RCIA – Catholics and Mary 27/2/18

Catholics and Mary

Have a look at page 51 of the book “How to Survive being Married to a Catholic”.

Here’s what it says about praying to Mary.

Why do Catholics pray to the mother of Jesus?  Why can’t they pray directly to God?

Catholics can, and do, pray directly to God.  They also address prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  But they do not pray to Mary in the same way that they pray to God.  Prayer to God is worship, and worship can be offered to God alone.  Catholics do not worship Mary.  When they address her in prayer it is to ask her to pray to Jesus for them.  There’s nothing unusual about that.  We often ask our relatives or friends to pray for us.  Catholics, believe that, because of her special relationship to Jesus and the part she played in cooperating with God to make our salvation possible, Mary’s intercession is particularly valuable.

At the marriage feast at Cana (narrated in the second chapter of John’s Gospel) it was Mary who told Jesus, “They have no wine.”  And this prompted Jesus to work his first miracle.   In the same way, Catholics ask her to make their needs known to Jesus.

Catholics look upon Mary as their spiritual mother, but the honour they show her does not arise from her own merits but from the special relationship she has with Jesus, her son.[1]


I think this book presents this really well.


Mary in the bible


References to Mary by name taken from Young’s Analytical Concordance[2]



There are other references to the “mother of Jesus” which are found in;

Matthew 12: 46,  Mark 3: 31,  Luke 8: 20,  John 19: 25-27

There is an oblique reference in;  Luke 11:  27-28, where Jesus seems to be both drawing attention away from his mother, in a protective way, and blessing her at the same time.

The references to Mary by name take us through the Annunciation, the visitation, the birth of Jesus, the presentation, the early ministry of Jesus and with the apostles in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.

The references to Mary as mother of Jesus show her at the wedding feast in Cana, in Galilee and then in Jerusalem at the crucifixion.

Overall these references show that where Jesus is, Mary is often nearby.


Title – Mary, Mother of God

Catechism of the Catholic Church

ccc495 – Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother mf my Lord.”  In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became he Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity.  Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

The Visitation – Luke 1: 39-45

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah.  She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  She gave a loud cry and said, “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?  For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.  Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

 So the title Mother of God is scriptural.

The prayer “Hail Mary” is scriptural drawing on the words of the angel Gabriel at the annunciation (Luke 1: 26-38) and of Elizabeth at the visitation (Luke 1: 39-45).

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.


I can remember having a conversation with a non-Catholic Christian in college that went something like this;

Him – How can Mary be the Mother of God?

Me – Are you saying that Jesus isn’t the Son of God?

Him – No, of course not.  I’m just saying how can Mary be the Mother of               God?

Me – Mary is Jesus’s Mother – right.

Him – Yes

Me – Jesus is the Son of God – right.

Him – Yes

Me – So Mary is the Mother of Jesus who is the Son of God.

Him – Yes

Me – So Mary is the Mother of God.

Him – (after a pause) Mary is the earthly mother of Jesus.

Me – Now you’ve just added an adjective.

Him – Words are important,

Me – In acknowledging Mary as the Mother of God, I an acknowledging

Jesus as Lord.  I sure you wouldn’t want me to be denying Christ.


And so on…..  We didn’t particularly agree but I think I got a concession.


Mary given to the Church, given to us

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of  Magdala.  Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, Woman this is your son.”  Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother”.  And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

From the Gospel of John 19: 25-27.

I’ve always found John’s description of himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” a bit hard to take.  Is John claiming a position for himself which is above the other apostles?  No, we know that Jesus loves all his disciples and John uses this as a device to put us right there as these events are taking place.  So, at the cross Mary is given to us and we are given to Mary, our Mother.


 Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope.  To thee do we cry,  poor banished children of  Eve;  to thee do we send up our sighs,  mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


Pray for us O Holy Mother of God.


That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.


O God, whose only begotten Son, by his life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord.  Amen.


And there’s more……..


966 “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”506 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.507

. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace

967 By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)508 of the Church.

968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.”509

969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”510

506 LG 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf.  Rev 19:16.
507 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, August 15th.
508 LG 53; 63.
509 LG 61.
510 LG 62.


Note:  LG – Vatican 2 document “Lumen Gentium”


[1] How to Survive being Married to a Catholic, Redemptorist Publications, 1986 & 2007, p51

[2]  Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1989, p647


Sorting out the Marys


Here is the full list of bible references for all those Marys of the New Testament from Young’s Analytical Concordance.

There is;

Mary, the mother of Jesus

Mary Magdalene

Mary, mother of  James and Joses, the apostles

Mary, the wife of Clopas

Mary, sister of Martha in Bethany

Mary, mother of John Mark, nephew of Barnabas

Mary, a female believer in Rome who helped Paul




RCIA – Prayer 27/2/18

Catholics and Prayer



Prayer is talking to God, it is also listening to God.

Prayer is spending time with God.

At its heart prayer is a relationship.

Prayer is being open to God.


Let’s have a look at the cartoons “Catholics and Prayer” on pages 48-49 of the book “How to Survive being Married to a Catholic”.


Perhaps we can add other descriptions of what prayer is.

Prayer is………………..


Paul’s prayer from his letter to the Ephesians 3:14-21

This then is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name:

Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.  Amen.


Types of Prayer

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  from the first letter of Saint Paul to Timothy Ch2: vs 1


  1. Supplication – Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications
    . Psalm 130 vs 1-2.  Simply put this is a cry for mercy with a real sense of pouring                    yourself out before the Lord.  “Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path.”         Psalm 27 vs 11
  2. Prayers – we might think of all those set prayers which we like to use such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory be, and how these can be used as models to form our own prayers. This leads to worship which is the right relation between creature and creator.
  3. Intercessions – prayer for the community and for others, both at home and throughout the world. All those different situations that we can pray for and into.
  4. Thanksgiving and praise – thanking God for all he has done. Praise takes us out of ourselves and the narrowness of our own situations.  It brings us close to God and all the blessings he has for us.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150 vs 6.


 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Pauls letter to the Ephesians ch 1 vs 3.

How many blessings?  All of them


You may have noticed that Psalms can take us very easily into prayer and are used in the daily prayers of the church.  If you were to say a Psalm a day it would take you about 5 months to get through them as there are 150.



When our prayers don’t seem to be answered, we need to consider that “No” is also an answer.  It may mean that our prayer is at odds with the will of God and then we need to ask the Lord to teach us and show us his will.  We need to trust him.

Romans 8: 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”


 From the “Penny Catechism”

  1. Who made you? God made me.
  2. Why did God make you? God made me to know him, love him and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him for ever in the next.



What does God want from us?

Micah 6: 8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”


We have a measure of God’s will for us and so we can walk in it and pray in it.




In any situation it may seem that our prayers are such a little thing but we have to remember that we have a Great and Mighty God.  Prayer is both the least we can do and the greatest thing we can do.

St Paul tells us;

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Paul’s letter to the Ephesians ch 6 vs 12.


We can be “Prayer Warriors” adding our prayers to the mix for;

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Paul’s letter to the Romans ch 8 vs 37.

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”  From the poem Morte D’Arthur by Alfred Tennyson.


Time for another song from you tube

To God be the glory by Fanny Crosby



RCIA – Catholics and the Church

Catholics and the Church                                                20/02/18

 Can you remember this little exercise?

Here’s the Church and here’s the steeple open the doors and see all the people.


What is the Church?  How would you describe the Church?

Write down some words or phrases to describe the Church or even do a little sketch.
From time to time the Church comes under pressure to change or become “more modern”.

I can remember before Pope Francis became pope Catholics were being asked about the kind of Church they would like to have.  There were about as many different answers as there were people interviewed.  That is to say each person seemed to want a Church in their own image.  Overall this would seem to be rather exclusive, whereas the Church desires to be inclusive and in conformity to one image – that of Christ.


Let’s have a look at the cartoons on “Catholics and the Church” in the book “How to Survive being married to a Catholic”

Points – The Church is a sign of Christ in the world.

The Church hands on Christ’s message of love and forgiveness.

The Church is a community of people on a voyage of discovery.

The Holy Spirit gives the Church its life, motivation and heart.

The Holy Spirit remains faithful to the Church.

The Church endures, perseveres and prevails.


Youtube clip “Whiteboard, Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole World.



Points – The Church is a called out assembly – ekklesia.

  • The Church is the body of Christ. A people working out their                salvation in “fear and trembling”.  Philippians 2: 12.
  • The Church is a vessel or vehicle of salvation, rather like Noah’s Ark.
  • The Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members. Quote – Archbishop William Temple
  • The Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.


Of course the Church is also a paradox – it is made up of sinners who have the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Does this make us all hypocrites?


Here’s an answer from the “How to Survive being married to a Catholic” book;


Hypocrisy – Catholics are hypocrites.  Why do they pretend to be better than the rest of us?

It is surprising how many people share this view.  Perhaps it is because Catholics lay great stress on going to Mass and confessing their sins to a priest.  In fact Catholics don’t pretend to be better than anyone else.  If you ask them, most will probably say that they consider themselves to be no better and at times worse.

The idea that Catholics are morally superior to anyone else is false.  The Catholic Church is in reality like a band of pilgrims on a journey towards the God who loves them.


A Missionary Church

We invite others to accompany us on the journey.

“If God can save me he can save anybody!”


“We are only the earthenware vessels that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us”.  2 Corinthians 4:7


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12: 9



When we meet together in Church something wonderful happens;


“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.  Matthew 18:20.


Take this together with Jesus present in the Eucharist and we are getting a lot of Christ in the Mass.  You can’t get more, the body and the blood, soul and divinity of God’s dearly beloved Son freely given to us in the Mass.


So when the priest raises the host and says;

“Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”


And we make our response;

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”


We could think of this short hymn;

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.


YouTube clip- Hillsong “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”



Prayer – remembering the Church on earth, the Church militant, the Church in Purgatory, the Church suffering, and the Church in Heaven, the Church triumphant.

Lord Jesus, we give you thanks for the gift of the Church, our spiritual home on earth.  We thank you for the Mass and the foretaste of heaven it gives us.  Help us to enter more fully into its mysteries.

We pray for our Church, locally, nationally and internationally.  We pray for its constancy and witness to the world.  Help us to play our part in any way we can.

We pray for the Church suffering, all those who have gone before us and are awaiting their perfection and entrance into that heavenly Church.  We look forward to being united with them in that Church Triumphant where we will behold God in all His Glory.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


St. Paul – pray for us

St. Francis of Assisi – pray for us

St. Teresa of Calcutta – pray for us

Hail Mary


Extra bit

 From the Creed

 I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

 From the Catechism


“The sacred mystery of the Church’s unity” (UR 2)

813 The Church is one because of her source: “the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.”259 The Church is one because of her founder: for “the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body.”260 The Church is one because of her “soul”: “It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity.”261 Unity is of the essence of the Church:

What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her “Church.”262


823 “The Church . . . is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.”289 The Church, then, is “the holy People of God,”290 and her members are called “saints.”291


What does “catholic” mean?

830 The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” the Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”307 In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation”308 which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. the Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost309 and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.

831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:310

All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one…. the character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.311


857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:
– she was and remains built on “the foundation of the Apostles,”362 The witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;363
– with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,364 The “good deposit,” the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;365
– she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, “assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor”:366

You are the eternal Shepherd

who never leaves his flock untended.

Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always.

You made them shepherds of the flock

to share in the work of your Son….367

 Web ref –   http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM

Catholics and Redemption – RCIA Notes

Catholics and Redemption                                                                     13/2/18

Youtube clip – There is a Redeemer


“For you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they rest is you”.  From The Confessions of St. Augustine


If we don’t fill this space with God it will be filled with something else which will ultimately not satisfy us.


What kind of things might we fill this space with?


We have looked at salvation through Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection.  His blood for forgiveness of sins and the cross for deliverance from sin.  Our sins paid for and our sin, fallen nature, dealt with so that we can new life through Jesus Christ.  We lay hold of this by faith and repentance.


As well as those things we have from Jesus’s death and resurrection we also have something from his life.  Because his life was perfect, holy and righteous, we receive his righteousness.  What an exchange – he takes our sins and gives us his righteousness.   Then he does more, by giving us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and work within us to make our lives match our standing in Christ by making us righteous, holy and perfect.  This is an ongoing and whole life’s work.  It is completed after death.  So that we can say in relation to our redemption, “We have been saved, we are being saved and we will be saved!”  Hallelujah! Amen.

Our part in this is one of obedience to the will of God, submission to and cooperation with his will and his plan for us.  Faith and trust that he will do in us what he has promised.


Progress in the Christian Life

Always upwards – even if the line is a bit wiggly.  It isn’t always how far we have to go but how far we’ve come.


Catholics and Redemption


1) Job 19; vs. 25 “For I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last he will stand on the earth”

(I like how Job in uses the present tense, my Redeemer lives, and then the future tense, will stand on the earth.  Do you think he is talking about Jesus?)

2) Isaiah 43; vs. 1 “Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine.”

(Redemption is a great theme of Isaiah.)

3) Mark 10; vs. 45  “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

4) Letter of St Paul to the Philippians Chapter 1; vs. 6                                      

“I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.”

5) First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians Chapter 6; vs 19-20                       

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.                                                 

(This is about remembering that our free gift of salvation cost Jesus everything.)

5) Letter of St Paul to the Philippians Chapter 3; vs. 7-9                                   

“Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of  knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.”

 Catechism of the Catholic Church

ccc 571 – The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world.   God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.

ccc1069 – The word “liturgy” originally meant a “public work” or a “service in the name of/on behalf of the people.”  In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in “the work of God.”  Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.

A believer’s prayer for when the penny drops.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. http://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/christian/born-again/believers-prayer

The Mystery of Faith                                                                                                

Save us Saviour of the world,

For by Your cross and Resurrection,                                                                         

You have set us free.



Oh Christ Jesus, Our Lord, Our God,
Our Holy Redeemer, Our Saviour.
I thank you for this day, For your infinite Love,
Your forgiveness of sin, Your Crucifixion,

Your Resurrection,
Our Redemption and Salvation.
For our Blessed Mother,
For Your saving Grace,
And all your gifts of Love

RCIA – Sin and Forgiveness – 8/2/18

Catholics and Sin                                          6th February 2018

Youtube clip – The Servant King by Graham Kendrick

Have a look at the cartoons in the book “How to Survive being Married to a Catholic”.


  1. Do people see sin as just a bit of fun or do they deny that there is any such thing as sin?
  2. How does breaking God’s law harm human beings?
  3. What can help us as we make choices in our lives?
  4. What is your understanding of sin and how it affects daily life?


Definitions of Sin

Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds

Can be called;  Self  Inflicted  Nonsense


Why do we commit sins?

There is something fundamentally wrong within us, a state of sin, which causes us to commit sins?


Consider Romans 7; 15-25

Does it sound a bit like there’s a war going on?  What is the answer?  Read on Romans 8; 1-4


Being prepared to change and to be changed

Quote – Helen Roseveare’s book – Living sacrifice p60 (recognising sin in yourself and doing something about it).  On this page of the book Helen is a missionary doctor in Africa and one day she had collected a charity parcel of clothing which had arrived “for the Africans” and she took a pretty dress from it for herself.  Then she was convicted that this was wrong and put it back.  She then saw the delight in an African lady on receiving this same dress.  She had learnt a lesson and God provided for her own needs in other ways.  See this youtube clip for some of her testimony.


Coming before God with open hands

Quote – As bread that is broken – p37 letting God look in our hands, take things out  and put things in.

Jesus is the answer

His blood is for forgiveness, dealing with our sins.

1 John; 1-7 …the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.


The cross is for deliverance, dealing with our sin, our inward state.

Romans 6; 6  We know that our former man (our old nature) was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.


Our response

Acknowledge Jesus as Lord

Accept what he has done for us

Repent and Follow Him

Surrender to His will for us even if that is a lifetime’s work



Prayer (from the book God for Grownups)

We live in a society which calls itself Christian but often appears to live in the opposite way.  It is a world which, at times, puts possessions before people, success before justice, stength before depending on each other and upon God.  We pray that the Spirit of God will fill us with a power which frees us from fear, complacency and prejudice.

Lord Jesus, show us how to be open to new influences and to walk in new directions.

Show us how our failure to love affects others as well as ourselves.

Remind us to try to respect everyone and not just those who love us.

Help us to be aware that we can make tomorrow better than today.

Your power finds its strength in our weakness, without which we can do nothing.



Forgiveness – called to be different and to make a difference

Matthew 6: 9-13 The Lord’s Prayer vs. 12 “And forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us.” and then in verses 14-15  “Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your failings either.”

Luke 23: 34  “Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”

Matthew 18: 21-22  Then Peter went up to him and said, “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me?  As often as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “Not seven I tell you but seventy seven times.  (other translations seventy times seven)

Matthew 18: 23-35  The unforgiving servant  vs. 35  “And that is how my Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart”.


1) From these verses which of the terms below best describes what we are being asked to do.

a) an instruction     b) a request      c) an option      d) a command

(Clue – Jesus often says things in such as way that they are commands.)


2) Rate the importance of our forgiving those who have wronged us

Not important   1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5- 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10    Very important


3) Rate how easy or difficult it is to forgive others

Easy   1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10    Difficult


4) In the Scriptures above, when we are asked to forgive, is the emphasis on the one doing the forgiving or the one being forgiven.  (Is this fair?  After all who’s been wronged here.)

Examples of challenging situations

Discussion after each

 1)  The Amish shootings in October 2nd 2006



2) Julie Nicholson whose daughter died in the bombing in London 7th July 2006



3) You tube clip “Corrie Ten Boom, How to forgive”


Other Scriptures on the call to be different theme

Matthew 6: 38-48  vs. 4 Love your enemies

Matthew 5: 13-16  Salt of the earth and light of the world


 Some Theology

The Doctrine of final judgement enables us to forgive others freely  (ref book  Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem

 As everyone ultimately has God for their judge they do not need us to judge them. (my words)

When we have been wronged , we can give into God’s hands any desire to harm or pay back the person who wronged us, knowing that every wrong in the universe will be ultimately paid for – either it will turn out to have been paid for by Christ when he died on the cross (if the wrongdoer becomes a Christian), or it will be paid for at the final judgement (for those who do not trust in Christ for salvation).

This thought should keep us from harboring bitterness or resentment in our hearts for injustices we have suffered that have not been made right.

In this way we are following the example of Christ…..Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem


Catechism of the Catholic Church 

  1. “And Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass AGAINST US”

2838 This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, “and forgive us our trespasses,” it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, since Christ’s sacrifice is “that sins may be forgiven.” But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word “as.”

and forgive us our trespasses . . .

2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.133 Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”134 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.135

2840 Now – and this is daunting – this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount.137 This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But “with God all things are possible.”138
. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”139 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.141

133 Cf.  Lk 15:11-32,  18:13.
134  Col 1:14;  Eph 1:7.
135 Cf.  Mt 26:28;  Jn 20:23.
136 Cf.  l Jn 4:20.
137 Cf.  Mt 6:14-15;  5:23-24;  Mk 11:25.
138  Mt 19:26.
139  Mt 5:48;  Lk 6:36;  Jn 13:34.
140 Cf.  Gal 5:25;  Phil 2:1,5.
141  Eph 4:32.

The Lord’s prayer

 Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.



RCIA Notes – The Trinity and the Holy Spirit – 30/1/18

The Trinity                                                                        30/1/18


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Catechism of the Catholic Church

ccc237 – The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God.”  To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in the work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament.  But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.


Genesis 1: 1-2,  In the beginning God (Hebrew – Elohim, a plural noun) created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Gen 1: 26,  Then God said, let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.

(God loved the Son and the Holy Spirit so much that he wanted a bigger family).


ccc253 – The Trinity is One.  We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity.”  The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire:……

ccc254 – The divine persons are really distinct from one another.  God is one but not solitary.”  “Father,” “Son,” “Holy Spirit,” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son…….


When we look at each other we see one person and one being.

When we consider God, he is three persons and one being.

This is outside our experience and we struggle to get our heads around it.

ccc243 – Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit.  At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets,” the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth.”  The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.

Numbers 11: 25 – And the Lord came down and spoke to Moses.  Then he gave the seventy elders the same Spirit that was upon Moses. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied.

John 15: 26 – “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.”

John 14: 16-17, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.  He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
John 16: 7 – “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.”

 God; the Father above us, the Son alongside us, the Holy Spirit within us.


 The Holy Spirit

 YouTube hymn – Holy Spirit, we welcome you

No 873 in our hymn book

Opening Prayer

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle within them the fire of Your love.

Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.

And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen


Catechism of the Catholic Church

687 …Those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because He dwells with them.          John 14: 17

689  It is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals Him.

The Holy Spirit shows us Jesus.

We come to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.


Let’s have a look at that first Pentecost.

Acts 2: 1-12 and 37-41

At what point is the Church born?

  • In the upper room
  • When they go out into the street
  • When they preach the word
  • When people respond to the word
  • Are these all links in a chain


What enables this to happen?

What transforms fearful disciples into bold witnesses for Christ?


The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5: 22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

How do we feel about the fruit of the Spirit?



worth having


The Gifts of the Spirit

Isaiah 11: 2 – The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

  • wisdom – knowledge
  • understanding – piety
  • counsel – fear of the Lord
  • fortitude

How do we feel about these gifts of the Spirit?


Now let’s look at the gifts of the Spirit mentioned by St. Paul in

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11

  1. a word of wisdom

2. a word of knowledge

3. faith

4. healing

5. working of miracles

6. prophesy

7. discernment of Spirits

8. tongues

9. interpretation of tongues


How do we feel about these gifts of the Spirit?


The gifts or charisms are for a purpose.

ccc 799 – Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up to the good of men and to the needs of the world.


A note about tongues

Tongues can cause people some problems.

It is important to realise that there are two kinds of tongues:

  1. A message given in tongues (unintelligible language) which is interpreted by another member of the congregation. It is a particular gift given to some.
  2. Tongues which is a personal prayer language and gives praise to God. It is a universal gift, potentially given to all.


St Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians refers to tongues as a gift to be exercised carefully as worship in the Corinthian church was becoming chaotic.  1 Corinthians 14: 4-5, 18-19 & 39-40


Paul says “strive for the higher gifts”, 1 Cor 12 vs 31, remembering that they are to build up the church, 1 Cor 12: 27-31.


The twelfth chapter ends with “I will show you a still more excellent way”, and then we are into chapter 13 and that great passage about love (a fruit of the Spirit).

That is to say that the more excellent way is love, also translated as charity.



In summary so far the Holy Spirit

  • Convicts us of sin leading to repentance and reconciliation
  • Shows us Jesus
  • Gives us consolation
  • Dwells within us
  • Bears fruit
  • Gives us gifts to build up the Church


1 Cor 6: 19 – Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God.


We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism.  John 3: 3-5

And we continually look to the indwelling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Jesus, having risen, ascends to heaven in order to send the Holy Spirit.

John 16: 7, 15: 26 & 14: 25-26


As it says in the Creed

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who has spoken through the prophets.


Jesus in human form was only able to be present in one place at a time; through the Holy Spirit Jesus is able to be present always and everywhere.

In the mass Father Neil asks God the Father to send his Spirit to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, making Jesus present wherever mass is said.


As St Peter said in Acts 2: 16-18

“This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yes, and on my menservants and maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophecy.”


Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which has always had an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.  In Britain there are a number of Charismatic Renewal weekend conferences.

These events look something like this;

YouTube clip Celebrate Conference