Category Archives: Inspirational

Sunday Devotional: Worry not, ‘let not your hearts be troubled’

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

At first glance, especially for women who are conscientious about providing for their guests, Jesus might seem harsh in his admonishment of Martha. But if we imagine ourselves in the same circumstance, surely we too, like Mary, would abandon all things and make use of every precious minute to listen to, and be with Him.

I, too, worry and fret, even after having done my utmost about a problem. The point of the passage from Luke 10 is not that hosts/hostesses should not provide for their guests, but that we tend to worry too much. Afterall, as Luke 12:25 so wisely and logically points out:

And which of you by being anxious
can add a single hour to his span of life?

Here are more reminders from our Lord about the pointlessness of worrying:

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Matthew 6:34

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” -Matthew 6:25-27

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“ -Matthew 11:28-30

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: What does loving our neighbor and our enemy mean?

Luke 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law
who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The above passage from Luke 10 leaves us with these questions:

  • Who are my “neighbors”?
  • What does “loving” my neighbors mean?

Alas, most priests, if not all of the priests whom I’ve heard, don’t define or explain those terms — which is puzzling because the answers are given, of course, by Christ Himself.

Note that in Luke 10, Jesus did not identify the robbers as our “neighbors”. Our “neighbor” is the man who “fell victim to robbers” who himself had done no wrong.

In Leviticus 19:17-18, it is said:

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

And so, Luke 10 and Leviticus 19 give us the definitions we need:

  1. From Luke 10’s parable of the good Samaritan, we learn that:
    1. Our “neighbor” is anyone we encounter in our lives, even strangers, who find themselves in foul circumstances through no fault of their own.
    2. To “love our neighbor” means to treat those who are in need “with mercy,” that is, with kindness and compassion, and to provide assistance.
  2. But the “neighbor” in the parable of the good Samaritan was a man who fell victim to robbers through no fault of his own. What about people who find themselves in foul circumstances through their own fault? This is where “love your enemies” comes in:
    1. Our “enemies,” therefore, differ from our “neighbors” in that “enemies” are those who knowingly do wrong.
    2. That, in turn, implies that, unlike our neighbors, we are not to treat our enemies — those who knowingly do wrong — with mercy, kindness, compassion, and assistance.
  3. But we must still “love our enemies”. So how are we to love our enemies? As Leviticus 19:17-18 instructs, to love our enemies means that:
    1. We “rebuke” them: Rebuke is defined as “to criticize sharply“.
    2. We bear no hatred for them in our hearts.
    3. We do not seek revenge: Revenge is not the same as to mete out justice — revenge is defined as retaliation in kind or degree; to mete out justice is defined as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments”. (Just is defined as “morally upright or good”.) Unlike the impartial meting out of justice, “revenge” has an emotional component, which is where “hatred” comes in.
    4. We do not bear a grudge: Once justice is rendered, we let it go.
    5. We pray for them — that they repent and return to God.

Recognizing the above definitions, to “love” our “neighbors” and our “enemies” is a task that is neither simple nor easy. When we falter, just remember this:

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Offered in humility and love,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: I am sending you like lambs among wolves

Luke 10:1-12, 16

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house
and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom
on that day than for that town….
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me
rejects the one who sent me.”

Our Lord said: “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

He also warned us: “And you will be hated by everyone because of my name” (Mark 13:13) and “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you” (John 15:18).

So it shouldn’t surprise us that Christians are being persecuted across the world and even in First-Amendment America:

But for enduring the world’s hatred and persecution, we are told to “rejoice” because “your names are written in heaven”. (Luke 10:18) As Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:

Thus says the LORD:
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
it fears not the heat when it comes;
its leaves stay green;
in the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.

Be strong!

See also “Without baptism, we are abandoned to the wolves”.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: You were called for freedom!

Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. 
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters…so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

Let those words ring in your ears, and in the ears of all despots, in America and across the world, who are bent on imposing their will and dicta on us, always cloaked in the cover of “good” intentions, whether they be the Marxist false siren of utopian communism, or the neo-Marxist “climate change” save-the-world cultists, or the LGBT-pronoun cultural-Marxists of ivory-tower academe.

For our freedom comes not from men, but from God. As it is said in Sirach 15:14, 16:

God in the beginning created human beings
and made them subject to their own free choice….
Set before you are fire and water;
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.

Thomas Aquinas conceived an act of free will to be any thought, word, deed, desire, or omission that comes from a person acting with full knowledge of what s/he is doing, “who is free to act or to refrain from action, and who gives the full assent of his will to the act.”¹ The essence of free will, therefore, is choice—the favoring of one thing and the eschewal of another—informed by reason.

But God’s supreme gift of free will does not mean license, the freedom to break rules or principles, to “do as thou wilt” — that first temptation “to be as gods” whispered by the serpent in the first Garden. As Sirach 15:17-20 reminds us:

Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

The gift of free will is terrifying, for when it is exercised to evil, the consequences are disastrous.

Terrifying though it is, free will is given to humans (and angels) because only by freely electing to believe in, obey, honor, and love God do the preceding acts have authenticity and meaning. For what good is a love that is coerced? As St. Thomas put it, “Man has free will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards and punishments would be in vain.”²

Choose wisely! Choose to be good.

Psalm 119:1-5, 10

Blessed those whose way is blameless,
who walk by the law of the LORD.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong;
they walk in his ways.
You have given them the command
to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm
in the observance of your statutes!
With all my heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Eowyn


¹Paul J. Glenn, A Tour of the Summa (Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1978), p. 99.
²Summa Theologia of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume One (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947), p. 418.

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Millions of Hong Kong protesters sing Hallelujah to the Lord

The entity called “Hong Kong” off the southern coast of China refers to the small island of Hong Kong, the Kowloon peninsula, the New Territories and several offshore islets. Comprised of only 426 sq. miles, Hong Kong is the world’s fourth-most densely populated region with a 2018 population of nearly 7.5 million.

In 1842, Hong Kong island became a British colony as a result of the British defeat of China’s last dynasty (Qing) in the Opium War. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, and was further extended when in 1898, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories  — an area of 368 sq. mi. between Kowloon and the border with China.

As a British colony with a capitalist free-market economy, Hong Kong became a roaring economic success as one of the world’s most significant financial centers and commercial ports. It is the world’s 10th-largest exporter and 9th-largest importer; its legal tender, the Hong Kong dollar, is the world’s 13th-most traded currency.

In 1997, Britain’s 99-year lease of New Territories ended. London, however, elected to return to Communist China not just the New Territories, but Hong Kong island and Kowloon as well. Beijing made Hong Kong a special administrative region, with the promise that Hong Kong would have a government and economic system separate from that of mainland China.

Beginning in late April 2019, tens of thousands of Hong Kong Chinese took to the streets to protest a proposed extradition bill, the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill would extradite to China accused Hong Kong citizens and foreign nationals, and subject them to China’s arbitrary and undemocratic legal system. Protesters correctly argue that the passage of the extradiction bill into law would mean the end of Hong Kong’s independent judiciary and its status as a special administrative region.

The protest on June 9 was attended by over a million people, calling for the withdrawal of the bill and resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Reuters reports (via the New York Post), June 18, 2019, that the protesters are singing Christian hymns, especially “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord”, which has become “the unlikely anthem of Hong Kong’s protests against an extradition bill that have drawn millions of people onto the streets”.

Reuters continues:

For the past week, the hymn has been heard almost nonstop at the main protest site, in front of the city’s Legislative Council and at marches and even at tense standoffs with the police.

It started with a group of Catholic students who sang several Christian songs at the main protest site, with “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” catching on among the crowd, even though only about 10% of Hong Kong people are Christian….

The hymn was composed in 1974 by Linda Stassen-Benjamin in the United States for Easter. Its five words are repeated over four stanzas in a minor key, which gives it an air of meditative solemnity.

The protests over the past 10 days have been largely peaceful although police on Wednesday last week used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

“Stop shooting, or else we sing ‘Hallelujah to the Lord’,” read one protest placard after the rubber bullets were fired.

Protesters say the religious song has often helped defuse tension with the police.

“It has a calming effect,” said Timothy Lam, 58, a Catholic priest at Grace Church Hong Kong, who has attended the protest with other churchmen to promote peace.

“The police had a lot of equipment, they were very tense and searching people. The students sang this to show they were peaceful,” Lam said of a confrontation last week.

For now, the protesters appear to be winning.

Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has postponed the introduction of the extradition bill and apologized in the face of the huge show of opposition. Lam is Catholic and some protesters said they thought their adoption of “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” might have helped sway her.

Please pray for the protesters.

Please pray for Hong Kong.

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: This is my body that is for you

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Three Sundays ago, the universal Church remembered our Lord Jesus Christ’s Ascension, when He left this mortal world, not to return until the End Days. In leaving, our Lord bade a last farewell to His faithful disciples and, knowing full well how bereft they would be, He made sure we are not abandoned — that although “the world will not see me anymore . . . I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:19, 18).

Jesus made two promises to ensure we would not be left “as orphans”:

(1) The Father will send the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead:

“And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever
the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

(2) We will have His Body and Blood:

“I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

How thoughtful and loving our Lord is!

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, when we remember and celebrate the new Covenant that our Lord made with His Body and Blood, with all who believe in Him.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25

[T]he Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Our Lord said: “This is my body that is for you.”

Do we doubt His words?

Have you heard of the Lanciano Eucharistic miracle?

17 years ago, knowing that her degenerative spine disease may someday lead to paralysis, I took FOTM‘s Joan on a pilgrimage to Italy.

Among the places we visited were the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel in Mount Gargano, and the Church of San Francesco in Lanciano. In the latter was a glass case containing a brownish substance.

Church of San Francesco, Lanciano, aka Shrine of the Eucharistic Miracle

As described by TheRealPresence.org, during the middle of the eighth century, a Basilian monk doubted the Real Presence in the Eucharist — that at consecration, bread and wine become Christ’s true body and true blood.

The doubting monk was celebrating Mass one day. As he intoned the words of consecration, “suddenly the monk saw bread turn into Flesh and the wine into Blood,” according to documents at the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano, Italy.

Today, more than 12 centuries after the Lanciano miracle, the transformed host and wine are preserved still, despite being exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents:

  • The Host-Flesh is light brown and appears rose-colored when lit from the back.
  • The Blood is coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size, of an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.

Scientific investigations of Lanciano were conducted since 1575, most notably in 1970-’71 and taken up again partly in 1981, by Dr. Odoardo Linoli, head of the clinical analysis laboratory and of pathological anatomy at Arezzo Hospital, and Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, professor of anatomy at the University of Siena.

Linoli and Bertelli came to the following conclusions:

  • The flesh is real human flesh, the blood is real human blood.
  • The flesh is heart tissue — of the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and the left cardiac ventricle.
  • The flesh and blood have the blood-type AB, which is the same blood-type found on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium or Oviedo Cloth — the piece of cloth that is believed to have covered Jesus’ head after the crucifixion.
  • In the blood were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh human blood, as well as the minerals chloride, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

According to “The True Presence,” in 1973, the UN World Health Organization’s board of governors appointed a scientific commission to investigate Lanciano. After 500 examinations, the scientists verified the 1971 findings and declared to the tissue to be human.

There have been other Eucharistic miracles elsewhere since Lanciano. See here and here.

To conclude, Christ is with us through His Body and Blood and in the Holy Spirit.

Tell Him your troubles and fears.

And tell Him, often and always, that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Mystery of Three Persons in One God

Matthew 3:1, 13, 16-17

In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea….
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John,
to be baptized of him….
And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water:
and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Holy Trinity — the mystery of Three Persons in One God.

That there is but one God and three Persons — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — is not only found in the above passage from Matthew 3, but also in other places in Holy Scripture:

Genesis 1:26

And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness

John 5:7

For there are three
that bear record in Heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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The Face of the Man on the Shroud

One of the mysteries of the New Testament is that there are no descriptions of what Jesus Christ looks like. Nothing about how tall He is, the color of His hair or of His eyes, or . . . .

None.

But being the sensory creatures as God made us, we can’t help but wonder what Jesus looks like.

How we thirst for and yearn to see His face. Psalm 27:8 gives voice to humanity’s sorrowful yearning:

“Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”

Our crie de coeur is given eloquent expression by St. Anselm (1033-1109) in Proslogium:

But if thou hast found him, why is it that thou dost not feel thou hast found him? Why, O Lord, our God, does not my soul feel thee, if it hath found thee? [My soul] strains to see thee more . . . but it sees that it cannot see farther, because of its own darkness . . . . Everywhere thou art wholly present, and I see thee not . . . and therefore my soul still walks in its darkness and wretchedness. For it looks, and does not see thy beauty. It hearkens, and does not hear thy harmony. It smells, and does not perceive thy fragrance. It tastes, and does not recognize thy sweetness. It touches, and does not feel thy pleasantness.

Artists, like Jon McNaughton, have used their imagination to fashion their images of Jesus.

In 2015, the scientific unit of the police force in Rome, Italy, used computer software that’s normally used to age an individual and reversed the process to generate the angelic face of what the man whose face and body are imprinted onto the Shroud of Turin would look like as a 12-year-old boy.

In 2018, Dr. Giulio Fanti, Professor of Mechanical and Thermal Measurements at the University of Padua, created a 3D carbon copy from meticulous measurements of the imprinted image of the Man on the Shroud. Master sculptor Sergio Rodella then made a statue in plaster from the 3D carbon copy.

Professor Fanti said:

“Christian tradition believes that the image that is seen on the Shroud is that of the crucified Jesus. And now science is of this opinion too. For years, using the most sophisticated 3D technologies, we have studied  the image left by the body on the sheet. And the statue is the final result.

This statue is a life-size, three-dimensional representation of the Man of the Shroud, based on the millimetric measurements obtained from the shroud in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion.

On the Shroud I counted 370 scourge wounds, without taking into consideration the lateral ones, which are not imprinted into the Shroud because it enveloped only the front and back of the body. We can therefore hypothesize Jesus suffered a total of at least 600 scourges. Moreover, the three-dimensional reconstruction has allowed us to reconstruct that at the time of death, the man of the Shroud has slumped to the right because His right shoulder was dislocated in such a severe way as to damage the nerves.

According to our studies, Jesus was a man of extraordinary beauty (“bellezza straordinaria”). Long-limbed, but very robust; almost six feet tall, while the average height of the time was around 5′ 5″; with a regal and majestic expression.

We therefore believe that we finally have an accurate picture of what Jesus was like on this earth. From now on, it will no longer be possible to portray His image without taking this work into account.”

Here’s the face of the Man on the Shroud:

But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what we think Jesus looks like because when we finally see Him face to face, we will know it’s Him. To quote McNaughton:

“Someday when I actually meet the Savior, I’m not going to recognize Him because of how long His hair is or the color of His eyes, or whether He has a short beard or long beard, or how dark His skin is. I’m gonna recognize Him because of the way I feel, standing in the presence of the Savior.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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Pentecost Sunday: The Coming of the Holy Spirit

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore…
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever….”

Last Sunday, the universal Church remembered and celebrated our Lord Jesus Christ’s departure from Earth — the Ascension.

Having created us, He knows full well how bereft His followers would be by His leaving:

“grief has filled your hearts” (John 16:6)

Loving us deeply, Jesus promised “I will not leave you as orphans” and that the Father would send “another advocate” to help and be with us forever and “always until the end of time” itself (Matthew 28:20).

What a comforting thought!

Today, we celebrate the miracle of the Pentecost — the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.

Acts 2:1-4

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Given the Holy Spirit’s importance, it is distressing how little we actually know about the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.

The Holy Spirit is mentioned in these places in the Bible:

  1. Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you….”
  2. Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
  3. Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 12:18: “Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: ‘We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.’ So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.
  5. 1 Corinthians 2:13: “And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.”
  6. 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
  7. 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
  8. Ephesians 1:13-14: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”
  9. Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.
  10. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
  11. Isaiah 11:2: “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD
  12. John 3:6-8: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
  13. John 14:16-17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
  14. John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
  15. John 15:26-27: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.'”
  16. John 16:7-15: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
  17. Judges 3:10: “The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.
  18. Luke 11:13: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
  19. Luke 24:49: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
  20. Matthew 12:31-32: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
  21. Micah 3:8: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
  22. Romans 8:2-6: “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
  23. Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  24. Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

From the above passages, these are the attributes of the Holy Spirit:

  • He is a gift from God the Father, through the Son.
  • He is the first installment in our inheritance toward redemption, which implies there will be more gifts following the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • He is in-dwelling: He dwells in us and abides in us forever.
  • He enabled the Apostles to speak foreign languages.
  • He enables us to observe God’s commandments.
  • He teaches us “all things”, especially “everything” Jesus told us.
  • He glorifies Jesus.
  • He tells us “the things that are coming“.
  • He gives us “power from on high” — not power to do what we will, but power to do justice and to declare transgressions and sins.
  • He helps us when we are weak, and intercedes for us.
  • He is “the spirit of truth” who guides us to all truth, but whom the world neither knows nor accepts. That implies that when we follow the Holy Spirit and proclaim the truth, the world will also reject us.
  • He fills us with hope.
  • How do we know when something is of the Holy Spirit? These are His fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

And all we have to do is to ask the Father and He will send the Holy Spirit to us! How marvelous is that?

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit, by St. Augustine:

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

And may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Ascension of our Lord

In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .

Every time, strangely, His apostles did not recognize Him at first. We are told that’s because Jesus is transfigured — just as we, should we be so blessed, will be in “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.

How precious those times must be which the apostles shared with their risen Lord.

And then, 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus told the apostles:

Acts 1:8-11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Every time I read that passage, I weep, as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the apostles to say goodbye to their lord, master and friend forever.

But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles — nor us.

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”

Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

How very much He must love us . . . .

May the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you.

~Eowyn

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