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Friday, November 16, 2018

Romans, Chapter 1, Verse 11-12
11 For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.

Paul had a great desire to visit Rome for Rome was the center of either the greatest good or the greatest evil in the world. Paul was convinced that Christ came not to overcome evil with force but with love. The world still engages in the same battle in that instead of Rome we now have enclaves in every city that purport the idea of might makes right. We must continue the work of Christ. The best way is encouraging good among the faithful and then go out to overcome the world with the spiritual gifts that Christ gives to each of us.

Friendship: key to sharing your spiritual gifts[1]

Our triune God shares His truth, beauty and wisdom or personhood with each of us. God’s desire for us is that we thrive, and He takes action to ensure that we do. We can tap into God’s grace and power if we do His will for us and listen to Him. Matthew Kelly in his book “Rediscovering Catholicism” recommends that in order to share our spiritual gifts we need to have a real practical plan. Here is his Plan for evangelization via friendship:

1.      It first starts with prayer taking time in the “classroom of silence” and ask God to point out two to five people in your life who would most benefit from a greater knowledge and appreciation of Christ and the church. Write down the names of those people. Mentally attach one of their names to a finger of your right hand and think what life would be like without those fingers.

2.      Pray for those people every day for the next month, by name, every day. Make yourself available to God for them. Tell God that you would like to help them discover the benefits of living a life of virtue and the adventure of walking with Him.
3.      After you have prayed for them for a month, contact each of them and arrange to spend an hour or two with each of them personally. No agenda or preaching; just be present with each other. Take them to lunch, walk, golf, coffee make it fun and enjoy. Talk with them what is going on in their lives-listen.
4.      Do this once a month with each person individually for three to six months; don’t talk about God, religion, or the Church; unless they bring it up.
5.      After six months invite them to a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or some other good work the Lord leads you to and after having formed a friendship; now would be a good time to discuss the place of God in our lives.
6.      Over time if they seem to have an interest in drawing closer to God; give them a good book on the spiritual life that will challenge them to think, change, grow; become the best version of their self.
7.      When you get together each month talk about the book ideas. What did they like about the book? Or didn’t like. What parts is a challenge? What parts is a comfort? How does it make you want to live differently?
8.      When they are ready invite them to one of your church programs or outreaches. Afterward, invite them for a meal or coffee and talk.
9.      Continue the five friendships and then invite them to do the same with five. Now go back to the Lord and ask for five more. This is how we bring about the new evangelization and build a Kingdom of God.

Confronting Evil[2]

Why doesn’t God stop human beings from committing wicked deeds? Evil’s continuing presence among us is a mystery we can’t fully figure out in this life. Nevertheless, we can say this much: God allows evil because He’s powerful enough to bring out of even the greatest evil a much greater good. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ provides a vivid illustration of this reality. According to the Gospel, when “Satan entered into Judas,” one of the twelve Apostles, he went out to betray Jesus (see Lk 22: 3– 4). So, the worst evil we can imagine— the torture and murder of God’s innocent Son— occurred through the Devil’s influence. Yet the triumph of the empty tomb transformed the horror of the Cross. Satan was thwarted. When Jesus rose from the dead, He displayed God’s power to bring out of the greatest of evils an even greater good: the world’s redemption. Meanwhile, our days in this life provide a season for God to test, purify, strengthen, and perfect us, making us fit to live with Him forever in heaven. To that end, the demons serve as useful tools for Him as they constantly test us by tempting us, so that we become purer and stronger and closer to perfection every time we resist the temptation. In this sense, we might say, quoting St. Augustine: “As an artist, God makes use even of the Devil.”

982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.

1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep silence. “.. . he will turn towards those at his left hand. "I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore, you have found nothing in my presence."

2783 Thus the Lord's Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.

O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son.... . Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: "Our Father..... " But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, "Our Father," so that you may merit being his son.

International Day for Tolerance[3]

The International Day of Tolerance seeks to promote tolerance, respect, appreciation and cooperation amongst the world's different cultures. Tolerance refers to the recognition and acceptance of looks, opinions, beliefs and practices that differ from one's own. Tolerance is considered the backbone of human rights and fundamental freedoms as people are naturally different. Tolerance allows mixed communities to thrive and ensures that all humans are equally important. The International Day of Tolerance was designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996. It has since been celebrated annually on November 16 by those who strive to unite the world through mutual understanding and respect.

International Day for Tolerance Facts & Quotes

·         You can counter intolerance in 5 ways:
1) Fighting intolerance with law
2) Fighting intolerance with education
3) Fighting intolerance with access to information
4) Fighting intolerance by individual awareness
5) Fighting intolerance with local solutions
·         Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of strangers. It is another word for intolerance.
·         There are an estimated 939 active hate groups in the United States alone. Some of the biggest is the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis.
·         Intolerances originated early in history during the slave trade where differences in race were not tolerated. One of the most recent and most well-known examples of intolerance was the Holocaust during World War II, where religion was not tolerated.
·         In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. – Dalai Lama, Important monk from the Gelug School.

International Day for Tolerance Top Events and Things to Do

·         Spread awareness of social media by using the hashtags  #InternationalDayforTolerance, #ToleranceDay and #LoveNotHateTolerate.
·         Organize a sporting event in your community. Sports have shown to be a universal remedy for tolerance issues. Organizing a sporting event in your community, something as simple as a basketball or baseball game, can bring your community closer together and make everyone a little more tolerant.
·         Watch a movie about tolerance. Some suggestions are: Schindler’s List (1993), Invictus (2009), Selma (2014), and Hotel Rwanda (2004).
·         Assess the impact of tolerance on your society, its policies and your life. How does this compare to other societies? Do a bit of research to see how different types of governments and policies impact tolerance in a society.
·         Read a book about tolerance. Some suggestions are: The Intolerance of Tolerance, Just a Drop of Water and Goblinheart.

 The Way[4] Purity

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

     You seem to hear a voice within you saying. 'That religious prejudice!' And then the eloquent defence of all the weaknesses of our poor fallen flesh: 'Its rights!' When this happens, tell the enemy that there is a natural law and a law of God... and God! And also, hell.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

[1]Matthew Kelly. Rediscover Catholicism. 2010
[2]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare.

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