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Wholeness


WHOLENESS – AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
Bishop Kallistos Ware  
Excerpts from an interviewed in Parabola Magazine, February 1985

In the Orthodox spiritual tradition we often use the word “heart.”  By heart we mean not just the emotions or feelings but the deep center, the true self.  Our aim is to discover the place of the heart, to unite the brain with its knowledge to the heart; and in the heart also feeling is found.  Our aim, then, is to integrate them on the level of the deep heart. And the body is also involved in this, because the body is not a piece of clothing but out integral self.  The body plays its part through ascetic effort, by which I don’t mean just self-denial, but self-control.  It plays its part through symbolic actions.  There are ways also in which the rhythms of the body, the rhythm of the breathing, for example, can be used in prayer and meditation. The body is not just a piece of matter to be ignored, and still less something evil to be hated. The body is an aspect of our self, which we are to live to the full.

The whole person is not just a self-contained, self-centered unity.  The whole person is a person who is on the one side open to God, and on the other side open to other human persons.  The human being without God is not truly human. We were created to enter into a relationship with God, to be in dialogue with Him, and if that relationship is not present something essential is lacking from our personhood.  Equally, we are created to relate to other human persons.  It has been said that there is no true man unless there are two men entering into communication with one another.  The isolated individual is not a real person.  A real person is one who lives in and for others.  And the more personal relationships we form with others, the more truly we realize ourselves as persons.  This idea of openness to God, openness to other persons, could be summed up under the word “love.”  We become truly personal by loving God and by loving other humans.  By love I don’t mean merely an emotional feeling, but a fundamental attitude. In its deepest sense, love is the life, the energy, of God Himself in us.

For me, as an Orthodox Christian, the journey towards wholeness involves prayer, in the sense of personal, private prayer, standing in silence before God; but also in the sense of communal prayer, sharing in the services of the Church, sharing in the Sacraments.  It involves, beyond prayer, joining in all the other practices of the Church; in fasting, in the reading of Holy Scripture.  Is it possible to grow without these things? God is very generous. Man people who have no religious practice do grow in self-understanding, do show creative love towards others.  They are open to their fellow humans. And there are many people who are open towards God who do not belong to any particular church.  I do not wish to judge them. I accept the authenticity and integrity of their inner life.  Yet, I believe that in its fullness, the growth of the human person towards wholeness is intended by God to take place within church life.

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“A Little Spiritual Help” is for
HEALING LIFE, DEEPENING FAITH, ENRICHING PRACTICE, and REFRESHING SPIRIT

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Many people today want freedom and dont like to be tied to rules of any type! But the reality of life is, this is a world created by God with law and order! With God there is no chaos, there is only peace. There has to be law and order, for the whole of mankind to survive.

“The purpose of the precepts has always been to preserve good order in the Church, to maintain discipline within the Church, and to establish a specific Catholic identity. “

As an example, take the laws of nature. Whether we like it or not we have to accept Mother Nature around us – the weather patterns of the day! As we need the sun, the rain, the moon and stars at night to rise and shine and the change of seasons. All nature around us evolves through the times and seasons. So we trust in God, knowing that He alone takes care of us all. He knows what is good for us – eventually for our eternal home. We have to accept laws of God is good for all of us.

These Precepts of the church are not at all difficult to follow. If you love God you will willingly obey them with a joyful heart, because it is just a matter of attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, obeying the Fast and Abstinence, participating in the life of the church, going to Confession. These are all good for our souls and for our peace. Taking part in the life of the church is a joyful gift, because we get to know the local people, we meet, we talk, we share our stories and try to help one another, there are many activities in the church – joyful events of celebrating together when people are baptised, children receive their Holy Communion and Confirmation, Weddings, and also sharing at sad times when someone passes away. We also pray together for the needs of the parish, the congregation, the universal church, any situations currently happening in our country and the world. All our prayers are lifted up to God. It is healing and comforting for all to participate in this.

The church needs our hands and talents too by assisting in any way. Here are the Precepts of the Catholic Church:

  1. Attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
  2. Confession of serious sin at least once a year
  3. Reception of Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season
  4. Observance of the days of fast and abstinence
  5. Providing for the needs of the Church

MORAL GUIDES TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE:

Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy: The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.

Corporal Works of Mercy: The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs. 

  • shelter the homeless
  • clothe the naked
  • visit the sick and imprisoned
  • bury the dead
  • give alms to the poor

Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, as listed below, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs. 

  • instruct
  • advise
  • console
  • comfort
  • forgive
  • bear wrongs patiently

The Beatitudes

Taught by Jesus Christ on the Mount:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
  • Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the clean in heart, for they will see God. 
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 
  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

So if you have been away from the catholic church for any length of time, have hope, Jesus is waiting with open arms to welcome you back home – come home to the catholic church, speak to the priest, spend some time quietly before the Blessed Sacrament, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and unburden your soul to Jesus and receive His Peace. Many churches are open 7 days of the week. If you find one closed, try another church. Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you. If the worry of changing your life for the better, brings you fear of losing friends, family, etc, dont let it worry you, leave it in God’s Hands and eventually you will find it is better to find peace of your soul to live in God’s Grace. It is a beautiful journey with Jesus by your side!

Peace and Blessings!

~ Mary

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SAINT MAMMERTUS Archbishop (c. 477)

St. Mammertus, Archbishop of Vienne in Dauphin, was a prelate renowned for his sanctity, learning, and miracles. He instituted in his diocese the fasts and supplications called the Rogations, on the following occasions.

Almighty God, to punish the sins of the people, visited them with wars and other public calamities, and awaked them from their spiritual lethargy by the terrors of earthquakes, fires, and ravenous wild beasts, which last were sometimes seen in the very market-place of cities. These evils the impious ascribed to blind chance; but religious and prudent persons considered them as tokens of the divine anger, which threatened their entire destruction.

Amidst these scourges, St. Mammertus received a token of the divine mercy. A terrible fire happened in the city of Vienne, which baffled the efforts of men; but by the prayers of the good bishop the fire on a sudden went out. This miracle strongly affected the minds of the people. The holy prelate took this opportunity to make them sensible of the necessity and efficacy of devout prayer, and formed a pious design of instituting an annual fast and supplication of three days, in which all the faithful should join, with sincere compunction of heart, to appease the divine indignation by fasting, prayer, tears, and the confession of sins.

The Church of Auvergne, of which St. Sidonius was bishop, adopted this pious institution before the year 475, and it became in a very short time a universal practice.

St. Mammertus died about the year 477

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Today at Holy Mass we have the Gospel Reading of St John 6:52-59.

I am sharing some proofs of the Eucharistic Miracles of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass.

“John 6:52-59
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper’na-um.”

http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Sokolka1.pdf

5 Extraordinary Eucharistic Miracles that Left Physical Evidence (With Pictures!)

 

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