Prayer is relevant anytime and anywhere. But when we make it one of our weekly or daily routines, we achieve much more.

The Holy Hour is a routine we received from Jesus.

 

Jesus’s Request

The practice of the Holy Hour started when Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Alacoque in 1674 during her hour of prayer. This was not the first time Jesus appeared to her. However, on this particular occasion, Christ asked her to spend an hour meditating on His sufferings every Thursday and Friday night. According to St. Margaret, the Holy Hour was to be observed between 11pm to 12am. During this period, St. Margaret was sharing the agony and sufferings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Basically, the practice of the Holy Hour stands on 3 principles:

  1. The union with the suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
  2. The remedial prayer
  3. The gestures of self-humiliation.

The Concept and the Garden

The concept of the Holy Hour is based on the Gospel of Matthew during Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his crucifixion. This is how the Gospel of Matthew 26:38-40 captures the events that took place that night:
38 “Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 39 “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
  According to St. Margaret, Jesus made it clear that He wishes His faithful friends to become partakers of that sorrow unto death which he suffered in the Garden of Olives. His followers should also join with Jesus in the humble prayer which He prayed to His Father at the time.  
His followers should also join with Jesus in the humble prayer which He prayed to His Father at the time.

Modern Tradition

The Holy Hour remained strictly confined within the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1911, it received the right to aggregation for the whole world and is now encouraged in the Catholic tradition. Also, Mother Teresa practiced the Holy Hour as a daily routine. According to her:
“Every Holy Hour we make so pleases the Heart of Jesus that it will be recorded in Heaven and retold for all eternity.”  
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Reconciliation is an extremely important aspect of the life of any Christian. This article will demonstrate ways of achieving this goal.

According to Mathew 5:23-24, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”. Reconciliation is an extremely important aspect of the life of any Christian. It reflects Jesus way for salvation as sprinkles upon all nations. This article is first out of two on the subject. For any Christian seeking reconciliation, the following are some of the most important points to consider:

Be honest about your motives

Any Christian has to make sure that their desire is to do what pleases God and not to get revenge. Settle the matter of forgiveness just like Joseph in the context of your relationship with God. Guidelines for reconciliation should not be retaliatory.

Be honest with the offender

If you need time to absorb the reality of what was said or done, express this honestly to the one who hurt you. Yet we must not use time as a means of manipulation and punishment.

Be humble in your attitude – be a sprinkle of Jesus

Do not let pride ruin everything. Renounce all vengeful attitudes toward your offender. This demands humility. Those who focus on retaliation and revenge allow self-serving pride to control them.

Be prayerful about the one who hurt you

Jesus taught his disciples to pray for those who mistreat them. According to Luke 6:28, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you”. Our attitude towards other people can tremendously change when we pray for them. According to Hebrew 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. We should act as sprinkles of Jesus love to all nations.
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Jerusalem's Saints

This is a series on the Saints and Martyrs who lived close to Jesus.

We are starting with Saint Crispoldus and Saint Joanna.

Saint Crispoldus

Saint Crispoldus was the first Bishop of Bettona in Italy, and he was a native of Jerusalem. According to a legendary story, he was one of the chosen disciples who would save the world (according to Luke 10). Therefore, as one of Jesus’s disciples, he is known for the miracles he did. For example, it is said that he cured a man possessed by a demon. On a different occasion, he cured Valerius, and after that many people turned to Christianity. He is also known to kill a wolf that daunted people, which earned him favor among others.

Saint Crispoldus refused to honor and worship idols; therefore, he was arrested. He persistently refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods and was finally executed together with his friend. His sister and 12 other women were also arrested when they attempted to give Crispoldus a proper Christian burial. Unfortunately, they were executed.

His memorial is observed on May 12.

Saint Joanna

Saint Joanna was Chuza’s wife, King Herod Antipa’s steward. Along with Mary and other women, they provided for Jesus and his disciples. Joanna and the other women used their personal resources and connections in different cities and villages in the Holy Land, while Jesus and his disciples travelled and preached.

St. Joanna was also one of the women who came to the tomb with spices to prepare his body for burial. However, by the time she and the other women arrived, they found that the stone had been moved and that the body was missing.

Her feast day is observed on May 24.

You invest in your material possessions, your appearance, your social standing and the trappings of success, you keep fit and eat well – and yet, something is missing. Are you investing in your spiritual life?

What are we missing?

Our lives are a precious gift and to squander our full potential on the pursuit of material goods is to miss the purpose of life altogether. We need to ask ourselves, what exactly have we done in our lives? As you approach your final days, do you think you will look back and applaud yourself for swapping months of your time to purchase that designer watch? Or forgoing your children’s milestone events in order to work overtime and afford that slightly better car? But! The most precious gift of all is to be able to look back over our lives and give thanks for the experiences we shared, the relationships we built, the love we had and the difference we were able to make in the world.

Life is there to be lived!

So! Beyond the necessity level, life is there to be lived! This means investing in health, well-being, and spirituality. It means:
  • Going outside for a walk in nature and rejoicing in all that is around you.
  • Prioritizing people who we love.
  • Considering our role in the world and the good that we can do around us.
And what about our loved ones? Think about children and the thing they desire above all else – the love and approval of their parents. The greatest gift you can give them is your time. And with adults, you can show your love in far more beautiful ways than by buying expensive trinkets – buy a prayer for success, happiness or even forgiveness.

Rethinking how you live

By emphasizing the spiritual dimension of our lives, we open ourselves up to experiencing the true meaning and joy of a life well lived – rather than a life squandered on the endless pursuit of material possessions. Most of all, it’s never too late. Embrace today as an opportunity. Leave work on time. Put that shopping catalog away and simply spend time with your loved ones, listening to their stories and building real memories together. Suddenly, time will take on a new dimension and the urgency of a life well lived will reveal itself to you.
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What is the difference between the sacraments of the dead and the sacraments of the living?

The Basic

According to the Catholic Culture Dictionary, Sacraments are defined as, “Those sacraments which can be validly and fruitfully received when a person is not in the state of grace. They are baptism, penance, and, if needed, anointing of the sick. These sacraments confer or restore sanctifying grace and confer actual graces when received by one who is already in God’s friendship”.

Sacraments of the Dead

“Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. (John 3:5)
In death, we want to enter into God’s Kingdom. With Baptism and Penance, we are preparing our spirit to receive God’s blessing to achieve his approval. Therefore, they are called the Sacraments of the Dead

Sacraments of the living

Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called sacraments of the living because their chief purpose is to give more grace to souls already spiritually alive through sanctifying grace.

Jesus Christ’s signs

Getting into Heaven is our goal, according to Matthew 6:25-33. One must have Sanctifying Grace in their soul when one dies to enter Heaven. Sanctifying Grace is God’s life in the soul and is chiefly obtained through the Seven Sacraments. A Sacrament is an outward sign made by Jesus Christ to give one grace. An outward sign is anything one can see, hear, or feel, which tells one about something one cannot see. Each Sacrament is a direct encounter with Christ, who is the One who really gives the Sacrament. Christ gave His Church only the essential parts of each Sacrament; the Church has surrounded each Sacrament with a ceremony.
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One of the most important days for any Christian is the Transfiguration of the Lord. The light of God was shown to Jesus, the apostles, and then to everyone else in the future.

In the books of Mark 9:2-8, Matthew 17:1-8 and Luke 9:28-36 we are presented with the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. While in Luke 9 there is a focus on the collection of incidents that clarifies the identity of Jesus Christ, on Mark 9 we have a good emphasis on the event itself.
“(2) Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, (3) and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. (4) Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. (5) Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (6) He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. (7) Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” (8) Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus”

Moses and Jesus

The transfiguration of Jesus is a confirmation that his suffering will end in glory. According to Luke 9:32, “Peter and those with him were almost overcome by sleep, but they managed to stay awake and saw his glory as well as the two men with him”. Therefore, we can see in this scene the acceptance and approval of Jesus as God’s son, and as the successor of Moses. In both stories, we see the following resemblance: the six days, the mountain, the radiance is seen on their faces and the clouds (Exod. 19:16; 24:15-18; 34:29-35). Also, we see that the Mountain is also a place of prayer, Luke (6:12; 22:39-41). Both Moses and Elijah represent the Old Testament Law as well as the prophets, while Jesus represents the new law.

God’s Plan

But what did the apostles learn on the mountaintop? This experience allowed them to peer deeply into the identity of Jesus and better understand his divine mission from heaven. The Mount Tabor experience is imperative for the journey up to Jerusalem, as it strengthened Jesus and the apostles. It also provides us the perspective, vision, and strength of our lives as Christians and disciples. The transfiguration of Jesus teaches us that God’s brilliant life included death, and there is no way around it, only through it. It also reminds us that the terrifying darkness can be radiant and dazzling.

Transfiguration & Rosary

Pope John Paul II made the Transfiguration as one of the five Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The Luminous Mystery Rosary or the Mysteries of Light focus on the public life of Jesus, the years he was preaching spanning the time between His Baptism and His death. They are called the Mysteries of Light because Jesus is the light of the World. Jesus as the light is mentioned several times in St. John’s Gospel.
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What is a spirit?

What Is A Spirit?

What is its/her origin? Are there different types? What are the Influences of the Spirit? In this article, we will discuss these questions from the Christianity point of view

 

Origin and Influence

The word “spirit” comes from the words “breath” or “wind” because both are expressing an existence of something we cannot see but understand its power. And when Jesus explained to his disciples about the Holy Spirit he emphasized the connection and difference between the Spirit and the Flesh. For example: In John 3:5-7, Jesus told Nicodemus, a religious leader who was trying to understand the teachings of Jesus that

“Jesus answered,

5 Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[a] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[b] must be born again”.

Therefore when the Holy Spirit comes into a person, he imparts the life of God and makes the person.

The Spirit in Jesus

According to John 15:26, the Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus, from the Father, to dwell in a person. “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me”. The Holy Spirit is God that is working with the Father and the Son.

Holy Spirit’s power

The Holy Spirit makes the difference between being religious, but spiritually dead, and being religious and spiritually alive. The spirit, therefore, brings spiritual life. According to Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit; if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ”. In Ephesians 5:18, St. Paul said that the Holy Spirit can fill us. This understanding is also available in Acts 2:4, 4:8, 31; 9:17; and 13:51. Even though our current life can feel like it’s situated in the physical, there is more. Once we begin having a spiritual lifestyle, God is able to work with the Spirit and save us from sins.

We should, therefore, seek for the Holy Spirit’s power at all times.

The Bible doesn’t clearly state what made Eve follow the Serpent instead of God. But we can say what happened afterward. Today, we should ask what we can do if we, like Eve, have sinned.

According to the Christian tradition, the original sin affected the whole humankind. Adam and Eve, the first humans and parents of mankind, committed the first sin known as the Original Sin. God had created the world and placed humans in the Garden of Eden. Although they had all they needed to thrive and nourish, they eventually disobeyed him. In the Garden, God gave them laws to maintain the order. One of the laws was the prohibition of eating the fruits from the Tree of Knowledge. Unfortunately for the whole humankind, the serpent had deceived Eve. Therefore, by telling her to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the road to the first sin had begun.

Effects of the Original Sin

In Christianity, the principle of this sin explains why there are so much trouble and wrong in the world. On a worldly scale, the effects of the universality of sin are seen in things such as cruelty, abuse, genocide and exploitation experienced in daily life.

How to cure the Original Sin

As a result of the disobedience of the first parents, humans became helpless. According to Christianity, we are helpless against our sinful nature since it was programmed. But there is a way the human can be saved from the consequences of sin. Redemption is possible and Jesus is the key. For people who sinned, the path towards earning their redemption starts by accepting God’s grace. Jesus shows us the way of believing in forgiveness through many ways, but mainly through his death on the cross. This is the only way sinful humans can realize the benefits lost by the fall of man and get on the path to return to the original state in the Garden of Eden.
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