God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He is made known to us from the beginning of the Old Testament, in Genesis 1:2, “and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters” that wind is the Holy Spirit. Then we see again, in Exodus, God is with the Israelites as they flee from Egypt, “The LORD preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people (Ex: 13:21-22). God was with them and he is with us as well.

In the New Testament, we see the action of the Holy Spirit when Mary conceives Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and again, when Jesus is baptized, the Spirit, in the form of a dove rests above Jesus as he comes up out of the water (Luke 3:22).

The Holy Spirit completes the Father’s plan; he sent Jesus to save us and Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will come and be with us always. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto the apostles at Pentecost and enabled them to go out and preach the Good News. The Spirit guides,  protects and sanctifies (makes holy) the Church.

He calls all people to Christ and completes his saving mission. The Holy Spirit is with us always, drawing us closer to Christ, both consoling and convicting us of our sin. He is the source of our hope.

In Baptism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord (Is 11:1-2). They are sealed in us at Confirmation. As we live and grow as Christians, we grow in the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5: 22-23).

The Holy Spirit as many titles, which give an idea of how he acts in our lives: consoler, creator spirit, giver of life, paraclete, source of goodness, and spirit of truth.

The Holy Spirit is the fullness of love between the Father and the Son, reminding us that something always comes from love.

the not lukewarm challenge

 

This week, pray St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit and see what happens when you invite him into your life.

You can right-click on the image of the prayer to “save image as” and then print it if you’d like.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

 

Jesus, the Son of God

Do you ever wonder where we would be without Jesus? I know I would not be a tenth of the person I am today without him and my faith in him So who is Jesus, well, he is the second person of the Trinity, God the Son. He is incarnate, which means he took on human flesh, became a person like us in all things but sin and came to this world to save us.

The incarnation is JJesus, Second person of the Trinityesus taking on our humanity. But the Incarnation also gives us a share in his divinity. Jesus’ birth and death gives us a renewed hope and belief that we too, will one day be in heaven. The Incarnation is a foundational belief.  It is the basis for believing and understanding Jesus’ mission, which is to save us, the purpose of his church and his eventual second coming.

For thousands of years, God called his people to himself, but they often turned away. So, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption” (Gal 4:4-5).

Jesus is our redeemer.  He took on our sins, all the consequences of them and paid our debt to the Father. His Passion and Death, his ultimate sacrifice – saved us from our sins, reconciled us to the Father and opened the gates of heaven

One way in which Jesus was different than us is that He lived a life of total and complete obedience to his Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane when he knew his death was imminent, he prayed for God’s will to be done, not his. His suffering on the cross was real and true and painful. He suffered in his humanity; that suffering was possible because of his divinity.

Jesus rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven. He promised his Father would send the Holy Spirit to us to help us, guide us, and empower us. The Spirit forms us in the likeness of Jesus. We live in continual conversion toward God and away from sin.

Jesus reveals the Father to us, for he is visible. His desire is for us to enter into a relationship with him based on our free love for him. Just as God the Father does not force us to love him, neither does Jesus.

Jesus intends for us to become holy and partake of his divine nature. The more we go to Him in prayer and ask for what we need, the more we will receive. We can look at his life as an example, he shows us the way to holiness.

the not lukewarm challenge This our challenge is to pray the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

For more information about the Jesus prayer, take a look here. 

 

 

The Origin of All: God the Father

Origin of AllGod the Father is the first person of the Most Holy Trinity. God the Son, Jesus and God the Holy Spirit are the second and third persons of the Trinity. He is the origin of all life. Life begins with the Father. He created us out of and because of love.

God loves us so much that he reveals himself to us in all of creation, in scripture, and of course, in his Son, Jesus. St. Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” We all long for God and a way to express our love to him for all that he has given us.

God the Father is almighty, all-powerful, all-loving and merciful. He desires us to be in relationship with him. He has given us faith and if we think we are lacking or desire more, we can ask him. God wants our good because we are his adopted sons and daughters. He wants us to participate in his life and will never leave us

However, we have free will. This means that what we return to God, to be authentic, must be freely given. We can choose to turn to him or away from him. Sometimes, we do what we are told out of a sense of obligation or fear, that is not what God wants from us. He wants us to love him as freely as he loves us.

I think of God the Father as my father. He is always ready to listen to me, he is patient, forgiving and present. I picture myself crawling up into his lap, head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.

Some scripture verses to ponder:

Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Thus says the LORD who made the earth, giving it shape and stability, LORD is his name: Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you great things beyond the reach of your knowledge. Jeremiah 33:2-3

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” John 17:25-26

the not lukewarm challenge

 End each day thanking God for all that he has done for you today.

Not Lukewarm, a new podcast with Deanna Bartalini

Not Lukewarm, a new podcast with Deanna Bartalini – There are many voices asking to be heard in this world today. Some are the voices of those we know and love – family and friends, those we serve in ministry, those we care about. There are other voices as well – cultural icons, sports figures, politicians, clergy, authors – all asking us for our time so that they can tell us their point of view and possibly sway us to what they believe.

I am not here to sway anyone into what I believe. I am here to tell you what the Church teaches and how I live it out in my daily life. I live it out as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, friend, teacher, seeker of truth, beauty and goodness, sometimes saint and sometimes sinner; but always focusing my eyes on Jesus. Except when I can’t face him because I’ve fallen into that last category. Then I ask forgiveness and remember God’s mercy and know that keeping my eyes on Jesus is the most important thing.

For many years, I have served in both paid and volunteer ministry in the Church, mostly in Florida where I moved to after college graduation. My faith is not something that has sustained me only recently, it has been my rock and my fortress for as long as I can remember. As a child, my two favorite places were my local Catholic church and the library. In truth, just add a great coffee shop to the list and you’ve got my top three places today.

Has my faith been tested? Yes and no. You see, my father was always fond of reminding us that everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time, clergy included. So, when scandals hit, I was sad and angry. But I knew that it was not God’s fault. I was able to help hurt and confused parents when the bishop was forced to leave the diocese right after he had confirmed their children and then again when the same thing happened after my son’s confirmation.

When my friends have died too soon, leaving husbands without wife and children without mothers, I have mourned but stood fast and helped them embrace their cross as I did mine and move from life into eternal life.

There have been more trials but those are not the only things that have formed me. I was formed by Franciscan priests and brothers, countless orders of sisters, and a few Jesuits. I have learned through books and life experiences; in classrooms giving and receiving instruction; through bible studies and discussion groups.

I cannot count or name all those who I have helped come into the Catholic Church. And I know, that while I may have supplied information, it was the Spirit that led each person. Did every parent keep bringing their child to Mass after First Communion or every youth or adult continue in the faith after their Baptism or Confirmation? I don’t think so.

My goal in this podcast is to give you a glimpse of what it means to be Catholic. Maybe you are seeking answers or clarity. Maybe you want to re-learn the lessons you have forgotten. Maybe you are from the generations who learned little in the aftermath of Vatican II and now you want to know what you didn’t learn. Whatever your reason, join me on the journey.

 

This week your challenge is to pray a morning offering when you wake up. It can be as simple as, “God, I offer you all that I think, do and say today. Please be with me always.”

Here are some other options:
from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops
from Our Catholic Prayers