Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings, I encourage you to spend time daily to pray and meditate/contemplate on the Word of God and to frequent the Sacraments and to be open to the Holy Spirit’s movements and inspirations in one’s life and the whole Church. Remember ‘the Word of God is living and active’ (Hebrews 4:12). And the Word of God is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God who is one with the Father, who was with the Father in the Beginning of time (John 1).
We live in a world today, that is increasingly hostile to the Gospel values of the Kingdom of God, where pride and arrogance as well as greed and many other vices are encouraged whilst the value of unconditional love and obedience and charity are being scoffed at. There is a warning against living a life that is materialistic and away from the grace of God who loves us and wants what is for our good. ‘For what will it profit them to gain the world and forfeit their life?’ (Mark 8:36). Think about it again, ‘for what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?’ (Matthew 16:26).
It is best we heed and obey the Son of God, Jesus Christ, because He is as He says ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12). And Jesus tells us as He describes the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother and our Mother also, that ‘Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it!’ (Luke 11:28). In order to be effective ministers in our ministries, be it for those who are members of the clergy, or members of religious communities or the laity, we need to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and we need to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives daily, as the Apostles did.
I invite you to recall the promise of our Lord Jesus to His Apostles and Disciples at the Ascension, ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit is upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Jesus’ promise that His disciples will receive the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, the same Holy Spirit we received at our Baptism and strengthens us at our Confirmation. The Church was fully alive and active, as many were drawn to the community when St. Peter and the Apostles first preached, 3,000 converts in one day. St. Peter and the Apostles and also St. Paul and the many early evangelists and missionaries braved many dangers to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. All united as One Body in Christ (Romans 12 & 1 Corinthians 12).
This same Church is present today, although we may be divided due to schisms and heresies, but in essence all are members of the one Body of Christ. Church meaning people of God, the Assembly of those chosen by Christ, has to have these 4 marks: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Church is One, as Jesus prayed to the Father regarding His disciples and followers ‘that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ (John 17:21).
The Church is Holy, as Holiness is to be set apart for God (Leviticus 20:26; Psalm 4:3; 1 Peter 2:9).
The Church is Catholic, meaning Universal, inclusive of all, because regardless of language, race or nationality all of us share ‘one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism’ (Ephesians 4:5) and the great commission of the Lord is for us to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’ (Mark 16:15) as He explained to the Apostles after His Resurrection and before His Ascension on the life and mission of the Church is as Jesus says to us: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
That is why over 1 billion Catholic Christians around the world in every nation pray together, and daily there is Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours as well as devotional prayers and study of the Bible. The Mass was instituted at the Last Supper, the breaking of the Bread and sharing of the cup/chalice of salvation (Matthew 26); and the 2 disciples on the way to Emmaus from Jerusalem recognised the resurrected Christ at the breaking of the Bread (Luke 24:13-35). And for those who have eyes to see, you will recognise that the book of Revelations speaks a lot about the Mass and the Prayers of the Church throughout the hours (the 24 elders), the Mass is the great feast gathering together of the Angels and Saints in the presence of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Church is Apostolic because of the transmission of Faith from Jesus to His Apostles to the faithful today, this is preserved by the laying on of hands at the Sacrament of Holy Orders, for Bishops, Priests and Deacons, all tracing their lineage back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles; it is early on that Holy Orders was practiced the laying of hands for ordination of Deacons (Acts 6) ;again the laying of hands and ordination is recorded in the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy; remember St. Paul was an Apostle and St. Timothy later on became a Bishop in the early Church (2 Timothy 1).
In all things, let us give glory to God for the salvation of all souls in the Blessed and most Holy Name of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son and sanctifies and blesses us all.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.