Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Lent

From: John 12:20-33

Jesus Foretells His Glorification

[20] Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. [21] So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." [22] Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. [23] And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25]He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [26] If any one serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there shall be My servant also; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him.

[27] "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. [28] Father, glorify thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." [29] The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." [30] Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. [31] Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; [32] and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." [33] He said this to show by what death he was to die.

20-23. These "Greeks" approach Philip because seemingly this Apostle, who has a Greek name, must have understood Greek and been able to act as interpreter. If that was the case, then this is a very important moment because it means that people of a non-Jewish culture came in search of Christ: which would make them the firstfruits of the spread of the Christian faith in the hellenic world. This would make it easier to understand our Lord's exclamation in v. 23, about his own glorification, which has to do not only with his being raised up to the right hand of the Father (cf. Phil 2:6-11) but also with his attracting all men to himself (cf. Jn 12:32).

Jesus refers to "the hour" on other occasions also. Sometimes he means the end of the world (cf. Mt 13:32; Jn 5:25); sometimes, as is the case here, it means the moment of Redemption through his death and glorification (cf. Mk 14:41; Jn 2:4; 4:23; 7:30; 8:20; 12:27; 13:1; 17:1).

24-25. There is an apparent paradox here between Christ's humiliation and his glorification. Thus, "it was appropriate that the loftiness of his glorification should be preceded by the lowliness of his passion" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 51, 8).

This is the same ideas as we find in St. Paul, when he says that Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, and that therefore God the Father exalted him above all created things (cf. Philippians 2:8-9). This is a lesson and an encouragement to the Christian, who should see every type of suffering and contradiction as a sharing in Christ's cross, which redeems us and exalts us. To be supernaturally effective, a person has to die to himself, forgetting his comfort and shedding his selfishness. "If the grain of wheat does not die, it remains unfruitful. Don't you want to be a grain of wheat, to die through mortification, and to yield a rich harvest? May Jesus bless your wheatfield!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 199).

26. Our Lord has spoken about his sacrifice being a condition of his entering his glory. And what holds good for the Master applies also to his disciples (cf. Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40). Jesus wants each of us to be of service to him. It is a mystery of God's plan that he--who is all, who has all and who needs nothing and nobody--should choose to need our help to ensure that his teaching and the salvation wrought by him reaches all men.

"To follow Christ: that is the secret. We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with him, like the first Twelve did; so closely, that we become identified with him. Soon we will be able to say, provided we have not put obstacles in the way of grace, that we have put on, have clothed ourselves with our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 13:14). [...]

"I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ--seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek him them, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven (cf. Phil 3;20)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 299-300).

27. The thought of the death that awaits him saddens Jesus, and he turns to the Father in a prayer very similar to that of Gethsemane (cf. Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42): our Lord, as man, seeks support in the love and power of his Father God, to be strengthened to fulfill his mission. We find this very consoling, for we often feel weak in moments of trial: like Jesus we should seek support in God's strength, for "thou art my rock and my fortress" (Ps 31:4).

28. "Glory" in Sacred Scripture implies God's holiness and power; the "glory of God" dwelt in the sanctuary in the desert and in the temple of Jerusalem (cf. Ex 40:35; 1 Kings 8:11). The voice of the Father saying "I have glorified it and I will glorify it again" is a solemn ratification that the fullness of divinity dwells in Jesus (cf. Col 2:9; Jn 1:14) and that, through his passion, death and resurrection, it will be made patent, in his human nature itself, that Jesus is the Son of God (cf. Mk 15:39).

This episode evokes other occasions--at Christ's baptism (cf. Mt 3:13-17 and par.) and his transfiguration (Mt 17: 1-5 and par.)--when God the Father bears witness to the divinity of Jesus.

31-33. Jesus tells them the results that will flow from his passion and death. "Now is the judgment of this world", that is, of those who persist in serving Satan, the "prince of this world". Although 'world' means the totality of mankind whom Christ comes to save (cf. In 3:16-17), it also often means all that is opposed to God (cf. note on Jn 1:10), which is the sense it has here. On being nailed to the cross, Jesus is the supreme sign of contradiction for all men: those who recognize him as Son of God will be saved (cf Lk 23:39-43); those who reject him will be condemned. Christ crucified is the maximum _expression of the Father's love for us (cf. Jn 3:14-16; Rom 8:32), the sign raised on high which was prefigured in the bronze serpent raised up by Moses in the wilderness (cf. In 3:14; Num 21:9).

Our Lord on the cross, then, is the Judge who will condemn the world (cf. Jn 3:17) and the devil (cf. Jn 16:11); in fact they have provoked their own condemnation by not accepting or believing in God's love. From the Cross the Lord will attract all men to himself, for all will be able to see him there, crucified.

"Christ our Lord was crucified; from the height of the cross he redeemed the world, thereby restoring peace between God and men. Jesus reminds all of us: 'et ego, si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum" (Jn 12:32), and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself'. If you put me at the center of all earthly activities, he is saying, by fulfilling the duty of each moment, in what appears important and what appears unimportant, I will draw everything to myself. My kingdom among you will be a reality!" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 183). Every Christian, following Christ, has to be a flag raised aloft, a light on a lampstand--through prayer and mortification, securely attached to the cross, always and in every situation, a sign to men of the saving love of God the Father.

"Through his Incarnation, through his work at Nazareth and his preaching and miracles in the land of Judea and Galilee, through his death on the Cross, and through his resurrection, Christ is the center of the universe, the firstborn and Lord of all creation.

"Our task as Christians is to proclaim this kingship of Christ, announcing it through what we say and do. Our Lord wants men and women of his own in all walks of life. Some he calls away from society, asking them to give up involvement in the world, so that they remind the rest of us by their example that God exists. To others he entrusts the priestly ministry. But he wants the vast majority to stay right where they are, in all earthly occupations in which they work--the factory, the laboratory, the farm, the trades, the streets of the big cities and the trails of the mountains" ("Ibid.", 105).

32. "I will draw all men to myself". The Latin Vulgate, following important Greek manuscripts, translates this as "omnia", "all things"; the New Vulgate, using equally important and more numerous manuscripts, opts for "omnes", "everyone". There is no compelling reason for adopting one or other reading: in fact, both are theologically correct and neither excludes the other, for Christ attracts all creation to himself, but especially mankind (cf. Rom 8:18-23).
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.

Principles and Practices - March 29

The Imperfect And Perfect

In comparing the good and virtuous but imperfect Christian with one who has at­tained perfection, there will be manifest in the latter the habitual disposition of doing all for God. His will is stronger and inspired by nobler motives, his acts of love are more generous, more intense, more tender, and more numerous. God measures all by love; therefore, He takes more pleasure in one perfect soul than in many merely pious ones. The pious and virtuous man is a faithful, docile servant; the perfect man is the intimate friend of God. A loving, devoted friend gives more joy to the heart than a thousand good servants.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 29

BUT so many as by the Spirit see these things it is thou that seest in them.... And no less rightly is it said unto them that see in the spirit of God, It is not ye that see, so that whatsoever they see to be good through the spirit of God, it is not they, but God that sees it to be good.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 29

ON the cross I see it written that thou art a king. But apart from this title of scorn, what is the evidence that thou dost give of being a king? Ah, these hands transfixed with nails, this head pierced with thorns, this throne of sorrow, make me well know that thou art a king, but a king of love.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

The Struggle for Notre Dame: Two Bishops and a Cardinal Add Their Voices

The escalating outcry over the invitation to President Obama to be the commencement speaker at Notre Dame - and the decision to bestow upon him the “Doctor of Law”- degree has an astonishing momentum.

Two more Bishops and a Cardinal have spoken out. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix released his E-Mail letter to Father John Jenkins, the President of the University. The subject line summarized the strong concern “Saddened by your tragic decision”:...
It is a act of public disobedience and a public scandal. Jenkins needs to go...and soon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gospel for Saturday, 4th Week of Lent

John 7:40-53

Different Opinions About Jesus (Continuation)

[40] When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This is really the prophet." [41] Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee? [42] Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" [43] So there was a division among the people over Him. [44] Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

[45] The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring Him?" [46] The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" [47] The Pharisees answered them, "Are you led astray, you also? [48] Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in Him? [49] But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed." [50] Nicodemus, who had gone to Him before, and who was one of them, said to them, [51] "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?" [52] They replied, "Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee." [53] They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

40-43. "The prophet" refers to Deuteronomy 18:18, which predicts the coming of a prophet during the last times, a prophet to whom all must listen (cf. John 1:21; 6:14); and "the Christ" ("the Messiah") was the title most used in the Old Testament to designate the future Savior whom God would send. This passage shows us, once again, the range of people's attitudes towards Jesus. Many Jews--not taking the trouble to check--did not know that He had been born in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Micah (5:2) says the Lord will be born. It was their own fault that they used this ignorance as an excuse for not accepting Christ. Others, however, realized from His miracles that He must be the Messiah. The same pattern obtains throughout history: some people see Him simply as an extraordinary man, not wanting to admit that His greatness comes precisely from the fact the He is the Son of God.

46. The truth begins to influence the straightforward souls of the servants of the Sanhedrin but it cannot make headway against the obstinacy of the Pharisees. "Notice that the Pharisees and scribes derive no benefit either from witnessing miracles or reading the Scriptures; whereas their servants, without these helps, were captivated by a single discourse, and those who set out to arrest Jesus went back under the influence of His authority. And they did not say, `We cannot arrest Him, the people will not let us'; instead they extolled Christ's wisdom. Not only is their prudence admirable, for they did not need signs; it is also impressive that they were won over by His teaching on its own; they did not say, in effect, `No man has ever worked such miracles,' but `No man ever spoke like this man.' Their conviction also is worthy of admiration: they go to the Pharisees, who were opposed to Christ, and address them in the way they do" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. On St. 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.

Principles and Practices - March 28

Yet Too Scarce

Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue. We never heard of any mental trouble arising from this quarter. Though they do not cost much, yet they accomplish much. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 28

FOR this do men hear, so as not to hear only, but to do also. Seek ye the Lord and your soul shall live, that the earth may bring forth the living soul.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 28

JESUS CHRIST could easily have obtained for us salvation without suffering. Why, then, did he choose for himself so much suffering and a death so cruel? Because he loved us so much, he desired to be loved very much by us; and therefore he did everything he could, even to suffering for us.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

So As Not To Be Outdone By the Notre Dame/Obama Fiasco...

We have this via email today:
Satan to receive honorary degree at Georgetown

Georgetown University President John J. DeGoya announced today that Satan, Prince of Darkness will receive an honorary doctorate at the University's 220th commencement.

DeGoya called the announcement a proud day for Georgetown. "We've been honored to continue the proud tradition of Catholic education which has produced alumni such as President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and World Spiritual Leader Al Gore, but when Notre Dame scored the Messi-- uh, the Pres__ent [Id missing] for this year's graduation, well, it didn't seem fair. "

"We felt being named the fighting Irish gave them an unfair advantage with O'bama. The faculty felt like complete, pathetic losers, sorta like their football team. But now we've booked the Prince of this world to be our commencement speaker. This gives Father Jerkings yet another reason to regret telling us to choke on it."

Law School Dean Ben Doverenakov dismissed the protests of extremist right-wing homophobic Latin-Mass-loving student terrorist groups. "Having Our Dark Master as our commencement speaker in no way means that we are not absolutely committed to protecting the sacred right to life. We know he has some certain positions which Rome forbids us to directly endorse, but the student body deserves to hear how the Earth is over-populated with those nasty breast-sucking parasites anyway."

Doverenakov stated he considered this a vital moment of dialog which will enrich all parties involved. "As for Satan, we consider this a teaching moment."
What so-called Catholic university would be the first to host the Prince of Darkness were he to appear in the flesh? I fear that many would be clamoring to book him while rejecting Our Lord and Saviour as too divisive and fundamentalist.

News Updates, 3/27

RealCatholicTV SURVEY - Obama at ND, make your views known!
No doubt you have heard about President Obama being invited to Notre Dame to give the commencement address, and will have heard that faithful Catholics – including prominent bishops – are up in arms about this. Well, tell us what YOU think! Please visit this website:
and take our survey – we want to know what alumni, non-alumni and ND
students think!

Pro-Obama Catholics need to ‘step up’ and respond to president’s policies, official says
Pro-Obama Catholics and Catholic organizations should “step up” and respond to the pro-abortion “rights” president’s policy decisions, George Wesolek, the Director of Public Policy and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco said in a recent article...

Newt Gingrich converts to Catholicism
'Any obstacles to joining the Church have been resolved'

Notre Dame coalition condemns Obama invitation
Students' ad hoc committee to protest commencement

Notre Dame not budging on Obama invitation
Official stand by decision for commencement address

Mexico destroys 'Death Saint' revered by criminals
Officials in Nuevo Laredo destroy more than 35 statues

Cardinal says 'new feminism' must include God
Christian women must lead in its discovery, promotion

Casey drops appearance at Catholic campus
Pennsylvania senator gives no reason for backing out

Vatican official rededicates Mass. menorah
Cardinal Kasper reaffirms 'need to work for peace'

Vatican concerned for Christians in Gaza
Holy See asks bishops to contribute to Holy Land fund

Vermont diocese appeals sex abuse suit payout
Wants state court to overturn an $8.7 million award

Other Issues

Are the Big Banks Gaming the Taxpayer?
Multiple sources for this story - this is not a tin oil hat sort of story. Anyone who thinks this is "innocent" should ask why Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) were not buying these securities 3 months ago? or 6 months ago? Welcome to corporate socialism 101 and the unintended consequences - aggressively buy securities that the taxpayer is going to subsidize hedge funds and private investors to buy in a few weeks/months - you never lose in reverse Robin Hood America. Watch for the new HGTV show: Flip that MBS (Mortgage Backed Security)!

European Industrial Orders Plunge 34%, Most on Record
European industrial orders dropped the most on record in January as the global recession forced manufacturers to cut production, reducing demand for equipment and machinery....

Vigil held for suspected Oakland cop killer
As the city prepares for a massive public funeral for four police officers slain in the line of duty, dozens took to the streets in a show of support for the man authorities say was their killer. Organized by International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, the march Wednesday evening took participants near a police substation...
[This child rapist and cop killer "hero" was worse than a monster! May God have mercy on all of us!]

Brazil’s leader blames white people for crisis
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday blamed the global economic crisis on “white people with blue eyes” and said it was wrong that black and indigenous people should pay for white people’s mistakes.

Default Rate Rises for Student Loans, U.S. Government Report
Student-loan default rates for people who recently left school rose to 6.9 percent from 5.2 percent a year earlier as a deteriorating economy weighed on borrowers, the U.S. government said.

Obama: Start goose stepping
Soon we may see Obama’s Mandatory Volunteerism Plan come to light. Sound oxymoronic doesn’t it? Mandatory Volunteer? Somehow last week both houses of congress pushed forward an expansion of the Americorps national service plan. If you recall last year, the Obamassiah proposed a civilian national security force that’s “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gospel for Friday, 4th Week of Lent

John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus Goes Up to Jerusalem During the Feast of Tabernacles

[1] After this Jesus went about in Galilee; He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. [2] Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand. [10] But after His brethren had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly but in private.

[25] Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? [26] And here He is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to Him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? [27 Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where He comes from. [28] So Jesus proclaimed, as He taught in the temple, "You know where I come from? But I have not come of My own accord; He who sent Me is true, and Him you do not know. [29] I know Him, for I come from Him, and He sent Me." [30] So they sought to arrest Him; but no one laid hands on Him, because His hour had not yet come.

1-2. The Jewish custom was for closer relatives to be called "brothers", brethren (cf. notes on Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 6:1-3). These relatives of Jesus followed Him without understanding His teaching or His mission (cf. Matthew 3:31); but because He worked such obvious miracles in Galilee (cf. Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10, 22-26) they suggest to Him that He show Himself publicly in Jerusalem and throughout Judea. Perhaps they wanted Him to be a big success, which would have indulged their family pride.

2. The name of the feast recalls the time the Israelites spent living under canvas in the wilderness (cf. Leviticus 23:34-36). During the eight days the feast lasted (cf. Nehemiah 8:13-18), around the beginning of autumn, the Jews commemorated the protection God had given the Israelites over the forty years of the Exodus. Because it coincided with the end of the harvest, it was also called the feast of ingathering (cf. Exodus 23:16).

10. Because He had not arrived in advance of the feast (which was what people normally did), the first caravans would have reported that Jesus was not coming up, and therefore the members of the Sanhedrin would have stopped planning anything against Him (cf. 7:1). By going up later, the religious authorities would not dare make any move against Him for fear of hostile public reaction (cf. Matthew 26:5). Jesus, possibly accompanied by His disciples, arrives unnoticed at Jerusalem, "in private", almost in a hidden way. Half-way through the feast, on the fourth or fifth day, He begins to preach in the temple (cf. 7:14).

27. In this chapter we often see the Jews disconcerted, in two minds. They argue with one another over whether Jesus is the Messiah, or a prophet, or an impostor (verse 12); they do not know where He gets His wisdom from (verse 15); they are short-tempered (verses 19-20); and they are surprised by the attitudes of the Sanhedrin (verse 26). Despite the signs they have seen (miracles, teaching) they do not want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Perhaps some, thinking that He came from Nazareth and was the son of Joseph and Mary, cannot see how this fits in with the notion usually taken from Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 53:1-8) about the Messiah's origin being unknown--except for His coming from the line of David and being born in Bethlehem (cf. Matthew 2:5 which quotes Micah 5:2; cf. John 7:42). In fact Jesus did fulfill those prophetic predictions, though most Jews did not know it because they knew nothing about His virginal birth in Bethlehem or His descent from David. Others must have known that He was of the house of David and had been born in Bethlehem, but even so they did not want to accept His teaching because it demanded a mental and moral conversion which they were not ready to make.

28-29. Not without a certain irony, Jesus refers to the superficial knowledge these Jews had of Him: however, He asserts that He comes from the Father who has sent Him, whom only He knows, precisely because He is the Son of God (cf. John 1:18).

30. The Jews realized that Jesus was making Himself God's equal, which was regarded as blasphemy and, according to the Law, was something punishable by death by stoning (cf. Leviticus 24:15-16, 23).

This is not the first time St. John refers to the Jews' hostility (cf. John 5:10), nor will it be the last (8:59; 10:31-33). He stresses this hostility because it was a fact and perhaps also to show that Jesus acts freely when, to fulfill the Father's will He gives Himself over to His enemies when His "hour" arrives (cf. John 18:4-8). "He did not therefore mean an hour when He would be forced to die, but one when He would allow Himself to be put to death. For He was waiting for the time in which He should die, even as He waited for the time in which He should be born" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 31, 5).
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.

Obama trying to silence Archbishop Burke?

A reliable source tells me that someone representing the Obama administration is about to put pressure on the papal nuncio to the United States to get Archbishop Raymond Burke to be quiet. The Obama complaint is that Archbishop Burke, who is now head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, has supported another bishop in his chastisement of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her support of abortion....

The thug punk fraud needs to be led out of the White House in handcuffs, along with all of his lying, cheating, marxist friends...

[HT to DM for the link]

Principles and Practices - March 27

Make Them Come

Don't go to Heaven alone! Take somebody with you. Mothers! take your children with you. Pray as long as you have breath in your body; never despair, never give up the hope that your loved ones, no matter how far their foot­steps have wandered, will one day stand with you before the Great White Throne.

-De Segur.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 27

THE clouds pass away, but the heaven remaineth. The preachers of thy Word pass on, out of this life into the other; but thy Scripture is extended over thy people, even to the end of the world.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 27

THIS is the book - Jesus crucified - which, if we constantly read it, will teach us, on the one hand, to have a lively fear of sin, and, on the other hand, will inflame us with love for a God so full of love for us.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News updates, 3/26

Notre Dame students criticize Obama invitation
Eleven Notre Dame student groups are criticizing the Catholic university for inviting Pres__ent [ID missing] Obama to speak on campus and receive an honorary degree when some of his policies run counter to church doctrines on the sanctity of life...

Media effort draws 92,000 inactive Catholics back home to church
An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics in the Phoenix Diocese have come back to the church in the last year thanks in large part to a groundbreaking television advertising campaign called Catholics Come Home...

Ecumenist: revoke Luther's excommunication
Theologian says it would be a sign of 'encouragement'

Vatican warns against religious intolerance
UN rep expresses concern at growing secularist policies

'Morning-after' text introduced for girls in UK
Students can send school nurse message for contraception

43% of French Catholics want Pope to 'step down'
Contraception and abortion are the hot-button issues

Fla. priests get jail for stealing from church
Case involved 'misappropriation' of more than $8 million

Tigers upset Catholics with opener on Good Friday
Detroit spokesman: 'Our home opener is always a day game'

Italians disagree with Pope on condoms, too?
But Church in Italy criticizes French gov't's moralizing

Abortion chain owner's family dies in crash
Plane dives into Catholic cemetery in Montana

Irish nightclub plans mock crucifixion
...for entertainment of revelers over Easter weekend

UCC Promotes Condom Distribution in the Sanctuary
The terminally ill UCC denomination has decided that the solution to their membership in freefall is to hand out condoms in the sanctuary during church services. You may have wondered what the last C in UCC stands for, and whatever they may say, it isn’t Christ.

Other Issues

New Rule Would Allow Banks To Choose Values Of Their Assets
The Financial Accounting Standards Board quietly buckled to banking-industry pressure last week and proposed new accounting practices that would allow banks to value assets at a higher price than they could currently be sold for....

Mich. Senate approves 10% pay cut for politicians
(AP:LANSING, Mich.) The Michigan Senate has approved a 10 percent pay cut for lawmakers, the governor and other state elected officials.

Constitution Party Issues Missouri Travel Advisory
The Constitution Party has issued a Travel Advisory for the state of Missouri in light of the recent secret police report which profiles politically informed Americans as "domestic terrorists". Travel to Missiouri is discouraged...

IBM to shift services unit jobs to India
International Business Machines Corp. will shift jobs in its global-business services unit to India from the United States after layoffs at other units,....

GOP chief Steele: ‘We lost our minds’
LITTLETON, Colo. - Republicans better stop whining and start thinking of new electoral strategies to return to prominence, the new head of the Republican National Committee said Friday.

JPMorgan Said to Delay Contributions to Employees’ 401(k)Plans
JPMorgan Chase & Co. will delay contributions to 401(k) retirement plans for salaried employees until the end of the year and may reduce the payments, according to a person who received a company memo on the changes...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gospel for Thursday, 4th Week of Lent

John 5:31-47

Christ Defends His Action (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [31] "If I bear witness to Myself, My testimony is not true; [32] there is another who bears witness to Me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to Me is true. [33] You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34] Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. [35] He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36] But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted Me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear Me witness that the Father has sent Me. [37] And the Father who sent He has Himself borne witness to Me. His voice you have never heard, His form you have never seen; [38] and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He has sent. [39] You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me; [40] yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life. [41] I do not receive glory from men. [42] But I know that you have not the love of God within you. [43] I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. [44] How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? [45] Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. [46] If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. [47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

31-40. Because Jesus is Son of God, His own word is self-sufficient, it needs no corroboration (cf. 8:18); but, as on other occasions, He accommodates Himself to human customs and to the mental outlook of His hearers: He anticipates a possible objection from the Jews to the effect that it is not enough for a person to testify in his own cause (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15) and He explains that what He is saying is endorsed by four witnesses--John the Baptist, His own miracles, the Father, and the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament.

John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God (1:34). Although Jesus had no need to have recourse to any man's testimony, not even that of a great prophet, John's testimony was given for the sake of the Jews, that they might recognize the Messiah. Jesus can also point to another testimony, better than that of the Baptist--the miracles He has worked, which are, for anyone who examines them honestly, unmistakable signs of His divine power, which comes from the Father; Jesus' miracles, then, are a form of witness the Father bears concerning His Son, whom He has sent into the world. The Father manifests the divinity of Jesus on other occasions--at His Baptism (cf. 1:31-34); at the Transfiguration (cf. Matthew 17:1-8), and later, in the presence of the whole crowd (cf. John 12:28-30).

Jesus speaks to another divine testimony--that of the Sacred Scriptures. These speak of Him, but the Jews fail to grasp the Scriptures' true meaning, because they read them without letting themselves be enlightened by Him whom God has sent and in whom all the prophecies are fulfilled: "The economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so orientated that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, Redeemer of all men, and of the Messianic Kingdom (cf. Luke 24:44; John 5:39, 1 Peter 1:10), and should indicate it by means of different types (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11). [...] Christians should accept with veneration these writings which give _expression to a lively sense of God, which are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 15).

41-47. Jesus identifies three obstacles preventing His hearers from recognizing that He is the Messiah and Son of God--their lack of love of God, their striving after human glory and their prejudiced interpretation of sacred texts. His defense of His own actions and of His relationship with the Father might lead His adversaries to think that He was looking for human glory. But the testimonies He has adduced (the Baptist, the miracles, the Father and the Scriptures) show clearly that it is not He who is seeking His glory, and that the Jews oppose Him not out of love of God or in defense of God's honor, but for unworthy reasons or because of their merely human outlook.

The Old Testament, therefore, leads a person towards recognizing who Jesus Christ is (cf. John 1:45; 2:17, 22; 5:39, 46; 12:16, 41); yet the Jews remain unbelievers because their attitude is wrong: they have reduced the Messianic promises in the sacred books to the level of mere nationalistic aspirations: this outlook, which is in no way supernatural, closes their soul to Jesus' words and actions and prevents them from seeing that the ancient prophecies are come true in Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
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.

Principles and Practices - March 26

The Way for All

Whatever the state, whatever the road by which the soul is led, the way to show our love for God and to incline towards Him successfully, consists in avoiding sin, in the exercise of the practices of virtue; in renunciation and humiliation; in self-conquest, so that the heart may be emptied of self and a way made plain for grace; in a generous performance of the duties of our state. The paths of duty, of renunciation, and of humility are for all alike: there are no exceptions.

-R. P. Poulain, S.J.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 26

LET that super-celestial people praise thee, thine Angels who have no need to gaze up at this Firmament, or by reading to know thy Word. For they always behold thy Face, and therein do they read, without syllables such as are measured by time, what thy eternal will ordaineth. They read, they choose, they love.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 26

THE Apostle said that he desired to know nothing but Jesus, and Jesus crucified. In truth, from what books can we better learn the science of the saints - that is, the science of loving God - than from Jesus crucified?
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

An Open Letter to Father Jenkins, Notre Dame

An Open Letter to Father Jenkins
President of the University of Notre Dame

I pray God that you, and the Trustees and Faculty of the University of Notre Dame will reconsider your decision to extend an Honorary Degree to Barack Obama, and that you will withdraw your invitation to him to speak at the University's Commencement exercises in May. As leaders in the American Catholic community do you not hold to the Church's teaching with regard to the inviolable sanctity of human life, and against the heinous practice of abortion?

The issue at stake in the fight against abortion is starkly simple: Are all human beings created equal, or not? It is the same issue that was at stake in the fight against slavery and racial discrimination.

As an American who subscribes to the self-evident truths our country was founded upon, I answer the question in favor of equality. As a descendant of enslaved Black Americans, I believe that any other answer would invalidate the struggle for justice to which so many Americans of all races gave their lives.

Given that the principle at stake is the same as that which demanded opposition to slavery, I have always had a simple test when dealing with any question involving abortion. I ask myself what I would do or say if slavery was the issue in question. I recommend this test for your consideration. Ask yourself whether you would invite as a Commencement speaker an individual who abused the authority of office to provide Federal funding for the purchase of slaves. Would you consider it honorable for the University to confer an honorary degree on an individual who issued executive orders allowing US funds to be used to support slave markets? Would you let the University be used to give stature to a politician who supported the position that ownership of slaves is a matter of individual choice?

I hope and assume that the answer to all of these questions is no. Since you have chosen to answer otherwise where abortion rather than slavery is at issue, you must see a moral difference between enslaving grown people and killing nascent ones. Or else you see a moral difference between the nascent child in the abortuary and the slave on the auction block. As a Black, Catholic, prolife American, I challenge you to explain the difference to me and to everyone like me. Perhaps you make a distinction because the child is more helpless, more imperatively incapable of voluntary wrongdoing, more explicitly acknowledged by Christ to be the subject of His special regard? (Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2) Or perhaps it's because some refuse to recognize the nascent child's humanity?

Whenever someone raises the latter objection I remember a speech Frederick Douglass made in which he felt compelled to make arguments for the humanity of black Americans because, he said, "A respectable public journal, published in Richmond Virginia., bases its whole defence [sic] of the slave system upon a denial of the Negro's manhood." You see, people once raised a question about that, which supposedly Catholic Christians (including some no doubt from my home state of Maryland) probably used at that time to justify their commerce with slaveholders; their willingness to hold in honor those who practiced or defended slavery; or even their own willingness to hold slaves themselves.

When I read of slavery in my youth I could not understand why so many tolerated such evil for so long. I asked God to help me never in my life to be such as they were. Once I fully understood the nature of the abortion issue, I was moved to stand against abortion and the slaughter of innocent life as I would have wanted all people of conscience and goodwill to stand against slavery and the rape of my forbears' liberty. When people suggest that Barack Obama shares some heritage with me, I know better. For the truest test of that heritage is not the color of someone's skin, but the determination of their heart, never to stand silently by while God's fundamental law of justice is denied to persons whose only crime is the unjustly despised appearance of their humanity.

I know that the Catholic Church today is guilty of no such dereliction. The Holy Father, the clergy, and millions of the laity have joined together in prayer, and work and sacrifice to bear witness against the wrong of abortion, to bear witness against a false idea of choice that betrays God-given liberty. Your University bears the name of the Blessed Mother of Christ, who honored God's will for human life though it could have meant her own dishonor in minds of her contemporaries. Even if, as you say, Obama's visit does worldly honor to you and your colleagues, what is more consistent with her example: to seek honor at the expense of God's truth, or to forego it if need be, in obedience to His loving will.

I realize that such a decision is not so much for thought as for prayer. So I ask that you give prayerful consideration to the plea that is on my heart, and on the hearts of millions like me. This may well be a teaching moment for Obama and other politicians like him. But sometimes one deed speaks more certainly of truth than many words could do. Thus spoke the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Are we not called to act as He did? Perhaps the best Commencement speech of all would be the testimony of silence, in which, perhaps for the first time, someone who needs to hear it will hear the voice of Rachel, weeping. (Matthew 2:18)

With Pleasing Hope for Life,

Alan Keyes
We can still pray for the conversion of heart needed by those who promote, by thought, word, or deed, the murder of the unborn and the culture of death.

FR. GEORGE W. RUTLER: "This is a highly cynical act, contemptuous of the Church’s prophetic voice in civil society and wagering that there will be no retribution. If a midwestern school seeks attention by granting Mr. Obama an honorary doctorate in law, the next logical step would be to grant Judas Iscariot posthumously an honorary doctorate in business administration."

News Updates, 3/25

Meditation on the Annunciation, March 25
Because She is the solution for our times. Our mission is to spread devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and the Holy Rosary, and to oppose blasphemy in the public square.
[HT to Penny for the link]

“Uphold the law and prosecute Planned Parenthood”
Students’ undercover videos prompt probe by Arizona attorney general

Notre Dame sticking with Obama for commencement
University president defends decision to honor pro-abort

Bishop to boycott Notre Dame commencement
University to honor Obama with honorary law degree

Peru bishop slams those pushing for abortion
Calls on Peruvians to 'be on guard' to protect life

Angels & Demons: Film scripted in Catholic-bashing
Like Da Vinci Code, difficult to separate fact, fiction

Buddhist group buys two closed Catholic churches
In wake of Buffalo diocese's massive restructuring plan

Pope picks Spanish speaker as Oakland bishop
San Diego auxiliary takes over for Bishop Vigneron

Bishop boycotts over GOP chief's 'choice' remark
Gettlefinger takes bold stance against Right to Life

Catholic Church in Italy rejects Pope 'mockery'
Bishop complains of heavy criticism of Holy Father

UK students to be taught about 'rise of atheism'
Lessons will also focus on Druids and Rastafarianism
[Having not read the article, I'll bet the study of Christianity is a taboo...going to read it...Give me a gold star! It says, "The course will largely snub traditional lessons on the Bible and other holy books." These clowns are so easy to predict!]

Other Issues

E.U. President Blasts Obama's Economic Policies
The president of the European Union today ripped the Obama administration's economic policies, calling its massive deficit spending and bank bailouts "a road to hell."

*** The End Game Approaches ***
Do not for a second believe that the fact that the stock market rallied has defused the underlying problem. It has not.
The underlying problem is not the stock market. It is the credit (bond) market - that is, the underlying reality that there is too much debt out there in relationship to GDP, it cannot all be serviced, and as the economy contracts it feeds a vicious spiral where a default produces unemployment which drops both spendable income (and thus income available debt service) AND tax revenues, giving it to the credit market in all orifices....

Postal Service chief tells Congress that agency is in dire financial straits, pleads for help
Postmaster General John Potter said Wednesday the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service will run out of money this year without help from Congress.
[In a related story: Post office bought S.C. mansion so postmaster could transfer
Here's a thought, fire the Americans and hire the illegals?]

Obama and Liddy are Liars - Dirty Rotten Liars
The Thinking Man's Guide to Populist Rage - That's the headline on the cover of Newsweek this week featuring an angry mob.

Goldman Sachs to Return Tarp Funds by April
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., once the most profitable firm on Wall Street, is talking with U.S. regulators about repaying the $10 billion it received from the government by mid-April, a person familiar with the matter said.
[Let's be crystal clear here - GS will be paying back the government with government money that it received from AIG which was the money launderer for this taxpayer theft.]

U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers
With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

The Bank of England and No.10 at war:
We can't afford Budget spending spree, Governor tells Brown

Frontline-Ten Trillion and Counting All of the federal government's efforts to stem the tide of the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering national debt, a sum that is expected to double over the next 10 years to more than $23 trillion. In Ten Trillion and Counting, FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial situation pale in comparison.

FedEx warns lawmakers over union legislation
FedEx could cancel contracts for $6.7 billion in American-made planes if Congress makes it easier for unions to organize the delivery giant's workers

Dr Edward Peters: Whither Notre Dame

Dr Peters writes:
I remember my dad saying forty years ago that "Notre Dame is the alma mater of every Catholic who never went to college." He was right.

Forty years ago, most Catholics, like most Americans, had not been to college, though there was a growing sense that college was a good thing to do and thus a good thing to support. More importantly, forty years ago, Notre Dame's Catholicism was still recognizable by Catholics in the pews of America, so when Catholic parents dreamed of college for a son (and later, for a daughter), they dreamed of Notre Dame.
But all that's changed now - read more here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gospel for Mar 25, Solemnity: The Annunciation of the Lord

From: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation and Incarnation of the Son of God

[26] In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" [29] But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. [30] And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. [32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, [33] and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end."

[34] And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" [35] And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [36] And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing will be impossible." [38] And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

26-38. Here we contemplate our Lady who was "enriched from the first instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique holiness; [...] the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding angel, by divine command, as `full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28), and to the heavenly messenger she replies, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly to God's saving will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with Him, serving the mystery of Redemption, by the grace of Almighty God. Rightly, therefore, the Fathers (of the Church) see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 56).

The annunciation to Mary and incarnation of the Word constitute the deepest mystery of the relationship between God and men and the most important event in the history of mankind: God becomes man, and will remain so forever, such is the extent of His goodness and mercy and love for all of us. And yet on the day when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed frail human nature in the pure womb of the Blessed Virgin, it all happened quietly, without fanfare of any kind.

St. Luke tells the story in a very simple way. We should treasure these words of the Gospel and use them often, for example, practising the Christian custom of saying the Angelus every day and reflecting on the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

27. God chose to be born of a virgin; centuries earlier He disclosed this through the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). God, "before all ages made choice of, and set in her proper place, a mother for His only-begotten Son from whom He, after being made flesh, should be born in the blessed fullness of time: and He continued His persevering regard for her in preference to all other creatures, to such a degree that for her alone He had singular regard" (Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus," 2). This privilege granted to our Lady of being a virgin and a mother at the same time is a unique gift of God. This was the work of the Holy Spirit "who at the conception and the birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V Catechism," I, 4, 8). Paul VI reminds us of this truth of faith: "We believe that the Blessed Mary, who ever enjoys the dignity of virginity, was the Mother of the incarnate Word, of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" ("Creed of the People of God", 14).

Although many suggestions have been made as to what the name Mary means, most of the best scholars seem to agree that Mary means "lady". However, no single meaning fully conveys the richness of the name.

28. "Hail, full of grace": literally the Greek text reads "Rejoice!", obviously referring to the unique joy over the news which the angel is about to communicate.

"Full of grace": by this unusual form of greeting the archangel reveals Mary's special dignity and honor. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church "taught that this singular, solemn and unheard-of-greeting showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit", which meant that she "was never subject to the curse", that is, was preserved from all sin. These words of the archangel in this text constitute one of the sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus"; Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

"The Lord is with you!": these words are not simply a greeting ("the Lord be with you") but an affirmation ("the Lord is with you"), and they are closely connected with the Incarnation. St. Augustine comments by putting these words on the archangel's lips: "He is more with you than He is with me: He is in your heart, He takes shape within you, He fills your soul, He is in your womb" ("Sermo De Nativitate Domini", 4).

Some important Greek manuscripts and early translations add at the end of the verse: "Blessed are you among women!", meaning that God will exalt Mary over all women. She is more excellent than Sarah, Hannah, Deborah, Rachel, Judith, etc., for only she has the supreme honor of being chosen to be the Mother of God.

29-30. Our Lady is troubled by the presence of the archangel and by the confusion truly humble people experience when they receive praise.

30. The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel sets her mind at ease by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary," he is helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally experiences when God gives him or her a special calling. The fact that Mary felt this fear does not imply the least trace of imperfection in her: hers is a perfectly natural reaction in the face of the supernatural. Imperfection would arise if one did not overcome this fear or rejected the advice of those in a position to help - as St. Gabriel helped Mary.

31-33. The archangel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of God by reminding her of the words of Isaiah which announced that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, a prophecy which will find its fulfillment in Mary (cf. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).

He reveals that the Child will be "great": His greatness comes from His being God, a greatness He does not lose when He takes on the lowliness of human nature. He also reveals that Jesus will be the king of the Davidic dynasty sent by God in keeping with His promise of salvation; that His Kingdom will last forever, for His humanity will remain forever joined to His divinity; that "He will be called Son of the Most High", that is that He really will be the Son of the Most High and will be publicly recognized as such, that is, the Child will be the Son of God.

The archangel's announcement evokes the ancient prophecies which foretold these prerogatives. Mary, who was well-versed in Sacred Scripture, clearly realized that she was to be the Mother of God.

34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis', the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation [...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely[...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions, rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes: this is consistency[...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole life can be called faithfulness. Mary's `fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent `fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico City Cathedral", 26 January 1979).

34. Mary believed in the archangel's words absolutely; she did not doubt as Zechariah had done (cf. 1:18). Her question, "How can this be?", expresses her readiness to obey the will of God even though at first sight it implied a contradiction: on the one hand, she was convinced that God wished her to remain a virgin; on the other, here was God also announcing that she would become a mother. The archangel announces God's mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible, according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique interventionon the part of God.

Mary's resolution to remain a virgin was certainly something very unusual, not in line with the practice of righteous people under the Old Covenant, for, as St. Augustine explains, "particularly attentive to the propagation and growth of the people of God, through whom the Prince and Savior of the world might be prophesied and be born, the saints were obliged to make use of the good of matrimony" ("De Bono Matrimonii", 9, 9). However, in the Old Testament, there were some who, in keeping with God's plan, did remain celibate--for example, Jeremiah, Elijah, Eliseus and John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin, who received a very special inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practise virginity, is a first-fruit of the New Testament, which will establish the excellence of virginity over marriage while not taking from the holiness of the married state, which it raises to the level of a sacrament (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 48).

35. The "shadow" is a symbol of the presence of God. When Israel was journeying through the wilderness, the glory of God filled the Tabernacle and a cloud covered the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:34-36). And when God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, a cloud covered Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:15-16); and also, at the Transfiguration of Jesus the voice of God the Father was heard coming out of a cloud (Luke 9:35).

At the moment of the Incarnation the power of God envelops our Lady--an expression of God's omnipotence. The Spirit of God--which, according to the account in Genesis (1:2), moved over the face of the waters, bringing things to life--now comes down on Mary. And the fruit of her womb will be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary, who herself was conceived without any stain of sin (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus") becomes, after the Incarnation, a new tabernacle of God. This is the mystery we recall every day when saying the Angelus.

38. Once she learns of God's plan, our Lady yields to God's will with prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between what she is going to become--the Mother of God--and what she is - a woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for Him nothing is impossible; therefore no one should stand in His way. So Mary, combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God's call: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done according to your word."

"At the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word became flesh" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", first joyful mystery). From the pure body of Mary, God shaped a new body, He created a soul out of nothing, and the Son of God united Himself with this body and soul: prior to this He was only God; now He is still God but also man. Mary is now the Mother of God. This truth is a dogma of faith, first defined by the Council of Ephesus (431). At this point she also begins to be the spiritual Mother of all mankind. What Christ says when He is dying - `Behold, your son..., behold, your mother" (John 19:26-27) - simply promulgates what came about silently at Nazareth. "With her generous `fiat' (Mary) became, through the working of the Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the living, and, by receiving into her womb the one Mediator, she became the true Ark of the Covenant and true Temple of God" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 6).

The Annunciation shows us the Blessed Virgin as perfect model of "purity" (the RSV "I have no husband" is a euphemism); of "humility" ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"); of "candor" and "simplicity" ("How can this be?"); of "obedience" and "lively faith" ("Let it be done to me according to your word"). "Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary, we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will: `Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word'. Isn't that marvellous? The Blessed Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly moved to discover the `freedom of the children of God' (cf. Romans 8:21)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 173).
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.

Principles and Practices - March 25

Find Time

We have time for other duties - for our correspondence, our shopping, our afternoon calls on other more favoured friends. But no time for a visit to Him. Is it so far, then, to the nearest church? So far that He may well accept the distance as sufficient reason for our absence, except at times when attendance is of obligation? Can I urge home duties and necessary occupations, when I see who are those that can and do find time to visit Him?

-Mother Loyola.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 25

(Lady Day)

SHE, indeed, is said to be full of grace, and to have found grace with God, that she might he the Mother of her Lord, yea, of the Lord of all.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 25

(Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady)

THE Archangel Gabriel arrives, the bearer of the great message. He enters and salutes Mary, saying: Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee.

But what does the humble Mary answer to a salutation so full of praises? Nothing: she remains silent, but, reflecting upon it, is troubled. Why is she troubled? Her trouble arises entirely from her humility, which is disturbed at the sound of praises far exceeding her own lowly estimate of herself.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News Updates, 3/24

Obama faces Notre Dame Catholic backlash...

Commentary: Is Obama worth a Mass at Notre Dame?
University thumbs its 'collective nose' at the Church

Obama Watch: The destruction of Notre Dame
President's visit to campus will be 'a one-way street'

Protest greets Pope's return to Vatican
Demonstrators carrying condoms 'greet' Benedict
[Sick perverts...may they repent wile they have time...]

Former ambassador to Vatican to be honored
Notre Dame honors Mary Ann Glendon with Laetare Medal

Canadian bishops officially announce investigation of social arm for funding abortion
Citing “several serious concerns” about the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s reported funding of five pro-abortion groups working in Latin America and Mexico, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has officially announced the matter is being investigated.
[Kick the imposters out-we have enemies withing the Church and enemies within our country...Evil surrounds us!]
Cuban gov't agrees to church restoration plans
Beleaguered Catholics achieve unprecedented break-through

Nun's murder still unsolved after three decades
Woman was strangled in broad daylight on golf course

The Pope's worst enemies are Catholics
...or at least people who describe themselves as such
[and the penalty of excommunication remains on the shelf collecting dust...]

British scientists to create 'synthetic' blood
Human embryos will be used to make an unlimited supply

Illinois bishops warn against state FOCA law
Catholic leaders address reproductive rights bill

Other Issues

Krugman Predicts U.S. Will Have to ‘Seize’ Big Banks
Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman said the U.S. will eventually have to “seize” big banks as the economic and financial crisis deepens.

U.K. Inflation Rate Unexpectedly Rises on Food Prices

Green advisor urges UK to cut population in half to 'build sustainable society'.

"My precious!!!"

Geithner to Ask Congress for Broad Power to Seize Firms
The Obama administration will ask Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy...

["The Treasury secretary could act only after consulting with the president and getting a recommendation from two-thirds of the Federal Reserve Board, according to the plan."

There it is in black and white, a private banking cartel has decided to seize full control of the US. How about Oil companies, 401k plans, anything these thieves want??? Thinks it's tinfoil? That's become the new reality, I'm afraid...]

China calls for new reserve currency
China’s central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund

Geithner's Galling (and Dangerous) Plan For Bank Toxic Assets
The long awaited details of Geithner's "plan" for dealing with bad bank assets is finally out. Githener's plan is disingenuous at best. If people want to be outraged at something, it should be over Geithner's plan....The government (taxpayer) is taking 93% of the risk. In my opinion that makes claims of "sharing the risk" a blatant lie.
[Should we expect anything BUT LIES from the most corrupt, cheating, lying group of thugs ever assembled?]

Offshore Oil Drilling Ban Will Be Restored By Any Means Necessary, Even Civil War says Dem [Socialist] Congressman [Congressmoron]
The ban on offshore oil drilling that expired last September will be restored by “any means necessary,” Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who serves on both the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, told on Friday....
[Some think that if these oligarchs keep this statist tyrany up "We The People" will remove them by any means necessary...]

Obama volunteers: "We're not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army."

"Adapting to the New World Order"
Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of General Electric (GE), Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will meet with policymakers and other stakeholders in the International financial sector in Montreal to find the best methods for "Adapting to the New World Order" at the 15th edition of the International Economic Forum of the Americas...

IMF says clean up banks to tackle dire world crisis

Stimulus? U.S. to buy Chinese condoms, ending Alabama jobs

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gospel for Tuesday, 4th Week of Lent

John 5:1-16

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha

[1] After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [2] Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. [3] In these lay a multitude of invalid, blind, lame, paralyzed. [5] One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there for a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" [7] The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me." [8] Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk." [9] And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. [10] So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet." [11] But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'" [12] They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk'?" [13] Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. [14] Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you." [15] The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. [16] And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He did this on the Sabbath.
1. We cannot be certain what festival this was; it probably refers to the Passover, known the world over at the time as the national festival of the Jewish people. But it could refer to another festival, Pentecost, perhaps.

2. This pool was also called the "Probatic" pool because it was located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, beside the Probatic Gate or Sheep Gate (cf. Nehemiah 3:1-32; 12:39) through which came the livestock which was going to be sacrificed in the temple. Around the end of the nineteenth century the remains of a pool were discovered: excavated out of rock, it was rectangular in shape and was surrounded by four galleries or porches, with a fifth porch dividing the pool into two.

3-4. The Fathers teach that this pool is a symbol of Christian Baptism; but that whereas the pool of Bethzatha cured physical ailments, Baptism cures those of the soul; in Bethzatha's case only one person was cured, now and again; shown through the medium of water (cf. Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 36, 1).

The Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate includes here, as a second part of verse 3 and all of verse 4: "waiting for the moving of the water; [4] For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water' whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had." The New Vulgate, however, omits this passage, assigning it to a footnote, because it does not appear in important Greek codexes and papyri, nor in many ancient translations.

14. The man may have come to the temple to thank God for his cure. Jesus goes over to him and reminds him that the health of the soul is more important than physical health.

Our Lord uses holy fear of God as motivation in the struggle against sin: "Sin no more, that nothing worse may befall you". This holy fear is born out of respect for God our Father; it is perfectly compatible with love. Just as children love and respect their parents and try to avoid annoying them partly because they are afraid of being punished, so we should fight against sin firstly because it is an offense against God, but also because we can be punished in this life and, above all, in the next.

16-18. The Law of Moses established the Sabbath as a weekly day of rest. Through keeping the Sabbath the Jews felt they were imitating God, who rested from the work of creation on the seventh day. St. Thomas Aquinas observes that Jesus rejects this strict interpretation: (The Jews), in their desire to imitate God, did nothing on the Sabbath, as if God on that day had ceased absolutely to act. It is true that He rested on the Sabbath from His work of creating new creatures, but He is always continually at work, maintaining them in existence. [...] God is the cause of all things in the sense that He also maintains them in existence; for if for one moment He were to stop exercising His power, at that very moment everything that nature contains would cease to exist" ("Comm. on St. John, in loc.").

"My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men. Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear distinction between the two ways of being a son of God.
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.

Principles and Practices - March 24

Use Your Chances

I hold myself indebted to anyone from whose enlightened understanding another ray of knowledge communicates to mine. Really to inform the mind is to correct and enlighten the heart.

From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for March 24

FOR we know not of any other books, which do so destroy pride, which do so destroy the enemy and the defender, who by defending his own sins, resisteth thy reconciliation. I know not, O Lord, I know not any other words so chaste, which so persuade me to confession, and to humble my neck to thy yoke, and which invite me to serve thee for love.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-March 24

THE deformity of Jesus crucified was the cause of the beauty of our souls, which, when they were deformed, were washed with his precious blood, and became fair and lovely.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News Updates, 3/23

"Sentenced to jail for engaging in peaceful free speech”
Judge puts pro-life sidewalk counselor behind bars for counseling women outside Oakland abortion clinic

Two women die in papal rally stampede
As one million Angolans cheered Pope Benedict XVI

Shun witchcraft, Pope tells Angolan Catholics
Many have abandoned the Church for self-styled sects

Obama set to speak at Notre Dame graduation
Is this President's outreach to Catholics?

Uproar in South Bend
News that President Obama will be Notre Dame commencement speaker ignites widespread expressions of outrage

Help Stop the Scandal at Our Lady's University
Take Action NOW - with more than 18,888 other signers in less than 3 days since petition launch!

Pope protesters, supporters clash in France
Condom protest outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Vatican gears up for boycott of Angels & Demons
Ron Howard film is prequel to The DaVinci Code

Cardinal calls for end to immigration raids
George urges Obama to work toward immigration reform

Pope John Paul II to be beatified next April?
Polish press already reporting that date is scheduled

Luxembourg legalizes euthanasia
After putting limits on Grand Duke's power

Satanic-ritual crimes increasing in Italy
'Antisect police force' has doubled in size this year

Other Issues

Part I: Geithner's Plan "Extremely Dangerous," Economist Galbraith Says
In short, because the plan is yet another massive, ineffective gift to banks and Wall Street. Taxpayers, of course, will take the hit...

EPA: Global Warming Threatens Public Health, Welfare
The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House on Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public's health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation's economy and environment.