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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jesus Breathed on Us

A Reflection on John 20:19-22 N.A.B.
By: Larry T
We are being assaulted! The attack on us is shocking, alarming, and ominous. We are the Catholic Church and attacks on our Church are personal attacks on us and our faith. Examples of the onslaught aren’t hard to find. 
Illinois Catholic Charities close over adoption rule. Catholic Charities in Illinois has served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children. But now most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois are closing down rather than comply with a new requirement that says they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples as potential foster care and adoptive parents.
By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, December 29, 2011
Fight against HHS mandate draws thanks from bishops. - Apr 8, 2013 - The U.S. bishops have thanked organizations and entities for their courage in fighting a federal contraception mandate that forces employers to pay for services that violate their religious beliefs.
Internal issues are even more disheartening.
L.A. Archdiocese reaches agreement with more than 500 abuse claimants. The Los Angeles Archdiocese July 15 announced the largest church settlement of sexual abuse lawsuits to date, agreeing to pay more than 500 alleged victims a total of $660 million.
2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
US priest pleads guilty to drug dealing charges. A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine from his flat in the US state of Connecticut.
2 April 2013, B.B.C
Saint Peter forewarned us about persecution.

8 Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour
9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.
10 The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.
11 To him be dominion forever. Amen.
1 Pt 5:8-11 N.A.B.
Before we are jolted into questioning our faith we need to remember that on Pentecost the Apostles received the Holy Spirit from our Lord Jesus.
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 20:19-22 N.A.B.
They received the same Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus for His ministry; the same Spirit that empowered Him to spurn all of Satan’s temptations.
10 On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
11 And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,
13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
Mark 1:10-13 N.A.B.
In turn Saul (St. Paul) received the Holy Spirit through the hands of Ananias (Acts 9:17 N.A.B.). So empowered, much to the dismay of the Sadducees and Pharisees, and deep suspicion of Jesus’ followers he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues of Damascus.
Emboldened by the Holy Spirit the apostles defied the Jerusalem Sanhedrin while their fate was being debated. Certain furious members of the court wanted to put them to death, but Gamaliel, the respected Pharisee doctor of Jewish law, spoke up:
38 So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.
39 But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him.
40 After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.
Acts 5:38-40 N.A.B.
Where did the apostles get the courage to face down the Sanhedrin? What inspired the 3rd century martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity to stand firm in the face of their executioners and a horrible death? What guiding force steered the Church through the eighty heresies that had arisen by 375 A.D.? What sustained the Church through the Reformation? The Holy Spirit has guided us since Pentecost, and will continue to guide us because our Lord will never abandon His church. How prophetic were the words of Gamaliel!
The Holy Spirit is a force of power that causes Satan to cower in a corner, and we receive it at baptism and confirmation. Still, the Spirit can only motivate us to action; it’s our responsibility to defend ourselves, our Church, and our faith. The greatest danger threatening our Church is in the neutrality of large numbers of us. Satan is not a novice so we must go about our defense with a sense of urgency.
How can lay Catholics protect the faith? “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” – Saint Francis of Assisi. The wisdom of Saint Francis is that if we live the Gospel and follow the precepts of our Church, we will set an example for our families and strengthen our Church.
We can live Proverbs 13:20: 20 Walk with wise men and you will become wise, but the companion of fools will fare badly. Tools for faith building and associating with like-minded Catholics are plentiful. EWTN, the Global Catholic Network, has some excellent programming. Parish sponsored programs such as That Man is You, Lectio Divina groups, Marian Cenacles, and small faith community groups are in constant search of new members. We can sign up for a Bible study class.
Satan’s tactic is to chip away at our faith a bit at a time, so we must be aware of subtle attacks on our beliefs. If we’re not sure what our Church teaches concerning marriage, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, marriage of priests, abortion, and euthanasia we cannot defend our faith. Our first resource is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or better yet, we might consult a priest or deacon for direction.
On this Pentecost Sunday we might pause to consider the power of the Holy Spirit that resides within us. In our daily prayers we can petition our Lord for an increase in grace - God’s free-will gift to us which nurtures faith. We can also pray to Mary daily, this way: “Mary, please ask your most beloved spouse, the Holy Spirit, to transform me into the image of your Son, Jesus.” Such prayers will always be answered, since they are in harmony with the will of God!


  1. Wonderful Larry! You are so right! Come Holy Spirit!

    1. Heidi, I appreciate your kind comment. Thank you! Deacon Paul contributed the prayer to our Holy Mother.

  2. Breathe on me Breath of God, fill me with life anew, so that I may love the things you love and do what you may do!


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