Monday, October 27, 2008

Having faith and living faithfully.

Courageous Love:
Lesson 3 Faith and the Life of Grace
Women's Study Group meeting on Oct 23, 2008

We open with prayer, and discuss next Sunday's Gospel. The discussion went something like this...

Next Sunday's Gospel: Matthew 22: 34-40
The Greatest Commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Melissa: I feel that from this reading and this lesson, which are so similar, make it clear that evangelization and worship go hand in hand. That one is worthless without the other. That is why I suggest that our resolution for the next two weeks is to reach out to our neighbor in a spiritual way, specifically asking God to pick that person for us. Perhaps to ask someone to come worship with us at church.

Clarissa: The word "All" seems so emphasized in this reading. "All" meaning our entire being for God, can seem overwhelming. And to love neighbors, who may be enemies... all hard to do. This must have been a radical teaching at the time.

Christine & Sandy: I've experienced "hard to love" neighbors. How DO you love someone so full of evil?

Melissa: When he said, "Love your neighbor" it continues to say "as yourself," which means simply to be an example to others, including those who are evil in actions, and treat them respectfully. [It is not our duty to be evil to those who are evil. We are to be respectful of them as a person created by God, regardless of how they choose to live their life.]

L: Spoke of an account where Leppers grabbed someone in an effort to disrespectfully be near them, and this religious leader in turn embraced them tighter in consolation.
[Is this like that quote: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." ? Are we to embrace our enemies with so much love and concern that it just rubs off and melts their hard hearts...]

Jamie: Has had lasting negative feelings and fear associated with hateful blog comments. Always wondering who's really out there on the streets of today?

Ann Marie: How many missed opportunities are there, when the Holy Spirit has moved us to do something, and we either didn't recognize it until later or ignored it all together?

Resolution: Reach out to your neighbor in a spiritual way.

Afterwards, we discuss our answers in the book. It was very enlightening, and quite the challenge to my faith life. I realize that God will continue to call me to be his lips and hands, even when I am seemingly busy. And this lesson points out, that even though we do good works, we also need to brush up on our knowledge of the faith inorder to profess it better.

Adoration time in reflection:
Okay God, before I can even remember to ask you for the name of the "neighbor" I neglected to evangelize to... you are already presenting me with the name [of a cousin] over and over again in my head. I can't even seem to let in any other possiblity.

So while [this cousin] is one of the lost souls in need of harvesting, I can't help but wonder...
I missed the opporunity so long ago, is it too late? [Just like in 1 Samuel 3 where he is being called over and over again.] No - God keeps calling for me. These cousins in mind are close to me, and we've "grown up" together - even though we are all still so very young. I want to speak to them because I care about them and their souls so deeply, but I fear losing that closeness with every holy word I speak.

I take this moment to pause and thank God for all in my life, especially Tom, who has "grown" in faith with me - with little debate.

Why are there so many fixated on "FEELING" the presence of God at chuch? Why, when there is a certain way to physically TOUCH Christ in the Eucharist? If they only knew. In today's lesson of Courageous Love, the woman knows she will be healed if she touches Jesus' robe. Jesus feels the "rush" of his power moving from him. What an exhilirating thought. At the end of the lesson there is a focus on the Eucharist, which at first seemed like another chapter by itself, but now I see the connection, that your Eucharistic body gives us more graces - a rush of Godly healing into our soul - each time we receive the Eucharist and you become a part of us! That's the FEELING I crave. This kind of rush MUST be comparable in exhiliration that those who stray to another religion are searching for. What can we do to make sure they see it here in the Catholic religion? If anyone wants to "feel good" when they are at church, the worship in song and prayer is exciting... but not near as affirming as knowing Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is now physically dwelling within you. If He is within you, your faith is bound to "grow." Nourish yourself often, and it will only increase. Just as this lesson was getting at. Now that's a RUSH!

Oh, how our lives are changed by our testings and trials in our lives and its affect on our faith. Some have simply failed the test and need someone or something to draw them back to the true path.

"Is it I, Lord?
Here I am Lord."

"I will go Lord, if you lead me." I will pursue this challenge because you have called me to it and you will bring me through it.

But you know my fears and anxieties. Consuole me. I am shaking in my boots at the thought of approaching someone so close to me on such a personal matter. But I will keep in mind, this is about Your Glory and Honor, not my social life.

With God, I can hope all things, endure all things...

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of
Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and
his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient
or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and
teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound
doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will
accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be
diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up
with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

1 Corinthians 13
tells us of this LOVE we should have for our
neighbor - in specifically in verse 7 - It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Thank you, Lord, for this revelation! Holy Spirit, continue to guide me. Mary, be my example. St. Michael and Guardian Angel - guard and defend me. Amen.

SO - I challenge you to go out and do the same.

I will post later, my "Illuminating" rosary that was said that same night, and what it means for us as Catholics who have faith AND live faithfully. I also will post the Joyful Mysteries we said yesterday for our Election Novena which began Sunday Oct 26, 2008.

God Bless!

See a beautiful adoration chapel here. It has a beautiful mosaic behind the monstrance.

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