I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it. I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”
Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world. He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn:
“Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.”
R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia.
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Have you ever had a day where you felt like it would never stop? Test after test, friendship and relationship struggles, projects, practices, games… you get the point. I’ve experienced days like that and they are insanely busy, tiring, and just kind of annoying. Often times I wondered, “What if I just ran from all of it?”
Saint John Paul II wrote “It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.” If you can keep this in mind, you’ll never have a bad date.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never have an awkward date or that every first date will lead to a second date. Trust me. One of my dates involved me getting sick in the middle of a restaurant called “Thai-Tanic.” The date was about as successful as the ship they named the restaurant after.
The saddest part is that this sequel is significantly cruder than the original and is not suitable for teen viewing despite the PG-13 rating. It’s a shame because none of the crude moments were particularly funny and the film would have been better without them.
You see, here’s my thought process… if everyone’s so worried about waiting and preparing for Him, what if they start ignoring Him? What if “preparing” for Jesus turns into buying presents and putting up “better than last years” Christmas lights? What if “waiting” becomes an excuse for spiritual laziness and complacency?
What if Advent flies by and it’s Christmas Eve and your soul is in the same place as it was on November 30th? That’s the real nightmare before Christmas.
On November 19, 2004, my father lost his battle to brain cancer. I remember the tears, the “What now?” moments, and the pain. That’s not all I remember, though; in fact it’s what I remember least.
For the first nine years of my life, I remember the laughs he gave me when I would sit on his lap and he would bounce his leg up and down. I remember coming home from school and seeing the snacks he would make for us waiting on the table. I remember watching TV with him as my mother would leave for work, and watching her return hours later and the two of us still sitting in the exact position we were when she left. Most of all, I remember the love.
We all fall into that trap of comparing ourselves to one another. How do we stack up against the competition? Whether we’re measuring ourselves against our siblings, classmates, teammates, best friends, or even total strangers like celebrities, we’re constantly sizing up the competition. Where do I rank? Am I as good as he is at __? Am I better than her at __?
If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we must believe that God loves us and would never allow for us to experience suffering without purpose. Therefore, there has to be purpose in the cross of unhappiness. Whether we struggle with depression for months on end or just experience a day lacking fulfillment, perhaps these are opportunities to shine brighter and cling tighter. Perhaps there is purpose in our pain.
The good we see in each other is the evidence that we are God’s creation. If we fail to see that in one another then it’s a simple lack of clarity, not gift. What I notice more than anything even as I write this, is what a necessity it is for us to understand who we are and therefore who were called to be.
The Holy Spirit is active in the Life Teen movement and lives are being changed across the room, across the street, and across the world. Through God’s grace, our dream has become a reality. Every day we recommit to our mission to “lead teens closer to Christ” because we are confident that in response to the needs of our world, God is going to continue to bless the fruit of our labors. What keeps us going is this reality: Life Teen is an instrument that God is using to make saints.
I am doing the same thing that the saints do for me when I ask them to pray with me to Jesus… to join their prayers to mine, en route to Christ. Since they’re closer to Him than I am, it actually makes even more sense for them to pray for me, than for my earthly friends to pray for me.
Fall… it’s that time of year best known for its pumpkin spiced lattes, orange leaves, and crisp, cool air. It’s also that time of year when stores start selling Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving napkins, and Christmas trees… all at the same time. While the holiday season is definitely exciting, it can also be a distracting season…
After two years and the loss of the use of her legs it became clear that Chiara Luce wouldn’t survive. Despite her pain she refused morphine so that she could remain lucid and offer all her suffering up to Jesus. She encouraged her parents to go out to dinner together, trying to prepare them for life after her death. Paralyzed in her bed, she kept loving.
In October 1990, Chiara Luce died at home. But her story doesn’t end there.
People became so inspired by the life and holiness of this “average” girl that her bishop opened the cause for her sainthood. In September 2010 she was declared “Blessed” (or one step away from becoming a saint) at a ceremony attended by over 25,000 people from 57 countries. Not bad for a small-town girl who never sought fame.
Despite the quality of the production, St. Vincent seriously misses the mark as a morality tale. Vincent is basically a self-absorbed human being, with some serious vices, who occasionally does a few things right. He is a completely believable and empathetic character, but not a role model; and definitely not a saint.
The way Vincent is honored in the end is emotionally moving but also demeaning to real saints; let alone people who live thoroughly decent lives.
We put on this tough exterior in order to try and hide what is really going on. We try to broadcast something completely different from what’s going on in the inside. We think that if someone knew what we really felt, what we really experienced, what we’ve really done, then we would be cast out. That no one could possibly love us.
When I first heard Isabel’s testimony at a retreat, I was tearing up just thinking about what life would be like without having parents around. It made me wonder… do I respect and value my own parents? The words of advice that I couldn’t stop thinking about from Isabel were, “Always love and respect your parents before it’s too late.” That talk really inspired and helped everyone realize that our parents should be loved, respected, and valued every day while we have them with us.
This is probably really different from any other retreat you’ve done before. I want to offer you a way to retreat within the silence of your bedroom, the peace and stillness of the Blessed Sacrament chapel at your church, or even better Adoration.
Well, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, here are three tips on how to jump-start your spiritual life, get back on those steps, and persevere on the path leading to the narrow gate of Heaven.