Today’s question: How do I (a Catholic) get myself to better focus in church tomorrow, at Mass?


Question:
How do I get myself to focus in church tomorrow and any Sunday?

Answer: The best way to “focus” at Mass is to make sure you understand what’s actually happening up there, on the altar, and why.

During our (properly disposed) participation in the Holy Sacrifice, Jesus becomes present for us, under the auspices of bread and wine, so we might offer him (Jesus, the one time, once for all, perfect and eternal sacrifice, for the sins of the world) up to God the Father, for the needs of the Church and of the whole world.

We also have the opportunity to personally receive Jesus in Holy Communion, becoming (for a time) a living tabernacle, perfected in God’s awesome power and grace.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content. 

In light of all the scandals oppressing today’s Catholics, a query that needs to be addressed…

Q: Often, we hear about what’s bad within the Catholic church and its history. Tell us of the good you’ve seen within the Catholic church.

A: Peace beyond all understanding and freedom from the fear of death, along with genuine faith, hope and charity, writ large and long, the world over, courtesy of our Savior Jesus Christ, who remains the head of the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit, who remains its constant Advocate/Spirit of Truth and God the Father, whose inestimable power, love and grace makes it all possible, in spite of rampant, human corruption and sin.

(Posted today on Yahoo Answers)

This Week’s Ask Alice: Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus?



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Aldy asks:  Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus? Why?

Alice Answers: Catholics and all Christians pray to God the Father, Jesus … God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Christians (followers of Christ) are Trinitarians, i.e., believers in the Blessed Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three divine, rational “persons” who together constitute the One God of the Bible, known to Christians as the Holy Trinity.

This remains a mystery of our faith, since absolutely no human being … not the pope, cardinals, or any theologian … is capable of comprehending completely (or satisfactorily explaining) the mystery of our One, Triune God.

Scripture, tradition and personal experience teaches us to pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When Catholics make the traditional sign of the cross, we address our prayers precisely that way.

During His life on earth Jesus, taught us to pray to His and our Heavenly Father. When we pray to God, our Father we, God’s children, are talking to our Dad in Heaven. God is our almighty fortress and our strength as he protects us from Satan and all earthly evils. Our loving Father provides our daily bread and all of our earthly needs. God is the giver of all gifts. He has given each of us the gift of life.

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

We pray to Jesus, God the Son, as our Divine Brother, who is also our Heavenly High Priest, and the primary mediator between us and God the Father. Because he became man and lived here on earth for some 33 years, Jesus perfectly understands all that we are feeling and suffering. The visible marks on the hands, feet, head and side of his crucified, resurrected and glorified human body remind us of this. (See John 20:27-28)

We pray to Jesus the way we talk to our brother or best friend. Most importantly, praying along with Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit, and the whole church … Catholics offer Jesus and his one time, once for all, perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, to God the Father, every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … which is being solemnly offered up, somewhere in the world (and for the world) …
every hour of every day, every day of every week,
365 days a year.

Jesus told His disciples that he always is ready and eager to listen and help us.” “If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

We pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and inspiration. When sending a get well card or letter of encouragement, we pray that the Holy Spirit will give us perfect words to write. When we are unjustly accused of wrongdoing or persecuted for practicing our faith, we pray to the Holy Spirit to give us words to speak in our defense.

“….the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit is also the official “facilitator” of every prayer … while Baptism serves to assure us of our right to a reliable and secure “connection” … so we might be absolutely certain that our prayers have truly been heard.

How blessed we are to have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever ready and waiting to love, assist, support and encourage us every moment of our day and night! In the Blessed Trinity, we have everything we need to live each day of our earthly journey. I can’t imagine getting through one day, or even one hour, without My awesome Father God, my loving Brother Jesus, and the inspiration and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: The apparent confusion over precisely to whom we should address our prayers is the unfortunate result of the spread of limited and faulty Protestant theology, which fails to appreciate the critical reality and importance of the Sacraments … in this case, Baptism … which (among other things) serves to officially enroll us in the Church … and also makes us part of the Royal Priesthood of Believers … who, by virtue of our Baptism, have a divine right to approach God, in prayer … the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Spirit … or approach him with and/or through other, church approved mediators … any time we like … according to the grace of Jesus Christ.

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

An excellent explanation of what Catholics believe about the Holy Trinity (and why)

In history, God prepared the human family for this revelation of Himself. The pinnacle of the preparation was the Jewish religion. It seems that a lot of Old Testament history is made up of God drumming into the heads of the Israelites that the various idol gods of the nations were unrealities, or as St. Paul would later have it, demons (1 Cor 10: 20), and that He is the only true God. Although, even so, Jewish scripture contained many “hints” of the unity-in-diversity of God (Gen. 1: 26; 11: 7, 19: 18-24; Ps. 110: 1; Is. 6: 1-3; Zech. 3: 1,2).

God also prepared the human family for revelation of Himself through the Hellenization of the Jews. The Diaspora was no accident (Duet 32: 8). The Church would need the language of Greek philosophy to express herself about Christ. Regarding St. John’s use of the Greek term “Logos” in John 1:1, Romano Guardini wrote: “In order that this conception of the Logos, idea and source of all ideas, stand ready to serve sacred Christology, Greek thought labored for six centuries” (The Lord, p. 538).

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Just In Time for Pentecost: Interesting chart explains the mystery of the Holy Trinity.


View the chart

Fr. Scott Hurd: Jesus will do what we ask him to do – when we ask what he wants us to ask.

Is Jesus a genie in a bottle? We might think so, given his words in today’s gospel: “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” Given this, instead of asking, “Show us the Father,” like Phillip did, we might be tempted to demand: “Show me the money!”

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Related reading:

“Ask and You Shall Receive.” – But there’s a catch …

Friends, we may all be in big, big trouble!

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.