Thought for the Week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

January 19-25, 2020

 

Sometimes we wonder where we get what we call sacraments in the Church.  Jesus gave us the sacraments, outward signs of inner grace, beginning with. “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 27:19 In the 16th century the Council of Trent formalized the sacraments into seven.  They are divided into three categories: Sacraments of initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation; Sacraments of healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick and Sacraments of service – Holy Orders and Matrimony. Many beautiful symbols are used in the ceremonies of these sacraments: water, oil, white cloth, candles, rings, etc. We need tangible thinks in order to appreciate and recognize the presence of God.  It is a good practice for Confirmation to dig out that baptismal candle.  It is good any time, but especially during Easter to renew those baptismal vows and re-commit ourselves to the Resurrected Christ.

 

In John 1: 29-34 St. John the Baptist testifies beautifully to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. When John sees Jesus approaching him at the River Jordan, he says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world…” When he saw the dove descend upon Jesus and heard the words of Father, “This is my beloved Son, hear you him,” he remembered what he had been told about the Messiah, “On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

We have John the Baptist to thank for this great revelation of the Trinity.  Jesus will confirm this over and over again in his public ministry.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is celebrated on Monday. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, he was considering becoming a doctor or a lawyer instead. He later decided that the Bible had “many profound truths which one cannot escape” and entered the Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, graduating with his PhD at the age of 25.  He got C in public speaking during his first year at seminary, but by his final year, King was receiving straight A’s and had become the valedictorian of his class. When he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he was the youngest person to do so at age 35. (Malala Yousafzai now holds the record, winning the 2014 prize at age 17.)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” said King. The Old Farmer’s 2020 Almanac

 

On Tuesday we recall the life of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr. She was a member of one of the most prominent aristocratic families of Rome in the third century. When, as a young girl, she refused the attentions of a young man, he complained to his father. His father in turn tried to persuade her by putting her in a brothel. No man was able to touch her. When they tried to burn her, the flames would not touch her. Finally, they put her to the sword, like a lamb. That is why she is often pictured with a lamb.  She is the patroness of chastity and girls. Holyart.com

 

On Saturday the Conversion of St. Paul is commemorated.  As we know, Paul persecuted Christians, considering it his holy duty as a devout Pharisee. Jesus had other plans for him and struck him down from his horse on his way to Damascus to arrest some Christians.  To be sure, Paul was certainly thunderstruck by this reckoning with the Lord.  His conversion was complete and he began the great Apostle of the Gentiles.  We can all take a lesson from St. Paul and examine our lives, as to areas in which we need to convert our behavior to more Christian service and life.

 

Let us respond to Jesus, “Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.” 1 Samuel 3

 

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director