Living for Likes: The Danger of Living to Please Others

 

As a blogger, one of the biggest temptations is to become fixated on likes, shares, and views, and to write everything so that it gets the most of them possible. Social media and the internet provide the ultimate feedback system, with instant knowledge of whether or not something was well received. The hard part is criticism, and the temptation is to avoid it at all costs. Writing, after all, is an act of vulnerability, exposing your innermost thoughts for thousands to either approve of or tear apart. And boy can it be hard when you get torn apart.

https://i1.wp.com/www.catholicgentleman.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/81ebb00559be7792a2db60f0614fc9ab.jpg

But our desire for approval, and fear of disapproval, is not limited to the internet or to bloggers. It is a human problem. Every day, we feel a desire to shape who we are and what we do based on the praise or criticism of others. Whether its in the workplace, school, or with our friends and loved ones, one of the most painful feelings is that of rejection, and we avoid it all costs.

Living for Likes

In one sense, this is only natural. Humans are social creatures that want to be liked, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this. Yet, this desire for praise and approval can all too can become an obsession, a disease, an idol. It is a serious problem when who we are is not determined by anything inside of ourselves, much less our relationship with our Creator, but by the ever shifting judgments of others; when our conduct is not determined by higher principles, but by how it might be perceived.

The real test is when the desire to please others puts us in conflict with pleasing God, which it inevitably will. Following Christ always contradicts the world in one way or another. It will always provoke frowns and cynical comments, criticisms, negativity, or even outright mockery and humiliation. In a real way, this negativity can cause pain. If it is severe enough, it could resemble an emotional martyrdom of sorts, especially if the disapproval is received from those we love and care about most.

The question is, who do we want to please more, God or men? Will we shrink back and change like a chameleon to blend in? Will we apologize and capitulate? Or will we courageously stand firm like the great saints and martyrs? How we answer those questions will reveal much about our hearts.

The Cause

At the root of our desire to please is self-love, also known as pride. Self-love infects everything and distorts it, and this is no less true of our desire to be liked. The sting we feel when others criticize or mock us is our deep rooted love-of-self flinching in pain. And because this is true, the only way to overcome and be free from the sickness of people-pleasing is to steep ourselves in humility.

The truly humble man is dead to the praise or criticism of others. He is entirely indifferent if he receives the Nobel prize or is lynched by a mob. One question, and one question only drives the way he lives: Have I pleased my Lord Jesus Christ who loved me and gave himself for me?

How far nearly all of us are from this humble freedom and indifference! At this first hint of criticism, we recoil and shrink back. We modify, qualify, and retract. We have no courage, no inner fortitude, or at least not nearly enough.

The Solution

The only way to break free of the bondage of pleasing others is to learn to accept everything, even humiliation, at their hands. Be willing to carry the cross of criticism, to bear the pain of rejection and mockery. To pray for your persecutors, while not bending to please them.

And when the pain of rejection and shame sears your heart, remember your crucified Lord, who endured the shame of the Cross, despising it to obtain your salvation. He too was mocked, stripped naked, scoffed at, derided and utterly humiliated in every way; abandoned by his closest friends, rejected by those he came to save, and exposed for all the world to laugh at.

But you know what? He loved you more. He endured the cross of shame to save the very ones who subjected him to this humiliation, crying out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And that includes you.

Living to please others is a very real form of bondage. It enslaves and destroys. The only way to be liberated is to carry our crosses and submit to the shame of pleasing God over men. We must learn to love our Savior more than praise and approval, for only then will we be truly free.

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Church Crisis in light of the Fatima secret

 

From Rorate Caeli:

By Roberto de Mattei

May 25, 2016

The centenary year of Fatima was opened on Pentecost Sunday to news that caused quite a sensation.

The German theologian Ingo Dollinger revealed to the “OnePeterFive” site that after the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima, Cardinal Ratzinger had confided to him: “Das ist noch nicht alles!”, “We didn’t publish everything”. The Vatican Press Office intervened with an immediate denial in which it stated: “ Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima’, clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter ‘are pure inventions, absolutely untrue’, and he confirms decisively that ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.”

The denial doesn’t convince those like Antonio Socci who had always sustained the existence of an undisclosed part of the secret, which would refer to the abandonment of the faith by a part of the Church’s hierarchy. Other scholars like Dr. Antonio Augusto Borelli Machado, think the secret disclosed by the Vatican is complete and tragically eloquent. On the basis of the information at our disposal, today we cannot affirm with absolute certainty, either the entirety of the Third Secret text nor its incompleteness. What appears absolutely certain is that the prophecy of Fatima is unfulfilled and that its fulfilment concerns an unprecedented crisis in the Church.

Regarding this, an important hermeneutic principle needs to be borne in mind. The Lord, through revelations and prophecies, which add nothing to the deposit of the faith, at times offers us some “spiritual direction” to guide us through the darkest periods of history. Yet if it’s true that the Divine words cast light on dark times, the opposite is also true: historical events, in their dramatic unfolding, help us to understand the significance of prophecy.

On July 13th 1917, when Our Lady announced at Fatima that if humanity didn’t convert Russia would have spread its errors throughout the world, these words appeared incomprehensible. It was the historical facts that revealed their significance. After the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, it was clear that the expansion of Communism was the instrument God wanted to use as a punishment to the world for its sins.

Between 1989 and 1991, the evil empire of the Soviet Union apparently crumbled, but the disappearance of its political packaging allowed for the diffusion all over the world of Communism, which has its ideological nucleus in philosophical evolution and moral relativism. The “philosophy of praxis” which according to Antonio Gramsci sums up the Marxist cultural revolution, has become the theological horizon of the new pontificate, outlined by theologians like the German Cardinal, Walter Kasper and the Argentinean Archbishop, Victor Manuel Fernàndez, inspirers of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

In this sense it’s not the Fatima Secret we need to start from in order to understand the reality of a tragedy in the Church, but from the crisis in the Church[itself]in order to understand the ultimate meaning of the Fatima Secret. A crisis which goes back to the 1960s, but with Benedict XVI’s abdication and Pope Francis’ pontificate, has seen a shocking acceleration.

While the Vatican Press Office was making haste to defuse the Dollinger case, another bomb exploded with an even greater impact. During the presentation of Prof. Don Roberto Regoli’s book, Oltre la crisi della Chiesa. Il pontificato di Benedetto XVI (Lindau, Turin, 2016) held in the auditorium at the Gregorian Pontifical University, Monsignor Georg Gänswein highlighted Pope Ratzinger’s act of renunciation with these words:

“From February 11th 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before. It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict has profoundly and lastingly transformed by his exceptional pontificate”.

According to Archbishop Gänswein, the Pope’s resignation is “epochal” as it introduced into the Catholic Church the new institution of “Pope emeritus” transforming the concept of munus petrinum – “the petrine ministry”. “Before and after his abdication, Benedict intended and intends his task as a participation in a “petrine ministry” such as this. He left the Papal Throne and yet with his step on February 11th 2013, he did not entirely abandon this ministry. Rather he integrated the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a shared ministry (…). From the election of his successor, Pope Francis—on 13 March 2013—there are not then two Popes, but de facto an enlarged ministry with an active and a contemplative member. For this reason, Benedict has not renounced either his name or his white cassock. For this reason, the correct title with which we must refer to him is still “Holiness.” Furthermore, he has not retired to an isolated monastery, but [has retired]within the Vatican, as if he had simply stepped aside to make space for his Successor, and for a new stage in the history of the Papacy.(…). With this act of extraordinary boldness he has instead renewed the office (even against well-meaning and undoubtedly competent advisors) and in a last endeavour has strengthened it (as I hope). This certainly will only be demonstrated by history. However, in the history of the Church, 2013 will remain the year that the renowned Theologian on the Throne of Peter became the first “Pope Emeritus” in history.”

This discourse is of an explosive nature, and, by itself, demonstrates how we are not “over” the crisis in the Church but more than ever in it. The Papacy is not a ministry that can be “enlarged”, since it is an “office” given personally by Jesus Christ to a sole Vicar and a sole successor of Peter. What distinguishes the Catholic Church from every other church or religion is precisely the existence of a unitary and indissoluble principle in the person of the Supreme Pontiff. Monsignor Gänswein’s discourse(it is difficult to understand where he wants to go with it) suggests a two-headed Church and adds confusion to a situation already far too confusing.

One sentence connects the second and third part of the Fatima Secret: “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be kept.” Our Lady is talking to three little Portuguese shepherds and assures them that their country will not lose the faith. But where will the faith be lost? It has always been thought that Our Lady was referring to the apostasy of entire nations, but today is seems increasingly clearer that the greatest loss of faith is occurring among churchmen.

A “bishop dressed in white” and “various other bishops, priests and religious” are at the centre of the Third Secret, in a setting of death and ruin, legitimate to imagine as not only material, but spiritual. Before writing the Third Secret, the revelation that Sister Lucia had at Tuy on January 3rd 1944 confirms this, and is hence indissolubly linked to it. After the vision of a terrible cosmic catastrophe, Sister Lucia recounts that she had heard in her heart “a soft voice that said: ‘in time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity Heaven!’ !”

These words represent a radical negation of any form of religious relativism which the heavenly voice contradicts with the exaltation of Holy Mother Church and the Catholic Faith. In history the smoke of Satan can invade the Church, but whoever defends the integrity of the Faith against the powers of hell will see, in time and in eternity, the triumph of the Church and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, definitive seal of the dramatic but fascinating Fatima prophecy.

Translation: Francesca Romana

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Actions speak louder than words when it comes to abortion

Published by kind permission of the Editor, Catholic  Voice Ireland.

by  Deacon Nick Donnelly

 

I come from a very pro-life Catholic family, which in part is due to my brothers and I being born very premature, and a brother and sister dying just after birth. Since a young boy I have been very aware of the preciousness and the sanctity of human life. My own two children, Gabriel and Ariel, died in the first trimester and I’ll never forget seeing their hearts beating on the ultrasound screen at seven weeks gestation. One of the reasons why I love the Catholic Church is because of her unambiguous defence of the sanctity of the lives of pre-born babies, expressed in Vatican II crystal-clear statement, ‘abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes’(Gaudium et Spes, 51).

 

The Church rightly calls the murder of one baby through medical abortion an ‘unspeakable crime’, but what do we call the murder of two billion babies worldwide since 1966? John Smeaton, the Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, gave this statistic during a recent lecture in Rome. He describes the figure of two billion abortions as a ‘conservative estimate’compiled by ‘leading researchers from both the pro-abortion and pro-life lobbies.’John Smeaton added two caveats to this appalling statistic: ‘the number of human embryos destroyed in the past 50 years by abortifacient birth control drugs and devices worldwide is simply incalculable’and the worldwide total number of babies killed as a consequence of IVF is unknown, though we know “in the UK alone, 2 million embryonic babies have been killed as a result of in vitro fertilisation procedures since 1990.”

 

The murder of a quarter of the human race since 1966

 

There are seven billion human beings alive on the planet, so more than a quarter of the human race has been murdered over the past fifty years. What phrase can possibly convey the evil of two billion unspeakable crimes committed since 1966? John Smeaton calls this ‘the greatest catastrophe in the recorded history of humanity.’Thirty five years ago Fr John Powell SJ called abortion ‘The Silent Holocaust’. Hitler’s Extermination camps killed 11 million people, including 6 million Jews; Stalin’s reign of terror killed 49 million people. The murder of each of these 60 million people was a crime against humanity that cries to heaven for justice. Now with abortion the USA alone has almost equaled the number of people killed by Hitler and Stalin over the past 43 years. Since the ‘legalisation’of abortion by the USA in 1973, Americans have murdered 56 million of their fellow citizens.

 

Survivors of Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people called the network of concentration and extermination camps in Europe, ‘the Holocaust Kingdom’. Faced with more than two billion murders of the most innocent and vulnerable human beings it is not an exaggeration to say that you and I are not citizens of a ‘Holocaust Kingdom, but of a ‘Holocaust world’. We don’t live in a civilised world noted for its culture, art, science and laws, we live in a world that thinks nothing of slaughtering a quarter of the human race. In fact the killing of babies has become a billion dollar industry in which tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and administrators make their comfortable livings directly from killing babies or selling the body part of the victims.

 

This is a crime beyond ‘crimes against humanity’, this is a crime beyond ‘genocide’. The mass killing of human beings has become such a banal and routine crime that it has gone from being ‘unspeakable’to ‘unspoken’. Far from condemning such wanton destruction of human life the main stream media both promotes abortion as a social good while at the same time suppressing the reality of what it means to kill a baby through saline injection and dismemberment.

 

A failure to act that undermines the Catholic Church on abortion

 

The Catholic Church has consistently condemned the killing of babies through abortion for 2,000 years. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses this very succinctly:

 

‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.’(Didache) (CCC, 2271).

 

My concern about the position of the Catholic Church, about the greatest moral crisis of human history is this —though the teaching that abortion is a grave moral evil has not changed and remains unchangeable, certain actions and inactions taken by bishops and organisations of the Catholic Church have undermined this unchanging teaching. Faced with the greatest catastrophe in human history these failures of moral leadership are in danger of rendering the Church’s condemnation of abortion mere words, with no substance behind them. This is why actions speak louder than words when it comes to abortion.

 

The following actions and inactions have undermined the authority and credibility of the Church’s condemnation of abortion and need to be rectified as a matter of urgency:

 

The Mater Hospital agrees to co-operate with Kenny’s abortion law

 

Diarmuid Martin World Economic Forum 2013In 2013 The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, issued a statement confirming that, though a Catholic hospital, its doctors and nurses would co-operate with Enda Kenny’s abortion act, which explicitly mandated it to serve as one of the providers of abortion services.  The statement said“The Mater Hospital has carefully considered the Act. The Hospital’s priority is to be at the frontier of compassion, concern and clinical care for all our patients. Having regard to that duty, the Hospital will comply with the law as provided for in the act.” The Mater Hospital is owned and managed by the Sisters of Mercy, the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Catholic Nurses’Guild of Ireland, and the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

 

The hospital board decided to provide abortion services against the advice of the then Father Kevin Doran, the representative of the Archbishop of Dublin, who had told the press before the statement, “The Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos.” When asked what would happen if the Board decided to co-operate with abortion Fr. Doran replied, “I suppose I can assume there would be very serious discussion between the Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin and the management of the hospital.”

 

How did Archbishop Diarmuid Martin respond to a Catholic hospital in his own archdiocese publicly stating that it would kill unborn babies? He first explained that though he was the president of the hospital he had “no powers in the governance of the hospital”. A surprising admission considering that as the ordinary of Dublin he has authority over all Catholic institutions in his jurisdiction.

 

He then paid tribute to the Mater Hospital as if its agreement to provide abortions had not been made, praising their “great tradition of caring for very difficult pregnancies and doing it well within the ethos of the hospital over years. There have been extremely complicated (pregnancies) and I know that they are scrupulous in the policy of trying to defend both the life of the mother and the unborn child. I hope that that continues.” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin concluded his brief response by saying that “he would be seeking further clarifications on the exact meaning of the hospital’s statement.”

 

Fr. Doran later resigned from the Board saying, “I can confirm that I have resigned because I can’t reconcile my own conscience personally with the statement, largely because I feel a Catholic hospital has to bear witness. It’s about bearing witness to Gospel values alongside providing excellent care.”He later added, that he found the hospital’s “statement of adherence to a law which provided for the direct taking of human life was something which I, as a Catholic priest, couldn’t support and so I resigned.”

 

Three years later Catholics are still waiting for the Archbishop to explain the Mater’s response to his request for further clarification about them agreeing to kill unborn babies. He has remained silent about the scandal of a Catholic hospital agreeing to perform abortions. The Mater’s Board have not withdrawn their statement. In 2015 the Chairman of the Mater’s Board, Thomas Lynch, insisted that the hospital’s position “has not altered”.

Adviser to Agency of English Bishops’Conference advocates early abortion

 

pages10-11Prof. Tina Beattie, a theological adviser to CAFOD, the Development Agency of the Bishops’Conference of England and Wales, has advocated early abortion for the past six years. She is also an adviser on Bio-ethics to the National Board of Catholic Women that represents the views of Catholic women’s organisations to the Bishops’Conference.

 

The scandal of Dr Beattie’s pro-abortion views has recently come to ahead among faithful Catholics as a consequence of the part she has played in composing and organising others to sign an Open Letter to the Polish Bishops. The letter urges the Polish bishops to reconsider their support of the Polish government’s plans to stop all abortion. Though claiming in the introduction of the letter that she and the other signatories ‘uphold the sanctity of all human life, including the right to life of women and their unborn children’, they latter insist in the letter “we believe that access to early, safe and legal abortion is essential’. The Open Letter also accepts abortion in cases of ‘sexual violence’; serious threats to the mother’s health, and in cases were the baby is ‘profoundly disabled or terminally ill’. Dr. Beattie’s letter also refers to the mystery of the Annunciation in the context of their argument that women should be allowed freedom of choice when it comes to aborting their babies:

 

‘We are mindful that, when God chose Mary to become the mother of His Son, He did so not by force or compulsion but by invitation and request. Mary was free in deciding whether or not to conceive a child. Many women and girls do not enjoy such freedom.’

 

Dr Beattie and other signatories using the mystery of the Annunciation in an argument to justify freedom of choice regarding abortion is misleading and misguided. We never have the freedom to commit gravely evil acts. To use Our Lady’s freely given ‘fiat’ to the incarnation of the Son of God as an argument for freedom of conscience to choose abortion is also a shocking misuse of the role of a theologian in the Church.

 

Dr Beattie has also published academic papers and articles in the media making the untenable case for a distinction to be made between early abortion and late abortion. In 2010 Dr Beattie supported ‘early abortion, as well as access to effective methods of contraception’. In the same year she referred to the mystery of personhood in the Most Holy Trinity to justify support for early abortion:

 

‘Given that in Christian theology the understanding of personhood is fundamentally relational because it bears the image of the Triune God, it is hard to see how an embryo can be deemed a person before even the mother enters into a rudimentary relationship with it.’  She seems to have forgotten that the child in the womb is already in relationship with God. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you through and though”.

 

In 2015 Dr Beattie’s views were elicited for a debate in Reform Magazine looking at the question, ‘A Good Question: Is Abortion unchristian?’She replied, ‘However, I think we need to reclaim the traditional theological distinction between early and late abortion. Early abortion should in my view be legal, because the law should not be used to enforce morality.’Dr Beattie appears to ignore the fact that since the beginning the Church has consistently condemned all abortion as gravely immoral. There is no substantive evidence of any distinction between early and late abortion in the teaching of the Church.

 

Unsurprisingly, faithful Catholics have been horrified that a Catholic theologian not only advocates abortion but that she is also a theological adviser to CAFOD. At the time of writing over 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on CAFOD to drop Dr Beattie as an adviser. To date, CAFOD have issued a statement implicitly, not explicitly, distancing themselves from Dr Beattie’s views, insisting that ‘the opinion expressed in the letter does not represent nor reflect CAFOD’s policies.’However, in response to concerns from Catholics and supporters CAFOD has justified retaining Dr Beattie as a theological adviser:

 

‘Professor Tina Beattie is a member of CAFOD’s Theological Reference Group. Tina is one of around ten theologians who volunteer their time, meeting a couple of times a year to share ideas on theological issues. CAFOD’s Theological Reference Group includes academic theologians from England and Wales and from the global South, including Zimbabwe, Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines. It is important for CAFOD to have access to a wide range of theological opinion on issues of relevance to international development. The theological reference group is one way in which CAFOD accesses this range of academic thought.’

 

The failure of the bishops to publicly uphold the Church’s condemnation of abortion in response to the Mater hospital co-operating with abortions and Dr Beattie advocating early abortion is in danger of making anything they say about abortion empty words. How can they speak with any conviction about the catastrophe of 2 billion babies murdered by abortion if their actions don’t match their words? Tragically, history will look back at their inaction as failing the moral imperative of our time. Actions speak louder than words.   The unborn have no voices except ours, they have no means for action except us.

 

 

 

 

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A Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi


 In many places, this Sunday features the (moved) Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Our Lord.

On a solemn feast like this many things occur that might be preached and taught. Here are three areas for reflection: the reality of the Eucharist, the requirement of the Eucharist, and the reverence for the Eucharist. We will look at each in turn.

I. The Reality of the Eucharist – On this solemn feast we are called above all to faith in the fact (as revealed by the Lord Himself) that the Eucharist, the Holy Communion of which we partake, is in fact a reception of the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, whole and entire, in His glorified state. We do not partake of a symbol. The Eucharist is not a metaphor; it is truly the Lord. Neither is it a “piece” of His flesh; it is Christ, whole and entire. Scripture attests to this in many places.

A. Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

B. 1 Cor 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a partaking in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a partaking in the body of Christ?

C. Luke 24:35 They recognized him in the breaking of the bread.

D. 1 Cor 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

E. John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

This last quote is a profound theology of the Eucharist from Jesus Himself. He makes it clear that we are not to think of the Eucharist as symbolic or metaphorical.

As Jesus spoke the words saying that the bread was His flesh, the Jewish people grumbled in protest. But Jesus did not seek to reassure them or to say that He was speaking only symbolically when saying that they must eat His flesh. Rather, He became even more adamant, shifting His choice of words from the polite form of eating, φάγητε (phagete – meaning simply “to eat”), to the impolite form, τρώγων (trogon – meaning to “munch, gnaw or chew”).

So insistent was He that they grasp this, that He permitted most of them to leave, no longer following in His company due to this teaching (cf Jn 6:66). Yes, the Lord paid quite a price for His graphic and “hard” teaching (Jn 6:60).

Today, He asks us, Do you also want to leave me? (Jn 6:67) We must supply our answer each time we approach the altar and hear the words, “The Body of Christ.” It is at this time that we answer the Lord, “Amen,” as if to say, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! (Jn 6:68)

Would that people grasped that the Lord Himself is truly present in our Churches! Were that so, one would never be able to empty our parishes of those seeking to pray with the Lord. As it is, though, only 25% of Catholics attend Mass regularly. This is more evidence of the “narrow road” and of how few there are who find it. Jesus experienced that most left him 2000 years ago, and many today continue to leave Him (or stand far away), either through indifference or false notions.

What father would not be alarmed if one of his children stopped eating? Consider, then, God’s alarm that many of us have stopped eating. This leads us to the next point.

II. The Requirement of the Eucharist – This is where the “Unless!” in my title comes in. When I was young I thought of Church and Communion as just something my mother made me do; it was just a bunch of rituals and stuff. I never thought of it as essential for my survival. But Jesus teaches something very profound in John’s Gospel today. In effect, He says that without Holy Communion (the Eucharist) we will starve and die spiritually.

Here is what Jesus says: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53).

As a child and even as a young adult I never thought of Holy Communion as essential for my life, as something that, if not received regularly, would cause me to die spiritually. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? If we don’t eat food in our physical lives, we grow weak and eventually die. It is the same with Holy Communion with respect to our spiritual lives.

Remember in the Book of Exodus that the people in the desert were without food and feared for their lives. So God gave them bread from Heaven called “manna” that they collected each morning. Without eating that bread from Heaven they would never have made it to the Promised Land; they would have died in the desert.

It is the same with us. Without receiving Jesus, our Living Manna from Heaven, in Holy Communion we will not make it to our Promised Land of Heaven! I guess it’s not just a ritual after all; it is essential for our survival.

Don’t miss Holy Communion! Jesus urges you to eat.

A mother and father in my parish recently noticed that their daughter wasn’t eating. Within a very short time they took her to a doctor, who diagnosed the problem; now the young girl is able to eat again. Those parents would have moved Heaven and Earth to make sure their daughter was able to eat.

It is the same with God. Jesus urges us to eat, to receive the Holy Communion every Sunday without fail. Jesus urges us with this word: “Unless!” Holy Communion is our required food.

III. The Reverence for the Eucharist – One of the mistaken notions about the Eucharist is confusing this sacred meal with the table fellowship Jesus had with sinners. He was known to “welcome sinners and eat with them.” But Holy Mass is not one of those sorts of meals. The Last Supper, wherein the essential reality of the Mass was first set forth, was held in the context of the Passover. This was a sacred meal shared within the family. And thus Jesus celebrated that Last Supper with the twelve Apostles.

The confusion by many today about the difference between the sacred meal of the Eucharist and common table fellowship leads many to misconstrue the Eucharist; it also helps to explain the Church’s stance.

Those who think of the Mass as the mere table fellowship Jesus had with sinners, think of the Eucharist as a “Come one, come all” sort of meal. And many also add, “Come as you are.” In their view, there are no requirements; all that matters is that Jesus is offering. “Don’t worry,” they say, “about ‘membership’ or the need to be reconciled from sin. After all, Jesus ate with sinners and didn’t worry about that stuff.”

But again, this is not what the Last Supper was. Jesus celebrated the Mass in the context of the Passover. Such meals presupposed that the people gathered together were family. This was an intimate meal celebrated in the context of faith, however weak or strong, but a faith that was presupposed. Jesus said to them, “You are the men who have stood by me in my trials” (Lk 22:28).

This is one reason that the Church has always limited the Eucharist to those who are initiated, who are “members of Christ’s Body” through faith, and who keep communion with His Body the Church through assent to her teachings, remaining members of His Body by being in a state of grace.

It further explains the need to receive the Eucharist worthily by first confessing our serious sins through the Sacrament of Confession. St Paul teaches,

Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (1 Cor 11:28-30).

So here, too, we see that the Mass is not akin to the table fellowship that Jesus at times kept with sinners. Rather, it is a sacred meal that presupposes membership in Christ’s Body through faith and the forgiveness of all serious sins that might have severed that communion. Holy Communion is meant to strengthen a communion that already exists. And thus our “Amen” upon receiving Holy Communion is not a lie, but is consonant with the reality of existing communion.simply note that our reverence for Holy Communion requires us to receive worthily, in a state of grace that has preserved the communion we celebrate. Further, to receive worthily also requires that we have the faith of the Church, the Body of Christ, and keep communion by a belief in conformity and communion with it.

On this Solemnity of the Body of Christ we are summoned to deepen our faith in the Lord, present in the Eucharist and acting through His Sacraments. Routine may have somewhat of a dulling effect, but it cannot be so much so that we receive the Lord of glory in any way that could be called mindless or lacking in the reverence we ought to have for Him.

Ask the Lord to anoint your mind so that you never forget your need for the Eucharist. Unless! Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you (cf Jn 6:53). But receive this great gift worthily and with a communion that befits the Holy Communion to which we are summoned.

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Do You Want To Be “Truly” Happy? Discover the “One Thing Necessary”

Do You Want To Be “Truly” Happy? Discover the “One Thing Necessary”

Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Pew Organization conclude that spiritually devout people are twice as likely to report being “very happy” than the least religious people. Secular analysts seem to be doing back flips trying to explain away the simple reality that there is no other authentic and fulfilling way to live other than a supernatural life; the Divine Life.

The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (394-322 B.C.) observed that no person deliberately chooses to be unhappy. So, if this is the case, then human beings wish to be happy and the search for happiness leads us to look at what kinds of happiness there might be and whether these types might be logically rank-ordered. From reviewing Greek and later Christian writers it may be observed that happiness has four levels. These may be described as follows (in ascending order).

 

Happiness Level 1: Laetus (Delighted)

The first and most basic level of happiness comes from things outside ourselves and involve one or more of the five senses. The pleasure they give is immediate and direct (aka, immediate gratification) such as eating an ice cream cone, buying a brand new car, going on vacation. Their pleasure is short lived and intermittent. They must be replaced by yet another ice cream cone, or new car, or vacation. Until such replacements take place our happiness is on hold, if this lower level is the only way we look for happiness.

While many forms of pleasure are not sinful, in and of themselves, some are, or can be. Some forms of pleasure are objectively evil … e.g., viewing pornography. An over-indulgence of something can be sinful … e.g., excessive alcohol consumption. Many can become controlled by the things that give them pleasure, which leads to over-consumption or even addiction. In other words, they find themselves in a place where they are not happy unless they continue their pursuit of the “things” that make them happy.

Spiritually speaking, this over-indulgence or the use of objectively evil things causes a spiritual death (mortal sin), According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him” (CCC 1855). Furthermore, being in a state of mortal sin further inclines us to do evil. It leaves us with very little defenses against the Devil and our own weaknesses.

This spiritual death also throws us into the malaise of spiritual sloth or “acedia.” Sloth is an evil disposition of the will and of the sensible appetites, by which one fears and refuses effort, wishes to avoid all trouble, and seeks a dolce far niente (“sweetness of doing nothing”). When idleness affects the accomplishment of the religious duties necessary to sanctification, it is called acedia. It is an evil sadness: opposed to spiritual joy, which is the fruit of generosity in the love of God. Acedia is a disgust for spiritual things, a disgust which leads one to perform them negligently, to shorten them, or to omit them under vain pretexts. It is the cause of tepidity (or “lukewarm”). G.K. Chesterton said, “The Mass is very long and tiresome unless one loves God.”

St. John Vianney wrote: “He who lives in sin (mortal) takes up the habits and the appearance of the beasts. The beast, which has not reason, knows nothing but its appetites. So the man who makes himself like the beasts loses his reason, and lets himself be guided by the inclinations of his body … I pity the poor wretches who run after that wind; they gain very little, they give a great deal for very little profit — they give their eternity for the miserable smoke of the world.”

It is no wonder why the world, now mostly disconnected from the Divine Life of God (now taking up the habits of the beasts), can allow the murder of innocent babies, the redefinition of marriage, and men free to enter the restrooms of little girls.

 

Happiness Level 2: Felix (Happy)

The second level of happiness involves the ego (Ego is Latin for I … egocentric). This kind of happiness comes whenever I am in control, the focus of attention, the object of admiration, whenever I see myself as superior to others. Hence, whenever I win, gain power, am admired, or gain popularity I feel happy and pleased with myself. My ego has been affirmed. That which I think is the most important thing in the world (me) has received approval.

Here we can see that some forms of competition are not sinful (winning a sporting event, receiving an award, working hard to be promoted, etc.), but a preoccupation toward control, attention and admiration can rise to the level sin. This can be seen in such needs as a driving desire to exhibit the best house or the nicest car. There are those who are more concerned with “winning the argument” rather than “winning a soul.” Love, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is to will the good of another, or wanting them to succeed. When one is caught in this lower level of happiness, thoughts of success are directed only toward one’s self.

Since this self-centeredness directly opposes the will of God, it too can bring a spiritual death to the soul, making it prone to evil, sloth and acedia. Those who are caught in these two lower levels face a great challenge to break free from the prison of self-indulgence and self-centeredness. This is why Jesus led people through Happiness Level #3, in order to break through to Happiness Level #4. Rising to new heights simply *must* begin by moving the focus off of ourselves to others.

 

Happiness Level 3: Beatitudo (Blessedness)

The happiness that comes from seeing the good in others and doing the good for others. It is, in essence, other-regarding action. Happiness Level #3 is, in some sense, at war with Happiness Level #2. One cannot be at the same time in competition with someone else and doing the good for and seeing the good in them. Most people would prefer a world (community, family, relationships) structured around the pursuit of Happiness Level #3 than entirely based in Happiness Level #2. While Happiness Level #3 is higher than Happiness Level #2, the problem with Happiness Level #3 is that it is necessarily limited. We cannot be someone else’s everything. For example, we or they, will die and if our happiness is contingent upon them, it dies with them. “There must be more than this.”

Think of the great “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:1-48). It begins with the eight Beatitudes. If you study them closely, they are a call to break free from the control “Happiness Level #1” and “Happiness Level #2” have over people’s lives. From there, Jesus calls us to “spice up people’s lives” (salt of the earth) and to be “lit up” – in a state of grace – as bearers of faith, hope and love (light of the world) in a world so inclined to the darkness of an empty materialism, despair and egotism.

From there, Jesus leads them up and up and up. If we are going to be missionaries of salt and light, we must be people of integrity and truth. We cannot be found with any stain of corruption or duplicity … that is the “way of the world” … it cannot be that way with us. We must be, before all else, humbly orthodox and obedient:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).

Most of the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount shows what is the “common way of the world,” and how we are called to “transcend” the way of the world to live as “children of God,” even to the point of loving our enemies. But, Jesus concludes with a call to strive for the more: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This sets the stage for the ultimate level of happiness … the level that brings true and lasting happiness to those who “break through” to this level.

 

Happiness Level 4: Sublime Beatitudo (Sublime Blessedness)

(Sublime = of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.)

Even the third level of happiness does not exhaust the scope of human desire. Humans are pulled by their desire for the sublime, something beyond their imagination, beyond their complete understanding. To be sure, they desire love, goodness, truth, beauty, and being as they experience them in the world; but they also desire these in their perfected and unlimited form. St. Augustine describes this quest as fides quaerens intellectus: “faith in search of understanding.”

Those of faith recognize this as their desire for God. Not too long ago, my friend, Kris Crouch, wrote this very moving reflection about her journey. I believe this is a beautiful example of how her encounter with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offered with great reverence and sacred beauty, helped her to break through to “Happiness Level #4” …

I used to “shop around” for the “Right church” with the “Right priest” and the “Right people.” Tim and I would joke and call ourselves “Catholic nomads.” We literally hopped around for a decade! Then I got the idea that if I couldn’t find the “right place” that I could make it righter. I tried. I did stuff. But it still wasn’t right. It was so much pressure – Looking, searching, seeking, educating, evangelizing, influencing, convincing, changing – But all the while I did good I didn’t feel I was the good God wanted me to be. Something was missing in spite of all my “work.” [Still in Happiness Level #3]

 

Then I attended my first Latin Mass. And I cried. I think some of those tears were truly tears of relief. Relief. I finally didn’t have to make up for what was lacking someplace else. Everything was right there. It was perfect. And it didn’t NEED me. I felt small. And oddly it felt so good to be so small. Like a giant load had been lifted off of me [that load is the need to be our own god … now she can hand it all over to her Father in Heaven]. Here at the TLM I can be a mess and needy and broken and I can just be on my knees and begging. I’m a beggar. I guess I’d always longed to be a beggar and just never realized how good it feels. Being small and unimportant is the greatest gift the TLM has brought to me! And I never ever want to be big again.

Saint Francis of Assisi said,

“Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest.”

Kris actually broke through to the Divine Life as she received the “trigger Gift of the Holy Spirit of Awe and Wonder.” Once we enter the supernatural life, we begin to grasp the true reality of God. St. Paul wrote,

“The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).

The unspiritual man is the person who acts only by using his or her human faculties (intelligence and will) and who therefore can be wise only in the things of the world. He remains superficial and worldly. This is a heart that has hardened to the supernatural reality of God. Kris felt small, because she now understood “God is big.”

The commentary on 1 Corinthians in the Navarre Bible states,

“The spiritual man is the Christian reborn by the grace of God; grace elevates his faculties to enable him to perform actions which have a supernatural value — acts of faith, hope, and charity. A person who is in the state of grace is able to perceive the things of God, because he carries with him the Spirit in his soul in grace, and he has Christ’s mind, Christ’s attitude. ‘We have no alternative,’ St. Josemaria Escriva teaches, ‘there are only two possible ways of living on this earth: either we live a supernatural life, or we live an animal life. And you and I can only live the life of God, a supernatural life’ (Friends of God).”

 

War on the Supernatural

The great philosopher, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, put her finger on the place where the real battle lines are drawn:

“Now let us abolish the terms ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’, the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ which are secularistic. I suggest that we say from now on ‘those who have kept the sense of the supernatural and those who have lost it’. That is the great divide; that is the essence. Do you look at the Church and her teaching, whether dogmatic or moral, with a supernatural eye, or do you look at it with secular lenses? That is the divide. Left and right confuses the issue. Let us rediscover the greatness and the beauty of the supernatural and I claim that it is so difficult in the polluted world in which we live, that if we don’t pray for it every single day, we are going to be infected. It is the air that you breathe, the newspaper that you read, the television show that you see, time and again you will see this is a fight and attack on the supernatural.”

In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God’, the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity.” Before the destructive post-Vatican II trend of stripping out of all things sacred, Catholicism led the way in preparing the souls of the faithful to receive this first and most necessary “trigger” Gift of Awe and Wonder through sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music and special attention to the sacred offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

As I wrote in an earlier article, I’ve come to understand that we have (actually, I believe this is the work of the devil), by and large, removed the very gateway into the Divine Life. I happen to agree with Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order:

“Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven” (“Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam,” II 7,7).

As you can see, the entry point is “Fear of the Lord (or Awe and Wonder).”

What is Fear of the Lord? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord …

“… inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God.”

St. Francis de Sales said, “We must fear God out of love, not love him out of fear.” In other words, Fear of the Lord is a fear of ever offending the One we love so much; the One in which we have totally dedicated and devoted our lives; the One Who fills us with awe and wonder in His presence. Fear of the Lord is the entry point; this is the trigger that ignites all of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Without this “trigger,” we are prone to reduce our faith/religion to merely another organization that has a sense of social responsibility (Stuck in Happiness Level #3). Jesus is then reduced to an historic figure to emulate. Mass is just a social gathering that many may say (without saying), “it had better have good entertainment if you are going to make me endure this for an hour” (so someone caught in the sin of acedia would say … and this acedia is at epidemic proportions in our times). Again, all of the supernatural is stripped out and the belief in miracles and the power of supernatural grace is mocked as the ignorance of our ancestors.

Aristotle said, “No one can long remain in sadness without any joy.” So, depriving oneself of spiritual joy through neglect and sloth leaves one desperate to fill that void with inferior pleasures. It is no wonder why we see so many people frantically attempting to fill their lives with every kind of activity and distraction possible, desperately trying to avoid the gloom of emptiness and unhappiness. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

So, we can see why Satan seems to be winning in our times. He is in the supernatural realm using supernatural powers, while we have surrendered or, simply, ignored ours. We are, by and large, living without the One Thing Necessary.

 

One Thing Necessary

The “one thing necessary” is the basis for the interior life and constitutes a turning of one’s life entirely over (abandonment) to God once a soul has given way to the Gift of Awe and Wonder (or Fear of the Lord).

In the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), we first see that, amazingly, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sitting right in their living room … SITTING RIGHT IN THEIR LIVING ROOM!! Now, Martha appears unmoved and detached, while she is busy with the normal good and noble duties of hospitality (Happiness Level #3), while Mary just STOPS!! Mary sits at the feet of Jesus – a position of servitude – her eyes are locked on his Holy Face, while she hangs on His every word. Mary is actually in adoration, soaking in everything our Lord wants to give her. I like to say that she is Mary-nating – soaking in the outpouring of God’s graces. When Martha objects to Mary’s lack of activity, Jesus says that Martha remains anxious and upset about many things, while Mary chose the better portion; the “one thing necessary.”

Without tailing off into a long discussion about “actuosa participatio” (active participation in the Mass), what Mary is doing more clearly defines active participation by her “engagement,” more so than the busy and disconnected way of Martha.

Martha remains anxious and upset about many things because she has not given way to the “one thing necessary” … Martha has not, like Mary, given way to the Divine Life through the gateway Gift of the Holy Spirit – The Gift of Awe and Wonder. We are all hard-wired to live in a holy communion with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we ignore or refuse that “Divine Life,” we will never be fully satiated, fully complete … we will live anxious and upset about many things, because we remain short of our destiny as children of God.

“St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (Fr. John Hardon).

While modernized Catholics have all but completely forgotten the necessity of supernatural grace, our ancestors could not conceive of life without it. “Grace,” wrote Thomas a Kempis, “is the mistress of truth, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fears, the matrix of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without it but a piece of dry wood and an unprofitable stock, fit for nothing but to be cast away.”

In a recent talk given by George Weigel, he briefly described the work of Rod Stark, the historian of the classical era. Stark asks the question,

“How is it that Christianity converted practically the entire Mediterranean basin in just a few centuries when it was a poor, rag-tag group of nobodies from the dregs of the Empire? The power of Rome was brutal – everyone under its thumb was at its mercy. Christians looked very different. They treated women with dignity and not as property. They cared for the sick, elderly, and widowed. Most of all, they lived joyful, decent lives. Christianity did not “win” through military conquest but through its love of neighbor. It did not win by argument but by example. This is the key to the year of mercy: we must live mercy so that it radiates out from us and spills over into the world. It must touch others and lead them to the truth that our destiny is eternal friendship with God.”

What Professor Stark is referring to is a people literally “lit up” by the power of supernatural grace. These supernaturally illuminated souls cause others to question the darkness of their own souls, and compels them to seek whatever source these Christians have found for living life to the fullest.

Pope St. Pius V summed it up, “All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.” If the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity established the Church, and infused it (us) with the power of the Holy Spirit to transform the world, then an epidemic of lukewarm, unspiritual, Martha-like Catholics would have no power to turn back the darkness of evil.

Let’s say “Good-bye” to a Martha-like lukewarm life of being anxious and upset about many things. God is beckoning us to live a life of “true” happiness. It is a sublime supernatural life that is lived, moment by moment, for no other reason than to please Him … a life that is meant to draw the world to Him by the supernatural joy we so freely offer to everyone we meet, every moment of our day. Let’s help others know the “True Happiness” we have found in the Divine Life; the One Thing Necessary!!

 

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Venerable Fulton Sheen on the Devil and the Diabolic

Brilliant. Insightful. Prophetic. Watch, listen and learn:

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24th May, Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians

olhc1-1Queen of the most holy Rosary, Help of Christians, refuge of the human race, victorious in all the battles of God, we prostrate ourselves in supplication before thy throne, in the sure hope of obtaining mercy and of receiving grace and timely aid in our present calamities, not through any merits of our own on which we do not rely, but only through the immense goodness of thy mother’s Heart. In thee and in thy Immaculate Heart, at this grave hour of human history, do we put our trust; to thee we consecrate ourselves, not only with all of Holy Church, which is the mystical body of thy Son Jesus, and which is suffering in so many of her members, being subjected to manifold tribulations and persecutions, but also with the whole world, torn by discords, agitated with hatred, the victim of its own iniquities.

Be thou moved by the sight of such material and moral degradation, such sorrows, such anguish, so many tormented souls in danger of eternal loss! Do thou, O Mother of mercy, obtain for us from God a Christ-like reconciliation of the nations, as well as those graces which can convert the souls of men in an instant, those graces which prepare the way and make certain the long desired coming of peace on earth. O Queen of peace, pray for us, and grant peace unto the world in the truth, the justice, and the charity of Christ. Above all, give us peace in our hearts, so that the kingdom of God may spread its borders in the tranquillity of order. Accord thy protection to unbelievers and to all those who lie within the shadow of death; cause the Sun of Truth to rise upon them; may they be enabled to join with us in repeating before the Savior of the world:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.”

Give peace to the nations that are separated from us by error or discord, and in a special manner to those peoples who profess a singular devotion toward thee; bring them back to Christ’s one fold, under the one true Shepherd. Obtain full freedom for the holy Church of God; defend her from her enemies; check the ever-increasing torrent of immorality; arouse in the faithful a love of purity, a practical Christian life, and an apostolic zeal, so that the multitude of those who serve God may increase in merit and in number. Ask thy Son to send us holy priests and in numbers to serve the needs of the Catholic faithful. Be thou the mother of priests and seminarians, keeping them pure, devoted to thee and thy Son, maintain them as men set apart and exclusive for serving the Holy Trinity and thee. Do not let the torrents of worldly woes touch them. And give us a more tender love for thy Immaculate Heart so that we may draw closer to thee and to them by praying for them faithfully.

O Mary, Mother most pure, through whose compassion we have received the holiest of priests; O glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, perfect model of cooperation with the Divine call; O holy priests, who in Heaven compose a choice choir about the Lamb of God: obtain for us many good vocations in order that the Lord’s flock, through the support and government of vigilant shepherds, may attain the enjoyment of the most delightful pastures of eternal happiness.

Finally, even as the Church and all mankind were once consecrated to the Heart of thy Son Jesus, because He was for all those who put their hope in Him an inexhaustible source of victory and salvation, so in like manner do we consecrate ourselves forever to thee also and to thy Immaculate Heart, O Mother of us and Queen of the world; may thy love and patronage hasten the day when the kingdom of God shall be victorious and all the nations, at peace with God and with one another, shall call thee blessed and intone with thee, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the everlasting “Magnificat” of glory, of love, of gratitude to the Heart of Jesus, in which alone we can find truth, life, and peace.

Based on prayers composed by Pope Pius XII

 

In a letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the liturgical feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, might “become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China.”

 

Benedict XVI’s Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan for the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”,
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

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One is Simon, the other is Peter?

From: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/05

One is Simon, the other is Peter? – Gänswein: Papacy was changed in 2013 into an “expanded” Petrine Office with two members. – Does this confirm the Socci-Messori thesis of a papal diarchy?

Double-Headed Church?

Edward Pentin’s latest column on National Catholic Register (Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI Sees Resignation as Expanding Petrine Ministry) reports on a speech delivered by Archbishop Gänswein at the Pontifical Gregorian University, May 20. The speech, as reported by Pentin, has two topics of capital significance.

From the viewpoint of “current events” perhaps the topic that will attract more attention is his reference to the election of Benedict XVI in 2005 as the outcome of the battle between two factions of Cardinals: the infamous “St. Gallen” group of liberal Cardinals who wanted to prevent Ratzinger from ascending to the papacy and the “Salt of the Earth” group of conservative Cardinals who supported him. Surely our regular readers will remember the furor last year when the machinations of the St. Gallen “mafia” was first revealed in a biography of Cardinal Danneels — see our posts about it (St. Gallen Mafia) as well as the Pentin’s detailed interview about the 2005 conclave with Paul Badde.

From a theological and dogmatic point of view however, more attention is warranted by Gänswein’s comments on the transformation of the very office of the Papacy after February 11, 2013, his claim that the resignation of Benedict XVI was of a different character compared to previous papal resignations, and his assertion that there are “not two popes”, but one yet expanded Petrine Ministry with Francis and Benedict both as members — one active, the other contemplative.

The idea that the papacy itself has now been transformed in its very depths, and that to effect this transformation Benedict XVI’s will and actions in February 2013 were enough, raises extremely sensitive, nay, disturbing questions about the very theology of the Church. Questions and…. implications we dare not discuss here for the moment. As for how two men cannot be both Popes and yet be both members of one Petrine ministry….

It is all too easy to dismiss Gänswein’s comments as merely his personal opinion, if not for the fact that in addition to being a doctor of Canon Law and a former official of the CDF he is, above all, the secretary and daily companion of Benedict XVI himself. Surely we can take his interpretation of Benedict’s resignation as a faithful reflection of the latter’s own thinking.

The thesis that since March 13, 2013 the papacy has become some kind of “diarchy” was first expressed in the writings of Antonio Socci early in 2014, then taken up by Vittorio Messori a few months later on the basis of an article written by the canonist Stefano Violi. Providentially, Rorate had published translations of both Socci’s and Messori’s articles in just one post:




We beseech all of our readers to read the above post, which now assumes tremendous importance.

Coming back to Pentin’s article, here are the relevant passages regarding the conclave of 2005 and the “transformation” of the papacy:

In a speech reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, Archbishop Georg Gänswein has confirmed the existence of a group who fought against Benedict’s election in 2005, but stressed that “Vatileaks” or other issues had “little or nothing” to do with his resignation in 2013.

Speaking at the presentation of a new book on Benedict’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome May 20, Archbishop Gänswein also said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.”

Archbishop Gänswein, who doubles as the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus and prefect of the Pontifical Household, said Benedict did not abandon the papacy like Pope Celestine V in the 13th century but rather sought to continue his Petrine Office in a more appropriate way given his frailty.

“Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before,” he said. “It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and lastingly transformed by his exceptional pontificate.”

Gänswein drew attention to “brilliant and illuminating” and “well documented and thorough” passages of the book, written by Roberto Regoli and entitled Oltre la crisi della Chiesa. Il pontificato di Benedetto XVI — “Beyond the Crisis of the Church, The Pontificate of Benedict XVI.”

The German prelate especially highlighted Regoli’s account of “a dramatic struggle” that took place in the 2005 Conclave between the “so-called ‘Salt of the Earth Party’” (named after the book interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) comprising “Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Ruoco Varela or Medina” and their adversaries: “the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor” — a group Cardinal Danneels referred jokingly to as “a kind of mafia-club,” Archbishop Gänswein recalled. (…)

“The election was certainly the outcome of a battle,” Gänswein went on, adding that the “key” to the Conclave was Cardinal Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of relativism” homily that he gave on the first day of the election when he was Dean of the College of Cardinals.

 ***

Various reports have suggested that pressure was exerted on Benedict to step down. One of the latest came last year from a former confidant and confessor to the late Cardinal Carlo Martini who said Martini had told Benedict: “Try and reform the Curia, and if not, you leave.”

But in his speech, Gänswein insisted “it was fitting” for Benedict to resign because he “was aware that the necessary strength for such a very heavy office was lessening. He could do it [resign], because he had long thought through, from a theological point of view, the possibility of a pope emeritus in the future. So he did it.”

Drawing on the Latin words “munus petrinum” — “Petrine ministry” — Gänswein pointed out the word “munus” has many meanings such as “service, duty, guide or gift”. He said that “before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’.

“He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry,” Gänswein explained, something “quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.“

Instead, he said, “he has built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry, as if he had wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in the motto that the then-Joseph Ratzinger had as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis”, which means ‘co-workers of the truth’.”

Archbishop Gänswein point out that the motto is not in the singular but in the plural, and taken from the Third Letter of John, in which it is written in verse 8: “We must welcome these people to become co-workers for the truth”.

He therefore stressed that since Francis’ election, there are not “two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member.” He added that this is why Benedict XVI “has not given up his name”, unlike Pope Celestine V who reverted to his name Pietro da Marrone, “nor the white cassock.”

“Therefore he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — as if he had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.” With that step, he said, he has enriched the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.”

Archbishop Gänswein repeated that Benedict’s resignation was “quite different” to that of Pope Celestine V.

“So it is not surprising,” he said, “that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the gospel,  while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.”

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50 years ago today David Steel MP decided to introduce a Bill to legalise abortion in Britain

Posted by John Smeaton at Spuc.org on 23 May 2016

Lord Steel of Aikwood

Paul Lennon, SPUC’s adviser on parliamentary affairs has reminded the Society this morning: “It is 50 years ago today that David Steel made the fateful decision to sponsor a Bill to make abortion more easily available.”

In 2015, under Steel’s tragic legislation, 509 babies were killed every single day in England and Wales alone.

Paul Lennon explains: “Having won third place in the Private Members’ ballot on 12 May, David Steel pondered on what Bill to introduce. He has said that he would initially have liked to have sponsored a Bill to create a Scottish Border development authority but the Government made it clear that they were opposed to this and Steel realised that it would have probably have been defeated on Second Reading.

Roy Jenkins

“The pro-abortion Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, suggested to Steel that he might wish to consider introducing the Sexual Offences Bill (to legalise homosexuality in England and Wales), which had just passed the House of Lords, or a Bill on abortion. (See John Campbell’s biography Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life, page 294 [2014])

“Steel apparently decided to take abortion because the Sexual Offences Bill did not extend to Scotland. The Labour MP, Leo Abse would subsequently take up the Sexual Offences Bill as a Ten Minute Rule Bill in July.

Lord Silken

“Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the Committee stage of the second of Lord Silkin’s two Bills to make abortion more easily available. The debate can be seen here.

“The anti-life Labour Peer, Lord Silkin – the Sponsor David Steel’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill when it arrived in the House of Lords – had introduced his own legislation to make abortion more easily available during the 1965-66 Session. His first Bill was introduced on 11 November 1965 and was debated on Second Reading on 30 November 1965. An attempt by pro-life Peers to kill the Bill on Second Reading was defeated by 70 votes to 8. The debate can be seen here.

“The first Bill had been introduced at the start of the 1965-66 Session. Although that Bill had completed its passage through the House of Lords, there was no Parliamentary time available for it to proceed further in the House of Commons because the 1966 General Election intervened.

“Following the election, Lord Silkin reintroduced the Bill on 26 April. It was given an unopposed Second Reading on 10 May 1966.”

The pro-life fightback

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the first pro-life group to be established anywhere in the world, began to be formed on 30th September 1966 when Elspeth Rhys-Williams (now Elspeth Chowdharay-Best) and Alan Smith (who remains a member of SPUC’s Executive Committee and Council) had a letter published in The Church Times. They asked readers, wishing to oppose David Steel’s abortion bill, to contact them at 47 Eaton Place, SW1, SPUC’s first national address.

Both Elspeth and Alan will be attending the SPUC’s 50th anniversary national conference from 23rd to 25th September 2016 in Derbyshire. Click here if you are interested in attending and would like to receive full details, or contact: katherinehampton@spuc.org.uk

Let’s pray for David Steel today (now Lord Steel of Aikwood) and for the countless millions of victims of his Abortion Bill (mothers, fathers and children) which he made the decision 50 years ago today to introduce – as well as the victims of copycat abortion legislation subsequently introduced in so many countries worldwide.

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The Blessed Virgin is so good!

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During World War One, on September 14th, in Noyon, France, a young corporal lay dying among wounded comrades. The officers had signaled to me that the poor fellow was lying in a field. When I got near him, leaning down, I said, “It’s me!”

“Who are you?” he asked. I realized that the man’s head was bleeding, his forehead was split open and his eyes had been gouged out. “I’m the chaplain,” I said, very moved, “I am here at your side!”

“Oh, Mr. Chaplain, the Blessed Virgin is so good!” Then he raised his right arm that was holding a Rosary and exclaimed: “All night long, I have been asking her to send a priest this way. I am so glad you’re here!”

He was shaking with fever. I took him to a nearby farm and dressed his wounds. He was beaming with happiness. His leg had been broken in the attack. A German passing by had given him a drink; another, at close range, shot him three times, the last bullet opening his forehead.

During his night of agony every time I bent over him, this young man kept saying: “Hail Mary …” and kept repeating: “How glad I am, Mr. Chaplain! The Holy Virgin is so good to have brought you here to me!”

He died three days later with a smile on his face.

Father Paul Doncoeur, military chaplain

(From mariedenazareth.com)

 

Our Lady promised to assist at the moment of death all those who made the Five First Saturdays in Reparation and in honour of Her Immaculate Heart.

On 10th December 1925, Sister Lucia was visited by Our Lady and the Child Jesus and the Holy Virgin said to her:

“‘Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making Reparation to Me.”

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To the Most High Trinity

trinityicon

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”.

[Catechism of the Catholic Church]

Trinity Sunday, today, marks the end of the liturgical commemoration of our Lord’s life and God’s saving work, which began last Advent. In these six months we’ve commemorated the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Baptism, the Epiphany, the Presentation, the Transfiguration, the Passion, the Death and Resurrection, the Ascension, not to mention the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Phew.

This then would surely call for an anthem today by Sir James MacMillan* (born 1959), To the Most High Trinity.

 

 

Summæ Trinitati, simplici Deo, una Divinitas, æqualis gloria, coæterna maiestas, Patri, Prolique, Sanctoque Flamini.

R: Qui totum subdit Suis orbem legibus.

Præstet nobis gratiam Deitas beata Patris ac Nati, pariterque Spiritus Almi.

R: Qui totum subdit Suis orbem legibus.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

R: Qui totum subdit Suis orbem legibus.

To the most high Trinity, God pure in essence, one Divinity, of equal glory, of coeternal majesty, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

R: Who subjects the whole world to His laws. 

May the blessed divinity of the Father, Son and equally also of the life-giving Spirit grant us grace.

R: Who subjects the whole world to His laws.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

R: Who subjects the whole world to His laws.

 

*Notes on this piece say:

This short work demonstrates MacMillan’s versatility as a composer. This has ‘coronation service’ wow factor with brass, timpani and organ making a hugely impressive entrance fanfare/motet for the new Archbishop as he entered the west door of Westminster Cathedral and processed down the centre of the nave to the high altar. It is pure musical theatre and would be a good starting work in a concert which included MacMillan’s Gloria.

The notes are not difficult for a choir to master. The work is in three sections. Fanfares and choral outbursts followed by chant in the habitual MacMillan manner interspersed with free chant in four-part harmony before a return to the opening fanfare material and a wonderfully ‘driven into the buffers at full tilt’ ending.

 

 

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A Comedy Of Manners

I grew up to the age of six in a house with ma and pa and five siblings, before my eldest sister left to start nursing. In those days families were more nuclear than atomised as they are today. We would all gather in the living room on a Saturday evening to watch this show together. Laughing along with my family (and the laughter track) is one of my earliest rememberings. There are 55 early episodes in the public domain due to a failure to renew copyright, so the one I link to is guaranteed guilt-free viewing. I hope you enjoy this marvellous humorous comedy which was made in a simpler more innocent time.

My parents moved to the UK from different parts of Ireland just after the war. They met and married in London. There was plenty of work available for them, though like immigrants everywhere they weren’t always welcomed except at church and among their own. Family togetherness substituted for their lack of social “success”. I cannot fault the upbringing they gave me. My parents did their best, and that’s good enough for me. As the fifth of six children, I entered a pretty mature family group. I worshipped my elders, and fought and played with my younger brother, as one does. We would all gather for meals and TV treats like the above.

I think this program was such a favourite with us because the Clampett’s predicaments comically mirrored our family’s own, as fish out of water. I can see now how well written and acted it was. Jed has to be one of the nicest good men ever portrayed in drama. All the characters are lovable. From what I have watched so far, there are laugh-out-loud scenes and lines every minute. Only a bitter person could not enjoy this, I guess.

Look, I know how nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, but it is my main hobby nowadays. I would hate for this show to become forgotten. It is very wholesome entertainment that deserves a new audience. Spread the word!

(Check out Wikipedia for more information).

 

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Regret

Hello readers, its Brother Burrito here (“yet again”, I hear you groan).

I beg your indulgence, and especially that of my blog colleagues, because my health has taken a down-turn recently, and this has made me a little self-observant. In the past I have often written from experience because that is all I have to write from. I don’t think anyone could see my life as noteworthy or exciting (except my mother, perhaps), but I intuit that many people feel the same way about their own lives, and so I instantly find myself in solidarity with them, in my mediocrity.

I wasn’t a rebellious teenager, at all. In fact my mum asked me once why I was so dang docile. I didn’t know the answer because I did not know what docile meant. I messed up at school for sure, but learned from my mistakes and succeeded academically before I left. I just learned nothing about teenage angst and confusion and turmoil and loneliness while I was a teenager. This was a very poor preparation for adult life. I entered the proving oven of university and beyond with barely any leavening in me. Like a sour-dough, we are meant to be leavened by the wild yeasts that enter the brew unintentionally. My upbringing had been too clean

Short-cuts always make for long delays. I finally came a-cropper in my late twenties when I suddenly found myself bereft of all the people and things I had become dependent on. My romance had gone south and my friends had deserted me because they thought I had gone weird, but the hardest part was when my Psion Organiser 2, which held all my contacts, died without warning, just when I needed it most. Why hadn’t I just written stuff down on paper? Geek-pride, I suppose. I was up the creek without a paddle.

It took a lot of digging to get me out of that pothole in my life, and this taught me a lot about soul survival. I was then living in a hospital room, and owned no property. Existence was very day to day. In my loneliness I hooked up with a nurse I worked with who was in similar straits. It didn’t last long, and just left us both feeling worse than before we’d met. Emergency romance is never a good idea.

I came upon this song by New Order called “Regret”. The tune is melodic to my ears, and the lyrics resonate with my experiences of that time closely enough. The closing septuplet is particularly resonant:

I would like a place I could call my own
Have a conversation on the telephone
Wake up every day that would be a start
I would not complain about my wounded heart

Just wait till tomorrow
I guess that’s what they all say
Just before they fall apart.

PS: My concentration and memory are so poor at the moment that I can hardly read a paragraph of text without losing the thread. I have been consuming music videos instead. The music helps my train of thought. I can only compose articles by making up the sentences as I go along, and then regularly proof reading it. Perhaps Toad can confirm that’s how the professionals do it? God bless!

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Trinity Sunday: Shared glory, Majesty’s gift

The Trinity is the hardest, most mysterious of all dogmas.

There is a logic to the timing of this feast.

We focus on the Son’s Ascension to the Father, then the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and then the Triune God the Sunday after.

God the Father created us through the Son who redeemed us and revealed us more fully to ourselves (GS 22). God the Holy Ghost sanctifies us in Christ’s Holy Church so we can enjoy communion in the Trinity in the life to come.

Here is Sunday’s Collect:

Deus Pater, qui, Verbum veritatis et Spiritum sanctificationis mittens in mundum, admirabile mysterium tuum hominibus declarasti, da nobis, in confessione verae fidei, aeternae gloriam Trinitatis agnoscere, et Unitatem adorare in potentia maiestatis.

This is glued together from new material and part of the 1962 Collect.  The phrase admirabile mysterium is used to describe the Trinity in the minutes of the summit of June 411 in Carthage between Catholic and Donatist bishops. St Augustine of Hippo (d 430), whose work On the Trinity was the first great work of systematic theology in Latin, was a major player at that meeting.

SUPER LITERAL VERSION:

O God the Father, who, sending the Word of Truth and the Spirit of sanctification into the world, declared Your astonishing mystery to men, grant us, in the confession of true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and to adore the Unity in the might of majesty.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):

God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.

Someone may have been on autopilot in adding that “we pray”.  Our Latin prayers often have some phrase like “tribue, quaesumus“.  This prayer doesn’t.

In this prayer I hear echoes of manifestations (epiphanies) of the Trinity in Scripture: at Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan when the Holy Spirit was seen as a dove and the voice of the Father was heard (cfLuke 3) and when Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of Peter, John and James (cf Matthew 17). God “made known, manifested, showed, proclaimed publicly” (declarasti, a shortening of declaravisti, from declaro) the wondrous mystery (admirabile mysterium) that He is Three in One, a Trinity of divine Persons, God the Father, God the Word of Truth, God the Spirit of sanctification, One God.  It is necessary for true Christian Faith (vera fides) that we recognize (agnoscere – “announce, allow, or admit a thing to be one’s own, to acknowledge, own”) that God is Triune, One God having one divine nature in a perfect unity of three distinct Divine Persons. Man can reason toward this truth on his own, as ancient Greek Neoplatonic philosophers did.  They almost got there, too.  Only by the gift of Faith can we profess (confiteor) this mystery in an authentically Christian way.  What reason and intellect straive after, revelation and the grace of faith must complete.

In our Collect we adore the gloria Trinitatis, the maiestas Unitatis. They have “power” (potentia). “Glory” and “majesty” in our liturgical prayers boom with the Last Things.

Maiestas is conceptually related in the writings of the Latin Fathers to gloria, Greek doxa and Hebrew kabodMaiestas and gloria are more than simple splendor. They express our recognition of God as God.  They also indicate the mighty divine characteristic which God will share with us and by which we will be transformed. The transforming glory we will receive in heaven was foreshadowed in Moses’ meetings with God, when He descended like a cloud upon the tent.  After these meetings Moses’ face shone so brightly that he had to wear a veil.

Declare God’s glory in all you say and do.

Marvel, friends, at the gift that awaits us, when we die in God’s friendship.  We will no longer have to grope for a glimpse God as if through some dark glass, as if through a cleft in the rock.

Face to face we shall meet MYSTERY.

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Catholics have filled the internet with venom and vitriol, says Vatican media advisor

From the Catholic Herald

Fr Thomas Rosica (AP)

Fr Thomas Rosica said many Catholics were guilty of character assassination and ‘being against everyone and everything’

Many Catholics on the internet are uncharitable and disturbed individuals, the Vatican’s English-language media advisor has said.

Speaking to the DeSales Media Group of Brooklyn diocese, Fr Thomas Rosica said: “Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!

“The character assassination on the internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around.”

Fr Rosica described internet bloggers and commentators as “obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices”.

He urged Catholics to pray for such people, “who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners.”

Fr Rosica was appointed by Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2009. He has since worked with Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, in relating to English-speaking media, and is closely involved with the media group Salt + Light TV. Fr Rosica was speaking after the DeSales group awarded him the St Francis DeSales Distinguished Communicator Award.

Fr Rosica said St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists, was remembered today for insisting on “the call to holiness for all people in all walks of life”, and the necessity of serving God at every moment and in the ordinary circumstances of life.

Fr Rosica said Catholics should be known online, not as “the people who are against everyone and everything”, but as people who have something positive to offer – “the Good News that the Lord has asked us to spread”.

He praised Pope Francis for “rebranding” the Church and for encouraging a practice of dialogue. “Let us learn from him how to model this badly needed kindness, goodness, mercy and joy to a wounded world and broken humanity around us,” Fr Rosica said.

This should spur some debate on CP&S!- Ed ;) 

 

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