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Temptation is not a sin. It’s how you respond to it that matters.

February 22, 2015

 

“Be alert. Continue strong in the faith.

Have courage, and be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NCV)

temptations

Many people are intimidated by the fact that they are tempted,
like they shouldn’t even be in that situation or that they should be able to control it.
But you shouldn’t feel guilty about temptation.

It’s not a sin to be tempted.
It’s a sin to give in to temptation.

The Bible says that Jesus experienced every temptation known to man, but he didn’t sin.
Temptation is not a sin.
It’s how you respond to it that matters.

be alert

The Bible says we need to flee temptation:
“Be alert. Continue strong in the faith.
Have courage, and be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NCV).
To “be alert” means to know what tempts you so that you can stay away from it.

There are two things you need to stay away from:
tempting situations (circumstances)
and tempting associations (people who tempt you).

stay away

John Baker, says,
“You hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.”
It’s true!
If you have a problem with alcohol, you don’t go to the bar to eat a sandwich.
You stay away from it.

You need to know
what tempts you,
when it tempts you,
where it tempts you,
who tempts you, and then just stay away from those situations and people.

If you get tempted in airport bookstores, don’t go to airport bookstores.
If you get tempted by a certain channel, don’t have that channel on your TV.

We have parental block on our TV, and the youngest person in our house is my wife, Kay.

temptation

We don’t have kids at home any more,
but I don’t want to even risk going through channels
and stumbling upon something I don’t need to see.

You also need to avoid tempting associations.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33,
“Do not be fooled. ‘Bad companions ruin good character’” (TEV).

bad company

There are some people you need to stop relating to.
There may be some friends who maybe should not be your friends,
because it’s always easier for them to pull you down than for you to pull them up.

If they’re leading you away from Christ, they’re not friends.
Bad company corrupts good character.

So what should you do if you try to avoid those tempting circumstances
and people but still find yourself in a sticky situation?

Get out! Don’t just walk away — run!
You don’t fight it; you flee it.
And you go after the good stuff in life instead.

– fwd: v c mathews

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Does Lent mean practicing our sense of anticipation

Lent through the Lens of Grace thumbnail

Andy Alexander S.J. and Maureen McCann Waldron

Just imagine that this Lent is going to be different from every other Lent we’ve experienced. Imagine that there will be many graces offered us this year. Let’s even imagine that God is going to help transform our lives, with greater freedom, greater joy, and deeper desires for love and service.

Preparing our hearts is a process of preparing our desires. This means practicing our sense of anticipation. If we imagine Lent as an “ordeal” or a time to dread in some way, then we’ve already pre-disposed ourselves to not get very much out of it. These days … are a time to start anticipating something wonderful that is about to happen.

Our sense of excitement and anticipation will grow more easily if we begin to imagine what God wants to give us. There is something coming that we can truly look forward to. If we get too focused on ourselves and what we are going to do or not do, we could risk missing the gift God wants to give us. We have to keep aware of the fact that grace comes from God. This is about God’s great desire to bless us. With this mindset, it is easier for us to imagine that what we really want to do is place ourselves in a space to receive what God wants to give us.

We receive God’s gifts as body-persons. We experience things with our senses, relish them with our imaginations, and share in God’s own creative and loving activity when our hearts and hands work together for and with others. We can let our homes be places full of the holy – things that help raise our minds and hearts to God. Our world is full of so many images that lure our minds and hearts elsewhere. Some symbols will carry the ongoing meaning we give them, for us and for our families and loved ones.

We can make sure that we have a crucifix in a central place in our home during Lent. A bowl of water on our dining room table can be transformed into a reminder of our preparing to renew our baptismal promises. A candle can be lit at each meal to remind us of the light of Christ among us in Lent and to prepare us for the new fire being lit at the Easter Vigil. Placing a Bible in a central place in our home reminds us of the central place of God’s Word in our lives on this Lenten journey.

This year’s Lent can be different. It will take an openness to God’s grace, a deep desire to receive what is being offered us, and a few signs and symbols to help us stay focused throughout the season. But if we do these things, God’s desire for our hearts and our desire for greater union with God will meet. Lent will no longer feel like a burden, but rather a blessing.

From Praying Lent (2009)

Donkey Shelter

My Lord God, my thanks for making me an animal so tame, peaceful, humble, and hardworking to serve my brothers – men and women – in their needs and their difficulties.

Prayer of the Donkey thumbnail

John Honner

I once presented a group of priests with a guided meditation. Think of a time in the past few weeks, I said, when you have really felt you were doing your proper work as a priest: it may have been a painful requiem or a happy marriage, or some inspired preaching or sensitive listening, or a moment of closeness of God in prayer….  Go back to that time and try to enter into it again with your senses: what were the sounds, what did you see, what was the light like, what were the colours, how were the people you were with? And how were you feeling – afraid, consoled, tired, blissfully happy? And then, after some time for reflection, I asked the priests to recall some scene in the gospels that matched this experience of priesthood: which character in the gospel did they identify with? One felt like the farmer in the parable who sowed seed on good soil and rocky soil. Another felt like the good shepherd seeking the lost sheep. A third felt like he was with Jesus on the road to Emmaus … and so on. And then, finally, one who had been comparatively quiet throughout the whole exercise said, “I was the donkey.”

  

Donkey Shelter

My Lord God, my thanks for making me an animal so tame, peaceful, humble, and hardworking to serve my brothers – men and women – in their needs and their difficulties. I do not understand why, since they are created in your image and likeness, they have not those eyes of tenderness, of goodwill, of understanding, that would see us as we really are, and not as they would wish that we were, as their caprices, follies or bad temper takes them.

Humbly I recognise that, like my rational brothers, I have my defects and qualities, my weaknesses as well as my desire to give them greater and better service. But like them I have my sensibilities, my hours of anguish and despair; I also need love, affection, care and patience.

The pity is, Lord, that not understanding the limits of my strength, they put such heavy burdens on my back, beyond my energy and powers. May they remember, Lord, that on this back so beaten, bruised and wounded You set the Mother of Your Son, She who left there the Cross, the mark of her tears, and rode upon me so delicately and meekly.

How many times have I not helped man to carry his load, without his feeling my hunger, my thirst, or giving me a little time to recover from my weariness and restore my lost energies.

I beg, my Lord and Creator, for me and for Man, my brother, that I may be more patient and resigned to bearing his temperament and impatience, and he more compassionate and humane, so that I might serve him with more skill and speed.

I am very happy to be an irrational animal, because as I am I know how to love You without demands and complaints, and how to be useful to my brothers – Man – without expecting reward and payment.

Lord, in me bless all my irrational brothers so that we may live the happiness and beauty of this world that You created for us.

Amen.

From www.donkeyshelter.org.au (2014)

Most people in Asia are exploited

An Asian Woman’s Theology thumbnail

Chung Hyun Kyung

Out of many contradictory teaching in the Bible, Asian women use most frequently the teaching from Genesis which contains the message that men and women are created equally in God’s image (Genesis 1:27, 28). “In God’s Image” is an important biblical phrase Asian women have adopted to define their perspectives on humanity.

From Struggle to Be the Sun Again: Introducing Asian Women’s Theology (1990)

Kwok Pui-lan

When Asian feminists talk about God … they focus on God as the source of life and the creative, sustaining power of the universe.

From Introducing Asian Feminist Theology (2000)

 

Kwok Pui-lan

Feminists in the Third World do not have the luxury of attending to gender oppression alone, without simultaneously taking into consideration class, racial, colonial, and religious oppression. Their political theology takes many forms, including the option for solidarity with the poor, the critique of cultural alienation and racial repression, the challenge of globalized economy, and activism for ecojustice and protection of nature.

From Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (2005)

Marianne Katoppo

Most people in Asia are exploited, have been exploited, and perhaps cannot conceive of a future in which they will not be exploited. They have to fight for their very existence—to say nothing of social justice and human dignity.

From Compassionate and Free: An Asian Woman’s Theology (1980)

 

Hak Joon Lee

In and through community, a person becomes a person in the truest sense, acquiring skills and the virtues that define a human … the self is the self only in relation to others: without others, the self is incomplete … the wellbeing of self and the well-being of others are inextricably connected in a community.

From We Will Get to the Promised Land (2006)

Leslie Veen

It is important to hear and to incorporate the voices from cultures and peoples long silenced so that all will truly know the life-giving love of the Triune God. We need to once again start from lived experience and only then move to finding theological words to express those experiences. When all voices are heard and all experiences are seen as valid starting points, then our theological language will more closely resemble the loving, perichoretic union that is the triune God whom we worship and adore. Then will we be more fully living into the image of God in which we were created. Then will we be honoring the God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all that is.

From “Listening to Voices Long Silenced” (2013)

Loving the Earth

Loving the Earth.

This mission to establish God’s Kingdom in our midst is upon the shoulder of every Christian today

Always the Same: Available to the Poor thumbnail

 

Veluswamy Jeyaraj S.J.

It is the message as well as the mission Jesus gives every follower of his to be an agent for establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth. Jesus called the twelve apostles, many more disciples who opted to follow Jesus in his new and radical way of living, and even the ordinary people who flocked to hear him narrate stories and parables through which he taught them, turning them into active and effective agents of the Kingdom of God vis-à-vis other earthly kingdoms.

This mission to establish God’s Kingdom in our midst is upon the shoulder of every Christian today, as it is our firm belief that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb 13:8). Hence the mission of Jesus is ever beckoning and urging us:

The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the free those who are oppressed (Luke 5).

George Soares-Prabhu describes in a candid way the dynamic process in which the Kingdom of God enters and takes root in human society:

When the revelation of God’s love (the Kingdom) meets its appropriate response in man’s trusting acceptance of this love (repentance), there begins a mighty movement of personal and societal liberation which sweeps through human history. The movement brings freedom inasmuch it liberates each individual from the inadequacies and obsessions that shackle him…. It summons us to a ceaseless struggle against the demonic structures of unfreedom (psychological and sociological) erected by mammon; and to a ceaseless creativity that will produce in every age new blueprints for a society ever more consonant with the Gospel vision of man.

Michaelraj Lourdu Ratinam … in his inspiring sharing about being part of an insertion community among the dalits – the broken people – in the state of Tamil Nadu, South India, has this simple liberative-pedagogy to share with the readers in the article, ‘Taking Sides with the Poor. An Experience of Insertion Communities in Madurai Province’:

I feel that promotion of justice starts from taking sides with the poor as Jesus did. Taking sides to me means a close friendship with the poor. Such a friendship is realized only in our availability to the poor. We have our own schedules and timetables. The poor may need us at any moment because their troubles shoot from anywhere and at any time. This availability is very essential to creating the relationships, friendships and confidence so crucial for a meaningful ministry.

From “Our Jesuit Faith Today: An Indian Perspective”

This power of healing is not at human disposal

Two Kinds of Healing thumbnail

 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Church recognizes two kinds of healing: healing by divine grace and healing that utilizes the powers of nature.

As for the first, we can point to the ministry of Christ, who performed many physical healings and who commissioned his disciples to carry on that work. In fidelity to this commission, from the time of the Apostles the Church has interceded on behalf of the sick through the invocation of the name of the Lord Jesus, asking for healing through the power of the Holy Spirit, whether in the form of the sacramental laying on of hands and anointing with oil or of simple prayers for healing, which often include an appeal to the saints for their aid.

As for the second, the Church has never considered a plea for divine healing, which comes as a gift from God, to exclude recourse to natural means of healing through the practice of medicine. (See Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Prayers for Healing: “Obviously, recourse to prayer does not exclude, but rather encourages the use of effective natural means for preserving and restoring health, as well as leading the Church’s sons and daughters to care for the sick, to assist them in body and spirit, and to seek to cure disease.”)

Alongside her sacrament of healing and various prayers for healing, the Church has a long history of caring for the sick through the use of natural means. The most obvious sign of this is the great number of Catholic hospitals that are found throughout our country.

The two kinds of healing are not mutually exclusive. Because it is possible to be healed by divine power does not mean that we should not use natural means at our disposal. It is not our decision whether or not God will heal someone by supernatural means. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, the Holy Spirit sometimes gives to certain human beings “a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord.”

This power of healing is not at human disposal, however, for “even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses.” Recourse to natural means of healing therefore remains entirely appropriate, as these are at human disposal. In fact, Christian charity demands that we not neglect natural means of healing people who are ill.

From Committee on Doctrine (2009)

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