Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crucifying the Flesh

Ever since man was created by God in the beginning, man has a direct calling and destiny to be one with God. This means that we are called to know and love God in his fullness. Before the fall of man, Adam and Eve knew God in his fullness, they were in a perfect and holy relationship with God. The consequence of sin was a rift between man and God. Man can no longer know God in a perfect and complete way all because of sin. Today, we are baptized by water and made members of the Catholic Church. It is at that very moment of baptism that we are given a holy, perfect and sacred relationship with God. However, just like Adam our sin hinders our relationship with God and it prevents us having that intimate relationship with God the Father. Now in order to know how sin keeps us from God, it is important to understand what Sin really is. Sin is a action or an offense against God and his divine love for us. When we sin, we are acting against God in disobedience to his love. We in our hearts are professing that we don't need God in our lives therefore we are rejecting his love for us. The thing with sin is that it doesn't place anything within us, but rather it strips out everything that is already in us. We are hurt by sin and our personalty becomes dull. We have no energy, depression, we might feel weak, lost, confused and even tired of our own lives. In sin, man is supplying to his passions and his desires. I want this, I want that and when we want it we give in to ourselves and usually follow through. The problem is that we are always looking for things that don't make us happy and if they do it's only for a moment. When we talk about crucifying the flesh, it's important to understand that we should do this daily and not just for a couple days. Avoid sin and even the near occasion of sin! That means know your weakness and your own struggles. We have to know the affects of sin and what they can do to us. More importantly sin can separate us from God for eternity. Second, sin puts a blockade between us and God so know we can't ever know him fully on earth, and Third, we can't ever know ourselves and who we are if we are trapped by sin. If I don't know myself and who I am, then how can I try to understand someone else in a relationship, boyfriend or girlfriend even in marriage? So we should know the effects of sin and avoid it everyday. I shared a story of some Alaskan wolves:

If the owner of the land spots a wolf, his primary objective becomes to kill that wolf because now that wolf is a predator and a threat to his home, his family and his livestock. So what he does is kill a goat, takes it's blood, places it on the blade of a knife and allows it to freeze. He does it about 7-8 times before there is a thick shell of frozen blood. So he walks out to the forest and places the knife in the snow with the blade up and walks away. The wolf smell the blood from miles out and approaches slowly at first because he's a little curious. He takes his first lick of the blood and likes it. So he licks it more and more until his tongue becomes numb by the frost. As the wolf licks more he slices his tongue, and enjoys fresh blood not realizing its his own. Soon enough the wolf will leave and die of blood loss. The fact is that sin, kills us without us even know it. It harms us without us even knowing the damage we are placing on ourselves, our hearts, our bodies, our spirits and our souls. So the message is to crucify the flesh, abandon all sin, live in the spirit and not the flesh. Don't give into your passions or your desires but give into the spirit of God. Saint Paul tell us in Romans that we shouldn't live in the sins of the flesh, but rather the fruits of the Spirit. By our creation and baptism, we are called to live in the spirit not the flesh.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sanctified: Spirit, Body & Soul

For the week I helped out at a Catholic Summer camp in New Mexico with the youth of Amarillo and I can say that it helped me really understand my role as a member of the Church and here's why. There's a message in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, a prayer for us that we be purified and sanctified in our Lord Jesus Christ. It's a calling for us to be out of the ordinary and step outside that box that we've always been living in. So I think the message for us is to be spiritual, and understand what it really means to be sanctified and purified. By that I mean for us to answer and fulfill the prayer that Saint Paul set out for us that we should be sanctified in the spirit, purified through the body, and perfect in the soul. The real only way to be sanctified is through us giving a hundred percent to God everyday that we live, in Prayer, in Mass, by the sacraments and meditation. That all helps us be one with God and ultimately sanctified by his never-ending grace. There's a call to be sanctified in Spirit, that means for us to be open to the Spirit of God, and his graces that he supplies us with everyday. To be sanctified in the Body means for us to never give in to our desires and our passions because in reality it is our desires that please us only for a moment. So the message is for us to crucify the flesh by never turning to what is evil and sinful because sin can separate us from God, our Creator. In the Soul, we are alive and well. It is the soul that gives us life, and the soul that makes us the very image and likeness of God. We should purify our souls by meditating and praising God. Let the mind conquer our emotions and from that the will of God will be revealed to us.

To be Sanctified means to be renewed and cleansed, it was great to be around a fired up youth that require a cleansing and a purification of self and I'm grateful for that. The joy is that by us admitting our faults and our sins we are sanctified and purified by the very sanctifying grace of God through confession. I always love the guilt that is placed inside of me because through it we return to the yard of Christ. We are sanctified all you gotta do is admit and confess with your spirit through grace, abandon the body of sin, and pray to God through the soul that was breathed into us.

Shoutout to everybody that went, Perryton and Sunray! God bless you guys.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Obligation to Man

When God created Adam and Eve, man had a perfect and unique relationship with God. So much that it was free of death and full of grace.In this perfect relationship with God, man knew God and loved him. Man was given a beautiful relationship with God and also woman, Eve.  Of course we were blessed with a happy fault and given original sin through the fall of man. By sin, that perfect and unique relationship was stripped and there were rifts that were placed that hindered man's perfect relationship with God and even with other man, in this case a woman. Well, by our baptism as infants we too are given a beautiful yet not so perfect relationship with God through sanctifying grace. In our roll as humans we are also united in the body of the church and the communion of peoples across the world. We are all of the same species so why wouldn't we be of the same family. However, when we sin, that sanctifying grace is removed from us, hindering our relationship with God and also man. So we are disconnected if you will from the very life of Christ, from his Church and his people. We are still under the protection and aid of God just in a lesser degree, yes thank you human nature, by it, we are also bound to sin and in our weakness we fall! Saint Paul writes that we should live in the Spirit of God and not the Spirit of the flesh meaning sin. He writes in Romans 8:

"Those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit are concerned with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace." Romans 8 5-6

As I was looking at this I noticed a similarity between the words of Jesus in the gospels and the words of Paul in Romans hinting at a universal call and obligation to every man. Free or slave, upper class or lower-class, clothed or not-clothed. Jesus tells us in Matthew that we should not be afraid of those who kill the body by sin. This means helping our friends, our families and even our acquaintances. We should be courageous and help them, comfort them because we have an obligation to them. Matthew recounts the words of Jesus in Chapter 10:

"Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known...And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." -Matthew 10:26-28

In my own reflection, Jesus is letting us know that we should not be ashamed of Him and afraid of those who are living in trial, temptation and sin, we should reveal to them who God is in a loving way. We should be a light for them in the darkness. Why should we be afraid of man, living in sin or not, we should help them because it's our obligation, we have the same father, we are of the same family and our duty to help those who are suffering is a great commission given to us by God.