Fight Like a Knight – 25 Spiritual Warfare Lessons from Our Lord

Solutio Problematis Omnes (aka "The Catholic Linker")

We here at team Solutio encourage all to read the article below on spiritual warfare. If you don’t realize you are engaged in daily combat then you have already lost. Pick up your sword and fight for your sanctification every moment until the Lord calls you home.

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Jesus to St. Faustina on Spiritual Warfare

by Kathleen Beckman
18 March 2015

In Cracow-Pradnik, June 2, 1938, the Lord Jesus directed a young Polish Sister of Mercy on a three-day retreat. Faustina Kowalska painstakingly recorded Christ’s instruction in her diary that is a mystical manual on prayer and Divine Mercy. Having read the Diary a few times in the past 20 years, I had forgotten about the unique retreat that Christ gave on the subject of spiritual warfare. Then, recently, I was invited to lead a retreat in Trinidad based on Christ’s…

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Suffer Everything for My Sake

Solutio Problematis Omnes (aka "The Catholic Linker")

December 16, 2015

More from The Imitation of Christ

MY CHILD, in this life you are never safe, and as long as you live, the weapons of the spirit will ever be necessary to you. You dwell among enemies. You are subject to attack from the right and the left. If, therefore, you do not guard yourself from every quarter with the shield of patience, you will not remain long unscathed.

Moreover, if you do not steadily set your heart on Me, with a firm will to suffer everything for My sake, you will not be able to bear the heat of this battle or to win the crown of the blessed. You ought, therefore, to pass through all these things bravely and to oppose a strong hand to whatever stands in your way. For to him who triumphs heavenly bread is given, while…

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END IN GLORY     

(c) Sabbath                 

“Sa hinaba-haba ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.” This is a favorite Philippine saying that expresses the inevitable end of a long, even tedious journey. After a long period of courtship, a woman finally accepts a man to be her boyfriend. They go through the normal ups and downs of going steady and end up in church as they receive the holy sacrament of matrimony.

It can refer to the long travails of someone who has to bear all the hardships of life in pursuing a dream that ends up in its fulfillment — a student graduating after years of studies, an athlete going through rigorous trainings and finally being rewarded a medal for all his hardwork, a man finally salvaging his own family living in dire straits to a blissfull life of plenty.

I like to look at the genealogy of Jesus this way. It is a long journey of Jesus’ bloodline, passing through different histories of glory and even shame. It ends up in the coming of the promised Messiah that effects salvation for humankind. From this long journey, we have seen the highs and lows of human existence, the best in human character and some less known or even the unknown lot whose only claim to fame is their inclusion in this genealogy. The glory came in the end as Jesus is born.

That is the story of our life. It should always end up in glory. We should never be content in achieving the half-way good. Something much better awaits in the end. We should never be disheartened by the lows of living and the blows that come our way. We should never give up and quit. The prospects of a glorious end should excite us and inspire us to keep on running until the glory that is desired by God for the faithful is handed on to us. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes

 

REFLECTION QUESTION: How are you running the race of faith?

 

Jesus, I want to get the prize that awaits me. Help me to persevere.

Mary: Trust and Obedience

the-nativity-gerburt-christi-franz-von-rohden-detail-featured-w740x493

As Christians, we are very familiar with Advent as a season of waiting, but really, our whole life is, essentially, a long season of waiting. Particularly, we wait for the last Advent—the last coming of Christ at the end of time. Every Advent gives us the opportunity to pause, and very intentionally focus on what we should be doing every day of our lives—preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ. How are we spending our time in waiting? 

Let’s talk about the characters of the nativity, since there is really a lifetime’s worth of study and beauty that we can glean from diving deeper into the mystery of the great Christmas narrative through the experiences of the dynamic characters in play—Joseph and Mary, the Infant Jesus, the shepherds, the angels, the magi, and, as a whole, the Holy Family. The characters of the nativity can each teach us lessons for living our own lives in preparation for Christ’s coming this December, as well as for our own death and Christ’s coming at the end of time.

In this article, I will explore some of the lessons for living from Mary.


The Characters of the Nativity and Their Lessons for Living—Mary: Trust and Obedience

Whenever I hear the story of the Annunciation read at Mass or I read it in my Bible at home, I am stunned—over and over again—by what it must have been like to be Mary, in the presence of an angel, being asked consent by God to carry Jesus into the world. I often reflect on the tremendous amount of trust she must have had in that moment that fueled her “yes” to God and paved way for the incarnation.

And that’s the first lesson for living from Mary I want to touch on briefly: trust.

At the Annunciation, Mary was called to exercise a great deal of trust. Then, at Christ’s birth in a manger in a foreign land…more trust. As Jesus grew, got lost in the Temple, went off to preach and to heal…trust. And then, when Jesus was condemned to die and was crucified as she wept at her only Son’s feet…more, painful trust.

Her whole life, God called Mary to radically trust in His plan for her and for her Son. We, too, are called to have that same radical trust in God. We need to trust Him when our kids wander from the faith, when we or someone in our family are diagnosed with serious illness, when our career status turns from employed to unemployed, when money is scarce, when our marriage is hurting, when our future seems uncertain or when we feel abandoned by God. In those moments, we need to trust that God is there.

Our Mother waits for you to hold her hand in your moments of brokenness, rejection, fear, abuse, betrayal, sickness, and shame. She longs to hold you, and remind you, as she does so beautifully by her own example: trust. Trust that God is nearer to you than ever before. Trust that He has conquered death and wants you to rely more completely on Him.

Mary’s second lesson for living that we will discuss tonight is: obedience.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen has such a beautiful way of illustrating this lesson of Mary that I will simply refer to his words:

“In what does your life consist except two things: (1) Active duties; and (2) passive circumstances. The first is under your control; do these in God’s name. The second is outside your control; these submit to in God’s name. Consider only the present; leave the past to God’s justice, the future to his Providence. Perfection of personality does not consist in knowing God’s plan, but in submitting to it as it reveals itself in the circumstances of life.

“There is really one shortcut to sanctity—the one Mary chose in the Visitation, the one Our Lord chose in Gethsemane—abandonment to the Divine Will.”

Look to Mary this Advent as a living reminder—the best reminder who ever lived, really—that obedience to God and abandonment to His will for your life is the only shortcut to sanctity.

 

Mary: Trust and Obedience

7 Tips To Finish Your Dissertation Without It Finishing You

@PaulGordonBrown

41ZEsfcuWsL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_I came across this GREAT SlideShare from Wiley promoting their book by Joanne Broder Sumerson, Finish Your Dissertation, Don’t Let It Finish You.  Although I cannot vouch for the book itself, having not actually read it, this slick little piece of marketing material hits the nail on the head.  If you or someone you love are working on a dissertation, here are some tips that you can share.

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Pope Francis: Vocations are “born within the Church”

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-vocations-are-born-within-the-church

World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2016

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER

The Church, Mother of Vocations

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is my great hope that, during the course of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, all the baptized may experience the joy of belonging to the Church and rediscover that the Christian vocation, just like every particular vocation, is born from within the People of God, and is a gift of divine mercy. The Church is the house of mercy, and it is the “soil” where vocations take root, mature and bear fruit.

For this reason, on the occasion of the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I invite all of you to reflect upon the apostolic community, and to give thanks for the role of the community in each person’s vocational journey. In the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I recalled the words of the venerable Saint Bede, describing the call of Saint Matthew: “Miserando atque eligendo” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). The Lord’s merciful action forgives our sins and opens us to the new life which takes shape in the call to discipleship and mission. Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus. Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin, and continually remain interconnected throughout the whole of the missionary disciple’s life.

Blessed Paul VI, in his exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, described various steps in the process of evangelisation. One of these steps is belonging to the Christian community (cf. no. 23), that community from which we first received the witness of faith and the clear proclamation of the Lord’s mercy. This incorporation into the Christian community brings with it all the richness of ecclesial life, particularly the sacraments. Indeed, the Church is not only a place in which we believe, but it is also an object of our faith; it is for this reason that we profess in the Credo: “I believe in the Church”.

The call of God comes to us by means of a mediation which is communal. God calls us to become a part of the Church and, after we have reached a certain maturity within it, he bestows on us a specific vocation. The vocational journey is undertaken together with the brothers and sisters whom the Lord has given to us: it is a con-vocation. The ecclesial dynamism of the call is an antidote to indifference and to individualism. It establishes the communion in which indifference is vanquished by love, because it demands that we go beyond ourselves and place our lives at the service of God’s plan, embracing the historical circumstances of his holy people.

On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Saint Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren (cf. Acts 1:15); and in order to chose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered (cf. 6:2). Saint Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters (cf. Titus 1:5-9). Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance (cf. Apost. Ex. Evangelii Gaudium, 107).

Vocations are born within the Church. From the moment a vocation begins to become evident, it is necessary to have an adequate “sense” of the Church. No one is called exclusively for a particular region, or for a group or for an ecclesial movement, but rather for the Church and for the world. “A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all” (ibid., 130). In responding to God’s call, young people see their own ecclesial horizon expand; they are able to consider various charisms and to undertake a more objective discernment. In this way, the community becomes the home and the family where vocations are born. Candidates gratefully contemplate this mediation of the community as an essential element for their future. They learn to know and to love their brothers and sisters who pursue paths different from their own; and these bonds strengthen in everyone the communion which they share.

Vocations grow within the Church. In the course of formation, candidates for various vocations need to grow in their knowledge of the ecclesial community, overcoming the limited perspectives that we all have at the beginning. To that end, it is helpful to undertake some apostolic experience together with other members of the community, for example: in the company of a good catechist, to communicate the Christian message; together with a religious community, to experience the evangelisation of the peripheries sharing in the life of the cloister, to discover the treasure of contemplation; in contact with missionaries, to know more closely the mission ad gentes; and in the company of diocesan priests, to deepen one’s experience of pastoral life in the parish and in the diocese. For those who are already in formation, the ecclesial community always remains the fundamental formational environment, towards which one should feel a sense of gratitude.

Vocations are sustained by the Church. After definitive commitment, our vocational journey within the Church does not come to an end, but it continues in our willingness to serve, our perseverance and our ongoing formation. The one who has consecrated his life to the Lord is willing to serve the Church wherever it has need. The mission of Paul and Barnabas is a good example of this readiness to serve the Church. Sent on mission by the Holy Spirit and by the community of Antioch (cf. Acts 13, 1-4), they returned to that same community and described what the Lord had worked through them (cf. 14: 27). Missionaries are accompanied and sustained by the Christian community, which always remains a vital point of reference, just as a visible homeland offers security to all who are on pilgrimage towards eternal life.

Among those involved in pastoral activity, priests are especially important. In their ministry, they fulfil the words of Jesus, who said: “I am the gate of the sheepfold […] I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10: 7, 11). The pastoral care of vocations is a fundamental part of their ministry. Priests accompany those who are discerning a vocation, as well as those who have already dedicated their lives to the service of God and of the community.

All the faithful are called to appreciate the ecclesial dynamism of vocations, so that communities of faith can become, after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like a mother’s womb which welcomes the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1: 35-38). The motherhood of the Church finds expression in constant prayer for vocations and in the work of educating and accompanying all those who perceive God’s call. This motherhood is also expressed through a careful selection of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life. Finally, the Church is the mother of vocations in her continual support of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.

We ask the Lord to grant to all those who are on a vocational journey a deep sense of belonging to the Church; and that the Holy Spirit may strengthen among Pastors, and all of the faithful, a deeper sense of communion, discernment and spiritual fatherhood and motherhood.

Father of mercy, who gave your Son for our salvation and who strengthens us always with the gifts of your Spirit, grant us Christian communities which are alive, fervent and joyous, which are fonts of fraternal life, and which nurture in the young the desire to consecrate themselves to you and to the work of evangelisation. Sustain these communities in their commitment to offer appropriate vocational catechesis and ways of proceeding towards each one’s particular consecration. Grant the wisdom needed for vocational discernment, so that in all things the greatness of your merciful love may shine forth. May Mary, Mother and guide of Jesus, intercede for each Christian community, so that, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, it may be a source of true vocations for the service of the holy People of God.