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Those who ride the Megiddo Ark..
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On this holy feast of Pentecost I would like us to reflect on the Spirit and His work in our lives, namely that there are two ways which we use one: we can use it to mean “alone” and we can use it to mean “together.”

How is it that we’re alone? Paul in Galatians tells us that the works of the flesh rip us apart and isolate us. The works of the flesh are envy, greed, immorality, immodesty, lack of chastity, wrath and anger, rivalry, and hatred (cf., Gal 5:16-19). We see this in our own lives and we’ve all had these feelings. But we must recognize that these acts are acts of power and control where we seek to impose our will on the world and others, taking from the weak, the helpless, and those we consider less than ourselves. These aspects gather all things to ourselves, but isolate us and make us one and alone.

But the Spirit is something better and greater. Humility, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and love. Each of these acts, paradoxically, ask us to give of ourselves little by little, lifting the other up in charity and peace.

I find no better example of this notion of alone and together than in families. If a spouse, or even indeed a child, is greedy, jealous, domineering, ungrateful, or mean-spirited, it tears a family apart. But if all members of a family are patient, patient with each other’s shortcomings, humble, knowing that they are not perfect or always right, gentle in chiding them to a better life in Christ, and loving—that is, self-sacrificing—than that family will stand firm for generations, in life and in death. We all know of our weaknesses, whether they are sexual, or matters of pride, jealousy, envy, gossip, or laziness. We all share in these weaknesses of the flesh, but through grace we share in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Spirit that affords us these graces which God pours out so generously upon us. It is the Spirit that allowed the Apostles to speak many languages, so that all peoples and ages might hear one message. That one message is the love of the Father, the victory of Christ Jesus over sin and death—a victory we baptized share in, the presence of the Spirit of truth, and that the Church, the bride of Christ, shares the glorious work of God on earth.

One more image that I think is useful for us is the very bread that we bless and consecrate at the holy altar. The bread that we use is made of many grains, formed into one with water, and then finally baked by fire.

We too, because of the work of the most blessed Trinity, are made into one. We are gathered, all of us varied and different, by the will of the Father. He calls us together and, through the blood of the Son, we are prepared as one. Lastly, the Spirit, who is rightly symbolized as a holy flame, perfects us in love and grace so that we might become holy, that is like God. Thus we, brothers and sisters, are prepared as a bread pleasing to almighty God, but not merely for Him, but for the whole world. The blood and water that poured from Christ’s side on the Cross prepare us for this task, and the Spirit strengthens us along the way.

Like Christ, we are one Body and one Bread, prepared for the world and given up for the sake of the world. For everyone, not only us Catholics, but for all of our brothers and sisters. We are given up for their sins, their weaknesses, and the evil that they do, for we know that we too share in all the same weaknesses and faults. We, nonetheless, rely on the power of the Trinity to make us an acceptable offering for the whole world so that all of us, so many scattered and alone, may be one in Spirit and in truth.
Pentecost: The Fire of the Spirit
Has it only been months since I posted?

Nevertheless, I'm happy to be back and hopefully, with school over, can write more this summer.

M
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He is risen, allelujah, allelujah!
Hello all,

I know I've updated very sparringly and I apologize. School has been very busy, especially as I prepare my proposal for my thesis:

A pre-Nicene examination of Trinitarian theology as seen through Origen. Exciting, right?

I am also working on learning French and re-learning German. Any help from you blokes and blokettes is always appreciated!

Writing has been tedious as of late. Actually, this is one of the more prolonged writer's blocks I've had in a while.

In that regard, if any of you have come across difficult questions about faith or theology I'm happy to try and address them.

Have a blessed Lent,

M

I said similarly last year:

Getting drunk "in honor" of St. Patrick's Day (actually March 17th) is a dishonor to Patrick, the Irish, and to God. Do not invite the snakes of vice and false worship into your life. Do your soul some good: go to mass, pray, associate with the lowly and poor.

There is little doubt that the majority of us have looked upon the violence of the Middle East with sadness, disgust, or anger. Our brothers are being slaughtered and the poor and oppressed, which includes everyone and not just Christians, suffer doubly from the violence coming from both sides.

It has been a subject of intense prayer for me. I oscillate between desiring the destruction of our enemies for the sake of our brethren (cf., for example, Ps 18) and between praying for mercy upon our enemies.

I find it simple to see Christ on the cross saying "Forgive them for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34) and say, "Of course, Christ did that because he's the Lord." Yet the very same prayer we pray every day commands us to "forgive those who have trespassed against us." I asked myself, in my heart, "Do I forgive them?" For indeed we are forgiven in the measure we forgive.

I became troubled that I could not formulate a concrete answer. I prayed as to whether I was so lacking in mercy and trust in God that I could not forgive my enemies who, despite their violence and power, are "like chaff driven by the wind" (Ps 1:4) and "like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away" (Ps 37:1). Because they all pass away and, from the perspective of history a brief period of time, they will also come to judgment. Violence begets violence, and many men have already come to a violent end. Some have perhaps met their end, regrettably, through torture. In death many had no chance to repent and in their obstinance have gone to meet their Lord and Creator.

We will all die and we will all be judged. Every day, with varying degrees of whole-heartedness (sadly sometimes not so much) I ask for God's mercy. But this Lent, this present moment, we should move outside ourselves and pray for His mercy on all men. This forces us to confront, by necessity the most horrible, unsavory, wicked, and disgusting parts of humanity. When we confront this we also confront ourselves, if we're honest. When we confront this in our hearts can we forgive? Can we intercede for them and pray that they turn from their wickedness? Will we turn from ours?

God, who is beyond eternity and beyond power, is Just, and His justice will endure forever and all men will confront his justice. But, indeed, "the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13). Throughout Scripture God is teaching us a lesson.

His Son descended into the depths of hell, that is to say the depths of human depravity (living and dead)--to the very bottom--in order to redeem it. By his blood all were redeemed for God, but not all are yet saved. Those of us who are living, Christians too, none are as of yet saved, but by faith in Jesus Christ we are guaranteed salvation. This is not to be understood as a covering, like a sheet of snow, over our depravity. We are told to run the race, endure to the end, and walk in the footsteps of he who is the Way.

Salvation means that, by faith, we believe in Christ crucified and risen. Through this faith and baptism we are joined to his Body. In being joined to his Body we are joined to His sufferings and also share in his consolation (cf., 2 Cor 1:5). As Christians we suffer for the sake of the world. Joined to Christ I would say, more powerfully, that we are sacrificed for the sake of the whole world and all upon it. In order to be sacrificed like Christ we look to his example in sacrifice: ever willing to reconcile everyone to the Father through Him.

I then came to think: if we believe that God should strike our enemies down that would be a regrettable thing. For "If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand?" (Ps 130:3). Those whom we look down on the most are perhaps more explicitly wicked than us, but we who relish in how wicked others are cover our own wickedness with injustice. All are sinful and all are guilty of contributing to this state of sin which we live in.

Christ alone is "the light shining in the darkness"(Jn 1:15) and we, by joining ourselves to Christ in faith and truth, reflect that light in the same manner that He "reflects the refulgence of the Father's glory" (cf., Heb 1:3).

We do so by seeking forgiveness. We do so more so by loving others. We do it most perfectly by loving our enemies.
The Mercy of God to Our Enemies
The image is of the Coptic martyrs recently recognized by Pope Francis. May they pray for us.

I hope this is a useful Lenten reflection for you all.
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Hello all,

I know I've updated very sparringly and I apologize. School has been very busy, especially as I prepare my proposal for my thesis:

A pre-Nicene examination of Trinitarian theology as seen through Origen. Exciting, right?

I am also working on learning French and re-learning German. Any help from you blokes and blokettes is always appreciated!

Writing has been tedious as of late. Actually, this is one of the more prolonged writer's blocks I've had in a while.

In that regard, if any of you have come across difficult questions about faith or theology I'm happy to try and address them.

Have a blessed Lent,

M

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TESM
Matthew
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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Current Residence: Chicago

Favorite style of art: Realism, pointillism

Personal Quote: 'To mislead one's friends to the truth is the greatest injustice.' (Plato)
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:iconhamundr24:
hamundr24 Featured By Owner May 16, 2015  Student Writer
Happy birthday! God bless! :)
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You as well. Thanks!
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:iconhamundr24:
hamundr24 Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Student Writer
Welcome, and thank you. :)
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:iconneoconvoy:
Neoconvoy Featured By Owner May 15, 2015  Student General Artist
Happy birthday!

God bless you!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Same. Thanks!
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:iconpk-condor:
pk-condor Featured By Owner May 15, 2015
Happy Birthday :) =P :la: :la: :hug: :hug: :sing: :sing: :icondragonhug: Airborne Airborne 
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much
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:iconpk-condor:
pk-condor Featured By Owner May 19, 2015
You welcome =P
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:iconroxas1296:
roxas1296 Featured By Owner May 15, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Happy Birthday!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!
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