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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Catholic Privilege


As many of you already know, I often speak of us Christians needing to take the harder road, picking up our crosses, and enduring trial after trial until we receive our heavenly reward.
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This is true, that suffering is a part of being a Christian, and it includes making the decision to turn away from the secular world to live a life of holiness.
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But we often forget that being a Christian also comes with numerous privileges as well. These so called privileges are exclusive to those who believe.
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Privilege # 1 = Hope
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I first think of the ability to have hope. Not hope in ourselves as much as the knowledge that God is the one in control of our lives and He has this plan that is uniquely ours. Yes we have free will to make decisions, but God has this master plan for us and even though at times we don't understand why certain things are happening in our lives, it has a purpose to help us grow and prepare for eternal life in heaven.
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Privilege # 2 = Trust
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As a child has total trust in their parents that they will be cared for, protected, and loved, we as Christians also posses this trust in our Lord and Savior.
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Privilege # 3 = Love
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Many in this world feel alone and isolated, yet as a Christian we know that we belong to a family that was established over 2000 years ago by Christ himself. This is a family that exists for the purpose of love. It is said that you will know that they are Christians by the way that they love and care for each other. We are a part of that family.
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Privilege # 4 = The Sacraments
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This Privilege is not only uniquely Christian but uniquely Catholic. What is a Sacrament? It is an external sign of an inward grace that was instituted by Christ himself and that makes Christ present to us. We experience and interact with Christ, in the real person, in such an intimate way, that we are made holy by this encounter.
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In Baptism we are made children of God, welcomed into the Christian family, and cleansed from the original sin (Adam and Eve) that separated us from heaven.
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In The Holy Eucharist we are able to receive Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. He who is everything becomes part of us, we not only consume him as he directed us to do on Holy Thursday, but we are consumed by him during the Holy Eucharist. Wherever Christ is, so is the Father and the Holy Spirit. And wherever the resurrected Christ is, so is the whole Heavenly Kingdom, including the Saints, the Angles, and all who have received their heavenly reward. When we received Holy Communion, we receive all of heaven into our being, we are made holy and experience heaven...... WOW!
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In Confirmation we are sealed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit and strengthened to live a life with the power of the gifts of the spirit. We confess our desire to be a catholic and to live a life that is pleasing to our Father and Lord. We set out to not only to fight against the evils of the world but to bring Christ's love into the darkness.
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In Holy Confession we are allowed to confessed our failings, those behaviors, or lack of actions, in which we willfully chose to turn away from God and separate ourselves from heaven. With the power that Jesus gave to Saint Peter and the Holy Priesthood, our sins are exposed from the darkness and brought out into the light of Christ, our contrite heart is revealed, and those healing words of absolution are showered upon us. We are healed and restored back into communion with our Church, our Faith, and Our Lord and Savior.
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In Sacramental Marriage two people of opposite genders and bonded together in much more that a agreement, a covenant is made that brings the two together for a life to be lived as one. What God has brought together no man shall separate. This is a bond that is life itself, grounded in Love, Charity, service, and faith. A Sacramental Marriage is the closest thing on earth that represents God's relationship and love with us. It is Holy, Pure, Sacred, and life giving and life sustaining.
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The Anointing of The Sick is the Sacrament that is healing itself. It not only washes away any sin that has encroached upon the soul, but prepares the soul for entrance into heaven. Yes it can produce physical healing if it is the will of God, but most importantly it heals the spirit and soul on the person.
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In Holy Orders one transcends his own limitation and represents Christ to the world. Inadequate as he might be in is own qualities, he is given the grace to minister in the name of Christ. He becomes that instrument of grace to the world. Not by any doing of his own, he still remains limited in his humanity, yet when called upon by others in faith, he is that presence of the love and power of Christ. In The Sacrament of Holy Orders, internally the man is literally changed. His soul has been transformed and he can present Christ to the world through his life.
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As Christians we are a privileged group of people that are so very blessed,
blessed and Privileged beyond our own understanding.
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