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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Created with His Image

The world is full of wonders, so many that God himself created. Sometimes we take for granted the world we live in, almost as if we don't even know where living in it. Were so caught up in our day by what we think we have to do, or what we think we need to get done that we don't notice the things God has set in front of us. The world today is to busy to just stop, take a deep breathe, and meditate on what God has created. Even to thank him for loving us enough to create us almost exactly like him. We are all created in God's image and that to me is a privilege. In the world, it's hard to be still, its hard to be quiet on a spiritual level. It's easy to be loud, or always moving because that's what the world requires of us. Constant movement, constant change, it seems like there is hardly enough time to sit and be still, something that causes discomfort. It reminds me of the scripture from Psalms 46:10 " Be Still and Know That I am God." sometimes it just takes all that we have to sit still and thank God for everything we have, but that's okay because God is a loving and merciful God, He looks forward to the prayer that we say to him. God wants everything that we have to offer to him, when we were created, the image he placed within us is the image of his own self! Our souls, are made from the very image and likeness of God, we read this in Genesis 1.Our lives, have goodness, they have meaning because we have the very image of God dwelling within us. We were created to be holy to see everything that God sets in front of us. To see everything that he sees. It's our destiny to be Holy. It's What we were created For. Reminds me of the story of Jesus in the bible when he is speaking to the Pharisees. The Pharisees, in those days were holy people, they were obedient to the law, very meek and humble. The sad part, is that they were on a mission to catch Jesus by confusing him in his teaching. They wanted a reason to arrest him. They asked Jesus for his opinion, "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" Pointing to the coin Jesus says, whose image is this? "Caesar's" they said. Jesus said "So then, give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's" Jesus is teaching on the very image that is placed in us. Just like the coin, bearing the image of Caesar, we are inscripted with the very image of God. The coin belongs to Caesar, and we belong to God. So for us the message would be to give to God the image he placed in us. This means our lives, our hearts and our souls. Everything about us should be placed at the mercy and will of God because we bear his image. We were created to be his, created to be holy and loving as he so we could share in Eternal Glory with Him, our creator.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

St. Luke: The Loyal Comrade

It isn't until you make big changes in your life that you start to see who your real friends are. You see who stands by your side when times get tough, you understand who is willing to be there with you when you need it the most. Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Luke, and from what we read in the gospels, he was a great friend, and a loyal comrade to Saint Paul. Paul in his early life, was under order by the chief priests to persecute. He killed families for the faith, and watched saints be martyred, Paul, known as Saul at that time, issued death for Saint Stephen, the first christian martyr. After his conversion on the road to Damascus, St. Paul began preaching and ministering in cities all over regions of Syria, Macedonia, and even Greece. Soon accompanied by St. Luke, we see in the Acts of the Apostles that Luke traveled with St. Paul from Troas to Philippi, after Paul had a dream of a Macedonian man standing before him begging for help. During St. Paul's journey, conflict arises between his teaching over the resurrection of Jesus and the law of Moses so while in Jerusalem, Paul is arrested.  He is brought to questioning in front of the chief priests, the people who accused him, the Sanhedrin, the Governor Felix, and his successor Festus. St. Paul was imprisoned and under accusation for more then two years. This is before he would go to Rome for an appeal to Caesar. As they set sail for Rome, Luke is the loyal comrade and accompanies him throughout the whole journey.On that journey, they experience ship-changes,disastrous cargo loss, violent storms, even a shipwreck and St. Luke accounts of it all in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27). For two years St. Paul is under guard in Rome, preaching to all those who visited him. Saint Luke, the loyal comrade, stayed with Paul even to his death and we see this in scripture, "Only Luke is with me." (2 Tim 4:11)

The message from St. Luke, is to be there. Be there for those that matter, and those friends that you have and they will be there for you. Treat your friends with respect and honesty, be there for them when they are having a hard time, when their lives are a shipwreck. As friends we are called to comfort and share in whatever suffering. I think St. Luke understood that St. Paul needed that friendship and so he accompanied him for two years to be that faithful friend. We learn to be loyal and trustworthy to all those that we know. I think it extends not only to our friends, and family, but even to God. We should be loyal to him, faithful and obedient just like St. Luke. Pray for us St. Luke, loyal comrade, that we be as loyal as you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Divine

There's always a constant battle in life between the good and the bad. A battle between the divine, and the evil. In our lives, it's up to us to make that distinction and we have to do it quick, like Clint East would (No pun intended). The battle, is of three things, the good, the bad and the divine. While the good is from the divine, theologically, there is also a good that we might be distracted of. This is the world's view of good, or what might be good. Life is full of good things, and as sensible beings, we desire everything that is good, or what makes us feel good, or be good. We hear from philosophers that the good, is that which is desirable, meaning we desire it, we want it constantly. This is why we sin, because in our eyes it's good and pleasing to us. Sin has to have something 'good' about it or else we wouldn't do it, right. There is good, because it's pleasing, but it might not always be healthy. What we don't see, is that most times, our desire for the divine goodness is shortened and we turn to those things that aren't good for us. It's like we cheat ourselves from experiening that divine goodness.  All of life, from beginning to it's end, leads and points us to the divine goodness. We are slowly, ordered, prepared and led to this great goodness that God wants us to experience. Where we fall short is when we turn to something false, something that only pleases us for a moment and then it's gone. The cool message is to seek the divine goodness and look past those temporal things that take us further and further away from the divine hand. We become distracted and now what was bad becomes 'good' and that's it, we don't wanna move any further because we're set. Now, there is no longer a move to experience a greater goodness, that divine goodness because, we are content with that 'good' the world gives us. So...

 Don't cheat yourself.

Don't be content with the bare-minimum.

We should strive to seek God's goodness everyday, start by recognizing that there IS a greater goodness, one that is eternal. Like I said, it's a constant struggle, even for me. The battle is now, and it's either life or death. The great thing is that this takes time, patience. I always want to be spot on, or be virtuous all of a sudden, like if it happens overnight. It doesn't. Conversion is a process and takes prayer and silence even when it is hard. I read somewhere, that the hardest yet most effective prayer, is the prayer that comes when you don't want to pray. It's almost like we have to force ourselves to sit still, we have to literally sit and train our minds and our hearts to be faithful and fruitful. and It doesn't happen overnight. Take steps and join me in being faithful in small matters first before the great matters. Often times we have to habituate, train and mold those small basic virtues before we can strive for those heroic virtues.