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What Are The Amazing and Transformational Catholic Christian Festivals of Pentecost and Easter April 12, 2012

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Have you ever wondered about Easter and Pentecost? Most have. Well, Easter is the Catholic Christian observance of the resurrection of Jesus, and Pentecost is the birthday of the Church Catholic. Both holidays are important, but, it is a horrible idea to start at this point, because the tale begins before this. Roughly age 30, Jesus began his public ministry, instructing and preaching in the country of Galilee. His message was about giving love to God and neighbors. His message was way out, and he claimed not only was he the Christ, but he was also God’s Only Begotten Son. These claims did not make him popular with the spiritual leaders and secular leaders at the time period. When the Lord entered Jerusalem, the people welcomed him like a king, but by the close of the week, he was crucified, and died on the cross, an occurrence commemorated on Good Friday. We aren’t quite to Whitsunday just yet, but be patient!

However, the tale did not end there. The Bible (specifically the 4 gospels) teaches that Jesus rose form the dead 3 days later, on Easter Sunday. The resurrection that occurred on the first Easter was bodily, that is the Lord rose from the dead in his identical body; it was not some spiritual body. Even though it was in the body, his resurrection was much more than a simple resusitation, and Jesus’ resurrected body had powers and traits that our bodies do not have. Mary Magdalene was the 1st witness to this miraculous event, and she told the apostles, that in turn told the entire known world about it. Because the resurrection obviously proved Jesus was God’s Son, and proved right his teachings, the resurrection became the capstone of Christian doctrine.

Thus, Easter is one of the earliest and most significant Christian holidays. It was called the “queen of feasts” and is observed based on the lunar calendar. It changes each year because of this. In the Church, the color is white, and shouts of “alleluia” are heard throughout the time period. The season commences on Saturday night with the venerable Easter Vigil, in which new converts are welcomed into Church and are baptized and/or Confirmed. The vigil frequently lasts for hours, and in the early Church lasted from dusk until the morning. Secular traditions include Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and the Easter bunny. Many of these traditions are related to the reality that Easter occurs in the spring, as rabbits and eggs are signs of fertility and renewal.

Jesus ascended to the Father 40 days after Easter, and the Apostles were perplexed and upset. For the next nine days they prayed with fervor, and on the fiftieth day after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Ghost came upon the apostles. The Bible said tongues of fire landed on them, and their messages were heard by everybody present in each individual’s native language. The Apostles were so filled with the Holy Ghost on this initial Pentecost that scoffers thought the disciples were inebriated. It was on this day that the Church started. All of this is outlined in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Church commemorates Pentecost 50 days after Easter. The liturgical color is red, a symbol of the flames that descended upon the Apostles. The twin themes of the Holy Spirit and the Church are celebrated, because of the original nature of the holy day. It was one of the historic periods of baptism in the Church, and is frequently called Whitsunday in many English-speaking churches.

The essayist suggests learning more about Easter and Pentecost as a way to deepen your faith.


An Explanation of Prayer and A Few Words About A Few Well-Known Historic Prayers November 2, 2011

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Essentially, Christian prayer is communication with The Lord. There are many kinds of Christian prayers in the Christian tradition, including intercessory prayer (praying for others), thanksgiving (expressing gratitude to God in prayer), and penitential prayer (expressing sorrow for your sins). Yet another important type of prayer is meditative prayer, in which a person meditates on some aspect of the life of Christ, or upon a quality of The Lord God. This can also consist of quietly listening to God. Since the advent of the world wide web, there are even many places where you can find online prayers. This has provided a new generation of individuals access to not only traditional prayers, but brand new prayers too. One source of spirtuality is online Catholic prayers.

Some prayer is formal and done in public, such as the Catholic Mass, which is highly structured, whereas other prayer is informal and private. St. Paul exhorts us to “pray continually,” which means our whole existence needs to be filled with prayer!

While the evidence is mixed some scientific evidence suggests that prayer is effective at making people more relaxed and attentive. Also, a few scientific studies even have demonstrated that intercessory prayer helps sick patients have better health post surgery. While Christians do not require modern science to “prove” that prayer works, nonetheless, science is exploring what way, if any, prayer can be studied by science.

The public prayer of the Catholic Church is often called liturgy, which comes from the Greek term meaning “the people’s work.” This kind of prayer is called as such because the people gather together to offer their sacrifices of thanks and honor to God, together, in communion. Catholics are obligated to gather together for prayer each Sunday for Mass, and on each obligatory holy day. There are not that many days of obligation outside of Sundays, but a few include Mary, Mother of God and the Assumption of Mary.

A few of the most popular types of Catholic prayers are related to the liturgical year. This is why there are a lot of prayers related to the seasons of the Chruch, such as Christmas, and Advent. Another favorite one, one of the many traditional Catholic prayers, is the Pater Noster, also known as the Lord’s Prayer. This is the form of prayer that Christ himself gave to us when his apostles asked him how they should pray. This has been the most prayed prayer throughout Christian history, since it is often said during Christian worship and privately.

One of the most popular Catholic prayers is the Hail Mary, which is said to The blessed virgin Mary. In reality it is a prayer that petitions Mary to pray for us. Catholics and Orthodox Christians petition the saints to pray for us the same way we request a friend to pray for us, except we know the saints are in heaven close to The Lord.

Finally, another very important kind of prayer is the Novena. It is a nine-day time of prayer, in which a believer prays the same prayer for nine days in a row. This symbolizes devout and continual prayer, and is based on the 9 day period between the Ascension and Pentecost Sunday. Many Catholics will pray novenas to their beloved saints, or choose a novena based on a pressing need that they have (such as healing from an illness or challenging situation).

There are lots of prayers that have inspired many people, and these prayers are freely available on the Internet for everyone to enjoy!

The author recommends availing yourself of and seeking out prayers online so that you are able to deepen your prayer life with God.

Good Friday and Holy Thursday – Two Very Important Christian Days October 29, 2011

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Many Christians are familiar with Christmas and Easter, but there are a lot of other notable holy days also. While I cannot consider all of them here, I want to highlight 2 feasts that fall back to back to each other: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Both are significant in the Church Catholic because they commemorate two highly notable events in the life of Jesus Christ and truths that affect our salvation. It is not a good idea to brush off these 2 hallowed and historic holidays. I am wondering here, are you pondering Good Friday Meaning?

First, let us discuss Maundy Thursday. It is a holiday that falls in the Thursday in Holy Week, which is also the Thursday prior to Easter Sunday. Also known as Holy Thursday, the Church Catholic celebrates the institution of the Eucharist on this day, as well as the establishment of the sacrament of holy orders. It was on this night, nearly two thousand years in the past, that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his followers. On that night, he identified the the Eucharistic elements with his sacred body and blood, and said “do this in memory of me.” He also cleaned his disciples’ feet at that meal, a tradition the Catholic Church still does during its modern including Holy Thursday liturgies. Jesus Christ also instituted a new commandment, for us to love one another like he has loved us. This is the “mandate” from which Maundy Thursday is named. Holy Thursday also begins the time period called the Triduum, which stops on Easter. As you are able to see, this is an notable day in the Church Catholic, because it commemorates the institution of the sacrament of Our lord’s body and blood, and the sacrament that guarantees the apostolic authority of the students of Christ!

Second, let’s remember Good Friday. It falls on the Friday before Easter, and commemorates the final happenings in the life of Our lord, his suffering, and death. It was on this Friday that our Lord gave his life for the humanity’s sins. He hung on the cross, surrounded by 2 regular criminals, bloodied, suffering, and left alone by his nearest followers.The process by which he walked to his place of death, and his final moments of suffering and death are recalled in the devotion of the stations of the cross, regularly used on Good Friday. This holiday is also a fast day in the Church. This means that Catholics are required to eat only one complete meal, as well as refrain from consuming animal flesh and meat based items on this date. This is a day of fast because we mirror the suffering of Jesus, and not eating is a way to do this. Basically, Good Friday is important because it is the date that the Lord gave up his life for our sins. His bloody death for us destroyed death and the grave, and showed us the way to suffer. This is the reason that a lot of Catholics frequently use a crucifix as a prayer tool, because we are reminded not only of what Jesus went through, but his death was where the battle for our salvation occurred. This is why Christians all over the world value the death of Jesus so much.

To wrap up, it is a good thing to celebrate Good Friday and Holy Thursday. Both commemorate important events in the salvation of humankind, and both days are essential to the worship life of the Church Catholic. So, this Holy Week, don’t forget to celebrate these two important holy days.

The essayist suggests celebrating the 2 holidays referenced previously, . One way is to attend a worship service on these holidays.

Facts On The Religious Solemnity of All Saints Day, And How Catholics Observe This Inspiring Holy Day October 27, 2011

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All Saints is a Catholic holiday that is very popular throughout the world. A lot of Catholics the world over celebrate this eminent holy day of the Church, and our celebration of Halloween is partially based on customs that derive in part from The Feast of All Saints.

As an aside, I need to say that I believe that an understanding of the Church year is an essential aspect of Catholic teaching, although a lot of Christians do not avail themselves of this amazing spiritual tool to enhance their prayer life.

The holy day falls on the first of November, and is a solemnity, meaning it is one of the highest ranking festivals in the Church. It is an obligatory holy day, which means that Catholics are required to come to Holy Mass on that day, if they can. It is based on the concept that there are saints – sacred men and women, approved by God. Saints are loyal followers of God that have followed the teachings of Jesus. The Church has declared they have led sacred lives worthy of imitation. Saints are basically people that are intensely Godlike, which is to say you can observe the love of God in them.

Every day in the Church calendar has a saint that is celebrated that day, but The Feast of All Saints is the time when the Church honors all saints, known and obscure. This is much like the USA holiday President’s Day, where many individuals are honored on one day. While we have information about many saints, and we honor them on specific days, there are a lot of unknown or anonymous saints, who may have been forgotten, or never been specifically honored. On The Feast of All Saints, we recognize these saints of God, and request their intercessions.

The entire concept of All Saints is connected to the concept of the Communion of Saints, the dogma that all of God’s people, in heaven, earth, and in the state of purification, are joined in a communion. In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the saints of God are very much living, and are continually interceding for us. Our connection with the saints is a tight-knit communion. The saints are not godlike, nor omnipresent or omniscient. However, because of our shared communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly church of Christians. St. Cyril of Jerusalem explains it thusly:

We mention those who have passed on: first the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that by way of their prayers, God would hear our request.(Catechetical Lectures).

The Catholic Catechism concisely outlines this communion among all believers, through which we are joined to Christ, and thus to one another. In other words, because of our baptism, all believers are spiritually united in Christ Jesus. On All Saints Day, we connect with all of the saints, with whom we share a great and lasting fellowship.

Many people take the occasion of All Saints Day to ponder or pray to their favorite saints. A standard custom among kids is to dress up as their favorite saints as their Halloween outfits. Many go as martyrs like Saint Sebastian, who was killed by being shot with arrows. Other folks go as saints that didn’t expire quite as horribly, such as Saint Francis. Still others will research a more obscure saint, and go as him or her.

Overall, All Saints is an important Christian holy day that honors those sacred people near to God, that lived lives completely dedicated to him.

The author, an authority on holidays, suggests that for more information about All Saints Day, just research trusted Internet sites. Also, to fully educate yourself about the holy day, the author suggests learning some All Saints Day Prayers, to become a saint yourself!