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Dwelling on the Word of God: Casting out Devils (Friday 11th October 2013)

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (1)
 
From Luke 11:15-26
 
But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
 
 
Today Jesus is speaking about casting out devils after he is challenged by a crowd.  They claim he is able to cast out devils through Beelzebul himself.  But Jesus suggests to them that it is another power which allows him to cast out devils, that of the power of God.  Jesus intentionally refers to the ‘finger of God’ as even God’s mere finger is powerful enough to cast out devils.  How great then the power of God in His entirety if His finger has the power to do such things! 
 

Learning the Catholic Faith: The Rosary

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 8:47 AM Comments comments (5)
Our Lady of Fatima
 
The word ‘Rosary’ comes from Latin and means ‘garland of roses’.  The Rosary is a devotion in honour of our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary and contemplates the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary.  It is a most beautiful devotion and I can attest to it delivering many graces to those who pray it. 
 
It is understood St Dominic gave us the Rosary as we now know it, after being moved by a vision of Our Lady; and he and Blessed Alan de la Roche revealed fifteen promises by Our Lady for those who pray the Rosary.  They are as follows:
 
  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all who shall recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
  6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful in reciting the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from purgatory, those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from My Divine Son, that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors, the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are My sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
 
 
These promises were further emphasised to the world when Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima in the early twentieth century and told them to pray the Rosary often for poor sinners and poor souls and for peace in the world. 
 
So now, let’s say it!!
 
Picture: rosaryprayerguide.com
 
Saying the Rosary:
 
Section 1
 
1.  Take your Rosary beads and use the Crucifix to bless yourself ‘In the name of the Father….’
 
2.  Then, still on the Crucifix, say the Apostles Creed.
 
 
Section 2 – These prayers are for the Holy Father’s prayer intentions 
 
1.  On the very first bead (closest to the Crucifix), say an Our Father
 
2.  Then on the next three beads say a Hail Mary on each bead
 
3.  On the next bead say a Glory Be. 
 
 
Section 3 – This is the main part of the Rosary.  Select the appropriate set of Mysteries (below) and then proceed as follows:
 
1.  On the first bead of each decade say an ‘Our Father’; then say a ‘Hail Mary’ on each of the following ten beads; then say one ‘Glory Be’; and finally, say the Fatima prayer.
 
2.  You then continue in this manner until you have said 5 decades, covering each mystery of the relevant set of Mysteries.
 
3.  Finish your Rosary by saying the Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina), the Final Prayer (both set out below) and making a sign of the Cross with your Crucifix.
 
4.  You have said your Rosary!!  Just wait for the graces to flow!!
 
Here are the prayers if you aren't sure of them....
 
The Apostles Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
 
The Our Father: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.   Amen.
 
The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
 
The Glory Be (Doxology): Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.
 
The Fatima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
 
Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina): Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail our life our sweetness and our hope.  To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this veil of tears.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
V: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
 
Final Prayer: O God, by the life, death and resurrection of Your only begotten Son, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beseech thee that by meditating on these mysteries of the most Holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
 
Mysteries
 
In saying your Rosary, contemplate these mysteries for each decade (selecting the appropriate set of mysteries for the day on which you say your Rosary):
 
The Joyful Mysteries (Monday, Saturday): The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.
 
The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday, Friday): The Agony in the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning of Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, The Crucifixion.
 
The Glorious Mysteries (Sunday, Wednesday): The Resurrection, The Ascension, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven.
 
The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday): The Baptism in the Jordan, The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Repentance for Sin, The Transfiguration, The Institution of the Holy Eucharist.
 
 
 
 
 

Pope Francis General Audience: What Makes the Church Catholic? (Wednesday 9th October 2013)

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 8:49 AM Comments comments (2)
 
In today’s General Audience Pope Francis reflected on the meaning of the Church being ‘catholic’ and what this means for us.
 
The Pope said “We can understand this catholicity in three ways.  First, the Church is Catholic because she proclaims the apostolic faith in its entirety; she is the place where we meet Christ in his sacraments and receive the spiritual gifts needed to grow in holiness together with our brothers and sisters.  The Church is also catholic because her communion embraces the whole human race, and she is sent to bring to the entire world the joy of salvation and the truth of the Gospel.  Finally, the Church is catholic because she reconciles the wonderful diversity of God’s gifts to build up His people in unity and harmony.”
 
He then encourages us to seek the Lord’s help in our journey of faith saying, “Let us ask the Lord to make us more catholic – to enable us, like a great family, to grow together in faith and love, to draw others to Jesus in communion with the Church, and to welcome the gifts and contributions of everyone, in order to create a joyful symphony of praise to God for his goodness, his grace, and his redemptive love.”
 
So the Pope is encouraging us to live out our faith and grow together in faith and love.  He is also encouraging us to continue in the New Evangelisation and draw people to the Church, a ministry that is expected of all of us.  And finally, the Pope wants us to be a welcoming Church, welcoming the contributions of all people so that we can create a ‘joyful symphony’ to praise God for all His goodness, grace and love.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: The Lord's Prayer (Wednesday 9th October 2013)

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (6)
 
Today's Gospel (Luke 11:1-4)
 
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’
He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
 
“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each other who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’
 
 
So there it is.  The Lord's prayer!  Clearly taught by Jesus Christ, direct from God. 
Note the first word in this prayer....'Father'.  This isn't a prayer to anyone.  This is a prayer to our Father!  Our Dad!
 
It is a truly beautiful prayer and encapsulates our faith.  It talks about the holiness of God; it talks about accepting and trusting in His Will and taking each day as it comes to us; it talks about the forgiveness of our own sins and the forgiveness of those who sin against us; and it talks about not putting us to the test; that is, not allowing evil to tempt us.
 
It just doesn't get any better than this!  What a prayer!! 
 
We can never tire of saying this prayer.  We can never tire of speaking to our Father in this way.  It's simply beautiful and it is also absolutely necessary when you consider that we should recognise our Father each and every day of our lives.  He did give us that life after all!
 
Perhaps we should consider, if we don't already, saying hello to God when we wake up in the morning.  It can be a simple 'Morning Dad, how are you today?' 
Isn't that nice?  Kicking off your day by saying hello to the very One whose grace afforded you the opportunity to wake up that day!
Maybe we can say 'goodnight' to Him before we go to bed and we can say the Our Father at morning and night time. 
 
There is never a time in our day when we can't speak to God.  Never!  He is always there for us.  That much we do know.  Yet very few people actually speak to Him and tell him how they feel.  He's our Dad!  We should be sharing our lives with Him just like we do with our fathers here on earth.
 
True, nothing is hidden from God and, yes, He knows everything that goes on in our lives, and yeah, He knows our innermost thoughts.  But that doesn't mean He doesn't want to have a relationship with His own children!  He wants to share in our lives, and by share that means He wants us to chat to Him and for us to work at developing our relationship with Him. 
 
As a father or mother, how would you feel if your child never spoke to you and never shared their life with you....?
     

Pope Francis calls Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for only the Third Time in the Church's History

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM Comments comments (2)
 
Pope Francis has today called an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, an event which has only occurred three times in the history of the Church.
 
The Synod will take place from 5th – 19th October 2014 and will be on the subject of ‘The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation’. 
 
The Pope will only call for such a meeting to take place when the subject matter under consideration is evidently in need of rapid definition.  Father Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press Office said, “it is right that the Church should move as a community in reflection and prayer, and that she takes common pastoral directions in relation to the most important points – such as the pastoral of the family – under the guidance of the Pope and the bishops. The convocation of the extraordinary Synod clearly indicates this path. In this context, the proposal of particular pastoral solutions by local persons or offices carries the risk of engendering confusion. It is opportune to emphasise the importance of following a path in full communion with the ecclesial community”.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Martha and Mary and trusting in God’s plan (Tuesday 8th October 2013)

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 6:48 AM Comments comments (1)
 
From today's Gospel (Luke 10:38-42)
 
Jesus came to a village and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking.  Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself?  Please tell her to help me.’ 
But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha’, he said, ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one.  It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’
 
 
While our Lord quite clearly states that Mary has chosen the better part; that is, sitting and listening to Jesus speak, we cannot forget that Martha played her part too.  Martha welcomed Jesus into her house.  Both women have great faith but perhaps have different ways of exercising and expressing that faith.
 
I think it is interesting to hear Jesus almost tell Martha off for worrying and fretting about so many things.  He tells her that ‘few are needed’.  I think this is true in our world today.  Very few of what we perceive to be worries are really needed.  All we need is God.  Perhaps this is why Jesus suggests Mary has ‘chosen the better part’, because she is sitting listening to the Word of God.  It is all Mary needs.  It is all Martha needs.  It is all we need. 
 
God has a plan for each and every one of us; and His plan for us is perfect in every way.  Our problem is that we constantly fail to trust in that plan and we persistently fail to let ourselves go; to fall into the arms of God and let Him take us on that perfect journey he has planned for us.  Sometimes something happens that we didn’t plan for, or sometimes we try to change things and get ourselves in a mess.  That mess comes about because we have failed to trust in God’s plan for us.  If we just let ourselves go and enjoy that journey with God we will find all kinds of graces coming our way and that is what will sustain us in our lives….grace.  The grace of God is our lifeblood; it’s what wakes us up each morning, it’s what will cause us to live for all eternity.  The only question for us is this….are we willing to strap ourselves in, sit back and enjoy the ride?
 

Learning the Catholic Faith: How can we speak about God?

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 6:44 AM Comments comments (0)
How can we speak about God?
 
By taking as our starting point the perfection of man and of the other creatures which are a reflection, albeit a limited one, of the infinite perfection of God, we are able to speak about God with all people.  We must, however, continually purify our language insofar as it is image-bound and imperfect, realising that we can never fully express the infinite mystery of God.
 
(From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Pro-Life Rosary and Torchlight Procession Glasgow - Thursday 24th October 2013

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM Comments comments (5)
 
‎'Defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you. No child should be deprived of the right to be born, the right to be fed, the right to go to school.'
 
These were the powerful words of Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 2005.  Now Pope Francis, these words take on even greater significance. 
 
We MUST stand up for the rights of the unborn; for those who are defenceless, innocent, and have nobody to speak up for them.  And this, says the Pope, must be done even if it costs us our lives! 
Are you prepared to give up your life so that innocent children may live?  It's quite a challenge.  But one we must consider and pray about. 
 
In Glasgow we are truly blessed to have an active pro-life movement.  I have mentioned before about the Sisters of the Gospel of Life in Glasgow's southside and I have recently spoken of the great work undertaken at St Lucy's, Cumbernauld with their regular Monday gathering to pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
 
 
An important part of this vital work is the annual Rosary and torchlight procession from George Square to St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow.  This is quite simply one of the most incredible and moving nights of the year and it takes place to mark the implementation of the Abortion Act in 1967.  It is hoped that, with fervent prayer, devotion and witness, we can bring about change and ultimately bring an end to abortion in our country. 
 
The event will take place on Thursday 24th October and the timetable is as follows:
 
6pm                  Assemble in George Square, Glasgow
6.30 – 7pm       Rosary followed by torchlight procession to Cathedral
7.30pm            Mass
 
The Sisters have once again pleaded for a good turnout to improve upon the fantastic numbers witnessed in recent years.  They said, "We need to make sure that as many people as possible support this witness against a piece of legislation that permits the killing of unborn babies. Please spread this information to friends and your parishes and make every effort to stand up for life!"
 
This is our chance.  Prayer is what will ultimately bring peace to our world.  If we don't take these opportunities when they are so clearly presented to us on our doorstep then we will let ourselves down, we will let our neighbours down, and worst of all, we will let God down.
 
Be part of the growing pro-life movement in Scotland.  Be part of the community that says 'yes' to life, and 'no' to death.
 
It's on your doorstep, there is no excuse.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: We must obey the Father and listen to His Word (Friday 4th October 2013)

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)
Today's First reading Baruch 1:15-22
 
Integrity belongs to the Lord our God; to us the look of shame we wear today, to us, the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, to our kings and princes, our priests, our prophets, as to our ancestors, because we have sinned in the sight of the Lord, have disobeyed him, and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God telling us to follow the commandments which the Lord had ordained for us.
From the day when the Lord brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until today we have been disobedient to the Lord our God, we have been disloyal, refusing to listen to his voice. And so the disasters, and the curse which the Lord pronounced through his servant Moses the day he brought our fathers out of Egypt to give us a land where milk and honey flow, have seized on us, disasters we experience today. Despite all the words of those prophets whom he sent us, we have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God, but, each following the dictates of his evil heart, we have taken to serving alien gods, and doing what is displeasing to the Lord our God.
 
 
This reading brings home the importance of respecting the Father and obeying His commands.  There are risks associated with disobeying God, the most extreme being that we are separated from His love.  To ensure we always feel that love we must obey His commands, listen to His Word, and we must never serve any other gods or idols.
 

Learning the Catholic Faith Parts 3 and 4: How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason? Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God?

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 7:47 AM Comments comments (0)
Parts 3 and 4 of our exploration of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church...
 
 
How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason?
 
Starting from creation, that is from the world and the human person, through reason alone one can know God with certainty as the origin and end of the universe, as the highest good and as infinite truth and beauty.
 
 
Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God?
 
In coming to a knowledge of God by the light of reason alone man experiences many difficulties.  Indeed, on his own he is unable to enter into the intimacy of the divine mystery.  This is why he stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also about those religions and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.