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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on April 29, 2016 at 11:41 AM||comments (0)|
The word 'compatible' comes from the Latin word 'compati' which means: 'to suffer with'.
In marriage we are called to sacrifice our entire being as well as our own desires for the good of our spouse.
We are also called to walk the path of suffering with them whenever necessary; to be a constant, loyal and faithful friend and companion through the trials and challenges of life.
|Posted on April 26, 2016 at 9:03 AM||comments (0)|
Pope Francis has given a lesson in love and freedom during his homily at the Jubilee Mass for Young People in Rome.
The Pope, speaking to thousands of youth in St Peter’s Square, said that Jesus himself declared that Christians would be known “by the way they love one another.” The Pope continued saying, “love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card.”
The Pope then tackled the meaning of love, stating that love is something you give. He also added: “it [love] is caring for others, respecting them, protecting them, and waiting for them.”
Francis then challenged the young people on the true meaning of freedom, stating that “freedom is not the ability to simply do what I want. This makes us self-centred and aloof.”
“Freedom” he said “is the gift of being able to choose the good: this is true freedom. The free person is the one who chooses what is good, what is pleasing to God, even if it requires effort, even if it is not easy.”
He then called on the young people to grow in love and told them how they could do this: “the secret, once again, is the Lord: Jesus gives us himself in the Mass, he offers us forgiveness and peace in Confession.”
The Pope’s call to the young people can be summed up nicely in the term ‘free love’. He wants Christians to give themselves freely to others in love, and he wants us to choose to do this as it is pleasing to God. He then tells us that the nourishment we need for this task can be found in the Holy Mass and in the Sacrament of Confession.
Let us be under no illusions. Our mission as Christians is to spread the love of Christ throughout the world. We must let his Truth be known to all people and we must deliver this Truth in a spirit of love; a love that is freely given and that always has the other person’s best interests at its core. This message is not just for our young, but for all Christian people.
The Christian message is one of great hope, mercy and peace for all people. But, above all, it is a message of love.
Click this link for the full text of Pope Francis’ homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-jubilee-mass-for-teens/
|Posted on April 11, 2016 at 9:11 AM||comments (0)|
This, brothers and sisters, is our faith.
These images from Fatima show the world what it means to be Catholic. Why not share them with others and show them the deep sense of unity and love that exists in the Church; a Church that is open to all.
And as the month of Mary approaches, why not consider joining in the First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? You can find out more by clicking here.
|Posted on April 1, 2016 at 8:21 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
In today’s Gospel we hear about the washing of the apostles’ feet by Jesus. Peter was very resistant to this as it seemed completely absurd to have Jesus do such a thing. This was, after all, God made man, the Saviour of the world! It should surely be the other way round would have been Peter’s thinking.
Yet Jesus makes it clear that this is something he must do. Firstly, he makes it clear that “unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” This is a clear link to our Baptism and its fundamental importance in our salvation. It is also a link to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we are once again clothed in the white robe of our Baptism and brought to new life. Our inheritance, it seems, is dependent on living in accordance with Christ’s teaching, and this is achieved through our acceptance of and living in the Sacraments of his Church.
Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet is also a sign that he is here to serve rather than be served. It is also considered by many to be an important sign of the priesthood and its role in taking the love of God to all people. And this is what I would like to focus on for a moment. Despite being in the knowledge of the intolerable pain and suffering he was about to endure, Christ took time out to perform this simple but critical act of love. And that is what we need to take from this special moment between Jesus and his apostles. It was an act of selfless love; a visible sign of how man should treat man. Jesus wanted to show this love to his apostles so that they would then do the same to others.
This Holy Week, are you prepared to wash the feet of those closest to you? While we may participate in the washing of the feet during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper we must also remember that our homes and families are small churches too. So after tonight’s Mass when you get home, consider washing the feet of your family and perhaps take turns doing so. And while this is something that can be initiated by any member of the family, perhaps those of you who are fathers can take the lead. Men are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and tend to their own flock in the same way that Jesus did. And what better way to do this than to replicate Christ’s actions and wash the feet of those closest to you? While simple, this act of love carries with it an incredible power, the power of Christ who makes all things new. And for those of you with children in your household, it will create a real sense of intrigue among them and they will no doubt want to learn more. It’s a great opportunity to explain to them, in simple terms and by action, just how much Jesus loves them and how much you love them too.
|Posted on March 4, 2016 at 12:02 PM||comments (0)|
Do you speak openly about your faith to others? Are you not afraid to be frank about how your religion shapes your moral code? Do you even go as far as to try to bring others round to your way of thinking on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
In the New Evangelisation just a few years back, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us to get out into the world to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. And he wanted us to use every available platform at our disposal in order to do this. He used the humble but powerful image of a mustard seed from the Gospel, suggesting that if used effectively a small seed of faith has the potential to bring people to God. His words were: "I have a mustard seed, and I'm not afraid to use it". In today’s age we are blessed to have social media forums like Facebook to speak more openly about our faith and to tap into a seemingly infinite knowledge base. While social media can often be a curse there is no doubt it has opened up new avenues of opportunity for spreading the Gospel.
Yet, while some people seem content to do this, many more are not. In today’s secular relativist world it is undoubtedly a big challenge for people to spread their faith by means of social media. There is fear of criticism and mocking. There is also fear of offending people or of compromising long-held friendships. It is a significant problem for our faith and our Church. And it is an even bigger problem for Jesus.
While new age beliefs are thrust onto social media at an astounding rate, somehow managing to gather almost unanimous support in the process, Jesus is left to feed off the few scraps that are left. People would rather post and read quotes about being true to oneself and looking after number one rather than the horrific thought of making love of God and neighbour our priority. Quotes from famous authors or even the Dalai Lama have the potential to be of untold worth, but their value often pales in comparison to the Word of God or quotes from the Saints.
The Christian message is a tough one because it asks us to put ourselves in third place, behind God and all those around us. It also asks us to take up our cross on a daily basis and follow Jesus, accepting the suffering that this will inevitably bring. It also expects us to toe the line on controversial issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. It is, in all respects, a challenge of great proportions. But it is not without its rewards.
And as if this challenge wasn’t difficult enough we are also expected to take Jesus’ message of love and mercy to all people. Not just one or two, but to everyone. Had Jesus not called the Disciples to his side and taught them his message, what hope would there be? Had the Disciples not then taken that message of Jesus to others, what hope would we have today?
You see our faith is a faith of action, full of energy and enthusiasm, drenched in positivity and hope. We can’t just settle for our own evangelisation or the evangelisation of those closest to us. This is not the Christian way. We must be prepared to carry Jesus and his Gospel message to as many people as we possibly can through our life. We need to put Christ at the centre and be his voice to all nations, all peoples. To be truly Christian we must do as the disciples did and carry Jesus and his message to all people, be it on social media, the internet, on the phone, or in person. Had the disciples failed to do this we would have no Jesus in our lives. Imagine how empty that life would be?
Remember, your duty to spread the message of Jesus Christ is not just limited to the people close to you. In fact, it isn’t just limited to the entire human population of our world in your lifetime. Like the disciples, your witness will hopefully carry the message of Christ well into the future so that another 2000 years from now people are talking about the great disciples of this time and how without their powerful witness the faith would be dead.
Jesus told the apostles to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature". We need to be disciples for Christ in today's world. Let the future generations rave about your willingness to speak up for Jesus and how you never shied away from openness and honesty about his loving and merciful message. Let your children and grandchildren see you stand up for something that will bring eternal life to millions and millions of people! And remember, you don't need to be a great orator or writer to evangelise. As Pope Francis has said: “We evangelise not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with the joy of the Gospel, which fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus". So don't worry, let the joy of the Gospel speak for itself!
The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ appears often scripture. It is a strong, powerful message from God about how we must feel when it comes to our faith. In doing Christ’s work and spreading his message we have no need to be afraid. He is on our side!
Here’s the challenge: let your life be a life of evangelisation. Don’t be afraid to share Christ’s message with other people. Let your work reverberate down through the generations where it has the potential to bring millions of lives to eternity with God. Don’t keep good news to yourself. Use your mustard seed. Evangelise.
|Posted on February 22, 2016 at 12:49 PM||comments (0)|
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 16:13-19):
‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’’
In 1870, Vatican I declared that this Gospel passage was clear biblical support for the primacy of Peter and successive popes. The Council’s interpretation touches on the following five points of doctrine:
While it may sometimes be tough to be Catholic, especially in today’s secular relativist world which seeks to discredit the Church at every turn, we still have every reason to be joyful. Why? Because this is a Church that was established by the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ! Indeed, it is the only church established by Jesus Christ.
But Jesus didn’t leave it at that. In addition to establishing a church he knew that the Church needed help from above to protect it from evil and to ensure its ongoing safety and wellbeing in protecting the gospel with which it is entrusted. So he promised the Church that he will always be with it, ensuring that the gates of death, deception and destruction will never overcome it. He then proceeds to give his close disciple Simon Peter the authority to make binding decisions with respect to the Church and gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus, in just a few short sentences, establishes the Catholic Church, promises to sustain it, and even gives a mere mortal being the authority to be its chief teacher and chief administrator on earth. So we can say with confidence that through the authority of Peter (often referred to as the ‘Chair of Peter’) and his successors, heaven governs the Church on earth.
So be confident and joyful in your Church, and trust her authority always, for she is being guided by Christ who ensures her safe passage through time to that moment when he will come again on the clouds to be fully united with her. And it is at that moment that our Lord will gather in his chosen people to take them to Paradise to be with him forever.
The keys to Heaven are in the hands of the Church where they have been for the last 2000 years, from the moment Jesus entrusted them to Peter. No matter how tough or testing it may sometimes feel to be part of the Catholic Church there is no denying that she is the surest way to Heaven and to Jesus.
|Posted on February 9, 2016 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
Lent is now upon us and we can all hopefully look forward to spending much time reflecting on our faith and our relationship with Jesus as we embark on a journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
And while we have the option to develop our relationship with Jesus all year round, there is perhaps no better time than Lent to spend a little more time in the presence of Christ; one to one. This Lent we are invited to get up and walk a while with our Saviour. We are asked to pray more often than normal; to fast more; and to give more freely to those in need. All of this can be achieved with the help of Christ. If we take up his offer to walk with him he will give us the graces we need to make the most of this special season of Lent.
But what if you are far from the Church or have fallen away from the faith? If this applies to you I would ask you to just consider taking a little time out this Lent to speak to Jesus. It might be a prayer; it might be a question; it might be a concern or worry; or it might even be a simple hello! The truth is….anything goes. Jesus wants to give you the floor so that you can tell him everything that is on your mind. The most important thing for Jesus is that you need him. He wants to be the perfect friend; one who doesn't judge, who doesn't argue, and who doesn't impose any conditions on your friendship that you can’t handle.
Consider popping into a Church this Lent and spending some quality time with Jesus. He is right there waiting for you in the tabernacle. It's no illusion, no trick; he exists right there and he is waiting for you to come home to him.
And if your lack of faith relates to the Church, remember that the Church is a hospital for sinners not a club for saints. If you feel disgruntled or even distrust towards the Church, remember that it is Christ who founded it and it is Christ who waits for you. He is the most important element of our faith. It is through him that we will learn to love God, to love one another, to become better people and, ultimately, to be united with the Father in Heaven.
This Lent, as you give up chocolate or alcohol, consider spending some quality time with your Saviour. He has so much love to give and this love has your name written all over it. Nobody can give the perfect love and peace that Christ can.
Make a special effort this Lent to attend a very special appointment in your local Church. You may not know it but Jesus already has your name in his diary. The only question is: will you turn up....?
|Posted on February 4, 2016 at 12:37 PM||comments (0)|
Following a recent discussion on our Facebook page I thought it might be useful to draft up a short note on our Catholic faith and homosexuality. It is intentionally brief. For a more in-depth article on the matter please click this link.
Our Catholic faith tells us that homosexual acts are wrong. I think it's hard for us to hear this in such an abrupt way in today's world but this is what we are taught by faith. The reason such acts are wrong is that God has ordered us male and female for the authentic union that is marriage between man and woman and to be completely open to the precious gift of new life. Homosexual acts are not ordered in this way and are thus sinful. There are many sinful acts so this isn't necessarily a singling out of homosexual people. Consider sex outside marriage between a man and a woman, which is also wrong, as is the use of contraception.
It’s absolutely critical to also bear in mind that having same-sex attraction is different to homosexual acts. Mere attraction is not of itself sinful. It is only when these feelings are acted upon where it is deemed to be wrong. This is something that many people get confused about.
I think it's also important to see the positive side of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. It seeks to protect humanity by promoting the love between a man and a woman for the sake of giving new life to the world and raising this new life in marriage, which throughout history has been the best place for kids to thrive. The Church doesn't say a man can't love a man or a woman can't love a woman. Indeed, such a notion is completely contrary to Church teaching. It simply states that it is wrong to interfere with God's clear and natural plan for humanity.
It's not about hating homosexuals as many people wrongly think. It's actually about loving everyone and calling them all to live in accordance with God's plan. That too is a form of love though it is often hard for this society to see it in this modern age of relativism. In my time running the Scots Catholic website and social media accounts I have often been corrected for straying out of line with respect to Church teaching. I have learned so much in terms of my faith and I am grateful to those who have offered their generous help. For me, they are simply doing God’s work. They are doing what Jesus did and are challenging me, and I shouldn’t be afraid to be challenged.
In fairness to anyone who abides by the teaching of Christ and his Church on this matter, they are simply trying to live out their lives as God intended and they are well within their rights to stay true to God no matter what the world may tell them. Jesus and the Apostles were ridiculed and even put to death for going against the tide and remaining faithful to God's teaching. But they remained faithful. And we are called to do the same.
It is also very important to note that there are many, many gay people living out their Catholic faith chastely in the Church. Their call to chastity is no different to the call to chastity of single people in the Church.
And we must remember, the Church is open to all people and she loves all people, especially those of us who sin. That's why I'm a member.
Many people query whether the Church might change its stance with respect to homosexual acts. This is highly unlikely given the wrongs of homosexual acts is contained in scripture, the Word of God. It's also entrenched in nature itself and the ability of man and woman to procreate (something the Church wants to protect for the sake of the family). I appreciate this is a difficult teaching for some, especially in today's society, but the Church can't fit around the whims of society. First and foremost, the Church can't stray from the Truth it has protected for 2000 years. And secondly, it would be impossible to satisfy everyone all of the time. The Church, like Jesus, is here to challenge us with the Truth. It is not here so that we can abuse it for our own ends.
The Church is also here to bring God’s mercy to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is no sin we can commit that is too great that we can’t reconcile ourselves to God. He loves us like no other.
For more information on reconciling our Catholic faith with same-sex attraction, click this link to go to the Courage RC website.
|Posted on January 29, 2016 at 10:28 AM||comments (0)|
Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 4:21-30):
‘Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’
But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’ And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.’
Familiarity breeds contempt. It’s quite a sinister saying but it does have some truth in it. We have all felt that rush of excitement at something new and fresh in our lives, be it a new car or TV. But those initial feelings of great excitement soon wear off, replaced by familiarity and a general malaise fuelled by an ever increasing willingness to take the item for granted. What has happened is that the item has become a part of everyday life. It’s just another part of our routine. It’s not really that exciting any more. The car, the TV, the tablet are all just items we pick up when we feel like it and drop when we get bored.
However, doing this with TVs and other material objects is not particularly damaging. It’s when we allow this familiarity and malaise to flow into our relationships with people and into our faith that the real damage is wrought. Consider this: have we grown too familiar with Jesus in our lives? Do we pick him up only when we think we need him, dropping him again when our needs are satisfied? Do we only pray when death or serious illness strikes our families? Do we attend Mass only periodically through the year? Do we go to Confession once in a blue moon or not at all? Do we avoid talking about Jesus in our daily lives, banishing him to the sidelines in order to avoid offending those who might not believe?
When Jesus said that ‘no prophet is ever accepted in his own country’ he wasn’t just speaking in a geographical context. He was also foreseeing the way he would be treated by the people who followed him and who fell silent at the critical moment of his arrest and subsequent torture. Just think of St Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted friends and apostles. Even he denied our Lord three times!
It is hard for us to stave off the onset of familiarity, as it takes away the newness and replaces it with a more run-of-the-mill feel. We, like Peter, are only human and Jesus acknowledges our frailties and difficulties.
But Jesus also makes ‘all things new’. So trust in him and resist the onset of familiarity when it comes to your relationships and your faith. Don’t be afraid to follow Jesus in every way. Speak to him even when there is nothing on your mind. Pick up your Bible when it is the last thing you want to do. Consider attending Mass at a time other than a Sunday. And never, ever be afraid to go to Confession.
Pope Francis told the youth in Brazil to “swim against the tide” of relativism and secularism. Perhaps it’s time for us to swim against the tide of familiarity and accept Jesus at all times and not just when feel like it.