Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for June, 2008

The Year of St. Paul

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on June 26, 2008

As many of you may already know, this Sunday – in honor of the Feast Day of Sts Peter and Paul – Pope Benedict will inaugurate in a special ceremony at my favorite Roman Basilica – Paul Outside the Walls – for the Year of St. Paul. I see this as both timely and significant on the part of our beloved pontiff!

St. Paul was a great defender of the faith because he began as the greatest persecutor of Christianity (Acts 9:1-4).

Ever notice that when you think you know something, and then you find out that you were wrong about that something, and now you know what is right that you speak with even greater passion about what you now know to be right? That was Paul.

His zeal and love for the gospel message of Christ was unparalleled in the Gentile world. And perhaps that’s why God called Paul. Perhaps He knew (as God often does know) that Paul would not compromise or ever waver on the truth, even to the extent of losing his life for Christ and His message.

So, to prepare our hearts for the upcoming event, I’ve decided to feature a recent exegete that I had done on that passage from 1Timothy. This passage, too, is timely and meriting our attention because, quite simply, it reflects our very world at this time! I hope you will take a moment to not only read the passage, but also reflect on it yourself, and maybe notice the similarities with what was happening in Paul’s time and what is currently happening in our time.

Should any “chords” be struck within your own hearts, I’m including several links at the bottom of this post for your perusal and action – should you desire any. May God bless all who read this post and make ready your hearts for the Year of the Saint who never compromised, even when he was faced with death!

For more information visit the Vatican’s official website for the Year of Paul.

Affectionately In the Two Hearts!
~ Anne Elizabeth 🙂

2Tim 4:1-8charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. 5 As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

In this letter, Paul is writing to Timothy while he (Paul) is awaiting his execution. As Paul approaches the end of his life he begins to reflect on the “current state of affairs” of Christianity. This leads Paul to the prediction that, soon, things will become increasingly difficult for all the Christians. Already false teachers have arisen and spoken against Paul and the gospel message: Alexander the coopersmith did me great harm, the Lord will requite him for his deeds. Be aware of him yourself for he strongly opposed our message (vs 14-15). Paul reminds Timothy not to give into the temptation of ‘false tolerance’: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convenience, rebuke, and exhort… Yet Paul also reminds Timothy to be unfailing in patience and in teaching (v2).

Teach the truth always and do not compromise the message just to please or ‘tickle the ears’ of all who will hear you. For a time is coming [and in all honesty is here in our world today!] when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings (v3) [Gay Marriage preachers; contraception is acceptable and teens need to use it; its not a baby, just a mass of cells – a zygote; go ahead and kill yourself, it’s okay; you shouldn’t have to suffer; Women are men and Men are women – go ahead and change your gender – God just made a mistake; There is no such thing as sin; If you will it you will receive everything your heart desires; I saw it in the stars! Need I go on???]

…and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths (v4)Only science can lead mankind to peace and happiness…Your ‘god’ is how you perceive him/her; God is made in your image… If it’s not in the Bible then it’s not true… If you can prove it scientifically than it cannot exist…

So what’s a good and faithful Christian to do in the face of all this anarchy? Paul tells Timothy, and us as well I think, As for you, always be steady, endure suffering [see Romans 5] do the work of the evangelist (v5).

Did not John Paul the Great call each and everyone of us into the New Evangelization? Fill your ministry (v5), go therefore and preach the Word of God to all the nations teaching them all that I have commanded you (Mt 28:20). So that we, too, can join Paul when we reach the end of our lives and say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the Faith (v7).

Jesus isn’t asking us to perform mighty deeds and great miracles – although these things are not beyond the capabilities of those faithful to Him (see John 14:12). It is our faithfulness and obedience that God desires most from us. God demonstrated His faithfulness and obedience by becoming man – the Incarnation – and by enduring death even death on a Cross (cf Phil 2:8). His obedience to the plan and the Will of God the Father is our example. The same example that St. Paul calls Timothy to as well as us, too!

Perseverance in Holiness, continue to run the good race, remember that all life and goodness comes from the Lord and not all who cry out ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of the Father who is in heaven (Mt 7:21). Fight the good fight, always preach the Gospel in good season or in bad season; finish the race and keep the faith for God IS with us, I am with you always until the [end of the age] (Mt. 28:20b).

Any Questions? Continue on, my friend! 😉

Got a “fire in your belly” ? Check out these sites!
http://www.citizenlink.org/focusaction/fofafeatures/A000007688.cfm
http://www.citizenlink.org/focusaction/fofafeatures/A000006802.cfm (psst… take a look at the bottom comment at the end of this article!)

http://www.hli.org/humanae_vitae_pledge.php
http://www.hli.org/

http://www.petitiononline.com/deweese/petition.html

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Good for evil?

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on June 19, 2008

On Monday, June 16th, the Gospel reading was from Matthew 5:38-42, or better known as the Sermon on the Mount or the continuation of the Beatitudes.  Here is the passage:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.”

While listening to the above Gospel passage, two things came immediately to mind.  First, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth ” “Very good, the the whole world will be toothless and blind” (Tviah, Fiddler on the Roof).  Second, “…I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. ”  To resist: to withstand, strive against, or oppose – to put up a fight against an opposing force.  When Jesus speaks of resisting, He is speaking in the same terms of the opening quote I gave from Fiddler on the Roof.  If we respond to evil with evil then “the whole world will be blind and toothless “. 

But, if we respond to evil with Love and Compassion (Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do ~ Luke 23:34 ), we exercise a greater perfection.  A perfection that Christ modeled time and time again for us; though none so completely as when He hung on the Cross and prayed for His accusers who had done a GREAT EVIL to God. 

The question for us is: Is this kind of perfections actual possible for us mere human beings?  You bet!  But, only if you allow the grace necessary for loving to flow to you from God.  After all, perfection only comes from the one who is perfect, i.e. God (cf. Mt 5:48), NOT man. 

Jesus talks about this perfect love in the next section of verses – those which we heard in Tuesday’s Gospel reading – 43 to 48.  He reminds us that even though we are persecuted by the unjust, and even though we are treated unfairly by the wicked, we are called to respond with Love and Forgiveness – a message given in today’s (June 19th) Gospel message.  This Love and Forgiveness again is only made possible BECAUSE God makes it possible, BECAUSE we have asked Him for the graces necessary to practice the above.

Do you know why God gives us these graces when we ask for them?  Because He is a Loving Father who lavishes free gifts on His Children (us) whenever we ask Him (cf. Mt 7:11).  Did I mention that these gifts are free?  You don’t have to do anything beyond asking for them…they are free, free, FREE! 

That’s right folks!  Just petition with knee-mail at: Here_I_Am_Lord@GodisLove.com and receive your FREE gift TODAY!  This is a Limited Time Offer*, SO DON’T DELAY! 

Remember, just “ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” (cf Mt 7:7).

 

*Limited time offer: During the course of your natural life on earth

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