Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 23 - "Blessed Are the Merciful"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To love and imitate the mercy of God.

The Idea: The housemaid of a family was caught stealing a package of clothes and food. Instead of firing her, the owner of the house gave the maid another chance. We'd agree that, accord­ing to strict justice, the owner had a right to fire the maid. And justice is a virtue. By it we give to ourselves and others what is due. But mercy is also a virtue; by it we are inclined to forgive injustices out of a love for the offender. The owner above acted with mercy. In strict justice God could have taken our lives and thrown us into hell when we sinned mortally. Instead He was merciful.

My Personal Application: Suppose an ill-bred person maliciously ridicules my lack of ability. That hurts. Then months later I discover that same person heartbroken as a result of being "left out" on the big party prep­arations. I certainly owe nothing in justice. But he or she is my brother or sister in Christ's Mystical Body, and a kind word from me might easily give the comfort that is needed. I won't be the loser. I consider what words can aptly bring joy and yet ring true. I speak. With a slight look of surprise his face slowly brightens, and I find I have won a friend. And my mercy cost so little!

I Speak to Christ: I know that you expect me to stand up for my own rights. But what if you did that, Lord? Where would we all be? Where would I be? Often instead of demanding strict justice, I can forgive. The good I can do that way will far outweigh the little inconvenience or hurt I received.

Thought for Today: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for July 22, Memorial: St. Mary Magdalene, Disciple of the Lord

From: John 20:1-2, 11-18

The Empty Tomb

[1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. [2] So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

The Appearance To Mary Magdalene

[11] But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; [12] and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. [13] They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." [14] Saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." [16] Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). [17] Jesus said to her, "Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." [18] Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that He had said these things to her.


1-2. All four Gospels report the first testimonies of the holy women and the disciples regarding Christ's glorious resurrection, beginning with the fact of the empty tomb (cf. Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1ff; Luke 24:1-12) and then telling of the various appearances of the risen Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was one of the women who provided for our Lord during His journeys (Luke 8:1-3); along with the Virgin Mary she bravely stayed with Him right up to His final moments (John 19:25), and she saw where His body was laid (Luke 23:55). Now, after the obligatory Sabbath rest, she goes to visit the tomb. The Gospel points out that she went "early, when it was still dark": her love and veneration led her to go without delay, to be with our Lord's body.

11-18. Mary's affection and sensitivity lead her to be concerned about what has become of the dead body of Jesus. This woman out of whom seven demons were cast (cf. Luke 8:2) stayed faithful during His passion and even now her love is still ardent: our Lord had freed her from the Evil One and she responded to that grace humbly and generously.

After consoling Mary Magdalene, Jesus gives her a message for the Apostles, whom He tenderly calls His "brethren". This message implies that He and they have the same Father, though each in an essentially different way: "I am ascending to My Father"--My own Father by nature--"and to your Father"--for He is your Father through the adoption I have won for you and by My death. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, shows His great mercy and understanding by gathering together all His disciples who had abandoned Him during His passion and were now in hiding for fear of the Jews (John 20:19).

Mary Magdalene's perseverance teaches us that anyone who sincerely keeps searching for Jesus Christ will eventually find Him. Jesus' gesture in calling His disciples His "brethren" despite their having run away should fill us with love in the midst of our own infidelities.

15. From Jesus' dialogue with Mary Magdalene, we can see the frame of mind all His disciples must have been in: they were not expecting the resurrection.

17. "Do not hold Me": the use of the negative imperative in the Greek, reflected in the New Vulgate ("noli me tenere") indicates that our Lord is telling Mary to release her hold of Him, to let Him go, since she will have another chance to see Him before His ascension into Heaven.
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, July 21, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 22 - Who Thirst for Justice

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To have this thirst for your justice, Lord.

The Idea: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be satisfied." Re-read this beatitude, substituting "holiness" or "goodness" in place of "justice." That will help you better to see Christ's meaning. If you're hungering and thirsting after something, you're not merely casually interested in that object. You eagerly search for it; you're obsessed with the idea of it. A glutton constantly thinks of food. The athlete is incessantly occupied with the game. Christ promises joy (even on earth) to the sort of person who has his or her heart set on fire with the desire for personal holiness through the love of God and neighbor.

My Personal Application: This beatitude points to a lively Christianity. It urges an interest in living. How happy is the Christian who has responded to the calling of the Holy Spirit, to a life of accom­plishment for Christ. If teaching is my choice of vocation, let me hunger and thirst to bring my pupils a real character training. Shall I be an actor? Then I can strive to bring people healthy entertainment. A writer must eagerly search out truth and pass it on to people. If politics is my field, then I shall give all my effort to learn how to govern and how to protect.

I Speak to Christ: I know, Lord, that it is only the man or woman who gives himself wholeheartedly to his work for you and your kingdom who will ever really find satisfaction on this earth. Aid me to make my life a holy and useful one.

Thought for Today: "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Catholics Drawn by Love of the Latin Mass

"Dominus vobiscum."

That sentence, which means "The Lord be with you," is one of the few phrases most Catholics remember from the Latin Mass. But for the members of the Latin Liturgy Association, "Dominus vobiscum" is just the beginning.

The association, which promotes the use of Latin in all approved rites of the Roman Catholic Church, held its 10th national convention last weekend in St. Louis. More than 100 people turned out for events July 14-16 that included church tours, speakers and Latin Masses — Tridentine and Novus Ordo, Low Mass and High Mass.
. . .
"One of the often-overlooked directives of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council is that, although the vernacular may be introduced in various parts of the Mass and other liturgical rites, the use of the Latin language should also be preserved in our rites," Archbishop Burke said. "More specifically, the council asked that pastors take care that the faithful are able to say and sing those parts of the Mass, which are proper to them."

Archbishop Burke celebrated a Pontifical High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Church July 16 in conjunction with the convention. St. Francis de Sales, an historic church in South St. Louis, has been designated an oratory for celebration of the traditional (pre-Vatican II) Tridentine Mass.

Catholic Culture: Immigration: Catholic Thought on Social Issues

by Dr. Jeff Mirus, special to
July 19, 2006

Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. Among her many accomplishments, she served as Vatican representative to the UN’s Beijing Conference on Women in 1995, she is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, she was named one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in America by the National Law Journal, and she received the 2005 National Humanities Medal. Among serious intellectuals, policy makers and well-informed Catholics, Glendon’s name is a household word.

Who strangled Gregorian chant and polyphony – and why?

I Had a Dream: The Music of Palestrina and Gregory the Great Had Come Back

An exclusive interview with maestro Domenico Bartolucci. Who strangled Gregorian chant and polyphony – and why. And how to bring them back to life. Benedict XVI? “A Napoleon without generals”

by Sandro Magister

Quite a dream - It is a reality in many places, though, and hopefully more will come.

Gospel for Friday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 12:1-8

The Question of the Sabbath

[1] At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat. [2] But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath." [3] He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: [4] how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? [5] Or have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? [6] I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. [7] And if you had known what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. [8] For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."



2. "The Sabbath": this was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God Himself, the originator of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Exodus 20:8-11; 21:13; Deuteronomy 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this divine precept: by Jesus' time they had extended to 39 the list of kinds of forbidden work.

The Pharisees accuse Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath. In the casuistry of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling--types of agricultural work forbidden on the Sabbath.

3-8. Jesus rebuts the Pharisees' accusation by four arguments--the example of David, that of the priests, a correct understanding of the mercy of God and Jesus' own authority over the Sabbath.

The first example which was quite familiar to the people, who were used to listening to the Bible being read, comes from 1 Samuel 21:2-7: David, in flight from the jealousy of King Saul, asks the priest of the shrine of Nob for food for his men; the priest gave them the only bread he had, the holy bread of the Presence; this was the twelve loaves which were placed each week on the golden altar of the sanctuary as a perpetual offering from the twelve tribes of Israel (Leviticus 24:5-9). The second example refers to the priestly ministry to perform the liturgy, priests had to do a number of things on the Sabbath but did not thereby break the law of Sabbath rest (cf. Numbers 28:9). On the other two arguments, see the notes on Matthew 9:13 and Mark 2:26-27, 28.

[The notes on Matthew 9:13 states:
13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).]

[The notes on Mark 2:26-27, 28 states:
6-27. The bread of the Presence consisted of twelve loaves or cakes placed each morning on the table in the sanctuary, as homage to the Lord from the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Leviticus 24:5-9). The loaves withdrawn to make room for the fresh ones were reserved to the priests. Abiathar's action anticipates what Christ teaches here. Already in the Old Testament God had established a hierarchy in the precepts of the Law so that the lesser ones yielded to the main ones.

This explains why a ceremonial precept (such as the one we are discussing) should yield before a precept of the natural law. Similarly, the commandment to keep the Sabbath does not come before the duty to seek basic subsistence. Vatican II uses this passage of the Gospel to underline the value of the human person over and above economic and social development: "The social order and its development must constantly yield to the good of the person, since the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons and not the other way around, as the Lord suggested when He said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The social order requires constant improvement: it must be founded in truth, built on justice, and enlivened by love" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 26).

Finally in this passage Christ teaches God's purpose in instituting the Sabbath: God established it for man's good, to help him rest and devote himself to Divine worship in joy and peace. The Pharisees, through their interpretation of the Law, had turned this day into a source of anguish and scruple due to all the various prescriptions and prohibitions they introduced.

By proclaiming Himself `Lord of the Sabbath', Jesus affirms His divinity and His universal authority. Because He is Lord he has the power to establish other laws, as Yahweh had in the Old Testament.

28. The Sabbath had been established not only for man's rest but also to give glory to God: that is the correct meaning of the _expression "the Sabbath was made for man." Jesus has every right to say He is Lord of the Sabbath, because He is God. Christ restores to the weekly day of rest its full, religious meaning: it is not just a matter of fulfilling a number of legal precepts or of concern for physical well-being: the Sabbath belongs to God; it is one way, suited to human nature, of rendering glory and honor to the Almighty. The Church, from the time of the Apostles onwards, transferred the observance of this precept to the following day, Sunday--the Lord's Day--in celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

"Son of Man": the origin of the messianic meaning of this _expression is to be found particularly in the prophecy of Dan 7:13ff, where Daniel, in a prophetic vision, contemplates `one like the Son of Man' coming down on the clouds of Heaven, who even goes right up to God's throne and is given dominion and glory and royal power over all peoples and nations. This _expression appears 69 times in the Synoptic Gospels; Jesus prefers it to other ways of describing the Messiah--such as Son of David, Messiah, etc.--thereby avoiding the nationalistic overtones those expressions had in Jewish minds at the time (cf. "Introduction to the Gospel According to St. Mark", p. 62 above.]
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, July 20, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 21 -"Blessed Are Those Who Mourn"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To rely on you, Lord, as my true comfort.

The Idea: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Comfort stems from the very thought that God allows pain to make us think of eternity and heaven. It's a reminder that created things don't last long; heaven does. We know that the things about us simply don't last : teeth decay, food spoils, pets die, the car breaks down. There are other sources of hurt: study is necessary in order to know; wars destroy; nasty remarks cut into our souls; we sin; and finally all people die. Pain is good and useful only when, in seeking relief from it, we turn to God with supernatural hope.

My Personal Application: Are there some trivial­ities that I let irritate me? Things I'd be ashamed to own up to? When my team loses? Giving a speech? Disappointments? Has my first reaction been to sulk, to throw a tantrum? Do I "go to pieces" when ridiculed?

I Speak to Christ: Lord, I know you don't expect me not to feel hurt when there is cause for it. When I have reason for sorrow, no matter how
small the pain, I shall gently recall that I have no lasting home on earth. And more consolingly, I know that I have you to comfort me, to know all my needs, to answer all my prayers.

Thought for Today: For I shall be comforted.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

In St Louis, National Guard Troops Mobilized....

... to help in storm recovery

Gov. Matt Blunt today mobilized troops from the Missouri National Guard to help the St. Louis area recover from Wednesday night's widespread storm damage.

About 230 members of the 1140th Engineer Batalion were sent to St. Louis from its annual training in Wappapello and Macon to assist with the storm cleanup; the Missouri Air National Guard's 218th Engineer Installation squadron had already sent 30 airmen, and the local senior command, 70th Troop Command, is mobilizing about 35 soldiers for the effort.

Earlier, with scorching temperatures and thousands without power, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had asked the governor to declare the city a disaster area, echoing an earlier state of emergency declaration from St Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

I have heard reports of upwards of 450,000 homes & businesses in the area without power and possibly 3-5 days to restore it...

In a related news story:
A powerful summer storm slammed into the St. Louis area Wednesday evening, toppling buildings, street lights, tractor trailers and hundreds of trees.

At least 476,000 customers lost power, Metrolink was shut down and just one-third of flights were getting in and out of Lambert Field.

"This is one of the worst storms we can all remember to hit the city of St. Louis in recent years," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said at a hurriedly called news conference.
More here.

Day of Prayer for Mideast Peace

Pope declares day of prayer for Mideast peace

Jul. 20 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has called for a worldwide day of prayer and penance for peace in the Middle East, to be observed on Sunday, July 23.

In a statement released on July 20 through the Vatican press office, the Holy Father called upon "the pastors and faithful of all the particular churches, and believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace."

Gospel for Thursday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus Thanks His Father (Continuation)

(At that time Jesus declared,) [28] "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."


28-30. Our Lord calls everyone to come to Him. We all find things difficult in one way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus. Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere people feel. Only our Lord, our Master--and those to whom He passes on His power--can soothe the sinner by telling him, "Your sins are forgiven" (Matthew 9:2). In this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: "Jesus says now and always, `Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' His attitude towards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of offering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; He is our comforter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life" ("Homily on Corpus Christi", 13 June 1974).

"Come to Me": the Master is addressing the crowds who are following Him, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). The Pharisees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts 15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls. Jesus tells these people, and us, about the kind of burden He imposes: "Any other burden oppresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies" (St. Augustine, "Sermon" 126).

"All you who go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your cares and desires, go forth from them, come to Me and I will refresh you and you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mount Carmel", Book 1, Chapter 7, 4).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mental Prayer for July 20 - "Blessed Are the Meek"

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, let me learn what you meant when you said, "Learn from me; I am meek and humble of heart."

The Idea: In 1956 the Russian Communist government blundered in their human relations and "lost face" with the entire world of civilized people. They were intolerant of the Polish and Hungarian nations' desires for liberty. They were unforgiving of the Hungarian revolt. Finally they lost self-mastery. They could have prevented this, had they been tolerant, forgiving, and self-possessed - in a word: had they been "meek."

Meekness is a complex virtue that our present age needs. Strangely enough, even the pagan world recognizes the good sense of this virtue.

My Personal Application: What a shame if the pagan world grasps this beatitude, while we Catholics pass it by. I don't want to waste a moment of my life. And quarrels are sheer loss. Anger toward people I disagree with will never get things done. Let me look ahead into the next seven days: what chances will I probably have to practice this manly virtue of meekness with people I contact? "Forewarned is forearmed."

I Speak to Christ: Help me to win the happiness promised to meekness, for myself and for our world. In the face of anger let me be self-possessed. Where there is selfishness let me show reasoned patience. Let me replace any vengeance I might feel with forgiveness.

Thought for Today: "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart." (Matt. 2:29).
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Hot enough for you today?

I got an email a couple of weeks ago and considering the effects of "global warming", which many have been suffering of late, I though I would share it with you - hopefully, to put a smile on your face:

Dear Diary:

May 30th:
Just moved to Dallas...Now this is a city that knows how to live!! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. What a place! Watched the sunset from the Reservoir lying on a blanket. It was beautiful. I've finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th:
Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car. What a pleasure to see the sun on the water everyday like this. I'm turning into a sun worshipper.

June 30th:
Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing lawn for me. Another scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th:
The temperature hasn't been below 100 all week. How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least it's kind of windy though. But getting used to the heat and humidity is taking longer that I expected.

July 15th:
Fell asleep by the pool. (Got 3rd degree burns over 60% of my body.) Missed 3 days of work. What a dumb thing to do. I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol' sun in a climate like this.

July 20th:
I missed Fritters (our cat) sneaking into the car when I left for work this morning. By the time I got to the hot car for lunch, Fritters had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag and stank up the $2,000 leather upholstery. I told the kids that she ran away. The car now smells like Kibbles and cats. I learned my lesson though. No more pets in this heat.

July 25th:
The wind is a real pain. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it's hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the A/C repairman charged $200 just to stop by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th:
Been sleeping outside by the pool for 3 nights now. $1,500 in house payments and we can't even go inside. Why did I ever come here?

August 4th:
It's 105 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today. It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85, but this humidity makes the house feel like it's about 95. I hate this stupid city.

August 8th:
If another wise guy cracks, "Hot enough for you today?", I'm going to strangle him. Crazy heat. By the time I get to work the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like baked cat!!

August 9th:
Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts and sat on the black leather seats in the ol' car. I thought my rear end was on fire. I lost two layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs... Now my car smells like burnt hair, fried flesh, and baked cat.

August 10th:
The weather report might as well be a recording. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It's been too hot to do anything for 2 months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week!! Doesn't it ever rain in this desert?? Water rationing will be next, so might as well watch $1700 worth of cactus just dry up and blow into the pool. Even the cactus can't live in this heat.

August 15th:
Welcome to HELL!!! Temperature got to 105 today. Forgot to crack the window and blew the windshield out of the car. The installer came to fix it and said, "Hot enough for you today?" My wife had to spend the $1500 house payment to bail me out of jail. Freaking South.

What kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live here?

Bush Vetoes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Thanks be to God!

Bush announced his veto surrounded by 18 families who "adopted" frozen embryos not used by other couples to have children, otherwise known as "snowflake babies."

"Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said after several interruptions of applause from supporters.

"They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. The remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must never abandon our fundamental morals."

Emphasis above is mine...Thank you, Jesus, for allowing some in Washington to be guided by truth!

Not all, however, are satisified...

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada spoke out against Bush’s veto.

“Democrats will not give up the fight for stem cell research to kill even more of the unborn," Reid said in a statement. "It is a fight America the devil must win. We're going to press Republicans to override this veto, just as we pressed to get it to the Senate floor and just as we pressed to get this bill passed.”
Poor Harry...a man in much need of help and prayers...

"Their opposition to stem cell research is outside the American mainstream, so they want to give themselves political cover by voting for two meaningless bills," Reid said. "It's a playbook straight from the Republican Orwellian world of politics."
If anyone would know about "Orwellian" politics, it would surely be Harry and all of his pro-death Komrades...We need to pray for the souls of these demented individuals. They are incapable of rational thought. Perhaps, the Lord might look upon them with mercy, if indeed, their culpability for promoting the culture of death is really due to sheer stupidity and ignorance.

Science’s Stem-Cell Scam

It should change its name to Pseudoscience
By Michael Fumento

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) receive tremendous media attention, with oft-repeated claims that they have the potential to cure virtually every disease known. Yet there are spoilsports, self included, who point out that they have yet to even make it into a human clinical trial. This is even as alternatives — adult stem cells (ASCs) from numerous places in the body as well as umbilical cord blood and placenta — are curing diseases here and now and have been doing so for decades. And that makes ESC advocates very, very angry.
. . .
I’ve written repeatedly of how the publication has made itself a propaganda sheet for ESC research, as well as other political causes. At the least, it should change its name to Pseudoscience. Sometimes it prints easily falsifiable studies, such as this, attacking the usefulness of ASCs [Adult Stem Cells]. Other times it falsely promotes ESCs. That culminated in January when the journal was forced to retract two groundbreaking ESC studies that proved frauds.

The journal wants to flood unpromising ESC research with taxpayer dollars because private investors know just how very unpromising it is. Now yet again Science has showcased the scientific and moral bankruptcy of the entire ESC-advocacy movement.

Above the Law...

There those who, because of blindness or arrogance, view themselves as so highly enlightened or 'compassionate' that they are willing to promote the murder and death of innocent human life in the form of embryonic stem cell research in order to chase a dream. Some of these, seemingly suffering from an "I am god" complex, yearn to be, not only above the natural moral law, but also above the laws of the country - and all of this because of their idolatry of money and power.

I direct you to this article:
Three patents held by a Wisconsin alumni group may throw a bigger roadblock into stem cell research in the United States than federal funding restrictions, a leading stem cell scientist said Tuesday.

The patents give the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation broad rights over human embryonic stem cell lines in the United States.

Anyone who wants to derive medical therapies or other commercial products from embryonic stem cells may have to obtain permission and pay royalties to the foundation, affiliated with the University of Wisconsin.

The article continues here.

Many opponents of the deplorable experimentation of human life in its embryonic stages have long suggested that money and patents are at the root of the push to develop 'treatments' from cells obtained from the harvesting and experimentation of other human beings since adult stem cells do not offer the lucrative patents which embryonic stem cells might. And let's not be naive - this could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars or more...

So what do they do to remove this obstacle?

On Tuesday, two consumer groups filed challenges with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking to have the patents rescinded.
"The debate in Washington is morally based, but what's at stake with the patents is essentially money," said John Simpson of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, one of the groups that filed the challenge.

Money, money, money...but what about the promised cures and treatments? Let's not forget the numerous advances and treatments obtained from the se of ADULT STEM CELLS - something about which the media rarely reports. Some of these treatments are phenomenal! Yet many Americans remain clueless or ill-informed.

It will take about three months for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to decide whether to hold re-examination proceedings, said Dan Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation.

If it does reconsider the patents, that process can take anywhere from 18 months to several years. But Ravicher said the odds are good for his group. He noted that 70 percent of the time when a re-examination occurs, patents are changed or revoked.

The controversy reveals another potential roadblock for California's stem cell program, which voters hoped would be a way to get around federal funding restrictions and move quickly to obtain new treatments for dozens of debilitating diseases.

Perhaps this portends another avenue of hope for the citizens of Missouri who face a vote on a cleverly and deceptively worded constitutional amendment this November which seeks to REDEFINE the word CLONING and enshrine this gruesome and malevolent practice in its laws...We know that it is God's will that the most innocent of human life be protected, yet many continue to thumb their noses (or worse) at Him...May the light of Christ touch the hearts of those who act with such ghoulish propensities.

Jill Stanek on "Why Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama"

In February 2004, U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, sent a fund-raising letter with the "alarming news" that "right-wing politicians" had passed a law stopping doctors from stabbing half-born babies in the neck with scissors, suctioning out their brains and crushing their skulls.

Michelle called partial-birth abortion "a legitimate medical procedure," and wouldn't supporters please pay $150 to attend a luncheon for her husband, who would fight against "cynical ploy[s]" to stop it?

Continued here....

Veto Expected Today on Stem Cell Bill

President Bush readied the first veto of his presidency to stop legislation to ease limits on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. The veto is expected as soon as the measure reaches his desk. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that was expected to happen about midday Wednesday, and that Bush would veto the measure as promised.

Priest Follows His 'Heart' And Weds

I was living a double life, but now my conscience is clear," says Catholic Priest Father Godfrey Shiundu, 38, of his recent marriage. "I knew it was wrong to have a girlfriend while serving God as a priest, but I couldn't leave her because I love her with all my heart."
. . .
"I'd be with my girlfriend in bed on a Sunday morning, then I'd rush to church to say Mass hurriedly so that I could go back to her. At the altar I portrayed an image of an honest and Holy Father, but in my head I knew that wasn't true. I was sinning. I couldn't live with that guilt anymore."

Father Shiundu is no stranger to controversy. Four years ago, he was accused of impregnating a seminary nun. Temporarily rejected by the church, he had no one to turn to but Stella. "The bishops didn't give me a hearing; I still maintain I'm innocent. Stella was my soul mate, the only person I could rely on."

The man has two daughters by this woman, the older one being six.

Let us not forget that nearly always, sins of the flesh lead to rejection of God and the authority of the Church. This man has subsequently joined a group called the "Reformed Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church." It's amazing how most every rebellious sinner still wants to claim to be Catholic. And, of course, "reform" and "apostolic" are usually part of the mix when renegades decide to venture off on their own forsaking the promises of Christ.

Where does this rebellion lead? We have witnessed it throughout history and the story is always the same:

The Reformed Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church now has more than 2,000 members, and is encouraging women to join as priests. The election of bishops is done by the faithful, rather than by the head American church, and lay people are allowed up to the altar to read the Bible. The new church also permits the use of condoms, provided one of the partners is HIV- positive and could infect the other. These radical changes fly in the face of accepted Catholic doctrine, but Father Shiundu says a more realistic, practical approach is needed towards life, sexuality and relationships.

"When I was ordained a priest I promised to remain celibate, but-like any other promise- you can break it if it isn't working," he says.

Oh yes, "Father", promises and vows mean nothing anymore. I'm certain our Lord understands.

Are there no more peacemakers?

Cardinal Sfeir of Lebanon Celebrates Mass for Peace in Washington
July 18, 2006

His Beatitude, Cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, celebrated a Mass for Peace today in Washington, DC as he wrapped up a three-week trip to the United States. This was the Patriarch's last public event before returning to Lebanon.

Some excerpts from the Patriarch's homily:

My friends, I come today with a heavy heart because of what is happening in Lebanon. Are there no more peacemakers? I ask: is war inevitable?
. . .
Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said. May Our Lady of Lebanon, for whom this parish is dedicated, and to whom we turn to in prayer, protect Lebanon and help us to be, along with her, peacemakers.
More here...

Missouri Must Allow Inmates to Have Abortions

Let's see if I have this right...Those condemned to die for committing CAPITAL crimes cannot receive a just and lawful legal injection without a licensed anethesiologist present yet an innocent unborn child can be condemned to die at the hands of his/her mother and a murdering abortionist. Utter and sheer lunacy!

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The state must allow pregnant inmates to have abortions and transport them to facilities that perform the procedure, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple applies to all female prisoners in Missouri. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state had to allow a specific inmate, listed as Jane Roe, to have an abortion.

Of course, the ACLU has its hands in this...

Chiesa: Israel Is Fighting for its Life, but the Vatican “Deplores”

Departing secretary of state Sodano is one of the prominent proponents of the anti-Israeli camp. But there are some who have a different view on the new war in Lebanon. An interview with Fr. David Maria Jaeger
by Sandro Magister
These constant features of Vatican geopolitics all appear in the “declaration” released on July 14 by cardinal Angelo Sodano, the departing secretary of state:

“As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks of the one and the military retaliation of the other. In fact, the right of a state to defend itself does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially in those matters concerning the protection of the civilian population. In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and confirms its closeness to the people of Lebanon, who have already suffered so much in the defense of their independence.”

In comparison with the words pronounced by Benedict XVI at the Angelus two days later, one notes in this declaration from Sodano a more unbalanced position against Israel, which is given almost the entire weight of responsibility for the extension of the conflict into Lebanon.

But this is not a surprise, coming from Sodano. The anti-Israeli party that is active in the curia has always had him as one of their leading proponents.

Further proof is found in the enthusiasm with which the official Hezbollah radio and television outlet, “Al Manar,” greeted the July 14 declaration from Sodano, taking it as the position of pope Benedict XVI, “a defender of human rights and a model of sanctity.”

Gospel for Wednesday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 11:25-27

Jesus Thanks His Father

[25] At that time Jesus declared, "I thank Thee, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; [26] yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. [27] All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal


25-26. The wise and understanding of this world, that is, those who rely on their own judgment, cannot accept the revelation which Christ has brought us. Supernatural outlook is always connected with humility. A humble person, who gives himself little importance, sees; a person who is full of self-esteem fails to perceive supernatural things.

27. Here Jesus formally reveals His divinity. Our knowledge of a person shows our intimacy with Him, according to the principle given by St. Paul: "For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (1 Corinthians 2:11). The Son knows the Father by the same knowledge as that by which the Father knows the Son. This identity of knowledge implies oneness of nature; that is to say, Jesus is God just as the Father is God.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 31-Rally Against Human Cloning in Jefferson City

From the American Family Association:
You are cordially invited to attend a Rally titled "Christians Against Human Cloning" which will take place Monday, July 31, 7:00 PM at Concord Baptist Church, 3724 Truman Blvd., Jefferson City, Missouri.

My friends, Dr. Alan Keyes and Dr. Rick Scarborough, will present urgent information about Human Cloning and the proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution known as "Research and Cures Initiative." There will be entertainment by Kim Noblett and a nursery will be provided. There is no admission charge for the event.

There will be a complimentary dinner at 5:00 PM for all area pastors and their wives. [if married]

Please R.S.V.P. by calling 1-866-522-5582. Please share this information with your pastor.

You may call 1-866-522-5582 should need more details about this important event.

Please forward this important alert to all of your friends and family members in the Jefferson City area.
On a related note, we have been receiving numerous calls from 'research' firms (pollsters) on upcoming political races and initiatives such as the deceptive "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative"...

One call was from a pollster for pro-abort Claire McCaskill who is running for the US Senate against Jim Talent - I played along and stated that I was an independent voter...When asked if I would support Claire in her upcoming election bid, I stated that "I can only support those candidates who defend and protect innocent human life since the right to life comes before all other rights."

The caller hesitated and said, "Uhhh, well, thank you." (click) Buh-bye!

Another pollster called about the "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative", and began by claiming that it will lead to cures for all sorts of diseases (Oh, really?) and that it would ban human cloning....

As that point, I chimed in and stated, "Hold on a minute, this initiative would actually create a constitutional right to allow human cloning - Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer is, in fact, HUMAN CLONING. This initiative is a deceptive lie intended to confuse the people of Missouri." The caller, sounding somewhat perplexed, said something like "Really???"....I asked, "Do you support human cloning?" She said, "Uh, I have to go...Thanks."

Oh well, we have a major uphill battle before us. We need to storm heaven with our prayers, asking for our Lord's divine assistance and we need to educate the populace with the truth if this hideous amendment is to be defeated.

Troubled Young Woman

Charlotte Church has whipped up a storm of controversy by appearing as a drug-taking nun and calling the Pope a “Nazi” in her new TV show.

The singer performed a range of outrageous stunts for a pilot of her new Channel 4 talk show, such as smashing open a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of cider and eating a communion wafer emblazoned with a ecstasy smiley face and pretending to hallucinate. ... (Source)

An email from Ignatius Press states:

In light of the recent statements and actions of singer Charlotte Church, Ignatius Press will be dropping all of her products. It is with regret that we do this; Miss Church possesses a great gift from God, and in the past she has used her talent often to offer praise and glory to our Lord. She has performed for the late Pope John Paul II, and in many sacred concerts, televised Christmas celebrations, and her many albums were enjoyed by our customers over the years.

But we cannot stand by a young woman who uses her stature in the media to mock the Eucharist, slander the Holy Father, and denigrate the vows of religious women.

Therefore, our catalogs and website will immediately withdraw all compact discs, cassette tapes, DVDs and VHS tapes that feature Miss Church. Please join us in praying for this troubled young woman. For more information Click Here.

A real shame - engaging in blasphemous acts after being graced with such a gift from God. Ignatius Press is doing the right thing by pulling her products.

By the way, Ignatius Press has lots of specials here.

American TFP Offering Sacred Heart Badges

Don't pass this up...This is a wonderful campaign which will help to remind us of our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, especially in these times of wide-spread spiritual darkness:
The American TFP through its America Needs Fatima campaign is now offering a special badge to friends and supporters. This badge is the Sacred Heart Badge. When the first such badges were first presented to Blessed Pius IX in 1870, he called them an “inspiration from Heaven.”

Besides a picture of the Sacred Heart, each card has the reassuring phrase: “I am a Catholic, in the event of an accident, please call a priest.”

Imagine how many souls can be saved when they have such badges on their persons in times of disaster! Click here for details.

You can get free badges by clicking here.

Despite some objections, . . .

US Catholic clergy encouraged by bishops’ liturgy decisions

Washington DC, Jul. 18, 2006 (CNA) - North American priests and deacons, who are members of the Confraternity of the Catholic Clergy, passed a resolution at their annual convocation last week expressing their support for the recent recommendations of the U.S. bishops to more accurately and faithfully translate the mass from the Latin text into English. The clergy asked, “for a complete and consistent correction of all errors and deletions in the Roman Missal.”

“Rather than a partial repair, we, as daily celebrants of the Divine and Sacred Liturgy, see the need for a complete restoration of sacred language and precise translations, based on the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi,” the resolution reads.

“We are particularly concerned for sacrosanct vocabulary such as ‘consubstantial’ defined by the Council of Nicea in 325 … and other areas the literal Latin expresses more reverence and clarity than the current translations.”

The article continues here....

And with even more good news, we read:
Next year’s convocation of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is being planned for St. Louis, Missouri.

This is an opportunity to petition our local Serra Clubs and Knights of Columbus to help. Parishioners might also plan to help with the conference costs for their priests...

HT to Patte for the update!

More on "Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies"

American Papist has some updates on another the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act (S. 2754):

“The U.S. Senate is debating the passage of several bills related to stem cell research this week. And while the anticipated Presidential veto of one of these bills has been drawing a great deal of attention, there is another bill among this set that also threatens early human lives. I would claim that this legislation is the most dangerous (and thus the most important) of the stem cell bills being debated, because unlike its more famous brother, this bill threatens to pass quietly under the radar of Bush’s presidential veto power and actually become law.”


Purity of Heart

"There will be joy among the angels of God over one sinner who repents." St. Luke, 15:10.

With some of his companions St. Bernard once had to go on a long journey. As night fell they stopped at a certain inn. The landlady was infatuated with the charming appearance of the saint. She assigned him a room not far from her own, that when the household had retired to rest, she might go and talk with him. After all were in bed, the door of his room slowly opened, and the lady of the house tiptoed in. When St. Ber­nard saw her in his room, he suspected some evil purpose. He prayed for grace. Then suddenly, as loudly as he could, he shouted: "Thieves! Thieves! Robbers!"

The bold woman fled back to her room. But the rest of the house jumped up, seized whatever weapons they could find, and ran about the whole place in search of thieves. Not finding any, they returned to their rooms to get some sleep.

The same thing happened a second and a third time. No thief could be found. By the time they had retired for the third time, morning had dawned, and there was no further alarm.

As the group resumed their journey, his companions asked St. Bernard why he cried out so often. Surely he had been dreaming.

"No, friends," St. Bernard answered, "it was all too true; there was a robber in the house. Our hostess was the robber; she wanted to rob me of a treas­ure which I value more than all the treasures of the world - the treasure of holy purity. Thanks be to God, I escaped."

Would that everyone would follow the example of St. Bernard. Would that more could recognize temptation to impurity at once and cry out: "Thief! Robber!" Purity is a treasure. Anyone or anything that threatens to take it away is a thief and robber.

With purity we buy the sight of God, just as Christ promised in the Sixth Beatitude:
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." St. Matthew, 5:8.

1. Cleanness of heart means purity of the entire man, soul and body. It means chastity in our thoughts, words, and actions. It includes avoiding every idea or imagination, every word or story, every action or emotion, that might be impure in itself, or might lead to impurity. This purity of heart, which Christ calls blessed, is opposed to the merely external pro­priety or appearance of purity which the world requires.

"Man sees those things that appear; but the Lord beholds the heart." I Kings, 16:7.

Jesus Himself condemns this merely outward appearance when He spoke of the Pharisees as "whited sepulchres," white-washed outside, but full of dead men's bones within. That is why Christ emphasized purity of the heart, true, inner cleanliness of heart.

2. By the pure of heart we mean those­:
A. Who carefully preserve their baptismal innocence. Comparatively, all too few have this singular grace of never being guilty of a delib­erate sin against the virtue of purity. Would that the prayer of Mother Church at Baptism were always fulfilled! Toward the end of the baptismal ceremony, the priest places a white garment on the child as he says: "Receive this white garment, and see thou carry it without stain before the judgment seat of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that thou mayest have eternal life." Amen.

B. Who keep themselves clean from even impure thoughts and desires. Impurity takes its start in the heart, in the mind.

C. Who especially avoid any impurity in action whether alone or with others.

D. Who avoid hearing and telling impure stories.

E. Who avoid suggestive movies and shows, and put aside the book or magazine which is off-color.

F. Who, though guilty of impurity in the past, have been sorry, have washed it away in confession, and are trying to keep their determina­tion to lead a clean life from now on.

G. Who, whenever they recognize anything or anybody as a danger to this virtue, cry out with St. Bernard: "Thief! Robber!"

3. The happiness of the pure in heart is a special joy:

A. They see God, even here, by a strong lively faith. On the other hand, impurity chokes faith.

B. They see God in all His works.

C. They have a peculiar power to see into the meaning of the mysteries God has revealed to us.

D. They see God's hand in every trial and happening.

E. They experience a closeness to God, which is one of the greatest joys of this life.

F. They have a delicate and sure conscience in other moral matters. In a word, the clear eye that goes with the pure heart is able to see the things of God even in this world.

4. But the rewards of the next life are most important:

A. The pure of heart will experience a special pleasure in the vision and sight of God.

B. They will enjoy a special likeness to God, as they see Him "face to face." (1 Cor. 13:12).

C. They will follow the Lamb wherever He goes. (Apoc. 14:4)

Jesus tells us in the Gospel that there will be joy among the angels of God over the sinner who is sorry. Perhaps you have sinned against purity. Today tell Christ that you are sorry, that you sincerely wish to repent, that you earnestly and honestly want to be pure of heart, so that you can enjoy the happiness, the blessedness of seeing God and the things of God more clearly in this life, and in the life to come, to join the pure in heart who see God face to face.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

Mental Prayer for July 19-Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To gain an independence of material things.

The Idea: "Blessed are the poor in spirit" is not mainly a question of starvation or ragged clothes. The word "spirit" tells us this is a matter of the mind and heart. It is an attitude of independence toward material things. It's an ability to have and use things without becoming bogged down in them.

First of all we obviously must be able to leave possessions or people that we like but which are occasions of sin for us. Many, for example, have set their whole hearts upon winning or getting something they want. They are not independent of material things. Some Catholics under persecution even trade faith (and true happiness) for food and clothes.

What is the reward for this independence of material things. "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven"... the kingdom of peace of soul and self possession. And it will begin actually upon earth.

My Personal Application: Have I acquired this independence - God's attitude - toward material things and circumstances? Let me examine some of the above ideas and apply them to myself.

I Speak to Christ: Jesus Christ, who has promised me this happiness, help me to adjust myself to your plans, whether it means success or failure, justice or injury from those I come in contact with, good health or sickness. I don't care how you allow me to be treated, as long as I can serve you.

Thought for Today: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Tuesday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus Reproaches People for Their Unbelief

[20] Then He (Jesus) began to upbraid the cities where most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. [21] "Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to Heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I tell that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."


21-24. Chorazin and Bethsaida were thriving cities on the northern shore of the lake of Gennesaret, not very far from Capernaum. During His public ministry Jesus often preached in these cities and worked many miracles there; in Capernaum He revealed His teaching about the Blessed Eucharist (cf. John 6:51ff). Tyre, Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, the main cities of Phoenicia--all notorious for loose living--were classical examples of divine punishment (cf. Ezekiel 26-28; Isaiah 23).

Here Jesus is pointing out the ingratitude of people who could know Him but who refuse to change: on the day of Judgment (verses 22 and 24) they will have more explaining to do: "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12:48).
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, July 17, 2006

A Reflection on Mercy

"A certain man gave a great supper, and he invited many." St. Luke, 14:16.

About forty years ago the Sisters in charge of Mercy Hospital, Chicago, treated a penniless stranger kindly and nursed him back to health. Thirty ­five years later they figured that this kindness had brought them $620,000.

The man had come to the hospital dangerously ill. Several weeks later he went on his way in good health. Th~ sisters marked it down as a charity case. The nuns had forgotten about the incident when, a year later, a check for $250,000 arrived from Paris, France. It was signed by a Ferris Thomp­son, a New Yorker living in Paris with his wife, a former countess. Thomp­son wrote that the man so kindly treated by the sisters was his friend. Thompson was not a Catholic, and he knew nothing of the Sisters of Mercy except what his friend had told him. The donor wrote that there were no strings attached, and that the money should be used to treat others as they had treated his friend. Furthermore, he was establishing a trust fund which would bring the sisters $5,000 every year.

The donor died in 1913, but the $5,000 continued coming every year. In 1930 the sisters built a new nurses' home and named it Ferris Thompson Hall. Recently, thirty-five years after they had performed their work of mercy, the sisters received word that the widow had died, leaving $200,000 to the hospital. Adding it up - the original $250,000, $5,000 each year for thirty-four years, and the $200,000 left in the will - the total reward for their deed of mercy was $620,000.

Yet, those same sisters would have been the first to say that this earthly reward, generous though it may have been, was nothing compared to the heavenly reward they expected, and of which they were sure, for their service to the sick and poor. Like millions of other religious and lay people, those nuns are counting on the words of Christ, expressed in the Fifth Beatitude:

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." St. Matthew, 5:7.

Not always, in fact, seldom, is mercy so generously rewarded in this life. Always will it be rewarded by the Lord of mercy. Always will He keep His promise to show mercy to those who show mercy.

1. Mercy means an active and effective compassion and sympathy for others. It is the very opposite of the worldly saying and program: "Happy he who needs no mercy." The world as much as says that those who need mercy are out of luck. Likewise, Christian mercy is opposed to the maxim of the world that we should take as much as possible and give as little as possible. The mercy of Christ prompts us to feel for others, to sympathize with their sorrows and pains, and to do as much as we can about it.

2. They are merciful­:

A. Who relieve the wants of others according to their means. What a field - world-wide - there is for such mercy. Here is something you can do every day. Is there someone in need in your neighborhood or community? Be merciful and relieve that need.

B. Who practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The corporal works are the following:
to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to harbor the homeless, to visit the sick, to ransom the captive, and to bury the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy are: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to admonish sinners, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive offenses willingly, to comfort the affiicted, and to pray for the living and the dead.

C. Who bear and excuse the faults of others. This type of mercy can be practiced every day. Excuse the faults of others, and God will excuse your faults.

D. Who willingly forgive injuries received. Happiness here and here­ after is assured the fopgiving heart.

E. Who offer pardon and assistance to their enemies.

F. Who sympathize and feel with others.

3. All your mercy must be grounded on faith. Otherwise it is merely a natural virtue, and merits only natural rewards. The decision on Judg­ment Day will be mercy or no mercy, depending on whether or not you have shown mercy on this earth.

4. Our supreme example of mercy is God himself, whose "tender mercies are over all His works." Psalms, 144:9.

He shows that mercy:

A. Toward all men, especially sinners.

B. Freely and fully.

C. With divine liberality.

D. Without fail.

5. Christ, God made man, showed compassion in every way - by His preach­ing and teaching, by His interest in the poor and downcast, by His mir­acles, by His forgiveness of sinners, and by His granting forgiveness from the cross.

6. The followers of Christ are identified by their works of mercy - corporal and spiritual.

7. Blessed, indeed, is he who shows mercy. He is happy­:

A. In the gift of repentance and remission of sins.

B. In the inspiration of God's grace.

C. In temporal blessings. The gift to the Sisters of Mercy is an out­standing example of this.

D. In special favors from God. Through their mercy the saints won many favors from God.

E. In progress along the way of perfection.

8. The merciful are also rewarded with the faithful, superabundant, over­flowing merits of God. To this mercy all of us are called, just as many were called to the great supper in the above Gospel reading.

Are you going to make excuses? Are you going to turn down the invitation? Are you going to make it necessary for the Lord to invite someone else to do His work of mercy? God forbid. Be merciful, actively and effectively and generously merciful, and you will be truly happy and blessed-here and hereafter. Amen.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

Mental Prayer for July 18 - The Eight Beatitudes

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To test my knowledge of the eight beatitudes.

The Idea: Many people shy away from the Church. They think Christian life is misery on earth that you accept in return for happiness in heaven.

This might be described as something like children chomping reluctantly and steadily through the tasteless vegetables while their eyes are fixed on the dessert.

What fun is there, they say, in always repressimg yourselves? Look at the eight beatitudes: you have to be poor, suffer persecution without lifting a finger. Do the beatitudes really mean sorrow, suffering, cowardliness, gloominess? (See Matt. 5: 1-12.)

My Personal Application: What do I personally think that the beatitudes mean? Is it possible that I heard them just as many non-Catholics do? If someone were to say that "Blessed are the poor in spirit" means the poorer you are, the happier you'll be, you'd answer "False." Fine, but what does it mean? Or does "Blessed are those who mourn" mean your life in heaven will be happy in proportion as your life on earth was painful and gloomy? Some people think so. Could you put them straight ? Can you put yourself straight?

And how about this: "Blessed are the merciful" means that it's always better to be nice to people even though they do you a great deal of harm. Correct?

I Speak to Christ: I find I don't understand these teachings of yours as well as I thought, Lord. Of course I want to be happy. But just knowing the beatitudes by memory isn't going to help me to practice them. In the next meditations on your beatitudes, please help me to see what they mean and to carry them out in my life.

Thought for Today: "My words give life."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

More Examples of Why Prayer is Needed

Some of the recent titles from LifeSite:

Lord of the Rings Profits Used to Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Spain to Teach Children From Age 10 to Accept Homosexuality

Dutch Court Approves Pedophile Political Party

But there is good news!
Buffalo Abortion Mill Dedicated as Catholic Chapel of Holy Innocents

As much as I am prone to shake my head in disgust and outrage at much of the goings on, I must remember that the first thing to do is to pray and ask God's forgiveness and mercy for my transgressions and these immoral acts. Second, a personal commitment to ask for our Lady's intercession and help in offering reparations for such deeds is necessary. And, despite anything else, a firm resolution to carry out this daily prayer, offering all to our Lord, and being certain to recite the Rosary daily! And lastly, having petitioned our Lord for His help, steps need to be taken to change such immoral policies and actions and to persuade others who may be influenced by such evils and immoralities.

Pope: Pray for Mary’s intercession in Holy Land

Our Lady of Lebanon
Valle d'Aosta, Jul. 17, 2006 (CNA) - After praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in front of the house at Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta region which he is spending a brief holiday, Pope Benedict XVI called on people to pray for peace in the Holy Land and, in a special way, to pray for the intercession of Mary.

Gospel for Monday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 10:34-11:1

Jesus' Instructions to the Apostles (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples) [34] "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.[35] For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; [36] and a man's foes will be those of his own household. [37] He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; [38] and he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. [39] He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

[40] He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. [41] He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. [42] And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

The Mission of John the Baptist. Jesus' Reply

[1] And when Jesus had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.


34-37. Our Lord has not come to bring a false and earthly peace--the sort of tranquility the self-seeking person yearns for; He wants us to struggle against our own passions and against sin and its effects. The sword He equips us with for this struggle is, in the words of Scripture, "the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17), "lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The word of God in fact leads to these divisions mentioned here. It can lead, even within families, to those who embrace the faith being regarded as enemies by relatives who resist the word of truth. This is why our Lord goes on (verse 37) to say that nothing should come between Him and His disciple--not even father, mother, son or daughter: any and every obstacle (cf. Matthew 5:29-30) must be avoided.

Obviously these words of Jesus do not set up any opposition between the first and fourth commandments (love for God above all things and love for one's parents): He is simply indicating the order of priorities. We should love God with all our strength (cf. Matthew 22:37), and make a serious effort to be saints; and we should also love and respect--in theory and in practice--the parents God has given us; they have generously cooperated with the creative power of God in bringing us into the world and there is so much that we owe them. But love for our parents should not come before love of God; usually there is no reason why these two loves should clash, but if that should happen, we should be quite clear in our mind and in heart about what Jesus says here. He has in fact given us an example to follow on this point: "How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49)--His reply when, as a youth, Mary and Joseph found Him in the Temple of Jerusalem after a long search. This event in our Lord's life is a guideline for every Christian--parent or child. Children should learn from it that their affection for their parents should never come before their love for God, particularly when our Creator asks us to follow Him in a way which implies special self-giving on our part; parents should take the lesson that their children belong to God in the first place, and therefore He has a right to do with them what He wishes, even if this involves sacrifice, even heroic sacrifice. This teaching of our Lord asks us to be generous and to let God have His way. In fact, however, God never lets Himself be outdone in generosity. Jesus has promised a hundredfold gain, even in this life, and later on eternal life (cf. Matthew 19:29), to those who readily respond to His will.

38-39. The teaching contained in the preceding verses is summed up in these two succinct sentences. Following Christ, doing what He asks, means risking this present life to gain eternal life.

"People who are constantly concerned with themselves, who act above all for their own satisfaction, endanger their eternal salvation and cannot avoid being unhappy even in this life. Only if a person forgets himself and gives himself to God and to others, in marriage as well as in any other aspect of life, can he be happy on this earth, with a happiness that is a preparation for, and a foretaste of, the joy of Heaven" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 24). Clearly, Christian life is based on self-denial: there is no Christianity without the Cross.

40. To encourage the Apostles and to persuade others to receive them, our Lord affirms that there is an intimate solidarity, or even a kind of identity, between Himself and His disciples. God in Christ, Christ in the Apostles: this is the bridge between Heaven and earth. (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

41-42. A prophet's mission is not essentially one of announcing future events; his main role is that of communicating the word of God (cf. Jeremiah 11:2; Isaiah 1:2). The righteous man, the just man, is he who obeys the Law of God and follows His paths (cf. Genesis 6:9; Isaiah 3:10). Here Jesus tells us that everyone who humbly listens to and welcomes prophets and righteous men, recognizing God in them, will receive the reward of a prophet and a righteous man. The very fact of generously receiving God's friends will gain one the reward that they obtain. Similarly, if we should see God in the least of His disciples (verse 42), even if they do not seem very important, they are important, because they are envoys of God and of His Son. That is why he who gives them a glass of cold water--an alms, or any small service--will receive a reward, for he has shown generosity to our Lord Himself (cf. Matthew 25:40).

1. In chapters 11 and 12 the Gospel records the obduracy of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus, despite hearing His teaching (chapter 5-7) and seeing the miracles which bear witness to the divine nature of His person and His doctrine (chapters 8 and 9).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What is the way to happiness?

That is a question everyone tries to answer in his own life, for every man naturally wants to be happy and tries to be happy.

Christ had some ideas about happiness. In the Sermon on the Mount He gave us His rules for being happy. Could we follow better rules than His?

Some mental prayer helps are coming in the next days which can help us.

Mental Prayer for July 17 -The God-Man

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, let me see in you a man who is God.

Mental Picture: A day spent with Jesus, the young carpenter from Nazareth... on the road with Him, the strong tireless teacher... yet I see something more. He says that He will judge and reward men on the last day... He forgives sin in His own name... He changes the great law given to Moses and tells people to turn their cheek when offended... He raises the dead... heals the blind and the lame. He is a man, but no mere man could do all these things. He is more than human... He is God... He and the eternal Father in heaven are one. Great as is my admiration for Christ as a man, much more do I admire and believe in Him because He is the God-Man.

My Personal Application: Do I rightly look on Christ as my leader and model in my daily effort to live a full and upright human life? But does my vision stop there at His humanity? Should it not pierce through to see with the eyes of faith his divinity also? Is Jesus my Lord and my God?

I Speak to Christ: I believe, Lord; help me to scatter my unbelief. I have consecrated myself to you, and in doing this I acknowledge my faith in your divinity as well as your humanity. No one less than God is worthy of my full dedication, and to you I again dedicate and consecrate myself.

Thought for Today: I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The Forgotten Christians of Lebanon

...Eastern Christianity, which includes the Christian communities of Lebanon, has had to contend over the past 1,300 years with living in close proximity to, and often under, Islam, the religion that early on Became dominant in the region. Over the centuries, Western interest In, and subsequent incursions into, the Middle East have taken on many forms—a lot of them proving disadvantageous to the Christians of the region. The eventual defeat of the Crusades, for example, precipitated a violent Islamic backlash against the indigenous Christians, particularly those like Lebanon's Maronites, who had cooperated with and supported the crusading hordes. Later Western commercial and imperial expansion into Ottoman domains seemed at first to resuscitate the sagging fortunes of local Christian communities, only to have them witness a return of persecutions once the inevitable Western retreats occurred. Rivalries among the European powers in the Levant and in Egypt often enlisted the native Christians on the side of one and against the other. This too had its deleterious effects, culminating in the 1861 massacres of Christians in Mount Lebanon and Damascus that left a lasting scar on intercommunal relations, and aggravating the repeated oppression of Egypt's Copts to this day...

Meanwhile, the reputed tolerance of Islam, particularly for the "People of the Book", as Jews and Christians are designated, created in reality the dhimmi system of second-class servitude, which, under the guise of toleration, was actually a system of subtle repression and dehumanization leading to gradual liquidation.


"They beckoned to their comrades in the other boat to come and help them." St. Luke, 5:7.

Some years ago several members of the National Historical Association of Norway noticed certain passages in the Swedish history books which they thought were unfair to Norway. What could be done about it? How could they correct the books of another country?

They were fair-minded and peaceable enough to realize that they might be committing the same fault. They searched their own Norwegian text­books of history, to find that there were cases of unfairness in their own books.

They sent copies of their own unfair passages to the Swedish Historical Association, with this explanation:
"We have found these passages in our Norwegian schoolbooks which we think unfair to you. Will you look through our texts further, and see if there are any other passages to which you take exception, so that we may change them in a new edition?"

The Swedish historians were so delighted with this peace-making approach that they made response in the form of an invitation to point out similar errors in the Swedish books. As a result both sets of books were revised with good will and understanding promoted on both sides.

Peacemakers of the world - take a lesson here. One cause of bloody war is misunderstanding. Removing misunderstanding is one task of the peace­maker. It is one work that will please the Prince of Peace who told us in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." St. Matthew, 5:9.

1. What is peace?

It is a state of the soul at rest with God and man.

Peaceableness is a virtue that disposes the soul to a calm and contented security that comes from being a friend with God and all men. The words of Christ mean that blessed are they who make sacrifices for the sake of peace, and who promote peace among others. They are blessed and happy because here below they enjoy the special protection of God, and hereafter they will receive the reward of true children of the Almighty.

The peace which Christ brought to this earth, and which He wants us to have, is opposed to the false peace and security of the world, which is fleeting and uncertain. It is also opposed to the spirit of rebellion, war, and conquest which we see all over the globe.

2. They are truly peacemakers­:

A. Who reign over the passions of their hearts. Here is the very root of all world peace. The individual heart is the beginning. Control the heart, and you control all. Greed for gold and pleasure and power, pride and selfishness, and all the other passions uncontrolled are the sources of strife and warfare. For world peace, start with yourself.

B. Who have peace in their own conscience before God. The best peace­makers are those who make and keep peace between themselves and God. Sin spoils that peace. Sin also destroys peace of mind. It is the greatest enemy of peace, in the individual and in the world.

C. Who are regular and tranquil in their actions. People who are con­tinually worried, who have no system of doing even the simplest tasks, who are always in a hurry or in a turmoil, do not help peace in any way. This hurry and worry is a constant curse in modern life. It is a result of and a cause for our not having our thoughts and lives anch­ored in the God of peace. We are lazy and indifferent only in regard to Him.

D. Who have peace with all men. Peacemakers do not exclaim: "I can get along with everybody but so-and-so." We must try to understand and cooperate with everyone, especially in the immediate and intimate circles where we live and work and play.

E. Who never take offense. Wounded pride and insulted self-esteem quickly destroy peace. Be humble.

F. Who endeavor to reconcile those who do not get along together. Too often we do the opposite. We spread stories, false and true, about one friend to another, causing misunderstanding and loss of friendship. Try to bring about peace. Say the thing, do the thing that will raise friends and neighbors and co-workers in the esteem of others. You can do that every day. Factual arbitration between labor and manage­ment is an example of this.

G. Who by prayer, penance and personal effort try to reconcile souls to God, to bring back the stray sheep.

H. Who avoid critical gossip and open breaks in their family, commu­nity, social and religious groups.

3. Such peacemakers are true children of God:

A. They become heirs to the riches of God. (Rom. 15:33).

B. Brothers of the Son who reconciled the world.

C. They take on a special resemblance to the God of peace.

D. They share in the work of the Prince of Peace.

4. Peacemakers, as opposed to troublemakers, are usually loved and revered by men. Always they are loved by God, because establishing peace, even between individuals, is spreading God's kingdom.

The Apostles must have been on friendly, peace-loving terms with their rival fishermen, because they called the others to help handle the big catch of fish.

Peace is built on understanding and unselfishness. The Norwegian and Swedish men of my story showed that understanding and consideration. They helped toward peace by removing some of the mistaken statements which might.have destroyed peace. They brought the two countries a little closer together.

May you, too, pray diligently for peace. May you merit the reward which Christ promises to peacemakers. May you be blessed with peace and its rewards.
Adapted from Prayers, Precepts and Virtues
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1949)

From American Papist: What you need to know about the war in the Middle East

A conversation with a well-informed friend last night convinced me that what is happening in the Middle East right now is very important and will probably have far-reaching consequences regardless of how it unfolds, for Americans and Papists alike.


St Louis Priests Still Stranded in Lebanon

Rev. Andre Mhanna, the rector at St. Raymond's Maronite Catholic Parish in St. Louis and Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of St. Louis University, are still stranded in Lebanon waiting for the U.S. to complete plans on evacuating Americans from the area.

Two St. Louis religious leaders who are stuck in Lebanon say they feel fairly secure and are going ahead with some of their plans despite what they see from the balcony of their five-star hotel.
. . .
Several miles from Beirut, they can see planes passing overhead on bombing runs, anti-aircraft guns countering from the ground, a naval blockage that has formed in the sea and a nearly constant cloud of smoke over the airport.

Mhanna estimated that about 15 other families from his church in St. Louis are also trapped in Lebanon because most travel has been blocked by Israeli forces. Like the rest, Mhanna and Biondi don't know when they will be able to return to the United States. They are awaiting information from the U.S. Embassy. "It could be days," Mhanna said. "It could be months."

Fox News Talked with Fr. Biondi today. He said that they were waiting for the US government to arrange for safe passage home. He is confined to his hotel and said he felt like a prisoner there. He said he could understand what it must be like to be a captive or prisoner in war.

An Interview with Fr Joseph Fessio, SJ.

From Inside the Vatican:
Fr Joseph Fessio SJ was a keynote speaker at the national conference of the Australian Catholic Students Association on the weekend of July 7-9 in Newman College at the University of Melbourne.

Fr Fessio is the founder and director of Ignatius Press, the largest Catholic publishing house in the US, and the Provost of Ave Maria College in Naples, Florida. A regular commentator on Catholic affairs, he did his doctoral thesis on Hans Urs Von Balthasar under then Professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, at the University of Regensburg, Bavaria in 1975.

In 1996, he founded Adoremus to push Cardinal Raztinger’s goal of the “reform of the reform”. As a close friend of the Holy Father, he has a unique perspective to comment on the affairs and controverises within the Church. At the conference, ITV was able to sit down with Fr Fessio and discuss some of these with him.

Thew Interview with Fr. Fessio is here.