theROCK

Results filtered by “Faith”
in Faith

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

main image

We all know the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (maybe!). They are Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts have been given to all of us. That first Pentecost event was not a one-time deal, it happens daily as we strive to live our faith in service of others. The good works that we do cannot be done alone, they can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In one of his homilies, Fr. Mike Ignaszak suggested we pray for one of those gifts each week. Just think how different our world could be if we took the time to pray for each of these gifts for a full week. For example, if for one week we prayed for fortitude think of what courage could fill our hearts to proclaim the gospel, or what strength we might have to invite our friend back to Mass or introduce them to Jesus!

This might be a good seven-week reflection or spiritual project, praying for a different gift of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine what graces could flow from such prayer!

in Faith

Until the End of the World

main image

If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, you can appreciate what the apostles went through during Jesus’s crucifixion and death.

There you are, watching your dearest friend suffer the most horrific of deaths. You see his body taken down from the cross, all mangled, bloody, and cold, and placed in the arms of his mother. You watch as they wrap the body loosely in cloth, binding the body separate from the head, and place it in a tomb. You say your farewells quickly as the Sabbath is approaching and watch as the tomb is closed.

And then it begins – the sorrow, the ache, the emptiness. You go and seek the solace from the others. You share stories. You cry. You wonder what you will do now. You do this for three days.

Then one day, when you are all together, you all hear of this amazing news that a woman from the group has seen Jesus, you are held in disbelief. Disbelief until He is there before you. The rapture! The joy! The glory! You touch Him, you hug Him, you talk with Him, you eat with Him, you have time with Him.

For 40 days you get bonus time with Him, He whom you thought was dead! He encourages you to go out and tell the story. All the while, He is reminding you that one day He will ascend to the right hand of the Father. When Jesus does ascend into heaven, he says the following:

Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mk 28:18-20)

So know that Jesus does not ever leave. He is with us always. He is there loving you, encouraging you, and guiding you. You need only engage it to reap the graces from it.

May Crowning

main image

Did you ever wonder where the May Crowning tradition came from?

To recall a bit of Church history, monotheism, or the belief in one god, was rare in the ancient world. Abraham, according to our faith tradition, was the first to interact with God in order to establish a belief system rooted in the one true God. God establishes a covenant with us through Abraham that connects the faithful to Him throughout time.

A common practice of the polytheistic cultures, those who believed in more than one god, was the practice of making offerings on an altar to a particular god or group of gods in order to find favor with them. If you were found to be in favor with the gods, good things would happen. If you were not in favor with the gods, not so good things would happen. Abraham understood this polytheistic practice. Abraham did many things that demonstrated the application of polytheistic practice to a belief in the one true God. Abraham even made an offering on an altar after God spared Isaac's life because that is all ancient people knew what to do to honor the gods. Abraham applied what he knew to God. Altars were for sacrifice. Altars were for prayer. Offerings were often burned on altars so that the prayers would rise to the heavens in hopes that the gods would find favor.

Sound familiar?
Jesus's sacrifice is the Eucharist. The celebration of that sacrifice is done at the altar. Incense is burned to symbolize our prayers going to heaven. Many of our church rituals are rooted in these ancient ways. 

The May Crowning is no different because many polytheistic cultures honored spring by burning offerings to the goddesses in their belief systems. Whether it was Minerva, Hera, or Persephone, flowers were brought to an altar and burned as prayers were lifted for fertility, a good harvest, family, etc. As Christianity spread among the Roman Empire, they attached an old practice to a new belief; offerings to Mary as opposed to the goddesses. This would explain the procession of flowers and the burning of incense.

While some believers may come with intentions of fertility, harvest, and family, we all come to honor Mary as our Mother and our gratitude for her intercessory power that goes directly to the heart of her Son. We honor her. We celebrate her. We love her. We bring her gifts to demonstrate that love just like we do to our earthly mothers and those that are like mothers to us.

12345678910 ... 1112