Category Archives: Teaching & Living the Faith

Who God is reveals our Christian life

As we move toward Lent and therefore to the Paschal Mysteries of Easter, we ought to reflect upon who God is (theologia) and not merely what God does (ecomomia). Both aspects of our spiritual life are important but acts can not be put before being. Our liturgical prayer, for example, first identifies who God is, and then shows us what He has done for us, and then we make His name known in the doxology.

We are members of a family of faith concerned with the covenant relationship (communio). When we consider who are as Christians we baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity and taught to observe what we have learned of Christ Jesus. In baptism we are created in priest, prophet and king according to the mind of the Lord. Study in the Creed, the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed –all in the light of the Gospel. The proclamation of the Gospel leads us to baptism (not the other way around) and then the Christian manner of living. This is a history that reveals the Mystery.

We are the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21), a constant theme in our faith and how we live this faith.

A prayer to a guardian angel

guardian-angel2October 2nd is the day to commemorate the Guardian Angels. While it is a Sunday, the feast gets trumped by the Sunday observance.

The teaching we hold dear about the Guardian Angel is that an angel is (a created, non-human, non-corporeal being) that has been assigned to guard a particular person, with concern for that person to avoid spiritual and physical dangers and work out one’s salvation. The Directory on Piety and the Tradition of the Church says serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.

In sacred Scripture, the Prophet Daniel speaks of Michael as “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people” (Dan. 12:1). Michael is depicted as the guardian angel of Israel.

Saint Matthew’s Gospel speaks of Jesus talking about are guardian angels for all persons, particularly little children. He says: See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10).

‘A prayer to the good angel’

O sweet angel, to me so dear,
Who night and day standeth me near
Full lovingly, with mild mood, [gentle mind]
Thanks, honour, love and praising,
Offer for me to Jesu, our king,
For his gifts great and good.

As thou goest betwixt him and me,
And knowest my life in every degree,
Telling it in his presence,
Ask me grace to love him truly,
To serve my Lord with heart duly,
With my daily diligence.

Keep me from vice and all perils,
While thou with me daily travels
In this world of wickedness;
Cause my petitions to be granted
By thy prayer daily haunted,
If it please thy holiness.

O sweet angel, who keepest me,
Bring me to bliss, I pray thee!

From the manuscript from which this prayer comes we can note that it was in a volume owned by Margaret Beauchamp, the Duchess of Somerset, mother of Margaret Beaufort, and grandmother of Henry VII.

Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, ed. Carleton Brown (Oxford, 1939)

Know your angels

angel-detailAngels are everywhere. Do you notice the angels? Do you know they possess us? Are you in friendship with your Guardian Angel? On the 29th of September we had the feast of the Holy Archangels and on the 2nd of October we have the feast of Guardian Angels. Catholic theology, like that of Jewish theology, teaches the existence and work of angels. Some catechesis on video and some book recommendations:

Watch Mike Aquilina: Angels

Recommended: Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Angels

Watch Scott Hahn: Angels and Saints

Recommended: Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones

Watch Mark Miravalle: The Nine Choirs of Angels and their relation to Mary the Queen of Angels

Christ has become our neighbor

Christ has become our neighbor; or rather, our neighbor is Christ who presents himself to us in this or that form. He presents himself to us, suffering in those who are sick, destitute in those in want, a prisoner in those who are captives, sad in those who mourn. But it is faith that shows him to us thus in his members. And if we do not see him in them, it is because our faith is weak, our love imperfect. That is why St. John says that if we do not love our neighbor whom we see, how can we love God whom we do not see? If we do not love God under the visible form in which he presents himself to us, that is to say in our neighbor, how can we say that we love him in himself, in his divinity?

Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB
Christ the Life of the Soul

Distinguished from Christ

the BaptistWe have arrived at Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. It’s a short time before the celebration of the Lord’s Nativity. In both forms of the sacred Liturgy we encounter the Lord’s cousin, Saint John the Baptist. The supreme lesson the Baptist teaches is that we are not Jesus, which seems obvious to say but in reality so many think they are the messiah and therefore do not live in humility. Here is an excerpt from a meditation by Saint Augustine on the Prophet Saint John the Baptist:

“What does to prepare the way mean, except to pray as you ought, to be humble-minded? Take an example of humility from John himself. He is thought to be the Christ, but he says he is not what people think. He does not use the mistake of others to feed his own pride. Suppose he had said: I am the Christ. How easily would he have been believed, since that was what people were thinking before he spoke! But he did not say it. He acknowledged who he was, distinguished himself from Christ, humbled himself.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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