Saturday, May 26, 2012

Devotion for today: Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit,
Divine Spirit of light and love,
I consecrate to Thee my understanding,
heart, and will,
my whole being for time and eternity.

May my understanding be always submissive
to Thy heavenly inspirations,
and to the teaching of the Catholic Church,
of which Thou are the infallible guide;
may my heart be ever inflamed
with love of God and of my neighbor;
may my will
be ever conformed to the divine will;
and may my whole life
be a faithful imitation of the life
and virtues of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
to whom with the Father and Thee
be honour and glory forever.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Devoion for today: Litany of the Holy Spirit

We have spent much time this week digesting information about the Holy Spirit. Let us spend time today meditatively praying to Him.

This litany reminds us of the many attributes of the Holy Spirit, while asking for His guidance and grace as we struggle to grow in our spiritual life. While the litany is not approved for public use, it can be prayed privately, by yourself or with your family or a small group. It would be especially appropriate to pray the litany on Pentecost.(

In the central part of the litany, the italicized response "have mercy on us" should be recited after each line.

Promise of God the Father, have mercy on us.
Ray of heavenly light,
Author of all good,
Source of heavenly water,
Consuming Fire,
Ardent Charity,
Spiritual Unction,
Spirit of love and truth,
Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
Spirit of counsel and fortitude,
Spirit of knowledge and piety,
Spirit of the fear of the Lord,
Spirit of grace and prayer,
Spirit of peace and meekness,
Spirit of modesty and innocence,
Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier,
Holy Spirit, Who governs the Church,
Gift of God the Most High,
Spirit Who fills the universe,
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, inspire us with horror of sin.
Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth.
Holy Spirit, shed Thy Light into our souls.
Holy Spirit, engrave Thy law in our hearts.
Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of Thy love.
Holy Spirit, open to us the treasures of Thy graces.
Holy Spirit, teach us to pray well.
Holy Spirit, enlighten us with Thy heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, lead us in the way of salvation.
Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge.
Holy Spirit, inspire in us the practice of good.
Holy Spirit, grant us the merits of all virtues.
Holy Spirit, make us persevere in justice.
Holy Spirit, be our everlasting reward.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, send us Thy Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.
Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Let us pray.
Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Devotion for today: the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of Unity

Come Holy Spirit Clip Art

Today Pope Benedict XVI shares insights with us on the unifying power of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture for meditation: John 4: 9-10, 13-14, 21-23
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Pope Benedict XVII tells us: SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 19, 2008 (  The Holy Father said the theologian [St. Augustine] had "three particular insights about the Holy Spirit as the bond of unity within the blessed Trinity: unity as communion, unity as abiding love, and unity as giving and gift." "These three insights," said the Pope, "are not just theoretical. They help explain how the Spirit works. "In a world where both individuals and communities often suffer from an absence of unity or cohesion, these insights help us remain attuned to the Spirit and to extend and clarify the scope of our witness."
Benedict XVI said that Augustine's first insight came from reflecting on the words "Holy" and "Spirit," which "refer to what is divine about God." "In other words," he added, "what is shared by the Father and the Son -- their communion." "So, if the distinguishing characteristic of the Holy Spirit is to be what is shared by the Father and the Son, Augustine concluded that the Spirit’s particular quality is unity," the Pontiff explained. "It is a unity of lived communion: a unity of persons in a relationship of constant giving, the Father and the Son giving themselves to each other." "We begin to glimpse," the Holy Father reflected, "how illuminating is this understanding of the Holy Spirit as unity, as communion. True unity could never be founded upon relationships which deny the equal dignity of other persons. "Nor is unity simply the sum total of the groups through which we sometimes attempt to 'define' ourselves. "In fact, only in the life of communion is unity sustained and human identity fulfilled: We recognize the common need for God, we respond to the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit, and we give ourselves to one another in service."

Benedict XVI said Augustine’s second insight was "the Holy Spirit as abiding love." In the 1 John 1:16 it says that "God is love," the Pope noted. "Augustine suggests that while these words refer to the Trinity as a whole, they express a particular characteristic of the Holy Spirit." The Pontiff explained: "Reflecting on the lasting nature of love -- 'whoever abides in love remains in God and God in him' -- [Augustine] wondered: Is it love or the Holy Spirit which grants the abiding?" Quoting Augustine's "De Trinitate," the Holy Father said the theologian concluded: "The Holy Spirit makes us remain in God and God in us; yet it is love that effects this. The Spirit therefore is God as love!" "It is a beautiful explanation," said Benedict XVI. "God shares himself as love in the Holy Spirit. The Pontiff reflected further: "Love is the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit! Ideas or voices which lack love -- even if they seem sophisticated or knowledgeable -- cannot be 'of the Spirit.' "Furthermore, love has a particular trait: Far from being indulgent or fickle, it has a task or purpose to fulfill: to abide. By its nature love is enduring." "Again, dear friends," he said, "we catch a further glimpse of how much the Holy Spirit offers our world: love which dispels uncertainty; love which overcomes the fear of betrayal; love which carries eternity within; the true love which draws us into a unity that abides!"
Benedict XVI said Augustine's third insight -- the Holy Spirit as gift -- was derived from the Gospel account of Christ’s conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. "Here Jesus reveals himself as the giver of the living water, which later is explained as the Holy Spirit," he explained. Quoting from the Gospel of John, the Pope said "the Spirit is 'God’s gift' -- the internal spring, who truly satisfies our deepest thirst and leads us to the Father." Quoting "De Trinitate," the Holy Father said "Augustine concludes that God sharing himself with us as gift is the Holy Spirit." The Pontiff continued, "Friends, again we catch a glimpse of the Trinity at work: the Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself.”In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. "Are we not looking for an eternal gift, the spring that will never run dry? With the Samaritan woman, let us exclaim: give me this water that I may thirst no more!" "Dear young people," he said, "we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to his nature as giver and gift alike, he is even now working through you. Inspired by the insights of St. Augustine: Let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!"
Benedict XVI told the youth that "there are times [...] when we might be tempted to seek a certain fulfillment apart from God," and asked the question Christ himself asked of the Twelve Apostles: "Do you also wish to go away?" "Such drifting away perhaps offers the illusion of freedom. But where does it lead? To whom would we go? For in our hearts we know that it is the Lord who has 'the words of eternal life.'" Quoting St. Augustine, Benedict XVI said that to "turn away from him is only a futile attempt to escape from ourselves." "God is with us in the reality of life, not the fantasy," he said. "It is embrace, not escape that we seek! So the Holy Spirit gently but surely steers us back to what is real, what is lasting, what is true. It is the Spirit who leads us back into the communion of the Blessed Trinity!"

Prayer: Prayer to the Holy Spirit by St. Augustine
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
My thoughts: The Pope reminds us of the truths that were revealed to St. Augustine about the Holy Spirit, namely, that he is a Spirit of unity, love, gift and reality. During this time between Easter and Pentecost, our readings have led us into the Acts of the Apostles, sometimes called the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit.” Here we see so perfectly these aspects of the Holy Spirit at work. On Pentecost he falls as tongues of fire upon the apostles and disciples, filling them with his gifts. The apostles begin to form small communities of faith throughout the known world at that time. These communities remain faithful to the teachings of Christ, multiply in number, and are known for their love. We are the same as these first communities. We are filled with an internal longing, a “thirst” which can only be filled by a solid relationship with God – the living water of truth. Once we acknowledge this need in our lives, we unite with fellow believers to be fed at Mass and to bring God’s word to others. Once we have allowed the Holy Spirit to fill us – we can be no less than a vehicle of love – for the Spirit is love, the love of God.
 Our prayer to God:  Today, let us consciously search our souls to see if we have truly turned them over to the Holy Spirit to fill with his love and to satisfy the longing that we may have tried to fill with earthly money, power, success or possessions. The thirst within us will never go away until it is filled with the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, come into my soul.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Devotion for today: and he appeared as tongues of fire, and in other ways as well

Today, as we prepare for Pentecost, we will take a look at the symbols of the Holy Spirit. This is long, so I won’t write my thoughts, except to say, this explains why the Holy Spirit is never pictured as a person.
Scripture for meditation: Acts 2: 3-5
And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Scripture for reflection: Acts 11:16
And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: (694-701) Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified28 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.
Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David. But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as "Christ." The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord. The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving. Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ": "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.
Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!" In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. "Do not quench the Spirit."
Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'" Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.
The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him. Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them. In his name the apostles will do the same. Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching. The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.
The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."
The dove. At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.
Prayer: Spirit Of The Living God: Daniel Everson

Spirit of the living God
Fall afresh on me,
Spirit of the living God
Fall afresh on me
Melt me, mold me,
Fill me, use me, Spirit of the living God
Fall afresh on me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Devotion for today: What are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

To prepare for the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, let us take time this week to meditate on the Holy Spirit.

Scripture for meditation: Isaiah 11:2-4
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

Scripture for reflection: John 14:26
But the Counselor, 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.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (CCC, 1831) The Catholic Church derives this information on the Seven Fruits of the Holy Spirit from scripture: (Isaiah 11:2-4)

 How Are the Seven Fruits of the Holy Spirit Defined?
1. Wisdom - Wisdom is not the quoting of facts. Wisdom is a gift that allows a person to understand things from God's point of view. In other words, Wisdom allows a person to recognize truth. A person with the Gift of Wisdom is able to take this truth and use it to glorify God by choosing Godly solutions to problems.
2. Understanding - The Gift of Understanding allows a person to comprehend the Catholic Faith. For example learning and understanding scripture is a Gift of Understanding.
3. Counsel - The Gift of Counsel is also know as a Gift of Right Judgment. This Gift allows a person to discern between good and evil or right and wrong. The Gift of Counsel makes a person able to act by intuition and choose and be prudent in a supernatural way.
4. Fortitude - The Gift of Fortitude is also known as the Gift of Courage. Through this Gift a person is no longer afraid to stand up for God and His truths. A person who has the Gift of Fortitude will stand up for good against evil and is convicted to take a stand when the occasion arises.
5. Knowledge - The Gift of Knowledge allows a person to understand the meaning and purpose God has for him and to live up to this meaning. It differs from wisdom in that it is an action, not just a desire to live up to the ways of God. It differs from Understanding in that it is not just ability, it is a knowing.
6. Piety - Is a desire to serve and worship God out of love, not just duty. A person with the Gift of Piety has a true love and a real relationship with God.
7. Fear of the Lord - The Gift of Fear of the Lord puts God in the proper perspective. A person with this Gift understands the greatness and awesomeness of the Lord. They want to serve Him because of who He is. A person with the Gift of Fear of the Lord understands who they are and why they are here in relationship to God; In other words, everything they are is due to the wonder, love, grace, and perfection of God. They are totally dependent on the Lord as a child is to a parent. The Gift of Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. Once a person understands who God is and desires to please Him, they can begin to understand things from God's point of view or have Wisdom.
Why are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit Necessary for a Christian?
The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (CCC, 1830)
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are crucial to the spiritual life of Christians. According to the Catholic Church, these Seven Gifts are essential and necessary to Christian believers. These Seven Gifts are given to Christians to keep and to deepen their Christian faith and dispositions. Moreover, these Gifts of the Holy Spirit make Christians more "Christ Like" and help in the transformation from a life in the flesh to a life in the spirit. Catholics actively receive the Holy Spirit in a very strong manner through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. Baptism begins the journey when a child is actively received and dedicated into the Body of Christ. Through Confirmation, these Seven Gifts are strengthened and confirmed. Catholics believe that the Holy Eucharist is indeed the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a person receives the Holy Eucharist, they are also receiving the Holy Spirit since the Lord is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Article Source:

Prayer - Spirit of wisdom and understanding, enlighten our minds to perceive the mysteries of the universe in relation to eternity. Spirit of right judgment and courage, guide us and make us firm in our baptismal decision to follow Jesus' way of love. Spirit of knowledge and reverence, help us to see the lasting value of justice and mercy in our everyday dealings with one another. May we respect life as we work to solve problems of family and nation, economy and ecology. Spirit of God, spark our faith, hope and love into new action each day. Fill our lives with wonder and awe in your presence which penetrates all creation. Amen.

My thoughts:  I think most of us have trouble actually defining the Holy Spirit. We know He is the third person of the Holy Trinity, and that Jesus promised to send Him to the apostles on Pentecost.  Although it may be hard for many of us to actually grasp the reality of His personhood, we can clearly understand His gifts. The Holy Spirit makes us strong, wise, holy, filled with awe and love for God. The Holy Spirit, through His gifts, creates in us the desire, strength and ability to be a true son or daughter of the Father, and a faithful follower of the Son.

Our prayer to God: Today, let us take an inventory of the seven gifts as they live in us? Are we using these gifts to their fullest? If not, let us make a plan of action to start, one by one, to study each gift and develop it in ourselves. Our relationship to God will change forever if we do.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Devotion for today: look upward

Ascension of Jesus
Garofalo 1520

Today we will look at yesterday’s Gospel for the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven

 Scripture for meditation: Mark 16:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying sig 

St. Augustine tells us (Sermon for Ascension Sunday): Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies. Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me, and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unite us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love. He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body. Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.

Prayer: Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.

My thoughts: The Ascension is a glorious feast! It completes the entire life of Christ as he showed us the way to live and to die. It is the blueprint for us, so we have no fear of the future or of how our lives will end. Christ lived as a witness to the Father; he preached the Good News and gave hope to everyone he met. He performed works of mercy, found joy in the lives of children, had compassion for the dead, and spent time with his friends. He suffered humiliation, betrayal, rejection, hatred, and sorrow. He died a painful death, rose from the dead, and now, as a message to us all that life goes on after death, he arose into heaven! We now know the rest of the story! It doesn’t end with death, for there is no death for the soul. Rather, we simply leave our earthly bodies behind and hopefully ascend to be with God and his angels and his saints… or we descend to be with Satan and his minions forever. I choose the first. I know you do, too. Yes we believe that our souls may need to be cleaned up a bit in purgatory before we view the awesome sight of God, but we will be with him for eternity if we but follow what St. Augustine tells us, and believe that “we cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.” We are one with Christ, who is the head with his body. We live now in him on earth as his presence to others, following the example he gave us. Through all the difficulties that go with being a practicing Catholic today, we must remember the end of the story. It is really, really, good.

Our prayer to God: Today is a beautiful day, for today we know for certain that our lives make a difference to God. He needs us and we need him. Let us perform one work of random kindness today. Let us help one soul get to heaven by simply being the person God wants us to be. Ask him to show you what he wants you to do, and then do it! Now that is heaven on earth!