My Writings. My Thoughts.
The idea that strain and ruptures within families come from sin is helpful. It gives each of us opportunity to examine in our consciences. But how can we overcome these ruptures? Better still, how can we avoid it in the first place? In very protracted family difficulties, we find Joseph. Amazingly, it is his forgiveness, as suggested in previous programs, and his choice to remain close to God, that sustains him and allows him to prevail. For us, however, forgiving those who have wronged us may be quite challenging. To begin at all, it is helpful to consider the Father’s extraordinary love for each of us. We see this in Jacob’s love for his children. However, we must also guard our hearts through prayer to avoid strain and rupture. “Prayers,” as St. John Chrysostom says, “are what the walls are for the city, the sword for the soldier, the port among the storm, or the staff for those who may trip.”
Let us not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Samuel 16, we see that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David”. We also know that David, in this “Spirit of God” and without armor, defeats a mighty warrior who is heavily armed. Is this not remarkable? In 2 Timothy 1, the Spirit is given to Timothy by the “laying on of hands”. Afterward, Timothy receives the spirit of power and love and self-control. With the same Holy Spirit, three guests on this program discuss how they have each chosen to defend life. They also share their experiences from the 41st. March for Life in Washington DC and founding of the Walk for Life in San Francisco. These champions began with modest goals, and by God’s grace and the help of other believers, have done much for the cause of life!
Joseph, as we know, is hated by his brothers. Their hatred is intense and they plot to kill him. For us, if our death has never been plotted by a brother or sister, do we not sometimes suffer the most from those closest to us? In the story of Joseph and his brothers, God gives us an opportunity to see some of our own experiences. Envy. Pride. Hatred. Violence. As well as courage, purity, faithfulness and forgiveness. Yet, just as God, through Joseph, brought these tragedies to an incredible conclusion, will he not do the same for us? This story in Sacred Scripture exists for our good, to teach us and to heal us. Listeners are invited to consider how envy and other sins give rise to the rupture of the family. Yet, we also see the remedy. Read Genesis 37 – 47.
Joseph’s brothers, the sons of Jacob, were the source of great hardship in Joseph’s life. Their hatred gave rise to plans for an ultimate betrayal, including his possible murder. We see, however, that God had a greater plan in mind. Through Joseph and his decision to remain faithful, God orchestrated the salvation from famine of “all the world” (Gen 41: 57). Joseph’s story is not only a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, but his experiences also give us great hope in difficulties we may experience at the hands of friends and family members, those closest to us. The story of Joseph is recapped here. Subsequent talks will look at the role of prayer and other attainable graces that provide opportunities to recover precious love lost through challenging periods of our life.
Prophets are a familiar character in the stories of the Old Testament. However, since Jesus Christ, has God changed his mind about these special souls who intercede for our good? Mary has appeared over the centuries with singular purpose: to encourage us to “do whatever he tells us”. In a particularly unique way, Mary came to 16th century Mexico, a scene of much conflict and few new children for Our Lord, and changed the lives of millions of people. One aspect of these apparitions, an artifact that continues amazing our technological investigations today, is the image of Our Lady left by her on the tilma of Juan Diego. For the Aztecs, who had no written words, symbols told the story. This still astounds us to this day and even proclaims the Mother of God.
For those of us familiar with the stories of Our Lord’s birth, are we ever tempted to consider this event as something ordinary? Had we been alive at the time of Jesus’ birth, how would we know that it was indeed He, that He had come? By God’s providence, the Jews had been prepared to recognize the Christ. The earliest foretelling of a Redeemer was hinted when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. Then, continuing down the through the centuries, for over 2000 years, many prophets foretold many facts about the Messiah. For example, the Jewish people were told that He would be born of a woman and be a descendant of Abraham and David; Our Lord was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem, to have come out of Egypt, and to be born of a virgin. These are some of the wonderful signs given by God in Sacred Scripture to help all people be ready for his glorious coming.
Where did the Bible come from? Can we depend on what we have in ours today? And why do some bibles not contain the 7 books found in the Catholic Old Testament? We begin by considering two statements made by Our Lord, namely: that the Spirit of truth will lead us into all truth, and Jesus’ hope that we might all be “one” (John 16 and 17). In this Spirit, we consider the decision by Pope Damascus to officially proclaim the divinely inspired books (382 AD). We also consider when and how those 7 books, disputed by many, came to be removed from non-Catholic Bibles. For additional information on this subject, see “The Origin of the Bible” by Dr. Brant Pitre, CD #3.
Have you ever received an inheritance or gift, and only later discovered its true value? At times, this can be the case with our sacred inheritance. We each own a Bible, for example, but do we revere it? By considering the Bible’s origins, we can deepen our appreciation for this gift from God! Did you know that at the time the canon was determined the divinely-inspired books were together with many other works, like diamonds among cut-glass crystals? If the collection of writings we have today is correct, the decision process reveals to us special qualities of the decision maker. We begin the presentation by highlighting the debate among the Jews at the time of Jesus. They had not decided which books were divinely inspired when the Apostles and others began writing. Later, there were also Christian writings by saints and noteworthy theologians. How was the early Christian Church to decide which should be included in the canon of Scripture? This is our focus. Material for this presentation is based “The Origin of the Bible” by Dr. Brant Pitre.
Has anyone ever asked you “where is that teaching found in the Bible?” It can be a common question and suggests that if a teaching is not found in the Scriptures, then it does not have authority to teach us about faith and morals. Yet, where do the Scriptures come from, and how do we know that they are reliable? Knowing the source, however, will provide insight into the question of authority. Furthermore, how do Catholics explain the presence of 7 books included in their version of the Old Testament? These “disputed books” are not found in Protestant Bibles. Did the Catholics add them or did the Protestants remove them? This further underscores the importance understanding the source of authority. Afterall, what prevents any one of us from removing books that we do not agree with? Understanding the history and development of Sacred Scripture will provide us with confidence and joy as we discover God’s hand in bringing us the Bible. In two subsequent talks, both the formation of the New Testament and the decisions made during the Reformation will be discussed. For a complete presentation on this subject, refer to “The Origin of the Bible” by Dr. Brant Pitre at: store.catholicproductions.com
Tonight’s program concludes our encounter with Our Lord in the Book of Revelations. Chapter 21 describes the New Jerusalem. This city is beautiful and magnificent to behold with its streets of gold, clear as glass. Amazingly, God does not stop there. We are described in Scripture as God’s “holy temple” (1 Cor 3: 16-17), and as “living stones” (1 Pet 2: 4-6). As such, as people of God with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we become part of the God’s holy city, shining with the beauty of the precious stones described here.