Category Archives: Christianity

What is a woman? The Church of England doesn’t know.

Woman def: An adult, female, human being (hotchickabus beatusyensys). Woman has been known to make Man (douffaramakus goofballferensis) do and say stupid things just by walking across the room wearing a tank top and shorts. source: Dictionary of Rational Thought and No Wok BS.

The Church of England has now gone on record saying it has “no official definition” of a woman.

What?

Really?

At first, I was inclined to think this news was a joke, something left over from from a lame April Fools Day prank. But, after a little digging, I found that it was all too true.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

British journalist Gabriella Swerling, writing for The Telegraph reported ” The Archbishops and York and Canterbury attend The Synod Eucharist Commission on a recent Sunday. The Church of England has come in for criticism after Dr Robert Innes, the Bishop in Europe, said ‘there is no official definition’ of a woman. In a written reply to a question submitted to General Synod, a senior Bishop said that although the meaning of the word woman was previously “thought to be self-evident, care” was now needed.

The question was posed as institutions grapple with the ongoing debate surrounding trans rights and what defines “a woman.”

While the new stance has been welcomed by liberal wings of the Church, the comments have also provoked criticism – with gender-critical campaigners saying that “whether your starting point is biology or the Bible”, the answer to the question of what is a woman remains the same.

Rev Angela Berners-Wilson, England’s first woman priest, said that she is “not totally happy” with the answer, but added that the issue is “sensitive”.Church officials are currently engaged in Living in Love and Faith (LLF), the institution’s ongoing and landmark project aiming to tackle how questions about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage fit with the Church.

The issue of defining what a woman is emerged in written questions to the General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, in which Adam Kendry, a lay member of the Synod and a representative of the Royal Navy, asked: “What is the Church of England’s definition of a woman?”

In response, Dr Robert Innes, the Bishop in Europe, said that “there is no official definition”.

The Bishop in Europe, who was also replying in his role as chairman of the Faith and Order Commission, said in his written response: “There is no official definition, which reflects the fact that until fairly recently definitions of this kind were thought to be self-evident, as reflected in the marriage liturgy.

“The LLF project however has begun to explore the marriage complexities associated with gender identity and points to the need for additional care and thought to be given in understanding our commonalities and differences as people made in the image of God.”

Rev Angela Berners-Wilson, who became the first woman to be ordained as a priest in England in 1994, and who has recently retired, told The Telegraph in response to the Bishop of Europe’s answer: “I’m not totally happy with it. I mean, I do think certain things like men can’t have babies just to say the complete obvious thing.

“But I think we need to be very sensitive and maybe we need to reexamine our boundaries.”

Maya Forstater, executive director of the Sex Matters campaign group, described the Bishop’s answer as “shocking”, saying that “the concepts of male and female did not need to have a formal official definition” because “they are older than human life itself”.

She added: “When the Government redefined women through the Gender Recognition Act, the Church of England could have stuck with its long-established understanding, which makes sense whether your starting point is biology or the Bible.

“It is shocking that they so readily gave up the definition of man or woman for the state to amend, as if this fundamental truth did not matter.”

However Jayne Ozanne, synod member and founder of the Ozanne Foundation in 2017 – which works with religious organisations around the world to tackle prejudice and discrimination of LGBTQI people – described the question as “passive aggressive”.

She said: “Mr Kendy’s question is sadly a prime example of a passive aggressive question that is designed to upset the LGBT+ community and particularly the trans members in our midst.

“It’s time these anti-LGBT attacks stopped and that we learnt to acknowledge that life is not quite as black and white as some appear to think it should be.”

Dr Jane Hamlin, president of Beaumont Society charity, which supports trans people, added: “I am puzzled why some people are so obsessed with defining ‘woman’. Why might this be an issue for the Church of England?

“Is it that women should be treated more favourably or less favourably? Why does it matter to the Church of England whether someone is a woman or not a woman? Surely it only matters to the individual themselves.”

~ Grif

The street dog who guards a storm drain

This is a truly amazing story about a very remarkable street dog in Istanbul, Turkey.

Benny, the dog, is a saint whose selflessness and compassion put we humans to shame.

~E

Sunday Devotional: Always be prepared

Luke 12:32-40 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom….
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.

Although the above passage pertains to the End Times of the Second Coming of Jesus the Christ, in truth, our individual deaths are the end times for us. And, just as the Second Coming will come “at an hour you do not expect,” so also is our own death.

That was impressed on me by the recent sudden, wholly unexpected death of a parishioner at my church.

A devout Catholic and an active member of her church, Marilyn had driven back to her house to gather more items to donate to the church’s annual garage sale. Bent over by her degenerative spine infirmity, Marilyn walked with difficulty. As she exited her car, her clothing got caught in the door and she fell onto the driveway. Her car rolled over and crushed Marilyn. When she was taken to ER. she was pronounced dead.

Marilyn’s death shocked the church community. Though in her 70s and disabled by her spinal infirmity, it was not a deadly affliction and she was active despite her disability.

We tend to live our lives as if we would live forever. This is especially so when we are/were young. Only as we age and begin to lose family and friends, does death  — including our own death — becomes real.

Marilyn’s sudden death — by a freak and wholly unexpected accident “at an hour you do not expect” — is a warning to us “to be prepared” because we really don’t know when our time will come.

How should we be prepared? Here are some suggestions:

  • Apologize to any and all whom we have hurt or harmed by word or deed.
  • Forgive those who hurt us, even if they had not apologized nor asked for forgiveness. “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us” –The Lord’s Prayer.
  • Examine our conscience and ask for God’s forgiveness for our sins. (Catholics should make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and go to Confession on a regular basis.)
  • Designate a family member or a trusted friend to have your legal and/or medical power-of-attorney.
  • Draw up a Will and make sure it is legal in your state.
  • If you have pets, make provisions in your Will for their care.

Lastly, let not a day pass by without thanking God for everything He’s given you, and telling Him that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, be with you,

~E

The Catholic Church is Under Attack

 

The Catholic Church is under attack by radical pro-abortion terrorists who have rampaged across the country, looting, ransacking, and burning Catholic houses of worship. According to CatholicVote, there have been more than 150 violent attacks in 39 states since 2020. The most recent church burning was Sunday, (July 26, 2022) when the St. Colman Catholic Church in West Virginia was burned to the ground. The church was built in 1878 and was declared an official historical site in 1984. The church was already a smoldering ruin when firefighters from the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene Sunday. The destruction was total.

In December 2021, Catholic Vote President Brian Burch wrote to
Attorney General Merrick Garland saying:

“We, the undersigned representing millions of Americans, are writing to voice our concerns over the increased attacks against churches, pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations in the aftermath of the leaked draft opinion in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,”.
“In December of last year, the Department of Justice was asked how it was investigating the repeated attacks on churches in the United States,” the letter continued.

“The Attorney General was also asked to investigate those complaints and take appropriate action as is your duty. Since that request there has been public silence.

”The letter went on to point out the remarkable uptick in violence after the Supreme Court leak.

Since the May 3 leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs, those attacks have intensified. Two pro-life organizations in Madison, Wisconsin and Keizer, Oregon have been firebombed as well as a pregnancy care center in Buffalo, New York. Seventeen churches or pro-life organizations have been vandalized with pro-abortion or anti-religious slogans. Among those, a tiny Black Baptist church in rural Mississippi was spray-painted with depictions of rape, and four churches in Olympia, Washington were vandalized on the same day with phrases like “abort the church.”

A recurring slogan has been: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.

The signers of the letter pointed out that the “silence” of federal law enforcement officials like Garland “endangers Americans even more.” In recent weeks, police arrested a would-be assassin near the home of pro-life Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Within hours of that incident, another radical abortion group published details of the daily movements of another pro-life member of the Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“Since May 2020 over 150 incidents have occurred across 29 states and the District of Columbia at Catholic properties alone,” the signers noted, adding that under 18 U.S. Code § 247, the Attorney General is obligated to act against attacks on religious properties, as well as efforts to obstruct the free exercise of religion.
“We call on you to publicly condemn these unlawful attacks; to commit to vigorous efforts to prevent them, and to investigate and prosecute them; and to proactively engage with the affected faith communities to ensure their concerns and security needs are being met,” the signers wrote.

“We would request a meeting with your office as well as the Civil Rights Division to discuss what plans are in the likelihood these attacks will intensify.”
The letter was signed by CatholicVote President Brian Burch, Marjorie Dannenfelser of SBA Pro-Life America, Kevin Roberts of The Heritage Foundation, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life Action, and many others.

In May, a radical pro-abortion group known as “Ruth Sent Us” openly called for abortion activists to storm Catholic churches during Holy Mass. On social media, the group even spoke of “beating” pro-life Catholics.

Earlier this week, a domestic terrorist organization calling itself “Jane’s Revenge” declared “open season” on pro-life groups. “We promised to take increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures,” the group stated. “Rest assured that we will, and those measures may not come in the form of something so easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti.”

A group of at least 124 House Republicans last Wednesday (June 22) sent a letter to Attorney General Garland calling on him to investigate such attacks as domestic terrorism.

“We write to express serious concerns over recent attacks targeting religious organizations and crisis pregnancy centers and request the Department of Justice respond with how its National Security Division plans to investigate these acts of domestic terrorism,” the letter said.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 8, 2022 / 06:00 am

The Department of Homeland Security warned on Tuesday that “faith-based institutions” could be potential targets amid a “heightened threat environment” in the United States.
The DHS alert followed an unconfirmed report that it had notified Catholic bishops of “credible threats” if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, is overturned.

In a June 7 bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), the department responsible for public security said: “In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets.”

“These targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.”

CatholicVote has created an interactive tracking report of the 152 Catholic churches that have been attacked since May 2020.

~ Grif

Tracker: Over 150 Attacks on U.S. Catholic Churches Since 2020

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Parents offer forgiveness to drunk driver who killed three of their children

From The Daily Mail:

The parents of three kids mowed down and killed by a drunk driver have received not one but two standing ovations at the Vatican after a powerful address about forgiveness.

Western Sydney couple Danny and Leila Abdallah were invited by the Pope to share their harrowing story with thousands of parishioners at the 2022 World Meeting of Families in Rome on Saturday.

Their three children Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, Antony, 13, and niece Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed by Samuel William Davidson who was drunk and high on drugs while behind the wheel in Oatlands on February 1, 2020.

Flanked by their children Liana, 12, Alex, seven, Michael, six, and 14-week-old Selina, the Abdallahs spoke to a global audience on the eve of would have been Antony’s 16th birthday.

Ms Abdallah recalled the heartbreaking moment she learned her children had been killed as her husband explained why they’ve chosen to forgiven the driver through the I4Give campaign the family has set up.

Their speech was so powerful it brought the Catholic world to their feet, including a contingent of Australians in the crowd at the Vatican proudly holding the national flag.

Bishops around the world were so moved by their story that the Abdallahs may also get a face to face meeting with the Pope himself, depending on his health.

The Abdallah family today

‘There’s been more than two years and I must choose to forgive myself and the driver every day, to not retreat into hatred,’ Mr Abdallah told the Vatican and millions watching online.

‘I choose to forgive myself for telling my kids to go for  walk. I choose to forgive the offender in obedience to my Father in heaven.

‘If my children were here today, they would say ‘Dad, forgive him.’ 

‘When you forgive the other person, you start to heal.’ 

His wife Leila added: ‘I would not have imagined we would be in the Vatican on the eve of my son’s birthday to speak about forgiveness to the world.’

Ms Abdallah received an overwhelming round of applause after revealing she didn’t hate the driver and had forgiven him.

‘As Christians, we’re meant to forgive,’ she said. 

‘I believe the Holy Spirit has moved my lips to forgive in that moment.’

‘You can’t control what happens in life, but you can choose how to respond. We choose forgiveness over hatred, we choose love over revenge and we choose to turn the day of tragedy into a day of forgiveness.

‘Forgiveness is the core message of our Christianity. All our prayer is about forgiveness. And when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ And these are words to be taken seriously.’

Read the whole story here.

DCG

Sunday Devotional: I will come to you

Three Sundays ago, the universal Church remembered our Lord Jesus Christ’s Ascension, when He left this mortal world, not to return until the End Days. In leaving, our Lord bade a last farewell to His faithful disciples and, knowing full well how bereft they would be, He made sure we are not abandoned. He promised that although “the world will not see me anymore . . . I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:19, 18).

Jesus made two promises to ensure we would not be left “as orphans”:

(1) The Father will send the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead. As Jesus said:

John 14:16-17

“And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever —
the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.” 

(2) We will have His Body and Blood:

John 14:18

“I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.” 

How thoughtful and loving our Lord is!

1 Corinthians 11:22-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, when we remember and celebrate the new Covenant that our Lord made with His Body and Blood, with all who believe in Him. In so doing, Jesus transformed the tribal religion of Judaism into a universal faith. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews 8:13:

In speaking of a new covenant,
He makes the first one obsolete.
And what is becoming obsolete and growing old
is ready to vanish away.

Our Lord said in Mark 14:22, “Take it; this is my body.”

Do you doubt His words?

Have you heard of the Lanciano Eucharistic miracle?

20 years ago, my Godsister joandarc and I went on a pilgrimage to Italy.

Among the places we visited were the wondrous Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel in Mount Gargano and the Church of San Francesco in Lanciano. In the latter was a glass case containing a brownish substance.

Church of San Francesco, Lanciano, aka Shrine of the Eucharistic Miracle

As described by TheRealPresence.org, during the middle of the 8th century, a Basilian monk doubted the Real Presence in the Eucharist — that at consecration, bread and wine become Christ’s true body and true blood.

The doubting monk was celebrating Mass one day. As he intoned the words of consecration, “suddenly the monk saw bread turn into Flesh and the wine into Blood,” according to documents at the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano, Italy.

Today, more than 12 centuries after the Lanciano miracle, the transformed host and wine are preserved still, despite being exposed to atmospheric and biological agents:

  • The Host-Flesh is light brown and appears rose-colored when lit from the back.
  • The Blood is coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size, of an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.

Scientific investigations of Lanciano were conducted since 1575, most notably in 1970-71 and taken up again partly in 1981, by Dr. Odoardo Linoli, head of the clinical analysis laboratory and of pathological anatomy at Arezzo Hospital, and Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, professor of anatomy at the University of Siena.

Linoli and Bertelli came to the following conclusions:

  • The flesh is real human flesh, the blood is real human blood.
  • The flesh is heart tissue — of the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and the left cardiac ventricle.
  • The flesh and blood have the blood-type AB, which is the same blood-type found on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium or Oviedo Cloth — the piece of cloth that is believed to have covered Jesus’ head after the crucifixion.
  • In the blood were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh human blood, as well as the minerals chloride, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

According to “The True Presence,” in 1973, the UN World Health Organization’s board of governors appointed a scientific commission to investigate Lanciano. After 500 examinations, the scientists verified the 1971 findings and declared the tissue to be human.

There have been other Eucharistic miracles elsewhere since Lanciano. See here, here, and especially the website “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World” that was the work of a devout Italian boy named Carlo Acutis before he died from a brain tumor in 2006 at the tender age of 15.

To conclude, Christ is with us through the Holy Spirit, and in His Body and Blood, which makes it all the more terrible and reprehensible that state governments, ostensibly to “contain” the COVID-19 “pandemic,” had barred Catholics and other Christians from attending church service, including the receiving of the Holy Eucharist, which is life itself.

Tell our Lord your troubles and fears.

And tell Him, often and always, that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength. ❤️

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~E

Sunday Devotional: The Holy Trinity

Matthew 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Holy Trinity — the mystery of Three Persons in One God.

That there is but one God of three Persons — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — is not only found in the above passage from Matthew 28, but also in other places in Holy Scripture:

Genesis 1:26

And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness

John 5:7

For there are three
that bear record in Heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.

Matthew 3:1, 13, 16-17

And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water:
and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

Some used analogies — that the Trinity is akin to the trifoliate or three-leaf  clover. But like all analogies, the clover analogy in the end doesn’t really explain or help us understand how exactly three Persons make up one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~E

Pentecost: The Coming of the Holy Spirit

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore…
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever….”

Last Sunday, the universal Church remembered and celebrated our Lord Jesus Christ’s departure from Earth — the Ascension.

Having created us, He knows full well how bereft His followers would be by His leaving:

“grief has filled your hearts” (John 16:6)

Loving us deeply, Jesus promised to His Apostles and us, “I will not leave you as orphans” and that the Father would send “another advocate” to help and be with us forever and “always until the end of time” itself (Matthew 28:20).

What a comforting thought!

Today, we celebrate the miracle of the Pentecost — the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, infusing them with the gift of tongue and with boldness and fearlessness to proclaim the “gospel” — the good tidings or news — of Jesus the Christ.

Acts 2:1-4

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Given the Holy Spirit’s importance, it is distressing how little we actually know about the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.

The Holy Spirit is mentioned in these places in the Bible:

  1. Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you….”
  2. Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
  3. Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 12:18: “Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: ‘We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.’ So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.
  5. 1 Corinthians 2:13: “And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.”
  6. 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
  7. 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
  8. Ephesians 1:13-14: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”
  9. Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.
  10. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
  11. Isaiah 11:2: “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD
  12. John 3:6-8: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
  13. John 14:16-17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
  14. John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
  15. John 15:26-27: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.'”
  16. John 16:7-15: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
  17. Judges 3:10: “The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.
  18. Luke 11:13: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
  19. Luke 24:49: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
  20. Matthew 12:31-32: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
  21. Micah 3:8: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
  22. Romans 8:2-6: “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
  23. Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  24. Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

From the above passages, these are the attributes of the Holy Spirit:

  • He is a gift from God the Father, through the Son.
  • He is the first installment in our inheritance toward redemption, which implies there will be more gifts following the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • He is in-dwelling: He dwells in us and abides in us forever.
  • He enabled the Apostles to speak foreign languages.
  • He enables us to observe God’s commandments.
  • He teaches us “all things”, especially “everything” Jesus told us.
  • He glorifies Jesus.
  • He tells us “the things that are coming“.
  • He gives us “power from on high” — not power to do what we will, but power to do justice and to denounce transgressions and sins.
  • He helps us when we are weak, and intercedes for us.
  • He is “the spirit of truth” who guides us to all truth, but whom the world neither knows nor accepts. That implies that when we follow the Holy Spirit and proclaim the truth, the world will also reject us.
  • He fills us with hope.
  • How do we know when something is of the Holy Spirit? — by His fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

In the terrible times we now find ourselves, we need the Holy Spirit’s truth, guidance and peace more than ever. Here is A Prayer to the Holy Spirit, by St. Augustine:

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

And may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~E

Sunday Devotional: The Ascension of our Lord

In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .

Every time, strangely, His apostles did not recognize Him at first. We are told that’s because Jesus is transfigured — just as we, should we be so blessed, will be in “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.

How precious those times must be which the apostles shared with their risen Lord.

And then, 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus told the apostles:

Acts 1:8-11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Every time I read that passage, I weep, as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the apostles to say goodbye to their lord, master and friend forever.

But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles — nor us.

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”

Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within the baptized, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

How very much He must love us . . . .

Note: JHS (or IHS) is the acronym for the Latin words, Jesus Honinum Salvator -Jesus Savior of Mankind.

May the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, and remember to tell Him that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with every ounce of your strength and every fiber of your being.

~E

Sunday Devotional: Whoever loves me will keep my word

John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”

“Whoever loves me will keep my word.”

To keep His word is to abide by His commandments — the ten Mosaic commandments, the “greatest” commandment, as well as the “new” commandment to love one another.

Is it that difficult to keep His word by being good?

Not only is being good good for others and society, it is also good for our own selves — our physical and psychological wellbeing. After all, God would not ask us to do something that is harmful to us.

All of which could explain why studies have shown that:

Keeping His word is good for us!

May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~E