Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

5/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

God is mysterious.  We have to accept this fact.  We cannot think that we can completely understand God.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: year of faith, father james farfaglia, trinity sunday, spirituality, faith, hope, trust, radical trust in God, motivation, inspiration, spirituality, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Many years ago, an elderly Bishop visited a parish of his diocese for Confirmations.  Despite the fact that he was losing his hearing, he still continued his custom of quizzing the children on their catechism before the Confirmations.

He asked a young girl to define the Blessed Trinity.  The girl was rather nervous and shy, and she softly said: "The Blessed Trinity is one God with three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

The Bishop could not hear her answer, so he said: "Speak up, I can't understand you."  The girl turned to the Bishop and said: "You can't understand, it is a mystery."

"The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life.  It is the mystery of God in himself.  It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.  It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234).

God is mysterious.  We have to accept this fact.  We cannot think that we can completely understand God. 

Saint Augustine was once confronted by a pagan leader who showed him his idol and said, "Here is my god; where is yours?" Augustine replied, "I cannot show you my God; not because there is no God to show but because you have no eyes to see him."

However, although we cannot even begin to fathom the mystery of God, we do know that he is always with us.  The gift of faith that we have received at our baptism helps us to live in his presence and know that he is always with us. 

My dear friends, since the Blessed Trinity is a mystery that we cannot understand, I would like to focus our attention this Sunday on how we should live out our relationship with God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

I would like to consider with you what I call the eight habits of highly effective Catholics.  These eight habits are the habits of those believers who have a radical trust in God. 

By radical, I am referring to the use of this word as it relates to the Latin word radix, which means root.  Thus, a radical trust in God refers to those whose relationship with God goes to the very core of their being.  Their relationship with God is a personal relationship. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17: 28).

Habit #1 - They accept suffering

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was a Catholic priest from Vietnam.  He became a bishop in 1975 and later was chosen to be a cardinal.  Only a few months after he became a bishop, he was arrested by the Vietnamese government and imprisoned for thirteen years.   Nine of those thirteen years were spent in solitary confinement.

During the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II invited Cardinal Van Thuan to direct the annual Lenten spiritual exercises for himself and the Roman Curia.  The collection of meditations that were delivered make up an amazing book entitled Testimony of Hope.

In one of the meditations, Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan movingly describes what it was like not to have the Eucharist readily available and what he had to do to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

"When I was arrested, I had to leave immediately with empty hands.  The next day, I was permitted to write to my people in order to ask for the most necessary things: clothes, toothpaste.I wrote, 'Please send me a little wine as medicine for my stomach ache.'  The faithful understood right away.

They sent me a small bottle of wine for Mass with a label that read, 'medicine for stomachaches.'  They also sent some hosts, which they hid in a flashlight for protection against the humidity.  The police asked me, 'You have stomach aches?  Yes.  Here's some medicine for you.'

I never will be able to express my great joy!  Every day, with three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of my hand, I would celebrate Mass.  This was my altar, and this was my cathedral!  It was true medicine for soul and body, 'Medicine of immortality, remedy so as not to die but to have life always in Jesus', as St. Ignatius of Antioch says.

Each time I celebrated the Mass, I had the opportunity to extend my hands and nail myself to the cross with Jesus, to drink with him the bitter chalice.  Each day in reciting the words of consecration, I confirmed with all my heart and soul a new pact, and eternal pact between Jesus and me through his blood mixed with mine.  Those were the most beautiful Masses of my life!" (p. 131)

My dear friends, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan understood that evil does exist, but he also understood that no matter what would happen in his life, God would always be with him in a very powerful way.  In prison, he was able to love his enemies and minister to the prisoners who were with him. 

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan lived out the words from this Sunday's second reading: ".but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5: 4-5).

Habit #2 - They accept the reality of death

People who have focused their lives on heaven, think in terms of eternity, not in terms of days, months and years.  They see life as a mission and they are driven by that mission.  They do all that they can to get to heaven and to bring as many people with them.

Eternity is not an escape from their duties here on earth.  Instead, they develop the talents and gifts that God has given to them and they strive to make this world a better place for everyone. 

"Therefore, while we are warned that it profits a man nothing if he gain the whole world and lose himself, the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. For here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the new age" (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 39).

Habit #3 - They pray daily

Anyone who has a radical trust in God spends at least one or two hours a day with the living God that they trust.  They are truly always in love with God, with others, with life and with all of their endeavors.  They are never bored and their time with God launches them into an enthusiastic donation of themselves to all those around them.  They are glowing Christians. 

Habit #4 - During their time of prayer, they listen

Always acknowledging their own inner poverty, high effective Catholics recognize their need for God.  They trust God and therefore they sit with him quietly, lovingly remaining in his presence.  They are convinced of the words of Jesus: ".your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6: 8).

Habit #5 - They avoid distractions

Because they see life as a mission, highly effective Catholics use technology correctly.  They understand that time is a gift.  They have a realistic view about life, and they understand true leisure.  They rest on Sundays, enjoy the company of their family and friends, and take vacations.  They use technology properly and do not waste time endlessly with Facebook and television. 

Habit #6 - They seek counsel and spiritual direction

Highly effective Catholics are spiritually in tune with God and they notice that God often speaks to them through the counsel and direction of a good priest, a good deacon, a religious sister or a well formed lay leader.  They do not avoid them, but rather they always have regular meetings with them.  Before they make a major decision, they always sit down with them and talk things over.  Moreover, they have a regular confessor and always make good use of frequent confession. 

Habit #7 - They always surrender themselves lovingly, in holy obedience, to the holy will of God

Those believers who have a radical trust in God, truly live out, within the daily circumstances of their lives, the words that Jesus taught us to pray: "your  will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6: 10).  They don't lament and complain about the difficulties of life because they know that the Father will provide their daily bread and they know how to forgive all those who hurt them in anyway. 

Habit #8 - They are happy

Highly efficient Catholics possess an indescribable joy.  Even when they suffer terribly, they continue to smile, because they know that their smile encourages others to press on and to persevere.  They can always laugh because they know that God loves them unconditionally.  They have an interior peace because they have a radical trust in God.  They are truly convinced that the words of  Teresa of Avila are true and real:

"Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.  All things are passing; God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices." 

Visit Fr. James Farfaglia on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, O burning furnace of divine Love, you are the symbol and summary of the whole mystery of our Redemption.  O mystery of mysteries, an infinite Love which no vessel can contain emptied itself into a finite human vessel of love-and so became ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Consider, brothers, how you were called; not many ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
14 'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 30th, 2014 Image

St. Rumon
August 30: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter