Christians often wonder how they should live to make sure that their daily lives reflect who Christ is. Here are some of the habits you can include in your daily routine to become closer to Jesus.

Spend time talking to God

What this means is that Christians should spend time praying and learning about the will of God and what He truly wants from us. To clarify this thought, you can imagine it as if you were catching up with a friend or filling out an imaginary diary about your day. Even a few minutes of your daily time spent for a confession to God in prayer will help you reflect on your actions and strengthen your bond with Him.

Set time aside for the Word of God

Christians, who want to renew their minds, rely on the Bible as a source of information on how to lead themselves on a day-to-day basis. The Bible provides the blocks upon which we build our faith. While it’s not necessary to memorize it, making time for reading and analyzing even a few verses a day is sufficient. The Rosary is a great companion with which you can achieve this goal.

Bless someone with an unexpected act of kindness

As Christians, we must endeavor to live out our faith at every opportunity. Therefore good deeds are one of the ways that we can put our faith into action. Jesus advises us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Whether you give up your lunch break to assist a colleague, donate something to the local charity, or even pray for someone else. Because it is even the smallest acts of kindness are important.

Write a “thank you” note

One of the best feelings in life is to realize that our efforts are being appreciated. Take some time to think about the things or people you are grateful for, and then thank them for it. A good way to do it is to write a “thank you” note to someone who is always there for you. If it’s God you are thankful for, you can do it through a prayer. Making this practice into an everyday habit can show us just how much good God is doing in our lives and how much of His kindness we are surrounded by.

Forgive

Learning how to unconditionally love and forgive others is a way to remind ourselves of how Jesus gave his life for our salvation. Even the Lord’s prayer teaches us about the importance of forgiving others. Forgiveness takes a lot of work, but if we practice it every day and put in the effort to pardon those who have angered or annoyed us, we can free ourselves from negative emotions and become closer to God. Habits can have various purposes in our lives, and as Christians, we can dedicate some of them solely to strengthening our bond with God. If we include at least some of these practices in our daily routines, we will be amazed how much it can increase His presence around us.
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“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you belie ve and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is a belief which sits right from the heart of the Christian religion. When Jesus Christ, son of God, died on the cross, the Bible dictates that, in the act of doing so, he delivered humankind from pain and suffering.

The Bible states that salvation is a gracious, undeserved gift from God (Ephesians 2:5, 8). It’s available only to those who profess their faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Salvation, also known as ‘deliverance’, promises believers eternal life, full enlightenment and emancipation from the flesh and blood temptations that cause men to falter.

Although the various denominations of Christianity have different opinions on where exactly humanity’s need for salvation stems on, most agree on the doctrine of ‘original sin’ based on the ‘fall of man’ and Adam and Eve’s ejection from the Garden of Eden.

sent prayer to jerusalem

Jesus Christ and salvation

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

Christianity revolves around hope and faith in Jesus Christ, the savior. The message of salvation was passed down to the rest of humankind by Jesus’ apostles.

Paul, who was not an original disciple and in fact despised Christianity, encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. This dramatic meeting inspired Paul to become the Lord’s most fervent supporter. Therefore he was disseminating the message of salvation through scripture, such as:

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (NIV, Romans 3:21-25)

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Jerusalem: the Holy City

According to Zechariah, the Lord promised to protect Jerusalem, to make it an ‘immovable rock for all the nations’ and to ‘shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David’. This, coupled with Luke 24:47:
‘and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem
has led Christians to believe that salvation of the Earth will begin in the Holy City.

Is it still a significant place?

Yes, Because of this belief, and because Christ died and was resurrected in the city, Jerusalem has become one of the most significant places on Earth for Christians. Each year, millions of Christians make the pilgrimage to the empty prayerof Jesus at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the city to pray. They are seeking solace and redemption in the process. Many also wish to be buried there, as they believe that the Last Judgment will take place in Jerusalem.
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The Stone of the Anointing

The Stone of the Anointing is also often called the Stone of Unction. It can be found just inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains the two most holy Christian sites in Jerusalem, Calvary where Jesus was crucified and

the Stone of the Anointing where his body was prepared for burial by anointing and being wrapped in cloth.

Importance to Christians

The Stone of the Anointing is of enormous importance to Christians across the world as it was here that Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the newly risen Jesus. She didn’t realize it was him and thought she was speaking to a stranger when she said:

“They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where to find him.”

For Christians, this is the most important event in the history of mankind, as it is when death was conquered by Jesus and from that moment on his believers felt they too could defeat death and experience eternal life. The importance of this event is reflected in the importance of the Stone of the Anointing.

History

Most historians are in agreement that the Stone of the Anointing is the place where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. Because of this, the stone itself and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are very popular destinations for pilgrims and they have been the scenes of some difficult times throughout history.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian didn’t want a site of such significance to be available to Christians, so he built a temple to the goddess Venus over the holy site in the 2nd Century AD. Around 325 AD the Roman empire had its first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, who oversaw the replacement of the temple by a church.

In 630 AD this church was damaged by a Persian attack and a difficult history of earthquakes, fires and repairs followed.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was totally reconstructed in 1810 and it was at this time that the current Stone of the Anointing was placed where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial.

What people do there today

The Stone of the Anointing remains a very holy pilgrimage site for Christians today. Pilgrims queue to either kiss the stone or rub it with oil or rosewater and then wipe it with a cloth. Priests burn incense around the stone and sometimes people place their own crosses on it in order to transfer the unction or anointing.

Rosewater

Rosewater is used to anoint the Stone of the Anointing because it is a perfume that has traditional use in a number of religions. For example, during Muslim burials rosewater is sprinkled into a grave before burial. Rosewater has in the past been used for the embalming of bodies as it has properties that are good for the skin.

Visitors to the Stone of the Anointing

Over hundreds of years, there have been stories of miracles and cures experienced by people who have visited and anointed the Stone of the Anointing. The atmosphere in the Church of the Sepulchre is one of reverence and worship. This is clearly one of the holiest places and somewhere that each and every one of us should consider visiting during our lifetimes.

Christianity and Resurrection

Resurrection – or the promise of life after death – is integral to Christian belief. As such, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ form the central tenet of Christianity. The gospels of the New Testament don’t just describe the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion, they also point to at least one resurrection of humanity, often thought to be on the Day of Judgement.

Jesus as the ‘firstfruits’

The term ‘firstfruits’ has been integral in Christian culture as the holy offering of the first fruits of the harvest. The Bible employs this terminology to describe Jesus’ return to life three days after he was laid to rest in the tomb. In Corinthians, it is stated that

“Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]” [1 Corinthians 15:20].

Therefore, Christians believe resurrection to be God’s harvesting of mankind, the first and most important of which was carried out through Christ’s resurrection.

Subsequent resurrections

The resurrection of Christ is just the first part of God’s plan. In John, we are told Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” [John 11:25-26].

The emphasis is on God’s intention for humanity’s salvation which too will feature a resurrection since “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” [John 3:16].

However, the Bible also suggests that resurrection does not point to the full assumption of a physical life after death. Instead, Corinthians explains “It is sown a natural [physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body” [1 Corinthians 15:44].

The resurrection of humanity

However, The resurrection of humanity cannot take place until what many regard as the Second Coming of Christ. At Judgement Day,

“We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” [1 Corinthians 15:51-52].

There is also some debate as to whether only true Christians will be resurrected in order to enter the Holy Kingdom, or whether both the just and the unjust will be resurrected to face their judgment.

Mother Mary's Motherhood

Our Role Model

We all know wonderful real-world examples of motherhood, but when we seek inspiration and a figure to model ourselves upon, there is none better than the divine mother herself. A woman worthy of emulation, we can find inspiration in her virtue, and in her unconditional love towards not only her son but humanity as a whole.

Our Mother as well

You see, when Mary agreed to bear God’s son, she also made a commitment to become our mother too, for we are each united with Jesus in the Mystical Body. Though taken up to Heaven millennia ago, it is in her manifold intercessions that we continue to receive the gift of eternal salvation. To us, she is an advocate, comforter, and benefactress in one single feminine form.

What makes her inspiring?

Through the study of her actions and defining traits, every woman can thus gift their children with an upbringing worthy of God: one where we exemplify acceptance, courage, endurance, faith, hope, joy, obedience, patience, strength, and trust.

More, we can learn a lesson in faith, and in teaching this to our children. Mary was asked to endure much – unwed motherhood, the disappointment of her betrothed, the torture and death or her son – and yet she came through all of these with her strength, courage, and faith in God still intact.

Devotion and Dedication

With Mary as a model of motherhood, we can thus endure every trial and tribulation that the role of parent thrusts upon us, the joys and the sorrows alike. For when we look to Mary for inspiration, we see that the way that a mother should love: devotedly, devoutly, and with an eternal and unwavering dedication to our faith.

Where are The Churches of Mother Mary in the Holy Land?

Mother Mary’s journeys had a great impact on Jesus, but while we can find many sites related to his footsteps, what do we know about hers? Here are some highlights on Mother Mary’s main stations in life and the Churches we can visit today.

 

There are several holy sites in today’s Israel, which are sacred to Christians all over the world. Some of them are churches pertaining to the Mother Mary.

In the North

The Church of the Annunciation, sometimes known as the Basilica of the Annunciation, is a place of worship in the northern Israeli town of Nazareth. The Annunciation happened there, while Mary was taking water from a spring. Therefore the site features the Grotto of the Annunciation, and some say that Mary’s childhood home was in that cave. Today, there is a modern 20th-century church with two stories at the site. The first shrine at the Church of the Annunciation is said to date back to the 4th century.

In Jerusalem

The Church of the Assumption which is dated back to the 5th century is also located in Holy Land. According to the Christian tradition, Mary’s Tomb is found in this church. The church is at the bottom of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. There is also a niche which is dedicated to St. Joseph, Mary’s husband. The church is located in Jerusalem’s Old City Walls; not far from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. To the right of the church is a passageway which leads to the Grotto of Gethsemane, which is the site where Jesus gave his last lessons to his disciples.

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.