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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pray for a three-year-old with cancer


Is this what is wrong with the West in this 21st Century?

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me. (Matthew 13:10-17)

Because the irony, judging by history, is that the prosperity and peace, and rule of law, enjoyed by today's post-Christian secular states, are fruits of Christianity. Many have now busied themselves with chopping away at their own foundations for the sake of the spots of corruption. And on account of those who betrayed Christ in their living and governance, they label Christ himself, along with those faithful to him, as the enemy.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

How should Christians behave under hostile secular attack?

One thing is certain: it isn't hiding under the bed. Why not? Simple: because that does the opposite of evangelization, and evangelization is our mission.

As I heard Bishop Robert Barron once explain, when Jesus proclaimed to St. Peter that he was building his Church, "the gates of Hades will not prevail against it", gates don't march -- the Church does. Christians do. We do. In all charity, of course, but never compromising the Truth.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Mercy, not Sacrifice

From dailygospel.org:

John Tauler (c.1300-1361), Dominican 
Sermon 64 

“Matthew got up and followed him.”

Our Lord told Saint Matthew: “Follow me.” This lovable saint is a model for everyone. He was first of all a great sinner, as the Gospel says, and later, he became one of the great ones among all God’s friends. For Our Lord spoke to him in the depths of his being, and then he left everything in order to follow the Master. 

To follow God in truth – that is everything; and in order to do that, it is necessary to truly and completely leave all that is not God, whatever it might be. God is a lover of hearts. He is not interested in what is external; rather, he wants us to give him a living interior devotedness. That devotedness has in itself more truth than if I said prayers so as to fill the whole world, or if I sang so loud that my song rose up to the highest heaven, more truth than everything I might do externally in fasting, vigils and other practices.

But I find it convenient, easier to accomplish or appear to accomplish the externals, also to receive affirmation or recognition for them. But they have no lasting value with those motives, and make me desire only the comfort and recognition, while being almost desperate to protect these earthly aspirations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From a sermon by Saint Augustine on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.

The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky,” from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky.” Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

(From the Office of Readings today, 29 June, online via Unversalis.com)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Let the Laity take it's proper place in the Church

Dare one say that that place is at the forefront in the public square, in the workplace, in the supermarket, in hospitals, -- everywhere?

It's nothing new, but we take a while to learn, it seems. But didn't St. Josemaria Escriva teach this already? St. Therese? Didn't many saints teach the same? Isn't our Lady of the laity? St. Joseph her spouse?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The God of eternity

"have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living." -- Mark 12:18-27

In reading Msgr. Ronald Knox pointing out the deficiencies of the Church of England about a century ago, one comes to the realization that the symptoms and diagnosis he described only went from bad you worse. The passage above from today's Gospel reading seemed apt for some reason. Msgr. Knox detailed at length how one may be tempted to dilute the gospel from am unnecessary fear that heaters will turn away for one reason or another. In doing so, it seems to me that God so described in modern versions of the gospel, for the sake of being relevant, resembles the God preached by Jesus of Nazareth less and less. As if the God of Peter, James, John and Paul, of Stephen, of Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Augustine of Hippo, or Anselm, of Dominic and Francis, Bonaventure and Thomas, Ignatius of Loyola, Theresa of Avila or Francis Xavier, Josemaria Escriva, of Lorenzo Ruis or Maximilian Kolbe, or Therese of Lisieux or Karol Wojtila, were no longer relevant today. No, he is the one God of the living, and he is not a moving goalpost.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Incredibly Keen foresight

"Would a diocesan Bishop have dared in the middle of the nineteenth century, to express in a newspaper article his disbelief in eternal punishment? Would the rector of a much-frequented London church have preached, and afterwards published, a sermon in which he recommended the remarriage of divorced persons?" -- Msgr. R. Knox, "The Belief of Catholics", 1927

Some names might be recalled today or in the last decade, both non-Catholic and, sadly, Catholic.. Not to focus too much on the clerics in the hierarchy, but it's sort of their job to be the teachers. As it is true for parents to their children. But how can one teach if Truth became a game of splitting nuances. While lawyers might say, "is not about the facts, but about what you can prove," or perhaps, what they can sell. And that's presuming good will. But we are not free to change the product line. We are offering Christ, pure, in unadulterated form. Pun not intended.

Corpus Christi, the Mass and Faded Glory

Has the Eucharist lost its shine? Ironic that. If one thinks that the Eucharist today of but an echo of the Cross and Resurrection 2000 years ago, then one should really think again. This anamnesis makes it present, and that is the point. So, no, the Eucharist can never lose it's shine, but as the article in the link points out, perhaps it is we who are weakening our reception of it, our perception having been shaped perhaps by poor formation or lack of practice.