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Who is Jesus?
We believe that Jesus of Nazareth is God revealing Himself to us in the most humble and understandable way possible. Jesus himself claimed to be God. "The Father and I are one" he says in the Gospel of John (10:30). At this, the crowd prepared to stone him. When he asked for what good work of his they were going to stone him, they replied, "“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” (10:33)
Jesus means in Hebrew, "God saves". This is the name given for Him to Mary, His mother, by the angel Gabriel. This salvation comes through the forgiveness of sins, which only God can do. God, in Jesus, His eternal Son incarnate in human flesh, "saves his people from their sins" through His Son's perfect obedience. That obedience led people like us to crucify Him, but through that same obedience Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "My servant, the just one, shall justify many, their iniquity he shall bear." (Isaiah 53:11)
Resources on the Faith
- The Vatican
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Word on Fire (Bishop Robert Barron)
- Bishop Barron Youtube channel
- Catherine of Siena Institute
- Our Sunday Visitor
- Dynamic Catholic
- Busted Halo
- New American Bible
- Daily Readings from Mass
- Living Space (scripture commentary)
- How to practice Lectio Divina (praying with scripture)
- Understanding the Bible
Catholic News Services
Why the Cross?
How to pray
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that "Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other." If faith is essentially a personal encounter with God, then each person will have their own unique response to God's invitation.
Nevertheless, the Christian experience has identified different movements of prayer: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. A version of these aspects popularized by Matthew Kelly (Rediscovering Jesus) is described in this section.
Here are more Catholic prayers to try.
God SPeaks and acts
- Scripture and Jesus Himself: Scripture is written by human beings under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:16) Ours is a religion of the 'Word' of God, a word which has come to us in human form, in the person of Jesus. He, through the Holy Spirit, must 'open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.' (Luke 24:45) Ask for the Spirit's guidance as you begin to read the Bible.
- Sacraments: Through the sacraments God reaches out to us through His Son to offer us grace, healing, nourishment, and forgiveness.
- Nature: Many people feel closer to God when they are in the midst of the beautiful world He has created and called "good". (Genesis 1:4)
- Others: God uses others, especially the baptized, to speak to us through their words and actions, their good example, and through the spiritual gifts given them at baptism through which we experience in a particular way God's love, power and provision for us.
- Experiences: God can move us through beautiful things, frightening events, something we read. He is ever-present (Psalm 46:1)
- The Holy Spirit: Jesus promised the Spirit "will guide you to all truth." (John 16:13) Part of the Christian life is learning to hear that gentle guidance and respond.
- Gratitude: Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful today
- Awareness: When in the last 24 hours were you not the best-version-of-yourself? Talk to God about these situations and ask what you might learn from them.
- Significant Moments: Identify something you experienced in the last 24 hours and consider what God might be trying to say to you through that event or person.
- Peace: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.
- Freedom: Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be whom God made you to be.
- Others: Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.
- Lord's Prayer: When His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer.
From Matthew Kelly's book, Rediscovering Jesus.
PRAYERS FOR EVANGELIZATION
Please pray that many parishioners respond to Jesus' invitation to send them to those who do not know Him. Pray that those who will hear the Gospel will respond! You can:
- Ask God to open their spiritual eyes (2 Cor. 4:4).
- Ask God to give them ears to hear (Matt. 13:15),
- Ask God to give them faith to believe (Acts 20:21).
- Ask God to give them the will to respond (Rom. 10:9).
- Ask God to send Catholic Christians into their lives to witness to them (Matt. 9:38).
- Ask God for an opportunity to invite them (Luke 14:23).
- Ask God to set them free from spiritual captivity (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
ST. JOHN PAUL II'S PRAYER
TO OUR LADY OF EVANGELIZATION
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of his Church, we are mindful of the role you play in the evangelization of souls who do not yet know Him. We are mindful of how missionaries came with the power of Christ’s Gospel and committed the success of their work to you.
As the Mother of Divine Grace you were with the missionaries in all their efforts.
And as Mother of the Church you presided over all the activities of evangelization and over the implantation of the Gospel in the hearts of the faithful. You sustained the missionaries in hope and you gave joy to every new community that was born of the Church’s evangelizing activity.
You were there with your intercession and your prayers, as the first grace of baptism developed, and as those who had new life in Christ your Son came to a full appreciation of their Christian calling.
We ask you, Mary, to help us to fulfill this mission of evangelization which your Son has given to his Church and which falls to us. Mindful of your role as Help of Christians, we entrust ourselves to you in the work of carrying the Gospel ever deeper into the hearts and lives of all the people. We entrust to you our missionary mandate and commit our cause totally to your prayers.
To Jesus Christ your Son, with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit be praise and thanksgiving forever and ever. Amen!
Promises that Jesus Makes
The Christian Scriptures constantly refer to the newness of life that comes from faith in Jesus. That is His fundamental promise: a new life that begins now and extends into eternity. St. Paul speaks of the Christian as a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This is a reality that Christians throughout the centuries have experienced for themselves. You can, too.
- Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
- Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
- If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32)
- I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
- Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)
- I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
- Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
- I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live (John 11:25)
WHAT IS DISCIPLESHIP?
A CONSCIOUS, INTENTIONAL RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION TO RELATIONSHIP
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph #546) says that through his parables Jesus invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. (Mt. 22:1-14) Words are not enough, deeds are required! (Mt. 21:28-32) Believing is possible only by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit. But this free choice is also an authentically human act. that is not contrary to our freedom or to human reason (Catechism, #154). After all, we choose to trust some people and what they reveal to us about themselves in order to enter a relationship with them.
AN EXPERIENCE OF NEW LIFE
Christ's disciples have "put on the new the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth." By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander." (Ephesians 4:24-25) This new life is made possible by Christ who unites himself to us. He says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." (John 14:5) St. Paul could claim, "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20) An essential aspect of this new life is prayer. In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him. (Catechism, #2615)
A LIFE DIRECTED TOWARDS OTHERS
By loving us even to his death on the cross, Jesus manifests the Father's love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. He gives his disciples a new commandment: "love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34) Through baptism, the disciple receives graces of the Holy Spirit called charisms which help to build up the Church, the secular order, and meet the needs of the world. (Catechism, #799)
A LIFE OF WITNESS
The experience of a new life leads the disciple to speak to others about the treasure they have discovered in Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:44). This has been commanded by Jesus, who his disciples, "Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20) Witnessing to Jesus is necessary for salvation: "everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God." (Luke 12:8-9)
A LIFE IN COMMUNION
Jesus formed a community of disciples around himself during his life. He proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." (John 6:56) This community continues in the Church. In the Mass, the communion of Christ's disciples, born from Jesus' total self-gift for our salvation on the cross (Catechism, #766) is expressed and deepened. Moreover, St. Paul told the Church in Corinth, "you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27)
BECOMING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS
Just as any human relationship takes time to develop, so too our relationship with Jesus. And like our other relationships, there are distinct stages that mark its growth. The descriptions below are from the book Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell.
Initial trust: Do you have a positive association with Jesus Christ, the Church, a Christian believer, or something identifiably Christian? Without some kind of bridge of trust in place, we cannot move closer to God.
Spiritual curiosity: Are you intrigued by or desire to know more about Jesus, his life, and his teachings or some aspect of the Christian faith? This curiosity can range from mere awareness of a new possibility to something quite intense.
Spiritual openness: Are you open to the possibility of personal and spiritual change? Is there a pattern of behavior you want to change, or do you have a hope that there's more to life than you are experiencing?
Spiritual seeking: Are you actively seeking to know the God who is calling you? Do you seek the company of Christians? Have you been asking a Catholic friend about Mass, the Bible, or how to pray? Seekers are asking of God, “Are you the one to whom I will give myself?” Are you wondering if you can commit to Christ in his Church.
Intentional discipleship: This is the decision to “drop one’s nets,” like Simon Peter, the fisherman at the Sea of Galilee did. It is to make a conscious commitment to follow Jesus in the midst of his Church as an obedient disciple and to reorder one’s life accordingly. It's not the end of the journey at all - but a definitive new direction of one's life!
Where are you on this journey?
"Faith is above all a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus, and to experience his closeness, his friendship, his love;
only in this way does one learn to know him ever more, and to love and follow him ever more."
Pope Benedict XVI, October 22, 2009, Feast of St. Bernard