Prayer & Spiritual Life

Since Pentecost is upon us, I thought I would share this again…

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal.

They were also anxious about the promise. The only thing they knew about God descending in fire was the experience of their ancestors at Mount Sinai. When that happened they all ran and hid and said to Moses, Never let God speak to us again; you go talk with Him and come back and tell us what the said.

Pentecost was approaching. Pentecost means “the 50th day.” Fiftieth day from what? From the Passover. Almost fifty days ago the Passover lambs had been slain, and so had THE Passover Lamb. Then there was the forty mystery days when Jesus was gone but not gone—with them but not with them, at least not like before. And he kept just appearing and then disappearing.

He taught them a lot in those forty days, He had breathed on them, gave them power to forgive and retain sins, fed them loaves and fish, appointed Peter as his shepherd, commanded them to go out from Jerusalem to the world. He explained to them much about the Kingdom of God and their tasks as His emissaries.

The last meeting was the most unusual of all. He answered a few questions, gave a few instructions and without even a formal Good-bye He started going up—and continued going up until all they saw was the bottom of his sandals as he disappeared into a cloud. Daniel 7:13-14 says he went back to the glory of heaven.

They looked at each other with obvious concern on their faces—they were fearful. They locked themselves in the Upper Room to pray as He had commanded. They were praying for what they feared—fire upon a mountain, Mount Zion. They prayed for nine days, the first Novena, before the promise of the Holy Spirit fell.

We are specifically told that there were about 120 people in the room. Actually the word is “names” not people. How strange. Can you imagine me saying, “About 120 names came on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land”? This made me curious so I looked up 120 in early Jewish literature and law. Sure enough, my research paid off.

In Israel is a group of Jews desiring to leave the big city and start their own new community they needed a minimum of 120 names on a list. What was happening here in the Upper Room? A new community was being started. The word “church” in the New Testament is ecclesia which means “a group of people called out.” Even today the Knessett (lawmaking body in Israel) is made up of 120 representatives.

This certainly implies the Church is not just a loose association of like-minded followers of Jesus. It is a social structure with legal boundaries. It has it’s own legislature, courts and hierarchy. It is a “new city” with a constitution and authority. You are in or out. This is exactly what the Church is – with leaders having the authority to bind and loose, make laws and adjudicate them, include or exclude people from the organization, to forgive or retain sins. Only the worldwide Catholic Church could even begin to claim this status.

Mary is listed among the believers in that Upper Room. It was important that she is listed among the names with others. She is the mother of Jesus. She gave birth to him in Bethlehem as was, in a sense, giving birth to him again on Pentecost. What is our affectionate term for Pentecost? Can you sing “Happy Birthday, to you…”? Yes, it is the Birthday of the Church. What is being born? The Mystical Body of Christ. Who is there for the birth? The mother of course. Mothers have to be present when their child is born. Mary is the mother of Jesus the God-Man and Mary is the Mother of the Church, the Body of Christ. She was necessarily present at both births.

Mary was also there because the others were afraid of the descent of God in fire on this new mountain. I am convinced they trembled in fear not only of the Jews and Romans outside, but of the prophesied “baptism of fire” within—as they wondered and feared that might be. The gentle breeze was about to become a rushing wind.

But Mary was there to calm their anxieties. I bet she said something like, “Don’t be afraid my friends, the Holy Spirit has already overshadowed me and He was pure love. Just wait until you are bathed in His love!” The gentle breeze became a rushing wind but it was warm and

After nine days of praying the Holy Spirit fell in fire on the tenth day—which was the 50th day from the death of the Passover Lamb Jesus on the cross. The Jewish festival of Pentecost also celebrated the first fruits of the harvest.

Remember, Jesus said he was like a grain of wheat that would be buried in the ground. The grain must be buried and die to bear its fruit. Jesus died, was buried in the ground and rose from the dead as the first fruit. Now on the “Feast of First Fruits” the first of the harvest is brought to God. We learn that 3,000 people were added to the Church that day—all in keeping with the tremendous symbolism and deeper meaning to all these events.

And with these deep mysteries and truths we are just scratching the surface. Come to the Holy Land with us, get out your Bibles and study books (or Verbum Catholic Bible Study software) and dig deeper. “There is gold in them there hills” for those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts and minds to learn. Enter promo code STEVERAY for a 10% discount.

{ 2 comments }

Screen Shot 2021-03-06 at 11.02.30 AMLately at noon Janet and I receive a FaceTime call from James. He is almost 3 years old. He calls because he wants to pray the Angelus with us over the iPhone.

Here he is praying the Angelus with our daughter. This is way to cute. We had to share it.

 

{ 1 comment }

My Resolve as our World Spins out of Control

by Steve Ray on January 23, 2021

After commenting a bit on our dismal situation in the world, a friend wrote to me this morning saying, “Please keep doing what have been doing for many years to come!”

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 9.21.52 AMI responded,

When we got married 44 years ago I told my good wife we had already lost our country, it was just a matter of time how fast we would slide down the hill. I had been a keen observer of philosophy, popular culture, the media and movies, education and the “intellectual” trends.

The trend was already set and I watched the “non-thinkables” quickly become “thinkable” and then accepted, then imposed, then expected, and then we were all required to praise and celebrate the things that even in my younger years were once “unthinkable”.

Abortion was just one of many evils that sprouted like an ugly weed due to this philosophical shift.

external-content.duckduckgoPut a frog in a pan of cold water and turn on the burner. Because the heat increases slowly over time, the frog does not realize the change. He does not respond but slowly is boiled to death. So it is with our country. The changes are just gradual enough that people adapt to the increasing change and in the end….

Every time we smile with a small victory it is like climbing up a sand dune when I was a boy. It seemed like for every step I climbed up I slid back down two steps. 

downloadEven when Trump was elected I viewed it as a small victory, but said to Janet, “It is only a parenthesis — it will only slow down the decline for a while, it won’t stop it.”

It’s not about who’s in or not an office, it’s about the shifting trend of the philosophy and our willingness to except evil and socialism and the denigration of human life and freedom.

Without a spectacular intervention of God (which I pray for) we have already lost our country and the freedoms we have taken for granted. I hope I am proved to be wrong, but…

As for our family, we will fight the good fight and stand our ground. We will educate, castigate, and celebrate. We will live in the life of the Lord and his victory through the cross and resurrection. The truth is the Truth and cannot be forgotten, neglected or silenced.

So, we all do what we must even though I expect it is a losing battle on this battlefield. But knowing that in the end we win the war, Janet and I intend to stay faithful with our eyes set on the last day when “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (Jn 5:28-29).What Grandmas do

C812935F-C875-4206-972B-203FF96112E5-768x576And if we can save the lives of some babies, form the conscience of our own family and a few others, keep the flame burning, bring some souls to heaven with us, die in friendship with God, and even die as martyrs with the Creed on our lips, we will have done our part.

Alas, we are called to be faithful, not successful, as Mother Teresa said.

{ 2 comments }

2 Minute Audios: Steve’s 6 Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends

January 19, 2021

People always ask, “What do I say to my husband…?”  or “How do I get my kids back in the Church?  or  “I am getting no where trying to tell my friend about my Faith.” Well Steve came up with Six Rules to help you deal with non-Catholics – especially family and friends. To read […]

Read the full article →

What if I need to go to confession and can’t because churches are closed?

January 13, 2021

I have been asked this question many times over the last few weeks. With churches closed and sacraments suspended, what can we do if we need to get to confession? Here is how I answered that question for a young man named Jose. ******************************************************* JOSE ASKS: What can I do if I’ve fallen into mortal sin and there […]

Read the full article →

“The Sinner’s Prayer” – All You Need to Get to Heaven?

November 30, 2020

When I was a kid, the “Sinner’s Prayer” was a big deal. It was at the heart of everything we knew about Jesus and getting saved. It was almost used as an incantation. My mom coached me to pray the Sinner’s Prayer when I was 4 years old. We knelt together in front of the […]

Read the full article →

A Charming and Uplifting Look at our Problems and Death for this Thanksgiving

November 25, 2020

Christian Gratitude (posted on The Catholic Thing, to which I highly recommend you subscribe) Stephen P. White. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2020 Some years ago, during a particularly dark and troubling time, an American Jew living abroad wrote to his Catholic friend in the States to commiserate: “Looking across the seas at my native land, I see that […]

Read the full article →

Is God Like a GPS System?

November 13, 2020

There are a million reasons why God is NOT like a GPS system but I am in Australia and I made a wrong turn and my GPS started reprimanding me and saying “Recalculating!” For those who don’t know, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a nifty little device that links up with positional […]

Read the full article →

A Great Campaign of Sabotage!

November 3, 2020

“Enemy-occupied territory: that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” — C. S. Lewis

Read the full article →

Paul Prayed for the Dead; we should too

November 2, 2020

Does the Bible record St. Paul praying for a dead man? Does the New Testament relate an incident of prayer for the dead? It seems quite certain that it does. Let’s begin with Onesiphorus—a faithful Christian who cared for St. Paul while he was in prison and who took great personal risk to serve the […]

Read the full article →

Will the Gates of Hell Prevail in the USA?

October 30, 2020

“The gates of hell shall not prevail!” I have heard this affirmation many times in the last year. There seems to be a certainty that we will prevail as a church even as our country spirals into chaos and confusion  pours out of the Vatican. Is the church’s success something that we can take for granted […]

Read the full article →

You can now access our whole completed Rosary Pilgrimage

October 13, 2020

The Rosary Pilgrimage has come to a conclusion but it is all still available with all the extras, the many and numerous speakers and lots of group prayer. You can now for a small fee gain unlimited access to THE WHOLE pilgrimage. CLICK HERE https://bit.ly/2GXV7a3

Read the full article →

Virtual Healing Conference (Free) Sept 25-27, 2020

September 24, 2020

FREE Global Healing Conference REGISTER FOR FREE With all of the changes going on in the world, the Church continues the work of evangelization. This is a great opportunity to experience Christ’s healing and mercy in a profound way — and for free! On this Friday, September 25, Virtual Catholic Conference will be hosting a global […]

Read the full article →

“Be not ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead”

September 14, 2020

On this feast day of the Triumph of the Cross, heed the words of Church Father, St. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (c. 315–87) in  his “Catechetical Lectures.” 13. All kings when they die have their power extinguished with their life: but Christ crucified is worshipped by the whole world. We proclaim The Crucified, and the devils […]

Read the full article →

Vatican Urges Catholics to Return to Public Sunday Worship

September 14, 2020

You may want to send a copy of Cardinal Sarah’s official Vatican pronouncement to your bishop! It is time we stop this craziness and get back to Mass and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ and fellowshipping with one another. We have been silent long enough. Now Rome speaks out in support of the churches opening […]

Read the full article →

My 20-Minute Meditation on the Visitation as Part of the Huge Spiritual Rosary Pilgrimage

September 10, 2020

The Spiritual Rosary Pilgrimage of Our Lord and Lady is underway but it is not too late to jump in the caravan and join the pilgrimage. My contribution was the meditation of the 2nd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the Visitation. You can listen/watch my segment below, just click on the image. To join this […]

Read the full article →