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Thursday, May 13, 2004

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Acts 15:7-21
Psalm 96
John 15:9-11

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testing protesting

"God, Who reads the hearts of men, showed His approval by granting the Holy Spirit to them just as He did to us. He made no distinction between them and us, but purified their hearts by means of faith also." —Acts 15:8-9

The early Church was about to have the first Protestant Reformation in 50 A.D. Many Christians were protesting the inclusion of the Gentiles in the faith without requiring them to live as Jews. This was such a volatile issue that some Christians were even thrown in prison by other Christians (see e.g. Phil 1:17). However, because the Church leaders listened to the Holy Spirit and the Christians listened to their leaders, this almost certain division of the Church was prevented. Then the Church had the unity to expand its great evangelistic outreach instead of being victimized by Satan because of its disunity and weakness.

Throughout its history, the Church did not always have the holiness and maturity that we see at that meeting in Jerusalem in 50 A.D. Thus, we have countless divisions in the Church. But we can repent, turn to the Holy Spirit, and submit to the authority of our leaders. We can refuse to let Satan divide and conquer us. Until we do this, the culture of death will continue to marginalize Christians. We will have difficulty even keeping our own children Christian. Then the devil will expand his perversions of the world even more, while most Christians helplessly "shrug their shoulders" or "piddle around" in activities bereft of power because of disunity. May we die before we ignore the Spirit, the leaders of the Church, and God's call to unity (see Jn 17:21).

Prayer:  Father, may we live our Baptisms according to Your will and thereby live in unity.

Promise:  "As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Live on in My love." —Jn 15:9

Praise:  Andrea practiced keeping her opinions about inconsequential issues to herself if she saw that expressing them would create disunity in her family.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003