"Encountering" Jesus Christ in America Today

The situation of the men and women of America and their encounter with the Lord

 

"Reflections"  regarding ENCOUNTERING JESUS CHRIST IN AMERICA TODAY

 

Prayer ~~  "Come Holy Spirit!  Come and transform the hearts of all your people!  Come quickly, so we may at long last "see" the new heavens and new earth!" 

Pope John Paul II reminds us that sins are the consequences of personal acts and the social atmosphere of America is the result of the personal actions and attitudes of all of us WHO LIVE HERE!

The Gospel tells of people "encountering" Jesus in very different ways.

As with Mary Magdalene, some of us have this "encounter" as the result of "...sin, which shows the need for conversion and the Lords' forgiveness." 

Our beloved Pope continues to explain in the Apostolic Exhortation, THE CHURCH IN AMERICA, "At other moments we find ourselves searching for the truth and genuinely trusting in Jesus' positive attitudes which help us to establish a friendship with Him and awaken the desire to imitate Him."  

Where there is "darkness" there is no "light."  It is a shelter for sin.  Where there is sin, there is a need for conversion.  As St. Peter says in Acts 3:19, "Be penitent, therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."  If we choose to walk in the darkness, we stumble and fall. 

If we choose to walk in the light, we are able to find our way ~~ our way to Christ Our Lord.  When we choose to walk in the "light of the truth," we become imitators of God.  Remember, we are made in His "image" and "likeness" and He knows,  "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." ( Matthew 6:41 )  This is what Jesus said to His apostles, Peter, James and John, when he returned from the Garden of Olives where He had been praying and agonizing over His forthcoming death.  He was disappointed because He had found His friends sleeping. 

If we allow the light of the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will be living our lives in holiness because we will be living the truth found in the Gospel with faith and love.  This is doing God's will!  

Jesus, Himself, said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."   


The Woman Clothed with the Sun and the Moon at Her Feet, the virgin, Mary, said YES to Gods' will and her "... soul magnifies the Lord." (Luke 1:46)  

When we choose our own will over God's will, we fall into sin!

 

The Christian identity of America

The GREATEST GIFT received on the continent of America is the belief in Jesus Christ!

Pope John Paul II is asking for a UNITY OF ALL WHO BELIEVE IN CHRIST!  

It is time for us to UNITE because of that which we agree upon and not divide ourselves because of that which we do not agree upon.  This is not a recommendation to compromise any of the TRUTHS of the Catholic faith but we should try to make a sincere commitment to share with other Christian faiths, the "fullness of ALL the TRUTHS." 

It is a guarantee that for all who believe in God and try to follow His     COMMANDMENTS  we will be given the gift of peace within our hearts and be able to "see" God in all of His human family.

 

The fruits of holiness in America


St. Rose of Lima
was the first canonized saint from the American Continent.

All the saints were born "common folk," just like us.  They too, were born with Original Sin.  Each saint "encountered" Jesus in his own way.  This led them to an inner conversion so that they could dedicate their lives and works to God.  Through this conversion and the grace of God, they helped to build our church into what it is today.  They were not afraid to proclaim the "Good News" with their personal acts of charity, prayer, sacrifice, and by being a living witnesses to all of the Christian virtues.  They devoted their lives to God even if it meant being persecuted for their beliefs.  Remember, once a true spiritual conversion took place within their hearts, they never denied God, even if it meant losing their own life because of what they believed!

That is why our Holy Father encourages reading the lives of the saints in order to try to imitate their holiness. We are encouraged to pray to the saints and those declared venerable for their powerful intercession.

 

Popular piety

There is an intense sense of piety among the people in America who are humbly and sincerely "searching for God."  A small light burning in a window, the soft glow of a candle, or a statue of a saint sitting on a mantle over the fireplace, may represent some of the ways in which people want to show that they have begun an "encounter" with Christ.

 

By taking a journey on a pilgrimage to where the Blessed Mother appeared or where a saint "encountered" Christ, we may experience our own personal "encounter" with Jesus Christ. 

 

 

 

Other ways in which our piety may be demonstrated is by acknowledging that purgatory exists and by praying for all the souls who are detained there.  

 

 

We also have to remember that the frequent reception of the sacraments, especially reconciliation 

and Holy Eucharist, gives us the grace to continue and deepen our relationship with Christ.

If a seed is planted, nourished and cared for, it will sprout into something beautiful.  If we nourish our souls with the goodness that comes from God, we too, can grow into beautiful, loving and charitable people!

 

The Eastern Catholic presence

The welcoming of  many people from other continents has been the proud history of the American Continent! 

Our Catholic faith was brought to the shores of America from Europe.  Throughout America's history, many immigrants have fled here to seek religious freedom ~~  the choice to believe in God!  This is not only true for the people but also for the ancient traditions regarding doctrine, liturgy, and monasticism that were brought to America's shores by the Eastern Religions

 

Our Holy Father advises us that "The universal Church needs a synergy {combined, united action} between the particular Churches of East and West so that she may breathe with her two lungs, in the hope of one day doing so in perfect communion between the Catholic Church and the separated Eastern Churches."

The Church is the Body of Christ.  Jesus has but One Body!  He established One Church and "... the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!" (Matthew 16:18)  

In the spirit of Vatican II, the Church is pray fully making great efforts in promoting the reunion of all Christians into one church.

 

America is formed by many different, diverse cultures, especially native ones. When we take the time to learn about these cultures, we will begin to respect rather than judge and to appreciate rather than discount the different cultural ways in which people may express their Christian faith.

 

 

The Church in the field of education and social action 

Christian education is important to help us learn more about God and His teachings.  The Catholic Church has always tried to evangelize by spreading the "Good News" through her schools.   The TRUTH of the FAITH must never be 

compromised in these institutions that are responsible in helping to form the minds of our children in primary school and guiding and directing young adults at the university level!

America also has a history of loving and trying to take care of her elderly, poor, sick and needy as demonstrated by her many social and charitable works.  Jesus, even identified Himself with the poor! (Matthew 25:35-40)   It is important that we "reach out" to others who do not yet KNOW Christ or His teachings, by being good examples of His mercy, love and kindness!  

To give of ourselves to others is God's will!  Forgetting our own sorrows and sufferings to help others is God's will!  "Reaching out" to the underprivileged, the poor, the homeless and the oppressed is what the Gospel and the Church instructs us to do!  Remember, "It is in giving that we receive and in pardoning that we are pardoned." (from the Prayer to St. Francis)  

It is through our service to the poor that we are able to really communicate God's INFINITE Love to all people.  It is a way that we may offer the hope of salvation to the elderly, the poor, and the sick and needy. 

 

  Through individual examples of the love which imitates the Love of Christ, eventually, entire social, political and economic structures of the different countries will change!

New Message of Hope 

The Encounter with The Living Jesus Christ

Encountering
Jesus Christ in America Today
The Path of Conversion

The Path to Communion

The Path  to
Solidarity