Saturday, 23 November 2013

Christ the King and The Two Standards

This liturgical year now comes to a close with the feast of Jesus Christ the King. The figure of a king may not have the same influence on us as in times past. Our experience of political leadership is one of democracy and majority rule. Even so, there arises those persons who seem to personify the values we value most. To these persons we look for leadership and are willing to follow whole heartily. 

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, has a meditation called, The Two Standards. In this exercise of prayer, Ignatius Draws us into a serious examination of who and what is shaping our life's values and where  our allegiances lay. He puts before us Christ and the Prince of Darkness. One will lead us into paradise, the other into eternal darkness and and death. To whom do we entrust the direction of our lives?

To the person who has embraced the practice of prayer and a devout life, the answer may seem obvious. But here a note of caution is advised. Toward well-inattention persons, Satan changes tactics, now appearing as the "angel of light". Seeming to support the choice of a devout life, he employs all manner of deception. With suggestions that may appear to come from God but are not, he will draw the good soul into what is false and away from God's true purpose.

In this exercise of the Two Standards, St. Ignatius guides us to be constantly vigilant of the tactics of the Deceiver, so that we do not find ourselves aligned behind the wrong standard bearer. It is ever so important that we know the Lord, know our enemy, and know ourselves.

This prayer exercise fits so well during this week of the feast of Christ the King. The liturgy of the Church is anticipating the beginning of a brand new Year of Grace; a perfect time to take stock of our faith and devotion to Christ. 

Under Whose Banner Do I Stand?

Jesus Christ the King

+ I have a strong prayer practice.

+ I look to the Church for guidance on moral and ethical questions.

+ I see Sunday Eucharist as indispensable.

+ Participation in parish life remains a high priority.

+ I support my faith by Reading, both devotional and instructive.
The Prince of Darkness

# I often set prayer aside until I have the time.

# I'm inclined to separated faith from public life.

# Sunday Mass must fit into today's busy schedules.

# Religion is not as important as a good moral character.

# The bible is only a product of human imagining.

* * * * * * *

For a more complete study of this subject I have added the following link.

Fr. John Veltri on the Two Standards

Saturday, 16 November 2013

My Last Days - A Dress Rehearsal

The end of this liturgical year is drawing to a close. Each liturgical year connects us with the unfolding story of salvation. Beginning with the Promise, made after the Fall, it recounts the events of God's Saving Grace, and anticipates the fullness of time and the coming of the New Heaven and the New Earth - from the First Sunday of Advent through to the triumphant reign of Jesus Christ the King. As the cycle of events is recounted, a new generation is added to its history until all is fulfilled.  

Each person within the greater history of salvation, has their own unique and personal salvation history. It too has a beginning and will ultimately have an end in time. While the ultimate destiny for each individual is to share in eternal life with Christ the King, it can be rejected. Death in time is a certainty for everyone, but their existence continues. Where they will exist, becomes the purpose of the spiritual life.

One of the exercises in the life of prayer is to map out one's own faith journey. This becomes especially helpful for discernment. As you survey the progress of your life of faith, you are able to recognize more clearly those moments when the presence of God's grace was strongest, and God's direction for your life was clearest. Like one ascending to the unobstructed vantage point of the hilltop, you see clearly, from where you have come, and the way to your next destination. If you see that you have deviated from your God-given  coarse, you make the necessary coarse corrections, having a fresh heart and renewed resolve to continue. 

Starting A Personal Faith History Journal

For best results, this exercise should be carefully recorded, and added to, as your journey unfolds. Here is an outline of the main points to help you. A link to a more complete rendering of this subject follows.

  • For the most part, a person's life may appear as progressing along a familiar and steady course, day to day. But there are times when that pattern is altered by significant events that break into one's life, often bring about changes. Looking back over your life, do you recognize a similar pattern?
  • God's grace is always present, but we do not always recognize that presence, nor are we consciously cooperating with God's grace. But the hand of God may touch our lives at special moments and in convincing ways that awaken us to His presence and grace. These are our "Road to Damascus" experiences, that shape our life of faith. These are key moments to identify, understand and record. They are our compass check points that will helps through the dark times in our faith journey.
  • Having such a coherent faith history is particularly helpful when one is facing a decision making time in their life. The rule is, in times of dark uncertainty, one should not change the course of life they have been following. Rather, one referrers back to the last grace-filled time of decision and then prays for the next light of faith to guide them.
One of those, "Road to Damascus" graced moments, occurred in my life when I made the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, at Guelph Ontario, under the direction of Fr. John Veltri SJ.  Father John has published a comprehensive approach to developing a personal faith history, which I highly recommend. Here is a link to his web site. Link To Personal Salvation History

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Measure of a Faithful Christian

Our previous Post was on the Prayer of Examine. As a followup, in this Post I have made a list of 18 positive things that we might use as a measure of how we are doing in our faith life. These are found in Romans Chr. 12: 9-21. Each of these has its own depth of meaning. Taking just one each day and unpacking it will provide an excellent resource for the Prayer on Examine

For example, if by "love must be sincere" I understand it as being focused on the good of the other, are my dealings with others motivated by self interest only, or do I see the other person struggling no less than I? Is it just, "tough on them, I have my own problems."

Each of these will yield new insights and new challenges. Very likely you will find yourself saying: "... but wait a minute ...!"

+++++++++   "18"   +++++++++
+ Love must be sincere. 
+ Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
+ Be devoted to one another in love.
+ Honor one another above yourselves.
+ Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
+ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
+ Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
+ Practice hospitality.
+ Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
+ Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
+ Live in harmony with one another.
+ Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
+ Do not be conceited.
+ Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
+ Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
+ If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
+ Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is               written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: 
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
 + Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Featured Videos

Featured Videos.