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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

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My Dad died way too young. Ironically, I was the same exact age when it was discovered that I had nodules on the lung. The alignment was interstitial, so doctor’s suspected lung cancer. (It was not.) Still, the disease was rare, non-specific, and I underwent six months of treatment.

Miraculously, I have no signs of it today. Not even scares on my lungs.

When then the doctor gave me the news, he appeared dumbfounded. He became even more perplexed by what he translated as a sense of disappointment.

“Damn,” I sighed.
“Are you okay?” he asked with concern.
“Oh yes,” I said with a smile as I look up at him. “But I’ve been praying to* John Paul, who needs another miracle to be a Saint, but I also used Brother Andre oil and water from Lourdes, given to me by a former student — so I don’t know who to attribute the miracle too. John Paul? Brother Andre? Or Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Needless to say, my physician looked at me as if I was insane.

Regardless, at the time, though I was married and had an established career, I felt like I had much life left — and much more to accomplish. Maybe that’s why there was so much sadness at my Dad’s wake and funeral.

He seemed in good-health. He was strong. He loved life. He had also given so much — to his family, to his community — but he still had so much more to give.

To all who attended his funeral — and there were many, my father’s death was a tremendous loss, a great tragedy.

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

To make sense of it all, Msgr. Charles Pope,the author who first proposed this question in title, immediately quoted St. Thomas Aquinas.

Christ willed to suffer while yet young, for three reasons. First of all, to commend the more His love by giving up His life for us when He was in His most perfect state of life. Secondly, because it was not becoming for Him to show any decay of nature nor to be subject to disease …. Thirdly, that by dying and rising at an early age Christ might exhibit beforehand in His own person the future condition of those who rise again. Hence it is written (Ephesians 4:13), “Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Summa Theologica III, 46, 9 ad 4).

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

Christ died in the prime of his life to make His death, on the surface, a tremendous loss, a great tragedy, in turn, making it a greater sacrifice.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

*AUTHOR’S NOTE:

When Catholics say we are praying to a saint we really mean through or with.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for you, we believe in the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Heaven.   So, we are literally saying “John Paul, can you pray for me today”.   The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is our proof that they are indeed in Heaven.  If your in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

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Have you ever been called out in Church?

Well, I have — and I’m not talking about being called to witness or lead to an altar call.  I mean literally singled out by your priest or pastor in the middle the Church sermon!

“Where’s Jim?” my pastor shouted after awkwardly pausing in the midst of his homily.

Before services, as my wife and I were signing our children up for Religious Ed classes, I questioned my pastor if he could give me the inside scoop on the weekly sermon question.  (Each week he would start his sermon with a question.)

This Sunday, he was grumpy and cross. Long story short, he had a bad week — which included what he described as “the wedding from Hell” and, for the first time in weeks, did not prepare a question for this week’s homily.

For full disclosure, I needled him for a’bit which only seemed to make him even more grumpy. So, it seemed, he was now getting even when he called me out!

“As you know, every week I ask a question and Jim asked me before Church if I had a question today. Well, I don’t,” he continued as he marched down the center aisle in my direction. “So, where is he? He usually sits way in the back.”

Finally, he found me.

“There you are,” he sniped. “Here’s my question: Can God do everything?”
I had a feeling it was a set up, but I gave the standard answer anyway.
“Yes, He can,” I boldly replied, though internally I was wishing I could hide.
“Well then, could He make a rock so big that He couldn’t pick it  up?” he asked, then quickly moved back up the aisle, like a boxer heading to a neutral corner after landing a knockout punch.

If Christians could curse, I surely would’ve let a few fly that day in Church. Oh, wait. Thanks to Tim Hawkins, Christians can cuss — if we use the right words.

Shut the front door! You bleeping fart-knocking son of a motherless goat!”  Now I feel better!  Too bad I didn’t have that comeback prepared back then.

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling very Christian for the remainder of the homily. For the next 40 minutes, I prayed for God to change my heart, by it was little or no use.  I was still pissed off as the Collect exited the pews.

As I left the Church, I slowed as I approached the exit where my pastor cheerfully greeted parishioners as they went forth.

With each step, I prayed and prayed not to seek vengeance or retribution.

“That’s what I get for listening to your homilies,” I joked — or at least tried to the best of my ability.
“Yes,” he laughed seemingly ignorant to the fact that I was brooding.

Funny how God works.

Though memorable for all the wrong reasons, that experience has turned out to be one of the most fruitful in my Christian formation.

Regardless of whether or not God can or cannot make a rock He cannot lift, we learn from scripture, most certainly, that God can NOT do everything.

God cannot be unjust (Hebrews 6:10). God cannot be disorder (1 Cor. 14:33). God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13)

Above all, the Triune God cannot contradict Himself.

As R.C. Sproul writes, “If contradiction and truth could exist side by side, we would be left with a God whom we could never know or trust. If He did, we could not believe what He says or know how to follow Him.”

So, no God can’t do everything — and isn’t that a most wonderful thing!

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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When Catholics say we are praying to a saint, we really mean through or with a saint.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for a loved one — or even for yourself, we ask a member of the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are with Him in Heaven, to pray for a loved one — or even for oneself.

So, we are literally saying “Saint (insert name), can you pray for me today”.

The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is simply our proof that they are indeed in Heaven in communication with Christ — and Jesus performed the actual Miracle.

When I’m asked: Why don’t we just go directly to Jesus?  I humbly reply:  I do, but sometimes I need more help.  

In short: If you’re in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

Every family has someone in Heaven, so every family has a Saint Grandpa John or a Saint Uncle Pio or a Saint Aunt Theresa.  Every family has a Saint Chuck to pray to.

Your Saint Chuck may not have an official Feast Day or two credited miracles or have “fame of sanctity” beyond the confines of your home — but that doesn’t make your Saint Chuck any less a saint.

So, ask your Saint Chuck to pray for a friend, for a loved one — or even for yourself.

It’s simple.  All you have to say is…

Saint Chuck pray for us … and then let go.

In God’s time, a miracle will occur.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

So, who’s the Saint in your family?  Tells us in the comments below.

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