If I want to live, there are things in me that need to die. My selfishness, my lust, my greed, my grudges, and my sin have got to go.
Each day we’re faced with this choice: will I live for myself or will I lay my life down? Is my life focused on success or sacrifice?
When we walk into a church, we are confronted with the radical call to die. When we see the baptismal font, we are reminded that it’s only through death that we can rise with Christ. And when we dip our fingers into the Holy Water, we trace the sign of the cross to say, “God, drown whatever needs to be drowned in my heart. I want to live with you, so I’m willing to die like you.”
It was Gaudete Sunday and as the third candle of the Advent Wreath was lit at Mass we were called to rejoice, but my heart didn’t really feel like rejoicing. A prayer intention for the victims and their families and what seemed to be a small mention of Friday’s heartbreak during the homily didn’t seem enough to express what so many of our hearts were feeling.
How can we rejoice, God?
In the midst of all of this pain and hurt how can we rejoice today, this week, or on Christmas morning?
Have you ever thought about what you want to do before you die? Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that you may have life and have it to the full.” God doesn’t want us to just “get by”; He wants us to really “live” our lives. And since we don’t know when the world is going to end, we should make the most of every day!
That’s where a Bucket List comes in handy (a list of fun things to do before you die). We threw out the question to you on Facebook and Twitter, “What’s the coolest goal on your bucket list?” and we got some fun, hilarious, weird, and Pope-filled answers. Check ‘em out – they make up an awesome Bucket List all together!
Christ Himself told us that nobody knows the day or the hour that He will return to judge the living and dead on earth. Not the Mayans, not a television preacher, and certainly not Ke$ha. This means that tomorrow Christ could show up. Would your soul be ready, or would you wish you had more time? The truth about “living like you are going to die young,” is that we should be living like today is our last day, but realizing that there is eternal life after death. We should be making the most of our lives today – but not through sin, but virtue.
Catholics believe in the personal and final judgments because Christ told us we would be judged for all of our actions and that He, the Good Shepherd, would separate us like sheeps from goats, the good from the bad.
St. John of the Cross said, “On the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”
All of our actions here on earth matter because we believe that we were created to spend eternity with God. Therefore the things that we do and don’t do have an effect on our souls. If we don’t choose God on earth, how will we be ready (or willing) to spend eternity loving Him?
Everyone wants to be remembered fondly. Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you’re leaving behind? The truth is, your legacy is up to you. Many things in life were just handed to you and you can’t change them. Where you were born wasn’t up to you. It’s a part of your story that is already written. But you story isn’t over, and the pen is in your hand. However, our story shouldn’t just be pointing people towards us. It should be pointing people towards God, the true Author of Life.
That’s why it’s so exciting to think about heaven, right? The moment we are free — no more “too fat,” “too short,” or “too skinny.” We’ll never have to worry about bad hair days, annoying wrinkles, or our bellies protruding over our belts after chowing down on Thanksgiving dessert.
In heaven, we’re going to be spiritual beings, floating on white fluffy clouds (and holding baby puppies) . . . Right?
Catholics take care to honor and bury the dead because St. Paul tells us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, that God lives in our very bodies and therefore we should honor God with them (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Honoring the body doesn’t stop after the person has died.
In the Gospel Jesus compares heaven to life, light, peace, a wedding feast, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, and paradise. But ultimately, we don’t know what it’s like. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The fact is, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“What do you mean, wait and see,” you ask. “I thought people have visions of heaven! So don’t we know?” . . .
The show takes a look at Theresa’s life as she tries to balance family relationships with her daytime job as a medium, someone who can communicate with the spirit world. She believes that she can communicate with people who have died, so clients come to her looking for closure and answers as they hope to hear from those who have passed away.
It sounds harmless enough. After all, she’s just offering help and consolation to people who are still mourning the loss of loved ones, right? What does the Catholic Church say about channeling spirits or communicating with the dead?
I begged and cried and begged more . . . “God fix this. You have to. I know you’re in charge but come on, this can’t be what you want . . . right?”
That’s how my prayers typically went when I prayed for Catherine, my friend’s mom, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Catherine’s health fluctuated in the following years and she never left the top of my prayer list.
Her family said it was time to pray for a miracle when Catherine stopped responding to treatment last fall. So I continued to beg God for a miracle. Every time I was miserable about something – the Arizona heat, a hard workout, the flu, or heartache – I offered up my suffering for Catherine.
Listen “Nothing but the Blood” by Hillsong Listen on iTunes Listen on YouTube Reflect The new meaning that Christ gave to suffering was not so much made manifest in his death but rather in his victory over death, that is, the Resurrection. He “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25): the two events are inseparable in the thought of Paul and of the Church. It is a universal human experience: in this life pleasure and pain follow Read more [...]
Late in 2010, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. In March of this year his doctors said he only had weeks to live. Suddenly, my world, my faith, and my relationship with my dad were all flipped upside down. I held my dad and my siblings as we cried in the hospital room that day. The next 8 days we spent laughing together and acting like it was any other weekend visit. But that time was definitely more special than anything I had experienced. The difference was that this time we were free to pray together and share our faith. The chaos and confusion of the past all seemed unimportant.
Editor’s Note: This is a pastoral statement by Fr. Dan Beeman, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virgina. It was originally published in his parish’s bulletin a week after the death of Osama bin Laden. Norfolk is home to some of the largest military installations in the world. Many US Navy SEALS and their families call Norfolk home. The statement below was written for that community, but we share it with you here in a broader context because we believe it is clearly expresses the relief and the burden most of us feel in our hearts regarding the death of Osama bin Laden.
Editors Note: Yesterday we shared a Vatican response to the death of Osama Bin Laden on Facebook and here on LifeTeen.com. I asked Katie Heller and Derek Natzke take us a little deeper. | As citizens of the world, we had quite a weekend! A royal wedding, a beatification of a holy man, and the death of the world’s most dangerous and wanted terrorist. Now that a couple of days has passed, it’s very clear that all these events will hold significance in history, but one is definitely not like the others. The wedding inspired awe, and John Paul II’s beatification inspired holiness. But how do we, as Catholics, respond to the death of Osama Bin Laden?
His friends did not believe in the death and resurrection of our blessed Lord. First of all, when the women went to the grave, they did not go to greet the risen Savior. They brought spices to anoint a dead body. Their problem was in moving back the stone. In front of this subterranean grave there was places a great millstone, with a hole in the center through which a pole would be put to roll away the stone. That is why they asked, “Who shall roll us back the stone in order that we may anoint Read more [...]