Shepherds of Christ  
       Daily Writing        
 

January 3, 2009

January 4th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 2 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for January 4th are Luminous.

 

 

Epiphany in Florida

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Prayer service at 6:20pm on January 4th

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at 1:30pm and 6:20pm

 

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Given January 1, 2009

Writing by Rita Ring

                    Everything we do is in love —

                We don't have hidden division in
                our hearts —

                    We do things because it is
                God's will in love —

                    Pride and anger are enemies —
                the devil wants us to be selfish —
                We live with others —
                What we do affects others

                Say you are sorry and
                    work to do God's will in love —

   

Matthew 22: 36-39

'Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?' Jesus said to him, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

  

                    Love one another as I have
                loved you

                    Don't add fire to division —
                We must work as a family
                together under God's rules —
                living by the commandments —
                living in love

                    The devil wants the person
                who has done something wrong
                get into the

                    "I am right - you are wrong"

                    It turns out when satan
                    presses on somebody's
                    pride

                I am right — even when they
                    were wrong many times —

                Then they punish those they
                    hurt by some error —
                    by ways of hatred

                All things done should be done
                    according to God's will —
                    for His honor and glory —
                    in love.
                    in humility

 

You Love Always

March 18, 1994 7:15 a.m.
At All Saints, After Communion

Messenger: Dear Jesus, how holy is my soul? I do not see it as you desire. Do I judge my brothers? Do I compare myself to them and tell myself that I am right and they are wrong? Why do I judge at all? My job is to love, to love You with all my heart. My job is to preach Your gospel, to emit Your love from my very being!

When I am caught up in being wronged by my brother, how can Your love radiate to anyone? I am a clogged vessel and the love You want to give to those around me is trapped behind my anger.

Oh Lord, open my heart to Your ways. How easy for Satan to talk in my head and tell me how I should be feeling when I have a job to do. This job is more serious than any worldly job. This job is to spread Your love to a world that is hurting. When I am a clogged vessel, all those around me suffer from the loss of love they would receive if my heart were open and love were flowing out to them.

Oh, how Satan is so crafty as to steal our hearts away and fill them with such impurities, thoughts of anger at our brothers! How easily I comply. This is the self in me. Have I been wronged? Have I been threatened? Will someone think badly of me? Lord, help me to be selfless, to live only for love of You and to know You truly love me, to want not to answer any accusations of others, to remain silent when attacked unless You prompt me to speak.

Control my tongue as the doorway from my heart. Control my heart. Keep it full of Your love and free of all impurities. I want a heart that is free of hate and anger. I have a job to do, Lord, and it is to spread Your love. This job is a top priority. I receive all my love and support from You, Lord. Is that not enough or am I not thinking of how immense is the love of God?

Jesus: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I give you rest. I fill you with such love. I am God. I am love. Why focus on your suffering brothers? Because they are suffering from the evil of this world. You need not suffer if you turn to Me. I have all you need. I never abandon you or leave you. I am by your side. I, Jesus, walk with you where you go, and with such love. The love of God is all-encompassing. When I am by your side, why do you fret because of your ailing brothers? Pray for them. Some are in total darkness. How will My light shine from you if you are clogged with any anger or hatred? You must remain fixed only in love--love of God, love of one another!

Put your anger aside and look to My suffering face. I loved you all to My death. I did not count the cost. I did not number your sins. I loved you. I forgave you. I loved you unconditionally. I gave My all for you. Can you not do this for your brothers? I suffered for the sins of men and I was silent. I speak of My love. I do not speak of your sins. Who of you are sinless? If you expect Me to forgive you, can you not forgive your brothers when they have wronged you?

I am the light that shines through you to the dark world. I want to shine from your hearts. To have the least taint of hate and anger blocks My light from your souls. Clean out your hearts every minute. Let the hate and anger go! Do not let it fester and grow in your hearts. Keep your hearts pure only in the love of God. When your brother wrongs you, forgive him instantly. Do not let Satan talk in your head. Do not let self come to the front lines. Be ready to withstand the attack. Remain selfless and unattached.

I live in you and you live in Me. You are immersed in a vat of My love. My might shines from your being. Your brothers are suffering. Love them, watch them in their suffering and see them as My precious ones in need of My love. They are hurting so. Will you not tend to their bleeding wounds? Or will you scoff at them and go on your way?

This world is suffering. The only cure is the love of God. You have the opportunity to spread My love or act like the world. How can I love My sick ones if you act as they do? Did I argue on the way to Calvary? Did I answer their accusations and say, "Oh, I didn't do that?" I was silent! Can you not remain silent when you are accused? Can you not turn to Me and pick up your cross and see My suffering face?

I suffer for how they are hurting you. But to strike back in anger is not the way of love. This is not My way. My way is to love. I loved those who whipped Me. I loved those who crowned My head with thorns. I loved those who spit at Me and yelled obscenities at Me. I loved you all in all your sins! I loved you to My death! I showed you the way to love. I showed you the way to forgive. I showed you the way.

Why do you look to the ways of the suffering? If they scoff at and persecute you and yell any slander against you, focus on the love of your Father in heaven Who gave His only Son for love of you! The way of God is the way of love. Any taint of anger, of hatred, of getting even, of being wronged and making yourself right, is the way of the evil one.

My ways are steadfast and direct. I operate from love. Stay rooted firmly in the love of God. See Me suffering, beaten, bloodied, crowned, slapped, kicked, slandered--and every vile thing yelled at Me. See Me, see Me and then see Me dying on the cross in sweet surrender, arms outstretched, hanging by nails, head hanging--all out of great and ardent love for you!

I showed you how to love. Can you not forgive your suffering brothers? Can you not love? I loved to My death. Can you not let go of such little things coming from them who are hurting? You are My soldiers in this cold war. Your weapons are your hearts filled with the ardent, on-fire love of Jesus. Your hearts are powerful. God has all the power. Love finds the way. The only way to warm a cold heart is through the warmth of love, true love, unconditional love, that I give to you. Love always. I loved you to My death. Will you love My hurting ones for Me? Can I use you to light the dark world? I call this day. Will you answer?

The way to Me is the Way of the Cross. Do you see your life as the way to Me? Each day is a day on the way to the end which is heaven, hell or purgatory. Do you see yourself as making it for this life or for everlasting life? Oh, if only children were taught to see their lives in their entirety, from beginning to end, only to go to another place. If only children were taught to see that this is a "layover", not the end in itself!

Look at your life. You are on your way to somewhere else. This is a journey to get you to another place. If you are traveling, you do not camp out on the train, or try to make your vehicle an end in itself. You are in transit to another life. You have not arrived. You have not come to your destiny.

I am the Way. I am the Truth. I am the Life. To have eternal life you must model yourself after the Master. I loved you to My death. I love you this much this day. I gave My life for you. Do you not believe that to turn to Me is to give you all you need?

Follow Me. I show you the Way. You need to be led to the kingdom that waits for you. If you follow other leaders, they take you from the correct way. Only one way leads to My kingdom. It is the way I showed you. It is the way I show you this day. Would you go to a tour guide who knows the way or to one who is guessing?

Your brothers are following paths that lead to destruction. I show you the way to the kingdom of heaven. Why would you follow an amateur who knows not the way? You pay the price for your foolishness. My way is the Way of the Cross. If you try to find another way more to your liking, you get off course. The way to My kingdom is led by Me. I am with you this day in the Eucharist and in the tabernacle. Will you come and sit with Me in silence and listen when I give you your directions or will you go to a bad guide and try to find a short cut?

There is no short cut to My kingdom. My way is the only way. Pick up your cross and follow Me. Do not try to put your crosses down. Accept what I send you as coming from Him Who loves you. It is in this acceptance that you grow in your relationship with Me. My hand is in everything you experience.

See Me clothed in a white tunic, My love radiating from My being. See My hand outstretched as I walk before you and say, "Sweet one, this is the way to My kingdom. I bring you such love along the way. You will suffer, but My love will see you through. Come and follow as I lead. I walk before you backwards, right in front of you. Do you not see Me? Keep your eyes on Me, sweet one. I love you so. I will never lead you off the right road. I lead you with such love and peace. You will not know all My love here, sweet one, but when we get to My kingdom, what a reward for following Me! My house has many mansions. I have a place prepared just for you. I ardently love you. I am your Jesus, Son of the Living God. I come, you follow. We will live in My kingdom soon."

9:45 a.m.

Jesus: Unless a grain of wheat dies, it does not produce fruit. Such dying must be cultivated by obedience and your covenant with God, rooted in love and forgiveness. Die to yourself and live in My love, child. Child, I love you. Do you know now?

Messenger: Jesus, I believe. Jesus, I believe. Jesus, I believe. I believe in you.

Jesus: You know that what I tell you is truth. Do not even think. I will bring them to you. You remain set in your place. Pray all day. Be busy about My work. I need you to do My work for Me.

end of March 18, 1994

 

January 3, 2009

Writing by Rita Ring

                To me I live this death - resurrection
                    in my living united to the Mass
                    every moment of my life —

                As a member of the mystical body
                    of Christ —
                    I lay down my life as an
                    offering —
                    united to the Mass - going
                    on around the world

                I empty myself —
                In my life — in living more and
                    more in the Father's will
                    in love —

   

Galatians 2: 19-20

...I have been crucified with Christ and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me.

   

                The Mass is the Sacrifice of
                    Calvary sacramentally made
                    present —

                I am one — united to the sacrifice
                    of the Mass

                I stand beneath the cross with
                    Mary —

                We live out the death and resurrection
                    of Jesus in our lives

                Oneness in Him —

                Our lives an offering

                The bell tolls — we are united at
                    every moment to the Mass —
                    offering up our lives as an
                    offering — living in the
                    Father's will

 

   

                begging for grace to be outpoured
                    on the world.

    


  

A Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    Let me be a holy sacrifice and unite with God in the sacrament of His greatest love.

    I want to be one in Him in this act of love, where He gives Himself to me and I give myself as a sacrifice to Him. Let me be a holy sacrifice as I become one with Him in this my act of greatest love to Him.

    Let me unite with Him more, that I may more deeply love Him. May I help make reparation to His adorable Heart and the heart of His Mother, Mary. With greatest love, I offer myself to You and pray that You will accept my sacrifice of greatest love. I give myself to You and unite in Your gift of Yourself to me. Come and possess my soul.

    Cleanse me, strengthen me, heal me. Dear Holy Spirit act in the heart of Mary to make me more and more like Jesus.

    Father, I offer this my sacrifice, myself united to Jesus in the Holy Spirit to You. Help me to love God more deeply in this act of my greatest love.

    Give me the grace to grow in my knowledge, love and service of You and for this to be my greatest participation in the Mass. Give me the greatest graces to love You so deeply in this Mass, You who are so worthy of my love.

-God's Blue Book, December 27, 1995

   

                We go to the pure and holy Hearts
                    of Jesus and Mary so our offering
                    is a more holy, pure
                    sacrifice —

                We pray, with our lives as an offering —
                    to the Father, united to the Mass —
                    the sacrifice of Jesus — in the
                    Holy Spirit
                    with all the angels and saints
                    and the souls in purgatory —

                Dying to self

                Living more and more in Him —

1 Corinthians 11: 23-26

For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you is that on the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and after he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' And in the same way, with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.' Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes.

 

Colossians 1: 15-20

He is the image of the unseen God,
the first–born of all creation,
for in him were created all things
in heaven and on earth:
everything visible
    and everything invisible,
thrones, ruling forces,
    sovereignties, powers—
all things were created through him
    and for him.
He exists before all things
and in him all things hold together,
and he is the Head of the Body,
that is, the Church.

He is the Beginning,
the first–born from the dead,
so that he should be supreme in every way;
because God wanted all fullness
    to be found in him
and through him
    to reconcile all things to him,
everything in heaven
    and everything on earth,
by making peace through his death
    on the cross.

 

Colossians 1: 24-28

It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church, of which I was made a servant with the responsibility towards you that God gave to me, that of completing God's message, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his holy people. It was God's purpose to reveal to them how rich is the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; it is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we are proclaiming, admonishing and instructing everyone in all wisdom, to make everyAnd it is for this reason that I labour, striving with his energy which works in me mightily.

    

Colossians 3: 1-5, 9-11

Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed-and he is your life-you, too, will be revealed with him in glory. That is why you must kill everything in you that is earthly: sexual vice, impurity, uncontrolled passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god;

and do not lie to each other. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its Creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised and uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

   

1 Timothy 2: 1-8

I urge then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone, for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety. To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus, who offered himself as a ransom for all. This was the witness given at the appointed time, of which I was appointed herald and apostle and-I am telling the truth and no lie-a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

    In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

   

                When I go to Mass
                    I empty myself —
                    I pray to the Father —
                    I unite with the Sacrifice
                        of Jesus in the Holy Spirit

                I beg - beg for mercy and
                    grace for the world

                As I become more one with God
                    through His grace —
                    I am dying more to my
                    false self and
                    living deeper in Him —

                LIFE IN HIM

             DYING TO SELF

                We want to be so likened to
                    Christ in His goodness,
                                        love,
                                        mercy,
                                        justice and so forth

                Jesus perfectly loved
                    the Father —

                We strive to live God's will!!

                The spiritual marriage marks
                    the highest exchange between
                    God and the mystic —

                God wants us to make a
                    greater gift of self
                    to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit —

                Much of God's will for us
                    depends on our
                    relationship with our neighbor.

    

1 John 4: 20

Anyone who says ‘I love God’
and hates his brother,
is a liar,
since whoever does not love the brother
   whom he can see
cannot love God whom he has not seen.

    

                To love God, means to love one's
                    neighbor whose existence
                    possesses the divine
                    imprint.

                We must 'love' all, but not
                    necessarily 'like' everyone —

                We must love our neighbor —

                Regarding the wrong actions
                    of anyone, I can and
                    must reject such actions,
                    yet I can and must love
                    the core person who is in God's image.

                We must love ourselves since
                    we are in the image of God —

                We cooperate with God in
                    developing our Christic,
                    Trinitarian image —
                    we grow in the capacity
                    to see our worth and
                    lovableness

                I must get to know myself

 
                Fr. Carter says

                    "Achieving adequate self-knowledge can be both painful
                and joyful. Coming to the realization that I have this bad
                trait, or that weakness, can be disturbing, frustrating, or
                humiliating — especially when others point out these negative
                characteristics. Growth in self-knowledge, however, can also
                be encouraging and joy-producing as I realize I can do
                something about these negative aspects, as I achieve a
                deeper insight into certain positive qualities or become
                aware of others that I hardly knew existed. The quest for
                self-knowledge can, then, be exciting. As I obtain better
                knowledge of both my limitations and my capabilities, I see
                interesting possibilities for more advanced Christian living
                which I have not yet implemented.

                    Growth in self-identity does not take place in a vacuum—
                the vacuum of the isolated self. Rather, I achieve self-
                knowledge through the proper relationship with reality.
                Through the interaction of myself with various facets of
                created reality—persons, places, things, happenings—I can
                come to know much about my strengths and weaknesses,
                my talents and limitations, my personality and temperament.
                It is, however, especially through my relationship with
                God that I grow in achieving self-identity. God, the
                ultimate source of all knowledge, is, consequently, the
                ultimate source of self-knowledge. God continually wants to
                remind me of the fundamental fact concerning myself—that
                he overwhelmingly loves me and that I am uniquely
                precious to him. Upon this rock-bottom fact rests all other
                facets of self-knowledge. Regarding all aspects of knowing
                myself, God is most anxious to help me grasp these with
                greater clarity. My task is to allow him to do so. If I open
                myself to him in prayer, he will continue to reveal himself to
                me, and also he will reveal myself to me. The more I
                fathom the mystical depths of my being—the more I allow
                God to lead me to the center of my being—the more God
                will tell me about himself and myself, this self which is in
                his image. Deeper insights concerning himself and myself
                come to light—and here again we meet up with the hidden
                aspect of mysticism. The more, in turn, I know of myself
                under God's guidance, the more I can truly love myself."              

    

John 11: 25-26

Jesus said:

I am the resurrection.
Anyone who believes in me,
   even though that person dies, will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.
Do you believe this?

   

Fr. Carter had a dream.

 

                Edward Carter, S.J. says

                Dying to our non-authentic self is
                    rising to the self we are really
                    meant to be.


                The mystic marvels at the love God
                    has for his children. Embraced
                    by this love, their fear has diminished
                    and their trust increased.

                Made secure in this love, they have
                    possessed the courage to undertake
                    the ordinary with uncommon
                    devotion and the heroic with
                    dominant determination.

                    Consumed with this love, they have
                continually pushed forward to accomplish
                more for Christ and his kingdom.

                    Transformed by this love, the
                mystics have said with the most
                penetrating realization

 

Galatians 2: 19-20

...I have been crucified with Christ and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me.

    

                    Obviously, we can never fully
                fathom the depth of God's love
                for us. We can, however, grow
                in what will always be a finite
                comprehension of this awesome
                reality. Christ has shown us
                his heart as a constant reminder
                that we should strive for a greater
                realization of what it means to say
                God loves us. The heart of Christ is
                indeed the symbol of God's fathomless
                love for us, a love which requests
                our own, response to love —

                    Jesus' entire life was centered
                in His death and resurrection.
                His entire life was also contained
                or summed up therein. These two
                events comprised His paschal
                mystery.

 

 

                Father Cather says —

                (paschal or passover mystery)

                    "The word passover has a very basic
                and literal meaning. The word contains
                the idea of religious transition.
                While upon earth, Jesus was always
                experiencing such transition.
                He was always in a process of
                passing over, passing back to
                the Father. He was gradually achieving
                a new state of existence for His own
                humanity and for the entire human race.
                The new life was the state of resurrection.

                    As His mortal life beautifully and
                poignantly unfolded, He was in process
                to the definitive point of death.
                His death in turn, was the passageway
                to resurrection. This death marked
                the final mortal act of Jesus. It was
                the final act of His earth-bound life
                in which He would conform His
                will in love to His Father's will.
                His death was an act of final pouring-—
                out of Himself. It was His final libation.

                His final kenosis — His final self-emptying
                in love."

                Jesus:

                    I went to the hill of Calvary like a
                runner in a race. The final giving of
                My all for love of you — oh My precious
                one — how much I love you and you
                look for pleasures in things on earth
                and some seek relationships against the
                commandments, against the Father's will.
                How can you be happy when you sin?
                Wake now before it is too late —

                I emptied Myself for love of you and
                    My precious souls —

                I love you so much —

                Song: Bring Me Souls

 

                Fr. Carter:

                    "All through His life Jesus was undergoing
                this emptying out, this giving of Himself.
                He was always giving Himself, always
                concerned about others, always loving,
                even though this meant great suffering
                and hardship at times.

                    Yet Jesus always viewed suffering and
                hardship very positively. He always saw
                it as leading to greater life. He suffered
                as no one else ever has or ever will, yet
                He suffered with dignity, with a perduring
                optimism, with a basic peace of spirit,
                with a happiness which could not be
                extinguished despite the pain."

                Jesus:

                And I went to the top of the hill of Calvary
                and My thoughts were for you My chosen one —
                for you — for I love you so much and I have
                chosen you this day —

                Come to Me — that you will know more
                and more how I truly love you —
                I am Jesus and I love you, I am your
                beloved God, the bridegroom of your soul —
                Come to Me now — trust Me — do not be
                    afraid.

                Fr. Carter:

                    "This, briefly described, is the concept
                of Christ's passover or paschal event.
                In all this He was bringing to fulfillment
                the passover event of the Jewish people
                in Old Testament times. Their passover
                occurred in experiencing religious transition
                as they escaped Egyptian slavery and were
                formed into Yahweh's people under the
                leadership of Moses. They were, then
                passing to a higher type of religious
                existence — one of closer union with
                God — and the process was stamped with
                the pattern of death - resurrection.

                    The Church which is the earthly and visible
                continuation of Jesus and His mission,
                centers her life in the paschal mystery
                also. It can be no other way. The Church
                has no other pattern for existence
                except that which Jesus Himself established
                by the way He lived, died and rose.
                The Church is always meant to be dying
                with Jesus so that she might more
                and more rise with Him.

                The Church, like the Jesus who preceded
                her, is in a process of passing over,
                passing back to the Father under the
                guidance of the Spirit. The Church's
                passover will continue to the end of time,
                when there no longer will be an earthly
                Church.

 

   

 

   

                    As individual Christians we, too,
                possess a life focused in death - resurrection.
                At baptism we are incorporated into Jesus
                and His pascal mystery.

  

Death - Resurrection

   

  

                St. Paul says

Romans 6: 3-4

You cannot have forgotten that all of us, when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life.

    

                    "As the People of God collectively experience the
                death and resurrection of Jesus, so each of us
                individually is meant to be living death-resurrection,
                not sporadically, but consistently. It is true that our
                share in Christ's resurrection will achieve its final
                culmination only in eternal life, but we also possess
                a very real share in Jesus' resurrection here below.
                Our life of baptism, our grace-life, our Christ-life, is
                now our life of resurrection. We live realized
                eschatology. In a certain sense we are already living
                the final things. We are already living eternal life.
                There is no sharp break between this life and the
                life we will eternally enjoy in heaven's beatific
                vision. Whatever we experience here below in
                Christ—loving union with God and with one
                another, enjoyment of material creation, and the
                rest—all this will be brought to perfect and
                deepened fulfillment in eternal life. And we will
                then be fulfilled to the degree we have died and
                risen with Jesus here upon earth.

                    Our dying with Jesus, our suffering, has the same
                thrust or orientation as did suffering and dying in
                the life of Jesus. We have said that Christ viewed
                suffering and death as a means to greater life. This
                must be our perspective also. With an attitude of
                love, we ourselves must be willing to bear with
                difficulty, with pain, with hardship, in order to grow to
                greater maturity in Christian holiness, and, at the
                same time, to make ourselves more capable of
                helping Jesus channel this Christic life to others.

                    Each of our acts is meant to be a kenosis or self-
                emptying for God and others as we embrace in love
                the Father's will. Each of our acts is meant
                to be a preparation for, and a participation in, the
                act of physical death. That time of our lives will be
                our final kenosis, the final self-emptying. This final
                act of physically dying is aimed at life, at
                resurrection, just as are all the acts of mystical dying
                which precede it. While such acts of mystical dying
                bring us closer to Christ and to His life of
                resurrection, the act of physically dying prepare us
                for the state of full union with Christ and full
                sharing in His resurrection." 

                "Every Christian act, consequently, has
                imprinted upon it the image of Jesus'
                death and resurrection. Whether we
                laugh or cry, work or play, love or
                open ourselves to be loved, leap with
                joy or feel weighed down with
                anguished suffering — whatever we
                do in Christ is an act of death and
                resurrection. It might seem strange
                to say that Christian acts of joy,
                of laughter, or of love, are
                characterized not only by resurrection
                but also by death —

 

September 4, 2004

 

 

 

                Jesus:

                    Come and follow Me — let your life
                be a song of love and joy —
                When I was hungry you gave Me to eat —
                Naked you clothed Me —
                Oh beloved of My Father — your life is
                so short here and yet you hold onto
                your whims and think they will
                make you happy — Joy is in the
                Savior — who is your God?
                Do you work for vain glory?

                Is your pride more important that
                    the Plan for why the Father
                    created you?

                When asked to be as the Father desires,
                    are you selfish and unyielding
                    holding onto your worldly desires and
                    pleasures that take you away from
                    deeper intimacy with Me —

                Pride is a killer for your spiritual
                    life —

                The sins of pride —

                Why are you not holy —
                    following in My footprints —

                Let go of anger —

                    Be an empty vessel ready to be
                        filled with My love for you

                Be a witness

                Live to please your heavenly Father —
                    not focus on yourself —

                Let your thoughts be thoughts of
                    victory as you live according
                    to the Father's will in love — helping to
                    build the Kingdom of God —

                    And a star shown above My
                bed —

                    Oh precious one — I watch you - now —
                I love you so very much — I give you
                Myself in the Eucharist —

                    Oh beloved of My Father —
                I love you, I love you, I love you —

                    Witness to others of My love —
                Keep your eyes focused on Me —

                Do not give into the negative thoughts
                    satan wants you to give into —

                What are you thinking —

                Rely on My Might — know I am
                    with you — NOW —

                        NOW — NOW

                Fr. Carter continues

                "For example, joyfully to love another and,
                to be loved by another is a happy
                experience, sometimes ecstatically so.
                But even these joyful moments of love
                involve their own kind of dying.
                For to relate to the other properly in
                selfless love makes me die to my
                selfish self.

                    We should be aware that the suffering
                aspect of our share in Jesus' paschal
                mystery is directed toward the discovery
                of the true self. It is aimed at
                resurrection. We die with Jesus in order
                to really find ourselves in Him.
                We die to the self which is not the
                authentic self in order to rise to the
                self we are really meant to be.
                What Thomas Merton says of
                asceticism can also be applied to any form of dying
                with Jesus. For Merton, asceticism is that active self-
                purification aimed at "the recovery of our true self,
                man's true 'nature,' created for union with God. It is
                the purification, and liberation of the divine image
                in man, hidden under layers of 'unlikeness' " (from
                The Silent Life, published by Farrar, Straus and
                Cudahy, 1957).

                    The Christian is meant to undergo an on-going
                conversion. The Christian life is an on-going
                process of turning away from the non-authentic self
                to the authentic self. The Christian achieves this
                authentic selfhood the more he dies to his selfish
                ego, to his non-Christic self, and increasingly
                becomes Christ, becomes more assimilated to Jesus.
                This process of conversion to the authentic self in
                Christ can also be viewed as a process of self-
                liberation. The more the Christian dies and rises
                with Christ, the freer he becomes. As he grows in
                Christ he achieves a greater freedom to become
                what he is meant to be. A person's freedom is a gift
                through which he achieves his true identity, his true
                self, the authentic fulfillment of his personhood.
                When the Christian abuses his freedom, he becomes
                less his true self. He diminishes the process of self-
                fulfillment. The abuse of freedom is a turning away
                from the authentic self to the false self. The more
                one turns in this direction, the more enslaved he
                becomes to his selfish ego. In the abuse of freedom a
                person becomes less free.

                    The process of on-going conversion through
                death-resurrection is a self-liberation which enables
                us to relate in greater freedom to God, to one
                another, to all reality. The life of the authentic self
                in Jesus has structured within it relationships to
                God, to one's neighbor, to the world with its various
                temporal values, to all dimensions, of God's creation.
                As we achieve on-going conversion and its concomitant
                self-liberation, we also increase in the
                capacity to relate properly to reality. We have a
                greater capacity to live resurrection. We have a
                greater freedom to open ourselves to God's love and
                to relate more authentically in love to one another.
                We have a greater freedom to love the world and its
                values as we should. It is interesting to note, then,
                that the one who can love the world more and,
                therefore, is more capable of promoting its true
                growth, is the one who is more free relative to its
                values. On the other hand, the person who is
                enslaved to the world's values, and in a certain sense,
                then, seems to love the world, is really loving his
                selfish self, and is less capable of contributing to the
                real progress of man's world.

                    There are various ways we live the death-
                resurrection of Jesus in our daily existence. There is
                the practice of self-discipline which extends to a
                person's entire makeup. There is the doing of
                penance. There is also the practice of renunciation.
                There is the proper endurance of passive sufferings--
                sufferings which we do not actively
                chose, but which come into our lives, and then it is
                our task to relate to them properly and thereby
                become more mature and loving Christians,
                Christians who have grown in resurrection.

                    There is, finally, a kind of death-resurrection
                which embraces both everything we have said
                concerning ways of experiencing the paschal mystery,
                and all we have left unsaid. We are speaking of a
                general attitude of Christian selflessness. This
                selflessness is the true self, the divinized self, the
                Christic self. This selflessness is present in all we
                do and experience in Jesus. It is present in every
                Christian act. Whether we eat or drink, shed tears of
                joy or sorrow, work or play, bask in success or feel
                the weight of failure--whatever we do in a Christian
                manner--demands this stance of selflessness.

                    Sometimes life with its diversified experiences
                makes us more aware of the joyful dimension of the
                human condition; at other times life makes us more
                aware of the difficult aspect of being human. But in
                either case, if we relate to life properly in a
                Christian fashion, we are exercising selflessness.
                This selflessness is love of God and love of neighbor.
                This selflessness is death-resurrection. This
                selflessness is losing non-authentic life in order to
                find true life in Jesus."

               

               

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18"

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18"

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18"

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18"

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18"

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12"

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12"

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