Mary & Eternal Life

 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent
John 17:3

There are degrees of knowledge, particularly knowledge of persons. The longer we know them and the more intimately then the better we know them. In a life beyond the veil of death when we shall encounter Divinity face to face then, certainly we shall know Him far better than we can today. Nonetheless eternity starts now, that is, eternity enters into us and we into it to precisely the extent that we know God. Every moment where we meet Jesus, in the Gospels, in the sacraments, in prayer, in our neighbours is an occasion where time expands into timelessness. There can be no doubt that the human who entered most fully into this intense relationship with the Father, through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit was Mary His mother. In the Old Testament Book of Ruth we can see a type or figure of this relationship.

Ruth is one of these Very Small Books of the Bible that I referred to in my blog Sense & Sensuality. It is a curious work to be incorporated into the Jewish scriptures and there is no obvious reason to account for its presence. It is a lovely story certainly but the Jews had many lovely stories that didn’t make the canonical cut. In the context of Jewish historical narrative it does tell us who King David’s great-grandmother was but since, as it turns out, she was not only not a Hebrew but, worse than that, she came from their hated neighbours the Moabites, against marrying whom there were strict regulations in much of Old Testament times, you might think that the Jews would be inclined to downplay this fact rather than canonise it. The author of Ruth and the compilers of the canon probably saw in the story not simply an historical account but one which was also profoundly symbolic….Click here to read more

Inner Peace – Within Your Grasp

How is inner peace within your grasp? How does Jesus work within us to spread His peace?

Embracing inner peace is the embracing of the Divine Indwelling, because Jesus is our Peace (Eph. 2:14). That reason alone is reason enough for me to want to embrace inner peace. When we allow Jesus to work within us to free us from worry, anxiety, care and concern, we illuminate to others a sense of inner peace – Christ’s Peace. People look at us, and want what we have, because everyone continually searches for peace. Read more…

Finding Peace in Today’s World

Peace seems difficult to find these days, doesn’t it? With violence, abuse, conflicts and wars raging all around us, we often ask “Where is God? Where is His Peace?” More than just the absence of war, Peace “describes the condition of the heart and mind- within our very soul and spirit – when renewed in Christ. Such peace is deeper than our affections or intellect… [Peace is] “life in friendship with God.” 1 We all want that feeling; that friendship with God. So then, where is God in such troubling times? Why do we feel so alone and forgotten, separated from this friendship with Him? Read more…

Dark Epiphany

January 6 is the traditional date to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. In the West this refers to the Magi and their encounter with the Christ child, Eastern Christians celebrate the baptism of our Lord in the Jordan. Either way they mark a sudden realisation of the reality of God incarnate. Yet there is also a dark epiphany that springs from the desert experience, the encounter with a God who appears to have abandoned us.

How long, Lord? Will you utterly forget me?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,
    grief in my heart day after day?
Psalm 13:1-2

Click here to read my meditation on the Dark Night of the Soul

Receiving Christmas Joy – Guest Blog by Father Paul Buchanan

As a Christmas present from me to you, I offer you a homily about receiving Christmas Joy, written by a very good friend of mine, Father Paul Buchanan, who gave the following homily on Christmas day last year to parishioners at my church. At the time, Father Paul was a Transitional Deacon. He has since been ordained to the priesthood on June 28, 2014, and now serves at Saint Matthew Church, in Charlotte, NC.

Receiving Christmas Joy

Joy to the world! The Lord is come. We all know the line from the carol. But why do we rejoice on Christmas day? It’s not just “because God became a man” – although that is a wondrous thing, and an awesome thing… but it can also be an abstract thing. Something that makes us joyful, …Read More

From Primitive to Degenerate?

Whenever I hear the expressions ‘Primitive Church’ or ‘Primitive Christian’ I always have a vision of Wilma and Fred Flintstone occupying a pew or at any rate something involving cave dwellers wielding clubs while dressed in animal skins. Which, it appears, is something of a misapprehension on my part. ‘Primitive’ in this context means ‘early’ or ‘first.’ The Primitive Church is simply the Christian community as it existed in it beginnings, fresh from the events surrounding Jesus in Galilee and Judaea, guided by the Apostles. It is considered by many to be the gold standard against which contemporary Christianity should be judged usually to its considerable disadvantage. There are two particular currents of thought which make use of this critical tool largely for the purposes of disparaging Catholicism.

The ecclesial Christian communities of the Reformation (Protestants for short) since the emergence of their various tendencies have united in the criticism that the Catholic Church distorted, obscured, deviated from, and added alien elements to, the original faith of the Primitive Christians. By thus corrupting the religion they at some point, usually arbitrarily selected by the critics, became definitively degenerate or actually apostate. The Protestant aim from the beginning and in each subsequent schism, split or formation of a brand new sect has always been to return to the faith and practice of the Primitive Church. Quite how they reconcile this with their dogmatic assertion that Scripture Alone is the sure basis of Christianity I’ve never quite understood because if there is one thing about which we can be certain regarding the first Christians it is that they did not possess the New Testament and therefore could neither use it in their liturgies nor seek within its pages for the doctrines of their faith.

The currently more influential critique emerges from the secularists, the atheists and the liberal theologians. It amounts to this: Jesus was misunderstood by His contemporaries, friend and foe alike. These misunderstandings were incorporated into the Bible and the Christian Church (which subsists in the Catholic Church) has busied itself ever since in emphasising the misunderstandings and downplaying the authentic fragments which we possess. Click here to read more

Secret Cynics

Advent is a time of waiting. But how do I wait?

Do I wait stoically or with joy? Do I wait like a child, a child who trusts that his daddy will keep His promises or has life’s disappointments left me jaded and closed off to any spiritual surprises? Come to think of it, how many of us actually expect to receive any joy on Christmas morning? When we are secretly cynical, we will not receive a thing, not a crumb of Light because we lock the door to our hearts. Then, we will cement our cynicism in place for another year.
As we wait, secretly longing for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light, we should look to our children to teach us how to wait for the Christ Child to be born anew in our hearts. They trust and believe the words of both their earthly and heavenly Fathers. Think of a young child, eyes twinkling, barely able to sit still and contain his excitement because he knows that his dad will never give him a stone instead of a loaf of bread. continue here

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Choose Joy and Be Happy

Choose joy and be happy this Christmas season. How so, when all around you there is violence, pain and strife? It is really not that difficult, because attitude is everything! If you are the type of person who counts your blessings, rather than focus on what’s wrong with life, then you are more inclined to experience Christ’s joy within you. This is the time of year when we usually take the time to reflect on the past twelve months and count our blessings. Let me share with you, the ones I find most important, that I think we can all be grateful for: Read more…

Mary & the Birthdays of Jesus

Our Lady was the first Christian to celebrate Christmas. In the Advent meditation I ponder what her thoughts and feelings were as she marked this poignant anniversary in the years between the Ascension and her Assumption

“Historians are undecided about the date of the Nativity of our Lord although as a sort of reflex action they are almost unanimous in denying that it was 25 December as if giving credit to the wisdom of the Church was somehow a violation of their professional duty. Likewise there is some dispute about when the Catholics first started to celebrate this event as a dedicated Feast. Some say it was earlier and some later. What I think we can be fairly sure about though is that the Blessed Virgin Mary knew the date and that every year as it came around she would have pondered in her heart the events of the first Christmas and the significance which they bore. Of particular poignance for her must have been the Christmases which she marked in the years between her Son’s Ascension and her own Assumption. We cannot now enter into her thoughts, memories and prayers but we can consider those matters which most likely occupied her reflections and which perhaps should occupy ours also.

Our Lady was unique in many ways and led a unique life. Not the least singular facet of it was that she witnessed the death and burial of her Son, His return to life and His Ascension into heaven. These experiences could not but be present before the eyes of her memory every time she marked the anniversary of His birth. Each Christmas for her would be a kind of palimpsest where each recollection of an event or emotion from that night in Bethlehem would uncover a thousand thousand others associated with the life of her beloved Jesus...to read more click here