On Faith, Hope and Love (With Active Table of Contents)

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The Book of Hebrews The book of Hebrews is written to the world — believers and non-believers alike. This book is the one through which the New Covenant…. Grace for Life Dear Friends, The book of Romans has been described as the most dynamic, life changing document ever penned. It is a study in…. A very famous song poses the question, "Is that all there is? Always looking for a new experience….

Do You Want to Want…. Experiencing Christ as Your Life Lesson Freedom for Today …. It is safe to say that Paul was a passionate man! First, passionate in his desire to persecute Christians. Then, after his encounter with Christ Jesus on the….

Healing Depression through Restoring Faith, Hope and Love

For over 20 years Bob answered questions from callers across the United States and Canada giving Biblical council to those worn out and broken by religion,…. Rich in humor, compassion, and uncompromised Biblical truths,…. Love God's Will Unpardonable…. Dear Friends, For more than twenty years we've been answering questions live on the People to People radio broadcast.


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Tithing of food, etc. Doubting Salvation Larry is in a mental hospital. He has had a 20 year struggle with alcoholism and other problems. Links to more teaching publications for sale, Bible studies, and in-depth MP3 Classic Christianity teaching series for download. Jesus Changes Everything It's…. Born Free is an excellent tool for sharing….

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Two years later he left his successful business to become involved in full time ministry. Memorable Quotes from Bob George "I experienced the greatest miracle anyone could ever witness. I found the deepest need of my heart satisfied by the Lord…. Classic Christianity articles that are timeless in value. Open your heart to the truths of Jesus today, and let your mind be renewed by the Holy Spirit of God.

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If you are a new visitor or an old friend, we extend a warm welcome to everyone. We invite you to take the…. Rest in Jesus' finished work on the cross. Follow along with bible verses below. One of the most asked questions on the radio that Bob George answered was, "What about 1 John 1: Being in the light is saved, being in darkness is lost.

When a person is in the light they are saved. If they are in darkness, they are lost. Truly, He Is Risen! His book entitled "Prayer of hope", in which he described prayer's influence on a political and religious prisoner in a border-situation, is a profound testimony of prayer's saving power. During thirteen years in jail, in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness, the fact that he could listen and speak to God became for him an increasing power of hope, which enabled him, after his release, to become for people all over the world a witness to hope—to that great hope which does not wane even in the nights of solitude.

A border-situation, which the Pope refers to as "the nights of solitude", can be a school of prayer, a way of faith, hope and love. The utter solitude of man is perceived as an extreme threat for his existence. Let us remember the words of Christ, full of pain, on the cross: Prayer has the capability to move from man's heart to God's will, from man's desire to God's fulfilment. Prayer has the capability to transcend the state of nothingness and reach the state of grace and salvation, which is comprised in God's will.

Prayer can be described as a school of salvation in hope for God's love and grace. This is what St Augustine does when he defines prayer as an "exercise in desire" cf. It is not the very heart of man but his whole soul Gr. Plato distinguished three parts of the soul: In this conception, the feeling part was responsible not for love but for courage.

In his classification of human characters, Aristotle pointed out to the fact that people can be either of a small or of a great heart. There are many more of the first kind, very few of the latter. Maybe this is what Benedict XVI has on mind when he writes: Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. Christianity changes the vision of man and changes the understanding of anthropology by identifying desires with the needs of the heart. It established a correlation between the theological anthropology of Judaism and the philosophical anthropology of Ancient Greece.


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  • The postulate of "expanding desires" merges the two visions in the theological Christian synthesis. By referring to St Augustine, Benedict XVI reminds us of the transformation process of the heart of a Christian who is already under the influence of the revelation: St Augustine reveals how "desire" must be transformed education in order for it not to be only reduced to a desire of advantage, power or even freedom. This is about a change of "desire" that should, apart from "courage", expand towards "love". And not only towards one's own love or the love of one's neighbours, but also towards the love of God.

    The gift of God's love is not the only gift and it is always returnable, because with it, man also received the gift of freedom. The two gifts compete with each other for priority in the human soul. Man's existential task is to establish an agreement, reconciliation and harmony between them. Hence, the choices we make are characterized by ambivalences that disturb our peace of heart and destroy our hopes of meeting with God in love and freedom.

    Man is often faintly aware of the possibility of the heart's transformation, because it is simply separated from his consciousness. It is only through education, initiation and thinking about God that it can be realized As well as through merging the "Divine thoughts" prayer with the feeling of the love of God and man.

    There is one more reason behind expanding one's desire towards God's love by changing the human heart. Augustine refers to Saint Paul, who speaks of himself as straining forward to the things that are to come cf. Prayer is aimed at "things to come", at hidden, remote or unknown things.

    It is like a magnet of the soul that attracts other spiritual things and modifies man's life situations. To see other things that are beyond the present perception is an exercise in seeing the spirit and God that are beyond human perception. Prayer is a practical exercise in being able to see eternal things. Behind them and in them is God's realm, which becomes open in prayer, in the conversation of man and God.

    Apart from the postulate of expanding human desire beyond present perception, Benedict XVI puts forward the notion of "purifying" and "filling" the heart as a means of its strengthening in the function of faith, hope and love. In his description, he uses two opposing symbols, known at every great feast: Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey [a symbol of God's tenderness and goodness]; but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?

    Purifying the soul from vinegar is connected with the metaphor of removing emotional and sensual acids from the soul, the latter being a consequence of the former. The heart symbolizes a vessel of the soul that can be filled with either honey or vinegar. What it is filled with determines the type of sensitivity and sensations the heart experiences as the subject of the human soul.

    The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cleansed, freed from the vinegar and its taste. This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined cf. In 1 Johannis 4,6: PL, 35, n, qt. Suffering produces vinegar in the human heart and it also cleanses it of it, working homeopathically.

    According to the Ancient Greeks, the heart freed from vinegar awaits the elixir of the gods', or, as Christians believe, God himself. Benedict XVI elaborates on the symbols of vinegar and honey as two components that fill the human heart. Even if Augustine speaks directly only of our capacity for God, it is nevertheless clear that through this effort by which we are freed from vinegar and the taste of vinegar, not only are we made free for God, but we also become open to others Encyclical, Purifying our souls and bodies from vinegar is liberating ourselves from the spiritual and physical contractions.

    It takes place with the expanding of the soul's heart's susceptibility for the presence of another person. In other words, it is a condition for the anthropological transcendence of the borders of one's own "I" towards someone else's "you" through God's "You". Thanks to it, a Christian discovers that he or she is God's child and is thus not alone, having brothers and sisters who, like them, are children of the same God.

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    This cognition has a saving capacity, it creates hope that solitude is just a situation and not an ontological state which denies the worthiness of any interpersonal relations. Discovering that we are the children of God and that God is our Father raises hope, because it goes beyond an ordinary natural relation and is not the subject of direct perception.

    But it reveals itself in prayer, man's conversation with God. Prayer is a practical theology of man's conversation with God in the name of individual and common good. But prayer also has a sociological, psychological and even psychopathological dimension. Man can be filled with both true and false desires and hopes.

    Christian Identity. Augustine On Faith, Hope, And Love

    To pray is not to step outside history and withdraw to our own private corner of happiness. Benedict XVI presents two types of prayer and analyses their differences. One is positive and the other is negative. The first is a request for common good, whereas the other - for one's own good and wishing another person wrong. According to the Ancient Greeks cf.

    Aristotle a little, shrunken heart of man is philopathic, prone to evil, loving and believing in evil and putting its hopes in evil. This is not just the quality of a small group of people but a constant, repetitive and persistent state. Mean-spiritedness is the starting point and teachings of good based on true hopes are needed. The soul and mind, desires and hopes are often shaped under the influence of dramatic situations and the stress of life. They are infected with and controlled by mistakes, lies and guilt which we do not recognize ourselves.

    But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults Ps Man thinks that his consciousness is completely functional, that he can assess his behaviour and that nothing can be hidden from him. Yet, Greek philosophy and theology, as well as Judaic theology and psychology prove that it is not necessarily the case and that man can suffer delusions of absolute innocence. Rarely does Benedict XVI in his encyclical letter formulates judgements, in which he suggest that man "must" do something. It is an encyclical on the freedom of the will and the theological love of man.

    However, we "must" learn that we cannot pray against others God sees through them, and when we come before God, we too are forced to recognize them This obligation makes us aware who man is, whose nature is split between good and evil. The outstanding Swiss psychologist and anthropologist Carl Gustav Jung referred to the spiritual obligation of discovering one's own guilt as "the integration with the shadow". Such integration is a basic primary condition for man's personal and spiritual development his individuation. Though in a different way, the two approaches reveal the same problem - how can man discover himself in his actions.

    Recognizing one's guilt alone is not enough to mend and expand one's heart. Further steps are needed: This integration frees man from the false and distorted image of himself. We could reverse Benedict XVI's statement and say that if one cannot recognize his own distortion, he is not able to recognize God, and no hope and no salvation are possible for him.

    For in such a case there is no possibility of reuniting with the highest divine power of love and Good, the power being a cure for human power of hatred and Evil. Benedict XVI states that for man to act in a positive way, he needs to be conscious of both good and evil.

    This consciousness can save, since it allows man to head towards faith, in hope and love of God, and to resist the temptations of evil. To attain the positive state of our spirit is not possible without going through border experiences, negative situations that can be and should be transformed by man and move towards Good. The true Christian prayer should be purifying, personal and theocentric.

    It is important to stress the "I-God" and "I-the living God" relations here, since in Jung's protestant conception of human development, discovering God can be identified with discovering one's own "Ego". In Catholicism, it is the discovery of the "living God". Either way, the same process of purification is at issue, but the point of moving from "I" to God is described in different way.

    Benedict XVI expresses a parallel thought, merging the Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic points of view on the spiritual development of believers. Man who prays to God tries to address his human "I" to God's "You". He encounters, however, numerous hindrances in experiencing his faith, his hope and love. To get help in overcoming these difficulties, a believer can refer to his Tradition, to the collection of liturgical prayers and prayers of the finest practitioners of his faith.

    A liturgical prayer holds a special position, since it is performative and makes manifest what one is asking for at the very moment of praying. Participation in liturgical prayer and the Eucharist is participation in the mystery of the fundamental transformation of the human soul. It is connected with freeing oneself from sins and guilt and opens our soul to the voice and resolutions of God.

    This is why every Christian ought to pray, for by doing so, he learns faith, in hope and love, especially in the mystery of the Eucharist prayer. Proper prayer is purifying, it creates a transcendent realm that cannot be discovered or created in any other way. Benedict XVI illustrates it with the example of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, imprisoned for 13 years, who at times did not have the strength and capacity to pray in his own words, thoughts and emotions.

    In a situation when the oppressed, suffering, imprisoned, ill and powerless body and mind of a Christian fall silent, the canon of prayers he learnt as a child emerges to help him. This is what Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, tortured physically and mentally, experienced: Testimoni Della speranza , Citta Nova , n, qt. Prayer purifies the human soul of emotional toxins, it heals wounds that our neighbours and we ourselves have caused. Prayer expands one's self by someone else's you or the transcendent You of God.

    This relation clears other relations of man. The man-God relation is widely discussed in the so-called philosophy of dialogue, elaborated on by Jewish theologians of the mainly biblical approach e. The Other is not, obviously, infallible, as God is; hence a danger of mistake or even falsehood appears together with it. Prayer is a search for the face of another man or of God. It is possible through directing one's face towards the face of God, through which we find our own image and the image of God. Prayer reflects the primary dialogue relation which encourages us to talk to others.

    They become our partners in dialogue thanks to God. This is how the theological relation — the theological prayer and conversation - is established. It is a condition for the public relation to be established. It reinforces all personal relations and makes them wide open to God and our neighbour.

    Praying must always involve this intermingling of public and personal prayer. This is how we can speak to God and how God speaks to us. Not only does theological prayer introduce us to faith, in hope and love, but it also the beginning of our practical service to God and our neighbour. God's thought prayer transforms into action which finds fulfilment in creating the bases of Christian hope.

    If prayer has the power of purifying the soul and uniting it with other souls as well as with God, it gives hope. We become capable of the great hope, and thus we become ministers of hope for others.

    Rev. Jerzy Lewandowski

    Hope in a Christian sense is always hope for others as well. It is an active hope also in the sense that we keep the world open to God. Society and individuals, if stimulated by hope, become open to God and thus to salvation — at the beginning it is partial and connected with one's present everyday life, and later it is eternal.

    Prayer is work for the human spirit to fight its way to God through the limitless spaces of the world. Therefore, prayer transmits the spiritual hope of man in his thoughts, speech, feelings and ideas, which find their fulfilment in actions. Prayer as the search of hope can start in any moment of life and in every situation. Some people have particular predilections for certain styles of prayer, depending on their temperament, situation, talents etc.

    People gather in prayer to strengthen its force. Prayer that almost everyone practices is prayer "through action", "through work", "through deeds" that allow one to live with dignity, self-value and a sense of meaning of life. They complement actions with prayer. Benedict XVI writes about this, connecting the problem of action and suffering as places for learning hope.

    In establishing this link, he refers to the biblical dictate of work which the first people fulfilled for God. From then onwards it has been connected with suffering. Work as approached here in connection with prayer does not condemn man to perdition or damnation, but it is a spiritual therapy, a theological pedagogy which is meant to make life better and maintain it at the appropriate level.

    In medieval monasteries work and prayer were connected e. To be more precise, we shall stress that the Pope uses the notion "action", and not "work", as John Paul II used the notion "deeds". Therefore, the very idea of work in the Bible can be understood in many different ways. Not all actions save man and give him hope. Human praxis is an element of human nature, thus the lack or limitation of it degrades man and lowers his position in society. Where there is no possibility of individual and social action, the number of social pathologies, suicides and killings rise and a sense of hopelessness and sadness in life predominates.

    Man's actions express his abilities, interests, talents, efforts and possibilities. In actions and their effects one can discover not only the image of oneself, one's "I", but also, most importantly, the bases of the world created. Benedict XVI stresses the fact that: It is a hope to maintain life, for its consolidation and development or embellishment, for helping oneself and others in the changing natural conditions of life.

    The Biblical metaphors of action revolve around gardening, farming and fishing. They make spiritual action prayer, meditation and contemplation complete. Two types of actions appear in the Bible - before and after sinning. The former is connected with joy, love and freedom, the latter - with suffering and difficulties, which is why it is called work.

    There are both positive and negative aspects of work. It reminds us of the hope for salvation, but can also serve as a punishment. There is always a life hope in every action. It can be either individual, social or existential. St Augustine gave an explanation of what action is in the theological sense. It is numerous actions and practical achievements that give hope for a "better life": These things bear the mark of greatness and they are characteristically human St Augustine These actions express many human hopes, but there exist hopes that destroy or limit these hopes too.