Meet the Messengers: Hosea

Meet The Messengers HoseaIn this first post, we will meet the messenger Hosea. Our prophet lived in the 8th century BC, during the reign of King Jeroboam II. His audience was the Northern Kingdom who had abandoned covenant faithfulness with the Lord. Their spiritual lives were marked by idolatry, injustice and oppression of the poor.

God’s first command to Hosea wasn’t to simply call people to repentance, but to embody in his own life, the broken relationship between the Lord and his people, Israel.

What was his terrible to-do?

Hosea was called to marry a prostitute named Gomer, who would symbolize Israel’s own unfaithfulness. His marriage and family became a living parable to his audience. This dramatic embodiment was intended to awaken Israel to their true spiritual condition and call them to return to the Lord and his life-giving law.

Like the ancient prophets, we are called not only to share our message but to embody it. It is not enough to simply present an armload of “faith facts.” The world needs more than words. They need to see a Gospel that is lived and embodied in our relationships, marriages, families and professions.

What is the fundamental message we are called to embody?

While there are many parts to the “Good News,” Pope Francis, led by the Holy Spirit, has been emphasizing, in particular, the Message of Mercy. He has demonstrated that it can be an open door to welcome not only new believers but those who may have felt estranged or distant from their faith.

So, let’s ask ourselves In what ways can we “embody” that message?

There are many ways, but let me propose three. They involve interior conversion, prayer and concrete actions.

  1. Become a student of Mercy. Commit to memory the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy and the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy (see Catechism, Nos. 2447). Use them as a regular “spiritual checkup” or examination of conscience. Ask yourself, “How am I regularly performing or supporting with my prayers or almsgiving these 14 works?”
  2. Pray daily for God’s mercy to be upon our world, especially war-torn countries. Ask for God to have mercy upon your nation and enkindle mercy within it’s citizens so we will be the guardians and protectors of those in most need of our mercy, especially the unborn and aged. The chaplet of Divine Mercy is a wonderful way to gather this intention to the Heart of Jesus.
  3. Most importantly, BE mercy! Look for every opportunity to speak and demonstrate God’s merciful love in your daily encounters. This is one of the most powerful ways to evangelize because it is revealing the face of the Merciful Father revealed in Jesus to others. Include in your morning prayer this intention, “Lord, help me this day to embody your merciful love in word, deed, and prayer. Give me your eyes of mercy to see the needs of those around me and respond with generosity, compassion and love.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is the co-author of Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come and The Prophets: Messengers of God's Mercy. He is an international presenter for The Great Adventure Bible Timeline. Bringing a wealth of experience and insight on the Word of God to audiences across the U.S., Thomas is a repeat guest on EWTN and Catholic radio as well as a sought after parish mission and conference speaker. Thomas Smith has taught as an adjunct professor at the St. Francis School of Theology in Denver, and is the former Director of the Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Denver Catechetical School. He lives on his family ranch in southeastern Idaho and writes for his website www.gen215.org.

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  • Natalie

    God’s Plan of Salvation

    It’s my intention to present God’s Plan of Salvation in a clear and understandable manner. Understanding and believing in His plan is the most important undertaking any of us will ever face – it’s truly a matter of life and death!

    Step 1: We Have All Sinned.

    God created ALL things. He created Adam and Eve to have fellowship with Him. Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden caused all future generations to be born with sin. This means we are born with a sin nature which causes us to think, feel, and act in a manner outside of God’s perfect plan. This sin results in us being separated from God. The bible says:

    All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

    We can not go any further until we come to terms with this first step – we are ALL sinners. No matter how good we think we are, we must see our life as falling short of the perfection required by God. No one is “good enough” to go to Heaven.

    Step 2: Our Sin Deserves Eternal Death.

    We must understand and believe the consequences of being a sinner. The bible says:

    The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

    Wages refers to something we have earned – and we have earned death! This death is not referring to a physical death – we’re all going to physically die. The wages of our sin is a spiritual death – an eternal separation from God in a place commonly referred to as Hell. Before we can enter the gates of Heaven, we must have our sin removed – we must be made clean.

    Step 3: We Must Desire To Be Clean – We Must Repent.

    There is a basic assumption in God’s Plan – we must desire to enter Heaven! If we believe we have sin in our life which keeps us out of God’s presence, and if we truly desire to enter Heaven, we will desire to cleanse our life of sin. This desire to turn from our sin is called repentance.

    But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:5)

    Repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out. (Acts 3:19)

    He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

    Many times, we will not have the ability or strength to actually leave the sin which has consumed us – this will come only as we turn our hearts toward God and accept the gift of Jesus Christ.

    Step 4: We Can Not Make Ourselves Clean.

    There is only one way to be made clean – that process is called Salvation. Salvation is a gift from God, freely given to all who ask – it can never be earned!

    By grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not as a result of works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Grace means “unmerited favor”. It means we are granted favor when we have done nothing to deserve such favor. We cannot rid our life of sin and all our “goodness” cannot bring us one step closer to Heaven.

    This can be a difficult step. Many of us are so consumed with pride that it’s difficult to ask for help – but God requires us to humbly say: “I know I can never get there through my own effort. I’m lost without help to cleanse me of my sins.”

    At this point, if our belief is real, we will be crying out to God to show us how to be made clean. We understand and believe we’re a sinner who deserves death. We desire to turn away from our sin but realize that nothing of our own effort can keep us from an eternal Hell. Fortunately, God has a wonderful plan already laid out to move us from an eternal death to an eternal life with Him.

    Step 5: Jesus Christ is The Sacrifice Which Makes Us Clean.

    We must understand and believe that God has provided a way for our sins (all our sins) to be completely washed away – a way for us to be made pure and clean in His sight. This way of forgiveness is through faith, or belief, in His Son Jesus.

    God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

    This verse is probably the most recognized verse in the whole Bible. But the all important phrase, “believes in Him”, is not made very clear. Our sin can only be forgiven through a proper sacrifice. Jesus Christ died and rose again in order to be the sacrifice for those who will believe.

    God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. (Romans 3:25)

    God loved us and gave us His Son even though we did nothing to deserve His love.

    God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

    The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, provides us the opportunity to be washed clean – the opportunity to have our sin debt cancelled – the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. Jesus is the Savior who allows us into Heaven – He’s the only way!

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)

    Step 6: Receive Jesus Christ As Savior.

    If we understand and believe the above steps, we’re ready. If we believe our sinful condition (Step 1), recognize we deserve an eternal Hell (Step 2), desire to turn from our sin and be made clean (Step 3), understand that we are unable to make ourselves clean (Step 4), and recognize the Sacrifice of Jesus as our only means of Eternal Life (Step 5), then we now must open the door of our heart and ask Him inside.

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock – if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” (Revelation 3:20)

    As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

    If you truly understand and believe, I urge you to ask Jesus into your life – do not delay!

    Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 3:15).

    Tell Him you believe in His sacrifice as complete forgiveness for your sins and ask Him to be your Savior. If you have come this far, do not let another moment go by!! There’s no special prayer required. Simply tell Him you believe and ask Him to save you. Pray a prayer something like this:

    Dear God, I know that I am a sinner who deserves an eternal death. I desire to turn from my sin, but I know that on my own, I can never achieve a sinless life. Left on my own I will be forever separated from You. I believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again as an eternal sacrifice for my sin. I accept the gift of Jesus and ask Him into my life as my Savior. Amen.

    If this was prayed with a sincere heart, you are from this very moment, His Child. You have been “born again” (John 3:3), made a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and will one day enter into the Kingdom of God (Heaven).

    If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will want to begin your new life. You will want to know how to walk with Him, talk with Him, worship Him, and learn how to have His peace in your life. This isn’t a requirement for Salvation. But a true understanding of the gift of Salvation naturally leads to a desire to fellowship and walk closer with your Savior. It leads to a heart of thanksgiving and a desire to praise Him. I encourage you to begin your Christian walk today!

    Always remember that Salvation is based on Jesus plus nothing! Salvation is a gift from God and requires no further action on our part. However, now begins the process of living a life which brings God glory and honor – a life pleasing to God – a life of being His disciple.

    A good beginning point is to find other believers to fellowship with. A good group of believers is usually found in a Bible believing, Salvation preaching church. The Bible tells of the importance of fellowship:

    And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

    One of the first commandments we are given as believers is to be baptized. Jesus directed this in what is called The Great Commission.

    “Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

    Baptism and obedience to His commands begins the process of discipleship: “Make disciples of all nations.” Baptism is an outward sign of our inward change and commitment. If you have found a good church, they should be more than happy to talk with you about baptism.

    Next, begin to talk to God in prayer. There are many good books and studies on prayer, but all God really desires is for us to talk with Him on a regular basis. Set aside some time which is quiet and free of distractions. You don’t need to speak out loud but you may if you wish. Thank God for who He is and for what He’s done – and for what He’s going to do in your life. Ask Him to set your life in order and to give you direction and the strength to live a life which pleases Him. Then talk with Him about anything else which is on your heart.

    Finally, begin to learn about God through the study of His Word (the Bible). I strongly recommend a consistent daily reading plan. The plan may be as simple as opening the Bible to a random page and reading each day, or it could be a systematic plan which takes you through the entire Bible in a year. Whatever plan you develop, work toward consistent daily reading. You will be rewarded with wonderful insights into God’s plan and will truly learn to love His Word. (Daily Reading Plan).

    Welcome to God’s Family!

  • Natalie

    20 – Repent & Believe The Gospel Today. Pick Up Your Cross Daily & Follow Jesus

    Mark 1:15 Jesus says, “Repent of your Sins and Believe the Good News (Gospel)!”

    2 Cor 6:2 God says, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the Day of Salvation.”

    Acts 17:30-31 “God commands everyone everywhere to Repent of their Sins and Turn to Him. For He has set a Day for Judging the world with justice by the Man (Jesus Christ) He has appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead.”

    Matt 18:2-4 Jesus says, “Unless you Turn from your Sins (daily too) and become like little children (humble as a child), you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
    Luke 13:3 Jesus says, “You will also Perish (Hell) unless you Repent of your Sins and Turn to God.”

    Matt 10:37-39 Jesus says, “If you love your Father or Mother more than you love Me, you are not worthy of being Mine; or if you love your Son or Daughter more than Me, you are not worthy of being Mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me, you are not worthy of being Mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it.”

    Luke 9:23-26 Jesus says, “If any of you wants to be My Follower, you must turn from your Selfish ways, Take up your Cross Daily, and Follow Me…what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?If anyone is ashamed of Me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His Glory and in the Glory of the Father and the Holy Angels.”
    God Bless You as you have Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  • liz Connelly

    I have written out this long prayer of Helen Smits, thank you I will use it morning and night.

  • Noel John de Souza

    Thank u for the wonderful message, will try to put it into practice immediately

  • Marianne

    Thank you for bringing this study to us, Thomas! Meet the Messengers is an appropriate title because you are reminding us to pay attention to the messages of these ancient prophets… they weren’t just for the people of their time but for people of ALL time. I like the way that you bring it home to us and make us see the relevance to our own lives.

    I am presently taking the new study on Mary – A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother (Dr. Sri). Our facilitator is calling it the “nine week novena” (it’s an eight week study but coincidentally, Dr. Sri is coming to the parish on the ninth week!). We have dedicated our Rosaries and prayers to the Holy Father’s intentions for world peace and an end to persecution.

    I may not be able to visit prisoners, but I can be merciful to every person I meet… we never know when Jesus is right there, in front of us!

    “‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40)

  • Agnes

    To be Mercy and do acts of mercy are two different things yet very deeply connected. Only an apple tree can produce apples. When I am mercy…all I do will be merciful. Like Hosea who embodied in his life the message of relationship between God and Israel, I am called to be mercy. Then I do not have to make efforts to be merciful. It will flow out of me.
    I currently work with a 97 year old woman. During the day I have many opportunities to do acts of mercy as I assist her with her inconsistent body. Only in accepting my own experinces of loss of control over many things in life has made me merciful and I am spontaneously led to acts of mercy.

  • MizzKarensfriend

    I have always had a deep faith in God and several years ago I formalized that faith by joining the Catholic Church. Although my faith in God has not changed, my faith in the religious community at large has. I have struggled to understand the peculiar hierarchy in my parish, and have found it difficult to become involved in church activities. I am struggling to find the Mercy and good deeds that are spoken of in the Bible. This may not be the best platform for this, but I’m hoping someone has some insight for me.

    • bztow

      I, too, struggle with the leadership structure of my parish and diocese. One thing I find that helps me is to pray for the person or people who are an obstacle to me and my life in Christ. If I am praying for someone by name, it’s harder to view him as the enemy! Also, I find that praying for God to have mercy on someone is easier than praying for him to change. If I pray for change, I can be disappointed (especially if the change isn’t what I want!); if I pray for mercy, I can be sure it will happen as God wants to pour out his mercy on all of us.

      I don’t know your parish so I can’t help with the activity issue. Maybe if you can find one or two like-minded people, you could pray with regularly. I’d alternate the prayer time with action. Find a need and work to fill it.

      May God bless your journey and your perseverance!

  • Mary

    Ok, Jesus is the truth. Now what do I do with that? Since we need to do all these good things how does Jesus fit into our lives? Do you even know your going to heaven. What are the answers? Do you see I am just trying to figure life out?

  • Mo

    I did the 90 day Challenge. Each day had assigned readings. Does this study assume we have read entire book?

  • claudette morrison

    I am really going to make time and spend more time studying Gods words. The world needs prayer, and I must do more. I pray every morning before I go to work, on my way home I think about my day and feel discouraged because my day was messed up. I need help.

    • Marianne

      I think you’re on the right track, claudette. There was a time when I was feeling discouraged, and I focused on prayer. I learned what I could about “how to pray”. I always start with praise and thanksgiving, even those days when I don’t feel there’s much to be thankful about. When you mention all the things you are thankful for, no matter how small, you begin to realize how blessed you actually are. And I pray for others before I tell God what’s troubling me.
      Communication with the Lord is a two-way street. You must be open to hear when God speaks to you. May I suggest reading the Psalms? I’m sure you will find many that express what you’re feeling. I know that when I needed help, they were very comforting to me..
      With prayers and blessings,
      Mar

      • claudette morrison

        Thanks Marriane, I will try to read the psalms, I seldom read them. I will try anything, these days I fe the need for prayer. I also need to spend more time listening. I do adoration one hour a week and that is probably the only time I try to listen. Thanks again

        • Marianne

          You won’t regret it! I’ve always said that the Psalms saved my life!

          “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you… I will trust in you.” (Psalm 55:22-23)

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          Listening to God sometimes means listening to others. I am trying very hard to listen to what others are saying and hear God’s voice. It is not easy

  • Helen Smits
  • Helen Smits

    My husband and I found a wonderful prayer by St. Faustina that will help with number 3:

    Prayer to be Merciful to Others

    This prayer gives us a true measure of our mercy, a mirror in
    which we observe ourselves as merciful Christs. We can make it our
    morning invocation and our evening examination of conscience.

    O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, as many times as my
    heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many
    thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.

    I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your
    living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes,
    that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my
    neighbor.

    Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never
    suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my
    neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.

    Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my
    neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.

    Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should
    never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and
    forgiveness for all.

    Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good
    deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself
    the more difficult and toilsome tasks.

    Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist
    my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in
    the service of my neighbor.

    Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may
    feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no
    one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my
    kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus.
    I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest
    upon me.

    You Yourself command me to exercise the three degrees of mercy. The
    first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy
    — if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The
    third: prayer — if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always
    do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach
    out physically.

    O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself, for You can do all things (163).

  • LifelongCamper

    Been practicing mercy for quit alot of years now …. getting more difficult physically but much easier in heart. For example, aches and pains and tiredness closing in, then a neighbor calls and I run to help despite the a fore mentioned. Don’t think about it, just do it and give my life to Jesus so He can minister to those in need. (Just taught CCD class (grade 8) this past Sunday that our life on earth is the time of God’s Mercy and we should take advantage of this Gift from Him because after our body dies, its too late. Be merciful to others … like to your brothers and sisters that annoy you! They laughed.) Divine Mercy in My Soul (the diary of Saint Faustina) is an excellent book….. took me a year to read it but it changed my life! Like to play Sorry (the board game) with the grandkids…. we be merciful to each other by not moving our pieces to knock an opponent back to start. But sometimes they do gang up on me!

    • Mo

      Lifelong Camper. I know how you feel. I’m a grandma who teaches CCD and starting to feel affects of aging. Used to being very active. IScout leader, coach, volunteer, etc. I am going to cherish your post and try to think of Mercy. I keep reading about Padre Pio and his quotes. It helps. I am teaching 6th grade today about Cain and Abel and Noah. Good time to bring up Mercy.

  • Avila

    Number 1 is my complete downfall. I have never figured out how I can do it all because life is very busy with a full-time job, family responsibilities, Bible studies etc. The most I can manage are a few drops of alms for people who have the gift of mercy.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Avila. Print out CCC 2447 (it is online ) then stick it on your mirror. I am sure you will find many opportunities to practice at least a few of these works each day at your job or with your family responsibilities

      • Avila

        Thank you Barbara. The thought of visiting a prison terrifies me and I can’t feed or clothe people. The nearest I have ever managed is alms-giving so that someone else can do those corporal works of mercy. Which seems a little bit like being a chicken. I gave up helping at a homeless shelter not just because it was tiring but because I couldn’t interact with the guests. I was happy preparing meals and washing up, but the guest scared me and they would keep coming into the kitchen.

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          Avila God does not expect you to practice all the works of mercy just to be aware of your opportunities. Even Blessed St Teresa of Calcutta did could not practice all of them. Definitely not all of them on the same day. In your family life you are practicing the works of mercy. When you are tired from work but still you prepare a nutritious meal for you family are you not feeding the hungry?

          • Avila

            I suppose I always think of family as the exception because whatever happens, when the chips are down, you support each other. What I do for mother is simply because we are two separate people tied together by an invisible umbilical cord, she is part of me and visa versa. Doing for outsiders, especially people you don’t know or like is much harder. Perhaps I try too hard and don’t listen to Him enough?

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            I find that the closer a individual is the harder it is to practice it is to truly practice charity. I find myself doing things with resentment rather than out of love.

  • Mary

    I take it all of you know what your doing here. I am not getting any answers on how to belong to Jesus and what you have to do to get rid of my old life that is not taking me anywhere, sort of like the people in Hosea’s time. What is this grounded in truth mean?

    • LifelongCamper

      Grounded in Truth (capital “T”). Jesus is The Truth. The Catholic Church holds and safeguards The Truth. If I listen to the teachings of The Church, I am listening to Christ. This is firm ground for me…. like I do not have to figure out if I should skip Mass while on vacation, The Church has it “figured” out already, and so I look up the nearest Parish and get the Mass times and go. Simple. Or when my co-workers pass jokes that are against God, I don’t think they’re funny and don’t laugh along with everyone. Or if a family member is planning on living with his girlfriend, and comes over to my house and tells me face to face, I say that its nice that you have found someone that you care about, but fornication is a sin and I am concerned for your eternal soul. I’m grounded in The Truth; I know The Truth and can use it to help another (Spiritual Work of Mercy- admonish the sinner)Having this grounding keeps my feet on the narrow road to heaven and off the wide road to hell. ??? what do you think?

      • Ruthie Guidry

        Very well said. You give all of us a great spring board

    • Mo

      Also wondering Mary. This study is different from others. In the others we read specific verses and discussed these verses and applied them to our time. Verses were given to us ahead of time. I invited a Protestant friend to join based on past studies. She isn’t going to know a lot of what we all assume already known about Divine Mercy etc. I wanted more background. Assume we know what the audience was at that time? Does this study assume we have read Hosea and already understand it? I’m also confused by this first day. I was hoping to get a little more study from the verses?

      • Mo, this study is different from others because it’s just a quick intro to the Prophets of the Old Testament. Thomas Smith is releasing a deeper study this fall, which will include readings and videos. Please stay tuned!

        • Mo

          So do we read entire book of Hosea now?

          • You don’t have to, but you certainly can! It’s up to you. I’m sure that reading Hosea in its entirety will give you even more appreciation for this particular post by Thomas.

        • Mo

          And a cost? The 90 day challenge was wonderful and free. I need to let my friends know about this “lead in”. I’m sorry I invited them. Thought it would be like the others.

          • Oh, don’t feel bad about inviting your friends. This isn’t an attempt to drag you into a study you don’t want to pay for. “Meet the Messengers” is just that: it’s a light introduction to the Prophets. If you or your friends want to go further with Thomas’ full study on the Prophets, you can, but there’s no obligation. 🙂

        • Lynn

          I agree with you in all of your comments on this. Disappointed. this is my first time here.

      • Marianne

        Congratulations on your desire to want to learn more, Mo, and for inviting your Protestant friend. I think these ten-minute studies are designed to get us thinking, and wanting to delve into the Scriptures to learn more. I think it’s difficult to expect to learn everything in just ten minutes, without some effort on our part.

        I for one appreciate the time that Thomas Smith and the other educators at Ascension Press dedicate to preparing the materials on this site. I’m looking forward to doing the full study with my bible study group.
        In my experience,the expense for the AP courses is minimal, typically covering the expense of the workbook (which you get to keep).

  • Guest

    There is a group in our parish which meets after Thurs. evening Mass to pray for others; the Mercy Chaplet; a group which takes the Eucharist to those who are hospitalized; those who serve meals at our city’s homeless shelter and those who serve meals to the homebound; there are those who participate in a Bible class at one of our city’s assisted live homes…these are just few of the ways we try to reach out to others.

  • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

    There is group in our parish that after an hour of adoration, the celebration of the Mass, spend another half hour or so before the Tabernacle praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and praying for the needs of others…another group parishioners gathers at an assisted living home to do a Bible study with residents, others take Eucharist to those who are hospitalized, and still others serve meals at our city’s homeless shelter and to shut-ins…these are just a few ways we reach out in mercy to others….

    • Jeanne

      Thanks, Beverly. All great ideas. I especially like the bible study at nursing homes.

      • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

        That is a particular interest of mine….there are two women who are retired teachers who live there who are thoroughly inspiring!! One is blind, but always has such wonderful comments to add to the group…and the other, is going to be leading the group for the next two weeks!!! This has been such a joy to see the growth we all feel from being in this group.

        • Jeanne

          Do you use any particular bible study program?

          • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

            I am glad you asked that question….our Pastor wanted us to reflect on the readings for each upcoming weekly Sunday Mass…so as we can, we try to read those readings ahead of time…the leader, gets a meditation from a Catholic site on the reading for study…we read the readings on at a time, talk about what it means to us and relates to our life and things in the world; plus how the readings are related to each other…then we read the meditation, and close with prayer. We have found that we are better prepared for the Sunday Mass, and that it becomes more meaningful for us. Our group started out with about 6 people, we are now up to 11…We bring our Bibles, I bring the Catholic Catechism (in case there questions to be answered)…and we always start with a prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance…We try to keep it as informal and relaxed as possible…and it a safe zone, in which people know they can bring their problems and they can vent them freely, and may even get suggestions on how to help with them. These are never discussed outside of the group. I hope this helps you.

          • Jeanne

            Thanks, Beverly !

          • Jeanne, a great Bible study program is the one written by Jeff Cavins. It uses a color-coded timeline to break the narrative thread of the Bible down into digestible parts, and makes it easy for you to follow the story learn Scripture.

            http://ascensionpress.com/t/category/study-programs/catholic-bible-study/adult-bible-study/quick-journey

            Let us know if we can help or if you have anymore questions! God bless you. And Beverly, great response – thank you for your answer!

  • nancyclaeys

    I’ve printed this to read again and put into practice. Thank you Thomas and God bless you.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Great Idea. also saved it also

    • You rock, Nancy. 🙂

  • mg

    I love the idea of reflecting each morning and preparing for the day to be merciful. So needed in this world right now as we are often blinded by the chaos and speed of our daily lives.

  • MarcAlcan

    An important thing to remember as well is to know what true mercy is. In the same manner that love needs to be guided by truth, our understanding of mercy needs also to be grounded in truth.

  • Paul Leader

    Step 1 manageable, step 2 easiest of the three, step 3 definitely need the Lord to help me with this one.

  • Judi Graham

    Mercy is such a simple thing. One would think to just put it in your mind and act on it. Yet mercy is not just a thought of the mind, it is a mark in the heart. Mercy is best felt, then it can be acknowledged.

  • Mary

    If Hosea teaches the people their condition with God, tell me what are we to do today to be in the family of God and leave this life?

    • Mo

      Hoping we hear more from our group leader. I’m confused.