Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Gospel for Palm Sunday

Because of its great length of the Gospel, the Passion of Our Lord and its commentary will not posted...

However, there are several reflections available:

Gospel for Palm Sunday (At the Procession with Palms)

Homily/Reflection for Palm Sunday

A Meditation for Palm Sunday - His Dying Words

Meditation for Palm Sunday - Faith

Why is this day called Palm Sunday?

A Meditation for Palm Sunday - Duties of Teachers

A Meditation for the Week - Eucharistic Devotions

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

The School of Love, March 27


WHAT do I mean by a friend?

I mean some­thing that is almost too much to be looked for in this world. I mean one whose nature is so large that it will understand and sympathise with all my myriad varied moods. I mean a man who, when he finds me mean and grovel­ling, will not despise me; when he sees me harsh and critical, will not condemn my hard­ness of heart; when I am cruel in judgment, or in word, or in action, will bear with me till I recover my senses; when I am proud, or vain, high-handed, or inflated with myself, will smile and endure knowing that this is only a passing whim; when I am ill-tempered, or peevish, or melancholy, will pity me and wait till the disease has run its course, and the colour of health has returned.

I mean by a friend one who will give as well as take. I mean one who, when he in turn is in trouble, will not hide it from me. I mean one who will not give me the everlasting feel­ing that the weakness is all mine, while he is in possession of unending peace and calm. I mean one who will trust me far enough to let me see his weakness as I let him see mine, knowing that I too will not misunderstand, or misinterpret, or become impatient, or con­demn, or turn upon my heel and walk no more with him, even as I know he will not do the like to me.

This is the other side of friend­ship harder to discover than the first; yet if one would be my friend, in the deep sense in which I understand it, he must give me this as I give the same to him; he must trust me thus far, even as I trust him; if he is only my patron, my protector, my guide, my model, my ideal, he may be very much to be loved and honoured, but he is not strictly my friend....

[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

'Planned Parenthood' president thanks dissenting "nun" for pro-abortion health care deform

Planned Parenthood head thanks religious sisters for ‘critical support’ of health care bill

Washington D.C., Mar 27, 2010 / 07:28 am (CNA).- Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has praised the Catholic religious sisters who endorsed the Senate health care bill, claiming they deserve gratitude for making “a critical demonstration of support” for a bill that significantly increased coverage of “reproductive health care.”

Writing for the Huffington Post Wednesday in her capacity as president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Richards claimed that it was Catholic nuns who “most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.”

“This brave and important move, demonstrating that they cared as much about the health care of families in America as they did about church hierarchy, was a critical demonstration of support.”

The group NETWORK claimed in a March 17 letter to the House of Representatives that it represented 59,000 women religious across the U.S. It urged members of Congress to support the bill....
Apostates and heretics - the whole lot! It's yet another in a LONG LIST of SCANDALS which generally remain unaddressed by US BISHOPS. The fact that these schismatic malcontents have yet to be disciplined is even more of a scandal to faithful Catholics.

Pray that our bishops and priests be graced with zeal and courage to do what they should do in addressing schism and heresy among those who claim to be "Catholic" yet continually pervert the Truth who is Jesus, Himself!

Article here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gospel for Saturday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 11:45-56

The Sanhedrin Decides on the Death of Jesus
[45] Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary (Magdalene) and had seen what He (Jesus) did, believed in Him; [46] but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. [47] So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this Man performs many signs. [48] If we let Him go on thus, every one will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." [49] But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; [50] you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." [51] He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, [52] and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. [53] So from that day on they took counsel on how to put Him to death.

[54] Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

[55] Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. [56] They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That He will not come to the feast?"

45-48. Once again, as Simeon had predicted, Jesus is a sign of contradiction (cf. Luke 2:34; John 7:12, 31, 40; 9:16; etc.): presented with the miracle of the raising of Lazarus some people believe in Jesus (verse 45), and some denounce Him to His enemies (cf. verses 46-47)--confirming what is said in the parable of the rich man: "neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

"Our (holy) place": this __expression or similar expressions such as "the place", "this place", was used to designate the temple, the holy place "par excellence" and, by extension, all the Holy City of Jerusalem (cf. Maccabees 5:19; Acts 6:14).

49-53. Caiaphas held the high priesthood from the year 18 to the year 36 A.D. (cf. "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ" in "The Navarre Bible: St. Mark", p. 49). Caiaphas was the instrument God used to prophesy the redemptive death of the Savior, for it was one of the functions of the high priest to consult God on how to lead the people (cf. Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 23:9; 30:7-8). Here Caiaphas' words have a dual meaning: one, Caiaphas' meaning, is that he wants to put Christ to death, on the pretext that that will ensure the political peace and survival of Israel; the other, the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit, is the announcement of the foundation of the new Israel, the Church, through the death of Christ on the Cross (Caiaphas is unaware of this meaning). And so it happens that the last high priest of the Old Alliance prophesies the investiture of the High Priest of the New Alliance, which will be sealed in His own blood.

When the Evangelist states that Christ was going to die "to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (verse 52), he is referring to what our Lord had said regarding the salvific effects of His death (cf. John 10:14-15). The prophets had already announced the future assembly of Israelites faithful to God to form the new people of Israel (cf. Isaiah 43:5; Jeremiah 23:3-5; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:21-24). These prophecies are fulfilled by the death of Christ, who, on being raised up on the cross, draws and gathers together the true people of God, composed of all believers, whether Israelites or not. The Second Vatican Council uses this passage as a source when speaking of the universality of the Church: "All men are called to belong to the new people of God. This people therefore, whilst remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: He made human nature one in the beginning and decreed that all His children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one (cf. John 11:52). It was for this purpose that God sent His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things (cf. Hebrews 1:2), that He might be teacher, king and priest of all, the head of the new and universal people of God's sons" ("Lumen Gentium", 13).

In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom explained the catholicity of the Church using these words: "What is the meaning of `to gather into one those who are scattered abroad'? He made them one body. He who dwells in Rome knows that the Christians of India are his members" ("Hom. on St. John", 65, 1).

54. The time for Him to die has not yet arrived; therefore Jesus acts prudently, taking the steps anyone would take not to precipitate events.

55. Since the Passover was the most solemn Jewish feast, the people used to arrive in Jerusalem some days in advance to prepare for it by washings, fasts and offerings--practices established not by the Mosaic law but by popular piety; the rites of the Passover itself, with the sacrificing of the lamb, were a rite of purification and expiation for sins. The Passover of the Jews was a figure of the Christian Pasch or Easter, for, as St. Paul the Apostle teaches us, our paschal lamb is Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7), who offered Himself once and for all to the eternal Father on the cross to atone for our sins. (Pope) Paul VI recalled this happy truth of faith: "Gave Himself for me? But does there still exist a religion which is expressed in sacrifices? No, the sacrifices of the ancient law and pagan religions have no longer any reason to exist; but the world always needs a sacrifice, a valid, unique and perennial one, for the redemption of human sin [...]; it is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, which wipes out sin from the world; a sacrifice which the Eucharist actualizes in time and makes it possible for the men of this earth to take part in it" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Homily on Corpus Christ", 17 June 1976).

If the Jews prepared to celebrate the Passover with all these rites and ablutions, it is obvious what steps we should take to celebrate or participate in the Mass and to receive Christ--our Pasch--in the Eucharist. "On this earth, when we receive an important person, we bring out the best--lights, music, formal dress. How should we prepare to receive Christ into our soul? Have we ever thought about how we should behave if we could only receive Him once in a lifetime?" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 91).
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 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

The School of Love, March 26


[continued from yesterday]

...We are not told of other troubles of hers, even at times when it might have been ex­pected. We are not told that she was troubled at the birth of her Child in poverty and want, or at the painful prophecy of Simeon, or because they were cruelly driven into exile, or when she wished to see her Son and, appar­ently, could not see Him, or even when she stood beneath His cross and watched Him bleed slowly to death.

That there was trouble we know; but we are not told of it. All we see is the quiet, enduring Mother, "keeping these things, and pondering them in her heart"; the model of many a silent, suffering woman, who sees, and feels, and says nothing while her heart within her is breaking. Here, then, again we have an aspect of trouble which many of us can appreciate.

From these examples, then, we can safely conclude that a troubled heart is not always a heart that is faltering or faithless. There are troubles from without and troubles from within which are consistent with perfection; to kill the power of feeling these troubles, to put ourselves in this sense beyond the reach of trouble, may be very good philosophy - let philosophers look to that! - but it is no special imitation of Our Lord and His Mother.

To be troubled at the loss of a friend is possible for a saint; to be above such trouble means, if anything, something on the other side. It is good to be troubled when the will of God is not done among men.

It is good to be troubled at the failure of those who are clearly called to high emprises. It is consistent to be troubled when God leaves us, as He does at times, wholly in the dark; in these and many other ways may trouble come to a faithful soul.

But there are many other troubles which we can well afford to lay aside. What are they? Their number is legion; and we shall know what they are as they come to us, if only we will cling to Him who is the Prince of Peace. It was of these that He spoke when he said:
" Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You believe in God, believe also in me."
And it was to those who were troubled in this way that He cried:
"Come to me, an you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden tight."
Our Lord was troubled in the Garden, but we are not told that He was troubled at the sight of the Cross.
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

News Updates. 3/26

Wisconsin bishop blasts Pelosi, Catholic Health Association, NETWORK over healthcare bill
In the midst of a wide-ranging column today, Madison Bishop Robert C. Morlino turns his attention to who speaks for the Church and reminds readers that “Speaker Pelosi is not called by Jesus Christ to lead the Catholic faithful, any more than the religious Sisters in Network are, any more than the leadership of the Catholic Health Association is.”...

Another Irish bishop admits child abuse failure
Vatican may force Cardinal Sean Brady to resign

Vatican failed to defrock US priest who abused boys
Fr. Lawrence C. Murphy molested as many as 200 deaf boys

Protestant Orange Order to protest Pope's UK visit
Provocateurs say they must object 'on Biblical grounds'

Christians being 'treated like animals' in Pakistan
Church spokesman: international intervention urgently needed

Abuse victims demand pope open files on pedophiles
Group asks Pope to defrock all 'predator priests'

Vatican defends decision not to defrock US priest
Says Church laws do not require automatic punishment

Germans abandon Catholic Church following scandals
Barely one in six now say they have confidence in Church

Salvadoran leader apologizes for bishop's killing
Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated 30 years ago

Muslim attacks injure 50 in Bangladesh
Tensions raised and panic created in the area

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 10:31-42

Jesus and the Father Are One (Continuation)
[31] The Jews took stones again to stone Him (Jesus). [32] Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone Me?" [33] The Jews answered Him, "We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because You, being a man, make Yourself God." [34] Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said you are gods'? [35] If He called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), [36] do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'? [37] If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; [38] but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father." [39] Again they tried to arrest Him, but He escaped from their hands.

[40] He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there He remained. [41] And many came to Him; and they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this Man was true." [42] And many believed in Him there.

31-33. The Jews realize that Jesus is saying that He is God, but they interpret His words as blasphemy. He was called a blasphemer when He forgave the sins of the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8), and He will also be accused of blasphemy when He is condemned after solemnly confessing His divinity before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:63-65). Our Lord, then, did reveal that He was God; but His hearers rejected this revelation of the mystery of the Incarnate God, refusing to examine the proof Jesus offered them; consequently, they accuse Him, a man, of making Himself God. Faith bases itself on reasonable evidence--miracles and prophecies--for believing that Jesus is really man and really God, even though our limited minds cannot work out how this can be so. Thus, our Lord, in order to affirm His divinity once more, uses two arguments which His adversaries cannot refute--the testimony of Sacred Scripture (prophecies) and that of His own works (miracles).

34-36. On a number of occasions the Gospel has shown our Lord replying to the Jews' objections. Here He patiently uses a form of argument which they regards as decisive - the authority of Sacred Scripture. He quotes Psalm 82 in which God upbraids certain judges for acting unjustly despite His reminding them that "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you" (Psalm 82:6). If this psalm calls the sons of Israel gods and sons of God, with how much more reason should He be called God who has been sanctified and sent by God? Christ's human nature, on being assumed by the Word, is sanctified completely and comes to the world to sanctify men. "The Fathers of the Church constantly proclaim that what was not assumed by Christ was not healed. Now Christ took a complete human nature just as it is found in us poor unfortunates, but one that was without sin, for Christ said of Himself that He was the one `whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world'" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 3).

By using Sacred Scripture (cf. Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 4:1, 17) Jesus teaches us that Scripture comes from God. Therefore, the Church believes and affirms that "those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Holy Mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles, holds that the books of both the Old and New Testament in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:15-16) they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church. [...] Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scriptures must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 11).

37-38. The works which our Lord is referring to are His miracles, through which God's power is made manifest. Jesus presents His words and His works as forming a unity, with the miracles confirming His words and His words explaining the meaning of the miracles. Therefore, when He asserts that He is the Son of God, this revelation is supported by the credentials of the miracles He works: hence, if no one can deny the fact of the miracles, it is only right for Him to accept the truth of the words.

41-42. The opposition offered by some people (cf. John 10:20, 31, 39) contrasts with the way other people accept Him and follow Him to where He goes after this. St. John the Baptist's preparatory work is still producing results: those who accepted the Baptist's message now look for Christ and they believe when they see the truth of what the Precursor said: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:34).

Work done in the Lord's name is never useless: "Therefore, My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Just as the Baptist's word and example had the effect of helping many people later to believe in Jesus, the apostolic example given by Christians will never be in vain, even though the results may not come immediately. "To sow. The sower went out... Scatter your seed, apostolic soul. The wind of grace will bear it away if the furrow where it falls is not worthy.... Sow, and be certain that the seed will take root and bear fruit" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 794).
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

The School of Love, March 25


[continued from yesterday]

Now let us put alongside of these the two expressed troubles of Our Lady.

First is that which she felt at the Annunciation. When the angel had come in, and had saluted her with his greeting: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women;" the Evangelist adds that Mary "having heard was troubled at his saying, and thought within herself what manner of salutation this should be."

She was troubled, but not in doubt, as was Zachary on a like occasion. She was troubled because, as is said of her several times afterwards, "she did not understand."

There was something new, something of a revolution in all this; she did not know to what it pointed; the will of God for her had become confused. So have the greatest saints been troubled at moments of crisis in their lives.

So for example was St. Teresa often troubled. So is many a soul troubled that seeks earnestly to find that will, and is suffered to remain in the dark.

The next occasion is far more easily under­stood. She had lost her Son; she had looked for Him three long days; when she found Him the trouble of her heart would not contain itself.

"Son, why hast thou done so to us?" she said. "Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." This is a trouble that needs no explanation, and needs no parallel.

Whatever commentators may say as to the possible self-accusation in Our Lady's heart, the simple fact is quite enough; she had lost Him - she, Him - and he is a strange nature who does not understand the rest.

But perhaps there are some who understand it more than others; not merely good mothers who have been forced to part with a child they have loved, but those who at some time in their lives have been permitted to draw very near to their Lord, and then afterwards have seemed to lose Him.

How many of this kind have cried: "Why hast thou done so to us?" and have been told that it was because of "His Father's business"! Let such remember the troubled heart of Our Lady....

[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

News Updates, 3/25

Bishop John Magee resigns over sex abuse scandal
Irish prelate once served as secretary to three popes

Coward Russ Carnahan Pushes Bogus Tea Party Lie to Media– Claims Prayer Service With Coffin Was a Violent Threat
Remember as you read this: There is nothing the democratic-media complex will not do to lie about the tea party patriots or to prop up these horrid leftists who are transforming our country into some kind of quasi-socialist state....Russ Carnahan is so frightened to meet with his constituents after his very unpopular vote that he is now lying about a prayer service....
[Russ Carnahan is a LIAR and a STATIST. Voters need to REMOVE HIM from Office!]

Stupak: Pope doesn't control Catholic lawmakers
Michigan Democrat calls prolife groups 'hypocritical'

[It appears Satan, himself, controls the DemonRats-Stupak is an apostate drama queen]

Obama to sign executive order on abortion limits
Event Wednesday will be closed to the news media

Annual audit shows decline in sexual abuse reports
Costs to dioceses and religious orders also decreased

'Last Supper' is growing by Biblical proportions
Depictions between 1000 and 2000 AD depict larger helpings

Bishop wants Pakistan gov't to punish persecutors
'We demand that the rights of Christians are respected'

Dutch cardinal denies knowledge of sex abuse
'I know that is a very dangerous remark...'

New abuse charges against priests in Germany
Pope's native diocese confirms new allegations

US bishops greet health care reform with regret
...while some Catholic groups reacted with enthusiasm

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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.

Repeal 0bama Abortion/Deathcare Petition

After months of backroom deals, political payoffs, and strong-arm tactics, Pres__ent Obama and the Democrats forced an unpopular health care takeover through the United States Congress. Americans lost this battle with their elected leaders in Washington but the war is not over! If we're willing to the fight to save freedom, we can settle the score in November by electing true conservatives who will repeal this unconstitutional and dangerous bill. The simple truth is the bill cannot be fixed. It must be repealed.

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, has launched this national "Repeal ObamaCare Pledge" to rally support for conservative candidates who vow to repeal Obama's health care takeover. America is teetering toward tyranny and we must work together to reverse the radical agenda in Washington.
Only 144,XXX so far...

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

The School of Love, March 24


[continued from yesterday]

...Lastly, there is the hour of greatest trouble, that which preceded and culminated in the Agony in the Garden. The Evangelists vie with each other in looking for words by which to express it.

"He began to be sorrowful and to be sad," says one.

"He began to fear and to be heavy," says. another.

"Being in an agony, he prayed the longer," says the third; and all record His words:

"My soul is sor­rowful even unto death."

Nor do even these English words convey the full sense of amaze­ment and depression that is contained in the Greek original.

He is so troubled that He seems to be unable to help Himself; He seeks support from others - from His disciples, and they fail Him, from His Father, and at first it seems to be long in coming, from an angel, who does not remove the trouble, but brings Him the support He needs.

And why is He so troubled? Because of "the chalice," what­ever that may mean. We cannot hope to know all; but we can draw out some few ingredients. He was troubled because He had been, and yet would be, rejected. He was troubled because He loved so much those who had rejected Him. Perhaps most of all He was weighed down by the burden of their sins, which He had taken upon Himself as though they were His own.

So has the burden of the evil-doing of man­kind oppressed the hearts and souls of men who have recognised it - the popes in all ages, the saints whose lot it has been to rule, the weary priest in our crowded cities, all we may say who have been given the care of others.

Of all the troubles of man perhaps none more conduces to indignation; perhaps there is none which tempts us more to steel our hearts, and to leave man to his self-inflicted doom Yet when the temptation is upon us it is well to remember that just this trouble, harrowing as it is, death-dealing to our own spiritual peace of mind as it is, nevertheless brings us nearer to Our Lord in his worst moments than does any other prayer or sacrifice.

[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

Lenten Reflection: Envy, the Sixth Capital Sin

"Let us not become desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians, 5:26.

In Greek history we read of a youth who so distinguished himself in the public games that his fellow citizens raised a statue in his honor in order to keep fresh' the memory of his victories. This statue so excited the spirit of envy in the heart of another young man who had been defeated in the contests, that he stole out one night under cover of darkness to destroy the sculptured figure. After hours of effort he succeeded in moving the statue from its base, but it slipped and fell, crushing the envious one to death.

Envy always has the same effect. It harms and: even destroys the one who is guilty of it. It hurts the heart and the character of the one who gives way to the feeling of spite. We hope by our ill-will to injure others. We may wound them slightly, but in doing so we kill ourselves, as did the Athenian youth.

It was a pagan, a man unenlightened by the teachings of Christ, Socrates, who taught that no evil man can harm a good man, and that all the fatal wounds to character are self-inflicted. Even the innocent may suffer from the spite of others, but the suffering will not affect their souls unless they allow the poison of envy and discontent to corrupt them.

1. Envy, the sixth capital sin, means a sadness and annoyance at another’s temporal or spiritual good, as seeming to lessen our own good. Envy means a sorrow or sadness over some blessing of body or soul which another has, with the thought that his success seems to be harmful to our own interests or excellence. It means discontent at the good fortune of another.

2. When voluntary and deliberate envy is a serious sin. 'We see the grievousness of this vice when we consider:

A. That it is directly opposed to the all-important virtue of charity, charity that weeps with them who weep, and rejoices with them who rejoice, as St. Paul commands us:

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep." Romans, 12:15.

Envy does the very opposite: it is glad when others are sad, and sad when others are glad. Charity turns enemies into friends; envy turns friends into enemies.

B. That envy is opposed to reason in that it grieves over something that is good, namely, the good fortune of our neighbor. It is furthermore unreasonable because it brings nothing to the person guilty of it, except misery, annoyance, and discontent.

C. That it is a sin against the Holy Ghost, an offense against the goodness of God, in so far as it draws evil out of good, while the Good God always draws good out of evil. It is a twisting and perversion of the divine plan, as we see in the very beginning of the human race:
"For God created man incorruptible and to the image of likeness He made him.
"But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world:
"And they follow him that are of his side." Wisdom, 2:23-24.

D. That it is so subtle, so crafty, so active and yet so quiet that it hides its presence even from the person guilty of it. Envy is so low and so mean that it makes its possessor unwilling to admit its presence even to himself.

3. From its effects we can see that envy is one of the most dangerous of all sins:

A. From envy proceed blindness of mind, errors in judgment, and hardness of heart. We see proofs of this in both the Old and the New Testaments:

i. We see it in the story of Joseph who, through the envy of his brothers, was sold by them and carried off into Egypt. Their father, Jacob, loved Joseph above all his sons. This they could not stand, and as the Bible tells us:

"His brethren seeing that he was loved by his father, more than all his sons, hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him." Genesis, 37:4.

ii. We see envy in all its evil ill-will in the story of Jesus before Pilate, an incident which comes forcibly to mind during this Lenten season. When the crowd asked Pilate to condemn Christ to death, he asked them:

"Do you wish that I release to you the king of the Jews?"

"For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him up out of envy.

"But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead." St. Mark, 15 :9-11.

Envy so blinded their thinking and twisted their judgment that they preferred a robber and cut-throat to the redeeming Christ.

B. From envy come sarcasm, backbiting, slander, calumny, and all the many-headed damages and injuries which arise from these sins.

i. Sarcasm is a mean and bitter taunt, a keen and cutting .remark. It tears the heart of its victim, as a vicious dog would tear the flesh of one he bites. Although every right-thinking person despises sarcasm, and rightly, we find too much of it especially in circles where we should expect to never find it - in the home, in our fellow workers, even in parish societies and affairs. Sarcasm springs from an envious heart. It betrays the sarcastic person as one guilty of this capital vice.

ii. Back-biting is just as common, and possibly more criminal. You know the type. Let's call her Mrs. A. When she talks to Mrs. B. she will always talk unkindly about Mrs. C., "bite" Mrs. C. in the back when she is not present. When Mrs. A. is with Mrs. C. she will talk about Mrs. B., "bite" her in the back. And you can wager your bottom dollar that she will talk about you when your back is turned. In this back-biting Mrs. A., reveals one symptom of an envious heart.

C. Envy causes devilish plots, cold-blooded murders, mean-minded treacheries, and public and private calamities of all kinds.

i. It was envy of God that made the evil one take form of a serpent and lead our parents into the first sin. Re-read that story:

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. . .

"No," said the serpent to Eve, "you shall not die the death.

"For God knowa that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis, 3:1-5.

ii. It was envy that provoked the first murder. Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, both made offerings to the Lord. The Lord "had respect" to the offerings of Abel, but not to those of Cain. In the heart of the latter sprang up a feeling of envy and anger. Cain invited Abel out into a field and there he slew him. (Genesis, 4:1-14).

iii. It was envy, blind unreasoning envy, that prompted a member of the Athenian assembly to vote for the banishment of Aristides the Just. According to the story, Aristides himself was present when the vote was taken. One illiterate member, who could neither read nor write. went up to Aristides, not knowing who he was, and asked him to write the name of Aristides on his shell to show that he wanted him banished. As Aristides wrote his own name on the ballot that was meant to send him into banishment, he asked the fellow If ho knew Aristides, or if he had anything against him.

"No," answered the ignorant and envious fellow, "I don't know him and I don't know anything about him, but I get tired of hearing him spoken of as Aristides the Great."
Behold the blindness and the bias and the bile of the envious.

D. Envy causes miserable repining at another's success. This we find in every walk of life, especially among those who are more or less equal, among those in the same class at school, in the same trade, in the same club, in the same profession, and in the same parish society. The good fortune of another, the election of another to some society office, the attainment of fame or fortune by someone who would he otherwise equal, causes the envious heart to feel and even to express dejection and discontent, makes him complain and grumble and even criticize.

E. Envy leads its victim to belittle the merits and accomplishment of others, again particularly of those in the same group.

"Yes," they will admit, "she is a good home-maker, but-." Inevitably there is a "but," in other words, some drawback, some point to belittle.

4. To fool and express sorrow over another's temporal or spiritual good not because we feel it harms our own interests, but for some other good reason, is not the sin of envy. Thus a person might feel sorry about another's prosperity or success entirely because he knew that this success would be harmful to the welfare of others or to the public at large. This would really be charity rather than envy. If one, for example, felt sorry when he saw a business man without principles, or a professional person who stooped to immoral practices, or a scheming politician, achieving goals beyond his deserts, it would not be envy to grieve about that success.

Furthermore, if a person is sad only because he himself does not have as much as another, and he seeks his own lawful advancement and not the harm of another, he does not commit the sin of envy. We might rather call it emulation, a striving to equal or excel another by just and lawful means. It is expressed in the spirit of big-hearted competition, which is good in every walk of life. In fact, this rightful rivalry is the spur to much of the progress in all fields of human endeavor. It is essential in the spiritual life, where we see before us almost constantly the inspiring example of the saints. Their example should inspire in us a desire to imitate, a desire to follow their cooperation with grace, their charity, their chastity, their zeal for the service of God.

5. To what ridiculous lengths envy can lead is shown in the fairy story of the shoemaker. He was not the ordinary run of cobbler. He was extra special, so much so that the fairies hired him to make their shoes. The only leather he used was cut from the skin of a snake killed the previous year. They were soft and comfortable and the fairies would wear no other kind. Wherever the fairies went they drew admiration and praise for their fine footwear.

Into the cobbler's heart came the thought that these fairy folk were getting all the attention, while he was doing the work. Envy led him into this trend of thought:

"Here I am slaving away at my last, bending over until my back is all out of shape, seldom seeing the sun, and never getting the glory for my work. It isn't fair. I know what I will do. I'll make myself a pair of the softest, shiniest shoes anyone ever wore, and then I'll strut out among the flowers and get some attention."

He put all the other pairs of shoes aside and worked day and night on his own. The fairies, from the king and queen on down, came for their shoes, but they were not ready. Gradually he lost his trade, but he cared not a bit. He was going to create a commotion. At last the shoes were finished. He put them on and started out.
"Land of mercy," cried his wife, "you are not going out in those gorgeous shoes with your leather apron on. Buy yourself a dress coat."
He bought a fine coat and was again about to start out when his wife screamed: "Land sakes, now you need a cane."

He bought a cane and was strutting out the door when his wife burst into laughter:
"You silly man," she cried, "your top hat and new coat and cane and beautiful shoes do not hide your bent back. You are nothing but a dressed up shoemaker. Everybody will laugh at you, as I must laugh."

He took a look in the mirror and almost had to laugh at himself, as he admitted: "What my wife says is true. I was a good shoemaker, but I make a poor fairy gentleman."

He had sense enough to admit his foolishness. He went home to his shoemaker's last, and left the bright shoes for more nimble feet.

Would that we all had sense enough to recognize envy when it shows its treacherous head. And would that we all might use the remedies to overcome this capital vice. If the Scribes and Pharisees, the principal enemies of Christ, had been honest enough with themselves they would have admitted their envy as the principal cause of their opposition to the Savior of the world. If all the envious hearts were revealed to the world what a disgusting display that would be. And if all envy were removed, how happy humanity would be.

6. What are the cures for this capital crime of the heart?

A. Ask God to give you a true spirit of love for everyone, a true, heart felt charity, especially toward those whom you envy. Try praying for those whose success makes you sad. Honestly ask God to help you see that various people have various gifts and blessings.

B. Consider the evils brought on by envy. They are all opposed to the fundamental law of Christ: Love one another. How can we love our neighbor if our minds are blinded with bias and our hearts are saddened at his success? How can we love our neighbor if we stoop to sarcasm, slander, back-biting and rash criticism? How can we love our neighbor when our hearts hatch plots to bring him harm? How can we love our neighbor with a heart that is sad when that neighbor succeeds? How can we love our neighbor when we belittle his work and efforts?

C. Consider, on the other hand, the happiness of a heart that is free of this hideous hatred. The heart free of envy is a heart at peace with itself and at peace with everyone else. It is a heart that is willing to do things for others, willing to live the law of love, even at the cost of sacrifice. It is a heart that is satisfied with its own lot in life, and never permits the good fortune of others to make it unhappy.

Consider the unhappiness of our shoemaker when his heart was envious, and his contented happiness after he had rooted envy out of his heart. Every human being can have that same blessed experience.

D. Share your joys and share your sorrows with others. Enter into the joys and sorrows of those with whom you live. Express your sympathy when they have difficulties; and express genuine congratulations, when they have success. This is something we can all develop, no matter how small the circle in which we move.

Oh, how Christ­like the person who can pay a compliment to one who has earned some merit or reward.

E. Realize that envy and pride are co-workers in evil, twin devils who destroy peace of the individual and peace of the community. Then try to develop a true sense of humility, the foundation of all true love of neighbor, the foundation of all true appreciation of the tal­ents, accomplishments, and good fortune of others.

F. Bring home to yourself with absolute conviction that money and success and fame are not everything. They are not the completely satisfying articles they appear to be at a distance. Much more valuable than these tinsel satisfactions are genuine love, true-blue friend­ship and inner contentment. The man who is satisfied with his own place in life, the man who can, at the same time, view with a smile the success of others, is a happy, yes, a successful man.

7. On November 11, 1950, a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer asked three people this question:

"What do you think is the best way to overcome jealousy?"

A. One young lady answered that the jealous and envious person must develop self-confidence, improve himself.

B. A young man said the best way is to analyze the situation, .delve down into the facts, and don't let emotions take control. He pointed out that the jealous and envious person lets his imagination and emotions run away with him.

C. A third gave this solution: Grow up; become mature, mentally and spiritually.

Our newspapers and magazines have a great deal about jealousy and envy, proving the importance of the subject.

8. Most important is this subject in the Church. Racial, social, and economic envy hamper and even halt many projects of the Church. One member of the choir envies another because she was chosen to sing a solo. Our society officers are often the object of green-eyed envy. Good work already done is torn apart, and good work to be done is never attempted, through fear of envy and its train of miserable evils.

9. Search your soul tonight. Be not blind to this hidden monster of envy. Think of the sufferings and death of our Lord, brought on by the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees. Look at the stations of the cross. See the torture to which envious hearts put the sweet and loving Savior of the world.

Then look into His loving Heart, opened to us on the cross, that Sacred Heart hrobbing with love for even His enemies, that Heart which was ever understanding and appreciative, that Divine Heart which was always glad at the good-fortune of others, that Heart which must be our Model if we ever hope to overcome the capital sin of envy, if we ever hope to be in very truth - like our Lord. Amen.
Adapted from Lent and the Capital Sins
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1952)

News Updates, 3/24

Obama [Spawn of Satan] Excludes Private and Catholic School Children From Easter Egg Roll Ticket Giveaway
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday it has reserved 3,000 free tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll for students in D.C.- rea public and charter schools, but not for children who attend private or parochial schools....
["Why?", one might ask?]
“These tickets are from the White House to public schools, and we’re appreciative, but there may be other things unrelated to this press conference,” DC Mayor Adrian Fenty responded. “That’s a great question.”...

Billionaire fulfills 'pact with God'
British supermarket chain founder gives fortune to charity

Archbishop Chaput: A bad bill and how we got it
Says Catholic Health Association damaged prolife cause

Muslims mob Indonesia church under construction
Yelling abuses at Christians, demanded project be halted

RI gov candidate confronted sex-abuse priest
John Robitaille says he was raped by Fr. James Porter

German archbishop: abuse covered up for years
'Every single case darkens face of the entire Church'

Vatican investigating 14 sex abuse cases in Spain
Incidents took place between 2001 and March 2010

Possibility of new diocese for Medjugorje floated
Following last week's announcement of Vatican commission

Texas lawmaker admits yelling 'baby killer'
Rep. Neugebauer says he was referring to health care bill

Italian PM praises Pope's 'humility and sincerity'
Pastoral letter to Irish prompts unexpected approval

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gospel for Wednesday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 8:31-42

Jesus Warns the Unbelieving Jews (Continuation)
[31] Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." [33] They answered Him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"

[34] Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave of sin. [35] The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. [36] So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. [37] I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word finds no place in you. [38] I speak of what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."

[39] They answered Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, [40] but now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. [41] You do what your father did." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." [42] Jesus said of them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not on My own account, but He sent Me."

30-32. Of those Jews who do believe in Him Jesus asks much more than a shallow faith resulting from superficial enthusiasm: they should be true disciples; Jesus' words should imbue their whole life. That kind of faith will bring them to know the truth and to become really free persons.

The knowledge of the truth which Christ is speaking about is not just intellectual knowledge; it is rather the maturing in the soul of the seed of divine Revelation. That Revelation's climax is to be found in Christ's teaching and it constitutes a genuine communication of supernatural life (cf. John 5:24): He who believes in Jesus, and through Him in the Father, receives the wonderful gift of eternal life. Knowing the truth is, in the last analysis, knowing Christ Himself, God become man to save us; it means realizing that the inaccessible God has become man, our Friend, our Life.

This is the only kind of knowledge which really sets us free, because it removes us from a position of alienation from God--the state of sin and therefore of slavery to the devil and to all attachments of our fallen nature--and puts us on the path of friendship with God, the path of grace, of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the liberation we obtain is not just light which shows us the way; it is grace, which empowers us to keep to that way despite our limitations. "Jesus Christ meets the man of every age, including our own, with the same words: `You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free' (John 8:32). These words contain both a fundamental requirement and a warning: the requirement of an honest relationship with regard to truth as a condition for authentic freedom, and the warning to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world. Today also, even after two thousand years, we see Christ as the One who brings man freedom based on truth, frees man from what curtails, diminishes and as it were breaks off this freedom at its root, in man's soul, his heart and his conscience. What a stupendous confirmation of this has been given and is still being given by those who, thanks to Christ and in Christ, have reached true freedom and have manifested it even in situations of external constraint!" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 12).

"Christ Himself links liberation particularly with knowledge of the truth; `You will know the truth and the truth will make you free' (John 8:32). This sentence testifies above all to the intimate significance of the freedom for which Christ liberates us. Liberation means man's inner transformation, which is a consequence of the knowledge of truth. The transformation is, therefore, a spiritual process, in which man matures `in true righteousness and holiness' (Ephesians 4:24). [...] Truth is important not only for the growth of human knowledge, deepening man's interior life in this way; truth has also a prophetic significance and power. It constitutes the content of testimony and it calls for testimony. We find this prophetic power of truth in the teaching of Christ. As a prophet, as a witness to truth, Christ repeatedly opposes non-truth; He does so with great forcefulness and decision and often He does not hesitate to condemn falsehood" (John Paul II, "General Audience", 21 February 1979).

St. Thomas Aquinas explains the meaning of these words of our Lord in this way: "In this passage, being made free does not refer to being freed of every type of wrong [...]; it means being freed in the proper sense of the word, in three ways: first, the truth of His teaching will free us from the error of untruth [...]; second, the truth of grace will liberate us from the slavery of sin: `the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death' (Romans 8:2); third, the truth of eternity in Christ Jesus will free us from decay (cf. Romans 8:21)" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

"The truth will set you free. How great a truth is this, which opens the way to freedom and gives it meaning throughout our lives. I will sum it up for you, with the joy and certainty which flow from knowing there is a close relationship between God and His creatures. It is the knowledge that we have come from the hands of God, that the Blessed Trinity looks upon us with predilection, that we are children of so wonderful a Father. I ask my Lord to help us decide to take this truth to heart, to dwell upon it day by day; only then will we be acting as free men. Do not forget: anyone who does not realize that he is a child of God is unaware of the deepest truth about himself. When he acts he lacks the dominion and self-mastery we find in those who love our Lord above all else" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 26).

33-34. For centuries the people of Israel were ruled by other nations (Egypt, Babylon, Persia...), and now they were under the dominion of Rome. Therefore, the Jews thought that He was referring to political bondage or dominion--which in fact they had experienced but never accepted. In addition, since they belong to the people chosen by God, they regarded themselves as free of the moral errors and aberrations of Gentile nations.

They thought that true freedom was a matter of belonging to the chosen people. Our Lord replies that it is not enough to belong to the line of Abraham: true freedom consists in not being slaves of sin. Both Jews and Gentiles were subject to the slavery of original sin and personal sin (cf. Romans 5:12; 6:20 and 8:2). Only Christ, the Son of God, can liberate man from that sorry state (cf. Galatians 4:21-51); but these Jews do not understand the redemptive work which Christ is doing and which will reach its climax in His death and resurrection

"The Savior", St. Augustine comments, "is here explaining that we will not be freed from overlords, but from the devil; not from captivity of the body but from malice of soul" ("Sermon", 48).

35-36. The words slave and son are reminiscent of the two sons of Abraham: Ishmael, born of the slave woman Hagar, who would be given no part in the inheritance; and Isaac, son of the free woman Sarah, who would be the heir to God's promises (cf. Genesis 21:10-12; Galatians 4:28-31). Physical descent from Abraham is not enough for inheriting God's promises and attaining salvation: by faith and charity one must identify oneself with Jesus Christ, the true and only Son of the Father, the only one who can make us sons of God and thereby bring us true freedom (cf. Romans 8:21; Galatians 4:31). Christ gives "power to become children of God [to those] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13). Thus, a person who identifies himself with Christ becomes a son of God and obtains the freedom proper to sons.

"Freedom finds its true meaning when it is put to the service of the truth which redeems, when it is spent seeking God's infinite Love which liberates us from all forms of slavery. Each passing day increases my yearning to proclaim to the four winds this inexhaustible treasure that belongs to Christianity: `the glorious freedom of the children of God!' (Romans 8:21). [...] Where does our freedom come from? It comes from Christ our Lord. This is the freedom with which He has ransomed us (cf. Galatians 4:31). That is why He teaches, `if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed' (John 8:36). We Christians do not have to ask anyone to tell us the true meaning of this gift, because the only freedom that can save man is Christian freedom" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 27 and 35).

37-41. Our Lord replies to the Jew's objection: yes indeed, they are Abraham's children, but only in a natural sense, according to the flesh; this is something which does not count any more; what matters now is acceptance of Jesus as the One sent by the Father. Jesus' questioners are spiritually very far away from being true children of Abraham: Abraham rejoiced to see the Messiah (cf. John 8:56); through his faith he was reckoned righteous (cf. Romans 4:1ff), and his faith led him to act consequentially (cf. James 2:21-24); this was how he attained the joy of eternal blessedness (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 16:24). Although those Jews "derived from him the generation of the flesh, they had become degenerate, by not imitating the faith of him whose sons they were" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 42, 1). Those who live by faith, St. Paul says, are the true sons of Abraham and like him they will be blessed by God (cf. Galatians 3:7-9). In point of fact, the people who are arguing with our Lord have not only rejected His teaching: their own deeds indicate that they have a radically different affiliation: "You do what your father did" is a veiled accusation that they are children of the devil (cf. verse 44).

The false security Jews felt on the grounds of being descended from Abraham has its parallel in a Christian who is content with being baptized and with a few religious observances, but does not live up to the requirements of faith in Christ.
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

The School of Love, March 23


[continued from yesterday]

...The third occasion is that on which Our Lord describes Himself as troubled, and is one full of mystery.

Some Gentiles had come up to the festival. They asked that they might be introduced to Him. An Apostle spoke for them, and He answered with a few words in the middle of which these occur:
"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say: Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came into this hour. Father, glorify my name."
What, here, can the cause of His trouble be?

Is it not that which everyone must feel who sees the number of those who have not yet known the name of God and His Christ?

So was St. Paul continually troubled; so St. Francis Xavier in the midst of the Eastern heathen; so the many saints who have burnt with zeal for the house of God, and have spent themselves on its account....

Again, early in the course of the Last Supper He is troubled. After He had washed the feet of His disciples, and had spoken the example He had given, St. John says of Him: "When Jesus had said these things he was troubled in spirit: and he testified and said: Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you shall betray me" (John xiii. 21).

Surely a legitimate trouble is this, whether we con­sider the treachery of the friend, or the conse­quences to the traitor. And let us not make too much of the second of these alternatives; that the first ate into the soul of Our Lord is clearly evidenced from the words of Our Lord spoken to the traitor in the Garden:
"Friend, whereto art thou come? - Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man?"
Treachery must always give trouble, even though we may have the courage at the same time to "rejoice that we are accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ"; but the treachery of a friend is the cruellest of all....

[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

US Catholic Bishops contributed to "Health Care Reform" Debacle

From a thoroughly Catholic perspective, the health care reform debate wasn’t nearly as simple as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops made it out to be, as though preventing public funding of abortion and negotiating conscience clauses was enough to render Obamacare worthy of Catholic support.

This, however, is exactly the stance taken by the USCCB from the very outset, and it only opened the door for those difference-making pro-life legislators to take comfort in the promise of an executive order restricting federal funding of abortion and to justify voting “yes.”...
This article on Catholic Exchange highlights the faulty way in which the USCCB approached the health care reform debate, and their socialist tilt toward policy in general.

More here

March 23 - Liberty or Death

News Updates, 3/23

Canadian Anglicans ask to join Catholic Church
Group with three Ottawa-area parishes approaches Vatican

Christian burned, wife raped, for refusing Islam
Victimized by Muslim leaders, backed by Pakistani police

Man tries to attack bishop at Irish cathedral
Former orphanage resident had to be 'dragged away'

Founder of Human Life International dies at 89
Fr. Paul Marx instrumental in founding prolife movement

Priest caught in videotaped sex romp with altar boy
Alleged former victim set up hidden camera in church

Cardinal sees campaign against Church over abuse
Head of Italy's bishops: problem not just Catholic issue

More Catholic child abuse allegations surface
Lawyers: there are more than 300 cases across Germany

Irish bishop 'sorry' for failing to report priest
Pressure for more hierarchy resignations continues

Australian exorcists: Youth endangered by occult
Says fascination fuelled by 'Twilight' and 'Harry Potter'

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gospel for Tuesday, 5th Week of Lent

Frpm John 8:21-30

Jesus Warns the Unbelieving Jews
[21] Again He (Jesus) said to them, "I go away, and you will seek Me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." [22] Then said the Jews, "Will He kill Himself, since He says, `Where I am going, you cannot come?'" [23] He said to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. [24] I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am He." [25] They said to Him, "Who are You?" Jesus said to them, "Even what I have told you from the beginning. [26] I have much to say about you and much to judge; but He who sent Me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from Him." [27] They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. [28] So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me. [29] And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to Him." [30] As He spoke thus, many believed in Him.

21-24. At the outset of His public ministry, Jesus could be seen to have all the features of the promised Messiah; some people recognized Him as such and became His followers (cf. John 1:12-13; 4:42; 6:69; 7:41); but the Jewish authorities, although they were expecting the Messiah (cf. John 1:19ff), persisted in their rejection of Jesus. Hence the warning to them: He is going where they cannot follow, that is, He is going to Heaven, which is where He has come from (cf. John 6:41ff), and they will keep looking out for the Messiah foretold by the prophets; but they will not find Him because they look for Him outside of Jesus, nor can they follow Him, for they do not believe in Him. You are of the world, our Lord is saying to them, not because you are on earth but because you are living under the influence of the prince of this world (cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); you are his vassals and you do his deeds (cf. 8:44); therefore, you will die in your sin. "We are all born with sin", St. Augustine comments, "all by our living have added to what we were by nature, and have become more of this world than we then were, when we were born of our parents. Where would we be if He had not come, who had no sin at all, to loose all sin? The Jews, because they did not believe in Him, deserved to have it said to them, 'You will die in your sin'" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 38, 6).

The salvation which Christ brings will be applied to those who believe in His divinity. Jesus declares His divinity when He says "I am He", for this expression, which He repeats on other occasions (cf. John. 8:28; 13:19), is reserved to Yahweh in the Old Testament (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10-11), where God, in revealing His name and therefore His essence, says to Moses "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). In this profound way God says that He is the Supreme Being in a full, absolute sense, that He is dependent on no other being, that all other things depend on Him for their being and existence. Thus, when Jesus says of Himself, "I am He", He is revealing that He is God.

25. A little before this Jesus had spoken about His Heavenly origin and His divine nature (cf. verses 23-24); but the Jews do not want to accept this revelation; which is why they ask Him for an even more explicit statement: "Who are You?" Our Lord's reply can be understood in different ways, because the Greek text has two meanings: 1) our Lord is confirming what He has just asserted (cf. verses 23-24) and what He has been teaching throughout this visit to Jerusalem--in which case it may be translated "precisely what I am telling you" or else "in the first place what I am telling you". This is the interpretation given in the New Vulgate. 2) Jesus is indicating that He is the "Beginning", which is the word St. John also uses in the Apocalypse to designate the Word, the cause of all creation (Revelation 3:14; cf. Revelation 1:8). In this way Jesus states His divine origin. This is the interpretation given in the Vulgate. Either way, Christ is once more revealing His divinity; He is reaffirming what He said earlier, but without saying it all over again.

"Many people in our own days ask the same question: 'Who are You?' [...] Who, then, was Jesus? Our faith exults and cries out: it is He, it is He, the Son of God made man. He is the Messiah we were expecting: He is the Savior of the world, the Master of our lives: He is the Shepherd that guides men to their pastures in time, to their destinies beyond time. He is the joy of the world; He is the image of the invisible God: He is the way, the truth and the life; He is the interior friend; He is the One who knows us even from afar; He knows our thoughts; He is the One who can forgive us, console, cure, even raise from the dead; and He is the One who will return, the judge of one and all, in the fullness of His glory and our eternal happiness" (Paul VI, "General Audience", 11 December 1974).

26-27. "He who sent Me": an expression very often found in St. John's Gospel, referring to God the Father (cf. 5:37; 6:44; 7:28; 8:16).

The Jews who were listening to Jesus did not understand whom He was referring to; but St. John, in recounting this episode, explains that He meant His Father, from Whom He came.

"He spoke to them of the Father": this is the reading in most of the Greek codexes, including the more important ones. Other Greek codexes and some translations, including the Vulgate, read, "He was calling God His Father."

"What I have heard from Him": Jesus had connatural knowledge of His Father, and it is from this knowledge that He speaks to men; He knows God not through revelation or inspiration as the prophets and sacred writers did, but in an infinitely higher way: which is why He can say that no one knows the Father but the Son and He to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him (cf. Mt 11:27).

On the type of knowledge Jesus had during His life on earth, see the note on Luke 2:52.

28. Our Lord is referring to His passion and death: "`And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself'. He said this to show by what death He was to die" (John 12:32-33). Rounding out the Synoptics and the Letters of St. Paul, the Fourth Gospel presents the Cross, above all, as a royal throne on which Christ is "lifted up" and from which He offers all men the fruits of salvation (cf. John 3:14-15; cf. also Numbers 21:9ff; Wisdom 16:6).

Jesus says that when that time comes, the Jews will know who He is and His intimate union with the Father, because many of them will discover, thanks to His death and resurrection, that He is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Matthew 15:39; Lk 33:48). After the coming of the Holy Spirit many thousands will believe in Him (cf. Acts 2:41; 4:4).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Principles and Practices - March 23

Examine and See

True love never rests satisfied with words. It longs to prove itself by deeds, and cannot remain inactive. God's love is no exception to this rule. It manifests itself in ten thousand beautiful ways. It meets us at every turn. It overflows upon us from all sorts of unexpected channels and on all sorts of undreamed occasions.

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