Kathy Bernard - Publisher



SO many of us think that if we go to church on Sundays, follow closely all things such as confession or communion as decreed by the church, are kind to friends and neighbors, tithe, take care of our families that we automatically go to Heaven. This is an absolute fallacy.

THESE things are admirable but they do not complete what God wants of us. He wants us first to get to know Him, then love Him with all our hearts, all our souls, with all our strength, and with all our minds. (Luke10:27). We must pin all our hopes on Him. He wants us to recognize Him as our Heavenly Father, realize that we are solely dependent on him for everything we are and ever will be. Then all other things will fall into place and we will want to go to church, want to love our neighbors, want to fast, want to go to confession and take communion.

IT is a pity we take so much for granted. Because most Catholics are baptized at birth, we do not necessarily reflect on whether we are personal friends of our Lord Jesus Christ. Being Catholic is something many of us just do, something we take for granted. Sometimes Jesus seems so far away, unreachable and unapproachable. But as powerful and great as He is, He still wants us to be close to each of us. And unless we get to know the living Jesus as our own personal Saviour and Friend, we cannot enter into the Eternity God has prepared for us. It would be very much like a stranger knocking on the door of  our homes. We would not let that stranger enter our houses unless he or she came with a friend’s introduction. Christ is that introduction and He is that bridge to the Father. So if we do not know Him intimately how can we possibly hope to have our names written in the Book of Life? No human can get to the Father except through Jesus. We need Him to be our very best friend, and we must recognize without a doubt that He is the only one who positively can intercede for us with our Heavenly Father.. No one else can do that.

SO how do we make God’s acquaintance? And how do we get to know Jesus who is the one who introduces us to the Father? What is required of us? Well, going to church because it is expected of us does not do it. Saying prayers by rote does not do it. We must first put our faith and trust in Jesus the Messiah and in order to do this we must acknowledge that we are nothing without Him and give ourselves into His safekeeping. We need to pursue the friendship that Jesus willingly offers. We do it by constant prayer knowing that Jesus reads the heart. If we do not know how to pray, if we just say ”Jesus” over and over again we know that He fills in the blanks with everything we want to tell Him. We can do it by reading the scriptures and letting Our Lord into our hearts. He wants to come in; in fact He is waiting to come in. When we begin to search and seek God we are rewarded with strong and powerful faith. God opens the door to understanding the bible as well as opens our eyes to the truths he wants us to know. Then we make a public declaration by being baptized if we have not received this sacrament.  We show our community that Jesus lives within us. Baptism takes away original sin, leaving our souls pure. No sin remains at that moment in time. If we stain that pristine soul at some future time we can, by the grace of God, renew it through confession to God and promising to repent and do better. This is one of the perks of being a Christian.

THOSE of us coasting along on the baptism of babyhood must rededicate our lives by receiving the sacrament of Confirmation which is the coming of age or personal acceptance of our Saviour. Confirmation is not just a ritual but a reaffirmation of our beliefs. It is a solidification of the baptism received at birth. To pledge oneself, in faith and trust, to follow Christ’s teachings is the first step toward eternity. The second is to do God’s will. This follows the Jewish law of the coming of age when a boy or girl reaches the age of thirteen, they are considered an adult and take on the responsibility of their Jewish faith. For us, it is basically the same thing. We, at the time of Confirmation, declare our acceptance of the baptism which was given to us at birth and as “adults” we willingly consent to accept the mantle of Christianity and everything it entails. It is a time of renewal and the time when the Holy Spirit descends and most importantly is recognized by us.

HOW do we know if we are saved and are in God’s friendship? I believe that God speaks to the soul and lets us know we are not only loved but that we are saved. Through constant prayer and obedience we are assured of God’s friendship. We maintain this relationship because we want to. Sometimes we get caught up in today’s world and lose track of our alliance with God. We must nurture our kinship for if we step away from what He wants us to do we will feel the loss of his Presence. We feel sorrow when we sin, much the same way we feel sorrow when we hurt someone close to us. We are ashamed of any bad deeds we have done, and feel the disappointment that our Saviour feels. We will want to make amends. We do not want to be out of God’s magnificent glory or His protection. When we alienate that heavenly bond we feel bereft and lost, much like a child who gets lost and cannot make his way home. If we are living by His standards and have sought to live by God’s commandments, have confidence in the Lord, believe in His promises, we know we are saved.

THE beauty of knowing that we have our destiny carved out for us, the knowledge that this is simply a bridge to bigger and better things is mind boggling. Of course, since this is the only life we know, it is hard sometimes to see beyond our present life to the next. Our thoughts are filled with things such as the needs of our loved ones, the jobs we hold or seek, and our health. The hereafter seems to be just that, the hereafter...and in the future somewhere. Those of us who have matured can realize just how short life is, even if we reach the highest life span. Life is a brief waystation to rethink our sinful ways, to plan, to get ourselves spiritually ready, and to refresh our faith for the nonstop flight to God’s Kingdom. Let us not be like the man who knocks on the Master’s door only to have him say, “I do not know you.” We might reply “But we ate the body of Christ Your Son and drank His blood in Your church” only to have Him say “I tell you I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me.(Luke13:25-27)

ARE you in God’s friendship? Where will you spend eternity?



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