Saturday, February 24, 2007

Reflection for the 1st Week of Lent-Temptation

And Jesus answered him [the devil], "It is said, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" St. Luke 4:12

During the Civil War it was illegal to trade in cotton. Nevertheless, many greedy dealers tried to buy cotton in the South, run it through the Union lines, and sell it at great profit in the North. One of these profiteers approached the captain of a Mississippi steamboat and offered him $100 if he would run his cotton up the river. The captain refused, reminding the cotton merchant that it was against the law.

"I will give you $500," said the speculator.

"No," thundered the captain.

"I will give you $1000," declared the dealer.

"No," the captain repeated.

"I'll give you $3,000," the merchant insisted.

At that offer the captain drew out his pistol, pointed it at his tempter, and shouted: "Get off this boat. You are coming too near my price."

That captain knew how to deal with temptation. Leave the tempter, or make the tempter leave you - that is the way to deal with temptation. That is the way Christ dealt with the evil one. Listen to our Lord as He tells the tempter: "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." And in the Gospel of St Matthew, our Lord commands, "Begone, Satan!" (Matt 4:10).

Think of this whenever you pray the words taught us by Jesus Himself, those important words of the Our Father:

"Lead us not into temptation."
God cannot and will not directly tempt us to sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God," St. James, 1:13.

But the Lord does permit temptation: to try us, to punish us, and to help us merit for heaven. What, then, do we mean when we ask the Lord to "lead us not into temptation"?

We ask God­:
1. To restrain the power of temptation. We ask the Lord to temper the temptation to our powers, aided by grace. As St. Paul tells us:
"God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able
to bear it." 1 Cor 10:13.
2. We ask the Lord to deliver us from extraordinary and severe enticements to evil.

3. We ask Him for strength to resist, to overcome, to dismiss whatever may lead us into sin.

4. We beg Him to send His angels and saints to our assistance.

In this petition of the Our Father we also ask for the grace­
1. To distrust ourselves and our own abilities. It is an admission that of ourselves we can do nothing.

2. To avoid the occasions of sin. How often we know the persons and places and causes of sin, but we do not have the power to stay away from them. God will give you that power.

3. To trust in God alone. Friends and education and improved environ­ment may help, but the only aid that really resists temptation is the help of God.

Just what is meant by temptation? It means whatever may lead us into sin: whatever person, whatever place, whatever circumstance or environ­ment that led us into sin in the past, and might lead us into sin now. In itself temptation is not sinful. Only when consented to does the enticement to evil become evil. Of course, it is sinful to place oneself in the occasions of sin.

There are two principal kinds of temptation:
1. Internal, which arises from
A. Our natural inclinations, like pride and laziness.
B. Our uncontrolled desires, especially the desire for sexual pleasure.
C. Bad habits and sins of the past.

2. External, which arise from
A. The devil, who even dared to tempt Jesus Himself, as we see in the Gospel for the 1st Sunday of Lent.

"Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking some­one to devour." 1 Peter,5:8.
Pray that this someone be not you.

B. The world, with its false standards and inviting attractions, with its bad company, bad example, shows and books, with its human respect which pays more attention to what people may think than to what God thinks of it.

C. The duties of our state in life, the obligations, for example, of parents
to their children, of those in power to those in their charge.

D. Circumstances of life, like bad health, poverty, and unhappy home life.

God permits temptation for various reasons:
1. To show and prove our own weakness on the one hand, and the power of grace or divine help on the other.

2. To humble us and to make us understanding and compassionate toward others.

3. To strengthen virtue, as the storm strengthens the oak tree.

4. To enrich us. Every temptation overcome means further merit, and further reward.

5. To atone for past sins, which often cause new temptations.

Against temptation we have many weapons:

1. Prayer and spiritual thought.

2. Humility and mortification.

3. Keeping busy and cheerful.

4. Making known our conscience frankly to our confessor.

5. Avoiding the occasions.

6. Prompt driving away of the tempter.

That is what the steamboat captain did; he drove away the man who was tempting him to break the law by hauling cotton up North. That is what Christ did when the devil tried to lead Him into sin.

Learn from Jesus to say sincerely and promptly: "Begone, Satan!" Amen.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

Mental Prayer for February 25, The Sister and God

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, give me the realization of how a religious sister's whole life is dedicated to love.

The Idea: The sister moving among the patients of her hospital ward, the sister patiently coaxing knowledge into young minds and hearts, the sister walking serenely down a busy city street, the sister in silent prayer before the tabernacle. The sister is a modern miracle of grace. People of all sorts, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, recognize in her a complete and immediate dedication to her God. In her, woman's natural instinct for a life of dedicated love finds its highest expression. So true is this that the slightest spark of malice in a sister can cause far greater dismay than it would even in a priest or brother. For all men recognize the fact that a sister lives a life of unselfish and total love.

My Personal Application: What is the one thing I want my life to be if not a continual act of love? Not everyone should be or even wants to be a sister. But do I? Should I? and if not, do I see in her life, dedicated to love, something I can use in my life? Do I understand the sister's life well enough to explain it to a non-Catholic, to a Catholic parent who refuses to let his child be a sister, to anyone?

I Speak to God: O my God, let the idea of a dedicated life soak into my mind. I don't want my life to be a selfish or a cheap life. If you want me in religious life, take me. But in whatever life I choose, may it be dedicated, like a sister's, to love of you and service of men.

Thought for Today: "Let us therefore love, be­cause God has first loved us."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday after Ash Wednesday

From: Luke 5:27-32

The Calling of Matthew

[27] After this He (Jesus) went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." [28] And Levi left everything, and rose and followed Him. [29] And Levi made Him a great feast in His house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. [30] And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against His disciples saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" [31] And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; [32] I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."


27-29. Levi, better known as Matthew, responds generously and promptly to the call from Jesus. To celebrate and to show how appreciative he is for his vocation he gives a banquet. This passage of the Gospel shows us that a vocation is something we should be very grateful for and happy about. If we see it only in terms of renunciation and giving things up, and not as a gift from God and something which will enhance us and redound to others' benefit, we can easily become depressed, like the rich young man who, not wanting to give up his possession, went away sad (Luke 18:18). Matthew believes in quite the opposite way, as did the Magi who "when they saw the star rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (Matthew 2:10) and who gave much more importance to adoring the new-born God than to all the inconveniences involved in travelling to see Him. See also the notes on Matthew 9:9; 9:10-11; 9:12, 9:13;
and Mark 2:14; 2:17.

32. Since this is how Jesus operates, the only way we can be saved is by admitting before God, in all simplicity, that we are sinners. "Jesus has no time for calculations, for astuteness, for the cruelty of cold hearts, for attractive but empty beauty. What He likes is the cheerfulness of a young heart, a simple step, a natural voice, clean eyes, attention to His affectionate word of advice. That is how He reigns in the soul" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 181).
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, February 23, 2007

Mental Prayer for February 24, The Religious Brother

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the life of the religious lay brother and to esteem it highly.

The Idea: People in religious life are devoted to following Christ, but not all follow the same way. Many men enter religious orders without ever becoming priests. Christ was not only a priest; He honored His Father in other activities too. Christ was a carpenter most of His life. Many religious brothers follow Christ, the worker, by their work in the fields or print shop or machine shop. Christ spent His public life teaching. There are orders of religious brothers who do nothing but teach. Christ is most attractive as the kind healer of crippled limbs and diseased bodies. And brothers do this job too.

My Personal Application: Do I know the full picture of religious life? Do I know enough about the life of religious brothers? These men devote their lives to Christ as valuable workers, teachers, and guardians of the sick. They may be on a bulldozer, in a kitchen, or behind a shovel. Others work behind a typewriter or before a blackboard. Still others bring soothing care to bodies in pain. They may never shine before the worldly wise and the powerful, but they bring the love of Christ to the little ones of Christ. As a wide-awake Catholic I should know more about them - for my own sake, but also to tell others if and when they ask.

I Speak to God: Lord, help me to see that there are many ways to be like you. Make me see the beauty of the brother's vocation; and help me to see in a call to this life a mark of your special love.

Thought for Today: "I have set you an example, so that what I have done to you, you, too, should do."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

What Are "Associations of the Faithful"?

In today's column, Archbishop Raymond Burke gives us an excellent explanation of what an "Association of the Faithful" really is:
The Church recognizes the work of the Holy Spirit among the faithful, inspiring various joint efforts to promote the Christian life, in general, and to promote specific aspects of our life in Christ, for example, the Sacred Liturgy, Catholic education, works of charity and Christian witness in the various fields of human activity and endeavor. Included are associations of Catholic doctors, lawyers or businessmen. The faithful are, in fact, encouraged to form associations among themselves for the sake of living the faith more deeply and spreading the faith to others more effectively.

The faithful may form associations on their own without any intervention of Church authority. At the same time, an association of the faithful, by definition, always shows respect for Church authority and works to promote the unity and strength of Church life. The use of the name, Catholic, by an association is governed by the competent Church authority (canon 300). If the association uses the name Catholic, it means that the members and the whole association are obedient to the magisterium. It also means that the members of the association respect those who are members of other Church associations and seek the harmony among all those working for the Church.

This article is well worth reading...

Considering the Permanent Diaconate?

Informational meetings for men interested in a vocation to the permanent diaconate will be held on Tuesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 29.

Both will begin at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive, Shrewsbury.

Time will be provided for questions and answers. Deacons will be available after the meeting for additional conversation.

In a recent Review article, Father C. Eugene Morris, director and vicar of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, said that permanent deacons "play an integral role" in the Archdiocese of St Louis.

Men accepted into the five-year formation program would enter it this September. Those successfully completing the formation would be ordained in June 2012.

Those discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate must be at least age 30 as of May 1 and no older than 55. They also must be: a permanent resident in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for at least three years before entrance; if married, in a valid marriage for at least five years; active and in good standing with the Church and their parish; in good health and free of any impediments to their entrance because of Church law restrictions.

The educational courses are taught at the college level, and men with college degrees are encouraged to attend. Men entering the program are expected to have basic computer, word-processing and Internet skills.

More detailed information on the specific admission requirements will be presented during the informational meetings.

Deacon Tom Forster, associate director for deacon personnel, commented: "Deacons perform thousands of hours of service through ministry of the word, liturgy and service in our parishes and agencies in the Archdiocese of St Louis. We currently have approximately 190 deacons actively serving in all areas of the archdiocese, and the need is greater than ever for men at this time."

Those interested in attending the informational meetings are asked to call Sue Curran at the Diaconate Office, (314) 633-2531 to have a packet reserved for them.

For more information on the diaconate, call Deacon Chris Ast, associate director-formation, at (314) 633-2532.

Source (subscription required)...

Carnival stealth priestess in the Church of the "twig"

At the Church of St Francis in Wels "celebrates" Carnival last Tuesday with Communion from the tabernacle.
Pictures here

Dr. Edward Peters: Be careful with the notion of "Ecclesia supplet"

"Ecclesia supplet": the Church supplies...

Like every good canon lawyer, Fr. Francis Hoffman knows there is much more to the Catholic Church than canon law. Thus, in answering people's questions for Our Sunday Visitor's The Catholic Answer, Fr. Hoffman draws with equal facility on Sacred Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law, and a generally rich storehouse of ecclesiastical wisdom. I never fail to learn something by reading his column.
. . .
A recent example (TCA, March/April 2007, p. 22) was Fr. Hoffman's correct response to a reader who wondered whether the absolution he received was valid, given that the confessor changed the words of absolution from "I absolve you from your sins" to "May God . . . absolve you from your sins."
Priests changing form and/or matter...ignorance of basic Sacramental Theology 101? What gives?

Prison ministry case argued

A panel of three federal judges including former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor heard Tuesday from both sides of an Iowa prison ministry dispute at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in a case that will impact how religious organizations minister to inmates.

The case centers on whether a contract between Iowa and Prison Fellowship Ministries Inc. for voluntary inmate rehabilitation is unconstitutional. The program, InnerChange Freedom Initiative, is grounded in evangelical Christianity.

The non-profit Americans United for the Separation of Church and State challenged the program's constitutionality in an Iowa federal district court last year. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt agreed in June, and ordered the program closed.
"Americans United" for the downfall of the country - it's no surprise that this anti-Christian, anti-American group is behind this apparent effort to eliminate all faith-based prison programs...

Subversives seem to be everywhere these days...

Efforts to Start Catholic College in SE Michigan

DETROIT – A group of educators, priests, scholars and businesspeople are cooperating on an effort to establish a small Catholic liberal arts college in southeastern Michigan.

The school, the College of SS. Peter and Paul, is to be located either in the Archdiocese of Detroit or the Diocese of Lansing, and is to have a core curriculum centered on teachings of the Church, according to members of the college's board.

College of SS. Peter and Paul Benefit

What: A fundraiser to found a new Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeastern Michigan.

When: Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 16.

Where: The Inn at St. John 44045 Five Mile Road (near Sheldon Road) in Plymouth Township.

Featuring: Keynote speaker Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, bishop of Lincoln, Neb.

Cost: $40 per plate; or $150 to include private reception with Bishop Bruskewitz.
May God bless their efforts!

Gospel for Friday after Ash Wednesday

From: Matthew 9:14-15

The Call of Matthew (Continuation)

[14] Then the disciples of John (the Baptist) came to Him (Jesus), saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [15] And Jesus said them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."


14-17. This passage is interesting, not so much because it tells us about the sort of fasting practised by the Jews of the time--particularly the Pharisees and John the Baptist's disciples--but because of the reason Jesus gives for not requiring His disciples to fast in that way. His reply is both instructive and prophetic. Christianity is not a mere mending or adjusting of the old suit of Judaism. The redemption wrought by Jesus involves a total regeneration. Its spirit is too new and too vital to be suited to old forms of penance, which will no longer apply.

We know that in our Lord's time Jewish theology schools were in the grip of a highly complicated casuistry to do with fasting, purifications, etc., which smothered the simplicity of genuine piety. Jesus' words point to that simplicity of heart with which His disciples might practise prayer, fasting and almsgiving (cf. Matthew 6:1-18 and notes to same). From apostolic times onwards it is for the Church, using the authority given it by our Lord to set out the different forms fasting should take in different periods and situations.

15. "The wedding guests": literally, "the sons of the house where the wedding is being celebrated"--an __expression meaning the bridegroom's closest friends. This is an example of how St. Matthew uses typical Semitic turns of phrase, presenting Jesus' manner of speech.

This "house" to which Jesus refers has a deeper meaning; set beside the parable of the guests at the wedding (Matthew 22:1 ff), it symbolizes the Church as the house of God and the body of Christ: "Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope" (Hebrews 3:5-6).

The second part of the verse refers to the violent death Jesus would meet.
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, February 22, 2007

Mental Prayer for February 23, The Religious Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see clearly and to admire the great aim of the religious life.

Mental Picture (cf. Matt. 19: 16-21) : One day a clean-cut young man in rich, well-tailored clothes comes before Jesus and drops on his knees. "Master, how can I gain eternal life?" The answer doesn't satisfy him. "The commandments? Why, I have observed all of them from my youth; what am I still lacking?" With great love our Lord tells him: "One thing is wanting; if you want to be perfect, sell your possessions... come follow me." This is an invitation to become as perfectly as possible like Christ: poor, chaste, obedient to His Father's will.

My Personal Application: There are many different kinds of religious life: Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Jesuits, Trappists, and many more. And although their work and daily life may differ, they all have one great common purpose: to follow and imitate Christ in a more perfect way.

Each religious life has vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience which clear the way for this purpose. Just as a runner strips off all heavy clothes so he can run more freely, so the religious sheds the hindrance of material worries by a vow of poverty, the cares of family by chastity, independence of will by obedience. These vows leave him free for the big purpose: becoming like Christ.

I Speak to God: Divine Master, I see that your call to religious life is not so much a call to give up things, but rather to become your more perfect follower. I thank you for loving men so much and I promise to regard the calling to religious life with the greatest esteem.

Thought for Today: "Come, follow me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Is It not Time to Purge University of Detroit Mercy from the Church?

Catholic University of Detroit Proposing Abortion Agencies as Career Opportunities for Students
Student Confirmed to Have Taken Planned Parenthood 'Clinician' Job
By John-Henry Westen

DETROIT, Michigan, February 21, 2007 ( - The University of Detroit Mercy claims it is a Catholic institution. Their web page says, "The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions . . . seeks to integrate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and social development of our students." ( )

Nevertheless, the same "Catholic" University is encouraging its student's to work with abortion agencies such as Planned Parenthood. Their career suggestions have not gone unnoticed and a local Planned Parenthood branch is boasting of having hired a UDM student.

The "Career Education Center" UDM website lists Planned Parenthood as a career opportunity for students. Pointing to the website for Planned Parenthood, the UDM career website suggests that Planned Parenthood "Lists dozens of clinical and non-clinical positions at Planned Parenthood clinics and similar organizations." (see: )
Does anyone believe that this would please God? Do these people really believe that St Ignatius would be proud of them?

Vatican: Excommunication of Call to Action Organization Stands

LINCOLN, February 21, 2007 ( ­ The Vatican’s second highest juridical authority has rejected the appeal of an American leftist group, Call to Action (CTA), to overturn a decree of excommunication by the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, who called the group and “anti-Catholic sect”.
. . .
Rachel Pokora, president of Call to Action-Nebraska responded that the group would continue to attempt to overturn the decree saying they would be consulting canon lawyers. She told local media that she objected to the term “sect” because it implies Call to Action is “somehow heretical”.

Be gone, Satan!

The Liturgy: Interview with Archbishop Ranjith

This is from an "Inside the Vatican" Newsflash!

All who are interested in the Church’s liturgy are wondering if the Pope will soon issue a motu proprio allowing the celebration of the "Old Mass," and (if he does), what it will say. One of the Vatican’s liturgists sheds light on the Pope’s plans

ANTHONY VALLE: Your Excellency, you have been generous in giving several interviews to the international press regarding liturgy since becoming the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Some of your statements have been misinterpreted and aroused controversy rather than providing the intended clarity. Would you care to clarify anything?

ARCHBISHOP MALCOM RANJITH: What I wished to insist on in those interviews was that the post-conciliar reform of the liturgy has not been able to achieve the expected goals of spiritual and missionary renewal in the Church so that today we could be truly happy about it.

Undoubtedly there have been positive results too; but the negative effects seem to have been greater, causing much disorientation in our ranks.

The churches have become empty, liturgical free-wheeling has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured.

One has to, then, begin wondering if the reform process had in fact been handled correctly. Thus, we need to take a good look at what had happened, pray and reflect about its causes and with the help of the Lord move on to make the necessary corrections.

VALLE: It seems as if Pope Benedict XVI will release a motu proprio to liberalize the use of the traditional or Tridentine Mass. Some hope that the Pope’s motu proprio will institute a juridical structure enabling priests to celebrate the traditional Mass without being unjustly harassed and persistently thwarted by, ironically, not people of other faiths or secular authorities, but by their own pastors and bishops. Is this hope for a new juridical apparatus realistic? Is such an apparatus necessary?

RANJITH: Well, there is this rising call for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass. And even certain leading figures of the elite have made public appeals for this Mass in some newspapers recently.

The Holy Father will, I am sure, take note of this and decide what is best for the Church.

You speak of the possible realization of new juridical structures for the implementation of such decisions. I do not think that this would be so much of a problem. Rather what is more important in all of this is a pastoral attitude.

Will the bishops and priests reject requests for the Tridentine Mass and so create a need for juridical structures to ensure the enforcement of a decision of the Pope? Should it go that way?

I sincerely do not hope so.

The appropriate question the shepherds have to ask themselves is: How can I as a bishop or priest bring even one person closer to Christ and to His Church?

It is not so much a matter of the Tridentine Mass or of the Novus Ordo. It is just a question of pastoral responsibility and sensitivity.

Thus, if the Tridentine Mass is the way to achieve an even better level of spiritual enrichment for the faithful, then the shepherds should allow it.

The important concern is not so much the "what" as much as the "how." The Church should always seek to help our faithful to come closer to the Lord, to feel challenged by His message and to respond to His call generously. And if that can be achieved through the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Pius V Mass, well, then space should be provided for whatever is best instead of getting down to unnecessary and divisive theological hair-splitting. Such things need to be decided through the heart and not so much through the head.

After all, Pope John Paul II did make a personal appeal in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 to the bishops, calling upon them to be generous in this matter with those who wish to celebrate or participate in the Tridentine Mass. Besides, we should remember that the Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only. It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican Council, as Pope Benedict so clearly stated in his speech to the members of the Curia in December 2005, did not envisage a totally new beginning, but one of continuity with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a new outlook that better responds to the missionary needs of the time.

Besides, we also have the serious question of the diminishing number of faithful in some of the churches in the Western world. We have to ask ourselves what happened in these churches and then take corrective steps as may be necessary. I do not think that this situation is attributable to secularization only. A deep crisis of faith coupled with a drive for meaningless liturgical experimentation and novelty have had their own impact in this matter. There is much formalism and insipidity visible at times.

Thus, we need to recover a true sense of the sacred and mystical in worship.

And if the faithful feel that the Tridentine Mass offers them that sense of the sacred and mystical more than anything else, then we should have the courage to accept their request.

With regard to the timing and nature of the motu proprio, nothing yet is known. It is the Holy Father who will decide.

And when he does, we should in all obedience accept what he indicates to us and with a genuine love for the Church strive to help him. Any counter attitude would only harm the spiritual mission of the Church and thwart the Lord’s own will.

VALLE: Like many Catholics today, my wife and I have found that we leave the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday exasperated and perplexed rather than spiritually invigorated. Why?

RANJITH: In the celebration of the Novus Ordo we have to be very serious about what we do on the altar. I cannot be a priest who dreams in his sleep about what I will do at the Mass the following day, walk up to the altar and start celebrating with all kinds of novel self-created rubrics and actions.

The Holy Eucharist belongs to the Church. Hence, it has a meaning of its own which cannot be left to the idiosyncrasies of the single celebrant.

Every element in the liturgy of the Church has its own long history of development and significance. It is certainly not a matter of private "traditions" and so cannot be the object of manipulation by all and sundry.

In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium does state that other than the Apostolic See and the bishops, where this is allowed to the latter by the former, "absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add or remove or change anything on his own authority" (SC 22). Even then, we note much free-wheeling in liturgical matters in some areas of the Church today, basically due to an incorrect understanding of liturgical theology.

For example, the mystery of the Holy Eucharist has often been misunderstood or partially understood, leaving thus the door open to all kinds of liturgical abuses.

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, some place too much accent on the presidential role of the priest. But we know that the priest is really not the main agent of what happens on the altar.

It is Jesus Himself.

Besides, every liturgical celebration has also a heavenly dimension "which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (SC 8).

Others explain the Eucharist in a way that places the accent on its banquet/meal dimension, linking it to "communion." This too is an important consideration, but we should remember that it is not so much a communion created by those taking part in the Eucharist as much as by the Lord Himself.

Through the Eucharist, the Lord assumes us unto Himself and in Him we are placed in communion with all the others who unite themselves to Him. It is thus not so much a sociological experience as much as a mystical one. Hence even as "communion" the Eucharist is a heavenly experience.

What is more important is the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we relive the sacrifice of Calvary, celebrating it as the moment of our salvation.

And this very fact also constitutes the unique dignity and font of identity of the priest. He has been instituted by Christ to celebrate the wonderful mystery of turning this corruptible piece of bread into the very glorified Body of Christ and this little bit of wine into the Blood of Christ, enacting the sacrifice of Calvary for the salvation of the world. And this has to be lived, understood and believed by the priest each time he celebrates the Eucharist.

Indeed, Sacrosanctum Concilium placed accent on the sacrificial and salvific effectivity of the Mass. The priest thus becomes another Christ, so to say. What a great vocation! And so, if we celebrate the Eucharist devoutly, then the faithful will reap immense spiritual benefit and return again and again in search of that heavenly nourishment.

VALLE: Some have contended that the solution to the liturgical crisis -- and at bottom the crisis of faith -- afflicting the Catholic Church today would be to implement the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass, while others maintain that all we really need is a "reform of the reform," in other words, a reform of the Novus Ordo. What do you think?

RANJITH: An "either-or" attitude would unnecessarily polarize the Church, whereas charity and pastoral concern should be the motivating factors.

If the Holy Father so desires, both could co-exist.

That would not mean that we would have to give up the Novus Ordo. But in the interaction of the two Roman traditions, it is possible that the one may influence the other eventually.

We can’t say everything is completed and finished, that nothing new could happen. In fact, Vatican II never advocated immediate change in the liturgy. Rather it preferred change to "grow organically from forms already existing" (SC 23). As Cardinal Antonelli, a much revered member of the Concilium that undertook the revision of the liturgy after the Council, noted in his diaries, some of the liturgical changes after the Council had been introduced without much reflection, haphazardly, and made later to become accepted practice.

For example, Communion in the hand had not been something that was first properly studied and reflected upon before its acceptance by the Holy See. It had been haphazardly introduced in some countries of Northern Europe and later become accepted practice, eventually spreading into many other places. Now that is a situation that should have been avoided. The Second Vatican Council never advocated such an approach to liturgical reform.

VALLE: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi ("The law of praying (is) the law of believing, (is) the law of living"). Is it true that how we worship and pray influences what we believe, and that what we believe influences how we live? In other words, liturgy ultimately influences our moral life, does it not?

RANJITH: Yes. How can we convince the faithful to make sacrifices in their ethical and moral options, unless they are first touched and inspired by the grace of God profoundly? And such happens especially in worship when the human soul is made to experience the salvific grace of God most intimately. In worship, faith becomes interiorized and brims over with inspiration and strength, enabling one to take the moral options that are in consonance with that faith. In the liturgy, we should experience the closeness of God to our heart so intensely that we in turn begin to believe fervently and are compelled to act justly.

VALLE: What are some contemporary liturgical trends or problems that need correction?

RANJITH: One of these, as I see, is the trend to go for ecumenical liturgies in replacement of the Sunday Mass in some countries, during which Catholic lay leaders and Protestant ministers celebrate together and the latter are invited to preach the homily. Sunday Liturgies of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, which form is allowed in cases where a priest cannot be present, if turned into ecumenical events can give the faithful the wrong signal. They may get used to the idea of the Sunday without the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, as you know, makes the Church (Ed E. 21) and this is central to us Catholics. If it is so easily replaced by Liturgies of the Word, or worse still by so-called ecumenical prayer services, the very identity of the Catholic Church would be in question. Unfortunately, we hear also of cases whereby the Eucharist itself is being celebrated under various guises along with the Protestant pastors. This is totally unacceptable and constitutes a graviora delicta ("more grave offense") (RM 172).

Ecumenism is not something left to the ad hoc choice of individual priests. True ecumenism, such as the one espoused by Vatican II, comes from the heart of the Church. For example, the path to true ecumenism begins with serious reflection on the part of those who are deemed competent to engage in that type of reflection, such as the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Holy Father himself. Not everyone has the competence to know in what way this delicate search for unity is to be perceived. It needs much reflection and prayer. Hence, liturgical novelty in the name of ecumenism should not be tried out individually.

A second disturbing trend is the gradual replacement of the Mass celebrated by a priest with a paraliturgical service conducted by a lay person. This of course can legitimately happen when no priest is available and facilities for the fulfillment of Sunday obligation are scarce. However, this is an exception, not the rule. What is dangerous is to marginalize the priest even when he is available and some lay pastoral leader team arrogates to itself tasks that are reserved for the priests. I mean by this the trend to get the lay leader to preach the homily instead of the priest, even when he is present, or to distribute Holy Communion, leaving the priest to sit idle at the altar.

We have to stress here that, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood "differ from one another in essence and not only in degree" (LG 10). And so it is gravely abusive to relegate to the laity the sacred obligations reserved to the priest.

What is unfortunate is the increasing tendency worldwide to laicize the priest and to clericalize the laity. This too is contra mentem ("against the mind" or "against the intention") of the Council.

There is also an increasing trend to shift the Sunday Mass to Saturdays almost as a "normal" practice. Rather than Sunday being the true day of the Lord, and so a day of spiritual and physical rest, there is a move to reduce its importance, making it become a day of worldly distractions. In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II warned against this disturbing trend.

A final point I wish to make here concerns some practices introduced in mission territories, for example, in Asia, in the name of change, which are counter to its cultural heritage.

In some Asian countries we see a trend to introduce Communion in the hand which is received standing. This is not at all consonant with Asian culture. The Buddhists worship prostrate on the floor with their forehead touching the ground. Moslems take off their shoes and wash their feet before entering the mosque for worship. The Hindus enter the temple bare-chested as a sign of submission. When people approach the king of Thailand or the emperor of Japan, they do so on their knees as a sign of respect. But in many Asian countries the Church has introduced practices like just a simple bow to the Blessed Sacrament instead of kneeling, standing while receiving Holy Communion, and receiving Communion on the hand. And we know that these cannot be considered practices congruent with Asian culture.

Besides, the laity whose role today is being enhanced in the Church are not even consulted when such decisions are made.

All these situations do not augur well for the Church and we need to correct these trends, if the Eucharist we celebrate is to become, as St. Ignatius of Antioch affirmed, "medicine of immortality and antidote against death" (Eph. 20).

Anthony Valle is a theologian and writer who lives in Rome.


Gospel for Feb 22, Feast: The Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

From: Matthew 16:13-19

Peter's Profession of Faith and His Primacy

[13] Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of Man is?" [14] And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." [15] He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" [16] Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." [17] And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. [18] And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. [19] I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."


13-20. In this passage St. Peter is promised primacy over the whole Church, a primacy which Jesus will confer on him after His Resurrection, as we learn in the Gospel of St. John (cf. John 21:15-18). This supreme authority is given to Peter for the benefit of the Church. Because the Church has to last until the end of time, this authority will be passed on to Peter's successors down through history. The Bishop of Rome, the Pope, is the successor of Peter.

The solemn Magisterium of the Church, in the First Vatican Council, defined the doctrine of the primacy of Peter and his successors in these terms:
"We teach and declare, therefore, according to the testimony of the Gospel that the primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church was immediately and directly promised to and conferred upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For to Simon, Christ had said, `You shall be called Cephas' (John 1:42). Then, after Simon had acknowledged Christ with the confession, `You are the Christ, the Son of the living God' (Matthew 16:16), it was to Simon alone that the solemn words were spoken by the Lord: `Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of Hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven' (Matthew 16:17-19). And after His Resurrection, Jesus conferred upon Simon Peter alone the jurisdiction of supreme shepherd and ruler over His whole fold with the words, `Feed My lambs....Feed My sheep' (John 21:15-17) [...]

"(Canon) Therefore, if anyone says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not constituted by Christ the Lord as the Prince of all the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant, or that he received immediately and directly from Jesus Christ our Lord only a primacy of honor and not a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction: let him be condemned.

"Now, what Christ the Lord, Supreme Shepherd and watchful guardian of the flock, established in the person of the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual safety and everlasting good of the Church must, by the will of the same, endure without interruption in the Church which was founded on the rock and which will remain firm until the end of the world. Indeed, `no one doubts, in fact it is obvious to all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, Prince and head of the Apostles, the pillar of faith, and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Redeemer of the human race; and even to this time and forever he lives,' and governs, `and exercises judgment in his successors' (cf. Council of Ephesus), the bishops of the holy Roman See, which he established and consecrated with his blood. Therefore, whoever succeeds Peter in this Chair holds Peter's primacy over the whole Church according to the plan of Christ Himself [...]. For this reason, `because of its greater sovereignty,' it was always `necessary for every church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, to be in agreement' with the same Roman Church [...]

"(Canon) Therefore, if anyone says that it is not according to the institution of Christ our Lord himself, that is, by divine law, that St Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of St Peter in the same primacy: let him be condemned.

"We think it extremely necessary to assert solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God deigned to join to the highest pastoral office. "And so, faithfully keeping to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our Savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and for the salvation of Christian peoples, We, with the approval of the sacred council, teach and define that it is a divinely revealed dogma: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks "ex cathedra", that is, when, acting in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals; and that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of their nature, but not because of the agreement of the Church.

"(Canon) But if anyone presumes to contradict this our definition (God forbid him to do so): let him be condemned" (Vatican I, "Pastor Aeternus", Chaps. 1, 2 and 4).
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, February 21, 2007

Mental Prayer for February 22, The Priest, In Persona Christi

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see Christ living and acting in His priests.

The Idea: When the priest is ordained, his soul gets a sacramental stamp which makes him another Christ for life. When he absolves sins in confession, Christ absolves. When he says, "This is my Body...This is my Blood" in Mass, Christ becomes present and dies an unbloody, mystical death. The grace of God flows from the hands of the priest into the souls of men.

A priest is a man. He will have the defects and make the mistakes of a man. But in doing priestly work, in giving the sacraments, he is always acting with Christ's power and in His name. He takes Christ's place. He has great reason to be as much like Christ as possible in everything he does.

My Personal Application: Do I consider the priest merely as a professional man like a doctor or lawyer? Or do I see with faith that he has power to act as Christ? Do I see that he has one life's work? - to bring God to me and me to God. Am I friendly and respectful toward priests I know? Do I harm the priesthood by unnecessarily criticizing priests for human failings?

I Speak to God: O God, thank you for giving me priests to help me to get to you. Give us more priests for the whole world. Help me to see you acting in your priests. If possible, may I one day be the father or mother, brother or sister of a priest, or even a priest myself.

Thought for Today: O God, give us more and more holy priests.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Catholic and Anglican Joint Comission Criticizes Times Report

The "Churches back plan to unite under Pope" story as previously linked here has been widely discussed and dismissed as speculation, misunderstanding, etc...

Regardless, we should continue to pray for unity - that all may come or return to the Catholic Church, established by our Lord.

A Need to Pray for the Conversion of a Cardinal

I don't recall seeing this story during the past week, but it serves as a reminder that even those who are supposed to lead and guide us on our pilgrim journey toward heaven can be as confused and sinful as the rest of us. Pray for this cardinal and especially for all those who are led away from heaven because of scandal and bad example.

“Friends and Lovers”
Homoerotic art featured at auction held Saturday at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral to benefit AIDS clinics in Mexico

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation held an art exhibition and auction last night at the conference center of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles to raise money for clinics it sponsors in Tijuana and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

A California Catholic Daily reader who saw a preview of the event on a Los Angeles television program alerted the newsaper via email regarding the event. "They showed some of the items, and it was really gross -- men hugging, tops bared, nude males back scenes," said the reader in the email.

The title for the event was “Amigos y Amantes” (Friends and Lovers).

“Showcasing the work of notable and emerging Latino artists, this lively celebration of Latino art and culture will take place on Saturday, February 10th from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Conference Room in downtown Los Angeles. Entrance is $25.00 and includes complimentary appetizers and no host bar,” said an AIDS Healthcare Foundation flyer promoting the event.

It's a great work of mercy to help and assist those who are afflicted by AIDS, but there is a grave moral problem using, as a means to raise money, the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle as a good, which appears to be the case in this situation - at least in some respects...

Abstinence...Beyond Lent

“Every one that strives for the mastery abstains from all things." 1 Cor 9:25.

It seems, brethren, that these words which I have chosen for my text have a very special significance for us to-day. My words go out to you and to all the children of Holy Church as we are about to enter on the great season of abstinence - of abstinence from certain kinds and quantities of food - the abstinence of Lent. I have no fear, then, that my words may fall short; for my text points to an abstinence which belongs to no section of Christians, but to all who strive for the Christian's incorruptible crown: for 'everyone' - St. Paul makes no exception – “that strives for the mastery, abstains;" and mark, not from certain drinks, or certain food, but “from all things" - that is, from all that can interfere with his success in the struggle. Let us, then, today consider this matter of abstinence in its widest signification, as a matter touching all Christians, and preached by the Apostle to all.

We are met at the outset by those who ask: Why should there be any abstinence at all from innocent things? Surely it is enough to abstain from what is bad: for instance, from excess in drinking, or, for the matter of that, from excess in eating. But is there not a happy medium-the safe road of moderation? Let us be moderate, by all means; but why ask us to abstain? Abstinence is not moderation; total abstinence from intoxicants is an extreme course, not a moderate one; and so is total abstinence from flesh meat. It is an extreme measure to stop all meat on Friday, or on certain days in Lent, or on every day in Lent, as was the case before a dispensation was given for certain days. Does not all this-so say the apostles of moderation-run counter to the common sense of mankind, which ever points to the wisdom of a middle course?

Our answer, brethren, is contained in the words of my text. We are" striving for the mastery" in a struggle-a struggle with a powerful enemy, where success will win for us an everlasting crown, and where defeat means everlasting perdition. In such a struggle, who would advise moderation?

The joys of heaven, the pains of hell, are not moderate. No, nor should our striving to gain the one and avoid the other be moderate either. That is why Jesus has said: "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent (not the moderate) bear it away." The foes with whom we strive, and who would, if they could, violently tear from us that crown and that Kingdom, are not given to moderation. They may preach it to us, but they do not practice it. We must meet violence by violence; and since we have to fight, we must choose those weapons which are strong enough to stand and to prevail against our assailants.

Now, our body is one of our chief foes. It is the body that damns most of the souls that are damned. The body has its allies in the World and the Devil, but it is itself the great power we have to fight. You know how often St. Paul tells us of this miserable fact, that we bear with us a body of death-a body that is in lifelong struggle with the soul, striving for the mastery, striving to make the soul fall, and then to keep it down. "I see a law in my members fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin that is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death'?., And again :-"The Wisdom of the flesh is Death; but the Wisdom of the Spirit is life and peace. If you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live."

There is the struggle we have each of us in hand-it is a matter of life and death, of eternal life or eternal death. Who then, believing this, will counsel any but the most vigorous striving, the most far-seeing tactics, the utmost courage and self sacrificing devotion to the cause? What less, in such strife, would gain the mastery?

One great means of reducing an enemy in war is cutting off his supplies. You may have heard of great and perilous efforts made to prevent provision trains from reaching the hostile lines. Some of the most famous battles in history have been fought between those who attacked and those who defended the wagons that bore food to the hungry soldiers. You have heard of cities reduced to surrender by blockade alone-the food supply running short. Well, in the great fight between the Flesh and the Spirit the same tactics are pursued. The body would strive to cut off supplies, to starve the soul into a surrender. And so the body cuts short the prayers that bring grace to the soul. The body will cry for its extra sleep in the morning; and then will be urgent in its haste to work, or to exercise, or to food; and so morning prayers and the graces they bring are cut off. Evening comes, and the body cries for sleep. Prayers at night are too long: the Rosary is made only a succession of broken sleeps, and finally is omitted altogether. Night prayers are thus reduced to a mere form; the poor soul will soon be starved out at this rate: the body is succeeding well in cutting off the supplies. And above all, Mass and the Sacraments are the objects of attack. The day is too nice to go to confession, or it is too wet, too hot, or too cold. The morning's fast is too much; so Holy Communion is put off. And so on. You know these tactics of the Flesh and these promptings of the Devil only too well. It is all to cut off the supplies of grace to the soul, and thus to force it to surrender. Force the Wisdom of the flesh is Death." The body is striving to make the soul a total abstainer from prayer and all that can bring grace and strength; striving to conquer for Hell by means of this fatal spiritual abstinence.

But, dear brethren, let me use a homely phrase, and say that two can play at that game. If the body tries with such fatal success to cut off supplies from the soul, why should not the soul cut off supplies from the body? If the body would enforce abstinence, and even total abstinence, from spiritual food, why should not the soul enforce a like abstinence from corporal food? What is fair to the one combatant is fair to the other; and what is so powerful in behalf of the Flesh will surely be as powerful in behalf of the Spirit. That such is the case is sufficiently proved by St. Paul's words: "If by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the Flesh, you shall live." And such is the teaching of the soul's great ally in this struggle-the Church of God. For as the Flesh is helped by the Devil and the World, so is the Spirit by the Angels and Saints, and by Holy Church. The Church has therefore fixed certain times for warring against the Flesh by the arms of abstinence. There are seasons when there is, so to speak, a grand attack made upon the supplies of the enemy; when all Catholics join publicly in compelling their bodies to abstain from the food at other times permitted to them, and when what was before left to each individual is enforced under the penalty of grievous sin. Such a time is the time of Lent, on which we are about to enter: a time when the Flesh is harassed by the Spirit, when the body is punished and weakened and brought into subjection by the soul: a time when each faithful Catholic can say, with the Apostle, "I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection."

And as there are special times when all the soldiers of the Church, unless released by dispensation, are bound to this warfare of Abstinence, so there are special bodies of her great army bound at all times to carryon these tactics. As in the armies of nations there are certain regiments trained in the use of certain arms, and provided with these arms principally-some with cannon, some with rifles, some with swords or lances, and some with mattocks and axes for clearing a path for the rest, so in God's army the Church has assigned to certain orders certain arms: to one the arm of extraordinary prayer, to others extraordinary fasting and abstinence, to others extraordinary works of mercy, and so on. Mark, the rest of men are not thereby freed from the duty of ordinary prayer and penance and charity; but to those chosen bodies the practice of these virtues is assigned in a special and extraordinary way. Thus, we know, there are religious orders given entirely to contemplation within their strict enclosures; and there are other orders whose members are total abstainers from flesh meat, who rise in the mid-hours of night to watch and pray and carry on the warfare while others rest. Thus we have in the Church that abstinence from all things of which St. Paul speaks: that general attack, in one way or another, upon the supplies of this body of death against which we are obliged to wage unceasing war, striving for the mastery.

But besides this public warfare-this abstinence of certain stated times, and of certain organized bodies within the Church-there is the private and particular warfare which each soul must wage against his own body. That struggle for the mastery is of all seasons, and of all sorts and conditions. For the very life of man is, as Job declares, a warfare; and what is life but the union of body and soul, the grappling together of the Flesh and the Spirit in a long, unceasing struggle?

Brethren, have you ever really understood this? Have you ever truly taken in the meaning of St. Paul's words when, inspired by the Holy Ghost, he told you that the body and soul of man are deadly enemies to each other; that the Flesh lusts against the Spirit; and that, unless this body of flesh be chastised and kept under, it will murder the soul and drag it down to hell? Very different is the doctrine of the world. There, the body is everything: the body is fed and pampered, its every sense supplied with luxury; delicacies are spread for it to taste, sweet sounds for it to hear, fragrant perfumes are sprinkled over it, fair sights displayed before it; it is clad in the softest raiment, and sumptuously housed; all pain is kept as far as may be from it, and the thought of its death is hidden away. And why is this?

Because the world treats this body of death as though it were a friend and not an enemy. The world denies the fact of the great death-struggle between the body and the soul, and treats the words of St. Paul as though they were a worn-out superstition. But let us not make so fearful a mistake. Let us lay to heart the truth which we learned in our catechisms: that we are very much inclined to evil, that if we give up the struggle against this strong inclination all is over with us. The enemy never gives up. From childhood to old age the body of death is striving for the mastery, now in one way, now in another; now by lust, now by anger or hate; now by sloth, now by covetousness-always striving. With such a foe can there be ever truce? No, never, till the grip of the combatants shall relax in death. The Christian soul must struggle on, chastising, cutting off the supplies by abstinence, in the morning of life, and in the evening; for a victory might be snatched even in the shadows of the last hour. Ah, no wonder that he who realized this never-ceasing strife-no wonder that, while others clung to life, St. Paul should cry out,” Who will deliver me from the body of this death?" No wonder he should long for the time to come when the soul at last should shake itself free from the body-no wonder he should" desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ."

Look at Jesus. See how He treated His body. In Him there was indeed no struggle. His holy body and soul were both of God. Nor could there be between them any struggle, for in neither of them could there be any sin. And yet, that He might be with us, our stay and comfort in our weary struggle, He chastised His innocent body: He gave His back to the scourge, and His head to the thorns, His face to the spittle, and His hands and feet to nails. Let us, when our struggle seems too hard, and when our spirit seems to waver, let us look at Him, and we shall be strong. It was for us, to encourage each soul to strive for the mastery, which He suffered these things; and it will give our poor penance and abstinence a wondrous power if only we unite them to those sufferings of Jesus on the Cross. Let us all, then, resolve to carryon the struggle manfully.

Let us enter on the abstinence of Lent, understanding what that abstinence means, why it has been ordered us, and what it may do for us. And even when Lent is over, we must remember that the struggle between the body and the soul will not have ceased, nor therefore the necessity that everyone that strives for the mastery should still abstain from all things.

Dear friends, you may be heroes in the struggle. You are chosen ones of God. You have the blessing of the Church upon your abstinence. Do not waver. If you feel tempted, look up to your standard; look at the Cross. Hear your Master, in His dying accents, bidding you to be true. "I thirst!" He cries; "I am an abstainer in death!" And if there are any here who, moved by that cry from the Cross, wish to imitate Jesus in His thirst, wish to bring comfort to His breaking Heart, to win a victory over their bodies of death, let them this very day join this band of Abstinence, and range themselves under .the standard of Jesus thirsting on the Cross. Do you who have already joined renew your pledge at the feet of Jesus crucified, and do so as often as you look at the Crucifix there before you, or pass by that standing before this church. If you do that, there is little fear that, with His cry, "I thirst!" in your ears, you will ever break your pledge or desert His side.

Dear friends, do not let the length of this life struggle dishearten you. As surely as Lent passes into Easter, so surely will the strife between the Flesh and the Spirit, between your body and your soul, and all the penance, and abstinence, and weariness of that strife, end in death. If you shall have so striven, so abstained, as to have gained the mastery, your end will be peace and rest. The conquered body shall be laid into its grave, for it is a body of death. But in its ashes shall remain a seed that is not of death; and the day shall come when, in reward for its abstinence and chastisement, suffered in the days of its struggle here, "this corruptible shall put on incorruption; and this mortal shall put on immortality," and in your flesh you shall see God.
Adapted from...Sermons 1877-1887
by Fr Arthur Ryan (© 1890)
President of St. Patrick's College
Thurles, Ireland

St. Patrick's College, in 1992, ceased to be a Seminary.

Gospel for Ash Wednesday

From: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven. [2] "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as thehypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [3] But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, [4] so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[5] "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [6] But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[16] "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [17] But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, [18] that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."


1-18. "Piety", here, means good works (cf. note on Matthew 5:6). Our Lord is indicating the kind of spirit in which we should do acts of personal piety. Almsgiving, fasting and prayer were the basic forms taken by personal piety among the chosen people--which is why Jesus refers to these three subjects. With complete authority He teaches that true piety must be practised with an upright intention, in the presence of God and without any ostentation. Piety practised in this way implies exercising our faith in God who sees us--and also in the safe knowledge that He will reward those who are sincerely devout.

5-6. Following the teaching of Jesus, the Church has always taught us to pray even when we were infants. By saying "you" (singular) our Lord is stating quite unequivocally the need for personal prayer--relating as child to Father, alone with God.

Public prayer, for which Christ's faithful assemble together, is something necessary and holy; but it should never displace obedience to this clear commandment of our Lord: "When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father".

The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the teaching and practice of the Church in its liturgy, which is "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows [...]. The spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is indeed called to pray with others, but he must also enter into his bedroom to pray to his Father in secret; furthermore, according to the teaching of the Apostle, he must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium", 10 and 12).

A soul who really puts his Christian faith into practice realizes that he needs frequently to get away and pray alone to his Father, God. Jesus, who gives us this teaching about prayer, practised it during His own life on earth: the holy Gospel reports that He often went apart to pray on His own: "At times He spent the whole night in an intimate conversation with His Father. The Apostles were filled with love when they saw Christ pray" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 119; cf. Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; etc.). The Apostles followed the Master's example, and so we see Peter going up to the rooftop of the house to pray in private, and receiving a revelation (cf. Acts 10:9-16). "Our life of prayer should also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversation with God, moments of silent dialogue" ("ibid", 119).

16-18. Starting from the traditional practice of fasting, our Lord tells us the spirit in which we should exercise mortification of our senses: we should do so without ostentation, avoiding praise, discreetly; that way Jesus' words will not apply to us: "they have their reward"; it would have been a very bad deal. "The world admires only spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of sacrifice that is hidden and silent" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 185).
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, February 20, 2007

Mental Prayer for February 21, What It Takes to Be a Priest

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To know and to be able to tell others what qualities a young man needs to be a priest.

The Idea: A vocation to the priesthood is not something mysterious; Christ will not whisper in my ear, "Be a priest." It means four things:
(1) I am healthy enough to pray, study, work as most others my age.
(2) I lead a normally good Catholic life, trying to avoid sin and to keep the commandments, to frequent the sacraments - not a "walking saint."
(3) I can handle any studies fairly well; I am willing to study many years.
(4) I myself want to be a priest... for some reason like the following: to serve God better, to give my life more completely to God, to win souls for Christ, to save my own soul, to be like Christ, to help people, to be like some priest I know... a parish diocesan priest or a priest in a religious order with vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience... and I do not have serious family responsibilities in the way.

My Personal Application: (If a woman) Do I pray that more young men will receive and follow the call to be good and holy priests? Do I pray for the priests I know? (If a man) Have I seriously and prayerfully asked myself if I have the four qualities necessary to be a priest?

I Speak to God: O Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind. I want to do whatever you and the Father and Christ want me to do in life. Help me to be perfectly open about my vocation with my con­fessor, pastor, spiritual counselor, and parents­ - they can best judge whether I have the four qualities necessary to be a priest.

Thought for Today: Come, Holy Spirit. En­lighten my mind to know in what way of life I can best do your holy will.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Lent - Because He Did It

"Now Jesus. . . was led about the desert by the Spirit for forty days." St. Luke, 4:1.

A certain non-Catholic lady could not understand why Catholics do not eat meat on Friday. She thought the idea unreasonable. Her gardener was a Catholic and a simple, hard-working old man. One day she asked him what he thought of it. His answer cleared away her misgivings and eventually led her into the Church.

"Ah, Miss Mary," he explained, "Christ lived for me: Christ worked for me; Christ suffered for me; Christ died for me. Is not my doing without meat on Friday a very small return for all that?"

The old gardener had the real spirit of penance, the "why" and "where­fore" of Lent - to do what Christ did, not just because we must, not princi­pally because we are commanded, but - because Christ did so much for us.

Why Lent? Why do we fast and deny ourselves, why do we attend spe­cial services, say more prayers and better prayers for forty long days? We do it because Christ did it.

"Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led about the desert by the Spirit for forty days, being tempted all the while by the devil. And in those days he ate nothing; and when they were com­pleted he was hungry." St. Luke, 4:1-2.

The same Spirit that led Him into the desert leads us into the land of
self-denial. The same Spirit that called Christ is calling you.
"Yet on the plains of common life
Through all the world of men,
The voice that once said, 'Follow Me'
Speaks to our hearts again."

Picture Him in the full bloom of His manhood starting out into that barren, desolate desert. No tree to cast a shade; no spring to quench His thirst; no couch on which to lie; no food - no friends - no comforts - no conveniences; nothing of what the body craves, nothing but burning sand, jagged rocks, and thorny bushes. No sign of life but the howling of wild beasts.

Into this wilderness went our Master. There He remained for forty days, forty days of the most rigorous fasting, forty days of conversation with His Father, forty days without the simplest comforts of the body.

Because our Savior spent those forty days in penance, we try to do the same. He did it all for us, but He wants us to do our share for Him. He wants us to follow Him, to answer the call of the Spirit. He tells us:
"If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." St. Matthew, 16 :24.

For forty days Christ fasted. With Our Lord as our model, Mother Church asks those who can to cut down on food and drink. But, kind Mother that she is, the Church realizes that many of us weak children of Adam cannot keep the strict fast. She grants dispensations.

Are we thereby excused from all fasting? By no means. We still can and must fast - spiritually. What a lovely way to fast! Lovely, indeed, but not so easy. By spiritual fasting I mean fasting from sin. All the year, especially in Lent, must we keep that fast.

Fast with your eyes. Are you in the habit of looking at every type of picture that comes along? Do sexy and suggestive scenes find their way through your eyes into your soul? Are your glances at persons of the oppo­site sex serious occasions of sin to you? Are you the "must see every movie" type? Think of Christ in the desert, giving up sight of everything pleasant and lawful - for you. For Him - give up the unlawful, and sometimes also the lawful.

Fast with your tongue. Not merely by abstaining from food and drink, but by abstaining from bad language, from suggestive stories and speech, from cursing and swearing, from unkind talk. Tell our Lord, who was silent in the bitter silence of the desert forty days, tell Him that you will choke back the wrong word for His sake.

Fast with your ears. Close them to the kind of talk just mentioned. Open them to the word of God. Open them to the commands of your parents, the advice, the instruction of your teachers, the corrections of your friends. Listen to these pertinent words of St. Francis de Sales: "Believe me," said he, "believe me, the mortification of the senses - of the sight, the hearing, the tongue - is more beneficial than to wear a chain of iron and a hair-shirt."

As we follow our Savior into the desert we often find Him praying, talk­ing to His heavenly Father. The greater part of those forty days Christ spent in prayer. We must pray, too.

The best prayer is Holy Mass; it is the best sacrifice. It unites all the sufferings and teachings of our Lord into a short service. Christ gave up all comfort, and I don't love Him enough to give up a little sleep?

Mass is Calvary - the desert - Gethsemane - the Passion - the Last Supper - ­the crucifixion - and Easter - re-presented to us again in an unbloody manner.

From the ashes of the blessed palms Mother Church scoops up ashen dust and gently puts it on our heads to open this sacred season, reminding us that we are dust, recalling us to our sacred purpose in life:
"For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow His steps."

The Magnificent Christ! Who is so great, so powerful, so kingly, so hum­ble, so heroic, so loving? What can keep us from following Him? Nothing. With St. Paul:
"I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans, 8:38-39.
Adapted from Occasional Talks
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

Pray the Seven Dolours of Mary for Lent

The Seven Dolours of Mary

1 The Prophecy of Simeon – “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” – Luke 2:35 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

2 The Holy Family’s Flight Out of Egypt – “Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt : and be there until I shall tell thee.” – Matthew 2:13 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

3 The “Loss” of Jesus for Three Days – “Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” – Luke 2:48 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

4 On the Road to Calvary – “And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him..” – Luke 2:27 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

5 At the Foot of The Cross – “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.” – John 19:26 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

6 Receiving His Body – “Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God , came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.” – Mark 15:43 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

7 His Hurried Burial – “And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on.” – Luke 23:51 (1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys)

Pray Three Hail Mary’s for her sorrowful tears.

Ora pro nobis, Most Sorrowful Virgin!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Lord Jesus, we implore now both for the present and for the hours of our death, the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother and ours, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Your Passion by a sword of greatest grief. Grand us this favor, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest with The Father and The Holy Ghost, One God forever and ever. Amen.


HT to Patte for the update.

What's Missing from this Diocese of Orange Web Page?

From an acquaintance in the diocese, I received this:

Have a look at the diocesan website ("Peace and Justice")

The brief paragraph beneath the Issues/Legislative Advocacy title on the Diocese of Orange webpage says:

"The Church has a rich history of involvement in and support of social justice issues consistent with the teachings of the Church. Following are relevant links which will help one find the Church’s position and call for action on the social justice issues of our time. "

The list "Issues and Legislative Advocacy" includes many current issues that Bishop Brown (and Bishop Soto, who is supposed to direct legislative action in the Diocese of Orange) consider important.

Some of the issues that are included are Citizenship, Death Penalty, Immigration, Health Care, Sweatshop Labor, Poverty and Third World Debt.


Can you guess? Go back and look it over again...

Let's see., might these other important Social Justice issues be...abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, homosexual unions, etc. But, I digress.

But the additional problem is the fact that the 2 links under Sweatshop Labor are links to UNICEF, which supports population control, contraception, and abortion.

Below is a link to Lifesite News that lists a number of articles about the anti-Catholic teachings of UNICEF including one regarding the fact that, after a damning report that was issued in 1996, the Vatican stopped their annual contribution to the organization.

Do Bishop Brown and Bishop Soto support UNICEF? If not, why do they erroneously instruct their flock by including UNICEF in the links where one can "FIND THE CHURCH'S POSITION"???

Lent 2007: The Love Letter Written by Pope Benedict

Why is he so strenuous in his defense of the family as founded upon marriage between a man and a woman? He explains why in his message in preparation for Easter. In it, he writes that “eros is part of the very heart of God,” and therefore...
by Sandro Magister

...continued here.

Gospel for Tuesday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:30-37

Second Prophecy of the Passion

[30] They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And He (Jesus) would not have any one know it; [31] for He was teaching His disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He is killed, after three days He will rise." [32] But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask Him.

Being the Servant of All

[33] And they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house He asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" [34] But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. [35] And He sat down and called the Twelve; and He said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." [36] And He took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, [37] "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me".


30-32. Although moved when He sees the crowds like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36), Jesus leaves them, to devote time to careful instruction of the Apostles. He retires with them to out-of-the-way places, and there He explains points of His public preaching which they had not understood (Matthew 13:36). Here, specifically, for a second time, He announces His death and resurrection.

In His relationships with souls Jesus acts in the same way: He calls man to be with him in the quiet of prayer and there He teaches him about His more intimate plans and about the more demanding side of the Christian life. Later, like the Apostles, Christians were to spread this teaching to the ends of the earth.

34-35. Jesus uses this argument going on behind his back to teach His disciples about how authority should be exercised in His Church--not by lording it over other, but by serving them. In fulfilling His own mission to found the Church whose head and supreme lawgiver He is, He came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28).

Anyone who does not strive to have this attitude of self-forgetful service, not only lacks one of the main pre-requisites for proper exercise of authority but also runs the risk of being motivated by ambition or pride. "To be in charge of an apostolic undertaking demands readiness to suffer everything, from everybody, with infinite charity" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 951).

36-37. To demonstrate to His Apostles the abnegation and humility needed in their ministry, He takes a child into His arms and explains the meaning of this gesture: if we receive for Christ's sake those who have little importance in the world's eyes, it is as if we are embracing Christ Himself and the Father who sent Him. This little child whom Jesus embraces represents every child in the world, and everyone who is needy, helpless, poor or sick--people who are not naturally attractive.
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.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mental Prayer for February 20, The Priest, Man's Way to God

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: I want to realize the dignity of a priest.

The Idea: St. Francis of Assisi once said that if he met an angel and a priest walking together, he would reverence the priest more than the angel.

Why? The priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass for men to God. The priest also brings God's grace and truth to men. Through the priest's giving the sacraments, Christ touches men with His grace as He once touched and healed them with His hands.

Through the priest's teaching and preaching, Christ's truth frees men's minds as He intended it should when He sent the Apostles to teach all nations.

My Personal Application: God could have chosen to come to me in any way He wanted. He chose to come through other men - through priests. Without His priests today, I could pray... but how effective would my prayer be without the Mass to join it to? How would my sins be forgiven? No Communion. No last sacraments. Am I grateful to God for priests? Am I grateful to priests for God?

I Speak to God: I believe that you chose your priests, even some with faults. I believe that you give each priest the power to bring your body to the altar at Mass and to me in Holy Communion. I believe you forgive my sins when the priest absolves me. Help me to understand this better and to be grateful for your gift, the priest.

Thought for Today: The priest, man's way to God.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Diocese of San Diego Considers Bankrupty

Rediscover the Sacrament of Penance

VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Pope ... pointed out how a confessor, "following the Church's Magisterium with gentle insistence, becomes a minister of the consoling mercy of God, he emphasizes the reality of sin, and at the same time reveals the limitless renovating power of divine love, the love that restores life."
. . .
"How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long! How can we not recognize, also in our own time marked by so many religious and social challenges, that this Sacrament must be rediscovered and presented anew?"

Gospel for Monday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 9:14-29

The Curing of an Epileptic Boy

[14] And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them. [15] And immediately all the crowd when they saw Him (Jesus), were greatly amazed, and ran up to Him and greeting Him. [16] And He asked them, "What are you discussing with them?" [17] And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; [18] and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." [19] And He answered them, "Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me." [20] And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the body, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. [21] And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood. [22] And it has often cash him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us." [23] And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." [24] Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" [25] And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." [26] After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." [27] But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. [28] And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" [29] And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."


17. The demon who possessed this boy is described as a "dumb spirit" because dumbness was the main feature of the possession. On diabolic possession cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24.

19-24. As on other occasions, Jesus requires submission of faith before He works the miracle. The exclamation of Jesus refers to the request of the boy's father (verse 22), which seemed to suggest some doubt about God's omnipotence. The Lord corrects this way of asking and requires him to have firm faith. In verse 24 we can see that the father has quite changed; then Jesus does the miracle. The man's strengthened faith made him all-powerful, for someone with faith relies not on himself but on Jesus Christ. Through faith, then, we become sharers in God's omnipotence. But faith is a gift of God, which man, especially at times when he is wavering, should ask humbly and tenaciously, like the father of this boy: "I believe, help my unbelief," and like the Apostles: "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).

28-29. "In teaching the Apostles how to expel a spirit as evil as this He is teaching all of us how we should live, and telling us that prayer is the resource we should use to overcome even the severest temptations, whether they come from unclean spirits or from men. Prayer does not consist only in the words we use to invoke God's clemency but also in everything we do, out of faith, as homage to God. The Apostle bears witness to this when he says: `Pray constantly' (1 Thessalonians 5:7)" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
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.