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February 9, 2006 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
Faith Alive!
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

Answering two questions: He can. He will.

photo of Stephen Cavill

Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Stephen Cavill 

Given the readings for this week, I think it is imperative to ask ourselves two questions today, and perhaps every day from this point onward. These two questions have an immediate implication for our lives and challenge the way we live.

The first question is this: Is Jesus Christ able to help me? That's right - it is that simple. Can Jesus, fully God and fully man, identify with me and help me? Can he come to my aid? Does he care? Is he able, really able, to intervene in my life and help?

Here I am just expounding on the main question. So answer that first, and please, be honest. Perhaps the answer is "no." Fine. But, if the answer is "yes," then read on.

Sixth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Feb. 12, 2006)
Lv 13:1-2, 44-46
Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11
1 Cor 10:31--11:1
Mk 1:40-45

The second question that needs to be asked is this: Will he help me? This question is easily answered given the character of Jesus Christ and the Gospel reading for today.

This second question deals with his desire to come to our aid. Does Jesus really want to, does he wish to, and care enough to help? He very well may be able to, but is it his joy to rescue me?

So you may be thinking that these questions are very basic and perhaps childish; if so, great! That means I'm on the right track. Answering "yes" to these questions means drastic change in our lives.

In what area of your life are you not willing to let Jesus help? And why are you not letting him? If you believe that he cannot help, tell him that. If you believe that he doesn't want to, tell him that, too. Ask him to prove himself and then watch out, because he will.

So now let's get a little more pragmatic. The answers to these two questions can be applied to the lies that we tell ourselves every day. For example, I may subconsciously say, "Stephen, if you don't look a certain way, or if some girl doesn't go out with you, you have less value. No one will like you and you are nothing. There is something wrong with you, etc."

Now clearly that does not conform with my knowledge that Christ will never abandon nor forsake me.

Reflection questions

• Do you believe Jesus Christ can help you?

• Do you believe Jesus Christ will and has the desire to help you?

• What lies do you tell yourself that are contrary to the words of Christ?

Challenge yourself. Contest the lies that you tell yourself which are in direct contradiction with the claims of Christ. If we can assent to Jesus Christ being able and willing to help us, to identify with us, and to love us, the rest is history.

If you answer "yes" to those two questions, then any destructive thought, any thought that is logically contrary to what follows from answering "yes" to those two questions, is nonsense. You can dismiss it.

Stephen Cavill is a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus who majored in religious studies and philosophy. He is now a dorm missionary at St. Paul University Catholic Center.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • The word "secular" has several meanings. An aggressive secularity may oppose anything religious. But not everything secular is hostile to the sacred.

  • The world as God created it holds great good. But despite the world's boundless potential for advancement, it cannot satisfy its deepest aspirations through secular success alone.

  • The world is destined to be transformed and perfected through union with the Creator.

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    Washington DC 20017
  •  Food for Thought
    I suppose most parents want to send children out into "the world" prepared to remember who they are when they get there. Parents fear less as they grow more confident that their children's sense of identity is strong.

    Without a strong sense of identity, people may become forgetful as they encounter strong new influences that may not be positive. What parents fear is that as their children encounter "the world out there," they won't speak up, won't remember who they are.

    The world is full of wonderfully positive influences as well as destructive ones. So many "others" have so much to offer in terms of insight and goodness. They may well help us to grow.

    But if Christians don't reject "the world," they aren't passive toward it either. The world brings itself to them, and they bring themselves to the world. That involves bringing their memory of who they truly are to their "dialogue" with the world around them.

    full story

    What is this place called the "secular world"?
    By Father Robert L. Kinast

    Catholic News Service

    Secular humanism is a godless pursuit of happiness and perfection, relying on human ingenuity and personal effort alone. A secular lifestyle values material comfort and pleasure to the exclusion of anything spiritual or religious. Secular culture celebrates human creativity and aspirations with no explicit reference to God.

    For many people these are the only meanings associated with the word "secular," but this is a one-sided perspective, for the word "secular" has at least three different meanings.

    full story 

    The secular world visits us every day
    By Allan F. Wright

    Catholic News Service

    "On the following day he entered Caesarea ..."

    This short verse found in the Acts of the Apostles describes St. Peter's likely first venture into a non-Jewish town. He was stepping into the unknown secular world of his time.

    full story 

    Holy Israel
    in a secular world
    By Father Lawrence Boadt, CSP

    Catholic News Service

    The Israelites made a clear distinction between themselves as God's holy people and the rest of the nations. However, this does not mean they considered other peoples to be outside God's love or cursed.

    We might start with the claim of the Bible's preface in Genesis 1 that as God created the world step by step, he declared each act of creation to be good. Not only is the world good, but all peoples belong to God.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    What is the most difficult challenge parents face today in helping to form their children's values?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of February 12 - 18, 2006

    Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006
    Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Reading I: Lv 13:1-2, 44-46
    Reading II: 1 Cor 10:31--11:1
    Gospel: Mk 1:40-45

    Monday, Feb. 13, 2006
    Reading I: Jas 1:1-11
    Gospel: Mk 8:11-13

    Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006
    Memorial of Saint Cyril, monk, and Saint Methodius, bishop
    Reading I: Jas 1:12-18
    Gospel: Mk 8:14-21

    Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006
    Reading I: Jas 1:19-27
    Gospel: Mk 8:22-26

    Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006
    Reading I: Jas 2:1-9
    Gospel: Mk 8:27-33

    Friday, Feb. 17, 2006
    Reading I: Jas 2:14-24, 26
    Gospel: Mk 8:34--9:1

    Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006
    Reading I: Jas 3:1-10
    Gospel: Mk 9:2-13

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    February General Intention

    End to human trafficking. That the International Community may be ever more aware of the urgent duty to bring an end to the trafficking in human beings.

    February Mission Intention

    Lay faithful. That in the Missions the lay faithful may recognize the need to serve their own country with greater commitment in its political and social life.

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    Prayer for St. Raphael Cathedral

    O God,
    Whose word is like fire,
    who spoke to Your servant Moses in the burning bush;
    who led Your people Israel out of bondage
          with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
    hear Your people as we call upon You
    in both need and gratitude.

    May the Cathedral fire purify Your Church
    in the Diocese of Madison
    so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
          that Your Church is built upon the bedrock
    of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
          Your messenger of healing,
    in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,
    and with our Bishop, Robert C. Morlino,
    may we find comfort in our affliction
    and the courage to proclaim
          the Good News of Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
    one God forever and ever.


    For more prayer resources visit the Office of Worship's Web page at www.straphael.org/~office_of_worship/
    (Click on the link on the main page.)

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