Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/28/2016 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

When we read the fathers of the Church we discern their profoundly personal relationship with the Lord along with their relationship with the scriptures. They understood what the Church now regularly reminds us of, the written word is meant to place us in touch with the Living Word whom they reveal.

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians. And in this way our reason opens, all Christ's wisdom opens as do all the riches of truth. Therefore let us pray the Lord to illumine us, to grant us an encounter with his presence in our world, and thus to grant us a lively faith, an open heart and great love for all, which is capable of renewing the world.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/28/2016 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Pope Emeritus Benedict, Pope Francis, evangelical, born again, encounter with Jesus, St Augustine, 1 John, prayer, spirituality, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Since the last Council of the Church, Vatican II, all of the faithful have been encouraged to join all Catholic clerics and consecrated religious in praying what is now called The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office(The Breviary). A part of this rich treasury of prayer is called the Office of Readings.

The excerpts from the great treasury of the Church which found in these daily readings can literally change lives! I have seen this happen repeatedly over years of ministry. It is happened to me as well. I offer below the reading from Friday Mornings Office of Readings by the great Bishop of Hippo, Augustine. In this new missionary age, we need to learn how to stand on the shoulders of giants as we engage the age with fullness of the Gospel.

This reflection on the First Letter of John, as well as the words of St. Paul, evidences the profoundly personal and intimate communion which Augustine had (and now has in its fulfillment) with the Risen Lord Jesus. Clearly, he prayed the scriptures and they came alive in Him. So it can be with each one of us. The Lord awaits that kind of relationship with all those whom He loves.

Praying with the Church deepens our love for the Lord and helps us to grow in our understanding of what it truly means to be members of his Body, called to continue His redemptive mission. Of course, we each do so in accordance with our state in life and particular vocation. However, that last Council also reemphasized what the early Church clearly proclaimed, that every baptized member of the Church is a missionary.

When we read the fathers of the Church we discern their profoundly personal relationship with the Lord along with their relationship with the scriptures. They understood what the Church now regularly reminds us of, the written word is meant to place us in touch with the Living Word whom they reveal. Pope Francis regularly quotes these beautiful words from a 2008 address given by his predecessor, friend and brother, Pope Emeritus Benedict:

Christianity is not a new philosophy or a new morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ. Of course, he does not show himself to us in this overwhelming, luminous way, as he did to Paul to make him the Apostle to all peoples. But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours.

Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians. And in this way our reason opens, all Christ's wisdom opens as do all the riches of truth. Therefore let us pray the Lord to illumine us, to grant us an encounter with his presence in our world, and thus to grant us a lively faith, an open heart and great love for all, which is capable of renewing the world.


Clearly, our brother, the Bishop Augustine lived in this encounter. So can we, as we allow our capacity to be stretched.

*****

Our Heart Longs for God: Reflection by St. Augustine on the First Letter of John

We have been promised that we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. By these words, the tongue has done its best; now we must apply the meditation of the heart. Although they are the words of Saint John, what are they in comparison with the divine reality? And how can we, so greatly inferior to John in merit, add anything of our own? Yet we have received, as John has told us, an anointing by the Holy One which teaches us inwardly more than our tongue can speak. Let us turn to this source of knowledge, and because at present you cannot see, make it your business to desire the divine vision.

The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.

Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Then you set about stretching your sack or wineskin or whatever it is. Why? Because you know the quantity you will have to put in it and your eyes tell you there is not enough room. By stretching it, therefore, you increase the capacity of the sack, and this is how God deals with us. Simply by making us wait he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.

So, my brethren, let us continue to desire, for we shall be filled. Take note of Saint Paul stretching as it were his ability to receive what is to come: Not that I have already obtained this, he said, or am made perfect. Brethren, I do not consider that I have already obtained it. We might ask him, "If you have not yet obtained it, what are you doing in this life?" This one thing I do, answers Paul, forgetting what lies behind, and stretching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the prize to which I am called in the life above. Not only did Paul say he stretched forward, but he also declared that he pressed on toward a chosen goal. He realized in fact that he was still short of receiving what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived.
 
Such is our Christian life. By desiring heaven we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world. Let me return to the example I have already used, of filling an empty container. God means to fill each of you with what is good; so cast out what is bad! If he wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed even if you have to work hard and scour it. It must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be.
 
We may go on speaking figuratively of honey, gold or wine - but whatever we say we cannot express the reality we are to receive. The name of that reality is God. But who will claim that in that one syllable we utter the full expanse of our heart's desire? Therefore, whatever we say is necessarily less than the full truth. We must extend ourselves toward the measure of Christ so that when he comes he may fill us with his presence. Then we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.


-----
Deacon Keith Fournier is the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online and the founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren. He is also a constitutional lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

WOW - satanic temple members complain about burial of murdered children Watch

Image of A pro-life display highlights the human cost of abortion.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The satanic Temple is working to overturn a Texas law which ensures the right of unborn children to be cremated or buried. According to the satanists, burying a murdered child is an affront to their sincerely held religious beliefs. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) ... continue reading


Native Americans REJOICE as DAPL construction halts, but celebrations could be short lived Watch

Image of Protestors rejoiced following the announcement, but their joy may be short lived.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Army Corps of Engineers has denied permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL) to build on federal land and under the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- For months, Native Americans have ... continue reading


30 confirmed dead in Oakland warehouse fire - The search for survivors continues Watch

Image of Several people were killed in an Oakland warehouse fire.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A deadly fire broke out in an Oakland, CA warehouse at about 11:32 p.m. Friday night. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Oakland Fire Department responded immediately but the warehouse was a series of artist studios and was in the midst of a party when the blaze ... continue reading


John the Baptizer and the Path to Freedom and Happiness Watch

Image of An Icon of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our image of John is often as the austere ascetic, the odd fellow who lived in the desert eating a strange diet and thundering to Israel about repentance. We forget the joy that was associated with his birth and the happiness which accompanied his prophetic life ... continue reading


Tutor sends 7-year-old to hospital for 'being disruptive in class' Watch

Image of Timothy Korr was arrested for child abuse (Baltimore police).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Timothy Randall Korr is a 25-year-old tutor at City Springs Elementary School who has been charged with assaulting 7-year-old Trayvon Grayson in the classroom. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Korr has been charged with felony child abuse and assault after police ... continue reading


ABOUT TIME - Texas now requires aborted children to be given a funeral Watch

Image of Texas will now require aborted children get funerals too.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new law in Texas should help reinforce respect for the sanctity of life. The law now ensures that children killed in abortion mills at least get a proper burial. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Abortion is often treated as a "once-and-done" approach to ... continue reading


A miracle of Christ? Wildfire kills 11 but spares Jesus statue in Tennessee Watch

Image of Christ statue only survivor of Tennessee wildfire.

By (CNA)

As devastating wildfires continue to burn in East Tennessee, a startling discovery was made. Gatlinburg, Tennessee (CNA) - On Thursday, CNN said that one of its affiliate reporters had found a statue of Jesus in the remains of a burnt-down house in Sevier County. The ... continue reading


COLDPOCALYPSE - Record-shattering cold to freeze most of U.S., severe storms probable Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The United States is about to be hammered with record-shattering cold. A super-frigid airmass has developed over Alaska and will drop down into the lower 48 states next week. The exceptional cold is likely to break records, drop snow, and spawn violent storms. LOS ... continue reading


Faith and the Future: Build on the Rock of Jesus and Become the Church Militant Watch

Image of The Church is the rock of refuge and a safe harbor in an age which is being shaken.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The use of the expression Church Militant as a description of the mission of the Church on earth used to be very common. However, for lots of reasons, including a possible misunderstanding of the term in this increasingly violent age, it has fallen out of use. It ... continue reading


Surveillance footage released from Ohio State University attack Watch

Image of Ohio State University surveillance footage has been released (The Lantern).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When Artan Razak Ali Artan mowed down people and began a stabbing spree at Ohio State University, he sent eleven people to local hospitals, one of whom was in critical condition. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In wake of the surprise attack, Ohio State University ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 40:1-11
1 'Console my people, console them,' says your God.2 'Speak to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 6th, 2016 Image

St. Nicholas
December 6: The great veneration with which St. Nicholas has ... Read More