any man-made law. Likewise, the fruits of the Holy Spirit is not just above all the ugliness of mankind but because Christ lives within each of us we have no excuse to act any other way than those beautiful and wise words Paul wrote down over two thousand years ago. Wisdom words that apply every bit to us today as it did to the Galatians! We have no more excuse! Time… my friends is running out! It is time we reclaim our moral heritage by applying (Galatians 5:22-23) to our everyday life as only Americans can!

Examination of Character

27 “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart.” 

Proverbs 20:27 (MEV)

My Friend
 by Helen Thomas Robson

Last week I wrote about examining yourselves. It is important to take a step back and examine how you have been living your life from time to time. Looking deeply with heartfelt sincerity at how you may not have reacted in the way you probably should have allows you the opportunity to learn from those experiences and then correct those behaviors. I say this because like a good friend, shepherd, and loyal companion God examines us inside and out all the time. He does so joyfully with an overabundance of love in fulfillment of His promise to always be there for us. God patiently gives us what we need, and He takes away our pain and troubles when we completely give it up to Him. In return, God fills our hearts with peace and joy opening our lives to His unfailing love.

Building Character Through the Fruits of the Holy Spirit!


Inner Peace
 by Jane Small

This week I wanted to address how to take last weeks examination and build upon that self-reflection. Giving practical guidance that can be applied immediately for the greatest and most profound impact upon your life. So it is we start by always living our lives giving love to those who need it, be an example of joy for those who would otherwise be lost without it, and showing patience to those who put us to the test. God does these things because He is kind… so I ask again, “Are you kind?” God is filled with goodness and faith… so I ask again… “Do you make an effort to be filled with goodness and show your faith in Him?” In truth, all these characteristics are Godly but they are also measured with self-control,

7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.”  

2 Timothy 1:7 (MEV) 

 For collectively as a country founded upon Christian beliefs, we all would be remiss if we did not heed God’s will,


5 “For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love.” 

2 Peter 1:5-7 (MEV)

Fruit Of The Spirit Art
 by Amber Hadden

Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, build up your character within the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and through the examples of Jesus Christ, 

19 “Just as water mirrors your face so your face mirrors your heart.” 

Proverbs 27:19 (MSG)

Begin your learned knowledge, character building, and soul-searching with the very words of Jesus as He gives to us His most loving first and second commandments of our new covenant with God the Father, 

29 “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’this is the first commandment. 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 (MEV)

Using these commandments as your anchor everything else falls into place. Take time my brothers and sisters to contemplate how the world around you could be made better through the lens of Paul’s list. Reflect constantly on your own actions with every glance into the virtual mirror of your heart. Then ask on a daily basis for Jesus to make your heart and intentions clean and inline with His divine will. There will be days, trust me, that you will need His help, protection, and love. Be strong and motivated, always charging forward, always being aware of how you affect those around you, and never be afraid to make a course correction – being man or women enough to apologize for something you may have done wrong to your fellow man or women. Remember, we are our brothers and sisters keeper! I truly say to you, as a teacher I never truly know how my students interpret my teachings, I can only hope I have been effective. The same will be for you in your journey and it is this which if you allow it can turn you away from God and so I warn you always look forward building your knowledge and improving your character through the teachings of Christ.  Do as King Solomon wrote; 

21 Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 6:21 (MEV)

At The Finish Line
 by Digital Photographic Arts

Conclusion

In keeping God’s commandments, observing the teachings of Apostle Paul, and applying the wise Proverbs of King Solomon you have the power to change the world for the positive. Remembering to always strive daily to find peace and to give it, find new and better ways to express love to others who you know and who you don’t, and in being kind, filled with goodness and gentleness you will find immense love and grace that allows others to do the same. In these things run the race for Christ, crossing the finish line in righteousness and let it be said of you my brothers and sisters that you fought the good fight, you finished the race, and that you kept the faith all the days of your life! 

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LET US PRAY!


Prayers Art Print – by Piet Flour

Psalm 51:10-15 (MEV)

A PRAYER FOR GOD’S COMPASSION UPON CONVICTION AFTER SELF-REFLECTION

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.


Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your willing spirit.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.

Ant. 2 “To you, Lord, be the highest glory and praise forever, alleluia.”

Doxology

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen! 

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please become a subscriber by submitting your name and email below. Remember you’re never alone.

REAFFIRMING OUR MISSION

To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today.

“Let’s grow together as children of God”


Brother Brian – Knight of Columbus

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark, M.S.Ed.

© 2009-2018

Miracles Are Real!

Miracles Happen!

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK II

Antiphon “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

Warning to Rich Oppressors

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.” ~ James 5:1-3

A Modern Day Miracle

Senator Flake listening to a tearful confession of abuse

The morning of Friday, September 28, 2018, I woke up anxious. I was feeling this way because the night before I had watched the entire events of the testimony of Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh who both appeared before the United States Senate Justiciary Committee. Dr. Ford testified about the sexual misconduct of now Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh when they were in High School. Not surprising Judge Kavanaugh testified that those allegations were false. I watched how both carried themselves, the words they chose, and how they said them. After all, this is a job interview for one of the most powerful positions in our country and the manner to which a person testifies to the truth under penalty of perjury is important. In fact, that is partly what the Committee’s job is, to determine if Mr. Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice, and in addition, this is about character and credibility.  Prior to this Republicans have been quoted as saying they were going to “plow through this…”  their intent was clearly to rush the process and put Kavanaugh on the bench regardless! Thursday night I heard over and over by Democrats who simply wanted the FBI to investigate these allegations, to gather the facts, and seek out the truth. So Friday morning I woke knowing that the Republicans would try and vote to push the Kavanaugh confirmation to the floor of the Senate without seeking out the truth in a way the country could deal with, in a way that showed respect to Dr. Ford and all the other women who had come forward against Mr. Kavanaugh. I turned on the TV to see the proceedings and in my heart, I just felt so sad and upset. From my growing anxiety, I had to just let it out, so I said aloud very firmly as I watched Senator Grassley try as he might too make good on the Republican promise to just push it through moments before I had to leave to go to work, I said, “Brian just have faith. Miracles happen!”, then I turned off the TV and left still feeling defeated and anxious all rolled up into one. I got into my truck and turned on the radio to listen to what was happening but before I could get on the road I felt a deep need arise to say it again, so I did, I told myself, “You just have to have faith!” Then around noon, I received a text from a friend who told me that the Committee had voted the way I had expected, then I was informed about what Republican Senator Flake had done to get the FBI to investigate. ‘It was a miracle I thought.’

Sex assault survivor who confronted Jeff Flake speaks out – 
Maria Gallagher &  Ana Maria Archila

It wasn’t until I got home when I saw with my own eyes the first of the three real miracles that had transpired Friday in Washington D.C.  I saw and heard two women who stopped Senator Flake in the private elevator and poured out their hearts to him. One of them confessed for the first time that she was a survivor of this kind of abuse.  Mr. Flake to his credit stood there listening to them taking it all in. Then the second miracle caught on camera; the speech from Democrat Senator Coons that moved Republican Flake to the point he stood up and walked out to a private meeting room adjacent the committee room calling Coons out to discuss what the right actions should be. Then after 15 minutes, they came back in and Mr. Flake voted to push for an FBI investigation.

Miracle number three caught on TV was the President who ordered the FBI to investigate these allegations of Dr. Ford. His description of Dr. Ford was surprising and elegant. My faith that God would act, that something good would happen, the freight train stopped dead in its tracks was now reality before my very eyes! So my brothers and sisters, in these events we are seeing our God act, for the warning of Saint James is happening in real-time! The games of the rich and powerful are crumbling down as truth makes those who mislead out of a sense of entitlement are now weeping and wailing! Their treasures are rotting away before them and all they hold dear are wasting away! It is their lies and past corruption which now serve as evidence against them and will surely eat their flesh away like a wisp of flame turned into a roaring fire that burns all impurity into ash. Indeed, I tell you this is what we are seeing with this confirmation hearings as God moves to allow truth to prevail!

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

“O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.” ~ Psalm 8:1-2 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Dear brothers and sisters, I truly say to you, what price do we pay when we ignore the truth? What price do we pay before God when we ignore civility, love, and dignity? In the words of Daniel; ‘Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are His.’ (Daniel 2:20)  So it is within this truth – for many years I have written here on Listening Faithfully what to look out for, I have talked about the pitfalls of our weak and earthly desires. But I think we now have a newer gospel, a newer truth for our more modern age, but make no mistake – current events are still linked to our ancient history with a deep common thread which is even more relevant today as history unfolds. That common thread is our faith – blind faith in the Lord, Our God which reigns in heaven forever and ever! Make no mistake my brothers and sisters, God is surely unchanged, remains pure, and forever loyal! Our God is a seeker of truth in all men and who holds us up to the standards of salvation and everlasting life with Him! In the words of Paul the Apostle ‘Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.’ (Ephesians 5:6-7 So it is I say all these things to remind you all that God is a destroyer of lies, a punisher of the malcontented, troublemaker, sewer of mischief, agitator, dissident, and rebel who seeks to mislead, sell half-truths, sew heartache, and those who seek personal gain through others misfortune!  Please, I beg you, my brothers and sisters, to always remember that we are never victorious without God, we receive nothing in this life without first being given the blessing of God to have whatever it is or achievement that which we have sought out. We are not an entitled race, rather just the opposite – we are given forgiveness after first asking God to forgive us, it is God who makes the decision always, and it is God who decides to grant us His perfect grace! Despite the rich and powerful family you may have been born into, despite the riches your family may have gathered here on earth, and despite the elite school your privileged life allowed you to attend, we all are first subject to God and His moral and just truth! Again, let the words of Apostle
Paul speak loudly to your heart, ‘And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them.’ (Ephesians 5: 11). So it is my brothers and sisters that truth binds us to God, holds us accountable in all that we do for the entire length of our lives, which by no mistake is also governed by our loving, loyal, and perfect God. It is these truths which King Nebuchadnezzar tested when he threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the flames. It was Jesus who came to save them as a shadow in the midst of that inferno which kept the three men safe. Through that event, it was the miracle we know as the Son of Man which made the powerful King bow down and praise God! (Daniel 3:8-30).  So it is the same God today – in our own time which softened the heart of Senator Flake, the same God that provoked the two women in the elevator to pronounce their truths, it is the same God in heaven that will surely guide all the FBI Agents to seek the truth of Dr. Ford! Yes… the mighty and powerful now tremble as the flames of a disastrous plan are blown against them by yes… the same God in heaven. Our divine God who plows through the sins of man to make way for all His children to come home with dignity and truth on our side and loud praise for God on our lips!  So I proudly proclaim today that miracles are real, they do happen, and if you look hard enough and open your eyes, heart, and mind you also will see the Son of Man working in the shadows. 

LET US PRAY!

The Song of the Three Jews

‘Let All Creatures Praise the Lord’ 
Daniel 3:57-88 (NRSVACE)

Ant: “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

57 ‘Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

64 ‘Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

66 Bless the Lord, fire, and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

69 Bless the Lord, ice, and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant: “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

70 Bless the Lord, frosts, and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

71 Bless the Lord, nights and days;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

72 Bless the Lord, light, and darkness;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

73 Bless the Lord, lightning, and clouds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

74 ‘Let the earth bless the Lord;
    let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

75 Bless the Lord, mountains, and hills;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

76 Bless the Lord, all that grows in the ground;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

77 Bless the Lord, you springs;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

78 Bless the Lord, seas, and rivers;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

79 Bless the Lord, you whales and all that swim in the waters;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

80 Bless the Lord, all birds of the air;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

81 Bless the Lord, all wild animals, and cattle;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

82 ‘Bless the Lord, all people on earth;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

83 Bless the Lord, O Israel;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

84 Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

85 Bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

86 Bless the Lord, spirits, and souls of the righteous;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

87 Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

88 ‘Bless the Lord, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 

Ant:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

For he has rescued us from Hades and saved us from the power of death, and delivered us from the midst of the burning fiery furnace; from the midst of the fire, he has delivered us.

Anti:  “Come, worship the Lord, for we are his people, the flock he shepherds,  alleluia.”

Special Prayer for Mrs. Elan LeDay – My Good Friend, Fellow Teacher, and Sister in Christ

Prayer for Health & Healing:

Dear Lord, grace is yours alone, it is grace you bestow upon those who ask, and it is your grace which is at the heart of your perfect agape love. Today, I pray a special prayer for a woman who has spent a lifetime listening to you, clinging on every word, and who has spread your light throughout this world bringing joy to all she meets. Today, O’ Lord, I come before you with a host of friends and relatives of Mrs. Elan LeDay who currently suffers from asthma which steals away her breath. We humbly ask you to give her breath back and also ask for you to heal her ailing body of 81 years young and increase her joy, extending your grace, and infusing into her heart the power of your presence so as to allow her to move without pain as she had in years past.

Dear Father in heaven, Mrs. Elan LaDay has been a good and loyal friend, (too many),  she has been a good teacher and support, (too many), and most of all a wonderful Sister in Christ who has lead thousands of your children to your light. Mrs. Elan LaDay has been a marvelous doer of you word urging others to not just be hearers only; filling them with the truth and morality which only comes from your love and wisdom. We all ask for your hand to touch her heart Lord, to chase away her physical pain and healing her with your perfect grace and love.

O’ Lord, my Savoir you are ever faithful – ever true. It is your promise of an incorruptible body – an everlasting gown of white made from a holy thread of your grace and love. I ask dear Lord for you to wrap this gown of blinding light around Mrs. Elan LaDay – your daughter of the light – and hold her hand with your preserving touch taking upon yourself her troubles and worries – sickness, weakness, and distress carrying away her sorrows and pain. Dear Lord, we all thank you for loving Mrs. Elan LeDay and all her sisters and brothers in Christ so much that you sacrificed yourself on the cross which gave the world a marvelous hope in an everlasting life with you in heaven forever. With sincerity and fidelity we, your children acknowledge our dependence upon you. So once more we thank you for listening to our many cries and prayers today on behalf of Mrs. Elan LeDay. We ask this in Jesus’ name? Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then please leave a comment below. Remember you’re never alone.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

NOW GO SPREAD THE WORD!!

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To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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Brother Brian

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

Disregarding The Bread of Life – Secular Humanism Series

The Dangers of Nonbelief!

Twenty-First Week of Ordinary Time

48-51 “I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.” ~ John 6:48-51  The Message (MSG)

Convenient Absentmindedness pt. 2

Last week I wrote, “We have become unmindful of the one who bore us, the one who gave us life, and forgot where we have come from.” (Brother Brian Disregarding God, August 21, 2018) I took aim at what I feel is a great and terrible evil we are fighting in our everyday lives. I gave examples of how humanity is guilty of being collectively unmindful. I asked, “Is anyone listening?” This week I give more examples of how Secular Humanism pulls us away from God and makes us blind to God’s offer of everlasting life and instead living your life on a ledge of disaster!

Secular Humanism says, “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”, just as the Jews had begun asking in, (John 6:52 MSG). This rhetoric sowed disbelief because man inherently fears what he does not understand but that is only a small part of what drove the mass disbelief. Even the disciples had a hard time with this one, proclaiming, 60 ” this teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60 NRSVACE).

Thinking Deeper: “Why is it that this specific teaching sowed so much disbelief?”

Perhaps, my brothers and sisters, we like children take things too literally! Maybe, we think so basically as to misunderstand what Jesus said? Surely it is easy to hear one thing and interpret it in a completely different way than what it was meant to mean. On this point how many times have you intently listened to the rhetoric other people say? How many times do you take them at face value or doze off not really hearing their overall message?  Worse yet picking and choosing the parts you like and discarding the rest? (We will circle back around for more on this point.) Notice that those who left John calls them disciples indicating that they all had once believed and followed but had lost their way or maybe simply had grown tired and so they simply wandered off to take up their old lives. Maybe, the idea of being the bread of life; the most staple food source at that time period referencing the bread (manna) that fell from heaven when the Jews were escaping Egypt was simply too much for those one-time disciples of Jesus to bear? Whatever the reason, modern secular humanism supports the falling away from Christ, enforces the disbelief in God, blurs our vision so much so we do not know where then to look for salvation. Jesus made many hard to understand and follow statements but in each one of them at the root, He was calling us to Himself so that we would have the hope of everlasting life. Secular Humanism, however empowering will not and can not save your immortal soul because man cannot save himself apart from God.

On the other hand, maybe those lost disciples did indeed get Jesus’s “I AM” proclamation of everlasting life! Maybe they had also heard Jesus’s teaching on marriage, his view of both husband and wife needing to be equal partners; which flies in the face of both Mid-Eastern culture and practices going back thousands of years. I have to admit this scripture found in (Ephesians 5:21-32), is a blow to the male ego in almost every culture around the world. But simply put that is our Lord and Savoir, He was not afraid to say it as it was or needed to be. Maybe His message was too harsh for some, but whoever said everlasting life was going to be easy to attain?

Thinking Deeper: “How does being subordinate to another person in marriage mix with the message of disregarding the bread of life?”

21 “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.” Ephesians 5:21 The Message (MSG)

Many of Jesus’s “I AM” proclamations were intended to shock, to stir up, to challenge the way we see this secular world. But mainly to wake us up to what is coming upon His return. But more to the point we will not be awake if we as a human race do not first get with the program of submission and being subordinate to each other first. Oh yes… I said the words that our own egos can’t stand to hear or even confront, (submission and subordinate), without saying the word love. Truth be told many people in their marriages treat their spouses horribly and try to assume the role of the boss in the relationship! After all our secular world is all about the wants of the individual right? How then can you possibly be submissive to your spouse if your mentality is all about the preservation of ‘SELF’ wants? In this listening and communicating becomes the last priority then lies and deceit creeps in to fill the gap of being submissive and subordinate i.e. loyal to your spouse! If then love is not associated to any of this then marriage is not rewarding and thus tiresome and labor intensive. You will my brothers and sisters lose the love you so crave from the world, blinded so severely that you do not know where to look for salvation! Therefore, to love and honor your spouse and children is both the greatest gift and redeeming qualities that emulate God! Think of it this way, submissive love is being God-like! So Yes… “He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28 NABRE) For Jesus so loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her – (the collective of mankind as His Holy Church!) 

Putting It All Together: In short my brothers and sisters, to be loyal, faithful, living your life honoring your relationships with fidelity and love is one of the best ways any human-being has available to honor and emulate God.  To live for your own selfish means then is the same as being that group of disciples who got bored and wandered off and consciously or unconsciously ended up emulating secular humanist. When we fall into this secular mold we become lost and blind not knowing or seeing where to turn for salvation and/ or redemption. Sadly in that state, we become the property of Satan and headed for damnation. But when we honor our relationships we emulate the Christian Family Jesus had wanted us to live. We, in turn, serve God and are headed for His everlasting grace and mercy. Believing in Jesus, honoring your personal relationship with Him is, in turn, mastering the concept of eating and drinking his body and blood which is traditionally in the Church known as the Eucharist. For spiritually Jesus lives within each one of us and loves all of the human race. He is always calling to us to be that better person, He is always reaching out to intervene and protect us which is something this secular world cannot do. In the end my brothers and sisters, the choice is yours to make. Which interpretation of living in this secular world will you choose? Who do you want to emulate?

LET US PRAY

PRAYER FOR LOVING OTHERS

From: Catholic Doors.com

Lord, Make me an instrument of your love. 
May I see each circumstance in my life 
as an opportunity to grow in your love.
May I see my environment 
as a place to grow in your love.

May I then take this love to other people…

When I am tempted to become impatient, 
help me to be patient. 

When I am tempted to become unkind, 
help me to be kind. 

When I am tempted to become jealous, 
help me to be tolerant. 

When I am tempted to become boastful or proud, 
help me to give you the glory. 

When I am tempted to be rude or selfish, 
give me the gift of gentleness. 

When I am tempted to take offense, 
help me to let go. 

When I am tempted to become angry with someone, 
give me the gift of forgiveness. 

When I am tempted to become resentful, 
give me your power to love. 

Lord, grant that I may take no pleasure in criticizing others, 
but that I may see good in them, as you do.

When I begin to concentrate on the faults and failures of others, 
give me the courage to praise their accomplishments. 

Help me be loyal to those you give me to love. 

Help me to believe in them, 
even when they do not believe in themselves. 
To expect the best from them, 
but accept the best they can give. 
May I always defend them, 
as you always defend me. 

All gifts and powers come from you. 
All will come to an end. 
With one important exception, the gift of love!!! 
Lord, when I was a child, 
I thought like a child, 
I acted like a child, 
and I reasoned like a child. 
Now that I have become an adult,
I release my childish ways.

In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember you’re never alone.

Amen, Alleluia!

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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