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Eucharistic Adoration

There is no monitor or video screen at eucharistic adoration, no figures or colors shifting across the screen. We simply sit and look at a round piece of bread encircled by light. That bread is the Body of Christ, the consecrated Host, before which countless Catholics gaze in rapt adoration throughout the world.

Why? There is no action here: here the action is being, the very being of God. Martha goes busily about, tending to all the needs of the world. Here, before Jesus in sacramental form, Mary finds her place, seated at the feet of the Beloved.

“Jesus Christ: body, blood, soul and divinity.” If anyone ever seems unsure about just what happens to the bread during Mass, I repeat this phrase taught Catholics from time immemorial, indicating precisely what-or rather, Who-is present in what appears to be bread, but is bread no longer.

—from the blog post Eucharistic Adoration: A Window to Heaven written by Father Raymond T. Gawronski, S.J. and posted by Dan Burke at Spiritual Direction

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The Five Minute Catholic writes a little about happiness, and then defers to St. John Vianney.

Below are some thoughts about finding happiness that I wrote a couple of years or more ago in some emails.

I guess ideally I’d not be trying to find happiness in things, places, etc. I believe I know the Source of happiness, and so I know how I’d like to truly answer that question [about happiness] someday.

I also know it seems like the “obvious” answer or the answer that seems like the one that “you’re supposed to say”. And it’s an answer that may not always be taken seriously and gets reactions like, “I know. I know. Of course. But come on, besides that…”

But that’s just it, I don’t think there is a “besides that” and I think it’s the search for or belief in a “besides that” that causes unhappiness. I think there’s one Source of happiness and everything else that seems like happiness seems like that because of already having found and fully embraced that one Source.

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I think the answer doesn’t have to be such a struggle. Not to say that faith and trusting and living it isn’t a challenge, but I think a lot of comfort can be taken just from at least knowing what the answer is. And knowing that there actually is an answer, and knowing that we don’t have to figure it out ourselves, and knowing that the answer is actually attainable.

I believe that’s a very good start to finding happiness.

 

“See my children; the treasure of a Christian is not on the earth, it is in Heaven.
Well, our thoughts ought to be where our treasure is.
Man has a beautiful occupation, that of praying and loving.
You pray, you love—that is the happiness of man upon the earth.
Prayer is nothing else than union with God.”

—St. John Vianney

(I don’t know the source of the quote above. I came across it in the Opening the Word program for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B on the Formed website.)

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When a Problem Has Robbed Us of Our Peace

We should adopt the following rule of conduct: when a problem has robbed us of our peace, the most important thing is not to resolve the problem in the hope of regaining our peace, but to regain a minimum of peacefulness, and then to see what we can do to face the problem. We will avoid making irrational choices for all the wrong reasons. How do we get back to this minimum level of peace? Essentially through prayer, listening to the Word, and believing that God will never abandon us.

—from Fire & Light by Fr. Jacques Philippe, Ch. 5: Interior Peace, A Spiritual Urgency

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On Raising the Standards for Receiving the Eucharist and Friday Abstinence

A similar observation can be made regarding the reception of the Eucharist and the Friday abstinence. Receiving the Eucharist in the hand and leaving the Friday penance to individuals diminish their purpose. When we can touch a thing, it loses its mystery. It becomes boring and trivial. The Eucharist lost its value and centrality not long after everyone, whether worthy or not, could touch the Precious Body. It was, once again, all about us, but not God.

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Fasting and abstinence all but disappeared from communal practice as well. Before vegans were vegans, Christians everywhere abstained from all animal products for Lent. Reading Kristin Lavransdatter’s description of the Lenten sacrifice of the faithful makes Ramadan look positively gluttonous. Not long ago, everyone knew that Catholics did not eat meat on Fridays. It was simple and easy…. But when the decision was left to the individual, the practice of penance on Friday and sacrifice during Lent either vanished or diminished to giving up chocolate.

Is it any wonder that many youth do not respond to the fluffy worship and watered-down doctrine? As far as they are concerned, Catholicism does not offer anything different from the secular culture or Protestant churches

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Raise the standard, and we will rise up to reach it.

—from the National Catholic Register article Islam, Catholicism and the Fallout from Low Standards by Derya Little

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On Relics and Reverence For the Bodies of the Dead

Angels are pure spirit; animals and plants are purely physical matter. Our glory is to unite the material and the spiritual within our own person. Jesus crowns this human glory in the Incarnation.

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There is a tendency today to conclude that when a person dies he is no longer here; he has gone away to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell. That is not entirely true. Through the body, something of the deceased person remains here.

Excavations of St. Peter’s tomb revealed an ancient Greek inscription on the wall which said, “Peter is here.” Though his soul has gone to God, what remains of his body is still here. Peter is not simply his soul; he is also his body. So yes, Peter is “here.” To revere St. Peter’s body and smaller relics of it is to revere him and have something of him here with us.

Relics and reverence for the bodies of the dead anchor us in this truth about ourselves: we are matter and spirit, body and soul.

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During my recent pilgrimage we visited the saints; we spent time near their bodies. Peter is here; so is Cecilia; Monica and Mark are, too. They are with God and they are also still with us. In my own parish I have nearly a dozen small relics of the saints…. this is reverence, so as to remember and experience their presence, not their absence. Peter is with God and Peter is still here!

—from the National Catholic Register article ‘Peter Is Here’: What Every Catholic Should Know About Relics and the Human Body by Msgr. Charles Pope

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The Source and Foundation of Peace

“But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Pt 3:13-14)

At the conclusion of a passage evoking the coming of the Day of the Lord at the end of time using traditional imagery of the Apocalypse, it’s remarkable that St. Peter calls on us to find ourselves “at peace” on this day. Not in anguish or fear, but at peace.

Of course, we need not speculate on the end of time. Only the Father knows the day and the hour. But it seems to me there is a fundamental lesson here for today: the more the Church and the world run toward its arrival, and the more creation cries out in the sorrow of giving birth, the more the Christian is called to be in peace. The more the world goes through crises, the more society is marked by tension and insecurities, the more necessary it is to find true peace, to let ourselves go in the profound peace of Christ.

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Jesus’ long discourse in the Gospel of John after the Last Supper is very significant in this regard. It begins like this, at the start of Chapter 14: “Let not you hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1). A little bit later, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27).

The peace promised by Jesus is not that of the world (the tranquility when all goes well, when problems are resolved and desires satisfied, a peace that is, after all, rather rare). Rather, the peace Jesus promises can be received and experienced even in situations that are catastrophic by human standards—because its source and foundation is in God.

—from Fire & Light by Fr. Jacques Philippe, Ch. 5: Interior Peace, A Spiritual Urgency

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I hear the sound of a voice inside / O Savior won’t you come

4 songs from the album Echoes by Matt Maher.

Echoes One lyrics:

I hear the sound of a voice inside
Keeping me awake in the middle of the night
Telling me to make all the wrong things right
I hear the sound of a voice inside

I hear the sound of a voice inside
Keeping me awake in the middle of the night
Telling me to make all the wrong things right
I hear the sound of a voice inside

I hear the echoes
I hear the echoes
Follow the echoes

 

Clean Heart lyrics:

Woke up this morning
The whole world was yelling
I wish I was dreaming
Of all that we’ve been through
My soul has been searching
For some deeper meaning
I know there’s a kindness
That leads me to the truth

When everybody’s looking for another fight
When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight
Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right
Let me be the place You start
Give me a clean heart

What is forgiveness if it isn’t given
We measure our mercy
When mercy is a flood
Give us a vision
Your eyes of compassion
In all this division
May we be known by our love

When everybody’s looking for another fight
When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight
Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right
Let me be the place You start
Give me a clean heart

You blessed those who cursed You
You loved those who hated You
On the cross You died for me
To bless those who curse You
And love those who hate You
You said to love my enemies!

When everybody’s looking for another fight
When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight
Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right
Let me be the place You start
Give me a clean heart

Won’t Let Me Down lyrics:

Standing in ruins
Covered in ashes
Why God, oh why?
Do we suffer in life

A heart is in shambles
There’s no easy answers
But You aren’t surprised
There’s no fear in Your eyes

All through the night

Your love won’t let me down
You always find a way somehow
I know Your heart will never walk out
Your love, it won’t let me
It won’t let me down

To all that is fallen
You bring redemption
You heal and provide
And hope will arise

All through the night

Your love won’t let me down
You always find a way somehow
I know Your heart will never walk out
Your love, it won’t let me
It won’t let me down

You hold me up, You hold me up
You hold me all through the night

 

What A Friend lyrics:

Everybody has trials and temptations
Everybody knows heart break, isolation

But we can lay our burdens down
Lay our burdens down

What a friend we have in Jesus
East to west my sins are gone
I see grace on every horizon
And forever and ever His heart is my home

Everybody has fears, everybody got worries
Everybody knows sorrow, devastation

But we can lay our burdens down
Lay our burdens down

What a friend we have in Jesus
East to west my sins are gone
I see grace on every horizon
And forever and ever His heart is my home

No more betrayal, for He is faithful
He fills me up and my cup runneth over
No more betrayal, for He is faithful
How He has proven it over and over