Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 10-Charity and Social Action

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

Mental Picture (cf. Luke 10:30-37): A wounded man unconscious at the side of a road. A stranger romes up, glances at the figure, walks around it, and continues on his way. A second stranger does same. A third stranger comes up, takes one look, and does everything he can to help the victim, even at the cost of much self-sacrifice. Christ asks: "Which of these was a neighbor?" The answer comes back: "He who showed mercy." Christ replies: "Go and do likewise."

My Personal Application: "Well, I have never passed by any stranger lying wounded on the road." Are you sure? You have probably seen the slums of a big city and the terrible conditions in which these people live. Have you ever even thought of trying to help them'? You have heard of the terrible poverty in many foreign countries. After hearing about it have you turned away, unconcerned? Do you understand Catholic social teaching and what it should mean in your life? Perhaps you should make inquiries. For it is in matters like slums and poverty-stricken foreign countries that many modern Christians pass by their neighbor lying wounded on the road.

I Speak to Christ: Lord, give me light to under­stand that modern life calls for new applications of your parable about the Good Samaritan.

Thought for Today: "Go and do likewise."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Peter Claver, Priest

Optional Memorial: Our Lady's Saturday

From: Luke 6:1-5

The Law of the Sabbath

[1] On a Sabbath, while He (Jesus) was going through the grainfields, His disciples plucked and ate some ears of grain, rubbing them in their hands. [2] But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are You doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?" [3] And Jesus answered, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: [4] how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?" [5] And he said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."


1-5. Accused by the Pharisees of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus explains the correct way of understanding the Sabbath rest, using an example from the Old Testament. And, by stating that He is "Lord of the Sabbath" He is openly revealing that He is God Himself, for it was God who gave this precept to the people of Israel. For more on this, see the notes on Matthew 12:2 and 12:3-8.

[The notes on Matthew 12:2 and 12:3-8 states:
2. "The Sabbath": this was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God Himself, the originator of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Exodus 20:8-11; 21:13; Deuteronomy 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this divine precept: by Jesus' time they had extended to 39 the list of kinds of forbidden work.

The Pharisees accuse Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath. In the casuistry of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling-types of agricultural work forbidden on the Sabbath.

3-8. Jesus rebuts the Pharisees' accusation by four arguments-the example of David, that of the priests, a correct understanding of the mercy of God and Jesus' own authority over the Sabbath.

The first example which was quite familiar to the people, who were used to listening to the Bible being read, comes from 1 Samuel 21:2-7: David, in flight from the jealousy of King Saul, asks the priest of the shrine of Nob for food for his men; the priest gave them the only bread he had, the holy bread of the Presence; this was the twelve loaves which were placed each week on the golden altar of the sanctuary as a perpetual offering from the twelve tribes of Israel (Leviticus 24:5-9). The second example refers to the priestly ministry to perform the liturgy, priests had to do a number of things on the Sabbath but did not thereby break the law of Sabbath rest (cf. Numbers 28:9).]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 9-Charity and Race

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Charity is based on what we know is right, not on feelings. We know that in God's sight all men are basically equal because all men share or can share in God's own life through sancti­tying grace. Often our likes and dislikes lead us to be uncharitable toward individuals in words or deeds. Often our likes or dislikes lead us to be uncharitable toward a whole race. Our feelings, our surroundings, or the attitude of those about us shape our actions instead of the Golden Rule of Christ. In many parts of the world today hatred of races is a terrible problem. It is a problem that will be solved only by the charity of Christ. Only a Christlike understanding of both sides and a Christlike effort to remove the causes will end the un-Christian blight of racial hatred. And I have the duty in charity to make this effort.

My Personal Application: In my attitude toward those of another race - Negro, Jew, Spanish-­American, Oriental, white, whatever race it may be - am I influenced by those around me or by Christ? The Golden Rule practiced out of love for God - so easy to understand, so difficult to practice!

I Speak to God: God, give me strength to make sure I have a Christlike attitude toward all men, no matter who they are or what they do.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar." (1 John 4:20)
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Is Wal-Mart Caving In?

From the American TFP:
Wal-Mart has capitalized on its image of catering to the interests of mainstream America. If that is the case, one wonders why Wal-Mart has caved in to a small radical minority. Recently the retail giant has asked to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to expand its economic ties with LGBT-owned and friendly businesses.
To register your protest to this move, click here.

New Traditionalist Institute Approved by the Vatican

Sep. 08 ( - The Vatican has established a new religious institute to accommodate priests and seminarians leaving the schismatic Society of St. Pius X, the I Media news agency report.

The new group, the Good Shepherd community, will be located in Bordeaux. Members will be allowed to celebrate Mass using the traditional liturgy exclusively.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio - news), the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, signed the decree establishing the Good Shepherd community on September 8. The institute will be a "society of apostolic life," under the supervision of the Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Religious.

Pope Benedict: Rights to life, family, are "non-negotiable"

Sep. 08 ( - Pope Benedict XVI laid out some "non-negotiable principles" during a September 8 meeting with a new ambassador from Chile to the Holy See.
More from Catholic World News here.

"...mention must first be made of the right to life in all phases of its development and in whatever situation it may be; ... the right to form a family based on the bonds of love and faithfulness established in marriage between a man and a woman, something which must be protected and supported; ... and the primary right to educate children according to the ideals with which the parents want to enrich them." . . .
From the Vatican Information Service here.

Sept 18-22, Covenant Network's Semi-Annual Radiothon

The Covenant Network of local Catholic radio stations will host its semi-annual 2006 radiothon later this month. Volunteers are being sought to help out before, during and after the event.

The radiothon will run 6:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Sept. 18-22, on all seven stations of the network, including the two St. Louis area stations, WRYT-AM (1080) and KHOJ-AM (1460). The event also will be broadcast on the network’s five FM low-power repeater stations.

Hosting the on-air pledge drive from Covenant Network’s studio at 3515 Hampton Ave. in St. Louis will be Jerry Usher, who anchors the popular syndicated radio program "Catholic Answers Live." Special programming and local and national guests will be featured during the week’s activities.

To volunteer for the radiothon or make a pledge, call (314) 752-7000 or toll free at (877) 305-1234

Oct 13- Opus Dei Anniversary Dinner with Scott & Kimberly Hahn

Catholic apologists Scott and Kimberly Hahn will be the featured speakers at a celebration next month marking the 50th anniversary of Opus Dei in St. Louis.

A dinner marking the occasion will take place Friday, Oct. 13, at the St. Charles Convention Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m. Father Peter Armenio, vicar for Opus Dei in the Midwest, will provide introductory remarks.

Participants will rediscover how to find God in ordinary life, raise a Catholic family and foster within children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews a desire to serve God as He wants to be served.

Cost is $40 per person, if registration and payment is received by Friday, Sept. 15. Cost is $50 after Sept. 15.

The final deadline for registrations is Friday, Oct. 6.

To register or for more information, visit www.begi or call Patrice Westman at (636) 537-3052 or Cleve Tegtmeyer at (314) 831-0495.

(Source: St Louis Review, Sept 8)

Opus Dei celebrates 50th anniversary in St. Louis

On Sept. 5, 1956, a priest and layman from Chicago embarked on a car trip to St. Louis to spread the message that lay Catholics should strive to be saints in their ordinary lives.

Their journey served as the official beginning of Wespine House on West Pine Boulevard in the Central West End, the first Opus Dei center in St. Louis.

Today, the apostolate celebrates 50 years in St. Louis, the only part of the state in which Opus Dei has centers. Almost 90 laypeople are considered members here.

About 20 single members known as numeraries, live in Wespine Study Center for men, directed by Norbert Carballo; and Lindell Center for women, directed by Kathy Carroll. Both are located in Kirkwood.

There also are about 70 supernumeraries here, married people or single people called to the married life.

"The vocation is the same for both supernumeraries and numeraries — to become a saint in their ordinary life," said Father Michael Giesler, one of two Opus Dei priests in St. Louis who serve as chaplains at the centers. The other is Father Jay Alvarez.

Father Giesler said there has been a steady stream of vocations to the apostolate since its beginning here 50 years ago. About 90 percent of people who have joined the apostolate in St. Louis have since spread out across the world and remain involved.

The priest noted that supernumerary members have always outnumbered numeraries. Worldwide, supernumeraries make up more than two-thirds of the membership of about 87,000.

The local apostolate also reaches out to other areas elsewhere in Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Southern Illinois and Nebraska, where centers are not present.

Founded in 1928 by Spanish priest St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, Opus Dei was given the status of a personal prelature by Pope John Paul II in 1982. The title is given to an apostolate that is organized for a special pastoral purpose and placed under the direction of a bishop (prelate) with jurisdiction over the members.

Father Giesler, a Chicago native who has been in St. Louis since 1989, said he became interested in Opus Dei in 1962 as a high school senior. He learned of the apostolate through a high school English teacher, who was a supernumerary member.

An outstanding article on Opus Dei in St. Louis by Review Staff Writer, Jennifer Brinker.

Gospel for Sept 8, Feast: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

The Ancestry of Jesus Christ

[1] The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.[2] Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, [3] and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, [4] and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahson, and Nahson the father of Salmon, [5] and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz due father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, [6] and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, [7] and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, [8] and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, [9] and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, [10] and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, [11] and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

[12] And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, [13] and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, [14] and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Aching and Achim the father of Eliud, [15] and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, [16] and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

The Virginal Conception of Jesus, and His Birth

[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; [19] and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. [20] But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; [21] she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: [23] "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and His name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means God with us).


1. This verse is a kind of title to St Matthew's entire Gospel. The promises God made to Abraham for the salvation of mankind (Gen 12:3) are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as is Nathan's prophecy to King David of an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam 7:12-16).

The genealogy presented here by St Matthew shows Jesus' human ancestry and also indicates that salvation history has reached its climax with the birth of the Son of God through the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the expected Messiah.

The genealogy is presented in a framework of three series, each consisting of fourteen links which show the progressive development of salvation history.

For the Jews (and for other Eastern peoples of nomadic origin) genealogical trees were of great importance because a person's identity was especially linked to family and tribe, with place of birth taking secondary importance. In the case of the Jewish people there was the added religious significance of belonging by blood to the chosen people.

In Christ's time each family still kept a careful record of its genealogical tree, since because of it people acquired rights and duties.

6. Four women are named in these genealogies--Tamar (cf. Gen 38; 1 Chron 2:4), Rahab (cf. Josh 2:6,17), Bathsheba (cf. 2 Sam 11:12, 24) and Ruth (cf. Book of Ruth). These four foreign women, who in one way or another are brought into the history of Israel, are one sign among many others of God's design to save all men.

By mentioning sinful people, God's ways are shown to be different from man's. God will sometimes carry out his plan of salvation by means of people whose conduct has not been just. God saves us, sanctifies us and chooses us to do good despite our sins and infidelities--and he chose to leave evidence of this at various stages in the history of our salvation.

11. The deportation to Babylon, described in 2 Kings 24-25, fulfilled the prophets' warning to the people of Israel and their kings that they would be punished for their infidelity to the commandments of the Law of God, especially the first commandment.

16. Jewish genealogies followed the male line. Joseph, being Mary's husband, was the legal father of Jesus. The legal father is on a par with the real father as regards rights and duties. This fact provides a sound basis for recognizing St Joseph as Patron of the whole Church, since he was chosen to play a very special role in God's plan for our salvation; with St Joseph as his legal father, Jesus the Messiah has David as his ancestor.

Since it was quite usual for people to marry within their clan, it can be concluded that Mary belonged to the house of David. Several early Fathers of the Church testify to this--for example, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Irenaeus, St Justin and Tertullian, who base their testimony on an unbroken oral tradition.

It should also be pointed out that when St Matthew comes to speak of the birth of Jesus, he uses an __expression which is completely different from that used for the other people in the genealogy. With these words the text positively teaches that Mary conceived Jesus while still a virgin, without the intervention of man.

18. St. Matthew relates here how Christ was conceived (cf. Luke 1:25-38): "We truly honor and venerate (Mary) as Mother of God, because she gave birth to a person who is at the same time both God and man" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 4, 7).

According to the provisions of the Law of Moses, engagement took place about one year before marriage and enjoyed almost the same legal validity. The marriage proper consisted, among other ceremonies, in the bride being brought solemnly and joyously to her husband's house (cf. Deuteronomy 20:7).

From the moment of engagement onwards, a certificate of divorce was needed in the event of a break in the relationship between the couple.

The entire account of Jesus' birth teaches, through the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (which is expressly quoted in verses 22-23) that: 1) Jesus has David as His ancestor since Joseph is His legal father; 2) Mary is the Virgin who gives birth according to the prophecy; 3) the Child's conception without the intervention of man was miraculous.

19. "St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. That is why Scripture praises Joseph as `a just man'. In Hebrew a just man means a good and faithful servant of God, someone who fulfills the divine will (cf. Genesis 7:1; 18:23-32; Ezekiel 18:5ff.; Proverbs 12:10), or who is honorable and charitable toward his neighbor (cf. Tobias 7:6; 9:6). So a just man is someone who loves God and proves his love by keeping God's commandments and directing his whole life towards the service of his brothers, his fellow men" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 40).

Joseph considered his spouse to be holy despite the signs that she was going to have a child. He was therefore faced with a situation he could not explain. Precisely because he was trying to do God's will, he felt obliged to put her away; but to shield her from public shame he decided to send her away quietly.

Mary's silence is admirable. Her perfect surrender to God even leads her to the extreme of not defending her honor or innocence. She prefers to suffer suspicion and shame rather than reveal the work of grace in her. Faced with a fact which was inexplicable in human terms she abandons herself confidently to the love and providence of God. God certainly submitted the holy souls of Joseph and Mary to a severe trial. We ought not to be surprised if we also undergo difficult trials in the course of our lives. We ought to trust in God during them, and remain faithful to Him, following the example they gave us.

20. God gives His light to those who act in an upright way and who trust in His power and wisdom when faced with situations which exceed human understanding. By calling him the son of David, the angel reminds Joseph that he is the providential link which joins Jesus with the family of David, according to Nathan's messianic prophecy (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12). As St. John Chrysostom says: "At the very start he straightaway reminds him of David, of whom the Christ was to spring, and he does not wish him to be worried from the moment he reminds him, through naming his most illustrious ancestor, of the promise made to all his lineage" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 4).

"The same Jesus Christ, our only Lord, the Son of God, when He assumed human flesh for us in the womb of the Virgin, was not conceived like other men, from the seed of man, but in a manner transcending the order of nature, that is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that the same person, remaining God as He was from eternity, became man, which He was not before" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 4, 1).

21. According to the Hebrew root, the name Jesus means "savior". After our Lady, St. Joseph is the first person to be told by God that salvation has begun.

"Jesus is the proper name of the God-man and signifies `Savior'--a name given Him not accidentally, or by the judgment or will of man, but by the counsel and command of God" [...]. All other names which prophecy gave to the Son of God--Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (cf. Isaiah 9:6)--are comprised in this one name Jesus; for while they partially signified the salvation which He was to bestow on us, this name included the force and meaning of all human salvation" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 3, 5 and 6).

23. "Emmanuel": the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, quoted in this verse, foretold about 700 years in advance that God's salvation would be marked by the extraordinary event of virgin giving birth to a son. The Gospel here, therefore, reveals two truths.

First, that Jesus is in fact the God-with-us foretold by the prophet. This is how Christian tradition has always understood it. Indeed the Church has officially condemned an interpretation denying the messianic sense of the Isaiah text (cf. Pius VI, Brief, "Divina", 1779). Christ is truly God-with-us, therefore, not only because of His God-given mission but because He is God made man (cf. John 1:14). This does not mean that Jesus should normally be called Emmanuel, for this name refers more directly to the mystery of His being the Incarnate Word. At the Annunciation the angel said that He should be called Jesus, that is, Savior. And that was the name St. Joseph gave Him.

The second truth revealed to us by the sacred text is that Mary, in whom the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 is fulfilled, was a virgin before and during the birth itself. The miraculous sign given by God that salvation had arrived was precisely that a woman would be a virgin and a mother at the same time.

"Jesus Christ came forth from His mother's womb without injury to her maternal virginity. This immaculate and perpetual virginity forms, therefore, the just theme of our eulogy. Such was the work of the Holy Spirit, who at the conception and birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 4, 8).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 8-Charity in Deeds

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Unless I treat my neighbor as I would want him to treat me, I am not giving a satis­factory expression of my love for God. For when I am uncharitable toward my neighbor, I am uncharitable toward God. By talking about the faults of my neighbor I can act uncharitably toward him. By treating him in an un-Christlike manner I act uncharitably toward him. How would Christ want me to act toward the new family in the neighborhood... the new student at school... the new employee at the office... the shy person at a party...the poor... those who have physical handicaps... those who take advantage of me... those who disagree with me... those who insult me... those in authority?

My Personal Application: Christlikeness toward those whom we naturally tend to dislike or who need our help in a special way is a wonderful expression of our love for God. This is what Christ expects of His followers. Yet so many people who say they are Christians do not even realize what charity demands. Do I let their attitudes determine my attitudes? The Golden Rule of Christ: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How easy to understand, how difficult to practice!

I Speak to God: God, charity in deeds must be a characteristic of my life. Help me to see how.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar." (1 John 4:20)
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

US Government to Authorize Nazi-Like Human Experiments

Source: Pro-Family Law Center
Author: Richard D. Ackerman
Abstract: The FDA is presently considering guidelines that would allow scientists to conduct "emergency research" on patients without any informed consent. PFLC is launching a direct challenge to these proposed regulations which would allow Nazi-like experimentation on human beings.

Do you remember from history what the Nazi party and Joseph Mengele did to human subjects during WWII? These reprobates conducted dangerous [and deadly] medical experiments on innocent people without consent...Your government is proposing to do the same thing in 2006 !!!

The Pro-Family Law Center has just discovered that the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is considering new rules that would allow scientists and doctors to conduct "emergency research" on unconscious or other incapacitated patients. This "emergency research" could be conducted without any informed consent from the patient or their designated representative. The proposed regulations known as "Guidance for Institutional Review Boards, Clinical Investigators, and Sponsors; Exception from Informed Consent for Emergency Research" are set for public hearing on October 30, 2006. Most American citizens have no idea that this hearing is to take place. Moreover, most wouldn't know what to do about it.

HT to Darla M. for the link.

Electoral wolves deck out in sheeps' clothing

From Catholic Citizens of Illinois:

CCI NOTES: Bringing crass and value-free politics to a new low, even for the "anything goes" Democratic National Party, a new web site has been announced called ""

According the Chicago Tribune, the site's founders said "the seed was planted after 2004 when there was a lot of hand-wringing going on and a lot of people were wondering how on Earth Democrats failed to convey a sense of faith and values in that election." Are they really that stupid? CCI readers, along most other Christians, may wonder how the Democrats will gain any credibility, given the DNC's support for abortion on demand, homosexual rights, government education, and general hostility to families.

Perhaps the new site's board members - Clinton apologist Mike McCurry, who was Clinton's press secretary, and Minyon Moore, who advised Clinton and Jesse Jackson Sr. - will add the necessary rhetorical flim-flam to fool Christian voters this Fall.

Maronite bishops chastise Hizbullah

BKIRKI: Lebanon's influential Council of Maronite Bishops barely veiled its criticism of Hizbullah on Wednesday, saying some factions were monopolizing the country's decisions and leading the Lebanese to "unwanted situations."

In a strongly worded statement, the council, headed by Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, called on the Lebanese to take full advantage and "benefit from the international embrace they are enjoying at the moment."

"There are 18 sects in Lebanon with equal rights and duties," the statement said. "But in reality, we see that some groups are monopolizing the decision-making process and leading the country to unwanted situations."

Referring to Hizbullah, the council said: "A Lebanese faction continues to bear weapons despite the Israeli withdrawal from most of the South in 2000. This continues to be in violation of the Taif Accord."

Gospel for Thursday, 22nd Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 5:1-11

The Miraculous Catch of Fish and the Calling of the First Disciples

[1] While the people pressed upon Him (Jesus) to hear the word of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. [2] And He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. [3] Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, He asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. [4] And when He had ceased speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." [5] And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." [6] And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, [7] they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. [8] But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." [9] For he was astonished, and all that were with Him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; [10] And so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." [11] And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.


1. "Just as they do today! Can't you see? They want to hear God's message, even though outwardly they may not show it. Some perhaps haveforgotten Christ's teachings. Others, through no fault of their own, have never known them and they think that religion is something odd. But of this we can be sure, that in every man's life there comes a time sooner or later when his soul draws the line. He has had enough of the usual explanations. The lies of the false prophets no longer satisfy. Even though they may not admit it at the time, such people are longing to quench their thirst with the teachings of our Lord" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 260).

3. The Fathers saw in Simon's boat a symbol of the pilgrim Church on earth. "This is the boat which according to St. Matthew was in danger of sinking and according to St. Luke was filled with fish. Here we can see the difficult beginnings of the Church and its later fruitfulness" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc."). Christ gets into the boat in order to teach the crowds--and from the barque of Peter, the Church, He continues to teach the whole world.

Each of us can also see himself as this boat Christ uses for preaching. Externally no change is evident: "What has changed? There is a change inside our soul, now that Christ has come aboard, as He went aboard Peter's boat. Its horizon has been expanded. It feels a greater ambition to serve and an irrepressible desire to tell all creation about the "magnalia Dei" (Acts 2:11), the marvellous doings of our Lord, if only we let Him work" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 265).

4. "When He had finished His catechizing, He told Simon: `Put out into the deep, and lower your nets for a catch.' Christ is the master of this boat. He it is who prepares the fishing. It is for this that He has come into the world, to do all He can so that His brothers may find the way to glory and to the love of the Father" ("Friends of God", 260). To carry this task out, our Lord charges all of them to cast their nets, but it is only Peter He tells to put out into the deep.

This whole passage refers in some way to the life of the Church. In the Church the bishop of Rome, Peter's successor, "is the vicar of Jesus Christ because he represents Him on earth and acts for Him in the government of the Church" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 195). Christ is also addressing each one of us, urging us to be daring in apostolate: `"Duc in altum. Put out into deep water!' Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you. `Et laxate retia vestra in capturam. And pay out you nets for a catch.' Don't you see that you, like Peter, can say: `In nomine tuo, laxabo rete': Jesus, if You say so, I will search for souls?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 792).

"If you were to fall into the temptation of wondering, `Who's telling me to embark on this?', we would have reply, `Christ Himself is telling you, is begging you.' `The harvest is plentiful enough, but the laborers are few. You must ask the Lord to whom the harvest belongs to send laborers out for the harvesting' (Matthew 9:37-38). Don't take the easy way out. Don't say, `I'm no good at this sort of thing; there are others who can do it; it isn't my line.' No, for this sort of thing, there is no one else: if you could get away with that argument, so could everyone else. Christ's plea is addressed to each and every Christian. No one can consider himself exempt, for whatever reason--age, health or occupation. There are no excuses whatsoever.
Either we carry out a fruitful apostolate, or our faith will prove barren" ("Friends of God", 272).

5. When Christ gives him these instructions, Peter states the difficulties involved. "A reasonable enough reply. The night hours were the normal time for fishing, and this time the catch had yielded nothing. What was the point of fishing by day? But Peter has faith: `But at Your word I will let down the nets.' He decides to act on Christ's suggestion. He undertakes the work relying entirely on the word of our Lord" ("Friends of God", 261).

8. Peter does not want Christ to leave him; aware of his sins, he declares his unworthiness to be near Christ. This reminds us of the attitude of the centurion who confesses his unworthiness to receive Jesus into his house (Matthew 8:8). The Church requires her children to repeat these exact words of the centurion before receiving the Blessed Eucharist. She also teaches us to show due external reverence to the Blessed Sacrament when going to Communion: by falling down on his knees Peter also shows that internal adoration of God should be also be expressed externally.

11. Perfection is not simply a matter of leaving all things but of doing so in order to follow Christ--which is what the Apostles did: they gave up everything in order to be available to do what God's calling involved.

We should develop this attitude of availability, for "Jesus isn't satisfied `going halves': He wants the lot" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 155).

If we don't give ourselves generously we will find it very difficult to follow Jesus: "Detach yourself from people and things until you are stripped of them. For, says Pope St. Gregory, the devil has nothing of his own in this world, and naked he comes to battle. If you go clothed to fight him, you will soon be pulled to the ground: for he will have something to catch you by" ("The Way", 149).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 7-Charity in Speech

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: In looking for our expressions of love for Him, God does not pay as much attention to what we tell Him in prayer as to what we tell Him by our actions. One of the easiest actions in which to offend God in our neighbor is to harm his reputation. Many people seem to have the idea that they can say anything they want about their acquaintances as long as it is true. This is simply not so. I must never say anything bad about my neighbor, even if it is true, without a serious reason. My neighbor has a right to his good name. He has a right not to have people discuss his mistakes and shortcomings without good reason. He has a right to be thought well of unless his being thought well of would do real harm to others. If I talk about his faults without this serious reason, I violate his rights. I also offend God who is, or wants to be, my neighbor's friend.

My Personal Application: It is very, very easy to become careless in talking about people. Let me look back over yesterday's conversations. Did I really talk about my neighbor as I would have wanted him to talk about me? Did I really?

I Speak to God: God, help me realize that in speaking against my neighbor I speak against you, for he shares, or at least can share, in your life through sanctifying grace.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar." (1 John 4:20)
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Ground-breaking for New Catholic High School

A new Catholic high school born of dreams, passion and a sense of duty to the future has begun taking shape in Dardenne Prairie.

Barat Academy's founders broke ground Tuesday on what will become a private, independent Catholic high school. It is scheduled to open in fall of next year to the first 150 of those students - 75 girls and 75 boys - and add about 150 students a year over the following three years. It will be the first new Catholic high school built in the St. Louis Archdiocese in nearly 40 years.
. . .
The school has the backing of Archbishop Raymond Burke, who granted his approval for its formation. Barat Academy will have a board of directors, but it also will have a church-recognized board called the Association of the Christian Faithful to maintain the school's philosophy and Catholicity.

Democratic Leadership Blocks Parental Notice Bill

From the Illinois Federation for Right to Life:
Senate Democratic Leadership Blocks Advance of Parental Notice Bill

September is last chance to pass bill this year!

Despite a 65 to 34 vote in the U.S. Senate on July 25 to pass a bill to prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortions in violation of parents' rights, the Senate Democratic leadership is using extraordinary procedural tactics to try to kill the bill.

To read a detailed report on the current legislative situation, please visit:

Your help is criticially needed to win enactment of this vitally important legislation. Time is of the essence - after returning from a month-long recess on September 5, Congress has only five weeks of session left before recessing on about October 6 to campaign full-time before the November 7 congressional elections!

Sign the IFRL CCPA Petition today at:

World Apostolate of Fatima - Worldwide Day of Prayer

Worldwide Day of Prayer,
Sunday 8th October 2006

Through its members present in over 50 nations, the international office of our Apostolate is organising the second Worldwide Day of Prayer on Sunday 8th October. The prayer intention remains the same: To uphold the Sacredness of Human Life, from conception until natural death, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Mother of the Life Within”.

The opening campaign last year was a great success. Almost 22 million worldwide prayer registrations were recorded, and despite very limited last-minute publicity, almost 299,000 prayer registrations were received direct from England by the International Secretariat in Fatima. It is estimated that the total actual prayers offered up amounted to some 100 million. This year, we invite you to help us increase that figure to one Billion prayers !

The invitation to join in this worldwide prayer chain for Life, is extended to everyone who believes that each human being is of infinite value, being made in the image and likeness of God. To make participation as simple and easy as possible, each person can choose when and where they wish to pray on the 8th October, and either pray the Rosary or pro-life prayers of their own preference. All that the WAF asks is: Please join with us in praying – there is nothing else to join or pay !

Hence the only commitment requested is to make and fulfil a promise to pray for this intention on Sunday 8th October, and if possible, so that a count can be made, to register the promise with the International Secretariat of the World Apostolate at Fatima, on their website:

or by email at:,

or by Fax on: 00 351 249 539 864.

Alternatively, promises to pray may be registered at the office of the WAF in Exeter, whose address is at the end of this message.

The WAF has produced an A4 poster and some A5 flyers, depicting the beautiful recently-sculpted statue of the “Mother of the Life Within”, with the Blessed Virgin and the infant Jesus on her lap. You can print and download them from the following links - but to avoid problems, you might need to open your Adobe Reader program before downloading the poster and flyer. If you don’t have this program, download it first from: for the A4 poster, and for the A5 flyer

Please note that if you wish to display the poster or the flyer on a parish Notice Board, we request that you observe the policy of this Apostolate and refrain from doing so until you have first shown them to the Parish Priest and obtained his permission.

If you cannot produce your own copies, you can request them from the WAF Exeter office, enclosing SAE and an appropriate donation (postage stamps are acceptable). Thank you for whatever support you can give to this prayer campaign, including, of course, your prayers.

Please copy and circulate this notice

Tim Tindal-Robertson
WAF National President, England & Wales
30 Aldrin Road, EXETER, Devon EX4 5DN
Tel/Fax: 01392 433256


May Our Lady raise up an army of souls throughout the world, united in the heart-felt conviction that when enough people join in, she will answer our prayers and overcome the ever-advancing “culture of death”, in the same way that the godless tyranny of the former Soviet Union eventually dissolved itself, peacefully and from within, following Pope John Paul II’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25th March 1984. Ave Maria !

World Health Organization (WHO) Promotes Abortion

From C-FAM
A new report from WHO has been found by C-FAM Fellow Doug Sylva and in his bi-weekly column reveals how WHO promotes abortion even in countries where abortion is restricted. It is vital for our friends around the world to know that this threat is coming at you under the guise of good health!

Gospel for Wednesday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 4:38-44

The Cure of Peter's Mother-In-Law

[38] And He (Jesus) arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought Him for her. [39] And He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them.

Other Cures

[40] Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. [41] And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But He rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Other Cities in Judea

[42] And when it was day He departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them; [43] but He said to them, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." [44] And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.


38-39. In the public life of Jesus we find many touching episodes (cf. for example Luke 19:1; John 2:1) which show the high regard He had for everyday family life.

Here we can clearly see the effectiveness of prayer on behalf of other people: "No sooner did they pray to the Savior", St. Jerome says, "than He immediately healed the sick; from this we learn that He also listens to the prayers of the faithful for help against sinful passions" ("Expositio In Evangelium Sec. Lucam, in loc.").

St. John Chrysostom refers to this total, instantaneous cure: "Since this was a curable type of illness He displayed His power through the way He brought healing, doing what medicine could not do. Even after being cured of fever, patients need time to recover their former strength, but here the cure was instantaneous" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 27).

The Fathers saw in this lady's fever a symbol of concupiscence: "Peter's mother-in-law's fever represents our flesh affected by various illnesses and concupiscences; our fever is passion, our fever is lust, our fever is anger--vices which, although they affect the body, perturb the soul, the mind and the feelings" (St. Ambrose, "Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.").

On the practical consequences of this St. Cyril says: "Let us receive Jesus Christ, because when He visits us and we take Him into our minds and hearts, even our worst passions are extinguished and we are kept safe to serve Him, that is, to do what pleases Him" ("Hom. 28 In Mattheum").

43. Our Lord again stresses one of the reasons why He has come into the world. St. Thomas, when discussing the purpose of the Eucharist, says that Christ "came into the world, first, to make the truth known, as He Himself says: `for this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth' (John 18:37). Hence it was not fitting that He should hide Himself by leading a solitary life, but rather that He should appear openly and preach in public. For this reason He tells those who wanted to detain Him, `I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.' Secondly, He came in order to free men from sin; as the Apostle says, `Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (1 Timothy 1:15). This is why Chrysostom says, `Although Christ might, while staying in the same place, have drawn all men to Himself to hear His preaching, He did not do so--in order to give us the example to go out and seek the lost sheep, as the shepherd does, or as the doctor does, who visits the sick person.' Thirdly, He came so that `we might obtain access to God' (Romans 5:2)" ("Summa Theologiae", III, q. 40, a. 1, c.).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Adoremus: We Do Need Holy Days

What message is sent when Bishops move (or remove) Holy Days from the Church calendar?

Adoremus Editor’s note: In recent years, several national bishops’ conferences have transferred Holy Days of Obligation -- days in addition to Sundays on which Catholics are required attend Mass -- from the dates on which they have traditionally been celebrated to the nearest Sunday, or have eliminated the requirement altogether. The calendar for the universal Church includes ten of these days (see sidebar). But observance of these days varies widely from country to country. British journalist Joanna Bogle comments on the recent calendar change in the Church in England and Wales.

The Moral Law

"How will anyone be able to satisfy these with bread, here in a desert?" St Mark 8:4.

You might expect a minister or priest or social worker to say it, but not a hard-bitten military man. Nevertheless, we want to quote for you several statements by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, army chief of staff, and head of the military machine that broke the power of Germany in World War Two. He was speaking at a luncheon in Washington sponsored by the Gen­eral Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains, an advisory group on chap­lain policy. Among other pointed remarks, he made the following: "Except for moral regeneration throughout the world, there is no hope for us, and we are going to disappear one day in the dust of an atomic explosion."

"A good chaplain," he later added, "is worth more than his weight in gold. What we need today is a dynamic, constructive force to lead the world. The chaplain today has a more important job than ever."

In a word, the leader of our armed forces declared and warned that it is either moral rebirth or atom dust. Many another leader has said practically the same thing. All thinking men are of this opinion. What do we mean by moral rebirth? What do we mean by moral regeneration? How can that save the world?

Moral rebirth means knowing and keeping the moral law. And when General Eisenhower warned us that keeping the moral law is the only hope, he was speaking indirectly to all the world, but especially to us Americans. We must take the lead.

1. We must be clear about moral acts:
A. Some acts cannot be morally good or bad, like digesting food, sneez­ing, snoring, because they are not free acts.

B. Some acts are good in themselves, like prayer, helping a cripple across the street.

C. Some are bad in themselves, like stealing, lying, murder, abortion. We would emphasize that an act which is bad in itself, is never permitted for a good purpose. So-called mercy-killing - euthanasia - is an example. You are not allowed to murder a man merely to relieve him of his sufferings.

D. Some acts can be either good or bad. Walking, for illustration, is good on the way to visit the sick. It is bad when you walk to rob a store.

2. To be morally good or bad we must have responsibility:
A. We are accountable for every voluntary act we perform, whether it is doing something, like breaking a window, or not doing something commanded, as neglecting to make one's Easter duty.

B. We are also responsible for the consequences of our acts. If a man lost his job because you told a lie about him, you are responsible.

C. Whatever lessens our freedom, lessens our responsibility:
i. When passion takes away entirely the use of reason (a rare thing), you are not responsible. Ordinarily it merely lessens guilt.

ii. Grave fear lessens accountability, unless it is so serious one does not know what he is doing.

iii. Force, if resisted as much as possible, makes the act blameless.

iv. Blameworthy ignorance does not excuse. If, through your own fault, you do not know what is right and wrong, you are to blame.

3. With these introductions we now want to ask:

"What is the moral law?" In general, a law is an external and obligatory rule made by one who has the right to govern. A moral law is one which binds in conscience. All law comes directly or indirectly from God, because all authority is from God. There are several kinds of law.

4. The divine law is that established by God. It includes:

A. Natural law, which God has engraved on the heart of man. Every man knows, for instance, that honoring God is right, and that murder, on the other hand, is wrong. We need no written law to tell us that stealing, lying, birth control, abortion and murder, are wrong.

B. God's revealed law which is contained in the Ten Commandments, that emphasize and make clear the law in our hearts, the natural law.

5. Human law, made by God's representatives on earth:

A. Church law, for example, prescribes fast and abstinence, Mass on cer­tain days, special marriage regulations.

B. Civil law decides rules, for example, regarding the use of the mails, the highways, fire hazards.

C. Mere custom or way of doing things is not law, like tipping your hat on passing a Catholic Church.

6. Every law obliges in conscience all those who are subject to it:

A. God's law, both the natural and the revealed, binds all men under pain of sin. To disobey such a law is to disobey God Himself.

B. Church law binds all baptized Catholics, unless restricted to a certain group. The obligation of saying the Office does not apply to all Catholics.

C. Most civil laws are in some way taken from or related to the natural and also the express law of God, and hence, cannot be violated with­out sin. Other civil laws are only penal, like hunting and fishing laws. They may be violated without sin, if we are willing to pay the penalty if convicted.

Really, we don't need any general or statesman to tell us that God has made laws, which He insists must be obeyed. To get that idea of a Divine Law into our thinking and into our living is to be reborn. That is the rebirth which General Eisenhower declared was so necessary - to save the world.

This world is like a desert, like the place where Jesus worked the miracle of feeding four thousand and more. Like the Apostles, we wonder how the world will be fed with moral food and strength.

By keeping the moral law, the law of God planted in our hearts, and carved into the stones on Sinai, by keeping these laws, the world and you will be saved - for time and for eternity. Amen.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

Mental Prayer for September 6-Charity and the Golden Rule

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Charity for my fellowmen is a wishing of good things for them because God wants them as His friends and they share or can share His life. Charity is based on what I want, not necessarily on what I like. And it is a sure indication of the measure of my love for God, for actions are an infallible measure of attitude. At the Last Supper Christ put it this way: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). How should we express our love for God by our love for our fellowmen? Christ Himself has given us the rule. It is a well-known rule, but not necessarily a well­ practiced one. "Do unto others all that you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12). If we follow that rule as best we can at all times, there will be no danger of our violating charity.

My Personal Application: In my conduct toward others what is the rule that really guides me? Or is my conduct based on what everybody else is doing? On what I like or dislike doing? on what benefits me?

Or is it the Golden Rule of Christ? Is it really, at all times?

I Speak to God : God, I need a lifetime to learn to practice, really practice, your command of love. Give me the grace to keep trying to practice it ever more perfectly during my life.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Our Concern is with 'man-made' rules, not doctrine...

Shut out of center

As a member of Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity, I am saddened by the response of Bishop Edward Braxton as to why FOSIL may not use the McCormick Center at the Cathedral in Belleville (as we have in the past) for our annual John XXIII lecture on Nov. 12. Ron Modras, our speaker, is on staff in the Theology Department at St. Louis University; he studied under then Cardinal Ratzinger.

The bishop stated "the parish could not host any group that questions/opposes ... the teachings of the church." We do not deny any essential church teaching. Our concern is with the man-made rules such as mandated celibacy, no ordination of women, and lack of lay participation in many areas.

FOSIL has tried to meet with Braxton to discuss who we are and what we are about, but he refuses to meet. His predecessor, Bishop Wilton Gregory, met with several members of FOSIL every few months. He must have deemed our mission in accordance with church teaching because he never denied us use of Cathedral's facility. Is Bishop Gregory not orthodox?

Jeannine Warford

Kudos should go to Bishop Braxton of Belleville for closing the door on another group of wayward children...

A number of thoughts come to mind as I read and re-read this letter. This assertion that "man-made' are irrelevant when it comes to one's Catholicism seems to permeate the thinking of so many of those who reject the Church. I notice this phrase being used much more often now since it was used extensively by the rebels of St. Stanislaus. Perhaps, I never paid much attention to it before, since it was coming from pseudo-Catholics.

It also seems a stretch to assume that because Bishop Gregory allowed them to spread their errors, Bishop Braxton should do likewise. Maybe Bishop Braxton understand the futility of trying to talk with those whose purpose is to cast doubt on Church teaching and sow dissent among the remaining Catholic faithful?

It makes me wonder, too, just what these people would define as "essential Church teaching."

While the 'FOSIL'ites may be prohibited from meeting on diocesan property, the Ursuline Motherhouse in Belleville has no problem with providing a meeting place for them to encourage each other in dissent. And the person responsible for the Diocesan Calendar apparently has no problem posting the dates and times of these meetings on the diocesan web site here.

I wonder, also, if the Usruline Sisters are being blessed with many new vocations?

Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgical Reform

“There is no ‘pre-’ or ‘post-’ Conciliar Church. There is but one, unique Church that walks the path toward the Lord…”

A summer institute on the thought of Pope Benedict XVI was held at Christendom College July 28-30. Speakers at the institute were Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom, Father William Saunders, Father Benedict Groeschel, Pia de Solenni, and Helen Hull Hitchcock, who presented the following address on Pope Benedict/Cardinal Ratzinger’s view of the liturgical reform on July 29, 2006.

A great article at Adoremus...

The Pope Rewrites the Handbook of the Good Pastor

A spontaneous question-and-answer session with Benedict XVI and the priests of the diocese of Albano. On how to celebrate Mass well, and many other matters. “People know whether we’re putting on a show or are in conversation with God”
by Sandro Magister

Article here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mental Prayer for September 5-Charity Measured

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: God, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Three children say they love their mother. But one of the children never obeys her; he is always getting into trouble by refusing to do what she tells him. The second child doesn't do much that is bad, but he doesn't do much that is good either; he just tries to do as little as possible for his mother and spends as much time as he can enjoying life for himself. The third child not only obeys his mother, but he goes out of his way to do things that he knows please her; he plans things not to enjoy himself, but to bring pleasure and honor to his mother.

It is obvious that the first child doesn't love his mother at all, the second child loves himself more than her, and the third child really loves her more than anyone in this life. For no matter how they feel, their actions are a sure indication of their love. Some men don't love God at all, others love themselves more than Him, and some love Him above all things. Their actions are an infallible guide to their attitude, for love is infallibly expressed in deeds.

My Personal Application: Judging from my actions, especially toward my fellowmen, what is my real attitude toward God?

I Speak to God: God, help me realize that without actions my claims of loving you are meaningless.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar" (1 John 4:20).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Monday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 4:16-30

Jesus Preaches in Nazareth

[16] And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and He went to the synagogue, as His custom was, on the Sabbath Day. And He stood up to read; [17] and there was given to Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, [18] "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, [19] to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." [20] And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. [21] And He began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. [22] And all spoke well of Him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"

[24] And He said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. [25] But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; [26] and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. [27] And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." [28] When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. [29] And they rose up and put Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow on the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down headlong. [30] But passing through the midst of them He went away.


16-30. For the Jews the Sabbath was a day of rest and prayer, as God commanded (Exodus 20:8-11). On that day they would gather together to be instructed in Sacred Scripture. At the beginning of this meeting they all recited the "Shema", a summary of the precepts of the Lord, and the "eighteen blessings". Then a passage was read from the Book of the Law--the Pentateuch--and another from the Prophets. The president invited one of those present who was well versed in the Scriptures to address the gathering. Sometimes someone would volunteer and request the honor of being allowed to give this address--as must have happened on this occasion. Jesus avails Himself of this opportunity to instruct the people (cf. Luke 4:16ff), as will His Apostles later on (cf. Acts 13:5, 14, 42, 44; 14:1; etc.). The Sabbath meeting concluded with the priestly blessing, recited by the president or by a priest if there was one present, to which the people answered "Amen" (cf. Numbers 6:22ff).

18-21. Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 where the prophet announces the coming of the Lord, who will free His people of their afflictions. In Christ this prophecy finds its fulfillment, for He is the Anointed, the Messiah whom God has sent to His people in their tribulation. Jesus has been anointed by the Holy Spirit for the mission the Father has entrusted to Him. "These phrases, according to Luke (verses 18-19), are His first messianic declaration. They are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel. By these actions and words Christ makes the Father present among men" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 3).

The promises proclaimed in verses 18 and 19 are the blessings God will send His people through the Messiah. According to Old Testament tradition and Jesus' own preaching (cf. note on Matthew 5:3), "the poor" refers not so much to a particular social condition as to a very religious attitude of indigence and humility towards God, which is to be found in those who, instead of relying on their possessions and merits, trust in God's goodness and mercy. Thus, preaching good news to the poor means bringing them the "good news" that God has taken pity on them. Similarly, the Redemption, the release, which the text mentions, is to be understood mainly in a spiritual, transcendental sense: Christ has come to free us from the blindness and oppression of sin, which, in the last analysis, is slavery imposed on us by the devil. "Captivity can be felt", St. John Chrysostom teaches in a commentary on Psalm 126, "when it proceeds from physical enemies, but the spiritual captivity referred to here is worse; sin exerts a more severe tyranny, evil takes control and blinds those who lend it obedience; from this spiritual prison Jesus Christ rescued us" ("Catena Aurea"). However, this passage is also in line with Jesus' special concern for those most in need. "Similarly, the Church encompasses with her love all those who are afflicted by human misery and she recognizes in those who are poor and who suffer the image of her poor and suffering Founder. She does all in her power to relieve their need and in them she strives to serve Christ" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 8).

18-19. The words of Isaiah which Christ read out on this occasion describe very graphically the reason why God has sent His Son into the world--to redeem men from sin, to liberate them from slavery to the devil and from eternal death. It is true that in the course of His public ministry Christ, in His mercy, worked many cures, cast out devils, etc. But He did not cure all the sick people in the world, nor did He eliminate all forms of distress in this life, because pain, which entered the world through sin, has a permanent redemptive value when associated with the sufferings of Christ. Therefore, Christ worked miracles not so much to release the people concerned from suffering, as to demonstrate that He had a God-given mission to bring everyone to eternal salvation.

The Church carries on this mission of Christ: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). These simple and sublime words, which conclude the Gospel of St. Matthew, point out "the obligation to preach the truths of faith, the need for sacramental life, the promise of Christ's continual assistance to His Church. You cannot be faithful to our Lord if you neglect these supernatural demands--to receive instruction in Christian faith and morality and to frequent the Sacraments. It is with this mandate that Christ founded His Church [...]. And the Church can bring salvation to souls only if she remains faithful to Christ in her constitution and teaching, both dogmatic and moral.

"Let us reject, therefore, the suggestion that the Church, ignoring the Sermon on the Mount, seeks a purely human happiness on earth, since we know that her only task is to bring men to eternal glory in Heaven. Let us reject any purely naturalistic view that fails to value the supernatural role of divine grace. Let us reject materialistic opinions that exclude spiritual values from human life. Let us equally reject any secularizing theory which attempts to equate the aims of the Church with those of earthly states, distorting its essence, institutions and activities into something similar to those of temporal society" ([St] J. Escriva, "In Love with the Church", 23 and 31).

18. The Fathers of the Church see in this verse a reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity: the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) of the Lord (the Father) is upon Me (the Son); cf. Origen, "Homily 32". The Holy Spirit dwelt in Christ's soul from the very moment of the Incarnation and descended visibly upon Him in the form of a dove when He was baptized by John (cf. Luke 3:21-22).

"Because He has anointed Me": this is a reference to the anointing Jesus received at the moment of His Incarnation, principally through the grace of the hypostatic union. "This anointing of Jesus Christ was not an anointing of the body as in the case of the ancient kings, priests and prophets; rather it was entirely spiritual and divine, because the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him substantially" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 77). From this hypostatic union the fullness of all graces derives. To show this, Jesus Christ is said to have been anointed by the Holy Spirit Himself--not just to have received the graces and gifts of the Spirit, like the saints.

19. "The acceptable year": this is a reference to the jubilee year of the Jews, which the Law of God (Leviticus 25:8) lays down as occurring every fifty years, symbolizing the era of redemption and liberation which the Messiah would usher in. The era inaugurated by Christ, the era of the New Law extending to the end of the world, is "the acceptable year", the time of mercy and redemption, which will be obtained definitively in Heaven.

The Catholic Church's custom of the "Holy Year" is also designed to proclaim and remind people of the redemption brought by Christ, and of the full form it will take in the future life.

20-22. Christ's words in verse 21 show us the authenticity with which He preached and explained the Scriptures: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Jesus teaches that this prophecy, like the other main prophecies in the Old Testament, refers to Him and finds its fulfillment in Him (cf. Luke 24:44ff). Thus, the Old Testament can be rightly understood only in the light of the New - as the risen Christ showed the Apostles when He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (cf. Luke 24:45), an understanding which the Holy Spirit perfected on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:4).

22-29. At first the people of Nazareth listened readily to the wisdom of Jesus' words. But they were very superficial; in their narrow-minded pride they felt hurt that Jesus, their fellow-townsman, had not worked in Nazareth the wonders He had worked elsewhere. They presume they have a special entitlement and they insolently demand that He perform miracles to satisfy their vanity, not to change their hearts. In view of their attitude, Jesus performs no miracle (His normal response to lack of faith: cf., for example, His meeting with Herod in Luke 23:7-11); He actually reproaches them, using two examples taken from the Old Testament (cf. 1 Kings 17:9 and 2 Kings 5:14), which show that one needs to be well-disposed if miracles are to lead to faith. His attitude so wounds their pride that they are ready to kill Him. This whole episode is a good lesson about understanding Jesus. We can understand Him only if we are humble and are genuinely resolved to make ourselves available to Him.

30. Jesus does not take flight but withdraws majestically, leaving the crowd paralyzed. As on other occasions men do Him no harm; it was by God's decree that He died on a cross (cf. John 18:32) when His hour had come.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Texas priest speaks out

I heard this priest on Catholic Answers Live Friday afternoon driving from work to Adoration. Fr. Farfaglia did a great job answering questions and responding to callers about liturgical abuses on the Catholic Answers show. Hopefully, he'll be back soon.

Matt Abbott posted an unedited essay which was provided to him by Father James Farfaglia, who is the pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Below are a few excerpts:

...national news was made this morning on the Internet by a young priest from Connecticut who publicly announced that he is leaving the priesthood because he was a whistleblower in a tragic situation in Darien, CT. I am from Connecticut, and I need to speak out.

A young priest makes national news because he is leaving the priesthood. But what about the thousands of Catholic priests, young and old, who today and every day, are faithfully fulfilling their duties as Catholic priests? Why haven't they made national Internet news? What about all of us that are out there, doing their job, most of the time under very difficult circumstances?

We are persecuted by homosexual militant priests. We are vilified by traditionalists because we celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. We are criticized and abandoned by parishioners because we stand up for the Church's teaching on birth control, abortion, and pre-marital sex. We push confession only to sit in the confessional for hours alone. And yet, here we are, doing our job faithfully every day — and we are not featured on the Internet.

We know from Sacred Scripture that "the gates of hell shall not prevail," but in the meantime, the Catholic Church in this country is in a terrible mess. Catholic priests need to remain at their posts. Parishes are closing, entire dioceses may disappear, but the Church will still go on. I for one, with the grace of God, will remain at my post until I die of natural causes or someone puts a bullet in my head.

Highly recommended reading! And let's not forget that our priests need our prayers and support, especially in these days of intense spiritual warfare.

HT to Darla for the link!

Mental Prayer for September 4-Charity and Feelings

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: O Lord, teach me to know what charity is and give me the strength to practice it.

The Idea: Love consists in wishing someone well because we share something. This is easy to do for mother and child, husband and wife, friend and friend, for they feel like wishing each other well. What about those people we don't feel like loving? The answer is simple: I can love them with a supernatural love even though I do not like them. Charity is not based on feeling but on willing. When I am tempted to commit a sin but resist the temptation, I would like to sin but I do not want to sin: my will conquers my feelings. In just the same way, I might not like someone, but I want to love him. Peelings are not bad in themselves, of course, but if we just let go, they drag us into many sins. Our heads must control our hearts. I might dislike many things about my fellowmen, but I make myself love them because God wants them to be His friends and share His life. No matter how I feel, I follow what my head says I should do.

My Personal Application: It is so easy for a fol­lower of Christ to let his attitudes be ruled by what he feels. Do I allow my attitude to my fellowmen to be ruled by how I feel toward them? Or is it ruled by what I know I should do toward them? Do I unconsciously divide the people I meet every day into those I like and those I dislike and treat them accordingly? Is this attitude Christian?

I Speak to God: God, a supernatural love for all men at all times is very difficult but necessary if I am to be a real follower of Christ. Please help me.

Thought for Today: "If a man says he loves God while he hates his fellowmen, he is a liar." (1 John 4:20).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

The Tradition of the Elders

[1] Now when the Pharisees gathered together to Him (Jesus), with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, [2] they saw that some of His disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. [3] (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; [4] and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) [5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?" [6] And He said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; [7] in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' [8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.

What Defiles a Man

[14] And He (Jesus) called the people to meet Him, and said to them, "Hear Me, all of you, and understand: [15] there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things that come out of a man are what defile him." [21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, [22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. [23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.


1-2. Hands were washed not for reasons of hygiene or good manners but because the custom had religious significance: it was a rite of purification. In Exodus 30:17ff the Law of God laid down how priests should wash before offering sacrifice. Jewish tradition had extended this to all Jews before every meal, in an effort to give meals a religious significance, which was reflected in the blessings which marked the start of meals. Ritual purification was a symbol of the moral purity a person should have when approaching God (Psalm 24:3ff; 51:4 and 9); but the Pharisees had focused on the mere external rite. Therefore Jesus restores the genuine meaning of these precepts of the Law, whose purpose is to teach the right way to render homage to God (cf. John 4:24).

3-5. We can see clearly from this text that very many of those to whom St. Mark's Gospel was first addressed were Christians who had been pagans and were unfamiliar with Jewish customs. The Evangelist explains these customs in some detail, to help them realize the significance of the events and teachings reported in the Gospel story.

Similarly, Sacred Scripture needs to be preached and taught in a way which puts it within reach of its hearers. This is why Vatican II teaches that "it is for the bishops suitable to instruct the faithful [...] by giving them translations of the sacred texts which are equipped with necessary and really adequate explanations. Thus the children of the Church can familiarize themselves safely and profitably with the Sacred Scriptures, and become steeped in their spirit" ("Dei Verbum", 25).

15. Some important codexes add here: "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear," which would form verse 16.

20-23. "In order to help us understand divine things, Scripture uses the _expression `heart' in its full meaning, as the summary and source, _expression and ultimate basis, of one's thoughts, words and actions" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 164).

The goodness or malice, the moral quality, of our actions does not depend on their spontaneous, instinctive character. The Lord Himself tells us that sinful actions can come from the human heart.

We can understand how this can happen if we realize that, after original sin, man "was changed for the worse" in both body and soul and was, therefore, prone to evil (cf. Council of Trent, "De Peccato Originali"). Our Lord here restores morality in all its purity and intensity.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.