Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus, forgive them. They know not what they do.

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Dear Precious Jesus,

Tonight is Holy Thursday, the night you agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane awaiting your destiny of torture, humiliation and  debilitating pain.  You submitted willingly to Our Father’s Will be done.

It is difficult to read or watch visuals of what was done to you.   You did it all for us.   All of us. It’s also very difficult to watch what the people you died to give salvation to, have turned their backs on you and worse, reject your deity and teachings.

You, as the Word, beautifully show us the Way, the Truth and the Life.   You show us that through You, we know Our Father in Heaven.   And now we are repeating, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.”

You taught us about love and there is hate all around us.  You taught us about love of families and families have splintered.   You taught us about marriage between a man and a woman, and marriage has morphed into what the world wants, not what you taught us.   You taught us that marriage is important for procreation, but the world wants to abort babies, not create them.  They have relationships where babies can never be created.

You gave us a new covenant but the world chooses greed, power, and  narcissism over sharing, humbleness and stewardship.    You taught us peace, church community sharing and honesty; instead we have violence, bullying and untruths. You promised us abundance if we follow your path, and instead the world has forged its own path of idolatry, selfishness, and ungodliness.  And it’s falling apart.

The Word tells us to praise and glorify God and the world tells us it’s superstitious, ignorant, and discriminatory to listen to your Words.   We are called extremists and radicals and they call themselves progressives and liberals.    We want to stay faithful to you and they want us to denounce or hide that faith.

There are many of us who believe in who you are and what you taught through Our Father.   And we also know what you taught of how it will end.   Thank you for the gift of spirit that endures our faith. We’re sorry if the path leading to you is narrow and the path that leads away from you is wide.   But it is their choice and we were given free will to choose which one we will take. In the long run their choices are not long-lasting, and become unsatisfactory and unhappy.

As for us, “Eye  has not seen nor ear has heard what God has ready for those who love him.” Thank you, Jesus, for making it possible.   We love and adore you.

Marie Coppola   April 2015

Jesus asks, “Are you Asleep”?

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On Holy Thursday, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciple, “…are you asleep?  Could you not keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Today, I ask you:   are you asleep?  Can you not spend one hour a week watching and praying to Jesus to protect you from tests and trials?  Do you find other things to do even though you feel you should spend some time in thanks, praise and prayers in God’s House? 

Or do you go to church and think of other things while you are there or check out who is attending?   Do you listen to the sermon and apply it to your life?   If you have a church that has communion, do you receive it and quickly walk out the door once you have and not spent some time in the communion of soul with Christ that you just received?

Once you form a relationship with Jesus, you will feel differently about praying and praising Him.   Forming a relationship with Him is easy; simply find a quiet place and talk to Him. In your own words and feelings.   Ask Him to lead you, teach you and give you the gift of Himself.   He will answer you – he answers in different ways.   He may answer you in thought, or feelings, or signs and acts.  You will feel it.

Once your spirit is willing, your flesh will no longer be weak.  You will be stronger in any and all tests that may come your way.   Peace will be yours.   He will guide you and hold your hand.   You will never be alone again.  

We celebrate Easter through His death and resurrection to be the light and inspiration in our lives now and forever. 

If you want to know Christ intimately, pray to the Holy Sprit for Wisdom and Understanding and read the Bible – start with the New Testament and Jesus’ Words.   You will receive a Gift that will save your life.   Forever.  

Marie Coppola.  March 2015

Are Statues Idols? And do Catholics Worship Them?

Question:   Where does the Catholic Church stand on images of Christ, statues of saints, pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.? Is it wrong for me to have these items in my home?     I know that our Church does not worship idols. Yet I would like some more information on what we believe.

Answer:  When I was a young man, I read a story by Stephen Vincent Benét titled “By the Waters of Babylon.” The mood was one of a traveler finding the ruins of a previous civilization. Throughout the story the hero kept coming across an idol of the God Ashing. At story’s end, the reader discovers Benét has looked into the future and the city of New York, after some great catastrophe. The “idol” is simply the ruins of a bust of George Washington.

My point is simply that people can misinterpret, misconstrue and fail to understand what others are doing or have done.

The next time someone criticizes your use of statues, or accuses you of idolatry, you might ask him if he has a picture of his wife or children in his wallet. If he says yes, ask him why he is worshiping them.

Or ask him if he thinks all those tourists going out to see the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., or the faces of the presidents on Mount Rushmore are guilty of idolatry.

Those statues, like pictures of George Washington in so many courthouses, are ways of honoring heroes from the past. They put us in touch with great people in our history. They become occasions for teaching children about the past and offering examples of great citizens.

Stained-glass windows, statues and paintings have long served these same purposes in the Church. Crucifixes and statues of the Good Shepherd or Sacred Heart remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice and love for us. Statues of Mary and the saints recall the heroism of the saints and suggest to us what we should strive to become.

They are occasions for telling the children of today about the real saints and heroes of the past, for telling children what it means to live out their faith and religion. To all of us they offer the occasion to reflect and pray on the action of God in our lives. They help us to better sentiments of piety, call upon us to express our own faith and love. In honoring the saint we honor God who has worked such good and holy things in and through the saint.

From St. Anthony Messenger; Ask a Franciscan.  Return to AmericanCatholic.org

Marie Coppola July 2014

Ending a Relationship with Forgiveness

 

 It is an unfortunate fact of life that we simply can’t get along with everybody. If we are lucky, we have good relationships with our family and friends and in-laws, but every once in awhile, there is someone who becomes a literal ‘thorn in our side.’ Sometimes, it is apparent why this happens. But other times, as much as we analyze and pick the relationship apart, conversation by conversation, we can’t understand totally why this happens. Call it karma, call it fate, call it ‘that’s life in the big city’ ~ it can play havoc with our lives. This is especially so, if it is a family member, a spouse, or an in-law. What do you do when it is a sibling, a parent or God forbid, a spouse?

I was immersed in a dysfunctional relationship where emotions on both sides overrode logic. I tried my best to avoid social encounters with this person. When I couldn’t or didn’t, I either bit my tongue in all conversations, held back lashing back to a minimum, or feigned sickness to avoid him. On occasion, I worked more, socialized less or buried myself in a book.

When he was present, I felt stressed and prayed that the day turned out okay and not into a fiasco. Others were counting on me to mend the gap and just ‘keep cool’ or ‘chill out’ or anything short of sitting on me and duct-taping my mouth. They told me silence was golden. Even silence was stressful.

I tried many different avenues of being civil, thinking it may work out. But, when it didn’t work out, there was always a ‘stress situation.

He was a ‘long-history person’ in my life. We simply were like mixing oil and water. We always were. Words spoken were not taken the way they were meant. Get togethers became strained. Attempts to make it better made it worse; and the chasm opened wide and threatened to swallow us.

This relationship caused additional spiritual stress for me: didn’t God tell us to forgive seventy times seven? Aren’t we supposed to ‘love one another as He loves us”? How could I reconcile this fractured relationship with my faith? How could I change into something I wasn’t or accept what I couldn’t. I knew I could not or want to change him. Over time, it was apparent it was futile and there was no solution.

One day, at church service, there was a vtisiting minister. His topic was “You Can’t Get Along With Everybody.” I was all ears. His sermon was loving, prayerful, scriptural and reality. He looked out at all of us and said, “You have to face the fact that you won’t get along with everybody in life – it could even be someone close, a loved one or even a child of yours or a parent. You simply will not have a good relationship with him or her.”

And then he offered, “Even Jesus did not get along with everyone. As a native Nazarene, he was not always welcome in his own neighborhood; people mocked him that “he was a carpenter’s son – how can he think he is a Son of God; we knew him as a child playing. Jesus left his hometown and started traveling with his ministry. And when he and/or the Apostles were not welcome in a town, he told them to ‘wipe the dust off their feet’ and move on.”

I talked with the minister after the service and told him how badly I felt about this relationship that I just couldn’t seem to embrace or change. He answered, “There are some relationships you can’t fix. Thank God they are few, but they simply will never be what they are supposed to be. Sometimes you have to walk away and leave them. Withdraw from them; they will eventually harm you. Wipe the dust from your feet and move on.” BUT, he continued….”Always ~ ALWAYS, pray for that person, forgive them and forgive yourself. But always pray for them.”

Please understand that this minister was not suggesting that I disregard any and all people that I had difficulty with and wipe them off like dust. Remember, we are all imperfect. And this wasn’t a case of one being right or one being wrong – we were simply incompatible.

I found a serene feeling of letting go that day. And I followed his advice. I also began praying for that person. And that was very difficult for me. The first few prayers were stifled and stiff and seemed to get stuck in my throat. It felt so insincere. But I kept at it and in time, sincerely meant the prayer. I pray for this person to this day. I pray for his peace; I wish him well-being and remind myself that he is loved as a child of God just as I am.

With my change in attitude and prayer, I feel differently about this person. We may never be close but the awful feelings of animosity and dread are gone. There is no judgment or blame here — it’s just that….”As one face differs from another, so does one’s heart.”

But even different hearts can learn to live in peace.

Marie Coppola June 2014

Do you Have …. or Have you Not?


 

When I graduated from college, someone asked me what was the greatest thing  I learned?   In truth, the greatest thing I learned was how little I knew about all there was  to know.

Faith works like that, too.   The more I learn about God, the more I feel  there’s so much more to learn and know about Him.

If you live in a country like the USA, as I do, the average person has a home, a car, clothes, and time to travel and to entertain.  If the average American wants something special for breakfast, he can go to a restaurant or a food store and buy it.   To people who live in poor countries, they might not have any of these things ~ they may not even know what or when they are going to eat from one day to the next.

How blessed we are.  Do you ever wonder, like I do, why I live here in comfortable conditions, when others live in poverty?

We know God through His Word, the Bible and His Reasoning.  Our Life Plans for us aren’t written in contract form. He does give us many mandates, commandments, parables, and teachings from His Son, Jesus, to give us a pattern and way of living. It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about having the biggest house or the best furniture or making the most money. He does tell us how to have traditional relationships in marriage and love; he tells us how to raise our children, and what makes us happy in life and what is good and what is not good for us. He is our Father.

He sent His Son, Jesus, so we would know what The Father is like so we can communicate with Him.

I ask why has God blessed me so?   I’ve had my share of trials and tribulations, but my faith in God has always sustained me.   He has given me an abundant life – why does He do that?   He loves everybody and we’re all equal in his eyes….why are some in unfortunate situations and others always griping they want more?   And why do some who have plenty want more and more?

What about you?   Do you live an abundant llife?   Do you always want that new car, latest technology, or fashion design?   Do you feel blessed?   Or are you OK with what you want and have but need something else to make you happy and fulfilled?

Perhaps a quiet time with Our Lord seeking his Will and Plans for you would put your life in a different perspective.   The more you get out of your time with Him , the more you will seek it and understand it.

© Marie Coppola June 2014

 

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Jesus Christ CEO – Leadership Exemplar – A Book Review


Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership 

Many books have been written about good examples of leadership. The book, Jesus, CEO; Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones is well-written, and a highly useful example of the characteristics of biblically-based leadership applicable to our management world today. Her book brings together the hard and soft skills of love, inspiration and good will into any organization’s leaders or team leaders.

A preface in the introduction of this book states: “One person trained twelve human beings who went on to so influence the world that time itself is recorded as being before (B.C.) or after (A.D.) his existence.

 

This person worked with a staff that was totally human and not divine…a staff that in spite of illiteracy, questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings, and momentary cowardice went on to accomplish the tasks he trained them to do. They did this for one main reason – to be with him again.

His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us.” Much can be learned from Jesus’ visionary leadership style today as much as it was 2000 years ago.

The author, a successful businesswoman, believes that Jesus’ management style incorporates the best of masculine and feminine leadership styles, by harnessing spiritual energy, so that both males and females can become empowered leaders. She explains that this can be done by using three categories of strengths: 1] the strength of self-mastery; 2] the strength of action and 3] the strength of relationships.

The chapters are easily read and translate the process by which Jesus performed the above categories of strengths. Some of the chapter titles are:

Self-Mastery

His Statements are What he Becomes

He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss

He Stuck to his Mission

He Believed in Himself

He Guarded his energy

He did not Waste Time Judging Others

He had a Passionate Commitment to the Cause

He Worked through his Fears

Strength of Action

He took Action

He had a Plan; He formed a Team

He Broke Ranks; He Came from Left Field and Branched Out

He Trained his Replacements

Strength of Relationships

He Clearly Defined their Work-related Benefits

He Treated them as Equals

He Held them Accountable

He Set an Example for Them

He Looked out for the Little Guys; He Served Them; Defended Them and Gave Them Authority

He Loved Them to the End

This book is described as a must-read for college business courses. It exhibits the core competencies of training and soft skills.

© Marie Coppola   August 2013

How do YOU handle change?

Change is inevitable in all of our lives. While most of us don’t like change, life events force them on us.  We experience getting married, getting divorced, starting a family, fluctuations in the economy, fractured family relationships, starting new jobs, losing jobs, relocating, empty nest syndrome, health issues, illness of a loved one, or death of a loved one. Most change issues cause stress and/or anxiety. Even happy events can cause stress: your wedding, new job, new house, new baby and even winning the lottery!

How do we handle the stresses of change?  We might try drinking, smoking, eating, venting, exercising, or joining a self-help group. Sometimes life hands us a ‘cluster’ of changes which can overwhelm us and cause us to lose our balance of life. What do you do when you are over-challenged with life changes?

Jesus experienced changes in his life. He was the son of a carpenter and in three years of ministry became a prophet and Savior. He dealt with many changes and emotions: anger in the temple; frustration with His disciples; sadness with tears when friends died, and sweating blood agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. How did Jesus handle these events?

He often went out in the desert or to a quiet place by himself to pray to His Father. Even Jesus needed to renew His soul.

Jesus can help us renew our souls that are shaken by stress. He offers us renewal of spirit and soul. Scripture teaches us: “Do not be afraid – I am with you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“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 14:27-31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5

You don’t have to make life’s changes alone.    Let Jesus help you.  Literally, reach out to him, and surrender your stress changes one by one and ask for his help.  Visualize him taking each one from you.   Don’t take them back.  He promises and will help to renew you.

©  Marie Coppola August 2017

Father~Jesus~Love~Peace~The Holy Spirit

Pastor Bob delivered a beautiful homily at church today;  I will try to recreate the message he shared with us.

He reflected on the past three Sundays Readings and Gospels which give the accounts of Jesus’ visits with his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension into Heaven.

He  noted that Jesus did not go into the teachings of his past three year’ ministry with his disciples, reviewing with them all the facets of the faith he spoke through his Father. It would seem he would warn them or remind them of parables addressing the continual harassment by the scribes and Pharisees who constantly badgered him.

Instead, Jesus spoke simply to the disciples of the Father, his Love , Peace and the Holy Spirit.  Twice Jesus told them, “If you love me, you will ‘keep’ my words” and the Father will reward that person by making his home with them.

When we become like Christ, we automatically do the right thing.

Then he told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would dwell within them and would enable them to remember the words and incidences of Jesus and to record them for future posterity. The promised Holy Spirit would enable the apostles to discern the truth, clarify the doctrine and encourage the new believers in faith, the Gentiles.

The priest explained how in the First Reading, some were teaching that ‘unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15: 1-2, 22-29.) They were preaching from their previous teachings.  Even Paul at one time believed that all new believers should convert to Judaism before they became Christians, relying on previous teachings.  With aid of the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas sent men out to maintain Jesus’ doctrinal purity.

Today is the same: we are guided by the Holy Spirit to maintain doctrinal purity by the Magisterium, the Teaching Authority of the Church. It consists of the Pope and Bishops. Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church: “He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you, rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me”. (Luke 10.16)

In the Gospel Reading today (John 14:23-29) Jesus tells us,  “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.   He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.”

“These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   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.”

Simple faith – simple words.  Do not add or take away from them ~ This is our faith:

Father ~ Jesus ~  Love ~ Peace ~ The Holy Spirit

Have a blessed week.

Marie Coppola

Ref: http://emmausjourney.org/reflecting

 

Easter Blessings Twitter Readers

"Wherever or whenever you are experiencing darkness of the soul, Jesus is there, a Light shining in darkness.   We need not see and believe, but instead we have the opportunity to believe and see."   Blessings for a Light-filled Easter.   He Lives!

“Easter, when delight was turned to disappointment and disappointment was turned to delight. Surely Satan and the forces of evil must have thought they had won the great battle. If the forces of evil could have danced, surely they must have been dancing in the streets. They thought they had killed the Son of God.

Darkness seemed to have been reigning supreme from the time when Judas and an armed crowd, came to arrest Jesus under the cloak of darkness. Darkness provided the cover for the evil intentions of those persecuting Jesus but also for the shameful abandonment of Jesus by his disciples. Even Peter had to slink away into the darkness to hide his shame.

How the forces of evil must have rejoiced as “from noon onward there was darkness over the whole land,” until at last Jesus “gave up his spirit.” How they must have believed that this darkness was just a foretaste of the spiritual darkness which would envelope the earth unabated by the Light of the World. But God had another plan and turned their delight to disappointment.

While darkness still seemed to reign, Mary Magadalene and her companions, and later Peter and John, came “while it was still dark” only to find an empty tomb. Disappointment upon disappointment, or so it seemed at first. But when they realized that the face cloth was separate from the other burial wrappings, a ray of hope and light pierced the darkness, never to be extinguished again. Rather, it was a ray of hope and light which was to grow in brilliance as Christ’s resurrection became known and its meaning understood. Praise God, disappointment is now turned to delight!

“The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits’, the ‘pioneer of life’. He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation: a new chapter in cosmic history has opened.” (C.S. Lewis, from Miracles)

Christ’s arrest, suffering, death, burial and resurrection introduced a new creation, a new life that has not only escaped the bonds of death but also the chains of enslavement to our natural passions and their subsequent evil behavior. With Jesus’ resurrection comes power to live differently. Jesus introduces a whole new perspective and purpose to life—life lived in union and communion with the Trinity. This new-creation life is described in Ephesians 5 as walking in the Light because through the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence we are able to see life with new insight. In addition, walking in the Light implies a life of holiness is possible, free from the shadows of darkness.

Wherever or whenever you are experiencing darkness of the soul, Jesus is there, a Light shining in darkness just as John said in the beginning of his Gospel. We should no longer shrink into our fears believing the lie that evil will triumph, but follow the disciples’ example and seek out the resurrected Christ. He is risen, he is triumphant, we are in him, full recipients of his victory. In Christ, we are a new creation, and can experience living as a new creation in the peace and power of Jesus. ….we need not see and believe, but instead we have the opportunity to believe and see.”

Ref:   Excerpt from Reflecting on Sunday’s Readings ~Easter Sunday 

Scripture text is from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: The National Council of Churches) 1997, c1994; Reflecting On Sunday’s Readings, Copyright 2002-2013, Richard A. Cleveland.

 

Marie Coppola   March 2013

 

Jesus is Looking for a Long-Term Relationship With You

 

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 I am a male seeking friendship and love in a committed relationship.

Age, gender, size, race, ethnic background not important. I’m seeking someone who will share my love, trust and devotion. I offer friendship, companionship, stability, loyalty, patience, kindness, and understanding. I will share the good and the bad with you and promise to always tell you the truth in all things.

I love people, family, children, animals, and all living creatures. Family is very special to me especially my saintly mother and my loving father, who is my mentor, protector and guides me in all things. I enjoy mingling with crowds but I also have times when I like to be alone. I like to take walks up in the mountains and also in the desert. My time is usually spent with my friends, especially, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I live my life to treat others as you would have them treat you. And I would lay down my life for my friends. As I will for you, if we become soul mates.

Pastimes? I enjoy fishing and spending time by lakes and the water. Work? I am a carpenter by trade, but have also worked as a rabbi, physician, healer, counselor, and teacher. All these positions have introduced me to many people, whom I helped with their problems, and taught them what I learned from my father. I could tell you miraculous things about these people. I will when we meet. Some of these miracles are written up in a book that is a best seller. Honest, I would never lie to you.

It would be wonderful if we could meet somewhere and get together. Perhaps you would like to meet me, too, and get acquainted. We could break bread together and have some wine; and you can tell me all about you. You can pick the time and place; I’m available all hours of the day. And I am willing to travel to any place in the world. You should know that worldly things like what you look like or how you dress, or what car you drive and what kind of house you have or neighborhood you live in, don’t matter at all to me. Same thing with money and jobs; they are superficial to who you are, what you’re about, and what your heart desires. I’m hoping that it is me.

I am a good listener. You can tell me your plans, your desires, your joys and your grief. If you let me, I can share all your joys and share all your fears and problems. If you have worries or am depressed or feel lonely and alone, I promise that I can make you feel better. If you desire it, we could have a strong, binding relationship; maybe even be soul mates for a long and committed time; hopefully, forever. I won’t pressure you; you take your time. But you should know, that If you open your heart to me, I will always be there for you. I will never leave or abandon you. That’s a promise. My love for you will be forever – eternally.

I’m looking forward to becoming someone special in your life; maybe a best friend, maybe even more. I’ll let you decide who I can be in your life. I will treat you like the special and unique individual that you are. If you ask anything of me, I will answer you and God willing, give it to you.

I hope you will call me soon.  At any time.  I’m always around and I will always make time for you.  If and when you call, there will be no waiting for me to answer or the chance for the call to go into voicemail; I will personally answer on the first ring. I want you to feel secure that you can always reach me whether in an emergency or just to chat or say hello. By the way, when you do call, my phone number is the same as my name 5-3787 — Jesus.

I will be so very happy to hear from you.

 © Marie Coppola March 2013