Growing in Faith - January 2023 Bulletin Articles

Spread the "Good News of Great Joy"

After the shepherds visited Jesus, they told others who didn't know yet about Him. Pope St. John Paul II urged us to do the same: "If we truly encounter Christ again and again, we cannot keep him to ourselves." As disciples, we are required to make disciples.

Practice urgency. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ suffer the misery of our fallen world. Worse, they cannot enter eternal life. Our Catholic Faith holds the key to peace in this world and salvation in the next. Sharing our knowledge and love for Him is urgent.

Spend time in the Word. The world desperately needs to know the Truth contained in the Word. Those who spend time with Scripture grow deeper in their relationship with God and can share that knowledge.

Actively Listen. It is through listening that we earn the right to be heard. Active listening helps us discern where our companion is in the faith journey. Then we learn how best to share the Gospel message.

Growing in Faith, Dec. 2022

Jesus' Blueprint for Holiness - Matthew 5:1-12a

    This passage contains the Sermon on the Mount during which Jesus detailed the Beatitudes - the attitudes we need to be truly holy, and therefore happy. In fact, "beatitude" is translated from the Greek word for happiness. Jesus was saying, "Happy are you!" or "Congratulations!" if you live by these attitudes.

    When Jesus said, "blessed are the poor in spirit...blessed are they who mourn...the persecuted" He promised that when we turn to God in times of trial, we will be comforted and cared for. When He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," He was showing us that a holy heart will receive what it desires. When He described "the meek...the merciful...the peacemakers," He gave us a blueprint for how to act.

    We can measure our behavior against these standards. When we are faithful to God in tempting moments, and translate holy inner attitudes into outward actions, we'll know we're on the right path to holiness. When we live by the Beatitudes, we'll be truly happy.

Growing in Faith, Jan. 2023

What qualities can I pursue to make me a better follower of Christ?

Actually, when you were baptized. made your First Communion, and was Confirmed, the Holy Spirit conferred gifts to help you grow in strength and holiness. Recognizing these gifts and nurturing them will certainly make you a better Christian.

Wisdom: This gift helps us stay focused on God's will and His plan for us.

Understanding: Lets us grasp truths. It means seeing with the heart and mind.

Counsel: Also called "right judgement," counsel enables us to weigh alternatives to make the right choice.

Fortitude: The ability to remain firm against pressure. (courage.)

Knowledge: A person with knowledge sees more than one dimension of an issue to determine the right path.

Piety: Helps us think of ourselves as children of God and be eager to serve Him

Fear of the Lord: The wonder and awe God inspires encourages us to respect Him and all his creation.

The more you use these gifts, the more you will grow in faith and holiness. Then you will certainly become a better Christian.

Growing in Faith, Jan. 2023

The Most Holy Name of Jesus

Names are powerful, and no name is more powerful than Jesus. Mary and Joseph did not sit across from each other at the kitchen table in the evenings debating a name for their child. They didn't flip through the pages of a book of saints or bounce ideas off of their friends and family. The baby's name was chosen for them by God Himself.

The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary, "And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus" (Lk 1:31). And Joseph had a dream in which the angel told him, "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21). The Gospel of Luke further relates that "After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Lk 2:21). Jesus was named eight days after Christmas, January 3.

The New Testament is filled with incidents where the name of Jesus is invoked to drive out devils, cure illnesses, and perform miracles. The Holy Name is explicitly exalted by Saint Paul: "at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth..."(Philippians 2:10). Jesus reinforces the power of His own name in St. John's Gospel: "If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you"(Jn 16:23)


Fall Deeper in Love with Christ in the New Year

At the center of all we do as Catholics must be a close and personal relationship with Jesus. He offers to each of us a deep, intimate, "I love you forever" kind of relationship. Make TIME to fall deeper in love with Christ.

T - Talk: Prayer is an amazing privilege. Through it, we have an open invitation: "Call to me, and I will answer you" (Jeremiah 33:3). The God of the universe wants to hear from you.

I - Intimacy: To love Christ, we must know Him. In Scripture, God tells us who He is (Exodus 34:6), how He feels about us (Isaiah 43:4), what He desires for us (Luke 12:32), and how being His will make us happy (Matthew 5-7). Make Scripture a part of every day.

M - Meet Him: Relationships grow through shared experiences. We meet Jesus in prayer, Scripture, the Sacraments, and above all, during the Mass.

E - Everything for love: St. Therese of Lisieux discovered that she could delight God by simply picking up a pin out of love. He wants to hear us, His beloveds say, "I love you, too," in words and actions. Essential to falling in love with God is making TIME for Him.

Growing in Faith, Jan. 2023

Make One Change for God this Year

When making New Year's resolutions this year, consider one change that will bring you closer to God. Here are some ideas other Catholics have used to strengthen prayer, serve the poor, and evangelize our faith...

Laura felt her prayer life growing stale, so when her parish asked for adorers for the perpetual adoration chapel, she jumped at the chance. Now, Mondays at midnight, Laura can be found in the presence of the Eucharist. She said, "I really look forward to my peaceful hour each week. It's just me and Him."

Peter's law practice is incredibly busy, but he takes an afternoon off every month to work at a local soup kitchen serving hot meals to the homeless and working poor. When asked why, he said, "Jesus said, 'When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.'"

JoAnn's children are grown, yet she teaches a religious education class at her parish. "What better way to spread our faith than to children? That's where I can do the most good," she said.

Kindness is contagious. A recent study found that witnessing an act of kindness produces good feelings and inspires imitation. In the new year, make efforts to be kinder, more friendly, generous, and considerate, and inspire others to do the same.

Growing in Faith, Jan. 2023



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church