Saturday, January 24, 2009

COMING BACK TO CHURCH...

HE MEANS IT.

A friend of mine recently asked me: "I have to admit I have I have been away from the church for a long time. My family and I are looking to start going to church again. Any suggestions?"
Just a fair warning... I don't hold any punches. lol
I am not only going to give you suggestions, but I am also going to give you reasons why you really need to "RUN" back as soon as you can and NEVER let go.
When we begin to turn away from the Church, we actually begin to lose touch with reality. We lose sight of the price that was paid for our eternal and immortal soul and what exactly it was paid with. You really need to come back to this reality. Jesus takes the salvation of your soul (and your childrens' and your wife's that He created in the womb, called by name, and gave to you to care and protect as the head of the family...) very seriously and He knows exaclty how much it would cost Him. God your Father also knows how much you will lose if you don't respond, if we choose not to seriously turn back to Him and repent what we have done... FOREVER and EVER and EVER...... is a very, very, very long time and it won't end.
The questions you need to ask yourself are these: Do I really want to go to Heaven? Do I really want to say that this is "my true home"? Do I really want this for my family even if I do not care enough to go?
"1 Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be. 4 And whither I go you know, and the way you know. 5 Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me." (Holy Gospel According to St. John Ch.14)
How do I get there?
"21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. 24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof. (Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew Ch.7)
There are alot of other realities you need to take into consideration but these need to be the foundation for how you are going to live for the rest of your life.
So, you need to start taking God's will in your life VERY SERIOUSLY. It isn't just a matter of going back to Church as if all you need to do is go to Confession and all will be wiped away... and then start receiving Holy Communion again. That is a shallow way to have a relationship with God who created you, calls you by name and does indeed love you as His son and child. In other words, you need to realize WHO YOU ARE in God's eyes and His love for you. You also need to seriously begin to take the time to LISTEN TO HIS VOICE in your daily life.
Here are my suggestions on how to get this in your life:
1) Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation...and continue going regularly. I would recommend at least once every other week. Why? If you could see with the eyes of your soul at what one sin does to the image and likeness of God within you, you would not need to even ask. Get rid of this crap as soon as you can. The longer you hold on to it, the more you become disfigured. Think of Smiegal in the "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King". In the beginning of the movie Smiegal was an innocent child, playful and loving... but he wanted a ring that did not belong to him... and the longer he held on to it the more he became disfigured and distorted until he finally lost his "true identity". Sin DOES this to the soul.
Approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation like this:
Then He said to his disciples:
“There was a man who had two sons.
The younger one said to his father,
“Father, let me have the share of the inheritance that will come to me.”
So the father divided his property between them.
A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had
and left for a distant country
where he squandered his money on a life of corruption.
“When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine,
and now he began to feel the pinch;
so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants
who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.
And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating on
but no would let him have them.
Then he came to his senses and said,
“How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more,
but here I am dying of hunger.
I will leave this place and go to my Father and say:
“Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
Treat me as one of your hired servants.”
So he left that place and went back to His Father.
While he was still a long way off, His Father caught site of him and was moved with pity.
He ran to the boy, embraced him in his arms and kissed him.
Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you…
I no longer deserve to be called your son.”
But the Father said to his servants,
“Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast.
Because this son of mine was lost and now is found,”
And they began to celebrate.
From the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke 15:11-23
Your Heavenly Father loves you no matter what you have done in your past.... don't keep Him waiting!!!
So, when you go to confession, realize and confess all the ways you have turned away from God who loves you, how you have lost sight of your inheritance and squandered it... and how you did this. Don't hold anything back... let it all go. As I say to a lot of those who come to me... "Vomit it out of your mouth... just spew it out. It is making you sick and God wants to heal you."
2) When you go to receive Holy Communion, you need to realize that unless you "REMAIN" united to Christ in the Eucharist you do not have LIFE within you. Jesus tells you this very clearly:
"Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:54)
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine: you the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing."
(John 15:4-5)
3) We pray in the "Our Father" that we want God to "give us this day our Daily Bread."This is the Bread of Life which came down from Heaven. Jesus says "I am the Bread of Life". Seek Jesus in the Eucharist DAILY or whenever possible. Why do you need to go daily? Well, what can you really do on daily basis without God literally dwelling within you? Can you do the work of God daily without Him giving you the strength to do it? Think about it.
4) You really need to start bearing the FRUIT OF GOD in your daily life and you need to take this seriously. Jesus means it...
"I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and case him into the fire, and be burneth." (John 15:1-6)
Learn the lesson of the fig tree which is a parable of your soul which God comes to seeking His fruit in your daily life:
"And when he had seen afar off a fig tree having leaves, he came if perhaps he might find any thing on it. And when he was come to it, he found nothing but leaves. For it was not the time for figs. And answering he said to it: May no man hereafter eat fruit of thee any more for ever. And his disciples heard it... And when they passed by in the morning they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter remembering, said to him: Rabbi, behold the fig tree, which thou didst curse, is withered away." (Mark 11:13-14,20-21)
5) As I said before, you also need to seriously begin to take the time to LISTEN TO HIS VOICE in your daily life. There are many different ways that God speaks to our soul. Take up the Scriptures, especially the Gospels and listen to what Jesus is saying to YOU. You are His disciple (follower)... and when Jesus speaks to His disciples He is teaching you. If you are not His disciple, if you do not consider yourself one of His sheep that He leads by His Voice, you can just skip this whole note, skip all of the Bible... and go to Hell, because this is what, in essence, you are doing to yourself.
"My sheep hear My Voice: and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27)
"Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me." (Rev.3:20)
"Every one that cometh to me, and heareth my words, and doth them, I will show you to whom he is like." (Luke 6:47)
Jesus spoke for a reason and it is necessary that you know that. He speaks to you... when I read Scripture, I close my eyes and picture myself at His Feet. When He speaks in the Bible, I listen because I know these words are coming from Him to me.
You also need to begin listening to God's Voice in daily prayer. Turn off your phone, cell phone, TV, and radio... there is nothing more important or any other person more important in your life than LISTENING TO HIM. Many don't think God will speak. It is not that God doesn't want to speak... people are afraid to listen because they don't want to change. If you do listen, your life will change.
6) Take time to go to Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. I have so many people say that they go to Adoration, spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, and don't get anything out of it... that nothing is happening. I reply with this simple fact... lets say you are sitting before an atomic bomb and it goes off. Even though you may not "feel" like anything is happening to you, do you really believe that it won't effect your life in a very dramatic way? When you come before Our Lord in His True Presence, you are literally sitting before the most powerful force in the Universe... in fact God created it... remember? You are literally sitting face-to-face before God who created you, gave you life, and calls you by name. Remember what happened to Moses when he went into the tent of the Meeting Place where God's presence was. He went in there to speak to God and listen to Him. When He came out of the tent, people hid their face from Moses because his face was so bright with the Light of God. Moses didn't know this happened to him, but others did. The same holds true when you go to Adoration. Go once a week for an hour. Within a month's time, I guarantee you will be changed... literally. You may not notice the difference but others will. God's presence will shine upon you.
"And when Moses went forth to the tabernacle, all the people rose up, and every one stood in the door of his pavilion, and they beheld the back of Moses, till he went into the tabernacle. nd when he was gone into the tabernacle of the covenant, the pillar of the cloud came down, and stood at the door, and he spoke with Moses. And all saw that the pillar of the cloud stood at the door of the tabernacle. And they stood, and worshipped at the doors of their tents. And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend...And when Moses came down from the mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned {shining with rays of light comng forth from it} from the conversation of the Lord. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses horned, were afraid to come near." (Exodus 33:8-11, 34:29-30)
7) Root out, dig out, and put an axe to things in your life that are blocking the life of God out of it:
"And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished." (Mark 9:42-47)
"The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away. And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience." (Luke 8:5-8,11-15)
8) Remember your Baptismal Promises... you cannot be a child of Light if you accept darkness into your life:
Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God's children?
I do.
Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?
I do.
Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?
I do.
9) Forgive and do not judge. If you choose not to forgive everyone... God will hold you accountable for all of your sins down to the last penny. If you do not judge... you will not be judged by God... this is His Promise.
"For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts." (Matthew 18:32-35)
"Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. Any why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)
10) Remember Our Lord's new Commandment and take it seriously:
"This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
WARNING... this WILL happen when you are judged by Our Lord when He comes:
"And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."
(Matthew 25:31-46)

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