Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 11, Should a Saint Study?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see a new meaning in study, which can make me more like God.

The Idea: What makes me study? I am told to or asked to? I want to go to college? To prepare for life? To make a better living? All four are good reasons; but there is even more to it than that. Every­thing in the world shares, each in its very limited, way, in God's own greatness. As a human person I can be like God in knowing and loving Him. Everything I study tells me more about the world. Everything in the world tells me more about God. In the things He made I see His intelligence, His beauty, His power, the wonderful way He has taken care of us all these centuries. The deeper I dig into my school subjects or my additional studies, the more I know about God; and so the more I love Him; and so the better I play my part of being like Him.

My Personal Application: Do I study only because I have to, or just because I want to be successful? Or do I also study because I want to know more about God so that I can be more like Him? Do I ever work, with all my brains and strength, to really learn about Him?

I Speak to God: It was simply generosity on your part to make me to share your own life of knowing and loving. Help me to know. Make me want to learn. Don't let me waste this opportunity of a lifetime.

Thought for Today: "This is eternal life, that they may love thee, the only true God."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 15:1-3; 11-32

Parables of God's Mercy

[1] Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him (Jesus). [2] And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

The Prodigal Son

[3] So He told them this parable: [11] "There was a man who had two sons; [12] and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. [13] Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. [14] And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. [15] So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. [16] And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. [17] But when he came to himself he said, `How can many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! [18] I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; [19] I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.'" [20] And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. [21] And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' [22] But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; [23] and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; [24] for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry.

[25] "Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. [26] And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. [27] And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' [28] But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, [29] but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. [30] But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' [31] And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. [32] It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"


1-32. Jesus' actions manifest God's mercy: He receives sinners in order to convert them. The scribes and Pharisees, who despised sinners, just cannot understand why Jesus acts like this; they grumble about Him; and Jesus uses the opportunity to tell these Mercy parables. "The Gospel writer who particularly treats of these themes in Christ's teaching is Luke, whose Gospel has earned the title of `the Gospel of mercy'" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 3).

In this chapter St. Luke reports three of these parables in which Jesus describes the infinite, fatherly mercy of God and His joy at the conversion of the sinner.

The Gospel teaches that no one is excluded from forgiveness and that sinners can become beloved children of God if they repent and are converted. So much does God desire the conversion of sinners that each of these parables ends with a refrain, as it were, telling of the great joy in Heaven over a sinner who repents.

1-2. This is not the first time that publicans and sinners approach Jesus (cf. Matthew 9:10). They are attracted by the directness of the Lord's preaching and by His call to self-giving and love. The Pharisees in general were jealous of His influence over the people (cf. Matthew 26:2-5; John 11:47) a jealousy which can also beset Christians; a severity of outlook which does not accept that, no matter how great his sins may have been, a sinner can change and become a saint; a blindness which prevents a person from recognizing and rejoicing over the good done by others. Our Lord criticized this attitude when He replied to His disciples' complaints about others casting out devils in His name: "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon after to speak evil of Me" (Mark 9:39). And St. Paul rejoiced that others proclaimed Christ and even overlooked the fact they did so out of self-interest, provided Christ was preached (cf. Philippians 1:17-18).

11. This is one of Jesus' most beautiful parables, which teaches us once more that God is a kind and understanding Father (cf. Matthew 6:8; Romans 8:15; 2 Corinthians 1:3). The son who asks for his part of the inheritance is a symbol of the person who cuts himself off from God through sin. "Although the word `mercy' does not appear, this parable nevertheless expresses the essence of the divine mercy in a particularly clear way" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 5).

12. "That son, who receives from the father the portion of the inheritance that is due him and leaves home to squander it in a far country `in loose living', in a certain sense is the man of every period, beginning with the one who was the first to lose the inheritance of grace and original justice. The analogy at this point is very wide-ranging. The parable indirectly touches upon every breach of the covenant of love, every loss of grace, every sin" ("Dives In Misericordia", 5).

14-15. At this point in the parable we are shown the unhappy effects of sin. The young man's hunger evokes the anxiety and emptiness a person feels when he is far from God. The prodigal son's predicament describes the enslavement which sin involves (cf. Romans 1:25; 6:6; Galatians 5:1): by sinning one loses the freedom of the children of God (cf. Romans 8:21; Galatians 4:31; 5:13) and hands oneself over the power of Satan.

17-21. His memory of home and his conviction that his father loves him cause the prodigal son to reflect and to decide to set out on the right road. "Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father's house. We return through contrition, through the conversion of heart which means a desire to change, a firm decision to improve our life and which, therefore, is expressed in sacrifice and self-giving. We return to our Father's house by means of that sacrament of pardon in which, by confessing our sins, we put on Jesus Christ again and become His brothers, members of God's family" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 64).

20-24. God always hopes for the return of the sinner; He wants him to repent. When the young man arrives home his father does not greet him with reproaches but with immense compassion, which causes him to embrace his son and cover him with kisses.

20. "There is no doubt that in this simple but penetrating analogy the figure of the father reveals to us God as Father. The conduct of the father in the parable and his whole behavior, which manifests his internal attitude, enables us to rediscover the individual threads of the Old Testament vision of mercy in a synthesis which is totally new, full of simplicity and depth. The father of the prodigal son is FAITHFUL TO THIS FATHERHOOD, FAITHFUL TO THE LOVE that he had always lavished on his son. This fidelity is expressed in the parable not only by his immediate readiness to welcome him home when he returns after having squandered his inheritance; it is expressed even more fully by that joy, that merrymaking for the squanderer after his return, merrymaking which is so generous that it provokes the opposition and hatred of the elder brother, who had never gone far away from his father and had never abandoned the home.

"The father's fidelity to himself [...] is at the same time expressed in a manner particularly charged with affection. We read, in fact, that when the father saw the prodigal son returning home `he had COMPASSION, ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.' He certainly does this under the influence of a deep affection, and this also explains his generosity towards his son, that generosity which so angers the elder son" ("Dives In Misericordia", 6).

"When God runs towards us, we cannot keep silent, but with St. Paul we exclaim, "ABBA PATER": `Father, my Father!' (Romans 8:15), for, though He is the creator of the universe, He doesn't mind our not using high-sounding titles, nor worry about our not acknowledging His greatness. He wants us to call Him Father; He wants us to savor that word, our souls filling with joy [...].

"God is waiting for us, like the father in the parable, with open arms, even though we don't deserve it. It doesn't matter how great our debt is. Just like the prodigal son, all we have to do is open our heart, to be homesick for our Father's house, to wonder at and rejoice in the gift which God makes us of being able to call ourselves His children, of really being His children, even though our response to Him has been so poor" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64).

25-30. God's mercy is so great that man cannot grasp it: as we can see in the case of the elder son, who thinks his father loves the younger son excessively, his jealousy prevents him from understanding how his father can do so much to celebrate the recovery of the prodigal; it cuts him off from the joy that the whole family feels. "It's true that he was a sinner. But don't pass so final a judgment on him. Have pity in your heart, and don't forget that he may yet be an Augustine, while you remain just another mediocrity" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 675).

We should also consider that if God has compassion towards sinners, He must have much much more towards those who strive to be faithful to Him. St. Therese of Lisieux understood this very well: "What joy to remember that our Lord is just; that He makes allowances for all our shortcomings, and knows full well how weak we are. What have I to fear then? Surely the God of infinite justice who pardons the prodigal son with such mercy will be just with me `who am always with Him'?" ("The Story of a Soul", Chapter 8).

32. "Mercy, as Christ has presented it in the parable of the prodigal son, has THE INTERIOR FORM OF THE LOVE that in the New Testament is called AGAPE. This love is able to reach down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin. When this happens, the person who is the object of mercy does not feel humiliated, but rather found again and `restored to value'. The father first and foremost expresses to him his joy, that he has been `found again' and that he has `returned to life'. This joy indicates a good that has remained intact: even if he is a prodigal, a son does not cease to be truly his father's son; it also indicates a good that has been found again, which in the case of the prodigal son was his return to the truth about himself" ("Dives In Misericordia", 6).
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, March 09, 2007

From HLI: Sean Hannity's Gospel

Sean Hannity was taken to task today in an article by Fr Thomas Euteneuer, President, Human Life International, and Sean displayed his lack of understanding of his professed Catholic faith this evening on the Hannity and Colmes show in a discussion with Fr. Euteneuer.

Apparently, Hannity was making a big deal last Friday and apologizing on his radio show concerning the fact that he had mistakenly taken a couple of bites of a chicken sandwich on a Friday of Lent.

Fr Euteneuer says:
...he used the opportunity on the show to make a fairly big deal about the "eat meat on Friday and you can go to hell" issue.

Well, even though he claims to be a "good Catholic," Hannity is hardly a credible commentator on Catholic said much more about the depth of his faith than anything else.
. . .
[Mistakenly eating a chicken sandwich is] not a sin, and issuing a dramatic "apology" for doing that is, well, entertainment, not witness.

If apologies are the order of the day, then the repentance I would like to hear out of Sean Hannity's mouth is for his shameless—even scandalous—promotion of birth control. Yes, I have heard him personally say, "I have no problem with birth control. It's a good thing." (Another bit of profound theological reasoning.) Given the size of his audience and the importance of his status in pop culture, Hannity's anti-witness to a fundamental tenet of Catholic moral doctrine is just devastating for the faith of others who may be weak or vacillating in this area. His impact is greater, and so his judgment will be stricter. "To those who have been given more, more will be required…"

As I understand it, during the show, Hannity asked if Fr Euteneuer would refuse him Holy Communion and the good priest rightly responded "Yes," he would...

Hopefully, a clip of the exchange between Hannity and Fr Euteneuer will be on YouTube...I'll check and get back to this if I find one...

**** Here it is (Updated 3/10/07)

Hannity has a grossly flawed understanding of the faith...and he speaks like every other cornered "cafeteria Catholic" with his "Judge not" nonsense and other idiotic statements. Phew!!!

Also, for those who may not recall, Sean Hannity was called out back in July 2004 by Dr Arthur Hippler who wrote an "Open Letter" to Sean for his "cafeteria Catholicism" and his rejection of the Church's teaching on artificial contraception...Unfortunately, almost 3 years later, Hannity has matured very little in his growth in his faith...

HT to my brother Tim for the update!

Mental Prayer for March 10, Divorce - Marriage Shipwreck

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see the ugliness of divorce.

The Idea: When a couple gets married with the idea that they want only pleasure and enjoyment and self-indulgence, sooner or later they become greatly disillusioned. They soon find marriage is like all else in life: you get out what you put in.

Such people are emotional children who face problems like children. They run away. They want for themselves: they disregard conse­quences: a partner abandoned and endangered by great temptations; children set adrift without home or guide, God's gifts thrown to the winds.

My Personal Application: Am I convinced of the evil of divorce? If not, I wonder whether my emotions have kept pace with my age? Was Christ serious? -"What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

Do the marriage vows mean anything? - "... until death do us part."

When I take on a responsibility, do I mean to fol­low it to the end no matter what the cost? Am I willing to pay the price for the joys of marriage? God entrusted children to parents; can the par­ents keep that trust?

I Speak to God: Dear God, help me now, long before I get emotionally involved in difficulties, to keep my promises, to shoulder my responsibilities. Help me to face coolly and calmly the difficulties of marriage, and then, if I want to bear them, accept them forever. I want to realize that in the Sacrament of Matrimony I get special grace to live that life. Teach me to call on that grace.

Thought tor Today: "Lord, that I may see."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Abp Burke: Lent and Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, enthronement and consecration

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is at the heart of our Lenten observance, for it draws us near to Christ in the Holy Eucharist and helps us to remain in His company throughout the day. Our Holy Father, in fact, has proposed as the theme for our Lenten observance the text from the Gospel according to St. John: "They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced" (John 19:37). During Lent, as we look upon the image of Christ crucified, we especially gaze upon His pierced Heart, which He permitted to be opened by the soldier’s spear, pouring out every ounce of His being for our salvation. The glorious pierced Heart of Jesus is the source of all the graces we receive in the Church.

Lent would be a good time to enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home or your places of work and recreation. The image of the Sacred Heart reminds us, throughout the day, that our Lord Jesus accompanies us all along the way of our earthly pilgrimage. It also invites us to pause and reflect upon the mystery of our life in Christ, letting Christ look into our hearts.

When we enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we also make our prayer of consecration, giving our hearts completely to our Lord Jesus, placing our hearts totally into His open Heart. If you have already enthroned the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and made the consecration of your life to the Sacred Heart, Lent is a good time to renew your consecration.

Archbishop Burke's complete column can be read here.

Barat Academy Freshmen to Receive Free Tuition

DARDENNE PRAIRIE — Barat Academy will open its doors this fall to 150 freshmen whose parents won't spend a dime on tuition for the first year.

Debby Watson, the school's president, said Thursday that an anonymous donor had pledged a one-time gift of more than $1 million to pay the $11,000 tuition for each student for one year. If the school reaches its enrollment goal of 150 students, the gift would be worth $1.65 million.

Watson said the donor also has challenged others to match the grant to help students become leaders of tomorrow.
. . .
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. The school and surrounding development is named for St. Madeline Sophie Barat, who founded the Society of the Sacred Heart as an order of nuns dedicated to teaching.
What a great display of generosity!

Full story here.

A Failed Pre-emptive Plea

The Rev. Francis Guinan was outraged in the fall of 2003, facing two parish audits by the Diocese of Palm Beach...He professed disbelief that his integrity would be questioned...Guinan called on Bishop Gerald Barbarito, new to his post, to abolish the diocese's audit policy.

Why should the diocese abolish its audit policy, which was implemented, no doubt, for good reason? In a 2003 letter to Bishop Barbarito, Guinan explains:
"My reasons for this request are as follows: It is demeaning, embarrassing and humiliating. It accomplishes nothing that could not be accomplished in a more dignified fashion...The money spent on an audit is a waste and should be spent more wisely."

"They [priests] devote their lives to the church with little thought for personal gain. They are generous, charitable and compassionate. They have earned and deserve trust, at least until proven otherwise...May I be so crude as to ask you to `call off the dogs.'"
Despite this touching plea, the audits went forward, and: independent audit of St. Vincent eventually uncovered an alleged $8.6 million theft going back decades.
. . .
Guinan jetted off to Las Vegas and the Bahamas with a woman witnesses told investigators was his girlfriend...collected real estate and upscale homes...created a complex maze for accountants to sort out, including multiple bank and stock investment accounts that were kept secret.
Guinan, 64, and another priest, the Rev. John Skehan, 74, were arrested last fall and charged with grand theft over $100,000, a first-degree felony which can carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. But being priests whose sacrifices and commitments were "without parallel," they pleaded not guilty...


Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

(Jesus told the chief priests and the elders,) [33] "Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. [34] When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; [35] and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. [36] Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. [37] Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' [38] But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' [39] And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. [40] When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" [41] They said to Him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."

[42] Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes'! [43] Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."
[45] When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. [46] But when they tried to arrest Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him to be a prophet.


33-46. This very important parable completes the previous one. The parable of the two sons simply identifies the indocility of Israel; that of the wicked tenants focuses on the punishment to come.

Our Lord compares Israel to a choice vineyard, specially fenced, with a watchtower, where a keeper is on the look-out to protect it from thieves and foxes. God has spared no effort to cultivate and embellish His vineyard. The vineyard is in the charge of tenant farmers; the householder is God, and the vineyard, Israel (Isaiah 5:3-5: Jeremiah 2:21; Joel 1:7).

The tenants to whom God has given the care of His people are the priests, scribes and elders. The owner's absence makes it clear that God really did entrust Israel to its leaders; hence their responsibility and the account He demands of them.

The owner used to send his servants from time to time to collect the fruit; this was the mission of the prophets. The second despatch of servants to claim what is owing to the owner--who meet the same fate as the first--refers to the way God's prophets were ill-treated by the kings and priests of Israel (Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:42; Hebrews 11:36-38). Finally he sent his son to them, thinking that they would have more respect for him; here we can see the difference between Jesus and the prophets, who were servants, not "the Son": the parable indicates singular, transcendental sonship, expressing the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The malicious purpose of the tenants in murdering the son and heir to keep the inheritance for themselves is the madness of the leaders in expecting to become undisputed masters of Israel by putting Christ to death (Matthew 12:14; 26:4). Their ambition blinds them to the punishment that awaits them. Then "they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him": a reference to Christ's crucifixion, which took place outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Jesus prophesies the punishment God will inflict on the evildoers: He will put them to death and rent the vineyard to others. This is a very significant prophecy. St. Peter later repeats to the Sanhedrin: "This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner" (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4). The stone is Jesus of Nazareth, but the architects of Israel, who build up and rule the people, have chosen not use it in the building. Because of their unfaithfulness the Kingdom of God will be turned over to another people, the Gentiles, who WILL give God the fruit He expects His vineyard to yield (cf. Matthew 3:8-10; Galatians 6:16).

For the building to be well-built, it needs to rest on this stone. Woe to him who trips over it! (cf. Matthew 12:30; Luke 2:34), as first Jews and later the enemies of Christ and His Church will discover through bitter experience (cf. Isaiah 8:14-15).

Christians in all ages should see this parable as exhorting them to build faithfully upon Christ and make sure they do not fall into the sin of this Jewish generation. We should also be filled with hope and a sense of security; for, although the building--the Church--at some times seem to be breaking up, its sound construction, with Christ as its cornerstone, is assured.
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, March 08, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 9, The Christian Family

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: That I might realize in my own family the ideal of the Holy Family.

Mental Picture: House at Nazareth... Mary at work setting the table for the evening meal... notice the cleanliness and attractiveness of the humble house. The boy, Jesus, comes in from the carpenter shop in the rear... He greets His mother. Hear their conversation about the day's happenings... see Him help His mother... hear Joseph enter... notice the peace and love in those eyes as he greets Mary... see her look of love... follow them through the evening meal.

My Personal Application: How do my ideals of a Christian home stand up to this one? How did this holy home become so attractive? Poverty, yes, but happiness too! When I am tired, can I be cheerful? Does the happy home depend on one member or all members of the family? Is a happy home one in which each member goes his own way, or is it one in which they work, play, and pray together? Does each think of self or of the other members first?

I Speak to God: O Father, center of every happy family, let me learn family happiness at Nazareth.

Teach me that happiness lies in giving to others, not in taking from them. Help me to be cheerful when I don't feel like it. Help me to share my part of the burden, not make others carry it. Teach me true sympathy, suffering with others, not making others suffer. Let me learn that love is selfless giving, cheerful helping.

Thought for Today: Holy Family, be the model of my family.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Hmmm, pass me the muskrat, will ya?

Muskrat love: A Lenten Friday delight for some Michiganders
By Kristin Lukowski
Catholic News Service

RIVERVIEW, Mich. (CNS) -- There's an alternative to fish for some Michigan Catholics abstaining from meat on Fridays in Lent -- muskrat.

The custom of eating muskrat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays in Lent apparently goes back to the early 1800s, the time of Father Gabriel Richard, an early missionary in Michigan whose flock included French-Canadian trappers. Legend has it that because trappers and their families were going hungry not eating flesh during Lent, he allowed them to eat muskrat, with the reasoning that the mammal lives in the water.

The story varies on just where in Michigan the dispensation extends. Among areas mentioned are along the Raisin River, along the Rouge River, both of which flow into Lake Erie south of Detroit, Monroe County in the southeast corner of Michigan, or all of southeast Michigan.

The Detroit archdiocesan communications department said there is a standing dispensation for Catholics downriver -- in Detroit's southern suburbs and below -- to eat muskrat on Fridays, although no documentation of the original dispensation could be found.
Them's some good eatsm, them rodents is...

Closing Mass at the Religious Education Congress 07

What a treat!

It would have been a waste of energy to post this sign:

Want to smile?

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch.

At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. One of the nuns had made a note, and posted on the apple tray:

"Take only ONE. God is watching."

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.

A child had written a note:
"Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

A New President of the Italian Bishops Conference

From Chiesa:
The Bishops of Italy Have a New Leader: Angelo Bagnasco

He has been archbishop of Genoa for a few months, but Benedict XVI also wanted him to be president of the bishops’ conference. He succeeds Ruini, to whom he is extremely loyal. His appointment is the confirmation of a project for a victorious Church.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Thursday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus and the Rich Man

(Jesus told them this parable:) [19] "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. [20] And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, [21] who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; [23] and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' [25] But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. [26] And besides in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' [27] And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, [28] for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' [29] But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' [30] And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' [31] He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"


19-31. This parable disposes of two errors--that of those who denied the survival of the soul after death and, therefore, retribution in the next life; and that of those who interpreted material prosperity in this life as a reward for moral rectitude, and adversity as punishment. This parable shows that, immediately after death, the soul is judged by God for all its acts--the "particular judgment"--and is rewarded or punished; and that divine revelation is by itself sufficient for men to be able to believe in the next life.

In another area, the parable teaches the innate dignity of every human person, independently of his social, financial, cultural or religious position. And respect for this dignity implies that we must help those who are experiencing any material or spiritual need: "Wishing to come down to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 27).

Another practical consequence of respect for others is proper distribution of material resources and protection of human life, even unborn life, as Paul VI pleaded with the General Assembly of the United Nations: "Respect for life, even with regard to the great problem of the birth rate, must find here in your assembly its highest affirmation and its most reasoned defense. You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not rather favor an artificial control of birth, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life" ("Address to the UN", 4 October 1965).

21. Apparently this reference to the dogs implies not that they alleviated Lazarus' sufferings but increased them, in contrast with the rich man's pleasure: to the Jews dogs were unclean and therefore were not generally used as domestic animals.

22-26. Earthly possession, as also suffering, are ephemeral things: death marks their end, and also the end of our testing-time, our capacity to sin or to merit reward for doing good; and immediately after death we begin to enjoy our reward or to suffer punishment, as the case may be. The Magisterium of the Church has defined that the souls of all who die in the grace of God enter Heaven, immediately after death or after first undergoing a purging, if that is necessary. "We believe in eternal life. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ--whether they must still make expiation in the fire of Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies they are received by Jesus into Paradise like the Good Thief--go to form that people of God which succeeds death, death which will be totally destroyed on the day of the resurrection when these souls are reunited with their bodies" (Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 28).

The _expression of "Abraham's bosom" refers to the place or state "into which the souls of the just, before the coming of Christ the Lord were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose. To liberate these holy souls, who, in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Savior, Christ the Lord descended into hell" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 3).

22. "Both the rich man and the beggar died and were carried before Abraham, and there judgment was rendered on their conduct. And the Scripture tells us that Lazarus found consolation, but that the rich man found torment. Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he `dressed in purple and linen and feasted sumptuously every day'? No, I would say that it was not for this reason. The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man, because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, He pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others[...]."

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need--openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so [...].

"We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the Twentieth Century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price of the `precious blood of Christ' (1 Peter 1:19)" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Homily in Yankee Stadium", 2 October 1979).

24-31. The dialogue between the rich man and Abraham is a dramatization aimed at helping people remember the message of the parable: strictly speaking, there is no room in Hell for feelings of compassion toward one's neighbor: in Hell hatred presides. "When Abraham said to the rich man `between us and you a great chasm has been fixed...' he showed that after death and resurrection there will be no scope for any kind of penance. The impious will not repent and enter the Kingdom, nor will the just sin and go down into Hell. This is the unbridgeable abyss" (Aphraates, "Demonstratio", 20; "De Sustentatione Egenorum", 12). This helps us to understand what St. John Chrysostom says: "I ask you and I beseech you and, falling at your feet, I beg you: as long as we enjoy the brief respite of life, let us repent, let us be converted, let us become better, so that we will not have to lament uselessly like that rich man when we die and tears can do us no good. For even if you have a father or a son or a friend or anyone else who have influence with God, no one will be able to set you free, for your own deeds condemn you" ("Hom. on 1 Cor.").
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, March 07, 2007

Check out this picture of the Bishop-Elect of Lake Charles

Is this not a good sign? See the biretta? The Holy Father appointed Monsignor Glen John Provost, a priest of the diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, as Bishop of Lake Charles. He succeeds Bishop Edward K. Braxton who was appointed Bishop of Belleville, IL, in 2005.

HT to Joe J for the picture!

Mental Prayer for March 8, Glories and Obligations of Parenthood

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To be willing to bear the obligations of marriage so as to share in the glories.

The Idea: When we have something that we treasure very much, there is no length to which we will not go to protect and conserve it. Mar­riage gives us two great treasures: love of husband and wife, and new life that will people heaven.

But many hard things will be required of us to preserve those treasures. Many sacrifices will be asked: hard work, selflessness, understanding, patience, self-discipline, self-denial. In return we receive the reward of love, peace, and joy. In children we see the results of hardship and train­ing and sacrifice blossom forth in new citizens for heaven and earth.

My Personal Application: Do I want the glory without the toil? Do I have the character to sacrifice selflessly out of love? Can I bear dis­appointment without discouragement? Do I have the emotional maturity to restrain myself, to do when I don't feel like it? Do I have a sense of responsibility that others can depend on? Can I be faithful to duty, just because it is what God wants of me?

I Speak to God: Dear God, teach me to know myself. Help me to see my faults and weaknesses. Yes, Lord, the glories of married life are wonder­ful, but let me see whether I have the character to work out of love and leave the glory to you.

Thought for Today: Lord, teach me to know myself.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

And we will be like God...

...paraphrasing from Genesis 3, we can see the utter contempt some have for the natural moral law, for that which is good, for that which is just.

Some have not only eaten from the forbidden tree, they seem to have devoured the entire thing and are gnawing at its remaining roots while engaged in an orgy with Satan, himself:

"We will make our priorities the law of the land," [Emily's List President Ellen Malcolm told supporters in Washington, D.C.]

The group [Emily's List], which says it is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local office," endorsed Clinton for president in January.

"We have two houses back, the House and the Senate - only one to go," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during Tuesday's function.
So the self-professed "Catholic" Pelosi was there, openly and publicly supporting a group which advocates the murder of innocent unborn children? What say you, Archbishop Wuerl?

But this isn't all. These people have lost the ability to think clearly - sin does that to people, you know.

[Hillary] Clinton, who received a standing ovation from the Emily's List women, said, "We need to make the changes that will lift up our children, our families and our communities."

I wonder if she meant that they need to lift up all of the dead, murdered children - as an sacrificial offering to the Prince of Darkness?

And to what families does she refer? Those who have survived the latest holocaust of infanticide? Those who will march in lock-step with evil incarnate?

"The time has come to elect Hillary Clinton to the presidency," [Malcolm] said. "The time has come to elect a president with her commitment to women and children..."

Commitment to women and children? And they speak this evil with straight faces, no less. Dear God, protect us from these monsters!

More lunacy here.

Parents and Homeschoolers, Take Note!

Parental Rights are in jeopardy...

New Jersey Judge Orders Penal Charges Against Mom for Home-Schooling

TRENTON, March 7, 2007 ( - Honorable Thomas Zampino of the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court has ordered penal charges against a home-schooling mother of seven. According to a report by Matt Bowman on the website, the mother's supposed infraction is home-schooling her children without supervision from the local school board - a right explicitly upheld in New Jersey law.
. . .
In an effort to implement "certain basic requirements and safeguards", the judge ordered Tara to submit her home-schooling children to standardized tests supplied by the local school district despite NJ law which says, "A child educated elsewhere than at school is not required to sit for a state or district standardized test."

The judge also ordered the local school board to file a suit against Tara in order to be able to "evaluate the instruction in the home," a requirement only permissible if the local school board determines that there is credible evidence that the home education is below the standards of the public school.
. . .
Bowman concluded by drawing a scary comparison between the actions of this activist NJ judge and the recent human rights violations against a home-schooling family in Germany. "It can seem distant when we hear news of police raiding homes in Germany and abducting home-schooled children, but in our small world of judicial oligarchy and broken families, Germany is not so far away after all."
My thoughts, exactly - When I read the headline, I thought of the case in Germany. Judges like this are a menace to society. They, like the pigs of Animal Farm, are above the laws; they are members of an elitist class of individuals.
More at LifeSiteNews here.

St Dominic HS Receives $500,000 from Archdiocese

From the Post-Dispatch:
O'FALLON — Archbishop Raymond Burke delivered a financial boost Tuesday morning to St. Dominic High School's campaign for an $8.25 million expansion.

Burke celebrated Mass with more than 720 students in a gymnasium built in 1962. Then, he presented a $500,000 check from the Archdiocese of St. Louis to the school's fundraising campaign, which seeks a new gym and performing arts center.

"This gift is possible because Catholics throughout the archdiocese care about you and they give generously to the annual appeal," Burke said.

Students responded with a standing ovation. They offered Burke mementos, including a shirt supporting the school's girls basketball team, which is playing in the state Final Four for the first time in the school's history.

Burke told the students they were more than the future of the church. "You are needed now," he said.
"You are needed now."

This is awesome! What a special moment this had to be for those students! Let us pray that they take his words to heart.

How Will You Commemorate St Patrick's Feast Day?

Hopefully, it will not be a day of drunken debauchery in the name of Ireland. Rather, should we not reclaim this day, "celebrating" the Feast Day of a great Saint of the Church, by learning of this man and the level of devotion and piety that he lived? Surprisingly few men today could bear even one of St. Patrick's pious practices for more than a day, let alone a lifetime.

Looking out my office window on March 17, it's quite depressing to see the throngs of people attired in green colored clothing and their green "Mardi Gras" beads descending upon a particular city neighborhood, once occupied by primarily Irish families, to celebrate this secularized feast day by parading and drinking plenty of green beer - and most people, I am certain, have no idea who St Patrick is or what he did.

To assist us in better understanding the "Apostle of Ireland", we are posting a short article on Saint Patrick from Dom Guerenger's "The Liturgical Year" which was generously provided by Mark S.

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland
Bishop and Confessor

Patrick, called the apostle of Ireland, was born in Great Britain. His father’s name was Calphunius. Conchessa, his mother, is said to have been a relation of St. Martin, bishop of Tours. He was several times taken captive by the barbarians, when he was a boy, and was put to tend their flocks. Even in that tender age, he gave signs of the great sanctity he was afterwards to attain. Full of the spirit of faith, and of the fear and love of God, he used to rise at the earliest dawn of day, and, in spite of snow, frost or rain, go to offer up his prayers to God. It was his custom to pray a hundred times during the day, and a hundred during the night. After his third deliverance from slavery, he entered the ecclesiastical state and applied himself, for a considerable time, to the study of the Sacred Scriptures. Having made several most fatiguing journeys through Gaul, Italy, and the islands of the Mediterranean, he was called by God to labour for the salvation of the people of Ireland. Pope Saint Celestine gave him power to preach the Gospel, and consecrated him bishop. Whereupon, he set out for Ireland

It would be difficult to relate how much this apostolic man had to suffer in the mission thus entrusted to him: he had to bear with extraordinary trials, fatigues, and adversaries. But, by the mercy of God, that land, which heretofore had worshipped idols, so well repaid the labour wherewith Patrick had preached the Gospel, that it was afterwards called the island of saints. He administered holy Baptism to many thousands: he ordained several bishops, and frequently conferred Holy Orders in their several degrees; he drew up rules for virgins and widows, who wished to lead a life of continency. By the authority of the Roman Pontiff, he appointed Armaugh the metropolitan See of the whole island, and enriched that church with the saints’ relics, which he had brought from Rome. God honoured him with heavenly visions, with the gift of prophecy and miracles; all which caused the name of the saint to be held in veneration in almost every part of the world.

Besides his daily solicitude for the churches, his vigorous spirit kept up an uninterrupted prayer. For it is said that he was wont to recite every day the whole psalter, together with the canticles and the hymns, and two hundred prayers: that he every day knelt down three hundred times to adore God; and that at each canonical hour of the day, he signed himself a hundred times with the sign of the cross. He divided the night in to three parts: the first was spent in the recitation of a hundred psalms, during which he genuflected two hundred times: the second was spend in reciting the remaining fifty psalms, which he did standing in cold water, and his heart, eyes, and hands lifted up to heaven; the third he gave to a little sleep, which he took laid upon a bare stone. Being a many of extraordinary humility, he imitated the apostles and practiced manual labour. At length, being worn out by his incessant fatigues in the cause of the Church, powerful in word and work, having reached an extreme old age he slept in the Lord, after being refreshed with the holy mysteries. He was buried at Down, in Ulster, in the fifth century of the Christian era.

From “The Liturgical Year” by Dom Prosper Gueranger O.S.B.

Dr Edward Peters: Alzheimer's, the Eucharist, and The God Squad

Received this from Dr. Peters this morning:
I don't have the time or expertise to monitor every religious Q&A column in America, and so I tend to comment on them only when they raise interesting questions … or when they convey disturbing answers, such as one just posted by a group called "The God Squad" that deals with reception of the Eucahrist by Alzheimer’s patients. Based only on what was posed in the question, and looking only at what was said in reply, I think there are serious problems with The God Squad's answer. You can see my reply, Alzheimer's, the Eucharist, and The God Squad
Thankfully, we can now be well equipped to deal with such questions, thanks to Dr. Peters' response:
I don't have the time or expertise to monitor every religious Q&A column in America, and so I tend to comment on them only when they raise interesting questions (such as Fr. Hoffman's on Ecclesia supplet) or when they convey disturbing answers, such as one recently posted by a group called "The God Squad". The child of an elderly Alzheimer's parent wrote for advice about responding to the refusal of a Eucharistic minister to give his mother (a life-long practicing Catholic) Holy Communion because "receipt of communion depends on a cognitive understanding of what is being received". Based only on what was posed in the question, and looking only at what was said in reply, I think there are serious problems with The God Squad's answer. For efficiency's sake, I will place parts of their answers in italics, and my own reactions in regular font.

Ninth Circus: Government can censor terms "Natural family, marriage and family values"


Earlier this week, San Francisco's United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the matter of Good News Employees Association v. Hicks that the municipal employers can completely censor the terms "natural family," "marriage" and "family values" as hate speech. The unpublished "memorandum" by the Court can be found at

The court concluded that municipalities have a right to literally dictate what form an employee's speech may take, even if it is in regard to controversial public issues. Shockingly, the court concluded that the interest of Christian employees in speaking out on the issue of marriage is "vanishingly small" and that the "administrative" interests of a city are more important than speech rights. The court completely failed to address the concerns of the appellants with respect to the fact that the City of Oakland's Gay-Straight Employees Alliance was openly allowed to attack the Bible in widespread city e-mails, to deride Christian values as antiquated, and to refer to Bible-believing Christians as hateful. When the plaintiffs attempted to refute this blatant attack on people of faith, they were threatened with immediate termination by the City of Oakland. The Ninth Circuit did not feel that the threat of immediate termination had any effect on free speech.

The Pro-Family Law Center vows to immediately take this ruling up to the United States Supreme Court on a petition for review.

This is exactly what should be expected, since, as a nation, we have chosen to weaken the understanding of traditional marriage, our moral values, the dignity of human life, of good and evil, etc., by adopting a contraceptive mentality and legalizing the murder of our own unborn children. Rights? What rights! We have given our freedoms and rights to Satan so that we can 'freely' indulge in sexual gratifications and self-indulgent perversions of all sorts without fear or responsibility.

Mother Teresa indicated that any country which kills its own children will lose its freedom. Fr John Hardon said that unless our moral disease is cured, the United States as a nation, will disappear. Pope John Paul told the youth in Denver to “Pray that America might not lose its soul.”

And Pope Paul VI warned us of this nearly 40 years ago in his prophetic encyclical "Humanae Vitae".

Has we, as a country, lost our soul? The persecution is just beginning. And we are seeing it all over the world. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Knights of Columbus to Mark 125th Anniversary

The Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, will mark its 125th anniversary March 29, 2007,. Founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, along with a few parishioners in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., the group has grown to an international organization of more than 1.7 million members.
. . .
The K of C has not only remained true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity, but also included patriotism as a fourth principle by which its members are to be defined. The organization is renowned for its dedicated support of both church and country. Its affiliates, known as councils, are largely parish-based and provide regular support to their local church and community.

The efforts and contributions of the councils tally to significant amounts. In 2005 (the last period for which data has been compiled), the K of C donated more than $139 million and 64 million hours of volunteer service to charitable causes. Among these contributions was $10 million in relief assistance to Gulf Coast residents and Catholic organizations affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Other prominent charities annually supported by the Knights are Special Olympics and the Wheelchair Foundation.
More here

Excerpts of Cardinal Mahony's Online "Chat"

On the Latin Mass
James: I've read that Pope Benedict is concerned about the liturgy and is about to issue a decree that encourages a more generous use of Latin in the liturgy including the use of the Tridentine rite. Do you support this and will you encourage the use of more traditional forms of worship in the archdiocese if he issues the decree?
CardinalMahony: James: of our 5 million Catholics, only a handful are interested in the Latin Mass. I must focus upon the 99% who need a vibrant Mass that includes them in its celebration.

On Refusal to Acknowledge Canon 915
Leonel Martinez: Cardinal Mahony, thank you for providing this forum for discussion. Some have suggested that the American bishops have not followed the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI because they have opted not to uniformly deny communion to Catholic elected officials who support abortion rights. How would you answer them?
CardinalMahony: That is not what our Holy Father is asking. Rather, he is asking that everyone who approaches Holy Communion should make sure he/she is living a life worthy of Jesus in this Sacrament. The burden is on the recipient, not on the minister.

On Woman Priestesses
Moderator: From Denny: Why can only men become priests, and not women?
CardinalMahony: We need to attend Eucharist because we are all members of the Body of Christ, and that Body is incomplete unless we are all there.
CardinalMahony: The moderator has better answers than I do to that question!!!

Dissing William Donohue
Mary Kennedy: As a lifelong Catholic, whenever I see the media look for commentary on Church issues, they seem to call on Mr. Donohue of the Catholic League. Invariably, Mr. Donohue does far more to engender contempt for the Church than anything that the League purports to protect the Church from. Why doesn't the USCCB publicly disavow this and make sure that the news outlets, when looking for the Church's position, actually call upon those who have authority to speak for the Church, such as the public affairs office of the USCCB?
CardinalMahony: Denny: we are following the tradition of the early Church and Jesus' actions. That has become our Tradition for a long time.
CardinalMahony: Actually, our best spokespersons are knowledgeable Catholics at the local levels of the Church, not national figures. We have excellent such folks here in LA.

Gospel for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 20:17-28

Third Prophecy of the Passion

[17] And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way He said to them, [18] "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, [19] and deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day."

The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee Makes Her Request

[20] Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Him, with her sons, and kneeling before Him she asked Him for something. [21] And He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to Him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your Kingdom." [22] But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." [23] He said to them, "You will drink My cup, but to sit at My right hand and at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." [24] And when the ten heard it they were indignant at the two brothers. [25] But Jesus called them to Him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. [26] It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [27] and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; [28] even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."


18-19. Once again our Lord prophesies to His Apostles about His death and resurrection. The prospect of judging the world (cf. Matthew 19:28) might have misled them into thinking in terms of an earthly messianic kingdom, an easy way ahead, leaving no room for the ignominy of the cross.

Christ prepares their minds so that when the testing time comes they will remember that He prophesied His passion and not be totally scandalized by it; He describes His passion in some detail.

Referring to Holy Week, Monsignor Escriva writes: "All the things brought to our mind by the different expressions of piety which characterize these days are of course directed to the Resurrection, which is, as St. Paul says, the basis of our faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14). But we should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose sight of a very simple fact which we might easily overlook. We will not be able to share in our Lord's Resurrection unless we unite ourselves with Him in His Passion and Death. If we are to accompany Christ in His glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter into His holocaust and be truly united to Him, as He lies dead on Calvary" ("Christ Is Passing By", 95).

20. The sons of Zebedee are James the Greater and John. Their mother, Salome, thinking that the earthly reign of the Messiah is about to be established, asks that her sons be given the two foremost positions in it. Christ reproaches them for not grasping the true--spiritual-- nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and not realizing that government of the Church He is going to found implies service and martyrdom. "If you are working for Christ and imagine that a position of responsibility is anything but a burden, what disillusionment awaits you!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 950).

22. "Drinking the cup" means suffering persecution and martyrdom for following Christ. "We are able": the sons of Zebedee boldly reply that they can drink the cup; their generous __expression evokes what St. Paul will write years later: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).

23. "You will drink My cup": James the Greater will die a martyr's death in Jerusalem around the year 44 (cf. Acts 12:2); and John, after suffering imprisonment and the lash in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 4:3; 5:40-41), will spend a long period of exile on the island of Patmos (cf. Revelation 1:9).

From what our Lord says here we can take it that positions of authority in the Church should not be the goal of ambition or the subject of human intrigue, but the outcome of a divine calling. Intent on doing the will of His Heavenly Father, Christ was not going to allocate positions of authority on the basis of human considerations but, rather, in line with God's plans.

26. Vatican II puts a marked emphasis on this "service" which the Church offers to the world and which Christians should show as proof of their Christian identity: "In proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, this sacred Synod offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs. The Church is not motivated by an earthly ambition but is interested in one thing only--to carry on the work of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for He came into the world to bear witness to the truth, to save and not to judge, to serve and not to be served" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 3 cf. "Lumen Gentium", 32: "Ad Gentes", 12; "Unitatis Redintegratio", 7).

27-28. Jesus sets Himself as an example to be imitated by those who hold authority in the Church. He who is God and Judge of all men (cf. Philippians 2:5-11; John 5:22-27; Acts 10:42; Matthew 28:18) does not impose Himself on us: He renders us loving service to the point of giving His life for us (cf. John 15:13); that is His way of being the first. St. Peter understood Him right; he later exhorted priests to tend the flock of God entrusted to them, not domineering over them but being exemplary in their behavior (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3); and St. Paul also was clear on this "service": though He was "free from all men", He became the servant of all in order to win all (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff; 2 Corinthians 4:5).

Christ's "service" of mankind aims at salvation. The phrase "to give His life as a ransom for many" is in line with the terminology of liturgical sacrificial language. These words were used prophetically in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.

Verse 28 also underlines the fact that Christ is a priest, who offers Himself as priest and victim on the altar of the cross. The __expression "as a ransom for many" should not be interpreted as implying that God does not will the salvation of all men. "Many", here, is used to contrast with "one" rather than "all": there is only one Savior, and salvation is offered to all.

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, March 06, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 7, Children-Members of the Mystical Body

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: That, with the eyes of faith, I may look upon children as the fruit of Christian marriage.

The Idea: Christ's Church, as we know, is Christ's Mystical Body. Christ is the Head, and we, as members of the Church, are the very parts of that Holy Body. What a great gift God has given to Christian parents! When they cooperate with God in the act of procreating children, they pro­duce new parts of the Mystical Body of Christ. Through baptism the vital life of that Mystical Body, grace, flows through that child. A man and a woman by the supreme expression of their love for one another, form for Christ's Body a new member which Christ and His Church will make a citizen of heaven !

My Personal Application: Do I try to look at marriage with the eyes of faith? A child was God's primary reason for instituting marriage, it should be my primary reason for entering mar­riage. Do I realize that the first purpose of Christian marriage is not just to bring children into the world, but to bring them into the world to be citizens of heaven?

I Speak to God: Dear God, Father, help me to have the proper attitude toward marriage. Help me to keep out selfish motives and to replace them with the motives you intended. Help me to see children as the true fruit of marriage in all its glory and blessing. Teach me to look on parent­hood as real cooperation with you in forming members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Thought for Today: Body of Christ, sanctify me.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Eagleton was Co-Chair of "Catholics" for Amendment 2

While many seem to be touting the late Thomas Eagleton's pro-life position, let's not loose sight of the fact that this past year, he and his group of professed Catholics openly defied Missouri bishops and the Church by advocating the passage of the infamous Amendment 2 which requires the generation and destruction of embryonic human life for research purposes.

I never heard if Eagleton publicly recanted from his earlier position of his public promotion of Amendment 2?

Is a Catholic Funeral Mass even possible , especially when one has so openly opposed the natural moral law and the teachings of the Church?

For the list of the signatories of the two-page letter sent by e-mail to fellow Catholics before the November General Election last year and in open defiance of the bishops, click here.

Who is this Msgr Robert Bussen?

A previous post on the ending of monthly Masses to celebrate one's homosexual inclinations left out part of the story from the article - that this priest had his own blog, which is, as I understand it from the article, no longer accessible.

We were informed that another blog, In God’s Image on Long Island, has been following this "out & proud" priest and the things he has written on his blog...

It's sad to see priests who are at odds with the Church to which they have chosen, for perhaps the wrong reasons, to dedicate their lives. It's sadder still, to see these same priests, reject the cross, and teach others what they feel and believe rather than what Christ and His Church teach. It's clear that many of these men had no vocation to the priesthood and because they lack a true calling from God in this special and necessary vocation, they are unable to carry out the will of God. They are utterly confused and lack the necessary graces to truly be shepherds to God's children. They do, however, need our prayers for nothing is immpossible for God.

Dallas "Finally" Gets a New Bishop

VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, auxiliary of Washington, U.S.A., as bishop of Dallas (area 19,475, population 3,473,568, Catholics 955,298, priests 197, permanent deacons 152, religious 225), U.S.A.. He succeeds Bishop Charles Victor Grahmann, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Glenn John Provost of the clergy of the diocese of Lafayette, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima, as bishop of Lake Charles (area 13,755, population 284,000, Catholics 84,000, priests 74, permanent deacons 32, religious 41), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Lafayette in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975.

Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist to Be Released March 13

VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2007 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13, the presentation will take place of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" on the Eucharist, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. Participating in the press conference will be Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy, relator general of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in October 2005, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

Gospel for Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 23:1-12

Vices of the Scribes and Pharisees

[1] Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples, [2] "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; [3] so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. [4] They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. [5] They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, [6] and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, [7] and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. [8] But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. [9] And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven. [10] Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. [11] He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; [12] whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


1-39. Throughout this chapter Jesus severely criticizes the scribes and Pharisees and demonstrates the sorrow and compassion He feels towards the ordinary mass of the people, who have been ill-used, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). His address may be divided into three parts: in the first (verses 1-12) He identifies their principal vices and corrupt practices; in the second (verses 13-36) He confronts them and speaks His famous "woes", which in effect are the reverse of the Beatitudes He preached in Chapter 5: no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven--no one can escape condemnation to the flames--unless he changes his attitude and behavior; in the third part (verses 37-39) He weeps over Jerusalem, so grieved is He by the evils into which the blind pride and hardheartedness of the scribes and Pharisees have misled the people.

2-3. Moses passed on to the people the Law received from God. The scribes, who for the most part sided with the Pharisees, had the function of educating the people in the Law of Moses; that is why they were said to "sit on Moses' seat". Our Lord recognized that the scribes and Pharisees did have authority to teach the Law; but He warns the people and His disciples to be sure to distinguish the Law as read out and taught in the synagogues from the practical interpretations of the Law to be seen in their leaders' lifestyles. Some years later, St. Paul--a Pharisee like his father before him--faced his former colleagues with exactly the same kind of accusations as Jesus makes here: "You then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, `The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you'" (Romans 2:21-24).

5. "Phylacteries": belts or bands carrying quotations from sacred Scripture which the Jews used to wear fastened to their arms or foreheads. To mark themselves out as more religiously observant than others, the Pharisees used to wear broader phylacteries. The fringes were light-blue stripes on the hems of cloaks; the Pharisees ostentatiously wore broader fringes.

8-10. Jesus comes to teach the truth; in fact, He is the Truth (John 14:6). As a teacher, therefore, He is absolutely unique and unparalleled. "The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: His silences, His miracles, His gestures, His prayer, His love for people, His special affection for the little and the poor, His acceptance of the total sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the world, and His resurrection are the actualization of His word and the fulfillment of revelation. Hence for Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.

"These considerations are in line with the great traditions of the Church and they all strengthen our fervor with regard to Christ, the Teacher who reveals God to man and man to himself, the Teacher who saves, sanctifies and guides, who lives, who speaks, rouses, moves, redresses, judges, forgives, and goes with us day by day on the path of history, the Teacher who comes and will come in glory" (John Paul II, "Catechesi Tradendae", 9).

11. The Pharisees were greedy for honor and recognition: our Lord insists that every form of authority, particularly in the context of religion, should be exercised as a form of service to others; it must not be used to indulge personal vanity or greed. "He who is the greatest among you shall be your servant".

12. A spirit of pride and ambition is incompatible with being a disciple of Christ. Here our Lord stresses the need for true humility, for anyone who is to follow Him. The verbs "will be humbled", "will be exalted" have "God" as their active agent. Along the same lines, St. James preaches that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). And in the "Magnificat", the Blessed Virgin explains that the Lord "has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree [the humble]" (Luke 1:52).
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, March 05, 2007

Mental Prayer for March 6, True Love in Marriage

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To learn true love from you.

The Idea: God shows us true love. Love is the desire to be united with the one we love. The lover wants the very best for his beloved; he wants her happiness; he wants to ward off sorrow and unhappiness from her. He is totally forget­ful of what he gets out of love. He just wants everything good and noble and beautiful for his loved one. Love is a total giving of self, a total forgetting of self. What a far cry from the sentimental, movie brand of love! Self-seeking and emotionalism are a poor basis for married happiness!

My Personal Application: What do I mean by love? When I love someone, do I want to do and give as much as I can for that person? Whom do I love?

I Speak to God: Dear Father in heaven, teach me to love as you have loved me. Teach me to find my love in making the one I love happy, in doing things for others, not seeking things for myself. From Christ let me learn how to really love.

Thought for Today: "He who loves his wife, loves himself."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The History of Sister Jeannine Gramick's "Ministry"

Sister Jeannine Gramick and the Mother Teresa Awards
By Randy Engel


In November 2006, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, the notorious pro-abortion and pro-homosexual dissenter from Church teachings and co-founder of New Ways Ministry, was named a recipient of the Mother Teresa Award from the St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art in Albuquerque, NM.

The award recognizes "the achievements of those who beautify the world, especially in the fields of religion, social justice and the arts," and acknowledges and honors "special souls for choosing to share themselves and their gifts with the world," states Dan Paulos, the Art Institute's founder and President of the Board of Directors.[1] Nominations come from the public at large. The Board of Directors of the Mother Teresa Awards and the Art Institute makes the final selection of laureates.

The award began to attract national attention in 2004 after Sister Mary Nirmala, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity of India, gave permission to the Institute to name its award after Mother Teresa "for the glory of God and the good of His people." Sadly, the nomination of Sr. Gramick "for her role as American Human Rights Activist, especially in the field of Spirituality," neither glorifies God nor benefits His people.

The nomination and acceptance tribute to Sr. Gramick found on the Mother Teresa Awards official Web site features a picture of the nun, her anti-life fangs well hidden behind a facade of sweetness and light; a short acceptance statement — "I humbly accept this award on behalf of all who are oppressed, especially members of any sexual minority. I pray for an integration of spirituality and human sexuality"; and a summary of her 30 year struggle to secure "justice and peace for sexual minorities." It is a public relations scam of the first order that needs to be exposed point by point, starting with mythos that the cause Gramick has championed for more than three decades is a work of justice and peace.

The more I learn the more convinced I am of the foul and nauseating assault being leveled against Christ and His Church, especially by those from within...

at Matt Abbott's column here...

HT to Patte for the link.

Obama: "Don't think that fatherhood ends at conception..."

What? Do we have an avowed pro-abort recognizing when life truly begins? I would not have thought much if he had said that "fatherhood begins at the birth of a baby", but "at conception"????

"We have too many children in poverty in this country, and everybody should be ashamed, but don't tell me it doesn't have a little to do with the fact that we got too many daddies not acting like daddies. Don't think that fatherhood ends at conception. I know something about that because my father wasn't around when I was young, and I struggled."
Actually, in far too many cases, fatherhood does end shortly after conception, when a trip is made to the local abortion mill/death camp.

More Warnings for the Neocatechumenal Way (Chiesa)

ROMA, March 5, 2007 - In the span of three days, the Neocatechumenal Way has received two weighty admonitions: the first from the pope, and the second from the bishops of the Holy Land.

Homosexual Oriented Mass to End

...Monsignor Robert Bussen lives in Park City, a community known for its diversity and openness.

How is this "diversity and openness" to be understood? As I read it these days, it appears to be a code phrase for proclaiming an adherence to hedonism, sodomy, heresy and other acts of sinfulness.

So when U.S. Catholic bishops called on their own to start ministering to persons with "homosexual inclinations," Bussen saw a chance to do something bold.

He designed a special monthly Mass for gays, lesbians and their families at St. Mary of the Assumption in hopes of making them feel welcome.

Ah, another feel good phrase, rife with subjective interpretations, "making them feel welcome"...The article gives us a clue:

"It was a tremendously affirming experience," Bussen said this week. "The Mass was more symbolic than anything, reaching out to families who love their church and their children and don't want to have to choose."

Again, I cringe when I read things like "affirming experience"...if only because of the widespread corruption of the meanings of words.

And the people, why - they don't want to choose? And what have they to choose? Virtue over vice, good over evil, light over darkness, eternal life over eternal damnation - a choice has to be made. There is no avoiding it. Our Lord gives us example after example in the Gospels.

"But [the church] has to earn their respect. They will not tolerate any more rhetoric that attacks their children."

The Church, founded by our Lord and Savior and guided by the Holy Spirit, leads us along the road of Calvary toward the heavenly kingdom...That should be sufficient reason to "respect" the Church. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, there is no earning of "respect" necessary for the Church - this is akin to saying the our Lord must earn our respect - a absolutely erroneous idea planted by the prince of darkness.

Confused individuals may believe that the Church has "attacked" those who are homosexually inclined but the fact is that the Church has condemned the acts - not the people. The Church, as does our Lord, calls on all to repent of our sins and make a firm purpose of amendment to avoid sin, most especially those sins which place our souls in mortal danger, without the grace necessary for salvation, eternally estranged from God. But then Jesus reminds us again and agian that many will take the easy path.

Now, after only three months, the experiment is about to end. The March 17 Mass will be the last.
. . .
St. Mary's parishioner Joseph Ozog says Bussen failed to fully explain the church's position on homosexuality in the Mass, seeming to celebrate it rather that help people resist its temptations. . . Ozog [says that one of Bussen's sermon] leaves the impression that "it's OK to be a practicing homosexual."
. . .
He also objected to the fact that Bussen attended a meeting of Dignity, a organization of Catholics whose stated mission is to change the church's doctrine on gay marriage. And he joined other religious leaders at an interfaith service during the Winterpride Festival in February.

So the good monsignor attends Dignity meetings and "Pride" festivals? It could be that he's on a "mission from God" and he's trying to change lives...Then again, Dignity meetings and "Pride" fests are probably things better avoided so as not to give scandal.

Gospel for Monday, 2nd Week of Lent

From: Luke 6:36-38

Love of Enemies (Continuation)

(Jesus said to his disciples,) [36] "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
[37] "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; [38] give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."


36. The model of mercy which Christ sets before us is God Himself, of whom St. Paul says, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions" (2 Cor 1:3-4). "The first quality of this virtue", Fray Luis de Granada explains, "is that it makes men like God and like the most glorious thing in Him, His mercy (Lk 6:36). For certainly the greatest perfection a creature can have is to be like his Creator, and the more like Him he is, the more perfect he is. Certainly one of the things which is most appropriate to God is mercy, which is what the Church means when it says that prayer: 'Lord God, to whom it is proper to be merciful and forgiving...'. It says that this is proper to God, because just as a creature, as creature, is characteristically poor and needy (and therefore characteristically receives and does not give), so, on the contrary, since God is infinitely rich and powerful, to Him alone does it belong to give and not to receive, and therefore it is appropriate for Him to be merciful and forgiving" ("Book of Prayer and Meditation", third part, third treatise).

This is the rule a Christian should apply: be compassionate towards other people's afflictions as if they were one's own, and try to remedy them. The Church spells out this rule by giving us a series of corporal works of mercy (visiting and caring for the sick, giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty...) and spiritual works of mercy (teaching the ignorant, correcting the person who has erred, forgiving injuries...): cf. "St Pius X Catechism", 944f.

We should also show understanding towards people who are in error: "Love and courtesy of this kind should not, of course, make us indifferent to truth and goodness. Love, in fact, impels the followers of Christ to proclaim to all men the truth which saves. But we must distinguish between the error (which must always be rejected) and the person in error, who never loses his dignity as a person even though he flounders amid false or inadequate religious ideas. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; He forbids us to pass judgment on the inner guilt of others" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 28).

38. We read in Sacred Scripture of the generosity of the widow of Zarephath, whom God asked to give food to Elijah the prophet even though she had very little left; He then rewarded her generosity by constantly renewing her supply of meal and oil (1 kings 17:9ff). The same sort of thing happened when the boy supplied the five loaves and two fish which our Lord multiplied to feed a huge crowd of people (cf. Jn 6:9)--a vivid example of what God does when we give Him whatever we have, even if it does not amount to much.

God does not let Himself be outdone in generosity: "Go, generously and like a child ask Him, 'What can You mean to give me when You ask me for "this"?'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 153). However much we give God in this life, He will give us more in life eternal.
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.