Tag: scripture

Walking with God’s Word

Peter Herbeck heard the call to serve God full-time when he was in college. At first he thought this likely meant a vocation to the priesthood. After some discernment, however, he discovered that was not the case: He was called to marry and have a family.

But how could he evangelize full time as a layman with a wife and kids? Herbeck quickly found the answer: By trusting in God’s promise that he read in the Bible.

Today, Herbeck is the vice president and director for missions at Renewal Ministries, an organization founded by Ralph Martin in 1980 to evangelize in the Catholic Church through parish missions, conferences and various media initiatives. He’s also an author, in-demand speaker, and co-host of two weekly TV programs on EWTN and one daily show on Ave Maria Radio.

On Sept. 7 Herbeck and Father John Riccardo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and host of the Ave Maria Radio program “Christ is the Answer,” will speak in La Vista at the 10 Year Anniversary Conference of Seeking Truth, an Omaha-based biblical formation apostolate.

Herbeck spoke with the Catholic Voice about the impact Scripture should play in the lives of Catholics. 

Q: Tell us about your talk at the upcoming Seeking Truth conference.

What I’d like to do is talk a little bit about the times we’re living in to give people a spiritual perspective. You know, St. John Paul II used to say that one of the fundamental calls of the Vicar of Christ is to help the church read the signs of the times and to interpret for the church, to see what the Spirit is saying in response to the signs of the times. And I think it’s very important to just see spiritually what we’re living through right now in the church. It’s significant. 

And then in that context to see how important it is to do what people like Sharon and Steve (Doran) are doing in Seeking Truth, the Bible study, and how crucial it is for us right now. Because the Word of God has a unique capacity to clear up our thinking, give us clear minds, to give us a fresh spirit, a new way of thinking. … It gives us a deep-rooted, strong identity, to be able to see the Lord, understand him, understand his teaching. It gives people an unshakable grounding. And that’s exactly what people need right now. 

The Second Vatican Council talked so much about the core responsibility of the clergy and the laity in the mission of the church. We still have a long way to go for the laity to be awakened to that core responsibility and what that means. And it’s important. It’s serious. It’s what we’ve been baptized and confirmed for. It’s having people like Steve and Sharon and various kinds of lay leaders who are really responding to God’s call in their lives. Now he’s deploying them and they’re going forward, and bearing fruit. It is such an important sign, such an encouraging sign to know. It’s really a work of God.

Q: Could you share with us an experience from your own life in which you were enriched by your study of the Bible?

When I was 20, I had been encouraged by friends and mentors to make sure to take up the Bible each day and to read it. And I was in my dorm in college and I was reading through Matthew 6, that beautiful passage where Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about anything. What you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink, what you’re going to wear.”

It’s so counterintuitive. Reading, I’m thinking, “Everybody’s anxious about everything. How can we not be anxious about anything, about the very things you’re talking about, Lord?” But he’s talking about our need to trust him. And the last line there said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” instead of being anxious. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his way of holiness and everything else will be added unto you. He’ll heal everything. He’ll provide, maybe not everything we want, but everything we need he will provide. 

And I felt like in that moment, that passage, (it was) the first time really in my life probably where a passage just kind of jumped off the page at me. And I felt as though the Lord was saying to me in my dorm room, “Peter, if you internalize this, you take this into your heart, if you accept this and believe it and live it, I will make something beautiful out of your life. I will show you that this is absolutely true.” And it’s absolutely true for anyone who believes it and lives in accord with it. I’m 61 years old. I was like 20, that was 41 years ago when I read that passage, and it’s absolutely true. And all I can say is God is faithful, completely faithful.

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Live Lent Differently

Live Lent Different

Too often, we associate Lent with negative images that involve, in different ways, giving up something. Meanwhile, most of us have a hard time wanting to give up anything.

I encourage you to live this Lent in a manner that may be different than what you have done before:

  • Take the first two weeks of Lent (Feb. 14-28) to think about the love God has for you. Read carefully, slowly, the Gospel of John, Chapters 14-17. I urge you, if you can, to read those four chapters out loud in some quiet space. (Receiving the Word through two senses—sight and hearing—helps the truth penetrate our hearts.)
  • Take the second two-week period of Lent (March 1-14) to look at the Gospel of Matthew and read aloud Chapters 25 and 26.
  • Take roughly the last two weeks, from March 15-24, to read the Gospel of Mark, Chapters 14 and 15.
  • In the last week—Holy Week—pay attention to the selected readings for the Mass of the Day.

One major step that can help you receive the Word of God and know God’s presence more than ever before is this: Consider putting some restrictions on yourself regarding your use of cell phones and other media devices during Lent. If you want a genuine personal relationship with God, you need time to be still and listen to God as He speaks to you in the Scriptures. Remember, His Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12). His Word convicts, counsels, and consoles. Give God room to move in your life and heart this Lent!

As you read each of these Scripture passages, pause and ask yourself how God is showing His Love for you! Remember, He did not die for crowds of people—He died for you. In His living Word, God wants to touch your heart with the realization that when He died on that cross, He already knew you. He wanted to obey the Father that you might be with Him forever. You were on His mind when He died on that cross, though you had not yet been created. (With God there are no time limits; God has no limits).

Ask God for the grace to receive and accept His love for you! Ask God to give you the grace to renew your promises to Him or to make your personal commitment to follow Him for the first time. Talk to Him about wanting to be more His son or daughter. Talk to Him about wanting to thank Him for all He has done for you. Tell Him you want to follow Him more closely. Ask Him to help you make a decision or two that will assist you in living out your relationship with God as both your Father and Savior.

Remember God hears every word of every prayer you pray—of every word you speak. Give Him your mind and your heart and ask Him to lead you in the ways He wants you to go.

If you live Lent this way, and if you make a good confession during Lent, you will come to see, by His grace, how dearly He loves you and wants to walk closely with you from now until eternity.


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Reflections on the Lord’s Transfiguration

Russia Church Orthodox Historically
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This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Faith Magazine. It is based on the Gospel reading for Aug. 6, the Transfiguration of the Lord.


Jesus took Peter, James and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Mt 17:1-9)

This passage from Scripture is one of my favorite sections to read. Why? Because it tells us so much about God’s care for his disciples and, as a result, it speaks powerfully to what awaits us when we leave this earthly life and enter eternal life—fullness of life, true and lasting life forever. Even that is hard to grasp because we are finite. So, let’s “walk” through this scene. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain, and he is transfigured before them. What does that mean? As far as the disciples could tolerate, Jesus shows himself in his majesty and glory of God the Son.

Then something further happens: Jesus is seen conversing with Moses and Elijah. Peter speaks for them all when he asks the Lord if he could build three tents—dwelling places—for the majesty and splendor of Jesus and the reflection of that glory in Moses and Elijah. No dwelling could ever contain God’s glory, but Peter is trying to find a way, with his human resources, to honor them.

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Jesus Came to Redeem, not Affirm

Paul
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This article originally appeared on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s blog.

By Archbishop Charles Chaput

Writing in the mid-First Century to “all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints” — and despite the dangers and frustrations he himself faced — St. Paul said “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed . . .” (Rom 1:7, 16-17).

Paul’s Letter to the Romans became a key text of the New Testament.  The Church has always revered it as part of the inspired Word of God and incorporated it into her thought and practice.  The books of Scripture, even when they’re morally demanding, are not shackles.  They’re part of God’s story of love for humanity.  They’re guide rails that lead us to real dignity and salvation.

That’s a good thing.  Much of human history – far too much — is a record of our species’ capacity for self-harm.  The Word of God is an expression of his mercy.  It helps us to become the people of integrity God created us to be.  As Paul reminds us, we’re “called to be saints.”  Sometimes Scripture’s lessons toward that end can be hard.  But God cannot lie.  His Word always speaks the truth.  And the truth, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel, makes us free.  This is why Christians must never be ashamed of God’s Word – even when it’s inconvenient.

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FFJ SEQUENCE – Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
                Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
                Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
                Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
                Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
                And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
                Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
                Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
                Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
                In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
                Give them joys that never end. Amen.
                Alleluia.