Saturday, April 29, 2006

3rd Week of Easter - Fruits of the Resurrection

"I know mine and mine know me." St. John, 11:14.

"The third day he rose again from the dead." Creed.

In World War Two we read with horror of the beastly bombing of cities, the killing and crippling of innocent women and children. With sickening terror we heard of the bombing of London in the never-to-be-forgotten Battle of Britain. Whole blocks of buildings were levelled to the ground. Houses crumbled as if made of match boxes. In many places nothing was left but piles of rubble and debris heaped up beside hellish holes gashed into the earth.

Not long after the smoke and dust cleared away the people noticed flowers growing up the sides of these craters, flowers which they could not recognize or name. Horticulturists or flower experts were called to investi­gate, but even they could not identify the blossoms.

They searched the records in the Natural History department of the Brit­ish Museum at South Kensington. They finally found some rare old manu­scripts and books which had records pf these species long since died out. There were ninety different kinds. These flowers, or the seeds of these flowers, had been buried for hundreds of years under the streets and build­ings of London. The German bombs stirred them up, cultivated them, if you will, and the nitrates in the bombs nourished the strange plants.

In a similar way the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has produced many fruits, fruits which we would not have shared, were it not for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The earth shook at the death of Christ, and the earth shook at the resurrection of Christ. We would like to mention a few of the blessings and benefits of those earthquakes.

The first fruit of His rising from the dead is the praising of God's jus­tice. The Almighty had allowed the enemies of Christ to do their worst. He permitted the powers of evil to go to the very limits of injustice. But with Easter day came the hour for justice, to exalt the humble Christ above His enemies, and to punish those who had put Him to death. As St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, 2:8-9: "He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him."

Another fruit of Easter is the perfecting of our faith. Without the res­urrection our faith is without a foundation. Everything Christ had said and done throughout His life demanded a resurrection as a final, conclusive proof that He was God, and that He had worked His wonders as God. In telling the world about Christ the apostles repeatedly, almost constantly, referred to the resurrection. It gave flesh and bone to their faith.

The resurrection also strengthens our hope. It refreshes our hope of spiritual help; it enlivens our hope of a true reward; it stimulates our hope in our own resurrection. What St. Paul wrote to the Romans, he wrote to us: "If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection." Romans, 6:5. The Prince of the Apostles in his first letter (1:3-4), says the same: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto the inheritance incorruptible."

Man lives on hope and in hope, even in material things. Hope is essential in spiritual life. The bells and Alleluias of Easter give grounds to our hope.

Easter serves another purpose: it gives us a model for Christian life; it suggests that we rise from the grave of sin. St. Paul put it very well when he wrote to the Romans, 6:4, 11: "As Christ is risen from the dead. . . so we also may walk in newness of life. . . dead to sin, but alive to God."

Christ coming forth from the grave also proves the true human nature of the Savior. In a talk months ago we saw that some deny to Christ a real human nature. We also learned that He was true man nevertheless. His death and resurrection clinch that proof. He delayed His rising for three days to make that proof all the more powerful.

His rising was not delayed too long, however, as He wanted it to be the crowning proof of His divinity. Jesus, by His absolute power, could have remained in the grave a year or a thousand years. He could have postponed His resurrection until 2006. But the Christians of the last nineteen plus cen­turies would have been denied this evidence of His divinity.

In rising the third day Jesus fulfilled several prophecies. For us who follow Him that is welcome fruit, because we count on all His words, we bank on them, we depend on them. So far He has kept every promise He made.

Best of all, His rising makes sure our rising. In the words of St. Paul: "We look for the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory." Philippians, 3:20, 21.

Indeed, the terror, the upheaval, the bitterness and tears of Holy Week, coming to a climax on Easter morning - all of it was necessary to make these otherwise impossible fruits grow in the garden of God's love for us.

The Good Shepherd laid down His life for us. And the Good Shepherd took up His life for us. Laying it down and taking it up were the sources of much blessing.

May Easter satisfy God's justice! May Easter fire our faith, inspire our hope, and feed our resolve to live a risen life with Christ! Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1946)

3rd Week of Easter - The Meaning of the Mass

"I lay down my life for my sheep." St. John, 10:16.

One of the most heroic stories of history is that of Anton Winkelried, the Swiss patriot. Duke Leopold and his huge Austrian army had invaded Switzerland. Scarcely more than a thousand Swiss, poorly armed and poorly trained, went out to stop them. Like a wall of iron the invaders advanced. The Swiss soldiers could not get beneath or around those bristling spear­points, that heavy armor.

Arnold Winkelried saw the situation. He called out to his comrades: "Follow me. I shall make a passage through the spears. Tell the others to follow close behind. I shall be dead, but Switzerland shall be free."

With arms outstretched, Arnold rushed forward. A dozen spears plunged into his body. But before the Austrian knights could pull out their spears, the bold peasants rushed into the gap and fell upon the enemy, turning the tide into a complete victory for the Swiss.

On the field they found the body of Arnold Winkelried, pierced and bloody, a smile on his dead lips. He had made the way for liberty.

Suppose the Swiss wanted to keep this heroic deed forever in mind. They could commemorate Arnold's sacrifice in three ways: 1) By causing the story to be retold. 2) By re-enacting the scene upon the stage. 3) By having Arnold himself personally present, if that were possible, in order to give his life again for his beloved country.

1. So too the death of Christ for all of us nineteen hundred plus years ago could have been merely retold. The Mass does that but more.

2. The Holy Sacrifice represents the sacrifice of the cross, re-enacting the tragedy of Calvary here upon the altar.

3. But Holy Mass is more. It is the actual re-presenting in an unbloody but true way of the death of Christ. The separate consecration, the separation of His body and blood at the consecration, shows forth the death of Christ mystically re-presented.

Holy Mass, then, is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, really present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine, and offered to God for the living and the dead.

In a wide sense, a sacrifice is something set aside and offered to God to show that God is the Creator and Owner of all things. The killing of an animal, the burning of incense, the consuming of food, shows that God is the Owner and Maker of all these things.

In a strict sense, as in the Mass, a sacrifice is the official offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, in order to admit that God is the supreme Lord of all things.

From the time of Adam sacrifice was offered. Cain offered fruits; Abel offered animals. God made known that such sacrifice was pleasing to Him.

He even ordered how and when these sacrifices were to be offered. The Old Testament records that thousands of oxen, sheep and goats were slain to acknowledge God's supremacy, to ask favors, to beg God's pardon, to express gratitude and for many other reasons.

But the supreme sacrifice was to be offered by the Redeemer of all mankind. Christ's death for all of us, His sacrifice most pleasing and powerful, was foretold and shown forth beforehand. Abel and Isaac and the Paschal Lamb, for instance, were figures and representations of the offering Christ was to make.

Upon Himself He took this great burden of worship, thanksgiving, petition and reparation. Upon a cross He died for all. Truly could Christ say: "I lay down my life for my sheep." That death and sacrifice was to continue to the end of time.

True, Christ could die but once, but His death is brought forth in the Mass in a mystical way. Mystical death means that Christ's death is presented in every Mass in a way that cannot be seen or felt or heard, in a way that the unaided human mind cannot understand.

There is the essence of Mass - Christ dying for us upon the altar the very hour as you kneel before Him, and every minute of every day upon some altar of the world.

How thrilled the Swiss of today would be if they could be present at the heroic death of Arnold Winkelried, if they could see him give his life to save them. How thrilled you must be as you see the death, the sacrifice of Christ re-presented for you in your own church for your own souls. How thrilled we are to see our Good Shepherd laying down His life for us.

Ever more, we not only see Mass and hear Mass, we assist the priest in offering Mass, taking part in Christ's heroic sacrifice for us.

Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne,OFM (© 1947)

New parish reflects population shifts

The first new parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 25 years will make western St. Charles County its home. The parish will celebrate St. Gianna Beretta of Italy. St. Gianna died in 1962 and was canonized in 2004.

"She was a doctor, a wife, a mother, and she went about her everyday life with deeds of great service," said Rev. Timothy Elliot, who will lead the new parish. "She's a model for the young families and young professional families today." . . .
Post Dispatch article continues here

Boycott Da Vinci film, Vatican official urges

Apr. 28 ( - The secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called for a boycott of the film version of The Da Vinci Code, saying that the work is "full of calumnies, offenses, and historical and theological errors."

"I hope you will all boycott it," said Archbishop Angelo Amato at an April 28 seminar on the Church in the media. The seminar was held at the Roman University of the Holy Cross, which is run by Opus Dei, an apostolate that is given an extremely sinister portrayal in The Da Vinci Code.

Gospel for April 29, Memorial: St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin & Doctor of the Church

From: John 6:16-21

Jesus Walks on the Water

[16] When evening came, His (Jesus') disciples went down to the sea, [17] got into the boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. [18] The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. [19] When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, [20] but He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." [21] Then they were glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.


16-21. It seems the disciples were disconcerted because darkness had fallen, the sea was getting rough and Jesus had still not appeared. But our Lord does not abandon them; when they had been rowing for some five kilometers (three miles), He arrives unexpectedly, walking on the water--to strengthen their faith, which was still weak.

In meditating on this episode Christian tradition has seen the boat as symbolizing the Church, which will have to cope with many difficulties and which our Lord has promised to help all through the centuries (cf. Matthew 28:20); the Church, therefore, will always remain firm. St. Thomas Aquinas comments: "The wind symbolizes the temptations and persecution the Church will suffer due to lack of love. For, as St. Augustine says, when love grows cold, the sea become rougher and the boat begins to founder. Yet the wind, the storm, the waves and the darkness will fail to put it off course and wreck it" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, April 28, 2006

St. Gianna Beretta Molla: Wife, mother and physician

This is the link to the article written by Archbishop Burke about St Gianna, patron saint of the new parish established in St. Charles county and the first parish in the US under the her patronage.

Click here to learn more about St. Gianna Beretta Molla.

Mental Prayer for April 29, St. Paul and the Mystical Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To give to others what God has given me.

The Idea: Look at a candle... in a big, dark house electricity. It gives steady light... is burning... is alive... fires other candles... wears itself down... uses itself up completely... that its light might be seen. St. Paul was a candle... in a dark world of ignorance. Once fired by love... he gave steady light... burned with zeal... fired those who knew him... wore himself down... used himself completely... that "Christ shall be made known to those who never heard of Him."

My Personal Application: There are people I know who haven't really heard Christ. I should be today's St. Paul. Christ wants me to make His name known... riding in a car, at the ballpark, in a card game, in English class, watching TV, on the street corner. If I won't, WHO WILL? That doesn't mean "Christ" tattooed on my arm, or passing out holy pictures. It means "Christ" tattooed on my heart, a picture of our Lord's life in my mind. It means doing a thing because it is right - the way Christ would do it today - and not afraid to tell others I do it because it is what Christ wants.

I Speak to Christ: Lord, I appreciate greatly what You have given me. And I know I must give to others. I must not hide my candle under a basket. Tell me where and how You want me to diffuse Your light. Make Your light grow brightly in me.

Thought for Today: Lord, may Your light shine through me.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Dr Edward Peters: The Act of Formal Defection

1. It is possible (c. 124), but highly unusual, to impose, for validity, on “rank-and-file” members of the Church, the specific obligation of writing when they wish to achieve and effect in the Church. Indeed, outside of a few cases involving higher-level ecclesiastical administration, it appears that a writing requirement for the validity of an action is virtually unheard of.

2. Entry into the Church is not conditioned upon one writing (personally, or through another) anything. . .

Decoding ‘The Da Vinci Code’-May 2 with Fr. Michael Witt

Father Michael Witt, who teaches Church history at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, will give a presentation refuting the errors of "The Da Vinci Code" novel at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at Most Sacred Heart Parish, 350 E. Fourth St., Eureka.
Admission is free.
Call (636) 938-5048 for more information.

"Monologues" produce confusion, not good

Below is a link to a Letter to the Editor by a rape victim who takes issue with Fr. Jenkin's decision...

An excerpt:
Standing against "The Vagina Monologues" is a hard thing to do because to do so is to risk being persecuted as anti-woman, anti-feminist and to be framed as an ultra-legalistic conservative - afraid of sexuality, crude words and scantily clad women - a fact that I think has contributed to much of the success of "The Vagina Monologues." I am not afraid of my sexuality. I will be married this fall and I look forward with anticipation to a happy and frequent sex life. I am not afraid of crude words. I have a very quaint grandmother who when given the proper provocation can make even a truck driver blush. And I am certainly not afraid of scantily clad women, fighting for women's protection or raising awareness for true feministic issues. However, despite the author's good intentions, "The Vagina Monologues" clearly trivializes the dignity of women because it gauges the health of a woman's sexuality by her ability to personify her vagina, not to mention the blatant misandry throughout the dialogues making it seem more like a work of hate than of love.
. . .
To say that "The Vagina Monologues" does not violate our Christian identity or show contempt for part of our community is to cross over onto very thin ice. As Catholics we are not allowed to do even a small amount of evil so that good may be obtained. I believe that "The Vagina Monologues" does more than a little evil by further confusing the dignity of women and obtains only an infinitesimal amount of good through its efforts to raise awareness of violence against women. There are much better ways to accomplish this goal while still preserving an open, academic environment.
While this woman's lucid explanation may not convince the blind, it will, nonetheless, confirm what we already knew to be true.

Carlo Maria Martini’s “Day After”

The text of the cardinal published in “L’espresso” greatly irritated the Church’s leadership. Some have interpreted it as the manifesto of an antipope. Here is a summary of the reactions, plus a commentary by Pietro De Marco

by Sandro Magister

Formal decrees on new St. Charles parish


Subsequent to the alteration of the territorial boundaries of Immaculate Conception Parish at Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, and Saint Patrick Parish at Wentzville, Missouri, and in accord with the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law (canons 120 ’1; 121; 374 §1; 515 ’2 & 3; and 518), and having consulted the Presbyteral Council at their meeting of February 21, 2006, I hereby officially establish Saint Gianna Parish at Wentzville, Missouri.

I likewise promulgate the boundaries of the Parish of Saint Gianna as follows:

Starting at Highway 40 and Dardenne Creek; West on Dardenne Creek and Little Dardenne Creek to Highway Z; South on Highway Z to Dyer Road; West on Dyer Road and the extension of Dyer Road to the St. Charles County/Warren County line at Highway T; North on Highway T to Highway N; East on Highway N (south side) to Schaper Road; North and East on Schaper Road (east side) to Jackson Road; East on Jackson Road (south side) to Pointe Prairie Road; South on Pointe Prairie Road (west side) to Sams Creek; East on Sams Creek to Peruque Creek; East on Peruque Creek to the point where the westward extension of Heather Glen Drive would meet Peruque Creek (at the southeast corner of Quail Ridge County Park); East on the extension of Heather Glen Drive and Heather Glen Drive (both sides) to Duello Road; East on Duello Road (south side) to Prospect Road; East on Prospect Road (both sides) to Highway 40; Southeast on Highway 40 to Dardenne Creek.

All Catholics having domicile within the above described territory are considered members of Saint Gianna Parish, and, as such, are subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Reverend Pastor of that Parish and are obliged to contribute to the support of the same Parish.

The effective date of the establishment of the Parish of Saint Gianna is the thirteenth day of June, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.

The publication of this Decree in the official Archdiocesan newspaper, The St. Louis Review, will be presumed as the official notification of this action. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given at the Archdiocesan Curia, on the feast day of Saint Gianna, this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.


In accord with the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law (canons 122; 515 ’2 & 3), and having consulted the Presbyteral Council on February 21, 2006, I hereby officially alter the territorial boundaries of Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri.

The reasons for said alteration are that the altered territorial boundaries of the Parish reflect the reality of the pastoral circumstances, and will make it possible to better provide for the pastoral needs of the faithful of the area.

I promulgate the territorial boundaries henceforth are as follows:

Starting at Highway K and Highway 40; West on Highway 40 to Lake St. Louis; Northeast through Lake St. Louis to a point directly south of the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Lake St. Louis Boulevard; North from this point on Lake St. Louis to the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Lake St. Louis; East on Veterans Memorial Parkway to Bryan Road; South on Bryan Road (west side) to Mexico Road; East on Mexico Road to a point between Stone Creek Valley Circle and Collier Boulevard; South from this point on an imaginary line to Feise Road (excluding Pebblebrook Subdivision); East on Feise Road (south side) and its extension to Highway K; South on Highway K to Highway 40.

All Catholics having domicile within the above described territory are now considered members of Immaculate Conception Parish at Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, and as such, are subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Reverend Pastor of that Parish and are obliged to contribute to the support of the same Parish.

The effective date of the canonical alteration of Immaculate Conception Parish is the thirteenth day of June, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.

The publication of this Decree in the official Archdiocesan newspaper, The Saint Louis Review, will be presumed as the official notification of this action. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given at the Archdiocesan Curia, on this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.


In accord with the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law (canons 122; 515 ’2 & 3), and having consulted the Presbyteral Council on February 21, 2006, I hereby officially alter the territorial boundaries of Saint Patrick Parish in Wentzville, Missouri.

The reasons for said alteration are that the altered territorial boundaries of the Parish reflect the reality of the pastoral circumstances, and will make it possible to better provide for the pastoral needs of the faithful of the area.

I promulgate the territorial boundaries henceforth are as follows:

Starting at the intersection of Schultz Road and the St. Charles County/Warren County line; East on Schultz Road (neither side) and its extension to the intersection of Duenke Road and Scotti Road; East on Scotti Road (neither side) and its extension to Highway 61; Southeast on an imaginary line from Highway 61 to the point where the extension of Edinger Road would meet East Pitman Avenue; East on East Pitman Avenue (both sides) to Lake St. Louis Boulevard; South on Lake St. Louis Boulevard across Interstate 70 to the Veterans Memorial Parkway (south outer road); South from this point on an imaginary line to the middle of Lake St. Louis; Southwest on an imaginary line through Lake St. Louis to Highway 40; Northwest on Highway 40 to Prospect Road; West on Prospect Road (neither side) to Duello Road; West on Duello Road (north side) to Heather Glen Drive; West on Heather Glen Drive (neither side) and its extension to Peruque Creek; West on Peruque Creek and Sams Creek to Pointe Prairie Road; North on Pointe Prairie Road (east side) to Jackson Road; West on Jackson Road (north side) to Schaper Road; West and South on Schaper Road (north side) to Highway N; West on Highway N (north side) to Highway T (at the St. Charles County/Warren County line) North on the St. Charles County/Warren County line to Schultz Road.

All Catholics having domicile within the above described territory are now considered members of Saint Patrick Parish in Wentzville, Missouri, and as such, are subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Reverend Pastor of that Parish and are obliged to contribute to the support of the same Parish.

The effective date of the canonical alteration of Saint Patrick Parish is the thirteenth day of June, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.

The publication of this Decree in the official Archdiocesan newspaper, The Saint Louis Review, will be presumed as the official notification of this action. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding. Given at the Archdiocesan Curia, on this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of Our Lord, 2006.

Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of St. Louis

Fr Timothy Elliott - Named Pastor of New Parish, St. Gianna

In a very surprising development, Archbishop Burke has named Father Timothy Elliott as the new pastor of a new parish in St. Charles County which will be named St. Gianna.
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke announced the formation of the new parish and its boundaries today, April 28. It will include part of Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne and St. Patrick Parish in Wentzville.

Today is the feast day of the patron saint of the new parish, an Italian physician who died in 1962 and was canonized in 2004. It is considered the first parish in the United States under her patronage.

It is estimated that around 700 families will be part of the initial parish. Families who have children currently enrolled in the day schools at Immaculate Conception or St. Patrick will not be asked to change parishes.

Father Elliott said he was grateful to the archbishop for the assignment. The patron saint is "someone who is a great model for ordinary Catholics who want to live their faith and become saints in their ordinary lives as she was as a wife, mother and doctor. There are many powerful lessons in her life, and she will be an inspiration for the parish," he said.

The new parishioners need to put a lot of faith in God’s guidance, he said. "There will probably be some difficulties for people starting a new parish and leaving their old parishes. I can understand it. It’s not going to be easy for me to leave Josephville, either."
One can only imagine the the sadness of the parishioners of St. Joseph's who are losing such a good pastor as Fr. Elliott. A model of priest, he will be sorely missed, I am certain.

More details here...

In praise of religious habits and healthy small churches

Archbishop Vasa's Latest Column

Bishop D'Arcy Response to Notre Dame's President

Pastoral response to 'A Closing Statement on Academic Freedom and Catholic Character' by Father John Jenkins, CSC

Two priests removed over allegations

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Two small-town Roman Catholic priests have been removed from active service by the Diocese of Jefferson City following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The diocese is investigating claims against the Rev. Louis E. Dorn of St. Joseph Catholic Church in the northeast Missouri town of Louisiana and the Rev. John Joseph Schutty of St. Cecilia Catholic Church in the Osage County town of Meta, church officials said Wednesday.

...the Rev. James Smith, St. Peter's associate pastor, said that even publicizing the diocese's preliminary action is a disservice to the two men. "It's nobody's business," he said. "There is a way this is handled in the diocese."
This is too bad. We should pray for all involved...


Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 6:1-15

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fish

[1] After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. [2] And a multitude followed Him, because they saw the signs which He did on those who were diseased. [3] Jesus went up into the hills, and there sat down with His disciples. [4] Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. [5] Lifting up His eyes, then, seeing that a multitude was coming to Him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" [6] This He said to test them, for He Himself knew what He would do. [7] Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." [8] One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, [9] "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" [10] Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] Jesus then took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. [12] And when they had eaten their fill, He told His disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." [13] So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. [14] When the people saw the sign which He had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!" [15] Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the hills by Himself.

1. This is the second lake formed by the river Jordan. It is sometimes described in the Gospels as the "Lake of Gennesaret" (Luke 5:1), because that is the name of the area on the north-eastern bank of the lake, and sometimes as the "Sea of Galilee" (Matthew 4:18; 15:29; Mark 1:16; 7:31), after the region in which it is located. St. John also calls it the "Sea of Tiberias" (cf. 21:1), after the city of that name which Herod Antipas founded and named after the Emperor Tiberius. InJesus' time there were a number of towns on the shore of this lake--Tiberias, Magdala, Capernaum, Bethsaida, etc.--and the shore was often the setting for His preaching.

2. Although St. John refers to only seven miracles and does not mention others which are reported in the Synoptics, in this verse and more expressly at the end of the Gospel (20:30; 21:25) he says that the Lord worked many miracles; the reason why the evangelist, under God's inspiration, chose these seven must surely be because they best suited His purpose--to highlight certain facets of the mystery of Christ. He now goes on to recount the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, a miracle directly connected with the discourses at Capernaum in which Jesus presents Himself as "the bread of life" (6:35, 48).

4. St. John's Gospel often mentions Jewish feasts when referring to events in our Lord's public ministry--as in the case here (cf. "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ", in the "The Navarre Bible: St. Mark", pp. 49ff, and "Introduction to the Gospel according to St. John", pp. 13ff above).

Shortly before this Passover Jesus works the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, which prefigures the Christian Easter and the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, as He Himself explains in the discourse, beginning at verse 26 in which He promises Himself as nourishment for our souls.

5-9. Jesus is sensitive to people's material and spiritual needs. Here we see Him take the initiative to satisfy the hunger of the crowd of people who have been following Him.

Through these conversations and the miracle He is going to work, Jesus also teaches His disciples to trust in Him whenever they meet up with difficulties in their apostolic endeavors in the future: they should engage in them using whatever resources they have--even if they are plainly inadequate, as was the case with the five loaves and two fish. He will supply what is lacking. In the Christian life we must put what we have at the service of our Lord, even if we do not think it amounts to very much. He can make meager resources productive.

"We must, then, have faith and not be dispirited. We must not be stopped by any kind of human calculation. To overcome the obstacles we have to throw ourselves into the task so that the very effort we make will open up new paths" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 160).

10. The evangelist gives us an apparently unimportant piece of information: "there was much grass in the place." This indicates that the miracle took place in the height of the Palestinian spring, very near the Passover, as mentioned in verse 4. There are very few bigmeadows in Palestine; even today there is one on the eastern bank of the Lake of Gennesaret, called El-Batihah, where five thousand people could fit seated: it may have been the site of this miracle.

11. The account of the miracle begins with almost the very same words as those which the Synoptics and St. Paul use to describe the institution of the Eucharist (cf. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25). This indicates that the miracle, in addition to being an _expression of Jesus' mercy towards the needy, is a symbol of the Blessed Eucharist, about which our Lord will speak a little later on (cf. John 6:26-59).

12-13. The profusion of detail shows how accurate this narrative is--the names of the Apostles who address our Lord (verses 5,8), the fact that they were barley loaves (verse 9), the boy who provided the wherewithal (verse 9) and, finally, Jesus telling them to gather up the leftovers.

This miracle shows Jesus' divine power over matter, and His largesse recalls the abundance of messianic benefits which the prophets had foretold (cf. Jeremiah 31:14).

Christ's instruction to pick up the leftovers teaches us that material resources are gifts of God and should not be wasted: they should be used in a spirit of poverty (cf. note on Mark 6:42). In this connection Paul VI pointed out that "after liberally feeding the crowds, the Lord told His disciples to gather up what was left over, lest anything should be lost (cf. John 6:12). What an excellent lesson in thrift--in the finest and fullest meaning of the term--for our age, given as it is to wastefulness! It carries with it the condemnation of a whole concept of society wherein consumption tends to become an end in itself, with contempt for the needy, and to the detriment, ultimately, of those very people who believed themselves to be its beneficiaries, having become incapable of perceiving that man is called to a higher destiny" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Address to Participants at the World Food Conference", 9 November 1974).

14-15. The faith which the miracle causes in the hearts of these people is still very imperfect: they recognize Him as the Messiah promised in the Old Testament (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15), but they are thinking in terms of an earthly, political messianism; they want to make Him king because they think the Messiah's function is to free them from Roman domination.

Our Lord, who later on (verses 26-27) will explain the true meaning of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, simply goes away, to avoid the people proclaiming Him for what He is not. In His dialogue with Pilate (cf. John 18:36) He will explain that His kingship "is not of this world": "The Gospels clearly show that for Jesus anything that would alter His mission as the Servant of Yahweh was a temptation (cf. Matthew 4:8: Luke 4:5). He does not accept the position of those who mixed the things of God with merely political attitudes (cf. Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; John 18:36). [...] The perspective of His mission is much deeper. It consists in complete salvation through transforming, peacemaking, pardoning, and reconciling love. There is no doubt, moreover, that all this makes many demands on the Christian who wishes truly to serve his least brethren, the poor, the needy, the outcast; in a word, all those who in their lives reflect the sorrowing face of the Lord (cf. "Lumen Gentium", 8)" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Opening Address to the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops", 28 January 1979).

Christianity, therefore, must not be confused with any social or political ideology, however excellent. "I do not approve of committed Christians in the world forming a political-religious movement. That would be madness, even if it were motivated by a desire to spread the spirit of Christ in all the activities of men. What we have to do is put God in the heart of every single person, no matter who he is. Let us try to speak then in such a way that every Christian is able to bear witness to the faith he professes by example and word in his own circumstances, which are determined alike by his place in the Church and in civil life, as well as by ongoing events.

"By the very fact of being a man, a Christian has a full right to live in the world. If he lets Christ live and reign in his heart, he will feel--quite noticeably--the saving effectiveness of our Lord in everything he does" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 183).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Working Together against The Da Vinci Code

I received the following email today:
With the upcoming premier of The Da Vinci Code it is important that we band together as one voice to combat the insults to the Gospel. Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and editor of Movieguide, as set up a petition for all denominations to come together and denounce the production of this movie and those associated with it.

So please, do all you can to get the word out to the faithful. Together we are one loud voice that will show Hollywood that we do not approve of the profiting of society questioning the divinity of Jesus.

Please go to and sign the petition.
Thanks to Joe for sending this...

Also, I am posting a links for resource materials available for parishes, schools and groups in countering the lies and deceptions contained in The Da Vinci Code...The resources are available from Ascension Press and Da Vinci OutReach/Da Vinci Antidote. Now is the time to get your materials together so your study group or parish can be proactive in addressing this issue.

Also, don't forget to take a look at the American TFP here...Time is running out!

Mental Prayer for April 28, The Catholic and the Mystical Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, what place do I as a Catholic have in the Mystical Body? Help me to see it and live it.

The Idea: What about me, a Catholic? By my Baptism in Christ and my devotion to His Mother I am very closely united to Christ. I have a special place in the Mystical Body. As a member of the Body of Christ I can do more to build up the Body of the Mystical Christ. And since I can, I should. This is the real point of all I've been meditating about: I have a special responsibility to show forth Christ by becoming united to Him more and more closely and making His ways my ways. If I do not live and act as a member of the Mystical Body, I am letting Christ down. He has given me the opportunity to become a Catholic because he wants to come to men in a special way through me. How am I to live up to my respon­sibility? By living my faith as fully as I can.

My Personal Application: Have I ever gone through the teachings of the Church and tried to see how each one of them, in a definite way, helps form me to be more Christlike? Why don't I do that today? Have I ever stopped to realize that just by living as Christ and His Church teach me, as completely as possible, I am building up Christ's Mystical Body by showing forth Christ in my life?

I Speak to God: Lord, I see more clearly now how living the life of a faithful member of Your Church - really living it - fits into your work of making men - all of them­ - saints.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Alter Christus - Imitamini Quod Tractatis

In a previous recollection we considered how the devout celebration of holy Mass helps us to grow in the spirit of humility and compunction. Let us dwell today on another, yet more direct, fruit of our daily Mass: viz. the spirit of sacrifice and immolation. The holy altar is an eloquent pulpit, urging us to many virtues. Most pressing among these is the priest's duty to imitate Christ whose minister he is, by sharing the dispositions of the Victim he offers up in sacrifice. The solemn exhortation of his ordination day ought ever to ring in his ears: "Imitamini quod tractatis." Let us ponder again over its significance, and try to deepen its influence upon our life. This will help us also to live in the spirit of the liturgy of these days, commemorative of Christ's holy Passion.


How close to us holy Mass brings the sublime mystery of Christ's immolation. The thought may occur to us at times: "Had I been present on Calvary, when Christ died on the Cross for me, how my heart would have gone out to the Divine Victim, how I would have united myself to His im­molation!" But we are on Calvary every day when we stand at the altar: under our very eyes, nay through our consecrated hands, the same Divine Victim offers up the same Sacrifice of His death on the Cross, albeit in a different manner.

Who will ever fathom the depth of this mystery of love? When Christ was dying on the Cross, His divine vision em­braced all men of all times, His Sacred Heart throbbed with love for each one of them. And for them He would have liked (according to the expression of St Bonaventure) to remain on the Cross, immolating Himself, till the end of times. As this could not be, He instituted this admirable Sacrifice of the Mass, in which His death on the Cross would be perpetuated "a solis ortu usque ad occasum, in omni loco", and all men could be present at the Sacrifice of Calvary and participate in its merits. "Fulget crucis mysterium."

And so it comes to pass that, morning after morning, I, even I, am the instrument which Christ uses to bring to men the infinite merits of His immolation on Calvary. Though I do not behold Christ hanging on the Cross, yet I know that my Mass is "the perfect memorial of Christ's Passion" (St Thomas). Even externally I see His death represented by the separate consecration of His Sacred Body and Precious Blood. And I am reminded of His Passion by the prayers of the Canon, by the liturgical gestures and the very vestments of the priest. Alas! even while I celebrate, there may be actual renewals of Christ's Passion by the outrages, the unworthiness or the indifference which Christ meets with in the Sacrament of His love at that very moment, in the world at large, perhaps round my very altar, perhaps (which God forbid) at this altar through my own faults. Christ foresaw it all when He instituted the sacrifice of the Mass, but He would not be deterred by it from becoming our Victim of Love on the altars. "0 mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio!"

* Is my daily oblation of holy Mass a daily communion with Christ's immolation on Calvary?

"As often as I do these things", am I doing them in conscious and loving remembrance of the crucified Saviour?

Do I behold with the eyes of the soul what lies under the "hostiam sanctam, hostiam puram, hostiam immaculatam" which I offer unto the infinite Majesty of God?

If I am but little affected by these sublime realities, is it not because I do not associate vividly enough my Mass with the Sacrifice of Calvary?

Do I think of this: in my preparation, whilst putting on the sacred vestments, when proceeding to the altar?

At the altar itself do I keep myself, in mind and even in body, united to Christ crucified?

Do I teach my Christians to assist at holy Mass as if they were witnessing Christ's immolation on Calvary?

The mother of Blessed Henry Suso told him at the close of her life that for thirty years she had never assisted at Mass without shedding tears at the thought of Christ's holy Passion. "Unde et memores tam beatae passionis."

The obvious consequence of these views of faith about holy Mass is that the offering priest must, like Christ, be a victim of love. Should he not share the dispositions of the High Priest whose minister he is? When Christ, for the love of him, offers Himself in immolation through his hands, would it not be intolerable if he did not join his own loving immola­tion to that of Christ? ... Moreover, that union of his self­ oblation with the one of Christ is called for by the very nature of the Mass: it is not the sacrifice of Christ alone but of all those who offer it with Him, and, chief among these, of the priest who celebrates the divine Mysteries.

At every Con­secration, the fervent priest deepens that union in immola­tion by lifting himself up with Christ Victim as a co-victim in sacrifice and self-surrender. And at each holy Com­munion, he seeks to share more deeply the self-sacrificing love which animates the Heart of Jesus beating now near his own heart...

What fruits of sanctification would not come thus to the priest, for himself and for his flock? He would go forth from the altar "Christo confixus cruci" : resolved "to conform his life to his ministry and to mortify his members from all vices and lusts", ready to bear generously all the trials and difficulties of the day's work, even desirous of and rejoicing in sufferings "to fill up those things that are wanting to the sufferings of Christ, for His body, which is the Church"...

* Does my daily Mass thus set the seal of sacrifice upon my daily life?

Am I aiming at it and longing for it?

­Do I live my Mass, by abiding in those dispositions of self ­oblation throughout the day?

Let me pray frequently for that grace: "Cor Jesu, caritatis victima, fac me tibi Hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem."

"Da nobis, Domine, perfectae caritatis sacrificium cum altaris oblatione coniungere...ut immaculatam hostiam offerentes, ipsi quoque in holocaustum tibi acceptum transeamus" (from the Mass of St Paulinus and the special Mass of St Vincent de Paul).
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 64.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Dr Ed Peters on: Canonization and the emerging Benedict XVI

Of those matters we know anything about (an important qualification when discussing papal activities), Benedict XVI's letter to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints seems to me to be one of the most important things he's done to date. It is certainly shows the clearest difference between him and John Paul II to emerge so far. Benedict XVI could have communicated his concerns about the beatification and canonization process in a simple telephone call; instead he wrote a short treatise on the topic. The world was meant to take notice...
A good analysis and one which seems to be right on target...There are not a few who think in a similar manner as Dr. Peters has expressed. Certainly, there will be more on this as time progresses.


Great! Tonight on FOX 2 News at 9:Truth behind Opus Dei in St. Louis...

I wonder if this qualifies as "MUST SEE" TV...?
The movie version of "The Da Vinci Code" is expected to be a summer blockbuster. It opens May 19th. Even though it is fiction, some claim its portrayal of the real-life Catholic society called Opus Dei is based on some unsettling truths. FOX 2's Paul Schankman goes inside the Opus Dei's St. Louis headquarters to investigate those claims.
And...everyone will get to see the items used for self mortification! I had heard that these items are not availabale at your local Catholic supply store, however...

Time is Running Out to Remove Your Name...

Opponents of two of the initiative-petition drives - to protect stem-cell research and to restrict state spending - are waging last-ditch campaigns to persuade people who've signed those petitions to reconsider and remove their names.

A spokesman for Carnahan said notarized letters requesting the removal of signatures must be received before the petitions are turned in. (My emphasis)

...a number of area Catholic churches are providing notaries and other assistance to encourage people to remove their signatures from petitions circulated by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. The coalition is seeking a ballot proposal that would protect many forms of embryonic stem-cell research that the church opposes.

At some churches, the notaries sit on the lawn after Mass to sign letters for parishioners who regret signing the petitions, said Molly Kertz, director of the St. Louis Archdiocese's Respect Life Apostolate.

Missourians Against Human Cloning - another group opposing the stem-cell proposal - is running radio ads that tell people not to sign the petition. Executive director Jaci Winship says her group believes that thousands of religious conservatives or Catholics unwittingly signed the petitions.
A sample form to remove your name from a petition is HERE (PDF file)...

For those Post Dispatch article, which was the source of this post, here.

Instructions on how to remove your name are here.

Additional Information is available here.

New book shows Pope's concerns for liturgy

Rome, Apr. 27 ( - The Italian publication of a book on the liturgy, with a preface by Pope Benedict XVI, is calling fresh attention to the Pope's interest in liturgical reform, and particularly in recovering the elements of the traditional Latin liturgy.
. . .
In his preface, written in 2003 when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger notes that Vatican II did not require the celebration of Mass with the priest facing the people, nor did the Council abolish the use of Latin in the liturgy.
More good news...

Alexandria Church Prepares for First Latin Mass

Preparations are underway for the first 1962 Latin Mass (also called the Tridentine Mass) to be celebrated in the diocese. The pamphlets have been ordered, the ladies are shaking out their veils and the priests are brushing up on their Latin.
. . .
Father Christopher Mould, pastor of St. Lawrence Parish, plans to have a practice session before the first Mass this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. He has been studying and practicing the old Mass as he prepares. “I’ve been reviewing my Latin and studying and practicing the rubrics,” he said. There are many different rituals involved in the Tridentine Mass.
. . .
It has not been decided who will celebrate the first Mass. At St. Lawrence, both Father Mould and Father James Mercer, in residence, will be trained. Father Paul deLadurantaye, director of the Office of Sacred Liturgy, and Father Terry Specht are also able to celebrate the Tridentine Mass...
Very good news for the Arlington Diocese!

Pope clarifies Church’s traditions, norms for canonization; announces new instruction

Vatican City, Apr. 27, 2006 (CNA) - As the world watches the Catholic Church in its process for the beatification of John Paul II, the Vatican has released a message from Pope Benedict to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which just finished its plenary assembly. In it, the Pope clarifies the Church’s stance and means for assessing sainthood.
. . .
“It should also be clearly borne in mind”, he wrote, “that unbroken Church practice establishes the need for a physical miracle, a moral miracle is not enough."
. . .
Moving to the subject of martyrdom, the Pope said that in its truest sense, the source and motive of martyrdom must be modeled in Christ, not done for what he called “fake different reasons” like “political or social ones.”

A Vatican-Free Monastic Community...

Sex offender sets up church
FORT ATKINSON - William J. Smith sparked the curiosity of his neighbors almost from the day he moved to Jefferson County last fall.
He installed an altar in his apartment and invited people for daily morning Mass and evening prayers, calling his undertaking "A Vatican-Free Monastic Community."

There would be more surprises for neighbors.
I'll bet! There usually are more surprises in circumstances like these...What were they? Read here.

Gospel for Thursday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 3:31-36

The Visit of Nicodemus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Nicodemus,) [31] "He who comes from above is above all; he who is on the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; He who comes from Heaven is above all. [32] He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony; [33] he who receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. [34] For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that He gives the Spirit; [35] the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. [36] He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him."


31-36. This paragraph shows us Christ's divinity, His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the share those have in God's eternal life who believe in Jesus Christ. Outside of faith there is no life nor any room for hope.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mental Prayer for April 27, Christ Among Men

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me realize that I am Christ for the men of my times.

The Idea: What foUows from the facts we have been thinking and praying about for the past days? If THE WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY making its home in our souls IS THE WORK OF SANCTIFYING MEN, if THE WORK OF CHRIST, whose life we have in us IS THE WORK OF SANCTIFYING MEN, then WE MUST MAKE THIS WORK OUR WORK. When Christ lived on earth, He walked through the country to reach men; He preached the way to God; His hands were laid on the sick to heal them; His heart was filled with love for us. We Catholics, the members of Christ's Mystical Body, are to be witnesses of Christ living in the modern world. With our feet He moves among men; through our lips He speaks to men; with our hands He comforts and heals; through us He shows His love for the men of our world. This is our great task: to carry on the work of Christ. As members of His Mystical Body, we are to be Christ in our world.

My Personal Application: Do I consider myself as a part of Christ's Mystical Body? Does this really enter into my thinking about life? Will it in the

I Speak to God: Lord, never let me forget what being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ means.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

IL Gov. Blagojevich Awards $2 Million to Fund ESCR

Gov. Rod Blagojevich awarded $10 million in state grants Monday to encourage stem-cell research and said he will look for ways to continue funding even if lawmakers refuse to support it.
. . .
Though the governor sought to play up the political significance of his action, only a fifth of the $10 million can be used for the controversial embryonic stem-cell research opposed by conservatives. Many Republicans and Democrats support adult stem-cell research, which doesn't have federal funding restrictions.

Vatican Cardinal on Condoms: Error in Reporting...

...I Don't Have the Authority to Produce a Document
The Cardinal in question is Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, appointed by late Pope John Paul II in 1997 as president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers... in 2004, ... he already then suggested that condoms could be used within marriage to prevent against AIDS transmission.

However, the teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter is that even inside the confines of marriage, the marital act (sex) is to be open to God's gift of life and thus condoms are not permitted. a clarification with Rome's Zenit News Service, Barragán himself said that he was only producing a "study" for the appropriate authorities within the Vatican and that he had no authority to produce a "document". The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers does not have the "competency to present a document to the Church. It is the Holy Father who has the competency or whoever he entrusts" with the task, the cardinal explained to Zenit.
More here at LifeSite.

A Review and Recommendation By Dr Edward Peters

Dr Peters says:
Regular readers know that I don't do book or magazine promos in my blog, but the current issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review is too good to let pass without comment.
HPR is an excellent magazine and well worth the subscription price.

Vatican draft document would approve condoms for married couples with AIDS

Awash in moral relativism...

Diocese of Lincoln in national spotlight

Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is getting a lot of national attention again because his is the only Roman Catholic diocese in the country that declined to participate in last year’s audit of compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

An Interview with Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

An Inside the Vatican NewsFlash
The Need to Act
Bishop Hilarion, who is Russian Orthodox, was born in Moscow, studied at Oxford, and is presently the Russian Orthodox Bishop for Central Europe based in Vienna, Austria
By Dr. Robert Moynihan

Gospel for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Easter

From: John 3:16-21

The Visit of Nicodemus (Continuation)

(Jesus said to Nicodemus,) [16] "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish buthave eternal life. [17] For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. [18] He who believes in Him is not condemned; He who does not believe is condemned already, because He had not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [19] And this is the judgment, that the light has come into world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. [21] But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."


16-21. These words, so charged with meaning, summarize how Christ's death is the supreme sign of God's love for men (cf. the section on charity in the "Introduction to the Gospel according to John": pp. 31ff above). "`For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son' for its salvation. All our religion is a revelation of God's kindness, mercy and love for us. `God is love' (1 John 4:16), that is, love poured forth unsparingly. All is summed up in this supreme truth, which explains and illuminates everything. The story of Jesus must be seen in this light. `(He) loved me', St. Paul writes. Each of us can and must repeat it for himself--`He loved me, and gave Himself for me' (Galatians 2:20)" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June 1976).

Christ's self-surrender is a pressing call to respond to His great love for us: "If it is true that God has created us, that He has redeemed us, that He loves us so much that He has given up His only-begotten Son for us (John 3:16), that He waits for us--every day!--as eagerly as the father of the prodigal son did (cf. Luke 15:11-32), how can we doubt that He wants us to respond to Him with all our love? The strange thing would be not to talk to God, to draw away and forget Him, and busy ourselves in activities which are closed to the constant promptings of His grace" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 251).

"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This [...] is why Christ the Redeemer `fully reveals man to himself'. If we may use the _expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. [...] The one who wishes to understand himself thoroughly [...] must, with his unrest and uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into Him with all his own self, he must `appropriate' and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself.

How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he `gained so great a Redeemer', ("Roman Missal, Exultet" at Easter Vigil), and if God `gave His only Son' in order that man `should not perish but have eternal life'. [...]

`Increasingly contemplating the whole of Christ's mystery, the Church knows with all the certainty of faith that the Redemption that took place through the Cross has definitively restored his dignity to man and given back meaning to his life in the world, a meaning that was lost to a considerable extent because of sin. And for that reason, the Redemption was accomplished in the paschal mystery, leading through the Cross and death to Resurrection" ([Pope] John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 10).

Jesus demands that we have faith in Him as a first prerequisite to sharing in His love. Faith brings us out of darkness into the light, and sets us on the road to salvation. "He who does not believe is condemned already" (verse 18).

"The words of Christ are at once words of judgment and grace, of life and death. For it is only by putting to death that which is old that we can come to newness of life. Now, although this refers primarily to people, it is also true of various worldly goods which bear the mark both of man's sin and the blessing of God. [...] No one is freed from sin by himself or by his own efforts, no one is raised above himself or completely delivered from his own weakness, solitude or slavery; all have need of Christ, who is the model, master, liberator, savior, and giver of life. Even in the secular history of mankind the Gospel has acted as a leaven in the interests of liberty and progress, and it always offers itself as a leaven with regard to brotherhood, unity and peace" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 8).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Are my eyes failing me?

Children’s Liturgy 3rd and 4th Grade Faith Formation – Reconciliation
The focus for this year is the meaning of forgiveness. Depending on the parent catechists, this theme is explored in a number of ways. Scripturally, the parables of mercy (The Found Sheep, The Found Coin, The Forgiving Father) and our connection to the True Vine are particularly related to this theme. The Parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ forgiveness of Simon Peter are also rich reflections. Materials from the Institute of Peace and Justice, especially the forgiveness component of the Peace Pledge, further illumine the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.

It may or may not be the time for children to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. The primary focus in this sacrament for children this age is the gift of God’s love for us, not our shortcomings. The main point is that God is always unconditionally loving and forgiving us, falling over Herself, extending Her love to us again and again. The sacrament of reconciliation begins and ends by dwelling on this wonderful gift of God’s infinite tenderness for us. This focus is important for children of this age because a somewhat unsettling awareness of their own limits is just dawning on their tender developing moral sensibility. They need to experience the encouragement and affirmation of God’s unconditional love. Blame, shame, and criticism are not helpful. (Emphasis is mine)
The above excerpt is from a local "Catholic" parish bulletin...Did I misread this or is God a "she"? Secondly, if God is "unconditionally" forgiving us, do we even need the Sacrament of Penance?

Don't believe me? Here it is (PDF file)...

Pro-Abortion ‘Catholics’ Applaud Cardinal Martini...

...and Talk of Vatican Altering Condom Stand

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2006 ( – The uproar caused last week as a highly placed Vatican Cardinal announced the Pope had asked for a study on the use of condoms and AIDS prevention, on the heels of statements in support of condoms in the context of AIDS by another notable Cardinal, has put a smile on the faces of anti-Catholic groups.
This reminds me of the commission Pope Paul VI called to study artificial contraception before his encyclical "Humane Vitae" in 1968...For those who may not be old enough to recall, it seemed like everyone was so convinced that the Church was going to change her immutable teachings on the intrinsic evil of contraception...Many were quite enamored with the thought that the era of "free love" was going to be blessed by the Catholic Church.

And despite the advice and suggestions of a number of the Holy Father's special commission members, Humanae Vitae was released to the utter dismay of those who professed to be Catholic - and this included many, many bishops and priests, who as history suggests, outright rejected the encyclical. The late Fr. John Hardon, related a story where Charles Curran, dissident theology professor at the Catholic University of America, was so enraged or upset that he protested on the steps at one of the campus buildings waving the encyclical in the air and yelling like a mad man...

Yet, the Holy Spirit had protected the Church and the Holy Father. Remarkable - no, miraculous! Just as our Lord promised! The fact that the majority of "Catholics" ignore or reject a fundamental teaching of the Church is quite sad and lamentable. But the Church's teaching stands as an unchangable truth. Will we witness another episode similar to this - an episode where professed Catholics, seduced by a liar and the father of lies, think they are like God, deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, good and evil...? Perhaps...

The LifeSiteNews article is here.

Dr. Lile's Partial Birth Abortion Video has moved again

Hopefully for the last I am told:

Video Here

This looks inviting: Summer Music Colloquium 2006

Gregorian Chant has been called the most beautiful music this side of Heaven.

But as Pope Benedict XVI and the Second Vatican Council have emphasized, it is also integral to Catholic liturgical life and should be heard and experienced with wide participation in every parish.

The Church Music Association of America is working to bring about this ideal with its Summer Music Colloquium, June 20-25, 2006, held at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Mental Prayer for April 26 -The Trinity Lives in Me

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me realize the tremendous fact that through sanctifying grace the Holy Trinity really lives in me.

The Idea: If the Holy Trinity asked me to prepare a place that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit could call home, just what would I do? How would it look when I was done? How would I start on it? Splendid gold and marble, like the tabernacles of the great churches? But these are not really homes. There is something personal about home - home is where our love is, where we belong, where we feel comfortable. Through sanctifying grace the Holy Trinity comes to dwell with each one of us in our soul. How can we prepare ourselves for the Three Persons? By trying to make our lives ever more like Christ's life. The more like Christ I am, the more at home the Holy Trinity will be with me. And when I pray to the Holy Trinity living in my soul, the sanctifying grace will be increased. In this way I can constantly grow in likeness to Christ nnd closeness to Christ, and make a better and better home for the Trinity.

My Personal Application: Perhaps I have always thought of the Holy Trinity as being far distant from me. But if I am in the state of sanctifying grace, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are within me, always ready to listen to my prayers. Do I take time off each day to pray to God, to the Trinity, to help me make a better and better home for them by becoming more and more like Christ?

I Speak to God: O Holy Trinity, never let me forget that in bringing you closer to myself I am bringing you closer to all men.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Bishop Gumbleton, Colorado State Senators Meet (& Plan?)

Catholic press systematically shut-out of state senate meeting with Bishop

Denver, Apr. 21, 2006 (CNA) - On Thursday, a Denver Catholic Register journalist, and the respective editors of ‘New Advent’ and Catholic News Agency approached to the office of Joan Fitz-Gerald, president of the Colorado Senate, expecting to attend a scheduled luncheon with Detroit’s Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, who was in town to discuss two state bills which would lift the statutes of limitation on some cases of sexual abuse.
Gumbledon, a retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, has been a strong advocate for the Colorado legislation and others like it around the country.
35 minutes after the event was scheduled to begin, Bishop Gumbleton, surrounded by Fitz-Gerald’s aides and by Barbara Blaine, National President of SNAP, arrived on the scene, coordinated for a few minutes and then proceeded into the senator’s office.
Two other journalists who had been invited, one from the Associated Press and one from the Denver Post, were informed that because of the presence of the “Catholic troops” –referring to the three Catholic journalists present--it was impossible to keep the original plan.
Thus - they decided to meet in secret...Behind closed doors....

This story details a pathetic example of Bishop Gumbleton's interference in the matters of the Catholic Church in Colorado...and of the cowardice of the all of the parties involved who were complicit in circumventing Colorado's Sunshine Law...

Read the entire story here.

Dr. Edward Peters: Thoughts on the conviction of Fr. Donald McGuire

Once again, some serious thoughts for serious reflection...

He Thinks The Da Vinci Code’ could help the Catholic Church...

Who Cast Tom Hanks As Robert Langdon??????

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks believes that his new controversial film ‘The Da Vinci Code’ could help the Catholic Church rather then hinder it.
. . .
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Hanks said: "I think the movie may end up helping churches do their job.

"If they put up a sign saying: 'This Wednesday we're discussing the gospel,' 12 people show up. But if a sign says: 'This Wednesday we're discussing The Da Vinci Code,' 800 people show up."
Many are intrigued by Gnosticism...the desire to obtain that secret knowledge...

Hat Tip to Beth E. for the link...

Italy to remove 'Da Vinci Code' ad from church scaffolding

It's only been there for weeks...

Bishop D'Arcy denounces Notre Dame Policy

D'Arcy rejected a student's suggestion that Notre Dame was no longer a strictly Catholic university. "I think among the major universities it is by far the most Catholic," he said. "I have great affection for it, and so does [Pope] Benedict [XVI]."
It's so Catholic, in fact, that University President Father John Jenkins announced that the "V-Monologues" would not be prohibited on campus because of "academic freedom"...Satan must be so pleased.

Article here.

Failure to Exercise Episcopal Authority?

From the Archdiocese of Dublin:
In response to queries regarding an invitation to Rev. Charles Curran to be a speaker at a Conference to be held at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, on 28th and 29th April next, entitled “The Risks of Theology” the Archbishop of Dublin, in whose diocese Maynooth College is situated, notes that Rev. Charles Curran, while being a Roman Catholic Priest in good standing, has been declared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as “not suitable and not eligible to exercise the functions of professor of Catholic theology”. The Archdiocese of Dublin has in no way been involved in the organization of the Conference.

Ends 24/04/06
Curran is a priest is good standing? Why? One wonders why the Archbishpo of Dublin would even permit this man to speak in his diocese? If he's not "eligible" to teach theology in a Catholic university (which he did for some 18 years at Cathlic University of America, to the dismay of faithful Catholics and, evidently, Pope John Paul II) what qualifies him to present his teaching in a diocesan setting?


Gospel for April 25, Feast: St. Mark, Evangelist

From: Mark 16:15-20

Jesus Appears to the Eleven. The Apostle's Mission

[15] And He (Jesus) said to them (the Eleven), "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. [16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [17] And these signs will accompany those who believe; in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

The Ascension

[19] So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

The Apostles Go Forth and Preach

[20] And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

15. This verse contains what is called the "universal apostolic mandate" (paralleled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same apostolic mission applies, especially to the Apostles' successors, the bishops in communion with Peter's successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole "Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all men partakers in redemption and salvation.... Every activity of the Mystical Body with this in view goes by the name of `apostolate'; the Church exercises it through all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: the whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part' (Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself.

"In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person's soul through grace, but it must also be said that it is Christ's will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: "On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation" ("ibid.", 3).

16. This verse teaches that, as a consequence of the proclamation of the Good News, faith and Baptism are indispensable pre-requisites for attaining salvation. Conversion to the faith of Jesus Christ should lead directly to Baptism, which confers on us "the first sanctifying grace, by which Original Sin is forgiven, and which also forgives any actual sins there may be; it remits all punishment due for sins; it impresses on the soul the mark of the Christian; it makes us children of God, members of the Church and heirs to Heaven, and enables us to receive the other Sacraments" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 553).

Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, as we can see from these words of the Lord. But physical impossibility for receiving the rite of Baptism can be replaced either by martyrdom (called, therefore, "baptism of blood") or by a perfect act of love of God and of contrition, together with an at least implicit desire to be baptized: this is called "baptism of desire" (cf. "ibid.", 567-568).

Regarding infant Baptism, St. Augustine taught that "the custom of our Mother the Church of infant Baptism is in no way to be rejected or considered unnecessary; on the contrary, it is to be believed on the ground that it is a tradition from the Apostles" ("De Gen., Ad Litt.", 10, 23, 39). The new "Code of Canon Law" also stresses the need to baptize infants: "Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the Sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it" (Canon 867).

Another consequence of the proclamation of the Gospel, closely linked with the previous one, is that "the Church is necessary", as Vatican II declares: "Christ is the one mediator and way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse to enter it, or to remain in it" ("Lumen Gentium", 14; cf. "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 4; "Ad Gentes", 1-3; "Dignitatis Humanae", 11).

17-18. In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened frequently. There are numerous historical records of these events in the New Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings. It was very fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof of the truth of Christianity. Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptional. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through faith. St. Jerome comments: "Miracles were necessary at the beginning to confirm the people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, miracles are not necessary" ("Comm. In Marcum, in loc."). However, God still works miracles through saints in every generation, including our own.

19. The Lord's ascension into Heaven and His sitting at the right hand of the Father is the sixth article of faith confessed in the Creed. Jesus Christ went up into Heaven body and soul, to take possession of the Kingdom He won through His death, to prepare for us a place in Heaven (cf. Revelation 3:21) and to send the Holy Spirit to His Church (cf. "St. Pius X Cathechism", 123).

To say that He "sat at the right hand of God" means that Jesus Christ, including His humanity, has taken eternal possession of Heaven and that, being the equal of His Father in that He is God, He occupies the place of highest honor beside Him in His human capacity (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", I, 7, 2-3). Already in the Old Testament the Messiah is spoken of as seated at the right hand of the Almighty, thereby showing the supreme dignity of Yahweh's Annointed (cf. Psalm 110:1). The New Testament records this truth here and also in many other passages (cf. Ephesians 1:20-22; Hebrews 1:13).

As the "St. Pius V Catechism" adds, Jesus went up to Heaven by His own power and not by any other. Nor was it only as God that He ascended, but also as man.

20. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the evangelist attests that the words of Christ have already begun to be fulfilled by the time of writing. The Apostles, in other words, were faithfully carrying out the mission of our Lord entrusted to them. They begin to preach the Good News of salvation throughout the known world. Their preaching was accompanied by the signs and wonders the Lord had promised, which lent authority to their witness and their teaching. Yet, we know that their apostolic work was always hard, involving much effort, danger, misunderstanding, persecution and even martyrdom--like our Lord's own life.

Thanks to God and also to the Apostles, the strength and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ has reached as far as us. But every Christian generation, every man and woman, has to receive the preaching of the Gospel and, in turn, pass it on. The grace of God will always be available to us: "Non est abbreviata manus Domini" (Isaiah 59:1), the power of the Lord has not diminished.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Six Good Reasons to Oppose Mandatory Fingerprinting

In the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal bishops have rushed to implement programs to protect children and comply with policies developed at their 2002 meeting in Dallas. Part of the strategy in many dioceses is mandatory fingerprinting of all employees and those volunteers who work with children. But fingerprinting the innocent is a bad idea for six good reasons.

(1) It masks the real problems that caused the scandals - clergy homosexuality and dissent;

(2) gives a false sense of security while ignoring legal abuse;

(3) violates privacy and demeans the innocent by creating a suspect class of Catholics;

(4) implies secular authority over the Church;

(5) drives a wedge between the flock and their pastor, and

(6) is the work of bureaucrats, not apostles.

For all these reasons prudent members of the faithful should just say no to fingerprinting.
Still, after all this time, the first reason above has still not been addressed even though Bishop Bruskewitz made every effort to get his brother bishops to acknowledge this back in 2002. Instead, futile attempts continue to spew forth from those who claim to be "protecting children"...And the gullible are lapping it up...

Read the thorough article by Mary Ann Kreitzer - Catholic Media Coalition, here, it's an eye opener for those who are still reluctant to acknowledge the detrimental influence of homosexuality in the priesthood...
Mandatory fingerprinting and background checks cannot solve a problem that is fundamentally rooted in a crisis of faith and a failure to govern. Dissent is so pandemic across the country that well-known Jesuit Fr. John Hardon, S.J. who died in 2000 warned for years that many dioceses in America would completely disappear. His words echo those of eminent theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand who in 1973 lamented one of the "most horrifying and widespread diseases" in the Church, "the lethargy of the guardians of the Faith… [who] fear men more than God...
Ain't it the truth?

From CWNews: Fraud charge against Elaine Pagels

There's dynamite on the CWN home page today: Father Paul Mankowski demonstrates that Elaine Pagels, the influential author of The Gnostic Gospels, has manipulated a crucial historical source to suit her thesis. This is the sort of flagrant scholarly misconduct which, for a less popular writer, would likely mean the end of any academic career. But Pagels is no ordinary writer; she's an important source of support for works like The Da Vinci Code and the "Gospel of Judas."

Will the normal standards of scholarship be applied? We'll soon see.
An excellect job of exposing the distortions...Read it here...

Judge: $46 million settlement in Diocese of Spokane, Unacceptable

Pope's Q&A With Young People (Part 2)

Mental Prayer for April 25 - Growing through Good Works

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me see how good works make me a better member of your Mystical Body.

The Idea: We strengthen our muscles by exercise. We learn how to work a problem by working it. We learn how to keep house by prac­tice. We learn to swim by swimming. We learn to live the Christ-life by living it. And by living it we increase it in our souls. My duty as a member of the Mystical Body is to see to it that I am a healthy, smooth-working, cooperative part so that the whole body is not lamed because of me. But what work shall I do? I've meditated on it many and many a time. Basically the question is: what is my vocation? I contribute to the health and vitality of the Mystical Christ by living out my vocation in life as perfectly as I can. Perhaps I have not yet decided what my permanent vocation in life shall be. But even my present duties are an important part of the Mystical Body. If I am doing the work that I should be doing as a student, as a worker uniting my efforts to those of the whole Body...if I am helping my neighbor when I can and should...if I am trying to show forth Christ in my life, then I am doing "good works" and growing in grace, strengthening Christ's life in me.

My Personal Application: Am I a useful member of the Mystical Body of Christ? Am I willing to do what Christ the Head of the Mystical Body wants me to do? Am I thinking of my vocation in life in terms of service to Christ and my fellowmen?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, never let me be a lame and useless member disfiguring your Mystical Body.

Thought for Today: I am Christ to the men of my times.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

2nd Sunday of Easter - Just a Peanut

Adapted from Fr Tonne's Talks for Children

"Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." St. John, 20 :29.

I want to tell you a story about a priest who liked to play tricks. One day he told the boys and girls in school that next week he was going to show them something wonderful. He would show them something that nobody in the world had ever seen before. After they all had a look at it, nobody in the world would ever see it again. He told the class that they would be the first who ever saw it; and they would be the last to see it, too, because it would disappear right in front of them.
He asked the children if they thought he could do this. Some thought he could; others said he couldn't.

You can be sure that during the following week those boys and girls thought and thought about what it might be. They tried to make Father give them a hint, but all he would say was: "Nobody ever saw it and nobody will ever see it again. You will be the only ones in the whole world who will ever see it."

Finally the day came and you can bet those boys and girls were all eyes and ears. Father had something in his hand. They leaned forward to see what it was. Slowly he opened his hand. There was - a peanut. Then he slowly broke the shell and took out the kernel, the inside of the peanut.

He smiled.

"Did any of you ever see that before?" he asked. "No, Father," they shouted.

"Did anybody else ever see it?"

"No, Father," they shouted again.

"Now, Jim," Father said to one of the boys, "please come up here. . .Open your mouth and eat this peanut."

"Will any of you ever see that peanut again?" Father asked.

"No, Father," they fairly screamed.

The Father explained that those who thought he could show them some­thing they had never seen before, something nobody would ever see after they had seen it - those who believed had faith in him. Those who did not believe he could do it, did not have faith.

This past Sunday we read a story from the Bible about divine faith, faith in God. You remember. Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to our Blessed Mother and all the apostles except St. Thomas. When the others told St. Thomas, "We have seen the Lord," he would not believe it. Eight days later, when St. Thomas was with the apostles, Jesus appeared to them again. Our Lord told St. Thomas to put his finger into the wounds in His hands and his hand into the wound in His side. St. Thomas believed.

What did Jesus say then? He told St. Thomas and all of us: "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."

Blessed means happy.

Jesus had made a promise to His followers much bigger than the promise which the priest made to the class. The priest promised to show the children something nobody had ever seen, something nobody would ever see again. Jesus promised that after He was crucified and buried He would rise on the third day. St. Thomas did not believe the way he should. He doubted. He wanted to be shown. He wanted to see before he would believe. He did not have real faith.

Jesus told us many things which we have to believe, even though we cannot see them. He told us that there is a heaven where all of us will go and be happy with God forever, if we try to do what God wants. He also told us that there is another place where those will go who do not serve and love the Lord.

Jesus told us that He would give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. He told us that Holy Communion was really Himself. We don't see Jesus in the Sacred Host, but we know it is our Lord because He said so.

Our Lord told us that He would hear and answer our prayers. We don't see Him listening, but by faith we know that He is listening.

Faith tells us all the things we need to know. Faith answers all the big questions of life. We all want to know: Why this? Why that? Many questions cannot be answered from what we see and hear and feel. We go to our Lord and He gives us the answer. We take Him at His word. We believe every word Jesus says because He always tells the truth. This gift of faith we receive in Baptism.

The Apostle Thomas should have believed. He should have believed that Jesus would rise, as He said He would, and that He did appear to the apostles.

God gives us faith when we ask for it. Faith is a gift. When you ask your father for something, say, a bicycle, something you could never buy yourself, and he gives it to you, then you are happy.

Faith is something that God the Father will give you if you ask for it.

You can't buy it or build it or find it yourself. God gives it to us.

Ask God for faith, boys and girls, a strong, unshaking, solid faith. Ask God to help you believe every word He tells us through the Bible and through His Church. Then you will be blessed, then you will be happy, happy in your wonderful Catholic faith. Amen.
Adapted from Talks for Children
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)