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Penetrating Fear

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I am a big fan of the month of October. As a kid, I liked it for Halloween and all things spooky, but recently I  asked myself, "What are you afraid of?"

I am not a fan of birds or things touching my head, two things that could answer this question, but I am referring to what really penetrates into my bones as an honest to goodness fear.  When I ponder that, I get at the core of why I teach and work in a Catholic school. I am totally afraid of children not having a relationship with Jesus. I am afraid of a world that dismisses God. That people no longer find religion, let alone Jesus, relevant. This is what really scares me. 

We are finding ourselves in a post-Christian era. We need to help people see that Jesus is totally relevant and necessary today. How do you get a relationship with Jesus? Just as you would with anyone else - spend time together. Talk to one another.

How do you do that? Pray. Go to Mass. Participate in the sacraments. A life without Jesus, an eternity without the possibility of heaven, now that is scary.

Posted by Jill Fischer
in Faith

Gifts and Fruits

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Teaching students about the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit is what brought me into deeper appreciation of the power of the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit is like a guide, a force, so to speak. The Church is the temple and mission of the Spirit (CCC#798,#850). The Spirit encourages wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, fear of the Lord, and piety. With these gifts, disciples are more open to God's providence and may therefore be more in tune with what God desires. Additionally, I have learned that being more in tune with what God has planned can lead to the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (CCC #1832). 

 It is no wonder that the Spirit brings unity. It is like the tie that binds human to the divine. It weaves itself through all. Understanding the Spirit more, praying to the Spirit more, really can explain how the Catholic Church is one, holy, and apostolic as we say in our creed. It is through the Spirit that we are one and through the Eucharist that we are made whole.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and filled them with the fire and the gifts needed to go forth and preach the good news for Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. I pray that you experience the power of the Holy Spirit this day and every day. May you come to know the Trinity in all its grace and beauty!

in Faith

Reciprocity

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Reciprocity, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another. In all my years of studying and teaching the Catholic faith, reciprocity is a simple way of explaining the covenant we have with God since the beginning.

God told Abraham that should Abraham know, love and serve the one true God, then his descendants would number the stars. Additionally, God says that the descendants of Abraham will always be provided for with land, children, and security with the understanding that they continue to come to know, love and serve the one true God as well.

Now, as you watch the Old Testament unfold, we see our ancestors in faith struggle with keeping their end of the bargain. It is the human condition. We fall into and out of relationship with God (sin) but God always remains and patiently waits for us to unite with Him - this is faith.

The greatest calls to faith always encompasses a tragic event. The Hebrews called out to God when enslaved in Egypt. They called out when enslaved in Babylon. The Israelites called out when under the thumb of the Roman Empire. It is no different in modern times. Many churches saw filled seats the days, weeks and months following 9/11, only to find them emptying again.

Jesus reclaims and invigorates the reciprocity that exists between humanity and God, the Father and Creator - "I am the bread of life... whoever eats this bread will live forever" (John 6: 48-51). Just as faith in God saved our ancestors, faith in Jesus Christ saves us.

Reciprocity. Don't wait for the next tragic event to get you back into relationship with Jesus. Be there before it happens.

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