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Scots Catholic

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Pope Francis: The Church is our Mother, we are not orphans

Posted on September 4, 2014 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (1)
 
Pope Francis, in his Wednesday General Audience, has spoken about the importance of the Church as mother and the need for the Church to look to the ultimate role model, Mary, in carrying out that role.
 
 
 

Five Reasons the Catholic Church is the Most Pro-Woman Institution in Existence

Posted on July 26, 2014 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (0)

Don't believe the secular hype suggesting the Catholic Church is anti-woman.  Read this article from the National Catholic Register and find out the truth about women and the Catholic Church.

Dwelling on the Word of God: Listen and Follow (Tuesday 13th May 2014)

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 7:44 AM Comments comments (1)
Sheep following the Good Shepherd in Fatima today
 
From today’s Gospel (John 10:22-30):
 
‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;
I know them and they follow me.
I give them eternal life;’
 
 
In today’s Gospel Jesus is once again emphasising the great gift he has given us: the gift of himself so that we may have eternal life.  Jesus was crucified, died and rose again to save us from sin and to show us that he really is the Son of God.  Those who listen to him and believe in him are truly blessed.  Look at St Paul who, on the road to Damascus where he fully intended to persecute Christians, was met by Christ and suddenly realised that he was wrong to deny the Christian faith.  In that moment St Paul became one of Christ’s sheep and was granted the gift of eternal life. 
 
Do we consider ourselves sheep belonging to Christ?  Are we prepared to listen to his voice and follow him? 
 
We are so blessed to have so many ways to interact with Jesus.  We have the glory of Holy Mass, we have prayers and devotions, we have the Word of God, and we have simple quiet time in the presence of Jesus, especially in the Blessed Sacrament.  These are all opportunities to interact with Jesus and to listen to his voice. 
 
Listen and follow….two simple acts of witness to Christ.  We are asked today to listen to Jesus and to follow him and in so doing we may be blessed with the gift of eternal life.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: are we prepared to say ‘yes’ to God as Mary did? (Tuesday 25th March 2014)

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (5)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):
 
‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.’
 
 
Nothing is impossible with God.  Mary, despite being a virgin, found herself to be with child.  And not any old child; Mary was pregnant with the ‘Son of the Most High’ as described by the angel Gabriel.  The impossible had suddenly become possible.  The surreal had become real.
 
And then the Saviour of the world was born.  Jesus, the Lord, came to save us from our sins and to give us the gift of eternal life.  Yet none of this would have been possible had Mary not said ‘yes’ to God. 
 
How many of us would say yes to God as Mary did?  Are we prepared to put God and others first before ourselves for the greater good, as Mary did?  Are we prepared to sacrifice our lives in service to God and to others, as Mary did?  Do we have a deep, unconditional love for God as well as a child-like trust which means we are always ready to say ‘yes’ to Him when he calls us to do His work, as Mary did?
 
Mary is our guiding light.  It is Mary who shows us the way to complete faith in God.  It is Mary who shows us the type of unconditional love and trust we must have in God.  It is Mary who shows us the way to that deep humility in our daily lives; always putting God and others first.  It is Mary who shows us how we should live our lives; respecting others and ensuring we are never boastful of our achievements.  Mary never boasted that she gave birth to the Son of God.  How then can we ever boast about our achievements?   
 
Mary is our light.  On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation let us ask Mary to show us the way to Jesus.  Let us ask Mary to intercede for us so that we too can have the grace to say ‘yes’ when God is calling us to do His work. 
 
 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: St Joseph – A Role Model for Dads (Wednesday 19th March 2014)

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (4)
 
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:16,18-21,24):
 
‘Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
  This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.’
 
 
Isn’t Joseph such an inspiration to all?  When Mary was found to be with child Joseph’s first thought was to spare Mary the indignity of public outrage about her pregnancy.  He wanted to protect his wife, to make sure she would not be judged and persecuted for being pregnant after having taken a vow of perpetual virginity. 
And then, when the angel appeared to him to tell him that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he should still take her as his wife, what then did he do?  He did precisely what the angel told him!  He didn’t think I must be going crazy or this is ridiculous; he did exactly what the angel told him.  With his great faith Joseph knew he had been visited by an angel of the Lord and that he must do as the angel says.  He didn’t hesitate to do the Will of God.
 
And that is our challenge; to become less hesitant in doing the Will of God.  Can we be more like Joseph and trust in God, always reacting positively to the little signs He puts before us?  Are we prepared to put our own interests to one side and focus on the needs of others around us, just as Joseph did with Mary and the child Jesus in her womb?  Joseph was a real man!  He put his family first and made sure they were safe.  Yet this wasn’t any old family, this was the Holy Family.  This family included Jesus Christ, God made man!  It included Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of all!  What strength in faith must Joseph have had to carry this huge responsibility? 
 
To all the dads and would-be dads out there: look to St Joseph as you set about the task of raising and looking after your family.  He had a very simple way of looking at life.  He put God first, others second, and himself third.  That way he gave his family the best chance of surrendering to God’s plan for their lives.  Our job is to help our families recognise God’s plan for us and to submit ourselves to that plan.  Dads, your family needs you to be strong in faith; your family needs you to lead them to holiness here on earth so that your eternal home will be in Heaven with the Father of all.
 
 
 
 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: A Child is Born for Everyone (Tuesday 24th December 2013)

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 7:24 AM Comments comments (2)
 
From today’s Psalm (Psalm 88):
 
‘I will sing forever of your love, O Lord’
 
 
Sing!  Rejoice!  Dance!  Because the Lord our Saviour, our hope and our light, is coming! 
 
Sin had made its way in the world, and people were becoming desperate.  Poverty and disease were rife.  Inequality spanned the globe and hatred stretched to the four corners of the earth.  Where honour was bestowed on one man, jealousy rose in another.  Where riches were left to one family, poverty was inevitably passed down to another.  The devil had been working hard in the world and humanity was not at one.
 
Yet, a star rises in the East.  A star to herald the coming of a little child; a child that is to be born to change the world!  Foretold by the prophets for hundreds of years, he comes to give hope to all. 
 
This is the story of the Nativity.  The coming of the Saviour, the Messiah!  Yet here he was, coming into the world like any other child.  Not many people expected this and they certainly didn’t expect him to be born into such poverty!  Yet he was.  With no suitable accommodation available, the Saviour was born among animals in a stable.  And over two thousand years on we still celebrate this momentous occasion, the birth of a little baby boy in a stable. 
 
Sadly, however, not everyone feels the need to celebrate.  Yet this event was for everyone.  At that very moment Jesus was born, he was born for each and every person who has ever lived and who is yet to live.  Mary, in giving birth to Jesus, not only gave birth to the one who would save the world; she gave birth to the whole world.  The whole of humanity was already secure in the heart of that little child as it lay in the manger, wrapped in cloth, surrounded by animals and hay.  Not one person was forgotten. 
 
You see, this child was born to save.  He wasn’t born to lead the kind of life many of us are blessed to have.  He, unlike us, was born to die.  This beautiful, innocent, little child cradled in his loving mother’s arms and gazed upon by his doting step-father, will still have each and every one of us secure in his heart many years later when he is nailed to a cross on Calvary.  And on the third day, when he rises to Heaven, he takes each and every one of us with him in his heart to the Father.  This is no ordinary child.  This child was born for you, and this child died for you.  This child wants you to follow him to the Father; he wants you to follow him to the Kingdom of Heaven.  So, rejoice!  Join in the celebrations and let us praise Jesus and delight in his great gift of true freedom and eternal life for all! 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Rejoicing at Mary’s ‘Yes’ (Friday 20th December 2013)

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 8:19 AM Comments comments (2)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):      
 
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
 
 
The Annunciation: the ‘yes’ that saved the world.  Oh how grateful we must be to Mary our Mother for her ‘yes’ to God (also known as the fiat).  Without any kind of selfish thought Mary trusts completely in the Will of God and agrees to bear and give birth to the Saviour of the world.
 
Read the passage again and imagine the whole of Creation waiting to hear those words….’I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.’  Imagine the joyous scenes in Heaven as Mary says ‘yes’ to God…
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Trusting in God’s Will as Joseph did (Wednesday 18th December 2013)

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:18-24):
 
‘This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.’
 
 
To all the men out there: would you have acted as Joseph did in these circumstances?  Would you have trusted the angel in your dream?  Mary had taken a vow of perpetual virginity and here she was, pregnant.  It would have brought disgrace upon both Mary and Joseph for her to be with child given this vow.  And Joseph was aware of this; hence his decision to divorce Mary.
 
But, trusting completely in God, he listens to the angel in his dream and takes Mary home.  He does this despite the threat of public disgrace.  But Joseph has God on his side so there is no reason to fear!  He trusted the angel and knew that this was God’s Will. 
 
So, what does this mean for us?  Well, are we open to messages from God, in whatever form they may come?  Are we prepared, like Joseph, to submit to the Will of God, knowing that whatever might happen to us He is on our side? 
 
In today’s society the idea of knowing God is on your side is an important one.  We have been encouraged over the last year or so, first with Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith and now Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium exhortation, to evangelise.  Are we doing this?  Are we living our faith openly so that others can see and hear the Good News?  If you aren’t or if you struggle with the idea of evangelisation, remember, God is on your side and there is nothing that you and He together cannot face.

Sunday Angelus: Pope Francis asks Mary to ‘Hasten our Steps to Bethlehem’

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 7:51 AM Comments comments (3)
 
During his Angelus message on the Third Sunday of Advent Pope Francis spoke about the Church being a house of joy.  He said, “The Church is not a refuge for sad people, the Church is a house of joy.”
 
The Pope, referring to the Gospel, said that this joy comes from knowing that we are all welcomed and loved by God and “with His help, we can start anew and overcome sadness and tears, we can “sing a new song”. 
 
The Holy Father said that “Christian joy, like hope, is founded on the faithfulness of God, in the certainty that He always keeps His promises….Those who trust in God, experience a peacefulness in their hearts that nothing and no one can take away.”  He said our joy is Christ and if a Christian becomes sad it can mean that he or she, in a way, has become distanced from Christ.  So, said the Pope, “we must pray for them, and make them feel the warmth of the community.”
 
The Pope concluded the Angelus address with an appeal to our Blessed Mother to “help us hasten our steps to Bethlehem, in order to meet the Child that is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all.”   And, in a special address to children he said, “Dear children, when you pray before your Nativity scenes, remember me too, as I remember you.  Thank you, and happy Christmas!”
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn (Thursday 12th December 2013)

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 7:59 AM Comments comments (4)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):
(please note this is the Gospel spoken during Mass in the Americas today, in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is a different Gospel passage from the one for the UK today)
 
‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.’
 
 
Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  And how fitting we should have this Gospel passage!  Our Lady of Guadalupe is, after all, Protectress of the Unborn. 
 
Each and every child conceived today is - like Jesus in the passage above - a miracle of God.  We are all created by God, for God.  Therefore, every child deserves the respect of all mankind.  How many little miracles do not see the light of day in our world?  Today we must pray, and pray hard, for an end to abortion.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the key to undoing the evil of abortion and we must direct our prayers through her, to God. 
 
Today, in a spare moment, please say at least one Hail Mary through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for an end to abortion.  We have already seen numerous abortion clinics close across the United States in the last year or so and we have witnessed an unprecedented show of support for life through the European ‘One of Us’ campaign which amassed 1.8 million signatures across the continent.  We also have the recent rejection of the Estrela Report in the European Parliament, providing further evidence that life is winning! 
 
But we must not rest.  There are still millions of innocent little miracles dying each and every day throughout the world for no good reason.  Please, please, say that Hail Mary today.  The miracle of life is so precious.  It’s a gift we are all blessed to have received.  Why then should we deny it to others….?
 

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