Confession, a little book for the reluctant, by Monsignor Louis Gaston de Segur, who describes how we all have some reluctance about Confession -- principally because we don't want to admit that we're not perfect! And there are a host of other problems. But this eminent and popular writer from the 19th century -- when the sacraments were taken much more seriously -- explains the sacrament with kindness and wisdom -- spurring you on to the protect and cleanliness God desires for you and your family! CLICK HERE
WHEN IT COMES TIME TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL, IT IS ALSO TIME TO LISTEN TO GOD
By Carol Marquardt
Evangelization -- the great work of spreading knowledge of the Kingdom of God and inviting people to share in the gifts of Jesus saving death and Resurrection -- has brought the Gospel through time to the twenty-first century.
If ever we need evangelization in our secular humanist culture of scientific rationalism and unbelief, it is now when arrogance in human knowledge can bring us to the brink of self-destruction.
In the market place of our daily lives, each of us is called to evangelization in the form of person to person witness to our faith and its meaning, especially in our times.
One dimension of evangelization that is often overlooked, however, is timing. We know that now is the time when such evangelization is needed but we need also to remember that the planting of the Gospel message can only be received when the soil has been tilled.
We cannot always recognize when the soil is ready to receive the seeds. God can. It is for this reason that it becomes important to listen attentively to the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit in making decisions about when to speak and when to act.
Stepping out in faith is almost always required in reaching out to those trapped in false worldly philosophies, but such stepping out needs to be inspired by the Holy Spirit lest one step into quicksand or, even worse, into a a booby trap!
Jesus told his apostles, "Come with me and I will make you become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). Often, in our human enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel, we think, "I will go fishing for men and bring them to Jesus for my reward."
It is good to recall, at such times, the story of Jesus' call to the fishermen when they fished all day and caught nothing. He told them, "Cast your nets to the other side." And when they did this under his direction and anointing, their nets became filled with fish! (John 21:5-6)
In a similar manner, the Gospel teaching "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat" (John 12:24) also applies to evangelizing. The grain of wheat dies when we let go of our human enthusiasm, our egocentric zeal, and respond to the Lord's own direction through the Holy Spirit. It is an exciting partnership: the Lord and us together building the kingdom of God as we allow the Holy Spirit to direct us.
This leads to a corollary principle: in exercising gifts of evangelization effectively, we need also to learn to listen to direction from the Holy Spirit with openness and sensitivity.
We need surrender and openness and listening prayer lest we miss opportunities to evangelize or lose touch with the day to day guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There is a contemporary hymn that always inspired me. "Let us build the city of God." But in reality the words probably should be "Let God build the city of God through our enthusiastic, but humble, cooperation with his graces."
(A personal note: One day recently in my personal prayer time, I had the impression that the Lord was speaking the following words: "Believing as you do in My love for you and seeing as you do My intervention in your life, and My constant Presence to you, try to understand how great is My desire for you to follow Me as My disciple and speak of Me to others. I will never stand in the way of your witness to me unless in so doing you are going to harm another or interfere in some way with the Father's higher purpose. I say this that you might understand some of the seeming obstacles to your work that you have encountered along the way of your walk with Me. It is always important to recognize how My work through one soul needs be consistent with a broader move of grace.
"That is why I have told you, 'A man reaps only what he sows. If he sows in the spirit, spirit; if he sows in the flesh, flesh.' My desire to work through you must be tempered by community needs and openness, just as my desire to reveal myself to all humanity must be tempered by times and cultures. (In the fullness of time, God sent his only Son.) Have no fear about My desires for you and promises to you being fulfilled. I speak these words that you might better understand how important it is to unite yourself with My will, which is the Father's Will, and with the Holy Spirit's anointing.
"Forging ahead under human will and enthusiasm only can lead to frustration. Remember to begin each day with praise of the Father and prayer to remain in his Divine Will. What is spirit is spirit, and what is flesh, is flesh. Pray each day to temper your own enthusiasm with wisdom and to perceive when and where and how the graces of God are meant to be operative. This will save you time and trouble and enable you to maximize the opportunities to carry forth my message."
After considering those words, I felt led to write the above. I plan to use it in encouraging people to try the personal prayer course I have written and am currently working on formatting for use beyond the network of small groups which has developed person to person here in the Tampa Bay area. I believe it's time may be at hand. It has been reviewed by a theologian at the request of my bishop and has been given the Nihil Obstat seal of approval, praised be Jesus! )
[resources: Carol Marquardt is author of The Sound of His Voice]
E-mail this link directly