Patron Saints Infographic

Blogged by James 3 Weeks ago...

The people at HolyArt.co.uk sent along this infographic and since I haven't updated my blog in so long I figured I might as well share the love..

If you forgot your microscope today, you can click on through to a full sized version here.

A Startling Admission from Cardinal Nichols

Blogged by James 4 Months ago...

On 28 January, Cardinal Vincent addressed the CATSC/CES Secondary Leaders’ Conference in London.  That is, he was speaking to Catholic Secondary School teachers about Catholic School children.

We are talking about the age of children in your schools, in your care. We are talking about youngsters ‘round here.

[link]

What does he have to say about these Catholic School Children..?

many do reach that age without a firm basis of values or beliefs by which they can steer their lives or against which they can rebel. In their formal upbringing many have been presented only with fleeting guidance, couched always in the tones of choice - you must decide what you think is right or wrong for you;

[...]

It is to teenagers such as these that the call of a definitive, demanding faith, one which asks for a heroic sacrifice is addressed. It is cast as a true fulfilment of all the unfocused yearning within them. One month is all it takes to transform a dissatisfied and disorientated teenager into a terrorist.

[link]

Straight from the horse's mouth..  "many do reach that age without a firm basis of values or beliefs".  Note: many.  If that is the case then perhaps he should be asking Catholic Primary School teachers about it!

I honestly thought, when I read the line "It is to teenagers such as these that the call of a definitive, demanding faith, one which asks for a heroic sacrifice is addressed" that Cardinal Nichols was talking about the Gospel.

Does not the Church present us with a "definitive, demanding faith"?

Does not Christ ask us to join in his "heroic sacrifice"?

Can the Gospel not transform a teenager?

After that it goes a bit blah blah blah.. TL:DR to use the modern parlance.  He doesn't use the word "sacrifice" in reference to the Catholic faith even once.

To be fair, he does speak about the need to develop a relationship with Jesus, a call to Holiness, to Faith, Hope and Charity.  He talks about how such an insight "is redemptive, saving us from drudgery, stirring us to get up each morning".

Well yes, it's true.  A relationship with Christ is redemptive, but it would be useful to know how to encourage such a relationship among young people.  Instead, Archbishop Nichols suggests "two leadership tasks"..

"One is to help others to see how their personal experience or contribution is indeed part of a greater whole"

"The second task is more subtle. There is an important truth to be remembered: that to see the beauty of a fragment is to glimpse the beauty of the whole."

[link]

Both of those things are admirable enough, but neither of them amounts to "preach the Gospel" (with our without "words").

And therin lies the problem.

The reason that "many do reach that age without a firm basis of values or beliefs by which they can steer their lives" is that nobody is proclaiming the Gospel.

In short - the definitive, demanding truth that God loves you, gave His Son for you and calls you to make a heroic sacrifice of giving up your life in the service of others.

This really is the "true fulfilment of all the unfocused yearning".

[h/t Catholic Herald]

How do we fit in?

Blogged by Ella 7 Months ago...

If Jesus has managed to achieve all this then where does that leave us?

 

It is Christ's humanity that has made it possible for us to join to Him with our sacrifice, just because Jesus has carried out the tough part it is no bed of roses for us. The only way we can participate is if we truly follow Christ for, “Whoever follows after Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man.” The whole of man both body and soul is sanctified because the Word of the Father was 'assumed' through the incarnation of His Son and by the Paschal Mystery, and through this the whole of God's creation, which was put under the charge of man is also sanctified. Therefore because “Salvation is known only to God, it will be through more than simply their supernatural elevation brought about by Christ's union with humanity. It will be through their “being made partners... in the paschal mystery””.

If we truly desire to be reconciled with God in the fullest sense of the Trinity we will follow Christ. For through him we “have access to the Father by one Spirit.”. Therefore though He is only one person of the Trinity, Christ is the source, content and objective of catechesis in light of the whole Trinity.

 

It is therefore important that we make Christ the centre of our Christian living, we must strive to live our lives as Christ with that self-sacrificing love he gave for us on the Cross. We can achieve this through the grace that God gives us and by our receiving of the Holy Eucharist in mass, the cleaning of our souls in confession and the deepening of our prayer lives to say the least. We are given a fresh life through baptism, but this is not enough we still bear the burdens of sin and must redeem ourselves to God in our daily lives always striving always to follow the path Christ lay before us.

 

It is also important to note that because Christ died for the salvation of all “Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church, but seeks truth and does the will of God in accordance to his understanding of it, can be saved” through the baptism of desire.

Marriage Prep in Middlesbrough Diocese

Blogged by James 7 Months ago...

So there's a young couple in my parish.  Early twenties.  About the age I was when I got married.  For reasons I don't entirely understand they get sent off to York for Marriage Prep with Marriage Care.  You know.. Marriage Care.

So they get back and they are kind of like "hmm, that wasn't so bad as we expected because somewhere in the small print we found a phone number for information about NFP" and I'm like "that's good" and they are like "oh yeah, and they told us..."

"If you watch porn - make sure you watch it together"

So er.. yeah.  Seems like outsourcing marriage prep to an ex-Catholic company/charity thingy with an "ethos" might not be so good an idea.

Son of God

Blogged by Ella 7 Months ago...

By Son of God we mean that Jesus has divine body, blood, soul and knowledge. He knows the Father's will intimately, He is totally without sin, He is perfect, He is a manifestation of God's love.

 

But why therefore does Jesus need to be fully God?

 

Firstly, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways”, but it is difficult to explain and pass on the will of God as a human messenger as our human minds cannot fully comprehend the great mysteries, the “master plan” that God has for us. It is difficult to see that “It is man himself who must be saved: it is mankind who must be renewed”. So being fully God, Jesus is able to “teach with authority” because He does understand the full will and plan of God and He is able to pass it onto us by human means as described above. Secondly, by being God He can conform Himself to God's will, having that deeper relationship with God and being able to carry out and overcome the challenges before Him as a man that we struggle to achieve being with original sin. Thirdly, being God He is able to pay more satisfaction for our salvation than any price required. By salvation we do not mean “an immanent salvation, meeting material or even spiritual needs, restricted to the framework of temporal existence and completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles, but a salvation which exceeds all these limits in order to reach fulfilment in a communion with the one and only divine Absolute: a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which indeed has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity”. In short if a human was to die on the cross it would not be enough, it is only achievable by God Himself.

 

Fourthly, God can see the pain and suffering of man and how often man falls away from Him because of this. God loves us so much that because He wants us to have freewill and freedom. He cannot just choose to make everything good without limiting that freedom, so instead He comes to share in that suffering with us. If we look at the temptations of the devil when Jesus is in the desert they are very significant, the turning of stones to bread in Luke 4:3 for example, “Is there anything more opposed to belief in the existence of a good God and a Redeemer of making, than world hunger? Shouldn't it be the first test of the Redeemer, before the world's gaze and on the world's behalf, to give it bread and end all hunger?”. Pope Benedict XVI reflects on the significance of the third temptation revealing how the qualities of the saviour/messiah were not those expected by the Jews at the time. Therefore “Jesus has to enter into the drama of human existence, for that belongs to the core of his mission; he has to penetrate it completely, down to its uttermost depths, in order to find the “lost sheep”, to bear it on his shoulders and bring it home”.

 

Son of Man

Blogged by Ella 7 Months ago...

We first know Jesus as the Son of Man through His teaching ministry. When we say Son of man we mean that he has a human soul , human intellect for example he had to learn to read and write, human will allowing him the choice not to take on the mission God set before him, a human body where he felt physical pain and a human heart that he could feel emotion.


But why is it important that Jesus is fully human?

 

The message He brings is not an impossible one for humanity. Firstly, we can understand it because He explains and reveals the truths to us in human form, terms and understanding “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin.”, which allows us to deepen our understanding of God and His mission, His plan for us. It allows us to have a deeper relationship with God as we are on earth and guides us on our path for perfection. Secondly, He knows and understands our limitations because He is human He knows how to guide us towards the path of righteousness and God, towards the Kingdom of heaven. Thirdly, because He himself is truly human He is the second Adam, He has a choice to conform to God's will and being born without original sin, as Adam was, He is able to do so. He as a human can choose to make the sacrifice required and pay the satisfaction needed for us to be saved. He can and does choose to be the ultimate sacrifice, baring all our sins as our representative and be resurrected into eternal life, where Adam failed for all humanity Jesus does not and if we choose to accept it our original sin is removed and we are “washed clean in the blood of the lamb”

Jesus' Mission

Blogged by Ella 7 Months ago...

Initially it seems like Jesus is just a wise teacher, as He prepares us for the coming of God's Kingdom. He preaches the Kingdom of God is close at hand, but the revelation is that He does not just mean a Kingdom where God lives and we can hope to come to when we die but also “a veiled christology” , Christ is the Kingdom. We see this as He begins to reveal the deeper meaning of Scripture, He begins to reveal Himself, the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus comes to not only complete God's revelation but to bring us back to Himself. He begins His mission by explaining God's will to us, revealing how we can have freedom of choice, how we can strive to become more as God created us to be, in His image and likeness. He gives us not only guidelines but we can also follow His own actions and lifestyle. But what makes His preaching different from the other prophets is that “Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith , hope and love.” Because Jesus is not just fully human but also divine He is able to allow us to know God on a more personal level because “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Jesus is able to unwrap the truths that have been a mystery hidden in the Scripture because He knows God's master plan.

 

Who is Jesus?

Blogged by Ella 7 Months ago...

As you look through both the Old and New Testament's Jesus has many names, this is of great significance and importance, if we begin by looking at the New Testament we see Gabriel telling Mary to name Him Jesus, this was not because it was a nice name but for the Jewish people names said a lot about the person. In this case God Himself has called Jesus “God saves”. So from the moment of His conception Jesus' mission is spelt out for us. We see His title develop as He is carrying out His mission from the moment of His baptism, Messiah or in Greek Christ “the anointed one”. Once again this is of great importance for the Old Testament prepared God's people for the coming of the Lord. He would be God on earth come to save His people and here proclaimed by God the Father is God the Son “the anointed one” “God who saves”. God who is both fully human and fully God, revealing His incarnation through His name so that we can we begin to understand who Christ is and the purpose of His mission.