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Be Enlightened by Jesus

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The Gospel for today is a well-known passage: the Parable of the Sower and Seed. And while every reflection I have ever heard on this Gospel focuses on contemplating what seed we are, I want to draw our attention elsewhere. I want to focus on the section that scares us, the section that we tend to ignore because we aren’t quite sure what to do with it.

When asked why He speaks in parables, Jesus says, “Gross is the heart of this people…they have closed their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted.” This is a harsh condemnation for the people in Jesus’ community. But as I read these words, I cannot help but find them applicable even now.

We have become a people so defined by our political affiliation that we can’t have friends with opposing views, or have civil discourse on matters of global significance. Instead of letting the Gospel dictate our politics, we have let our politics dictate our Gospel. We have fashioned Jesus in the image and likeness of party values, forgetting that it is us who were fashioned in His image and likeness. It is us who close our eyes and ears to the parts of the Gospel that don’t fit with our political doctrine. It is us whose hearts have grown gross and refuse to be converted by the entirety of the Gospel message.

But we are called to be disciples. We are called to see what others do not see, to hear what others do not hear, to be enlightened by Jesus first, party affiliation second…or last. We are called to be the unifiers, to stand in the middle ground, to be mediators and bridge builders. This is challenging work in a system that makes it ‘either/or.’ But as Christians, let us be the ‘and.’

God Can Heal

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“What Corona reveals God can heal.” 

The quote above is from Life Teen’s President, Randy Raus. I’ve been on a journey of healing from a series of traumatic experiences that snowballed because of toxic coping mechanisms in my late teens and early twenties. For many years I suppressed the need to heal, then in the past two years, through retreats, community, and prayer, I really believed that I was close to healing. However, the new trauma of Corona ripped out the stitches too early. The isolation, uncertainty, and lack of the Eucharist revealed that my wounds were still festering, and that those coping mechanisms I thought I had left in the past could easily pop up, if I was not vigilant.

Life Teen youth ministers from around the country have been gathering weekly through Zoom during  these weeks of Corona. This group has given me courage to reflect on how this new trauma could lead to a greater healing when I lean on God. The beautiful thing is, without a busy social calendar, I have the time to lean into those traumas, pick them apart, and invite Jesus into them for healing. I believe many of us have trauma we suppress. I invite you to reflect on the ways Corona revealed trauma or hurts of your past, and take this extra time we have to invite Jesus into that with you.

 

Sacred Heart of Jesus

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June celebrates a lot of fun things like National dairy month, National candy month, National fruits and vegetables month, and even National Turkey Month.  June is also the month for us to pay attention to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As with nearly all religious art, symbolism is very important, because faith was shared through images rather than words since many could not read until recent history. Pictures truly meant a thousand words. The imagery of the Sacred Heart speaks to Jesus’ redeeming love as characterized by his heart. It demonstrates the love of God for humankind. “The human heart, a person’s deepest self, is where God has written his covenant as demonstrated in the gospels” (The Catholic Sourcebook, 2007, p357).

The image itself resulted from a series of apparitions to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque from 1673-1675 where Jesus spoke of his concern about the indifference and coldness in the world in response to his love. He asked her to promote the devotions to his heart to bring an end to the coldness and indifference. This sounds like something we could certainly benefit from now, too.

Those who have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are the recipients of twelve promises as part of the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary. Jesus promises:

  1.  I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will give peace in their families. 
  3. I will console them in all their troubles. 
  4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
  5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
  9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
  12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without
    receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

How can you begin a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to receive these promises? It is very simple. You need only begin to pray. Here are the words to include in your daily prayers.

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
Amen.

Posted by Jill Fischer

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