Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just for Today, April 20

I became the most humble and most abject of all men, that thou mightest learn to overcome thy pride by My humility. Learn, O dust, to obey; learn to humble thyself, thou that art but dirt and mire, and to cast thyself down under the feet of all men. Learn to break thy own will, and to yield thyself up to all subjection.
-Bk. III, ch. xiii.

If today the Saint is able to do untold good upon earth and to bring about a complete transformation in souls, we may believe that she earned this right at the same cost by which Christ redeemed our souls, viz., by suffering and the cross.

The ceaseless war that she waged against her im­perious and ardent nature was not the least of her crosses. Even as a child she had formed a habit of never complaining or excusing herself, and at Carmel she wished to be the little handmaid of her Sisters. In her humility she endeavoured to obey them all without distinction.

One evening during her last illness the Community were to sing a hymn at the Sacred Heart hermitage. Although exhausted by fever the Saint went with them, but on reaching the spot was obliged to sit down. A nun made her a sign to stand, which she immediately did, remaining standing to the end in spite of her weak condition.

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 20

Evil is often more hurtful to the doer than to the one against whom it is done.

-St. Catherine of Siena.
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 20, A Priest with Christ

Our baptism makes us one with Christ.

But who is Christ?

The Word of God come upon earth to fulfill a double role, the glorification of the Father and the salvation of the world.

The glorification of the Father is the sacerdotal or Eucharistic character of His role; the salvation of the world, the redemptive character of His role.

To say that our baptism makes us one with Christ is to say in substance that we as baptized Christians share the double mission of our Savior Jesus, both His sacerdotal mission and His redemp­tive mission.

Let us leave our redemptive duties for tomorrow's consideration and meditate today on what concerns our sacerdotal duties.

There is only one priest in the world - Jesus Christ. Here, priest means a person who, although a creature, is capable of giving to God an homage worthy of God which implies that it must have infinite value.

But thanks to my baptism, I am one with this sole priest of the world. The sacerdotal power of a baptized soul is so beautiful that St. Peter does not hesitate to call it royal.

When Christ presents Himself before the Father at each Mass in the same sacrifice as that of the Cross, I, since I am one with Christ, share with Him His role of priest and victim.

I must know myself to understand the sacerdotal character of Jny baptism, my part in the Mass.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Gospel for Saturday, 4th Week of Easter

From: John 14:7-14

Jesus Reveals the Father

(Jesus said to Thomas,) [7] "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; henceforth you know Him and have seen Him.

[8] Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." [9] Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father?' [10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does His works. [11] Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the words themselves.

[12] "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. [13] Whatever you ask in my name I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; [14] if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."


8-11. The Apostles still find our Lord's words very mysterious, because they cannot understand the oneness of the Father and the Son. Hence Philip's persistence. Then Jesus "upbraids the Apostle for not yet knowing Him, even though His works are proper to God--walking on the water, controlling the wind, forgiving sins, raising the dead. This is why He reproves him: for not recognizing His divine condition through His human nature" (St. Augustine, "De Trinitate", Book 7).

Obviously the sight of the Father which Jesus refers to in this passage is a vision through faith, for no one has ever seen God as He is (cf. John 1:18; 6:46). All manifestations of God, or "theophanies", have been through some medium; they are only a reflection of God's greatness. The highest _expression which we have of God our Father is in Christ Jesus, the Son of God sent among men. "He did this by the total fact of His presence and self-manifestation--by words and works, signs and miracles, but above all by His death and glorious resurrection from the dead, and finally by sending the Spirit of truth. He revealed that God was with us, to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 4).

12-14. Before leaving this world, the Lord promises His Apostles to make them sharers in His power so that God's salvation may be manifested through them. These "works" are the miracles they will work in the name of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 3:1-10; 5:15-16; etc.), and especially the conversion of people to the Christian faith and their sanctification by preaching and the ministry of the sacraments. They can be considered greater works than Jesus' own insofar as, by the Apostles' ministry, the Gospel was not only preached in Palestine but was spread to the ends of the earth; but this extraordinary power of apostolic preaching proceeds from Christ, who has ascended to the Father: after undergoing the humiliation of the cross Jesus has been glorified and from Heaven He manifests His power by acting through His Apostles.

The Apostles' power, therefore, derives from Christ glorified. Christ our Lord says as much: "Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it". "It is not that he who believes in Me will be greater than Me, but that only that I shall then do greater works than now; greater, by him who believes in Me, than I now do by myself without Him" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 72, 1).

Jesus Christ is our intercessor in Heaven; therefore, He promises us that everything we ask for in His name, He will do. Asking in His name (cf. 15:7, 16; 16:23-24) means appealing to the power of the risen Christ, believing that He is all-powerful and merciful because He is true God; and it also means asking for what is conducive to our salvation, for Jesus is our Savior. Thus, by "whatever you ask" we must understand what is for the good of the asker. When our Lord does not give what we ask for, the reason is that it would not make for our salvation. In this way we can see that He is our Savior both when He refuses us what we ask and when He grants it.
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, April 18, 2008

Just for Today, April 19

Dost thou think to escape that which no mortal could ever avoid? What saint was there ever in the world without his cross and affliction? Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was not one hour of His life without suffering: Thus it behoved, saith He, Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day (Luke xxiv, 46).

When thou shalt arrive thus far, that tribulation becomes sweet and savoury to thee for the love of Christ; then think that it is well with thee, for thou hast found a paradise upon earth.

-Bk. II, ch. xii.

She had been suffering much pain, and I picked up the book of the Gospels to read her a few verses, and chanced upon the following passage: He is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him (Mark xvi, 6).

"That is what has happened to me," she said, "suffering no longer touches me as it did in my child­hood; it is as If I had risen and were no longer where I seem to be. Do not grieve on my account, Mother, for now that suffering has become pleasant to me. I no longer feel it."

-Novissima Verba.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 19

The more guilty we are, the greater must be our confidence in Mary. Therefore, courage, timid soul; let Mary know all thy misery, and hasten with joy to the throne of mercy.

-Bl. Henry Suso.
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 19, The Most Perfect Prayer (Continued)

[Note: This medition is from a different book by Fr. Plus - Meditations for Religious will resume on April 20.]

Continued from yesterday.

It is conceivable that someone, without excluding other forms of prayer as being evil, may rightly decide that he will not use them himself, but devote his attention for long periods or even habitually to the prayer of adoration. After being for a long time in close touch with God he loses the desire to ask anything for himself. His petition is all for God. In the Our Father he willingly pauses in the middle: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...hallowed be thy name." In the rest: "give us...forgive us...deliver us," he has little or no further interest. He knows that God is good, merciful, infinite; that is enough for him. What need is there for him to speak to God of himself? To God he prefers to speak of God.

It is permissible to go even further. To­wards the end of the Exercises St Ignatius suggests to the retreatant "the contempla­tion for divine love," and in this contempla­tion first of all thanksgiving to God for his benefits. But he advises going beyond this. God is not only what he is for you; he is what he is in himself. He is Creator, Pro­vidence, Giver of all blessings; but before all he is God. Put aside all other thoughts and concentrate upon this ultimate fact, this final consideration. Love God not for what he gives to us; love God for what he gives to himself eternally, for that unceasing intercommunication between the Father and the Son, for the eternal act whereby the Father contemplates himself, for the recip­rocal love between the Father and the Son, the result of which is the eternal procession of the Person of the Holy Ghost. O beata Trinitas, O Blessed Trinity!

Be it noted, however, that we have called this the ultimate fact, the final consideration. To want everyone to have pure love and to use only the prayer of adoration is a dream, and an heretical dream at that. But it is quite another thing, when a person has reached the stage at which he has wholly decided upon perfect generosity and the complete offering of himself to God, to advise him to practise pure love, complete forget­fulness of self, and definitively, as far as is possible on this earth, to make "his conver­sation in heaven," that is, to live entirely in God.

To sum up. The prayer of adoration is very perfect, the most perfect of all, in itself. Hence it is advisable to practise acts of it occasionally. From this, however, it must not be concluded that the other forms of prayer are to be condemned, and that we are not to give thanks or to ask pardon or benefits of God.

It is an error to hold that the state of pure love is possible for all or, in an exclusive sense, desirable for everyone. But what we may conclude is that it is not surprising to find in a generous soul a strong inclination to place the prayer of praise and adoration in the forefront of the spiritual life, and that, moreover, it is desirable for Christians in general occasionally to leave the everlasting prayer of petition and to rise sometimes, and even often - as the Church invites us - to the disinterested prayer of praise.

To help these souls we will indicate the two forms that the prayer of adoration may take: affective adoration, which consists in transports of the heart, and effective adora­tion, which finds expression in acts, in faithful, loving and devoted service.
Adapted from How to Pray Well
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. ( 1929, Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Ltd.)

Clowns to Left of Me, Jokers to the Right...

Sen. Barbara Boxer holds up resolution welcoming Benedict XVI because of objections to pro-life content

California Catholic Daily reports:

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, temporarily blocked approval of a resolution welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the U.S. because she disapproved of a passage referring to the pope’s respect “for each and every human life,” the online political journal Politico reports.

Boxer and other Democrats objected because they saw the phrase as a reference to abortion....
What was this language to which Boxer objected (and which was later removed from the resolution)?
"Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life."
Well, we can't have that now, can we? And Kalifornians keep electing this pro-death zealot.

The Pope to U.N.: "The human person is the high-point of God's creative design for the world and for history"

Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, New York, April 18, 2008
by Benedict XVI

Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I begin my address to this Assembly, I would like first of all to express to you, Mr President, my sincere gratitude for your kind words. My thanks go also to the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, for inviting me to visit the headquarters of this Organization and for the welcome that he has extended to me. I greet the Ambassadors and Diplomats from the Member States, and all those present. Through you, I greet the peoples who are represented here. They look to this institution to carry forward the founding inspiration to establish a "centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends" of peace and development (cf. Charter of the United Nations, article 1.2-1.4). As Pope John Paul II expressed it in 1995, the Organization should be "a moral centre where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a ‘family of nations’" (Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 50th Anniversary of its Foundation, New York, 5 October 1995, 14)....

The Holy Father's Address to Catholic College Educators

Can be read here:

Worst 'Music' Ever?

At two different times, I watched the Papal Mass in Washington (the one where so-called "Catholic" politicians were to commit sacrilege and scandal), and felt embarrassed that such pathetic 'music' was used. It appeared to be an affront to the Holy Father. I believe EWTN Commentator, Father Richard John Neuhaus, called it “multi-cultural exhibitionism” and I whole heartily agree. It was painful to watch. It was less painful when I muted the sound...

I'm not surprised, though, considering who was in charge of the Archdiocese for so many years and who is in charge now...

OCP, however, is proud to be a part of this "exhibitionism":
When the pope celebrates Mass in Washington, D.C., and for nearly every other service during his stay, OCP will be there. Many of the songs selected for use in these special liturgies are published or administered by OCP, including several Spanish and multilingual settings. OCP is honored to be part of this historic visit.
Many Catholics wish OCP wasn't part of anything to do with the Church...

See OCP's Press Release here. It has listed the selections of its music to be used at papal events.

Newsflash: Catholic colleges should be in line with church

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of America's Roman Catholic colleges and universities Thursday that academic freedom has "great value" for the schools, but it does not justify promoting positions that violate the Catholic faith.

Benedict, a former academic, said that church teaching should shape all aspects of campus life and that Catholic educators have a "profound responsibility to lead the young to truth."

"....any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission," he said.
We're approaching two decades since Ex Corde Ecclesiae was promulgated, and so little has been done.

The Church and the Holy Father speak - how few listen - just as in the days of our Lord. Indeed, the servant is no greater than the Master.

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week of Easter

From: John 14:1-6

Jesus Reveals the Father

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. [2] In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? [3] And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. [4] And you know the way where I am going." [5] Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?" [6] Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me."


1-3. Apparently this prediction of Peter's denial has saddened the disciples. Jesus cheers them up by telling them that He is going away to prepare a place for them in Heaven, for Heaven they will eventually attain, despite their shortcomings and dragging their feet. The return which Jesus refers to includes His Second Coming (Parousia) at the end of the world (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:5; 11:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 John 2:28) and His meeting with each soul after death: Christ has prepared a Heavenly dwelling-place through His work of redemption. Therefore, His words can be regarded as being addressed not only to the Twelve but also to everyone who believes in Him over the course of the centuries. The Lord will bring with Him into glory all those who have believed in Him and have stayed faithful to Him.

4-7. The Apostles did not really understand what Jesus was telling them: hence Thomas' question. The Lord explains that He is the way to the Father. "It was necessary for Him to say `I am the Way' to show them that they really knew what they thought they were ignorant of, because they knew Him" (St. Augustine, "In. Ioann. Evang.", 66, 2).

Jesus is the way to the Father--through what He teaches, for by keeping to His teaching we will reach Heaven; through faith, which He inspires, because He came to this world so "that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life" (John 3:15); through His example, since no one can go to the Father without imitating the Son; through His merits, which make it possible for us to enter our Heavenly home; and above all He is the way because He reveals the Father, with whom He is one because of His divine nature.

"Just as children by listening to their mothers, and prattling with them, learn to speak their language, so we, by keeping close to the Savior in meditation, and observing His words, His actions, and His affections, shall learn, with the help of His grace, to speak, to act, and to will like Him.

"We must pause here...; we can reach God the Father by no other route...; the Divinity could not be well contemplated by us in this world below if it were not united to the sacred humanity of the Savior, whose life and death are the most appropriate, sweet, delicious and profitable subjects which we can choose for our ordinary meditations" (St. Francis de Sales, "Introduction to the Devout Life", Part II, Chapter 1, 2).

"I am the way": He is the only path linking Heaven and Earth. "He is speaking to all men, but in a special way He is thinking of people who, like you and me, are determined to take our Christian vocation seriously: He wants God to be forever in our thoughts, on our lips and in everything we do, including our most ordinary and routine actions.

"Jesus is the way. Behind Him on this Earth of ours He has left the clear outlines of His footprints. They are indelible signs which neither the erosion of time nor the treachery of the Evil One have been able to erase" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 127).

Jesus' words do much more than provide an answer to Thomas' question; He tells us: "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life". Being the Truth and the Life is something proper to the Son of God become man, who St. John says in the prologue of his Gospel is "full of grace and truth" (1:14). He is the Truth because by coming to this world He shows that God is faithful to His promises, and because He teaches the truth about who God is and tells us that true worship must be "in spirit and truth" (John 4:23). He is Life because from all eternity He has divine life with His Father (cf. John 1:4), and because He makes us, through grace, sharers in that divine life. This is why the Gospel says: "This is eternal life, that they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent" (John 17:3).

By His reply Jesus is, "as it were, saying, By which route do you want to go? I am the Way. To where do you want to go? I am the Truth. Where do you want to remain? I am the Life. Every man can attain an understanding of the Truth and the Life; but not all find the Way. The wise of this world realize that God is eternal life and knowable truth; but the Word of God, who is Truth and Life joined to the Father, has become the Way by taking a human nature. Make your way contemplating His humility and you will reach God" (St. Augustine, "De Verbis Domini Sermones", 54).
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, April 17, 2008

Just for Today, April 18

O my God, who art unspeakable sweetness, make me look upon as bitter all carnal comfort which withdraws me from the love of things eternal, and wickedly allures me to itself, by setting before me a certain present delightful good.

-Bk. III, ch. xxvi.

A great longing filled my soul: to love God alone, and find all my happiness in Him. I often repeated this passage from the Imitation during my thanksgiving: O my God, who art unspeakable sweetness, make me look upon as bitter all comfort that this world can give! These words came naturally to my lips, and I said them much as a child repeats, without fully understanding, what someone he loves has taught him. I will tell you later how Our Lord answered my prayer, and how He alone was ever my delight.

-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)

When I made this prayer, I did not ask that heavenly consolations might be taken from me, but only illusions and those joys which might draw me away from God.

-Novissima Verba.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 18

We do not keep an account of the graces which God has given us, but God our Lord keeps an ac­count of them. He has fixed the measure thereof.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 18, The Most Perfect Prayer

[Note: This medition is from a different book by Fr. Plus - "Meditations for Religious" will resume on April 20, allowing me to resync the meditations with the dates as listed in the book. My apologies for any inconvenience.]

We may pray to adore, to give thanks, to I implore pardon, or to ask for the graces we need. But whereas in the last three cases our thought comes back to ourselves, in the first we forget ourselves entirely and think of God alone.

If I give thanks it is because I have re­ceived; if I implore pardon it is because I have sinned; if I ask it is because I need. I am never absent from my prayer. But in the prayer of adoration the only person con­sidered is God to whom I pray. There is no intrusion of the creature; he who prays is not mentioned, he disappears utterly. He does not think of himself, he counts for nothing: "We praise thee, O Lord; we adore thee, O Lord; we bless thee, O Lord; Glory be to God on high; O Lord, we sing
thy glory."

I do not suggest that this is the only kind of prayer that we must offer. It will be seen later that the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer for pardon and the prayer of petition are excellent, legitimate and, by reason of our very condition as creatures, quite necessary. But I say that this kind of prayer is in itself the most perfect, it is the prayer that gives greatest glory to God, that in which we most truly fulfil our duty as crea­tures, since thereby we unreservedly devote the whole of ourselves to singing the praises of our Creator.

Moreover, by this prayer we most truly fulfil our function as intelligent and loving creatures, since the canticle of praise which ascends from our hearts shows that we appreciate what God is in himself, and how much he deserves that we should venerate and adore him.

Some, in view of the excellence of the prayer of adoration, have contended that prayers which involve the element of self (thanksgiving, prayer for pardon, petition) are to be excluded. They reason in this way: pure love is the best; hence we must keep only pure love and any spiritual act in which self enters, however secondarily and imper­ceptibly, is to be regarded as an evil love and almost a sin.

This is a spirituality which ignores the facts of human nature. Pascal used to say that if you try to make man an angel you make him an ass. We are not angels, but frail creatures of flesh and blood. We are not yet dwellers in the land where the eternal Sanctus resounds; and if we give a thought to things other than God we are not doing wrong. It is not wrong to make known our wants, to ask for mercy and to give thanks for blessings received. On the contrary this is precisely what a creature might normally be expected to do when he is in need, when he has sinned, when he has been loaded with benefits.

This being made quite clear, it still re­mains true that many Christians, even good Christians, do not make sufficient use of the prayer of adoration. We instinc­tively ask God for favors, and implore pardon for our sins; but there is a re­grettable tendency to forget praise and adoration. It is not wrong, it is even advis­able and necessary, to think of ourselves. But sometimes at least we might think of God only. The Quietists were wrong to say that we must always do this; but we may try to do it occasionally, because such prayer is the most perfect practice of the Christian religion....

Continued tomorrow....
Adapted from How to Pray Well
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. ( 1929, Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Ltd.)

Peruvian cardinal stops Communion in the hand

From Catholic World News:
Lima, Apr. 17, 2008 ( - A Peruvian cardinal reports that he has banned the practice of receiving Communion in the hand.

Speaking to the Italian web site Petrus, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima, Peru, said that in order to guard against abuses, "the best way to administer Communion is on the tongue...."
I can hear the cries of anguish already - OH! the wailing and gnashing of teeth this is sure to cause!

It's a wonderful thing to see attempts to restore reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament! Some, however, oppose such efforts.

Reactions to Pope Benedict's Speech to U.S. Bishops

Courtesy of Thomas Peters at American Papist Blog...

Text of the Holy Father's Address to the Bishops

Available from Vatican Radio here.

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week of Easter

Old Calendar: St. Anicetus, pope and martyr

From: John 13:16-20

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [16] "Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. [17] If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. [18] I am not speaking to you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' [19] I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am He. [20] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any man whom I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.


15-17. Jesus' whole life was an example of service towards men, fulfilling His Father's will to the point of dying on the Cross. Here our Lord promises us that if we imitate Him, our Teacher, in disinterested service (which always implies sacrifice), we will find true happiness which no one can wrest from us (cf. 16:22; 17:13). "`I have given you an example', He tells His disciples after washing their feet, on the night of the Last Supper. Let us reject from our hearts any pride, any ambition, any desire to dominate; and peace and joy will reign around us and within us, as a consequence of our personal sacrifice" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 94).

18. Lifting one's heel against someone means hitting him brutally; metaphorically, therefore, it means violent enmity. Judas' treachery fulfills the words of Psalm 41:10 where the psalmist complains bitterly of a friend's treachery. Once again the Old Testament prefigures events which find their full __expression in the New.

Through Baptism, the Christian has become a son of God and is called to share in God's good things, not only in Heaven but also on earth: He has received grace, he shares in the Eucharistic Banquet..., he shares with his brethren, other Christians, the friendship of Jesus. Therefore, if a person sins who has been born again through Baptism, in some sense his is a sort of treachery similar to Judas'. However, we have the recourse of repentance: if we trust in God's mercy we can set about recovering our friendship with God.

"React. Listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you: `"Si inimicus meus maledixisset mihi, sustinuissem utique"'. If it were the enemy who insulted me, I could put up with that. But you...`"tu vero homo unanimis, dux meus, et notus meus, qui simul mecum dulces capiebas cibos"': you, My friend, My Apostle, who sit at My table and take sweet food with Me!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 244).

19. Jesus tells the Apostles in advance about Judas' treachery, so that when they see Christ's predictions come true, they will realize He has divine knowledge and that in Him are fulfilled the Scriptures of the Old Testament (cf. John 2:22). On the words "I am", cf. note on John 8:21-24.
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, April 16, 2008

Just for Today, April 17

Happy are they who penetrate into internal things, and endeavor to prepare themselves more and more, by daily exercises, for the attaining to heavenly secrets. Mind these things, O my soul, and shut the doors of thy senses, that thou mayest hear what the Lord thy God speaks within thee.

-Bk. III, ch. i.

A child of light am I, who oft
Neglect to trade aright,
And let my shining talent lie
Forgotten, out of sight.
The Gospel is a mine of gold
Love only can explore:
Teach me to find its hidden wealth,
The secrets of its lore!

For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 17

Prayer should be effective and practical, since it has for its end the acquisition of solid virtue and the mortification of the passions.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Public Scandal: Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive Communion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Catholic members of Congress who publicly support the right to abortion will trek to Nationals Park Thursday for a Mass celebrated by a pope who has said such lawmakers should not receive Communion.

Leading these lawmakers, some of whom have repeatedly complained about remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and a few bishops on the subject, will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the government's highest-ranking Catholic and a supporter of abortion rights. Nowhere in her remarks or her actions this week has she referred to strains with the new pontiff....her spokesman said, she intends to receive Communion from one of the 300 priests and lay ministers who will offer it to the gathered flock of 45,000.
Along with several other supporters of legislation to permit the murder of babies! Their rationalization?

This event, they [Catholic lawmakers] said, is about bigger themes and values, such as hope and compassion.
About bigger themes? And to what "values" are they referring? They demonstrate a profound lack of judgment, especially when it comes to the natural moral law and their eternal life (or death)....And let's not forget about change...

"Pope Benedict's historic visit is an important opportunity for Catholics and for all Americans to reflect on the ways we can contribute to the common good, address global issues of poverty, disease and despair," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass...
Infanticide contributes to the common good?

Who are these imposters of the faith? They refuse to protect the innocent yet they want us to believe thay are concerned about the common good? What deception! Spoken just like their father and mentor - the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning.

These people are proud to commit sacrilege and cause scandal among the faithful! And to do so under the very nose of the Holy Father is even more repulsive than words can express. May God grant me the graces to channel my anger and revulsion into prayer for their souls and for their conversion!

More from the Post Dispatch here.

The Amercian Life League ad for the Holy Father:

Link to American Life League Ad (PDF)
HT to Darla for the ALL Link!

Meditation for April 17, Eucharistic Adoration

During the days preceding Ash Wednesday, days during which worldlings devoted themselves to frivolous and often sinful amusements, the Church invited us to greater recollection and more generous sacrifice.

Did I check the sins which were committed and, did I, by repeated offerings of more fervent love, compensate for the lack of love, the forgetfulness, the baseness and unrestrained thirst for pleasure on the part of sinners?

The Sacred Host was taken from the obscurity of the tabernacle and all the faithful were invited to adore the Savior who is only too often forgotten and despised.

St. Anthony Zaccaria, founder of the Barnabites, was the first to conceive the idea of instituting Forty Hours' Adoration in expiation for the excesses committed during the Carnival on the days preceding Lent. God rewarded his zeal by many extraordinary favors at the altar. One day while he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass he was surrounded by angels resplendent with a heavenly light.

I also wish to increase my devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. How great is this mystery of the altar! I shall offer myself to Our Lord, and I shall offer Our Lord to the Father in compensating love for the forgetful world. I shall make more fervent efforts to spend time in adoration of Our Lord.

Suscipe, Sancte Pater, receive, Most Holy Father. Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, receive Most Holy Trinity. What fervent love I will put into this offering of Jesus and myself to the adorable Trinity!
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Today is Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st Birthday

Please keep our Holy Father in your prayers!

Coverage of events can be found at EWTN or at

Catholic League Responds to Motley Crew of Dissenters

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows to the actions planned by various groups of "Catholic" dissidents:
“These groups are dying out fast. Staffed by senior citizens who are angry that the Church didn’t turn left, they have almost no members under the age of 90 (okay, maybe 85).

“They will be joined by the American Atheists and the Westboro Baptist Church: the former is protesting what it calls the ‘Vatican/Ratzinger agenda’ (sounds great to me) and the latter is protesting what it calls the ‘Great Whore’ (wasn’t that in the news recently?).

“There was a time when such groups were taken seriously. But that time has long past. Instead, most Catholics will agree with our op-ed page tribute to the pope in today’s New York Times, and not with these unhappy campers. Indeed, they’ll likely be so gay as to break out the confetti.”

Something to Remember...

Pope: Good Priests More Important Than Many Priests

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, APRIL 15, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says that it is hard for him to understand how sexually abusive priests could have so betrayed their mission, and promised that the Church will do everything possible to ensure that such a situation never happens again....

The Holy Father affirmed that the Church must select candidates for the priesthood who are healthy and balanced. He said it is more important to have good priests than to have many priests. "We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry," the Pope added....
More at Zenit -

Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians Warned Against Receiving Communion During Papal Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2008 ( - American Life League has warned pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to politicize the Eucharist in a nation-wide, full page message addressed to Pope Benedict XVI....
As if these pro-death "Catholics" really care...Their scandalous behavior is worse than reprehensible.

RSM Calls for 'Ashes & Whistles' to Greet Pope

Blinded by sin and depravity, the Rainbow Sash Movement is calling on Catholics to shower the Holy Father with ashes and greet him with whistles:

The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling on all Catholics of good will to take the Papal visit as an opportunity to shower the Popemobile with ashes instead of confetti. Ashes are an ancient and appropriate greeting for a sinner who has caused the Church so much division and pain. We will also be greeting him with whistles; these were used by the Polish People to show shame for the violation of human rights by the Communist Government prior to the end of the cold war. This will be a loud call for reform, that the Pope will be unable to turn a deaf ear to.
What a pathetic group of souls who are in need of much prayer and grace.

Government Seeks Identities of "Homophobic" Bloggers

Coming soon to you? Tyrannical governments, control freaks, "thought police," seek to control what you think and believe...

SAO PAULO, April 15, 2008 ( - The Brazilian government has begun to prohibit access to websites that are condemned for violating "human rights", including sites that are deemed "homophobic". The government is also demanding that hosting services divulge the identities of users who post offensive material.

The Google Corporation has reportedly received a court summons with a dossier of 150 pages documenting "homophobic" material on its "Orkut" service, a social networking system popular in Brazil.

Federal Prosecutor Sérgio Suiama has proposed an information-sharing system for Google that will give the government access to identifying information of posters who violate its restrictions....

Gospel for Wednesday, 4th Week of Easter

From: John 12:44-50

The Unbelief of the Jews

[44] And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me. [45] And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. [46] I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness. [47] If any one hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. [48] He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be His judge on the last day. [49] For I have not spoken on My own authority; the Father who sent Me has Himself given Me commandment what to say and what to speak. [50] And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden Me."


44-50. With these verses St. John brings to an end his account of our Lord's public ministry. He brings together certain fundamental themes developed in previous chapters--the need for faith in Christ (verse 44); the Father and the Son are one yet distinct (cf. 45); Jesus is Light and Life of the world (verses 46, 50); men will be judged in accordance with whether they accept or reject the Son of God (verses 47-49). The chapters which follow contain Jesus' teaching to His Apostles at the Last Supper, and the accounts of the Passion and Resurrection.

45. Christ, the Word Incarnate, is one with the Father (cf. John 10:30); "He reflects the glory of God" (Hebrews 1:3); "He is the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15). In John 14:9 Jesus expresses Himself in almost the same words: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father". At the same time as He speaks of His oneness with the Father, we are clearly shown the distinction of persons--the Father who sends, and the Son who is sent.

In Christ's holy human nature His divinity is, as it were, hidden, that divinity which He possesses with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:7-11). In theology "circumincession" is the word usually used for the fact that, by virtue of the unity among the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, "the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son" (Council of Florence, "Decree Pro Jacobitis, Dz-Sch", 1331).

47. Christ has come to save the world by offering Himself in sacrifice for our sins and bringing us supernatural life (cf. John 3:17). But He has also been made Judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 10:42): He passes sentence at the Particular Judgment which happens immediately after death, and at the end of the world, at His Second Coming or Parousia, at the universal judgment (cf. John 5:22; 8:15-16).
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, April 15, 2008

Just for Today, April 16

Son, trust not to thy present affection; it will quickly be changed into another. As long as thou livest thou art subject to change, even against thy will; so as to be sometimes joyful, at other times sad; now easy, then troubled; at one time devout, at another time dry; sometimes fervent, at other times sluggish; one day heavy, another lighter.

But he that is wise and well instructed in spirit, stands above all these changes; not minding what he feels in himself, nor on what side the wind of mutability blows; but that the whole bent of his soul may advance towards its due and wished-for end. For so he may continue one and the self-same, without being shaken, by directing without ceasing, through all this variety of events, the single eye of his intention towards Me.

-Bk. III, ch. xxxiii.

If my soul were not filled with submission to the Will of God, it would sink beneath the flood of changing impressions, now joyful, now sad, that pour in upon one in this life. They are a great trial, it is true, but they only touch the surface of my soul.

-Novissima Verba.
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 16

The truly humble reject all praise for them­selves, and refer it all to God.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 16, Spiritual Inventory

We are living in times, said the great and generous university professor, Antoine Martel, "which are not satisfied with good parishioners and good religious, but which wait impatiently for saints."

Martel could say that. He lived his Catholicism intensely, and in the exercise of his remarkable charity, he recoiled before nothing. Each week he went to wash the feet of a sick man whose stiffened body made all personal care of himself impossible.

Our age is not satisfied with good religious but waits impatiently for saints.

Is this not an opportune time to examine my spiritual status?

A bad religious? - No, I hope not.

Merely a "good religious"? - That is not enough.

A saint? - That is what I must know. It is no risk to wager that I am far from it. But then I am betraying my rule, the expectation of God and the desires of my superiors and companions. Is it not time to begin?...I must question myself, pass judgment on myself. Does it suffice that the coming months be like those that have passed? Ought there not be something else; more generosity, more enthusiasm, more love?

A brave young girl, Eve Lavalliere, who had been thoroughly converted from a shameful life, asked that these words be inscribed on her tombstone:
"You who have created me, have mercy on me. I shall trust the past to God with confidence. For the future, I shall march on to sanctity!"
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Hamas Cleric Predicts 'Rome Will Be Conquered by Islam'

A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that "the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital," would soon be conquered by Islam.

The fiery sermon, delivered by Yunis al-Astal and aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, predicted that Rome would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe."

"Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion," al-Astal preached, "so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security and consolidation of power, and even to conquests through da'wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world...."

Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week of Easter

From: John 10:22-30

Jesus and the Father are One

[22] It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; [23] it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. [24] So the Jews gathered round Him and said to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." [25] Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness to Me; [26] but you do not believe, because you do not belong to My sheep. [27] My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; [28] and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. [29] My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. [30] I and the Father are one."


22. This feast commemorates an episode in Jewish history (cf. 1 Maccabees 4:36-59; 2 Maccabees 1-2:19; 10:1-8) when Judas Maccabeus, in the year 165 B.C., after liberating Jerusalem from the control of the Seleucid kings of Syria, cleansed the temple of the profanations of Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Maccabees 1:54). From then onwards, on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev (November-December) and throughout the following week, all Judea celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of the new altar. It was also known as the "Festival of Lights" because it was customary to light lamps, a symbol of the Law, and put them in the windows of the houses (cf. 2 Maccabees 1:18).

24-25. When these Jews ask Jesus if He is the Messiah, "they speak in this way", St. Augustine comments, "not because they desire truth, but to prepare the way for calumny" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 48, 3). We have already seen Jesus reveal, by His words and deeds, that He is the Only Son of God (5:19ff; 7:16ff; 8:25ff). In view of their good dispositions, He explicitly told the Samaritan woman (4:26) and the man born blind (9:37) that He was the Messiah and Savior. Now He reproaches His listeners for refusing to recognize the works He does in His Father's name (cf. 5:36; 10:38). On other occasions He referred to works as a way to distinguish true prophets from false ones: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16; cf. Matthew 12:33).

26-29. Certainly faith and eternal life cannot be merited by man's own efforts: they are a gift of God. But the Lord does not deny anyone grace to believe and be saved, because He `wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). If someone tries to avoid receiving the gift of faith, his unbelief is blameworthy. On this point St. Thomas Aquinas teaches: "I can see, thanks to the light of the sun; but if I close my eyes, I cannot see: this is no fault of the sun, it is my own fault, because by closing my eyes, I prevent the sunlight from reaching me" ("Commentary on St. John, ad loc.").

But those who do not oppose divine grace do come to believe in Jesus. They are known to and loved by Him, enter under His protection and remain faithful with the help of His grace, which is a pledge of the eternal life which the Good Shepherd will eventually give them. It is true that in this world they will have to strive and in the course of striving they will sustain wounds; but if they stay united to the Good Shepherd nothing and no one will snatch Christ's sheep from Him, because our Father, God, is stronger than the Evil One. Our hope that God will grant us final perseverance is not based on our strength but on God's mercy: this hope should always motivate us to strive to respond to grace and to be more faithful to the demands of our faith.

30. Jesus reveals that He and the Father are one in substance. Earlier He proclaimed that God was His Father, "making Himself equal with God"--which is why a number of times the Jewish authorities think of putting Him to death (cf. 5:18; 8:59). Now He speaks about the mystery of God, which is something we can know about only through Revelation. Later on He will reveal more about this mystery, particularly at the Last Supper (14:10; 17:21-22). It is something the evangelist reflects on at the very beginning of the Gospel, in the prologue (cf. John 1:1 and note).

"Listen to the Son Himself", St. Augustine invites us. "`I and the Father are one.' He did not say, `I am the Father' or `I and the Father are one [Person].' But when He says, `I and the Father are one,' notice the two words `[we are]' and `one'...For if they are one, then they are not diverse; if `[we] are', then there is both a Father and a Son" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 36, 9). Jesus reveals that He is one in substance with the Father as far as divine essence or nature is concerned, but He also reveals that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons: "We believe then in the Father who eternally begets the Son; in the Son, the Word of God, who is eternally begotten; in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son as their eternal Love. Thus in the three divine Persons, "coaeternae sibi et coaequales", the life and beatitude of God perfectly One superabound and are consummated in the supreme excellence and glory proper to uncreated Being, and always `there should be venerated Unity in the Trinity and Trinity in the Unity'" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God," 10).
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, April 14, 2008

Just for Today, April 15

They became needy, and were left in a wretched condition, who had built themselves a nest in heaven; to the end that being thus humbled and impoverished, they might learn not to trust to their own wings, but to hide themselves under Mine.
-Bk. III, ch. vii.

One day when walking in the garden leaning on the arm of one of her sisters, she stopped to look at a hen who was sheltering her chickens under her wings. After a few moments she said: "Let us go in; I cannot remain out any longer".

When she reached her cell she wept for some time, and was unable to speak. At length she said to her sister: "I was thinking of the figure chosen by Our Lord to express His infinite tenderness. All my life He has done that for me: He has covered me with his wings! I cannot tell you what I felt just now. God does well to veil Himself from my sight, to show me only rarely, and as it were through the lattices the effects of His mercy, for I think it would be more than I could bear."
-The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme)
For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 15

To acquire courage it is very useful to read the lives of the saints, especially of those who, after liv­ing in sin, attained great sanctity.

-St. Alphonsus.
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 15, Angels of the Agony

It is difficult to suffer well. Sometimes, however, we meet souls who are perfectly submissive to God and who, having offered themselves, never wish to take back anything even during the most excruciating sufferings.

Vaincre, a review for the sick, says: "Father Lacordaire, broken by a thousand trials but heroically faithful, declares that he is not mistaken: 'One must have an absolute infinite conviction that what comes from God is best, even though it seems the worst from the human point of view. I have experienced that a thousand times in my life.'" And the author of the article adds, "A brave patient, in the evening of his young life, said with a celestial smile, 'Father, I have offered to the good God every beat of my heart. Ah! He has heard me. It is too wonderful! How much I can love Him now that my heart beats at one hundred thirty!'"

Another patient writes: "I was deceived by the opinion of the doctor. Convinced that I could not survive the operation, I spent all the days of preparation longing for Our Lord and I pictured myself feasting with joy in the fold of the Good Shepherd. I stumbled and tottered in taking up again the heavier cross of continued life. I have not suffered enough. I called Our Lord so much that He came, but not as I had expected. Oh! assuredly, I take nothing back of my surrender, but I have not yet regained my balance. My present profound peace seeks greater peace in the new order proposed to it.

"Now I suffer almost continually, and for some days I have been in very sharp pain. It is only the beginning, I offer all without hesitation but not without trembling."

This is generosity of the same caliber expressed in a different way.

Do I know how to suffer?
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Papal Visit Provokes Array of Protests

And this protest comes from those who refer to themselves as "thinking" Catholics. However, we have come to recognize them as those who like to think of themselves as Catholic while rejecting the authority of the Church and her doctrines...

The article is filled with the usual suspects - a 'who's who' of every major dissenting, heretical or schismatic group in the U.S. seeking media attention:

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI may not see them or hear them, but aggrieved Roman Catholic activists hope his U.S. visit this week will help them draw attention to issues ranging from the ordination of women and gay rights to sex abuse by priests and the Vatican ban on contraception.

The groups have planned vigils, demonstrations and news conferences to press their causes as the pope visits Washington and New York. On Monday evening, the eve of his arrival, supporters of women's ordination will host what they are calling "an inclusive Mass" at a Methodist church in Washington, presided over by Catholic women — including two who were recently excommunicated...

Priestettes Elsie McGrath and Rose Hudson will be there worshipping the goddess they've created for themselves - how touching!

"We cannot welcome this pope until he begins to do away with the church's continuing violence of sexism," said Sister Donna Quinn, coordinator of the National Coalition of American Nuns.

Sounds like they've joined the goats on the left...

Gay Catholic activists, who plan to demonstrate Tuesday along the papal motorcade route in Washington, have compiled a list of statements by Benedict during his career which they consider hostile to gays and lesbians. These include forceful denunciations of gay marriage and of adoption rights for same-sex couples.
They'll not be satisfied - ever - because perversion and sin always results in pain and death. And they want everyone to accept deviant sexual behavior as normal and good.

Another divisive issue being raised this week is the Vatican's ban on contraception. Gay rights groups and others say the ban undermines programs promoting condom use to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Sexual perversion and hedonism is rampant - chastity and purity have been replaced by lust and pride.

"Catholics wonder why there's this huge disparity between what the hierarchy says we should do in regard to contraception and what Catholics on the ground actually do," said Catholics for Choice president Jon O'Brien.
Actually, faithful Catholics accept the Church's teaching on the intrinsic evil of artificial contraception. Those who claim to be Catholic while choosing Satan's path cannot find any joy in life - and they never will while they stray from Christ and His Church. They are blinded by sin, they are slaves to sin, and they are dying in their sins...

Voice of the Faithful, a Boston-based reform group which emerged from the scandal, placed a full-page ad last week in The New York Times, costing more than $50,000, to air its call for a transformation of the church.
Even with its financial troubles this group of 'unfaithful' still finds money to spread its views...What a waste...

Nevetheless, it is an opportunity to pray for these confused and lost souls and to offer reparations for their deadly spiritual illnesses and diseases. This is a week for more fervent prayer and sacrifice.

Full article here.

Pope says U.S. visit will be 'special missionary experience'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Two days before his first visit as pope to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI described the trip as a "special missionary experience" and requested prayers for its success.

The pope made the remarks at his weekly noon blessing at the Vatican April 13, his last public appearance before his April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York...

"Dear brothers and sisters, I ask you all to pray for the success of my visit, so that it may be a time of spiritual renewal for all Americans," he said....

Winona to Experience Women Priestettes!

Saddened bishop: Redig's excommunicating herself from Catholic Church

When Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington talks about Kathy Redig, he speaks of her great heart. He regards her as a “great Christian person.”

Harrington praises her work as a chaplain at Community Memorial Hospital. And when he thinks of her upcoming ordination in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement — a largely excommunicated group of women ordaining other women to the priesthood — his mood changes. He calls the situation “very, very sad....”

Harrington said he remains committed to teaching the Catholic church’s position on the ordination of women into the priesthood, while at the same time respecting Redig, who has been a lifelong member of the diocese and will be ordained May 4 in Winona....

“She, by her actions, has excommunicated herself,” he said. “Archbishop Burke did something that formally had already taken place. It means my job is easier....”

Must be a communicable disease of sorts...

Gospel for Monday, 4th Week of Easter

Old Calendar: St. Justin, martyr; Sts. Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, martyrs

From: John 10:11-18

The Good Shepherd (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Pharisees,) [11] "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [12] He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. [13] He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, [15] as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for My sheep. [16] And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed My voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. [17] For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again. [18] No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from My Father."


11-15. "The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep": "Here", says St. John Chrysostom, "He is speaking of His passion, making it clear this would take place for the salvation of the world and that He would go to it freely and willingly" ("Hom. on St. John", 59, 3). Our Lord spoke further about giving abundant pasture; now He speaks about giving His very life: "He did what He said He would do", St. Gregory comments; "He gave His life for His sheep, and He gave His body and blood in the Sacrament to nourish with His flesh the sheep He had redeemed" ("In Evangelia Homilae", 14, "ad loc."). Hired men, on the other hand, run away if there is any danger, leaving the flock at risk. "Who is the hireling? He who sees the wolf coming and flees. The man who seeks his own glory, not the glory of Christ; the man who does not dare reprove sinners. You are the hireling; you have seen the wolf coming and have fled [...] because you held your peace; and you held your peace, because you were afraid" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann Evang.", 46, 8).

"Let them remember that their priestly ministry [...] is--in a special way--'ordered' to the great solicitude of the Good Shepherd, solicitude for the salvation of every human being. And this we must all remember: that it is not lawful for any one of us to deserve the name of 'hireling', that is to say, the name of one 'to whom the sheep do not belong', one who, 'since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees the wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.' The solicitude of every good shepherd is that all people 'may have life and have it to the full', so that none of them may be lost but should have eternal life. Let us endeavor to make this solicitude penetrate deeply into our souls; let us strive to live it. May it characterize our personality, and be at the foundation of our priestly identity" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Letter to Priests", 8 April 1979).

The Good Shepherd knows each of His sheep and calls it by name. This touching simile seems to be an exhortation to future pastors of the Church, as St. Peter will later on explain: "Tend the flock that is your charge, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2).

"The holiness of Christ's Spouse has always been shown--as it can be seen today--by the abundance of good shepherds. But our Christian faith, which teaches us to be simple, does not bid us to be simple-minded. There are hirelings who keep silent, and there are hirelings who speak with words which are not those of Christ. That is why, if the Lord allows us to be left in the dark even in little things, if we feel that our faith is not firm, we should go to the good shepherd. He enters by the door as of right. He gives his life for others and wants to be in word and behavior a soul in love. He may be a sinner too, but he trusts always in Christ's forgiveness and mercy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 34).

16. "One flock, one shepherd": Christ's mission extends to everyone even though His own preaching is addressed, in the first instance, to the sheep of the house of Israel, as He Himself revealed to the Canaanite woman (cf. Matthew 15:24), and even though He sent the Apostles on their first mission (cf. Matthew 10:6) to preach to the people of Israel. Now, however, foreseeing the fruits of His redemptive death (verse 15), He reveals that these will be applied to "other sheep, that are not of this fold", that is, Israel, and, after the Resurrection, He does send the Apostles to all nations (cf. Matthew 28:19), to preach the Gospel to all creation (cf. Matthew 16:15), beginning in Jerusalem and extending to all Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). This fulfills the ancient promises about the rule of the Messiah covering the whole world (cf. Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 2:2-6; 66:17-19). The universal scope of salvation caused St. Paul to exclaim: "Remember that at one time you...were...separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:11-13; cf. Galatians 3:27-28; Romans 3:22).

The unity of the Church is to be found under one visible head, for "it was to the Apostolic College alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God" (Vatican II, "Unitatis Redintegratio", 3). It is a Catholic's constant yearning that everyone should come to the true Church, "God's one flock, which like a standard lifted high for the nations to see, ministers the Gospel of peace to all mankind, as it makes it pilgrim way in hope towards its goal, the fatherland above" ("ibid.", 2).

17-18. Jesus shows that of His own free will He will give Himself up to death for the sake of the flock (cf. John 6:51). Having been given supreme authority, Christ is free to offer Himself as a sacrifice of expiation, and He voluntarily accepts His Father's commandment, in an act of perfect obedience. "We will never fully understand Jesus' freedom. It is immense, infinite, as is His love. But the priceless treasure of His generous holocaust should move us to ask, 'Why, Lord, have you granted me this privilege which I can use to follow in Your footsteps, but also to offend You?' Thus we come to appreciate that freedom is used properly when it is directed towards the good; and that it is misused when men are forgetful and turn away from the Love of loves" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 26).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Just for Today, April 14

Son, now thou knowest these things, and hast read them all, happy shalt thou be if thou fulfil them. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself unto him (John xiv,21).

Lord Jesus, as Thou hast said and hast promised, so may it be indeed; and may it be my lot to merit it.

-Bk. III, ch. lvi.

If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him (John xiv, 23).

I live by love and ever keep
Thy Word within my heart,
And thus I draw the Father down,
Whom none from Thee can part.
The Holy Ghost, the bond of love,
One God in Persons three:
Till captive in my heart I hold
The Blessed Trinity.

For more information, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - April 14

Prayer is the only channel through which God's great graces and favors may flow into the soul; and if this be once closed, I know no other way He can communicate them.

-St. Teresa
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for April 14, No Parking

To avoid traffic congestion there are No Parking signs at certain places in the city. We cannot stop long on that street or boulevard. We must advance, press forward, however inconvenient, toward the outlet.

I have entered upon a road. I must move continually toward the end. If I cease to advance in the road of perfection, I no longer fulfill the expectations of my Institute, my vows and the will of God for me.

To effect a thorough renovation at the time of retreat, and then to return soon to the same state of stagnation, is not enough.

When an occasional traveler rings the bell of a little mountain chapel, the sparrows, crows and bats fly out at once, surprised in their peace or their sleep....After fluttering about for a few moments, they go off some distance and then little by little they retum, as assured conquerors to their loved haven.

Thus it is with me in my retreats. What a flight of undesirable traits! Soon calm settles again; the bell no longer disturbs; the noise is silenced. One by one my little old passions, my habits on silent wings, in large flocks like crows, find their recently vacated nest in the niche.

That must not be! I must pull the cord every day, make the bell ring, chase the guests installed without my invitation, keep them from re-establishing themselves in some favorite comer. No Parking!
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Archbishop Ranjith To Leave Vatican?

From Inside the Vatican:
In Rome in recent days there has been much speculation that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, one of the more "tradition-minded" prelates in the Vatican curia, may soon leave Rome to serve in his native Sri Lanka.

Ranjith, who serves now as the Secretary in the Congregation for Divine Worship, under the Prefect, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, has made enemies in "progressive" circles because he has taken "conservative" stands.

Against much opposition, he has supported a widespread return of the Tridentine Mass -- something many in the Vatican oppose -- and he has suggested that some practices, like Communion in the hand and standing for Holy Communion, should be ended.

It is important to note, however, as Ranjith has advised Inside the Vatican in a personal conversation, that the government of Sri Lanka holds Ranjith in very high regard, and has asked Rome to consider transferring Ranjith back to his country to help bring peace in the country's long-simmering civil war.

So there may be factors not mentioned in the article below which could lead the Pope to agree to transfer Ranjith. We will learn more about Ranjith's future -- and the fate of the liturgical reform Pope Benedict has desired and Ranjith has toiled to defend -- in coming weeks, after the April 15-20 trip to the United States.

Here follows a posting from the interesting Rorate caeli web site, containing a translation of a recent Italian magazine article on the Ranjith matter. - The Editor

More here at Rorate Caeli

Archbishop Burke bans canon lawyer from archdiocese

This from yesterday's Post-Dispatch:

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A prominent Roman Catholic priest and canon lawyer, who says he has been helping those "harmed by the institutional Catholic Church" since 1985 and counseling a Polish heritage church here, has been banned from working in the archdiocese.

The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest and canon lawyer based in Virginia, also has been ordered by Archbishop Raymond Burke to pay back any payment he received from St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

Burke issued a decree [PDF here] charging Doyle with two "canonical crimes" related to his defense of two excommunicated board members of St. Stanislaus.

The decree, published Friday in the archdiocesan newspaper, says Doyle did not receive prior approval from Burke to represent board members Stan Rozanski and Bernice Krauze. It also says Doyle didn't immediately respond to Burke's summons to appear before him....

Continued here...

Gospel for 4th Sunday of Easter

From: John 10:1-10

The Good Shepherd

(Jesus said to the Pharisees,) [1] "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; [2] but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. [4] When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. [5] A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." [6] This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them.

[7] So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. [9] I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."


1-18. The image of the Good Shepherd recalls a favorite theme of Old Testament prophetic literature: the chosen people is the flock, and Yahweh is their shepherd (cf. Psalm 23). Kings and priests are also described as shepherds or pastors. Jeremiah inveighs against those pastors who had let their sheep go astray and in God's name promises new pastors who will graze their flocks properly so that they will never again be harassed or anxious (cf. 23:1-6; also 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; Isaiah 40:1-11). Ezekiel reproaches pastors for their misdeeds and sloth, their greed and neglect of their responsibility: Yahweh will take the flock away from them and He Himself will look after their sheep: indeed, a unique shepherd will appear, descended from David, who will graze them and protect them (Ezekiel 34). Jesus presents Himself as this shepherd who looks after His sheep, seeks out the strays, cures the crippled and carries the weak on His shoulders (cf. Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7), thereby fulfilling the ancient prophecies.

From earliest times, Christian art found its inspiration in this touching image of the Good Shepherd, thereby leaving us a representation of Christ's love for each of us.

In addition to the title of Good Shepherd, Christ applies to Himself the image of the door into the sheepfold of the Church. "The Church," Vatican II teaches, "is a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ (cf. John 10:1-10). It is also a flock, of which God foretold that He Himself would be the shepherd (cf. Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11ff.), and whose sheep, although watched over by human shepherds, are nevertheless at all times led and brought to pasture by Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of shepherds (cf. John 10:11; 1 Peter 5:4), who gave His life for His sheep (cf. John 10:11-15)" ("Lumen Gentium", 6).

1-2. The flock can be harmed in a subtle, hidden way, or in a blatant way through abuse of authority. The history of the Church shows that its enemies have used both methods: sometimes they enter the flock in a secretive way to harm it from within; sometimes they attack it from outside, openly and violently. "Who is the good shepherd? `He who enters by the door' of faithfulness to the Church's doctrine and does not act like the hireling `who sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees'; whereupon `the wolf snatches them and scatters them'" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 34).

3-5. In those times it was usual at nightfall to bring a number of flocks together into one sheepfold, where they would be kept for the night with someone acting as look-out. Then at dawn the shepherds would come back and open the sheepfold and each would call his sheep which would gather round and follow him out of the pen they were used to his voice because he used to call them to prevent them from going astray) and he would then lead them to pasture. Our Lord uses this image--one very familiar to His listeners--to teach them a divine truth: since there are strange voices around, we need to know the voice of Christ--which is continually addressing us through the Magisterium of the Church--and to follow it, if we are to get the nourishment our soul needs. "Christ has given His Church sureness in doctrine and a fountain of grace in the Sacraments. He has arranged things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us constantly of our way. There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the Sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and have known how to build with their good lives a road of faithfulness to God" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 34).

6. Christ develops and interprets the image of the shepherd and the flock, to ensure that everyone who is well-disposed can understand His meaning. But the Jews fail to understand--as happened also when He promised the Eucharist (John 6:41-43) and spoke of the "living water" (John 7:40-43), or when He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:45-46).

7. After describing His future Church through the image of the flock, Christ extends the simile and calls Himself the "door of the sheep". The shepherds and the sheep enter the sheepfold: both must enter through the door, which is Christ. "I", St. Augustine preached, "seeking to enter in among you, that is, into your heart, preach Christ: if I were to preach other than that, I should be trying to enter by some other way. Through Christ I enter in, not to your houses but to your hearts. Through Him I enter and you have willingly heard me speak of Him. Why? Because you are Christ's sheep and you have been purchased with Christ's blood" ("In Ioann. Evang." 47, 2-3).

8. The severe reproach Jesus levels against those who came before Him does not apply to Moses or the prophets (cf. John 5:39, 45; 8:56; 12:41), nor to the Baptist (cf. John 5:33), for they proclaimed the future Messiah and prepared the way for Him. He is referring to the false prophets and deceivers of the people, among them some teachers of the Law--blind men and blind guides (cf. Matthew 23:16-24) who block the people's way to Christ, as happened just a little before when the man born blind was cured (cf. John 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

2nd Reading for the 4th Sunday of Easter

From: 1 Peter 2b:20-25

Duties Towards Masters--Christ's Example

[20b] [Beloved}: if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval. [21] For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. [22] He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. [23] When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him who judges justly. [24] He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.


18-25. The sacred writer now addresses all domestic servants (the Greek word means all who work in household tasks). He exhorts them to obey their masters, even if they are harsh (verse 18), because God is pleased if they put up with unfair- ness for His sake (verses 19-20); in doing so they are imitating the example of Jesus (verses 21-25). St. Paul, when addressing slaves in his letters (cf. Ephesians 5:5-9; Colossians 3:22-24), never encourages them to rebel. Christian teaching on social issues is not based on class struggle but on fraternal love: love eventually does away with all discrimination, for all men have created in the image of God and are equal in His sight. This peaceable policy gradually made for the suppression of slavery, and it will also lead to the solution of all social problems (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 29).

The fact that St. Peter addresses only servants and does not go on to say any- thing to masters (as St. Paul usually does: cf. Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:23ff) has led some commentators to suggest that most of the Christians addressed in this letter must have been people of humble condition.

21-25. This passage is a beautiful hymn to Christ on the cross. Christ's sufferings, which fulfill the prophecies about the Servant of Yahweh contained in the Book of Isaiah (52:13-53:12), have not been in vain, for they have a redemptive value. He has taken our sins upon Himself and brought them with Him on the cross, offering Himself as an atoning sacrifice. This means that we are free of our sins ("dead to sin") and can live "to righteousness", that is, can live for holiness with the help of grace.

The example of the suffering of Christ is always a necessary reference point for Christians: however great the trials they experience, they will never be as great or as unjust as those of our Lord. Reflecting on Christ's suffering led St. Bernard to comment: "I have come to see that true wisdom lies in meditating on these things [...]. Some have provided me with wholesome, if bitter, drink, and I have used others as gentle and soothing unction. This gives me strength in adversity and helps me to be humble in prosperity; it -allows me to walk with a sure step on the royal road of salvation, through the good things and the evil things of this present life, free from the dangers which threaten to right and left" ("Sermons on the Song of Songs", 43, 4).

25. The messianic prophecy about the Servant of Yahweh includes the image of the scattered flock (cf. Isaiah 53:6), to which Jesus alludes in His allegory of the Good Shepherd (cf. John 10:11-16). St. Peter, to whom our Lord had given charge of His flock (cf. John 21:15-19), would have had a special liking for imagery connected with shepherding.

Jesus Christ is "the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls" and "the chief Shepherd" (1 Peter 5:4). The etymology of the Greek word--"episcopos" (guardian)-- means "overseer"; the word was used in civic life to designate those who were responsible for seeing that the law was kept. In the Dead Sea manuscripts the Hebrew equivalent ("mebaqqer") is used to designate the religious leaders of the schismatic community of Qumran. Whatever might be the origin of the term, in the New Testament the word "episcopos" (bishop) is often used to mean the pastor of the Church (cf., e.g., Acts 20:28; see the note on 1 Peter 5:1-4). Here St. Peter applies to Christ the words the prophet Ezekiel places on the lips of God: "I will seek out My sheep and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered" (Ezekiel 34:12). Our Lord founded the Church as a sheep- fold "whose sheep, although watched over by human shepherds, are nevertheless at all times led and brought to pasture by Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and prince of shepherds (cf. John 10:11; 1 Peter 5:4), who gave His life for His sheep (cf. John 10:11-16)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 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.