Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘False Spirtuallity’ Category

Overcoming the World: The Making of  a Disciple

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:1-5)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and Fellow Disciples,

The terms “Overcome … ” or “Overcoming …” are used in very important scriptures in the new Testament, but the Apostle John appears to me as really providing inspired insight into its meaning.  An understanding that carries great weight for the disciple, and especially for those of us who are just becoming aware of the Spirit’s call to discipleship and are in the process of opening our hearts to the challenge of following our master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The terms, I have just mentioned, are used by St. John, in his Gospel and Epistles, in two primary senses: “Overcoming the World” and “Overcoming the Evil One” or, its equivalent, “Overcoming the Darkness”.  He even begins His Gospel with this theme – the tension between God’s Light and the Darkness of Evil. (cf., Jn.1:5).

John further indicates to us God’s eternal purpose – to bring us His Light, His Life, the Light of the Living Word, His Son!

“There was the true light which, [by] coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (Jn. 1:9)

In John’s revealed understanding of God’s intentions in redeeming His creation, the key dynamic behind His plan was the restoration of the Light of His Love into the darkness into which it had fallen due to the deception of the Evil One. In his Gospel, John clearly states that it is this light, the light of God’s Eternal Word that was still shining in the darkness and it was this true light that he was bringing to the world [system] to deliver man from the darkness that envelops us.

Now, the light He provides is the freedom of the light of life, but mankind is darkened to this by the Evil one so he can control us. Because of our fallen state and the deception of Satan, we prefer to live in the darkness of our sin rather than the light of God’s Love.

“And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” (Jn. 3:9)

In order to “Overcome” the darkness God sent his only Son, The Word of Life” to bring us to the Light of the Father’s Love. So that in bringing all creation under His Light the darkness that envelops us may be dissipated. Jesus tells His Disciples (and us) …

“I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” (Jn.12:46)

Knowing, however, that those who follow Him would be resisted by the world as He was resisted, He prepares His disciples for their calling by telling them…

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (Jn.15:19)

He also encourages them by disclosing to them that, because He has “Overcome the World”, they are to be at “Peace” in this world  as long a they are “IN HIM”.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33)

The Apostle John further exhorts those whom he has discipled (and thus us) to stand against the World [system] by informing them they also are covered by this same Peace Of God (THE SHALOM) that was promised also applies to them because the “Overcoming Spirit of Christ” dwells in them.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn.4:4)

The apostle Paul, in a similar manner, tells his disciples that we are no longer to serve the Kingdom of darkness because …

“… He [the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…” (Col. 3:1-13)

From what has been said, brethren, it must be clear to us now, that if we aspire to follow Jesus as His Disciples, we must also overcome the World and the Evil one who controls it, as he overcame it. The first step we take in entering this “overcoming” state is to turn away from the world [system] and place our faith in Jesus, the anointed Son of the Living God.

Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1Jn.5:5)

In the Book Of Revelation, John relates Jesus’ promises pertaining to those who “overcome”…

“… To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev.2:7)

“…  He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Rev. 2:11)

“… To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he that receives it.” (Rev. 2:17)

Brethren, I truly believe that many right now are being called by the Spirit to enter into a true and overcoming discipleship under Our Lord and Teacher, Jesus, the Anointed of the Father. Are you one of these? If you are, then this article may give you some guidance. And, even if you do not sense a call right now, I feel the themes I will be touching on will greatly enhance your spiritual life, permitting you to go a step closer to hearing and understanding God’s call on your life – a leading to yoke yourself to Him in loving obedience to His Call.

As we enter into a New Year in Christ Jesus it is important to remember our call to discipleship and rededicate ourselves to make Jesus the very center of our lives.

Return to Jerusalem

In attempting to live our lives for our Master we will find that the closer we come to Him the more stress the world and the evil one puts on us. The tension between world system of darkness and Our Lord’s Kingdom of Light is becoming ever more stressful for us believers as we draw closer to His Coming.

We are the children of the Light and the forces of darkness are doing everything they can to prevent us from shining forth His Light into the darkness of this world. We must always remember that He has called us as beacons of His Light in this present darkness. In order to let our light shine before men, it is therefore our calling as disciples to overcome this world system just as He overcame. And, because we are in Him and He in us, we have every confidence that He is working in us and through us to overcome the World.

 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  (1 John 5:4-5)

It is through this process of overcoming the world that we are strengthened and progress in our discipleship as the Holy Spirit is continuously forming us in His image.

In another article, I have already mentioned that the “renewal of our minds” is crucial to our overcoming the world. In this article, I wish to share with you some guidance I received in how to bring some of these concepts into practice in our lives.

One of the things I learned is that, once we have yielded ourselves fully to Christ,  we remove our “selves” from the throne of our lives and enthrone Jesus as Lord and King of our lives. We must begin to recognize Jesus is our LORD in all things and that we are merely stewards of every gift and ability The Father has placed in us. We are no longer acting on our own desires and plans, rather, we are literally acting in Jesus’ Name and, in this role, we must seek all of the Father’s desires that He places in us and, in accordance with His Grace, use our natural talents and gifts to fulfill or carry out those desires.

Except in specific situations, He does not normally dictate the details of what we are to do. He does not want robots for servants. No! What he desires is for us to freely use all our gifts creatively to bring His desires to fruition. When we seek His Spirit to work in us as we seek to manifest His will, the Spirit will augment our natural capabilities with His Spiritual Gifts so, that in this manner He enters into partnership with us in carrying out the work of the Kingdom!

A simple analogy to elucidate the manner with which we are to carry our His calling, would be to compare, God as the owner of a large piece of property in a large city, who wishes to build a hospital on that property. Think of yourself as acting for Jesus in accomplishing the Father’s desires, and as the architect whom He hires to design and build this facility and to whom He has delegated al the resources needed to build it as He desires. Yes, you have to check your plans with the owner every now and then to see if your design is compatible with His wishes, but other wise, He has given you free rein to design the best facility your creative and god-given talents can produce in accordance with His will and desires (think of this project as the particular “calling” the Lord has given you).

In this analogy, the world of darkness, however, is intent on keeping the hospital from being built and when the Prince of Darkness sees that you have been delivered from His control and have been appointed to this task, he will come up with every obstacle possible to keep you from building it. So besides the main task of designing and building the hospital you have to also deal with the politics, regulations, and pure stubbornness on the part of the city officials in order to bring the project to fruition. In effect, you will be opposed in carrying out your charge by the world and the Prince of Darkness.

One of the things that must definitely be avoided is to think of this as YOUR PROJECT or YOUR HOSPITAL. No! This Is the Father’s Project and Hospital and you are merely His steward at the service of the Father (just as Jesus was when He was on Earth). So when things get tough you go to the Father and ask Him to intervene to ensure its successful completion. That is, you use the authority and power that has been given you (in Jesus) to move the mountains that stand in the way and to keep the Devil away.

This is merely an allegorical example of how we, as disciples, are called to overcome the forces of darkness that intervene in our lives to keep us from bringing forth the Kingdom of God in our lives and the attitude to which we must take in responding to our calling.  I only bring this to you in this manner so that when you accept your calling and enter into the work of the Kingdom, you will draw on the power of God that has been allocated to you to fulfill your role as Jesus’ stand-in.

Always remember that without abiding in Jesus you can do nothing. The greatest deception the Evil One will place in you way is to think that YOU are the one behind your calling.  NO, brethren, you must NEVER permit yourself to be tempted by pride in what you have been called to do. This is how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and we see how Jesus resited the tempter through God’s Word. In the same way, Jesus will help you resist if you abide totally in Him and renounce your own self-interest by dying to your “self” and living for Christ only.

You must also be aware that these temptations come even when you are doing what you think are religious or spiritual tasks. In fact this type of temptation is even more deceptive because, since you think you are doing the Lord’s work, it will meet with His approval.  But if your inner motives are for your own self-gratification, these works will merit you nothing and, in fact, may nullify the work of the Kingdom in and through your life. Remember this principle: if you work for your own self promotion, you are not working for the KING and His Kingdom but for yourself and the Kingdom of Darkness!

I share all these reflections with you brethren to save you from stumbling along your path of discipleship. I tell you these things from the experience of my own failures and so that you may achieve union with Jesus in accordance with His Grace and thus fulfill the Father’s will in your lives to the Glory of His Name!

I conclude this message to you with Paul’s exhortation to the Church at Colossus ( and to us who are also being called into discipleship) …

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in Him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.” (Col. 2:6-10)

May the Lord strengthen you with His Spirit as you progress along the narrow way of His Love.

Your Brother in Christ Jesus,

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2016])

Related Links

The Crucified Life

The Cost of Discipleship

The Renewal of Our Minds

The Sweet yoke of Love

Husbands Love Your Wives

Enter in by the Narrow Gate

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Let Your Light Shine Before Men

The Light Shines in the Darkness

<> The Light Shines in the Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(John 1:1-4)

<> He, himself, when He was with us, affirmed that …

“We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)

<> But now that He is gone we are called to do His works –  for He is in us and as long as we abide in Him, He says to us…

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:13-16)

My fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

As we enter a new year in our walk with Christ it is necessary that we become more observant of the “signs of the times” as Jesus would say. Not so much because we are attempting to foresee what is coming, and when, but mainly to be aware of the breakdown of our current culture and its turning away from God. The more our culture turns away from God and His Righteous principles the more we, humanity, become liable to His judgments and chastisements. And, of course, the more the need for the world to come to repentance in order to be restored to fellowship with Him, Praised be His Holy Name!

The role of Christians in these times, therefore, is not to entrench ourselves in fear of what is coming, but rather to put on the armor of light so that we may not only defend ourselves against the attacks of the evil one but also so that the Lord may use us as His envoys of His Light to proclaim the Gospel of Light with an even greater anointing and power to rescue as many in the world as possible from the Tsunami of darkness that is coming over the world. For we are called to let the light divine that is in us shine forth into the darkness that the world may see the power of God working in us and through us for the Glory od His Kingdom!

Unfortunately, many of us pew-dwellers do not wish to get involved but rather prefer to continue compliantly, passively and comfortably in our routine religious practices and devotions, thinking that, after all, we are just lay people and that it is the responsibility of our clergy, our missionaries and our evangelists to go out to the front lines and fight for the faith. After all, hasn’t the clergy told us, implicitly, that our only responsibility is to “pay. pray, and obey?”

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

In so doing, we leave unwrapped the spiritual gifts we all, laity and clergy, have available to us, the spiritual gifts that empower all of us to bring the Word of God that enlightens – the Word that activates and brings to life the spirits of those who are embedded in the darkness of this world. We, without understanding it, or knowing it are abdicating our calling to be communicators of the “Light of the world” to the world.

In a modern-day sense, we are not entirely to be blamed for such an attitude, because, in the past, the Lord did mainly use the clergy and missionaries to bring the Gospel to the entire world and while we, the laity, actively supported these outreaches, we pretty well concentrated on bringing up our children and mainlining our family life.

We were complacently thinking that the front lines for defending our faith and Christian traditions was mainly in Communist China, North Korea, Africa and the Middle East. The problem is that the front lines are no longer in some distant nation but in our own families, parishes, school districts and local governments.

Our own children are walking away from the Christian Faith and are being swallowed up in the spiritual darkness and immorality of the world system in which we are all embedded. Today it is easier to evangelize in skid row than in our own families. Because of the influence of their peers, and the liberal unbelieving public education system, our children place more faith in what the world says and announces than in what their parents or their churches are teaching and preaching.

Today, we, the laity have lost our “saltiness”, that is, the anointing of the Holy Spirit over our lives. We have come to believe that only the clergy and consecrated, can exercise any spiritual power in living out their lives. For example, I once prayed for a man who was offended when I prayed over him for a personal problem he was having. He asked me “who do you think you are, praying like this?, You are not a priest or minister – you are just a sinner just as I am”.

Of course, he was right, I am a sinner just as he is, but in Christ, I am “New Creation”, saved by grace, and I am anointed by Him to bring the good news of salvation and healing to all He places in my path. I can do nothing in my name – everything I do is in His Name, and it is through His Name and the anointing that is in Him that I act on His Word to perform His works in this world. This is the calling and legacy he has given to every believer …

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world …

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

But what, we may ask is the Good News, the Gospel, that I am to proclaim not only with words but through my own consecration to that Gospel in my life.  The New Testament Scriptures make that gospel very clear and in fact summarizes it very concisely …

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (John 3:16-17)

and,

“…[T]he word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” (Rom 10: 8-11)

Yes, like Jesus, who also was a lay person, if you proclaim this, the only true Gospel, you will be rejected, you will be despised. you will be asked, “who gave you this authority?”, but if you, acting in obedience to His command will continue to carry out the “Great Commission” in faith and love just as He ordained, you also will witness to the results that follow. By your obedience to His Word you will open and use the spiritual gifts he has accorded to each one of us who walk after Him in Faith! Praised Be His Holy Name!

And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.” (Mark 16:20)

So let it be with you, brethren, as you enter this New Year renewed in the Spirit of Christ that is in you.

In conclusion I pass on a compendium of the Apostle Paul’s prayers to the Ephesian community (see below), regarding being faithful to their calling (and ours), by acting on and taking into account all the revelation, anointing and graces that we have been given through Christ our Savior and Lord for the Glory of His Kingdom. To Him and to Him alone be Glory and Honor Forever. Amen and Amen!

Your fellow Pilgrim and brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

St. Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians [and by implication for us]

Jesus receives the Anointing

Jesus Baptized in the Spirit

… [I] Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Eph.1: 5-23)

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen”. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Related Links

Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

I stand at the Door and Knock

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest (part 2)

Reflection on the Beatitudes (part 4)

Read Full Post »

Clergy Confronts Jesus

Clergy confronts Jesus

“… they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and scribes, and elders came to Him, and began saying to Him,  “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?”

 (Mark 11:27-28)

My Dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

If the event in Jesus’ day that the above citation (Mark 11:27-28) is reporting were to appear in one of today’s newspapers the headlines might read something like this:

“Clergy Leaders Confront Preacher of Radical Lay Movement on Steps of Local Worship Center”.

Although the tension that existed between the then “Clergy” and the “Lay Movement” initiated by a carpenter from Nazareth over two thousand years ago still exists today, it would probably not be manifested in such a public fashion today. In fact, this tension, created by a tendency amongst the professional religionists to essentially challenge any lay spiritual movement that attempts, to step into their presumed spiritual “domain”, is usually quietly handled by denials of permission, made in the “back-rooms” of the dioceses or parishes so as to avoid any publicity or visibility into the motives or justification for their decisions.

In the case of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Holy Spirit, in His wisdom, got around this kind of clerical opposition by first moving in a Catholic University amongst lay professors and students, where, thanks be to God, once it got going it was impossible to stop. The manifest movement of God was so strong that even the Pope and the Vatican were forced to admit it was a genuine work of the Spirit and encouraged the movement as a “New Pentecost”. Yet, when one of my friends was touched by the Holy Spirit to begin a parish prayer group in a former parish, he had to begin with home meetings because the diocese and the parish would not approve it until we underwent a TSA screening process (TSA, for Theological Security Assessment).

This latter response may be largely attributed to a scripturally incorrect attitude, which we moderns call “Clericalism”.  This derives from a mind-set that presumes that the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the nine spiritual gifts (cf., 1 Cor.12) are the exclusive domain of the clergy and that the laity have no business or authority to initiate anything in this area. Thus, when the Holy Spirit begins moving in a parish through the laity, the first instinct by the professional religionists is to “quench” it before it gets started. The assumption, being, as always, that “if it is not initiated by the clergy, it must not be of God”. The local clergy, in their lack of appreciation to the work of the Holy Spirit amongst the laity, almost always react with a “lording it over you” attitude to quench any lay-initiated spiritual movement in the community.  Such an attitude, of course, is very much out of line with Jesus’ admonition to His disciples where He said:

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 11: 42-49)

This “clericalist” mind-set which pervades our religious culture is one of the primary sources of the suppression or quenching of the working of the Holy Spirit within parishes and congregations, and needs to be discussed by all Christians, both lay and clergy. Not for judgmental purposes but out of fraternal Love to understand those things in our human nature which rise up to oppose and quench the work of the Holy Spirit in our communities. By understanding our weaknesses as both lay persons and clergy then we can pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that through his word and prayer, we may receive guidance as to how to proceed in exercising the spiritual gifts within the community out of love and respect for one another and the specific roles and gifts that have been given each of us.

I believe if such discussions occur in a spirit of Agape Love, then we can truly began to behave in the unity of the “Body of  Christ” where we all can see the place we each have in the community and are free to share the gifts we have been given with each other for the strengthening of the Body, without, envy or strife.

I also believe that if our leaders open themselves to the Holy Spirit they will receive the appropriate spiritual gifts of leadership such as spiritual discernment, administration, knowledge and wisdom that will permit them to coordinate the manifestation of the gifts within the community in an orderly an purposeful fashion for the edification of the Church of God and for His Greater Glory!!.   Amen and Amen!!

In order to further inform you regarding “clericalism” and its effects on the Christian community, I provide you the following additional links that provide a more educated and varied view from my own. The first two sources are articles by Roman Catholic priests whereas the Third presents an opinion from a priest from the Eastern Orthodox persuasion. The latter article, which I find extremely interesting, is also presented verbatim immediately following the links.

May the Lord bless you, as you continue on your pilgrim walk…

Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

Recommended Articles

1   Clericalism and the New Pentecost, by  Fr. Paul PhiliBert (NCR)

2.   The Christian Laity, by Fr. Jordan Aumann, O.P.

3. The Orthodox Layman’s Position in Christ, by Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Eusebius A. Stephanou, Th.D.

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

Full copy of Article 3 follows:

THE ORTHODOX LAYMAN’S

POSITION IN CHRIST

Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Eusebius A. Stephanou, Th.D.

Brotherhood of St. Symeon the New Theologian

Miramar Beach, Florida

http://www.stsymeon.org/archive/theorthodoxlaymanspositioninchrist.htm

Fr. stephanou, Thd

Fr. stephanou, Thd

Clericalism can be lethal in our Orthodox Church. One evil it produces is the fact that the lay people in the Church become spiritually passive, indeed religiously helpless. Clericalism foments an inordinate dependence on the priest.

“Active Members” of the Church

The extent of any religious activity among lay men and women usually is singing in the choir or teaching children in Sunday School. Lay participation in parish life ordinarily is connected with serving on the Parish Council, the Philoptochos Society and with fund-raising activities.

In these areas of church life all parishioners are usually encouraged by the priest to show enthusiasm and initiative. You are considered an “active member” of the church when you get involved in such familiar structured activities. They pretty much determine the landscape of parish life. The more one engages in these areas the more likely he or she will be singled out for special recognition and honor.

The moment, however, a church member begins to show out of the ordinary spiritual interests, indeed spiritual zeal, too often the priest (there are, of course exceptions) will feel uncomfortable. If a parishioner goes as far as appearing to be fired up for Christ, for Bible study, and generally for the things of God, the priest can possibly view that as something unsettling. At one time I was one of those kind of priests.

I have to confess in all honesty that in my younger years in the priesthood I would avoid anyone who would come up to me holding a big Bible in their hands. I felt I was about to be confronted by something from the Bible of which I was ignorant. To be candid, I have to say I felt inadequate and embarrassed. It was a threat to my pride. I had to admit to myself how limited the knowledge of scripture is with many priests despite their seminary training.

Renewal at the Grassroots Level

In view of these facts, it becomes very clear why viable and lasting spiritual renewal in the Orthodox Church has to begin at the grassroots level. The charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church is the best example I can think of in this regard. Laymen not only initiated the renewal, but provided the leadership and teaching ministry for those in the renewal.

It was primarily laymen who authored the books and manuals that became standard for all renewal groups in the Roman Church. As a matter of fact, priests who got involved in renewal often sat at the feet of lay teachers to be discipled in the principles and guidelines of renewal.

Unlike the priests in the Roman Church who, though not excited about renewal, tolerated and learned to live with lay renewal activities in their parishes, our Orthodox priests, as a rule, show displeasure and usually ban any lay initiated renewal. I recall hearing the president of Notre Dame University interviewed on TV who made this comment on renewal: “That’s not my cup of tea.”

That is truly a mild reaction in contrast to many of our priests who view lay initiated home Bible study meetings and any such renewal activities as subversive of authentic Orthodoxy. Such priestly opposition has sadly caused many Christ-loving, Godly church members to leave the Orthodox Church for Pentecostal or Evangelical churches.

The result has been to reinforce dead religious formalism in the Church. How can such professional priests be called shepherds of souls? They serve the kingdom of darkness by quenching the fire of the Holy Spirit. Christ calls such religious leaders “workers of iniquity”. They lack the capacity of rejoicing with the angels when lives are regenerated and the name of Jesus is highly exalted. They feel threatened by anything religiously unfamiliar.

Wherever we find religious functionaries in the Church, they reinforce and foment the evil of clericalism. But our Lord Jesus Christ warned us that they are to be found in every generation of believers: “Beware of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees.” (Matthew 16:6).

Ignoring the Church Fathers

Such promoters of clericalism and of our over-institutionalized Church are the first to champion the Church Fathers. Yet, in effect they violate their teachings and fail to embody in their pastoral ministry the basic principles and precepts of our Holy Fathers.

In the teachings of the Church Fathers we find an unmistakable emphasis on faith rooted in a heart experience. They do not teach an intellectual theology. Christ as the object of faith is experienced with the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart. The fact of personal communion with Christ is fundamental.

Every member of the church, be he a layman or ordained clergyman, by obedience to God’s word becomes a recipient of the charismata (gifts) of the Holy Spirit. It follows a face to face, life-changing meeting with our divine Spouse. This personal experience of rebirth enables any believer, lay or ordained, to minister in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

St. Symeon the New Theologian, for example, states the following in this regard: “They who do not have the Spirit operating and speaking within them are unbelievers. If Christ says that He gives the Spirit to those who believe in Him, then they who do not have the Spirit are not heart believers” (Moral Chapters X).

The lack of formal seminary training should never keep a layperson from claiming a life-changing experience of Christ and of personal rebirth. The right to minister in the body of Christ does not come with seminary training. St. Symeon, third in the line of theologians after St. John the Evangelist and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, never saw the inside of a seminary.

Like other Church Fathers, St. Symeon did not have theological credentials from a theological seminary. Instead, following the example of the holy apostles, St. Symeon the New Theologian, like other Church Fathers before him, finished the theological school of the Holy Spirit. There is no better professor of theology than the Holy Spirit. But today church officials very often give the impression they don’t trust the Holy Spirit.

The Right of Any Layman

Every man and woman who with faith is baptized in water and in the Spirit is qualified to be an active witness unto Christ. It is not Ordination that qualifies you to be active in ministry. But each believer who is not ordained is entitled, for example, to minister as an evangelist, prophet or teacher in the body of Christ. It is for performing the sacraments that ordination is necessary. But to minister the Word of God is not only the right of any believer, but also a mandate of Christ for every believer.

Most priests and hierarchy will affirm that Christ is the head of the church, as theological theory, but in the same breath they will glibly refer to archbishop so and so or patriarch so and so as “the head of our Church.” After all, we want a head of the Church who is tangible and visible, and, moreover, the laity feel better and more reassured that their head and leader is someone they can see, hear and hold his hand to kiss it..

It is for any member of the Church, clergy or layperson, to verify experientially if he or she is truly a child of God and a vessel of the Holy Spirit. St. Symeon states: “It is necessary to search ourselves, brethren, and to know our souls with certainty, whether or not we have received the Lord Jesus when He was evangelized to us, and that we possess Him on the inside of us, in order that, as John the Evangelist said, we know if we have received authority from Him to become children of God.”

Religious ambiguity is rampant today in the Church. To be more specific, I areferring to ambiguity in connection with our relationship with the Lord. Rarely, if ever, does the average church member have any living testimony of a personal relationship with Christ – one that he delights in sharing with others in the church. Such ambiguity and uncertainty usually leads to an erroneous assessment of one’s standing with God. It can end in self-deception and self-righteousness.

The consequences according to St. Symeon can be ominous. Our eternity can be at stake. He exhorts as follows: “Let each of us pay attention to what is said in the holy scriptures and also to know himself so that he might not deceive himself in vain, regarding himself to be a believer, while he is found to be an unbeliever, thinking he has the Lord in him and exits his body empty, as having nothing. Such a person will be condemned, losing even what he thinks he has and will be cast into the fire.”

Reacting Against Spiritual Zeal

What makes things still worse is that reverence and piety are viewed as a sign of a right relationship with God. It is merely a trap that Satan sets for both priest and people to reinforce contentment with religious formalism and religious routine. What threatens Satan is not religion, but a personal life-changing experience of Christ.

What banishes Satan is to receive in faith and obedience the gift of rebirth, that is, to be “born of God.” By His atoning death upon the Cross, the Son of God calls upon “the children of wrath” to become children of God and new creatures by accepting Him as personal Savior, that is, as the “…Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8).

In my experience of forty years of renewal ministry, I have found that spiritual zeal which becomes visible to everyone in the parish, as a rule, is frowned upon by the priest (with rare exceptions). It seems that it has been my calling from God to restrain church members, who are fired up for Christ and His gospel, from leaving the Orthodox for greener pastures in other churches.

I can’t begin counting the people who through the years have told me: “Father Eusebius, if it weren’t for what you are doing in renewal ministry, I would have left the Orthodox Church.”

When someone’s religious enthusiasm and exuberance for Christ unsettles other parishioners who get confused religiously and they lodge their discomfort and even displeasure with their priest. He in turn will do his utmost to secure “calm” and “harmony” in the parish. He seeks out the one who is rocking the boat in his otherwise quiet parish. He becomes a fire extinguisher and thinks he is rendering God a service by throwing a damper on the fires that are inflaming the hearts and lives of certain parishioners for Christ and His gospel.

Few priests, if any, have any taste for religious controversy in their parish. A priest can get apprehensive over the possibility it might get to the bishop’s attention. He possibly could suspect the worst – that his job security could be jeopardized. And the very thought of that prospect could be a nightmare for him!

Very likely there are a small number of members in every parish that claim to have had a rebirth experience that has made a visible difference on their relationship with the Lord. It is glaring evidence that such people have sensed an inner void that has not been filled by religious routine and even receiving frequently of the Holy Communion.

Reacting to the Negative Reaction

What I say here is not mere speculation. It is a common testimony that such church members have shared with me in person through forty years of renewal ministry. It goes something like this: “I served in the altar for years. I was involved in the Church youth activities. I sung in the choir. I served on the parish council. I worked hard in every Greek Festival. And yet I ended up with an inner emptiness – a painful spiritual void on the inside of me.”

A word of caution to those who had the void in their hearts filled: Please do not expect everyone in your church to understand your rebirth experience and to celebrate with you. Be realistic. Ordinarily, other members get troubled with religious confusion. They are apt to get uptight and even convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The ego gets engaged in the case of a negative reaction to your new fire for the things of God. It could reach the stage of overt displeasure and even opposition.

When a personal testimony of rebirth elicits displeasure, it should not puzzle the one with the new spiritual experience. Such a person should avoid a corresponding negative reaction.

It is only normal for those devoid of the Spirit to get unsettled over the presence of the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life. Jesus clearly cautioned that authentic believers will be misunderstood, slandered and even persecuted by those of their own household, members of their family, but even members of the household of faith.

I encourage spiritually regenerated believers to take it as a badge of honor when they become a target of criticism. Spiritual conflict, the Lord assured us, is evidence that we are His true disciples, ready to pay the price for going all the way with Christ.

Even when the priest turns the heat on them, such “born of God” lay people, must react with a sense of peace, humility and love. Least of all, they must not be startled, if even the priest does not support their newly found relationship with God. I counsel them to stay radiant with Jesus indwelling in them.

Remember how the Jewish religious leaders reacted when they saw the apostles radiating with the Holy Spirit aura: “They recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13). Stay in the church and continue to light a candle wherever there is darkness.

Satan will not take sitting down the redeeming impact of the Holy Spirit on the lives of otherwise nominal Christians. He will stir up opposition and controversy. As a matter of fact, if this does not occur, then our witness for Christ proves to be inadequate, weak and less than authentic. The more intense the opposition the more genuine our evidence of rebirth.

Jesus made it crystal clear: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:34).

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

Read Full Post »

False Spiritual Practices and Conforming to the World

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ,

One of the greatest challenges we Christians have in living the Christian life today is that we are immersed in the world’s culture that surrounds us and unfortunately that immersion tends to open us up to forces that lead us into compromising our faith and our walk with Jesus.

As disciples through a loving relationship with Jesus, we have no problem with willingly offering ourselves as a living sacrifice – as indicated in the first verse of the introductory citation above. The area where we tend to have the most problem however is in keeping to the purpose and intent of the second verse, that is, keeping ourselves from being conformed to the world. What we don’t realize is that we cannot be faithful to the first verse without doing what the second verse requires.

The only way we can cooperate with the Grace of God in His work of transformation in us is by separating ourselves in spirit from the world’s systems and culture so that Jesus, and He alone, rules in our hearts. If we let the world encroach on what and how we think and desire, then Christ cannot be fully in control of our lives, thus, keeping us from discerning God’s specific will for us. Only by detaching ourselves from the “world’s lifestyle” through the renewal of our minds can we truly discern God’s will to do what is good acceptable and perfect and so carry out His purpose in us.

Now, the Lord has placed us in the world so that we can minister His Love to the world but, in doing His will this He does not want us to be caught up in the world’s way of thinking and behaving and emulating their sinful behavior. He desires that His desires and His will so take root in us that all our thoughts, word and actions are completely aligned with His will, while yet being immersed in the world.

Always keep in mind, then what Jesus said to His disciples:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. (Jn.15:16-19)

Jesus told His disciples not to be discouraged even though they had to live in the world, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Jn 16:33)

And John the Apostle tells us that, “… whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 jn.5:4)

However, although, Satan, the former ruler of this world has been cast down through the atoning death of Christ on the Cross and through His glorious resurrection, the evil one still exerts his power over the world through deception, lies and the lust of our fallen flesh. For this is the only way that his rule over this world can persist since he no longer has authority here unless we permit it. For, as His disciples, baptized in water and empowered by the Holy Spirit, each of us has a specific delegation of His authority over the limited sphere of influence we have been given in each of our lives to extend His Kingdom of Love and to resist the evil one.

After His resurrection “Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)

At His Assumption to the right hand of the Father he also said “…but you shall receive power [authority] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (acts 1:8)

We, the Church Triumphant, the baptized in the Holy Spirit, then, have been placed in this world to be His witnesses and to enforce the Victory of Our King through the truth of the Gospel and the Power of the Holy Spirit, until He Himself comes in Glory to reign and rule over His Kingdom. We fulfill our calling not only by preaching and teaching the Good news but by living out our lives in such a manner that the Love of God is clearly manifested by our loving sacrifices for each other and for the world as we sow the seed of the Kingdom to bring forth fruit for His Glory.

However, although we have, through the Spirit, received New Life in Baptism, we still retain our fallen human nature and it is mainly this weakness that the forces of darkness use to compromise our faith and our ability to serve as soldiers for Christ in fulfilling our roles to be ministers of His Love. It is through the lustful incitements of the world, which is still in darkness, that the evil one uses to disable us from bringing forth the Kingdom of the Father’s Love.

The battlefield of this struggle between the evil one and the world that he controls is in our minds and in our hearts. Whenever we compromise our principles and attempt to live our lives with one foot in spirit and the other in the world we will lose – and Christ loses our services through our defection to the World because we cannot serve two masters (cf.,Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13).

If we are to serve Him we have to be totally dedicated to Him and to single-mindedly obey His directives through Love. We must be yoked to Him and to Him alone! We CANNOT be double-minded with respect to whom we belong (James 1:8). In fact, James in his Epistle, rebukes those are in this adulterous state: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Likewise, we are all challenged by the Apostle John to be single minded in our loyalty, our mission and our purpose and thus to overcome the world in His Name! “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:6-7)

Now, I must tell you the bad news, that within today’s church many naïve and well-intentioned Christians are compromising their faith and permitting themselves to be double-minded and conformed to the world by unknowingly partaking of the spiritual darkness of the world. Most faithful Christians are, by the grace of God, able to discern and avoid the most evident evil works of the world: drugs, sexual immorality, greed, pride, anger, contention, strife, and dishonesty, and not be caught up in that area of the world lifestyle. However, the forces of darkness, through deceit and subtlety have been enticing otherwise faithful Christians into dark deceptive spiritual practices that permit the enemy to influence their inner spiritual loyalties.

One of the reasons this goes unperceived is that we “egalitarian” moderns have somehow become insensitive to the fact that there are spiritual forces of darkness that are as much a part of the current world system as the works of the flesh which are so self-evident. Somehow in our lopsided modern thinking, there are no such things as evil spirits therefore conclude that all things spiritual must be of God, a philosophy which disables our intellectual defenses and judgment regarding false spiritual practices promoted by those evil spirits that seek to control us and keep us from bring forth the Kingdom of God into this world. Of Course, this is just another way for the enemy and his cohorts to conform us to the world (their world)!

And how do these evil spirits get past our defenses? Well they merely present themselves as alternative paths to an assortment of what they claim are enhanced spiritualities and syncretistic methods, that claim to be extensions of Christian spirituality (which they are not!). These New Age pseudo-spiritual practices, in fact are merely a means to entice us to open our spirit to the wiles of the forces of darkness and their destructive deceptions and thus to keep us from the true spirituality that comes from a deep and transcending relationship with Jesus, who is the Way (the only Way), the Truth and the Life!

“Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ “. (Jn 14: 6)

While it is true that those Christians who entertain these New Age practices1 are merely seeking to satiate a spiritual hunger that is not being currently supplied by the church, it does not excuse them or prevent the evil one from perturbing up their lives with spiritual deception. How is it I ask myself, that these hungry and thirsty Christians prefer seeking fulfillment in these dark heretical mysteries rather than accept the genuine, supernatural, and magnificent supernatural Gifts of the Spirit that are our inheritance from Pentecost?

Why is it that these so-called Christians have not experienced the power of the real spiritual nourishment that is available through Sacrament of the Eucharist – the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ?

After all did not Jesus say. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) ?

Brethren, I believe part of the answer is ignorance – ignorance not only of the dangers of dabbling on the occult and eastern religions, but also ignorance of the power and magnificence of the spiritual life that is available within the Church of God through the inspired Word of God, the Sacraments, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sadly, the problem stems from the fact that even some clerics in the Church have never experienced the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts and therefore are unable to properly teach others or lead others the true way of enlightenment and spiritual understanding.

In order to help the situation I have added a new section to the “Resources” cited on the right hand margin under the TAB: 5. More! / # Dangers of Deceptive Spirituality. This section contains several articles that will provide some useful information to those that are seeking to truly worship God in Spirit and the Truth!

In making my case, I present to you, below, an article from this section of a priest, who commendably has given His testimony about how he wandered into these New Age practices before He entered the priesthood and how it took him several years into the priesthood before he totally understood the perilous path he had taken and was delivered from this error.

May the Lord Guide you with His Word and His Spirit as you seek to worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Catholics and the dangers of New Age movement
Exerpted from:    http://www.catholicmessenger.org/articles/2011/01/12/opinion/guest_opinions/doc4d2ddb6eb021c530661137.prt

How I was delivered from New Age Practices

By Father Bill Kneemiller
Published:  Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:55 AM CST

Fr. Kneemiller Comments on New Age practicesThe topic of New Age movements, once a budding campus phenomenon, is now mainstream and as close to us as our local bookstore or DVD movie. New Age refers to forms of spirituality that draw from old systems of knowledge such as Zen, Gnosticism (secret knowledge) and Eastern meditation.

New Age concepts and ideals are even becoming part of our vocabulary. I know this terminology well, as I had a former involvement with Eastern meditation practices before my reconversion to my Catholic roots. I have been steeped in both traditions. So, I may have some insights for Catholics who are dabbling in New Age practices.  I have not publicly written about this before because it has taken time to come out of this New Age involvement.

I was blessed to get a solid Catholic education in St. Charles, Mo., attending Catholic grade school and high school, and being taught by dozens of faith-filled priests and religious Sisters. After high school, I was ready to see more of life. As far as my faith life, Catholicism was OK but I wanted to get a spiritual high. At the University of Missouri I was intrigued by the philosophy of yoga, and in reading my first yoga book “Heaven Lies Within,” it seemed then to fit with me, the new “seeker.” After all, didn’t Jesus use these very words? After about a year of stumbling around with self-help yoga books, I started practicing the Eastern meditation technique, transcendental meditation. From this date in the early 1970s, there followed about 18 years of doing everything with this program. I traveled to half-a-dozen countries spending months, even close to a year overseas at a time studying the technique and advanced programs.

Also, I thought I was meeting the coolest people in the world such as Deepak Chopra, now a self-help guru in his own right, and Johnny Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” At the time, it seemed great to me that Catholic leaders such as the Trappists in Massachusetts were practicing this meditation technique along with priests endorsing it. Everything seemed OK at the time because I was taught it is just a technique which enriches everyone’s own religion and the mantra used for this meditation practice was a meaningless word. It would be decades before I learned that mantras are names of Hindu gods.

After about 18 years of Eastern meditation involvement, I started going to a family rosary, at first, out of curiosity. I was taught “prayer with the heart” and it completely changed my concept of prayer from being a rote practice to being a conversation and relationship with Christ. With my newfound rosary friends, I enjoyed going to Catholic conferences and events. The first change I noticed was that I wanted to be around people who believed in the Catholic faith; the conversation and New Age-culture started sounding unusual, even strange.

After a few years, the Catholic culture won out, and I just stopped all involvement with Eastern meditation. I did wonder at the time if I could just walk away; was there any closure? Five years of seminary followed, then, soon after ordination, I started attending the healing Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. One of the priests there offered a prayer of deliverance for me at that time, and recommended that I denounce the mantra, and that was a huge step in cutting my former ties with Eastern meditation.

My story then picks up in 2010, after a tour as a military chaplain in Afghanistan, when I attend a healing conference in Chicago. This conference is held at Mundelein Seminary every August and is for priests involved in the healing ministry, along with training for exorcists. There I meet Father Bob Thorn, a diocesan priest from Wisconsin who had a similar history as me, being a former meditation teacher and now a Catholic priest. Fr. Thorn was helping with reconciliation one evening, so I waited, last in line to go to confession with him. I thought, “Well, Fr. Thorn may have some insights about the Eastern meditation movement, and his subsequent re-conversion to his Catholic roots.  I also thought that when we talked, it would be a friendly social visit, such as “Ha-ha-ha,” wasn’t that kind of crazy back then in the ‘70s, and our involvement with meditation and everything …”

But as soon as I sat down with Fr. Thorn, there was no “Ha-ha-ha” — only seriousness. I told him I was involved as a meditation teacher back then as he was, and he looked fairly concerned. He said, “Bill — you still have that Eastern meditation in you.”  He went on to explain that I needed to denounce every Hindu god that is invoked in the meditation ceremony.  I realized he was right. The transcendental meditation ceremony is filled with dozens of invocations to gods, such as ‘Brahma, Shiva’… you name it; it’s there in the ceremony in which everyone is taught the technique.

So, Fr. Thorn and I went to the conference directors and asked them if they could pray for us that evening. Fr. Thorn downloaded the meditation ceremony from the Internet, and we were ready to be prayed over for this intention.

Three priests helped with this, including one from Canada and one from Peru who I understand to be two of the most skilled exorcists in the world. The priests recommended that I denounce each god and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, which took about a quarter of an hour.  I did this, and the priest did a casting-out prayer. The healing session was a profound gift and grace. Wow, the effects of spiritual healing! That night, I slept like a baby.

Then, the next week, and in subsequent months I have felt lighter and freer than I have ever experienced in my life. The next week at the healing Mass in Davenport, I gave a talk about healing from New Age practices and spent an hour-and-a-half afterwards hearing confessions and praying for people who had similar involvements. I could never recommend anyone using Eastern meditation for any reason at all. But, I also now see many intrusions of New Age thought, or re-formulated Hinduism in our culture, and some in our parishes.

“Many people are convinced that there is no harm in ‘borrowing’ from the wisdom of the East, but the example of transcendental meditation should make Christians cautious about the prospect of committing themselves unknowingly to another religion (in this case Hinduism),” according to a 2003 Church document entitled: “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.”

“There is no problem with learning how to meditate but the object or content of the exercise clearly determines whether it relates to the God revealed by Jesus Christ … or simply to the hidden depths of the self,” the document states.

Our Church’s teachings remind us that we have in the person of Jesus Christ a trustworthy and sure guide, true man and true God, and source of all goodness!

(Fr. Kneemiller is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols.)

Read Full Post »