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Lenten Encouragement

Some wonderful, daily Lenten prompts can be found here. It’s hard to believe we’re halfway to Easter!

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On Church Fathers

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Below I’ve pasted (in purple) a comment from Ethan that I recently received to an earlier post . My response is the black text which follows the comment.

I think the Bible uses the word “saint” to say those who are fellow believers on earth and also those who are in Heaven. (I can go into this further is need be.) If you were talking of “saints” here on earth and asking for their prayer, then I can agree with that. If you were talking of “saints” in Heaven that are actively interceding for us, I would have to disagree with you. Besides the two verses you listed in Revelation, that I personally don’t think paint a good picture of what you are using them for, where in the Bible does it talk about saints interceding for us? There are 7 verses in the Bible that use the word intercede, or a form of it. 6 of the 7 use the word in the context of Jesus or the Holy Spirit interceding for us (Heb 7:25, Ro 8:26, 27, 34, Isa 53:12 and 1 Ti 2:1). The other verse is using it in a little different context then what we are talking about (Job 16:20).

Can saints hear/see us, I don’t know for sure. But, I can say that from a Biblical standpoint, there is no evidence that can support that. Looking through Revelation again would point us to the fact that saints are spending their time worshiping God.

Ethan, what you and I agree on is that there is LOTS we don’t know. Our finite minds simply cannot comprehend all the things of God. However, I’d like to explain why I believe there is biblical evidence that saints hear, see, and care for you and me.

Now, I realize I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know when I say that in Romans 12:4-5, 1 Cor. 12:12-13, and Eph. 4:4, we read that there is one Body of Christ. But those verses put together with this next one really opened my eyes:

“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” Romans i:38-39

Death does not separate the saints from the Body of Christ and since there is only one Body, we are connected with them in that same Body. And lest you think there are dead people within the Body of Christ, we are told this in Matthew:

“And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:31-32

“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.” Matthew 17:1-4

The saints in heaven are very much alive. Our Lord Jesus himself communicated with them and Peter, James, and John witnessed this. So for us to communicate with those in heaven and expect that they hear us isn’t doing anything other than imitating our Lord.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Cor. 2:9

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” 1 Cor. 13:12

“But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. ” Matthew 22:29-30

Saints are “partakers of the divine nature” and are like angels. We aren’t able to fathom the abilities they have. That just blows me away!

These saints who partake in the divine nature and who live without the same limitations that you and I have are aware of what is going on in our lives:

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Revelation 6:9-10

In these verses, the martyrs are crying out in heaven for those who who still dwell on Earth. Other examples of saints having knowledge of Earthly situations include 1 Samuel 28 where Saul “calls up” Samuel and Luke 16:19-31 where the rich man in hell asks that Lazarus (who has also died) be sent to warn his brothers to change their ways. But probably one of the most familiar examples of this can be found in Luke 15:

” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15: 7

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

As I said in my original post, it is not mandated that I ask saints to pray for me. I could just choose to ask my husband, friends, and kids to pray for me. But what of the following verses? Obviously, some peoples’ prayers are more effective than others.

“The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” Jams 5:16

“For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil. ” 1 Peter 3:12

“None is righteous, no, not one….” Romans 3:10

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Hebrews 12:22-23

Could it be that there are instances where the saints in heaven are the only ones righteous enough for their prayers to be heard by God? We see below where God would not accept the prayers of Job’s friends:

“After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eli’phaz the Te’manite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So Eli’phaz the Te’manite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Na’amathite went and did what the LORD had told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer. And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. ” Job 42:7-10

I’ll continue to ask my husband, friends, and kids to pray for me but I’ll also ask for the prayers of that great cloud of witnesses which surrounds me.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Ethan, I’m so thankful for your comments and whether you agree or disagree, I hope this has been helpful. I completely understand where you’re coming from because I was there too once. I had never questioned these things and never even thought to look into them. I’m so glad I did! The more I read, the more I learn, the more deeply I love my Savior! 🙂

Checking In….

Since my posting has been sparse of late, I wanted to let anyone who might be interested know of an interesting “conversation” going on in the comments box of this post.  If you have anything to add to the discussion feel free.

More on Waiting

As I write, it’s 9:15 p.m. in Ethiopia.  Two young children, a precious boy – 3 years old, and sweet girl – 4 months, are probably tucked in their beds sleeping in their orphanage.  I imagine they have no idea that their mommy and daddy have just arrived in their city.  Tomorrow their family, beautifully and perfectly crafted by God, will be united.   Pray for them….and for their three siblings back here at home who are eagerly waiting to meet them.  God is good.

Waiting for Jesus

“The birth of Jesus at Bethlehem is not an event which can be consigned to the past.  The whole of human history in fact stands in reference to him:  our own time and the future of the world are illumined by his presence.  He is ‘the Living one,’ ‘who is, who was and who is to come.’  Before him every knee must bend, in the heavens, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim that he is Lord.  In the encounter with Christ, every man discovers the mystery of his own life.”          John Paul II

Very Rich Indeed

“You are rich”, said the smiling, little Ukrainian lady to me as she admired my 4 runninggals and served out samples of seven layer dip today at Sam’s Club.

“No money, just children”, she continued.

As I walked away teary-eyes, I agreed with her. Yes, seven-layer-dip-lady, I AM rich. You have no idea how rich I am…and many days, I think I don’t either.

Hence the silence of this blog of late.

It seems that daily I become more and more aware of the abundant riches showered on me as a Catholic, Christian, wife and mother. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. This Church that I’m a part of is so big. Nine months later I feel I’ve only skimmed the surface.

I’ve made a choice not to post anything here recently. Not because I’ve nothing to say but because I’m so enjoying just living this life. Our Lord is giving me powerful, beautiful opportunities to talk about my faith in real life and it feels so natural. Writing here does not feel natural. Yet, I feel a passion to explain the Catholic Faith, not to convince anyone but just to explain the truth and dispel the lies.

Advent marks the beginning of the Liturgical Year in the Church Calendar. All those resolves to declutter, lose weight, get organized that seem to materialize in our minds between Christmas and New Years can be applied to our hearts as the Church Year begins anew.

What kind of heart clutter have I accumulated? Lies whispered by the Enemy? Idols that distract me from Our Lord? What do I need to do to rid myself of that heart clutter?

Am I carrying extra heart “weight” that I’m not supposed to carry? Unconfessed sin? (Catholics get thee to confession! 😉 ) Guilt? Other peoples’ burdens?

How can I run harder after Jesus? What obstacles are in the way of that? Am I living in this moment, right now, fully embracing all that God has for me here and now? Or do I stay distracted by all the “what-ifs” of the past?

If you’re so inclined, pray for me as I seek discernment about the future of this blog.

A Blessed Advent to you all.