The Daily Need for the Discernment of Spirits – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff


Msgr. Esseff reflects on how we are to daily discern the movement of Christ in us and the movement of the self, the world, and the activity of the enemy.

Transition:
Become aware of the love with which God looks upon me as I begin this examen.

Gratitude
Note the gifts that God’s love has given you this day and give thanks to God for them.

Petition
Ask God for an insight and a strength that will make this examen a work of grace, fruitful beyond your human capacity alone.

Review
With God, review the day. Look for the stirrings in your heart and the thoughts which God has given you this day.
Look also for those which have not been of God.
Review your choices in response to both, and throughout the day in general.

Forgiveness.
Ask for the healing touch of the forgiving God who, with love and respect for you, removes your heart’s burdens.

Renewal.
Look to the following day and, with God, plan concretely how to live it in accord with God’s loving desire for your life.

Transition:
Aware of God’s presence with you, prayerfully conclude the examen

*The above text was adapted from a pdf online entitled “The Examen” found here

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  Msgr. Esseff served as a retreat director and confessor to St. Teresa of Calcutta.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by Pope St. John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders around the world.    

Day 2 St. Francis de Sales Novena – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 2

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 2 audio text podcast

Day 2

State openly that you desire to be devout. I do not say that you should assert that you are devout but that you desire to be devout. Do not be ashamed to practice the ordinary, necessary actions that bring us to the love of God. Acknowledge frankly that you are trying to meditate, that you would rather die than commit a mortal sin, that you are resolved to frequent the sacraments and to follow your director’s advice. This candid confession of our desire to serve God and to consecrate ourselves entirely to His love is most acceptable to His Divine Majesty. (INT. V, Ch. 18; O. III, p. 365)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

BWPM 3 – A Heart Filled with Praise – A Biblical Way of Praying the Mass w/ Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V. Podcast

Episode 3 – A Heart Filled with Praise- A Biblical Way of Praying the Mass with Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V.

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

We continue our conversation with Fr. Gallagher discussing the encouragements given by Venerable Bruno Lanteri in regards to a biblical way of praying the Mass.  In this episode, Fr. Gallagher reflects on the Gloria

Glory to God in the highest (raise your heart on high; let it express joyful praise of God),

and on earth peace to people of good will (ask for God’s peace on this troubled earth).

We praise you (pause simply to recognize God’s love and goodness),

we bless you (pronounce his name with love and reverence; bless him for his works of love),

we adore you (lift your heart in reverent and joyful adoration of his love, his goodness),

we glorify you (express your love for God, glorify him with your heart, your words, your life),

we give you thanks for your great glory (thank him for his saving work in the world and in your life),

Lord God, heavenly King (welcome him with love as Lord, as King in your life),

O God, almighty Father (open your heart to the love and power of our heavenly Father),

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son (turn now to Jesus, our Lord, the beloved Son in whom the Father takes delight),

Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father (“Behold, the Lamb of God” [John 1:36]: see the divine Lamb; behold him; draw near to him with confidence),

you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us (ask with confidence for the mercy that takes away sin);

you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer (“Everyone who asks, receives” [Matt. 7:8]; present your prayer with trust in his promise);

you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us (“Therefore he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them” [Heb. 7:25]; ponder these words).

For you alone are the Holy one (acknowledge the unique holiness, goodness, and love of Jesus),

you alone are the Lord (“At the name of Jesus every knee should bend . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” [Phil. 2:10–11]: profess him as the Lord of your life.),

you alone are the Most High (“you alone”: give him this special, unequalled place in your life, in your heart.),

Jesus Christ (the Son, our Savior), with the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Consoler), in the glory of God the Father (our loving Father in heaven). Amen.

Gallagher, Fr. Timothy; Gallagher, Fr Timothy . A Biblical Way of Praying the Mass: The Eucharistic Wisdom of Venerable Bruno Lanteri (pp. 39-40). EWTN Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.



You can find A Biblical Way of Praying the Mass here

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For other Discerning Hearts Fr. Timothy Gallagher Podcasts visit here

Day 1 St. Francis de Sales Novena – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 1

Day 1

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 1 audio podcast text

There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out bent parts and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a person who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service by means of certain practices of piety. At least once a year he must take it apart and examine every piece in detail; that is, every affection and passion, in order to repair whatever defects there may be. (INT. Part 5, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 340)

 

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9-Day St. Francis de Sales Novena – Mp3 audio and text visit here

ST-Luke Ep 7 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 3 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 7 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 3 Part 1

A Voice Cries Out

“Nothing is impossible with God.” Our lecture this week opens with this reassuring statement, taken from Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary. We recall from last week that Mary was the singular blessed woman of the New Testament who, through Jesus, fulfills the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, and crushes the head of Satan. Mary’s power against Satan is also present in the Rosary, whose mysteries are meditations on the life of Christ. Many popes and saints have attested to the power of the Rosary: as described by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the power of the Rosary is beyond description. At the famous Battle of Lepanto, victory against the invading Ottoman empire is attributed to the power of the Rosary.
Through her fiat, Mary displays her great humility, which stands in stark contrast to the pride of Satan. It is no surprise, then, that the lowly shepherds are the first to hear the angels’ announcement of the Messiah’s birth.

Last week, we learned of the head crushing women of the Bible, which raises the question: are there any head-crushing men in the Bible? This brings us to the story of David. We learn in 1 Samuel that through a miraculous conception, Hannah gives birth to Samuel, who she offers back to the Lord for service in the temple. The Israelites at that time clamor for a king and the Lord appeases them by having Samuel anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. Under the ineffective Saul, the Israelites are on the verge of being conquered by the Philistines. Samuel enters the picture once again, and at the Lord’s direction, anoints David. The spirit of the Lord comes upon the young David, who kills the Philistine giant Goliath with a single rock throw from his sling and then cuts off his head. The Philistines flee and Israel triumphs. Blessed be David, another head crusher of the enemy!

Before turning our attention to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, we spend some time looking at Mary’s lineage. While scripture does not directly say that Mary was from the line of David, a number of clues are present that would lead us to believe she was. In response to the Roman census, Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem, which Luke calls the “City of David” indicating the birthplace of the famous king of Israel. Many of the Church fathers conclude that Mary is from David’s line, including Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr.

As we then move to the proclamation of John the Baptist, the new Elijah predicted in Malachi 4. John also fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” John preached a baptism of repentance, while Jesus baptizes into the trinity. John’s purpose was to glorify Jesus, who in turn glorifies the Father.

We then dig deeper into the genealogies of Luke and Matthew. How is it that they list different ancestors of Jesus? The answer is these genealogies are much theological as historical. Matthew is Jewish, speaks to a Jewish audience and stresses Jewish themes. He describes three separate groups of 14 generations leading to Jesus: Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile, the end of the exile to the birth of Jesus. In the Hebrew gematria, David corresponds to the number 14. In essence, by describing three groups of 14 generations, Matthew is proclaiming “David, David, David.” Jesus is the new David. Also, three groups of 14 generations gives a total of 42 generations, which is the number of Israel’s encampments as they leave Egypt for the promised land. Jesus is the new Moses.

In contrast, Luke is gentile by birth, writing to a more universal audience. He does not necessarily stress the Davidic line of Jesus nor does he begin with Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith. Rather, he traces Jesus’ lineage all the way to Adam, who Luke describes as the son of God. Jesus, the Son of God, is the New Adam. In addition, Luke lists 77 generations, which reminds us of the “seventy of sevens” or 490 years from Daniel to the arrival of Jesus, as predicted by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9. Seventy-seven also reminds us of the need to forgive: Jesus tells his apostles that they must forgive their brother “seventy times seven” times.

Jesus is the New David, the New Moses, the New Adam. He is the perfection of forgiveness.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series, visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page.

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more, go to www.seekingtruth.net

DC2 St. Hilary of Poitiers – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson Podcast

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and work of  St. Hilary of Poitiers

Born: 310 AD,
Died: May 2, 367 AD

For more on St. Hilary of Poitiers and his teachings

Hilary of Poitiers
– On the Councils, or the Faith of the Easterns
– On the Trinity
– Homilies on the Psalms

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI  General Audience 2007:

To sum up the essentials of his doctrine, I would like to say that Hilary found the starting point for his theological reflection in baptismal faith. In De Trinitate, Hilary writes: Jesus St.-Hilary-1“has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28: 19), that is, in the confession of the Author, of the Only-Begotten One and of the Gift. The Author of all things is one alone, for one alone is God the Father, from whom all things proceed. And one alone is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist (cf. I Cor 8: 6), and one alone is the Spirit (cf. Eph 4: 4), a gift in all…. In nothing can be found to be lacking so great a fullness, in which the immensity in the Eternal One, the revelation in the Image, joy in the Gift, converge in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit” (De Trinitate 2, 1). God the Father, being wholly love, is able to communicate his divinity to his Son in its fullness. I find particularly beautiful the following formula of St Hilary: “God knows not how to be anything other than love, he knows not how to be anyone other than the Father. Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in his totality. This name admits no compromise, as if God were father in some aspects and not in others” (ibid., 9, 61).

For this reason the Son is fully God without any gaps or diminishment. “The One who comes from the perfect is perfect because he has all, he has given all” (ibid., 2, 8). Humanity finds salvation in Christ alone, Son of God and Son of man. In assuming our human nature, he has united himself with every man, “he has become the flesh of us all” (Tractatus super Psalmos 54, 9); “he took on himself the nature of all flesh and through it became true life, he has in himself the root of every vine shoot” (ibid., 51, 16). For this very reason the way to Christ is open to all – because he has drawn all into his being as a man -, even if personal conversion is always required: “Through the relationship with his flesh, access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self (cf. Eph 4: 22), nailing it to the Cross (cf. Col 2: 14); provided we give up our former way of life and convert in order to be buried with him in his baptism, in view of life (cf. Col1: 12; Rom 6: 4)” (ibid., 91, 9).

Fidelity to God is a gift of his grace. Therefore, St Hilary asks, at the end of his Treatise on the Trinity, to be able to remain ever faithful to the baptismal faith. It is a feature of this book: reflection is transformed into prayer and prayer returns to reflection. The whole book is a dialogue with God.
I would like to end today’s Catechesis with one of these prayers, which thus becomes our prayer:
“Obtain, O Lord”, St Hilary recites with inspiration, “that I may keep ever faithful to what I have professed in the symbol of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That I may worship you, our Father, and with you, your Son; that I may deserve your Holy Spirit, who proceeds from you through your Only Begotten Son… Amen” (De Trinitate 12, 57).

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints, and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Chapter 24: The Sacred Heart – How to Pray with David Torkington – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Chapter 24 – The Sacred Heart

In the New Testament, the heart is the source of the divine operations, which transform the Christian.” – John L. McKenzie

The devotion to the Sacred Heart proclaims a profound truth that is central to our faith. Jesus has risen and is alive now, bursting with love that pours out of his heart and into the hearts of all who would receive him.


You can find the book here.

This little book How to Pray – A Practical Guide to the Spiritual life by David Torkington, was published by Our Sunday Visitor. It was written for those prepared to restructure their daily lives to make time for the prayer where they can be transformed by the love that only God can give.

In the foreword to this new book from OSV, “How to Pray: A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life,” Sister Wendy Beckett wrote,

“There are no hideaways here, no excuses, but no alarming demands, either. Instead, Torkington seeks only to show us the truth, that truth that sets us free and convinces us that the yoke of Jesus is easy and his burden light. All we need is to understand and to choose. This book offers us the help we need to understand, and then the choice is ours.”⁠

This is not your standard “prayer book” – it is not a compilation of Catholic prayers for you to just read. Rather, this is a series of 40 reflections on prayer intended to open you up to the transformation that is possible through prayer, through the love that God can give us through prayer.⁠


Endorsement

“From here to eternity! For those drawn to contemplative prayer, David Torkington offers compelling clarity and common sense. Gentle kindness guides his practical counsel, and he is careful to help us see the solid principles in which he roots his insights. An authentic and reliable guard against counterfeits, his wisdom points to the heights and grounded-ness of the Catholic mystical tradition at a time when it is most needed.”

Dr. Anthony Lilles, STD: Associate Professor and Academic Dean of St John’s Seminary in Camarillo, as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the diocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years, he served the Church in Northern Colorado, where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.


Visit his website:  www.davidtorkington.com.

The author of the popular Peter Calvay series, his books include Wisdom from the Western Isles, Wisdom from Franciscan Italy, Wisdom from the Christian Mystics, Prayer Made Simple (CTS), and How to Pray by Our Sunday Visitor. His books have been translated into 13 different languages.

 

SP24 – Episode 24 – Advent: Only 3 1/2 Weeks Spent Waiting for God – In Search of the Still Point with Dr. Regis Martin – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 24 – Advent: Only 3 1/2 Weeks Spent Waiting for God

Dr. Regis Martin

Discerning Hearts is honored to host the reflections of Dr. Regis Martin.  Filled with profound insights, wisdom, and joy, he is one of the most trustworthy guides one can have on the spiritual journey.

For years Regis Martin, STD, has been regaling audiences about the mysteries of God and Church, most especially his students at Franciscan University of Steubenville where he teaches theology. Author of half-dozen or more books, including The Suffering of Love (Ignatius, 2006), The Last Things (Ignatius Press, 2011), Still Point (Ave Maria, 2012), The Beggar’s Banquet (Emmaus Road, 2012), Witness to Wonder (Emmaus Road, 2017) his work frequently appears in Crises and The Catholic Thing.

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The Meaning of Baptism – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the meaning of the “Baptism” and how it transforms us all.

Gospel   LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.    

 

 

 

ST-Luke Ep 6 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 6 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 2

Jesus is Born

The lecture this week begins with a look at Papal Infallibility and how it relates to Mary. Beginning with our first Pope, Peter, there has been an unbroken succession of apostolic authority. A dogma is declared infallible only when three criteria are met: the pronouncement must be made by the lawful successor of Peter; the subject matter must be in the area of faith and morals; the pope must speak ex cathedra, that is from the office and seat of Peter. Papal infallibility has been invoked for only two dogmas of the Church: the immaculate conception of Mary (Pius IX in 1854) and the bodily assumption of Mary (Pius XII in 1950).

Picking up where we left off last week, we return to Luke 1 and the story of the Annunciation to Mary. When the angel declares to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son, she wonders how this could be since she had no relations with a man. John Paull II explains her response by saying that Mary had the intention of forever being a virgin. The angel replies by saying that Mary will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The Greek for overshadow is “episkiasei.” This word is used only one other time in the New Testament in Matthew 17, when at the Transfiguration the when Jesus and the apostles were Moses and Elijah were overshadowed by a cloud from which the voice of God could be heard. “Episkiasei” implies the divine true presence of God, and in the Old Testament, this word is only used in reference to the tent of the meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tabernacle, where the true presence of God was kept. The Ark of the Covenant was powerful and could not be touched without dire consequences. Just as the old Ark of the Covenant could not be touched, neither could the new Ark of the Covenant, Mary. Mary was perpetually a virgin. Like the Ark of the Covenant, Mary housed the true presence of God in her Womb.

We then turn our attention to the visitation of Mary to her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist. Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth “cries out” (anaphōneō in the Greek): “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Anaphōneō, “to cry out” with shouts of joy, is only used in the Old Testament when the Ark of the Covenant is present. Furthermore, only two women other than Mary in Scripture are called “blessed.” The book of Judges tells the story of Jael, who kills the enemy Canaanite General Sisera by driving a tent peg into his head. In celebration of the defeat of Israel’s enemy, Deborah the judge declares: “Most blessed of women be Jael!” (Judges 5:24). In the book of Judith, another enemy of Israel falls at the hand of a blessed woman. Judith cuts off the head of the Assyrian General Holofernes. Upon seeing the severed head of Holofernes, King Uzziah proclaims: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth!” (Judith 13:18). Both of these blessed women, Jael and Judith, help preserve the line of Messiah by crushing the head of the enemies of Israel. Likewise, the Blessed Virgin Mary bears the Messiah himself, Jesus, who crushes the head of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15.

There are striking similarities between the Old Ark of the Covenant and Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant. The Old Ark contained the stone tablets of the law (the word of God), manna (the bread of God), and Aaron’s rod (the authority of God’s High Priest). These contents prefigure Mary, the New Ark, whose womb contains Jesus, who IS the word of life, who IS the bread of life, who IS the authority of God on earth, the final High Priest of Israel. As mentioned, the contents of the ark are sacred and not to be touched. Recall how Uzzah was struck dead when he touched the side of the Ark to steady it (2 Sam 6) or when the Lord slew 70 men who looked into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 6).

The lecture continues with the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. We remember from 2 Maccabees 2 that the true presence of God has been absent from the temple ever since Jeremiah sealed the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on the mountain of Moses. As Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus for the purification ceremony, the true presence of God has finally returned to the temple, an event long anticipated and recognized by Simeon and the prophetess Anna. The Holy Family returns to Nazareth for the “hidden” years of Jesus as he grows in strength and wisdom with the favor of God upon him. Luke 2 concludes with 12-year-old Jesus teaching in the temple: the true presence of God has returned to the temple yet again, “Why are you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s House?” With the Eucharist present in every tabernacle of every Catholic Church, we have access to the true presence of God at all times. Copyright 2019 @ Seeking Truth

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series, visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page.

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more, go to www.seekingtruth.net